There's been a curious absence of both this spring at Jihad Watch, however. And, typically, nary a peep from Robert Spencer about either.
Actually, there was one tiny peep, ensconced within a comments section of an article utterly unrelated to the person in question -- Marisol, and her absence. We refer to the seemingly indefatigable busy bee who for a long while as editor and poster of articles along with Spencer at Jihad Watch seemed to be the one posting every third or so entry there -- adding, in her own style, her own salt and pepper of editorial commentary; like Spencer's, wry and acerbic, but with an indefinable twist that distinguished hers from his. It got to a point in 2011 when, as I began scanning a Jihad Watch article and reading the sparsely interlaced commentary introducing and/or interspersing its content, that I could tell, just from the style, whether it was a Robert entry or a Marisol entry -- and my guesses invariably turned out to be correct.
Spencer only piped up with his peep, apparently, because two or three readers, in the comments section to some article about a Muslim getting sentenced in Virginia, began to voice their wonderment and concern about Marisol's absence. At that point it was approximately April 13; and Marisol's last official entry before that was on March 26. In that comments thread, on April 14, Spencer responded to these faint queries with:
After six years of extraordinary work here, Marisol decided it was time to move on. She asked me to make no public announcement, and I very reluctantly complied, although I am going against her wishes by posting this comment. Her consistently excellent work added more to this site than I can properly encompass in words. She is very much missed.
It seems odd that after six years of working hard on Jihad Watch, Marisol would not wish to pen at least a small farewell to all her fans. Of course, if I saw a statement directly from Marisol indicating that it was for "personal reasons", I would immediately leave it at that. But absent that, I have to wonder if perhaps she was not being remunerated sufficiently for her tireless efforts at Jihad Watch (if she was being paid at all); given that, apparently, she had a day job in addition, and a family to be with. Or did she come to have ideological, or methodological, or personal issues with Spencer and/or some of his close associates, that reached a point where she felt she could no longer stay? Such non-personal reasons are the business of all of us who have a concern for the problem of Islam, and for the optimum quality and efficiency of any part of the Anti-Islam Movement. (And, somehow, something tells me Spencer did not sack her because of her penchant for unfairly banning good commenters who actually are on the side of the good guys. But that's another story...)
Has Spencer ever had a normal parting with anyone? I can't think of one. Hugh Fitzgerald's was similarly fishy. Oh well, I guess we peons of the hoi ochloi will never know what goes on in the plushly carpeted back halls of the Gentlemen's (and Ladies') Club of the Anti-Jihad Movement.
By bluebell, now, I mean that blue-state ex-Leftist non-Leftist Occupy Movement supporter Eric Allen Bell, who for a while there was the New Kid on the Block at Jihad Watch. Spencer introduced him as a sort of ex-Leftist who had "seen the light" and who had the distinction (and honor) of having been kicked out of that rabidly radical Leftist forum Daily Kos for daring to do the unthinkable -- to actually criticize Islam. Bell began occupying the pages of Jihad Watch quite visibly -- both in formal posts and video debates showcased as part of the Internet radio show of Jamie Glazov (recently christened with the overly cute name "The Glazov Gang"), as well as quite volubly at times in comments threads at Jihad Watch. For more than you want to know about Bell, see my previous essay Bell's curve flatlined (in which, at the end, I link to two further essays on him).
Coincidentally enough, Bell's last post was also on March 26. Hm, is this mere coincidence? Anyway, if the reader combs through the 71 comments there, he will get the distinct impression that Jihad Watchers had, by that time, had it with Bell, and weren't buying whatever he was selling -- viz., his epiphany about how bad Islam is seemed, increasingly, to have cracks and holes behind the front stage of his medicine show. Is this why the fields of Jihad Watch have not had any bluebells since the end of March, throughout the month of April, and into May now? Why hasn't Spencer made mention of this mysterious disappearance of Eric Allen Bell? Perhaps someone should alert the authorities? A missing person (or missing blogger) case? While I say good riddance to that most unsonorous Bell, I'd still like to know why he's gone, after Spencer touted him as nearly the next best thing to sliced bologna.