February 2, 2007

"Now that Althouse's powerful spell has worn off," Mark Schmitt is still opposed to Linda Hirshman's WaPo op-ed.

You remember Hirshman's "maybe goddesses have some hypnotic effect on policy wonks," which I flagged here without comment (because I'd already had my say about the WaPo op-ed on the blog and on Bloggingheads.TV). Oh, I suppose I could have gone on about her blog post. Check out this line:
Ann Althouse, who opens her eponymous blog, each time by telling everyone that conservative critic Terry Teachout thinks she's "divine."
"Each time"... in other words, I've got the Teachout quote in the banner at the top of my blog. But Hirshman's real problem, of course, is that women who are liked by conservative men are not proper women. That and the usual diva/catfight thing.

More Hirshman:
(Maybe divinity strips you of the capacity to read the full text of a 2000 word article, but it's not a characteristic I anticipate from people making a living from the learning trades.)
Hey, get it straight. Am I a goddess or a tradeswoman or a scholar? Well, I stymie efforts to anticipate my characteristics.

By the way, the failure to read the full text of something you wrote is not evidence of incapacity to read. It might be evidence of good taste and judgment. Unfortunately, I did read it though, as my original blog post shows. Perhaps Linda has an "incapacity" to read the full text of my 700 word post.

But she's actually more insulting to Schmitt than to me:
The absolutely weirdest part of the entire performance art [i.e., Bloggingheads] was Schmitt, who works for the New America Foundation and writes about nothing but politics all of the time and has written about politics all of his adult life, nodding mindlessly while Althouse asserted that it's too early for any sane person to get interested in the election of 2008. Maybe goddesses have some hypnotic effect on policy wonks that has gone unnoticed until this time.
Did I say "it's too early for any sane person to get interested in the election of 2008" on Bloggingheads? No. There a difference between saying everyone who's interested in the election now is not sane -- I'd be insane by that standard -- and saying -- what I said -- that some people follow the news for emotional reasons and some people avoid the news for rational reasons. You can follow or not follow the election news now and be either rational or emotional (or both).

The truth is, nearly everyone, male or female, makes decisions about how to spend their time based on some mixture of reason and emotion. And if we choose to judge other people for how much time they spend on the political news, that judgment too will contain elements of reason and emotion. Reading Linda Hirshman, I get the impression that she is strongly attached to liberal politics and thinks that women, to be rational, must vote for Democrats. She is fired up and mad at women for not seeing that they must vote for Democrats. You tell me whether that's rational or emotional.

It's easy to see why she doesn't like me: I won't just accept the requirement that because I'm a woman, I need to vote for Democrats. I'm going to continue to taunt Hirshman about this, and I'll laugh when she fulminates about my lack of "reason." I'll laugh insanely.

But this is really a post about Mark Schmitt's terrific response to Hirshman. He really needed to push back here, because "goddesses have some hypnotic effect on policy wonks" is -- and is intended to be -- emasculating. (Really, the sexual politics of that line just fascinates me.)

From the Schmitt piece:
...Hirshman accuses Althouse and me of focusing only on the anecdotal evidence that follows and ignoring "half the article" that contains "hard political research." That other half consists of three paragraphs out of 32.....

After a long, condescending exposé of the modern-day Edith Bunkers of the Wednesday Morning Group, with their book-free nightstands and People magazine addictions, Hirshman has a few paragraphs of actual data....

I'm still unsure what Hirshman's main point is, but here's my own: I think the accusation that women aren't rational political actors -- compared to men -- is unsupported by "hard political research," and the claim that women are not a decisive force in elections is demonstrably wrong. Whether that has anything to do with Hillary Clinton is another question.

I think that is a sufficiently wonky response to a very troubling article.
I like that he embraces his wonkitude in the end.

11 comments:

George said...

Professor--

Not that you asked, but my advice would be to ignore critics like the gentleman. To most readers, I'll bet that such debates are of little interest, though it is very evident that they are passionate and all too often involve hurtful ad hominems.

Imagine if daily newspapers gave over pages and pages to disputes it and its reporters were having with other papers and other writers. It's all inside baseball.

Joseph Hovsep said...

George--"critics like the gentleman"?

Schmitt's rebuke is terrific, as his writing usually is.

Ann Althouse said...

"critics like the gentleman"?

Schmitt isn't criticizing me, he's taking on Hirshman, who also attacked me and whom I'd written about before. Hirshman is a prominent feminist writer who talks about things that I'm very concerned about. So I choose to get involved here. Anyway, I like Schmitt and did a Bloggingheads with him and wanted to link to his terrific piece.

Naked Lunch said...

Shorter Althouse

I think this broad is a liberal. What a bitch!

Maxine Weiss said...

Ann, don't get mad at this; but there was a study done at UCLA a couple of years back....about women who give birth to ONLY boys.

It was found that the women who birthed ONLY boys, had a problem with girls. These women don't really get along with the female gender.

And, vice versa. Men who sire only daughters, usually have a problem with other men, and few male friends.

Parents who have both boys and girls are fine. And the research is inconclusive regarding parents who have only one child

It's just when you give birth to one or the other over and over again....you have to look to the opposite gendered parent....and you can see how this works out.

I've talked to many women who've given birth to only boys. And, they've all said, time and time again, they've had problems with women/girls...all their life. ---That it wouldn't have worked out.

God gives you what you need.

But it's more than that, this was an actual study done.

Hey Ann, just think: If you'd given birth to all girls---you and Linda Hirshman would be best-pals by now!

Peace, Maxine

vbspurs said...

Hey Ann, I figured out what you meant about Maxine about a week ago, you'll be happy to know. That's why my sides hurt laughing so much now, about the boy-girl thingie.

I'm slow, but at least I'm stupid too.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Reading Linda Hirshman, I get the impression that she is strongly attached to liberal politics and thinks that women, to be rational, must vote for Democrats. She is fired up and mad at women for not seeing that they must vote for Democrats. You tell me whether that's rational or emotional.

It's hard not to get worked up, when someone targets you. I hope people realise that, when they read these (may I say innumerable) threads where you trot out yet another person who went for your jugular, because of your perceived politics.

FWIW, I think you did a great job, Ann, of posting why this particular woman misconstrued what you wrote (or indeed, didn't even read what you wrote, but simply inferred what they imagine someone who isn't liberal, would think).

Once, when I was taking a Clerk of a polling station training class, I was seated next to a 60-something lady. She and I got to talking, and she blurted out something foul about President Bush.

I stopped. Turned around, and said, "I'm a Republican".

I swear to you, as long as I live, I'll never get over the look of disgust she gave me.

"WHY?"

She said, with a voice that implied, are you retarded or just evil.

This lady was a retired federal court judge...who flinched visibly when I asked her opinion about FDR trying to jimmy the amount of SCOTUS justices back in the day, after she mentioned something about Bush trying to overhaul the "system" to his ends.

This is this Linda Hirshman all over, it seems to me.

It's okay when it's one of us, but if you're not, God help you.

Cheers,
Victoria

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbspurs said...

Sorry I missed the joke, Victoria. Could you or someone either explain or provide a link, so I can better understand Maxine's odd ways. I'm always looking for amusement.

That if you read Maxine "straight" you'll think she's barmy or a troll (sorry about speaking like this rudely, in the third person).

Ann replied, "Can't you see that Maxine is a comic character?".

Once I started to read Maxine's comments in this vein, I have enjoyed them a lot.

Now I see why Chris Althouse has her on his blogroll.

(I had thought he was getting back at his mum...somehow!).

Cheers,
Victoria

Adam L said...

I am not a regular poster here but I read this woman Maxine's comment, and I couldn't help myself.

"I've talked to many women who've given birth to only boys. And, they've all said, time and time again, they've had problems with women/girls...all their life. ---That it wouldn't have worked out."

WTF? Comic book character indeed. At first I didn't realize what a moonbat she was. What was she talking about? Could you provide a reference to this proposterous and made up sounding research?

And then it all made sense:

"God gives you what you need."

Ahh, got it. I see what you mean. *plonk*

vbspurs said...

WTF? Comic book character indeed. At first I didn't realize what a moonbat she was. What was she talking about? Could you provide a reference to this proposterous and made up sounding research?

Wow, now I know how the Borat fans felt!


Ahh, got it. I see what you mean. *plonk*


No offence, Adam, but isn't plonking someone like this a bit silly? I mean, it's not like a forum or newsgroup, where you can genuinely excise a person from your conscious existence.

This is just for show and tell.

P.S.: If it weren't, I would've publicly plonked a few people on Althouse by now, and they me. Mostly, we ignore each other, and it seems more civil that way.

Still, to each his own. :)

Cheers,
Victoria