July 24, 2006

Not the usual political discussion.

Elisa Camahort assures BlogHer conventioneers that the political blogging session -- which includes me -- is not going to be about the usual "left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican... [or] who uses online communication tools better, or about when political communications cross the line into propaganda, and who are the worst offenders." So what will it be? One thing is highly focused blogging. Lisa Williams and Courtney Hollands blog about one place -- Watertown and Plymouth, respectively. Kety Esquivel creates a place for one group -- progressive Christians. That sounds really coherent, so why am I and Lindsay Beyerstein on the panel too? We shall see. I see they've got me labeled "conservative" over there and saying that I don't consider myself a "knee-jerk partisan." Well, I don't consider myself a conservative or a partisan, knee-jerk or otherwise. But Lindsay's the liberal, so I guess I must be the conservative. But this is not the usual political discussion. So they say.

UPDATE: I emailed Elisa and she's corrected changed "conservative" to "moderate." She also appears in the comments, as does our regular commenter Simon, who says:
It's rather like the radio show you did recently, where they had you as the "conservative" voice, and the nutjob from the local press as the leftie voice.

I can't help wonder if there is some kind of trade-off here: if they portray someone who is basically a moderate centrist as a "conservative", then maybe they feel they can have someone even further to the left to "oppose" you?

On the other hand, if people associate in their minds someone with Ann's qualities with the GOP, I can envisage that having a net positive effect on their view of the GOP.

That's a fascinating pair of theories. They aren't inconsistent really, but you can see how Democrats are hurt. Far lefties are called in to represent them, and they are off-putting to ordinary voters. Strong conservatives aren't properly represented either, but I stand in for them, presenting a more liberal-friendly front.

25 comments:

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm glad they took the trouble to distinguish you from all those people who do consider themselves knee-jerk partisans.

Dave said...

So what's a progressive Christian?

One who supports stem cell research, gay marriage, evolution, and the superiority of science over faith as an epistemological tool?

If so, count me a fan, if not, well, then don't.

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: Either I'm expressing hostility toward progressive Christians or when I tried the link they provided it came up page not found. Take a wild guess.

Mary said...

I was going to guess: you forgot.

(Click on the first link you provide: "Elisa Camahort assures BlogHer conventioneers" then on "Kety Equivel". This directs you to crossleft.org. It should come up for you, and maybe you can add the front-page link, just for consistency?)

Jennifer said...

Ann: I googled the author as I was interested in seeing how they define progressive Christian. I came up with this blog on CrossLeft's site.

Simon said...

It's rather like the radio show you did recently, where they had you as the "conservative" voice, and the nutjob from the local press as the leftie voice.

I can't help wonder if there is some kind of trade-off here: if they portray someone who is basically a moderate centrist as a "conservative", then maybe they feel they can have someone even further to the left to "oppose" you?

On the other hand, if people associate in their minds someone with Ann's qualities with the GOP, I can envisage that having a net positive effect on their view of the GOP.

Jennifer said...

And, either the convention or Google is spelling Kety's last name incorrectly. Google thinks its Esquivel.

Mary said...

Maybe you should be consistent in deciding whether you want to present yourself as a conservative voice or not?

If you accept the ads, the contest nominations, and the appearances when it is favorable for you to present yourself this way, you can hardly complain when others also invite you to participate in the "conservative" capacity.

Independence can cost you a few little things, but it can also lend an air of credibility to be standing without support. Try a consistent approach, even if this means turning down the roles that specifically call for "conservative women".

I suspect from reading her, Lindsay B. is quite comfortable identifying as a "liberal" and isn't actively courting or accepting sponsorship that would "misidentify" her. Perhaps you might declare, consistently, that you identify as an independent, and then continue to bring this up when if your politics are mischaracterized in the course of your appearances?

Ann Althouse said...

Esquivel's name is spelled two ways at the link. I cut and pasted the one that was a misspelling. I've corrected it and also googled up the proper URL for CrossLeft.

Mary: That's a lot of questions. I think they're pretty much answered by things you've already read here. Figure it out.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'd be very interested to see how this confab compares with the one in Boston earlier this year.

Mary said...

"Figure it out"

Use your voice Ann. Speak out when you believe you are mislabeled; decline invitations if you must. Not too much sympathy here, since the situation seems so ... correctable.

Good job getting the link up. Sometimes you just have to fiddle around, trial and error method, when you're initially greeted with "page not found". And consistency is worth the extra minute or two it takes to figure things out.

ElisaC said...

Hi everyone: I'm the offender who has labeled Ann as "conservative" in the session description. As I just wrote to her...it is interesting that Ann doesn't apply such labels to herself, but of course she is often referred to that way by others, and as a commenter says the ads and such on the site lean right.

It's fair to say,whatever the label, that Ann has a different perspective than some of the others on the session, and that's really the point. Even if you're not having a partisan discussion, you don't want a session populated by people who all are coming from the same philosophical place. Nothing more boring than a panel where everyone just nods their heads in agreement, might as well break for lunch early then.

Ann is also as different voice because her *stated* goal has nothing to do with persuasion. She represents that large portion of bloggers (check out the latest Pew report) who do so for "personal expression."

I'm going to go update the BlogHer post (and check for typos!)

Thanks Ann!

Ann Althouse said...

Ann Althouse said...
Ruth Anne: I'm picturing more women. And a more crowded audience, because it's sold out. And no fretting about law and getting perceived as scholarly. But I anticipate fitting in even less. I'm about twice as old as everyone else on the panel.

Mary: Why do you assume I haven't done anything?

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Elisa!

As for the "conservative" ads button in the sidebar, it's a BlogAds group I was invited to join that brings ads to the blog. Being asked to join was typical of the way conservatives embrace me, even though I disagree about many things (e.g., I'm pro gay marriage). I'm also in a BlogAds group organized by TalkLeft, and I appreciate that inclusion.

Alan said...

Dave, if you're actually serious about this question:

>So what's a progressive Christian?

then may I suggest that you start with this book by Marcus Borg. It's readily available at your library if you don't want to buy it.

Mary said...

No offense Ann.
I just figured, with your voice and all, if it bothered you being labeled as a conservative woman, and if you were speaking up consistently correcting that notion, you'd be effective.

Brian said...

Ann explains: "As for the "conservative" ads button in the sidebar, it's a BlogAds group I was invited to join that brings ads to the blog. Being asked to join was typical of the way conservatives embrace me."

Of course, many people will see that "Buy Conservative Advertising" sign on the front door and decide not to enter. I know I get a mild case of the willies every time I see that "Conservative" sign, but I can shake it off. Perhaps you should post an additional banner urging people to "Buy Moderate Advertising, In Moderation."

Also, even those who enter might not be paying attention in class. If we had "study groups" here, I would direct the members of mine to my notes from July 23, 2006, in which Ann is quoted as follows:

"Students may think a teacher is really pushing a viewpoint when he isn't, and a good teacher can sell his viewpoint without it showing. I could use the Socratic method in the law school classroom and only ask questions but have a position I'm hoping to ingrain. I could run a discussion in which I constantly take the opposite side from the one I want the students to adopt and do it in a way that I think will cause students to internalize the side I'm forcing them to defend."

In other words, when Ann seems to adopt an absurd conservative position, her goal is to have us tear her position to bits and adopt a more rational liberal position.

Jennifer said...

The desire to define and label people is something I don't really understand. Does it help you to interpret a person's ideas if you know their party affiliation? Does it tell you whether or not to listen to a person? What does it help you to determine?

I've always found the labels to be very fluid, anyhow. I thought I was a pretty far right conservative the entire time I was at the University of Oregon. Turns out it was just the company. Working on the stock market, and now in the military world I'm actually quite moderate.

People will label you looking through the prism of their own perspective. Why argue with that?

Michelle said...

"Fluffy" is an odd description for Ann and her blog, Mary. Ann writes about the stuff of life, some of which is political and some of which is about how the NYTs portrays a certain social dynamic, for example. And one should be able to enjoy the occasional arfully worded digression on the dangers of shorts without losing credibility on the more serious side of living. I, for one, am suspicious of those who mistake variety for vapidity.

Diecast Dude said...

There is one way to avoid being associated with a set of political beliefs, based on the ads being run in your blog...

... don't run ads.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Diecast: I like having ads. I think it's spiffy and professional looking. I'm not a big purist. I think making money is perfectly fine. Even for art.

Ann Althouse said...

I've accepted all the ads I've been offered. Let some liberals advertise here. They have the power to make me look liberal. Go ahead. I won't reject you. I just want the money.

Diecast Dude said...

I don't consider myself a purist per se, but I like not having ads on my blogs.  I'd rather not hassle with them, and to be honest I don't get sufficient traffic to make them potential moneymakers...

That said, maybe I am a bit of a purist.  Even though the publishing on my main blog goes through Blogger, it resides on server space I'm paying for in order to have control of the thing, and also enable things like podcasting to all be in one spot.  For me, if it's worth saying it's worth putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  I don't believe this makes me superior to people who run ads; it's the way I believe I should do things.

And considering I mostly blog about NASCAR, giving fans of said sport a break from the incessant advertising that permeates the sport is hopefully supplying a service to same!

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.