Bob introduces the topic by saying that under "the new Bloggingheads business model," he's going to have to yell at Kinsley and threaten to hang up. It's "the precedent" and "a proven traffic-generation model." Kinsley says he's fine with that, "the sooner the better."
Referring to the precedent, set, of course, by me, Michael says:
I didn't completely understand it. I certainly sympathize with Ann, the woman who felt she'd been abused by the bloggers.Bob says that's good and notes that I didn't get much sympathy from the Bloggingheads commenters. He goes on:
I'm sympathetic. You're sympathetic because you recently got trashed by liberal bloggers. I'm sympathetic because I am myself prone to fly off the handle.Michael asks for an explanation of what exactly it was that upset me, and Bob tries to explain. You can go over and listen to the explanation, which I don't entirely agree with, because it lacks context. He makes it sound as though all I ever wrote about was that a woman posed in a way that accentuated her breasts!
Now, Bob says: "Ann, I think, thought it was a set up. She... and I'm slightly culpable for this in a way I could go into and now that I've said this, I guess I have to go into it." He explains that before a Bloggingheads episode, the diavloggers agree to a series of topics, and that Garance Franke-Ruta and I had not agreed to talk about that old controversy -- what Garance referred to as "the Jessica Valenti breast controversy." (I would have refused, by the way, and in the past, Bob has tried to get me to diavlog with someone on that subject, and I have declined.) Bob: "Ann thought this was an ambush. Okay?"
Michael guesses that it was within a larger topic of "people being rude on the internet." But that was not one of the agreed-upon topics either. Bob says he doesn't know what our topics were, but says he's "sure" the topic of "mean left-wing bloggers" was. Well, it wasn't!
Bob says, "so from Garance's point of view, there was a legitimate context." But, no, in fact, she introduced the whole topic.
Bob goes on: "Ann thought it was an ambush, and here's my culpability." He explains that when he was arranging the diavlog with Garance, she had said she'd like to diavlog with -- guess who? -- Jessica Valenti! Bob didn't think that would be a good idea, because he assumed the two of them would just agree about everything, and so he suggested me instead. He makes a point of saying that he didn't realize that Valenti was the subject of the old controversy, however. But he did see me as an "ideological opponent" of Valenti's, based on the way her name had come up in my diavlog with Glenn Reynolds.
Bob reveals that he'd given me all that background and says that he sees it as a basis for me to have assumed Garance and Valenti are "kind of allies." This "increased the plausibility that this is an ambush," he says.
Bob invites Kinsley to comment on it, and Kinsley says, "it makes for good video when people are really upset and threatening to leave" and tells a story about Christopher Hitchens storming off the set of "Crossfire."
I'm not planning to keep bugging you with the old Bloggingheads story (which is a continuation of the old Clinton-lunching-with-the-bloggers story), but Bob Wright and Michael Kinsley were talking about me.