Over on Instapundit, I wrote:
DEFENDING AGAINST REPUTATION DEFENDER. If you followed the AutoAdmit controversy -- see this WaPo article -- you should check out this response from Jarret Cohen of AutoAdmit. Where do I stand on AutoAdmit (a website where law students and prospective law students sometimes talk raunchily about particular individuals)? Well, my original response to the WaPo article was somewhat supportive in the face of what I thought were demands for too much repression, but then I Googled "althouse autoadmit" to find my old post for that link, and check out what came up first. Now, I've got to laugh and say yes, this is life here on the internet, but I'm old and I have tenure. I really do see how something like this can disturb a young woman who's in the job market, though I still don't think law firm partners are dumb enough to take obvious junk like this seriously in hiring decisions. (And given this attitude, I couldn't get too steamed when feminist bloggers railed about my failure to exhibit proper deference to the fears and feelings of women.)
If you want to talk about all this, come over to my blog, where I'll set up a post with comments.
This is that post, so talk.
ADDED: To the fool who thinks that the post about me on AutoAdmit made me see the problem a different way: You are utterly and completely wrong! Learn to read, fool.
UPDATE: I see this post has been linked again by someone who thinks he's discovered some amazing inconsistency between this and my earlier post. But this blogger is wrong and is either vicious or a poor reader. Let me spell it out for people who don't know how or won't take the time to understand something that is written in a sharp, short style.
(So, really, to my readers who understand, don't bother with what I'm about to write. It's in a style that doesn't represent what I'm trying to do here.)
Some people seem to think that my position in this post shows me changing my position and becoming more sympathetic as result of reading a thread on AutoAdmit that was about me. These people are absolutely wrong. Let me spell out why they are wrong.
My position was originally and has remained that I simply do not believe what was in the Washington Post article: the theory that some Yale Law students failed to get the jobs they wanted because some nasty boys expressed sexual thoughts about them on a website called AutoAdmit.
I never said the boys who expressed those thoughts were wonderful. I was concerned that the women were overreacting and inclined toward the repression of free speech. I don't think you can control the internet the way you might control speech in a school or workplace (using a "hostile environment" theory).
In the Instapundit post, I drew attention to the thread about me to demonstrate my own ability to laugh, to accept the internet for what it is, and not to react with demands for repression. That is, I was modeling what I believe to be the right Free Speech position.
I then concede that my demonstration of the right attitude is not as strong as it would be if I were younger and had job insecurity. I anticipated a reader who would say, sure, it's easy for you to laugh it off, you're not in the same position as those women.
I wanted to make it clear -- though when you have bloggers standing by to denounce you, you can never be clear enough -- that I knew my demonstration of how to laugh it off was not fully convincing, because it's easier for me to laugh at what I think they should laugh at too.
I "really do see" that a "young woman" -- that is, a woman with less experience learning how to deal with life's hard knocks -- might be "disturbed." Being disturbed doesn't mean you are justified in making causal connections between the things that disturbed you and other problems you are having in life, like not getting the job you wanted. And being disturbed doesn't mean you ought to have the power to control the things that are disturbing you.
To say that I can understand how something disturbed you doesn't mean I think you're better off getting disturbed than laughing it off the way I did. It just means I'm not going to criticize you for not having the ability to laugh it off. But I still do think that you should.