I don’t read Ms. Althouse... But I was arrested by Mr Sullivan’s response to what ought to be a celebration-worthy event — an engagement! —: his post was titled No Comment Possible.Go to the link Gobry's story of meeting his fiancée on Facebook and his defense of on-line meetings. I'm continuing with the part about Sullivan. Gobry notes the "cognitive dissonance":
Of course, saying “no comment possible” is, by itself, a ton of comment. In fact, Mr Sullivan comments further: “Ten days of emailing … and she was ready” (the slut!) and quotes another blog, the famously moderate and even-keeled Pandagon: “OMFG.”
The disdain is palpable.
Mr Sullivan is, after all, one of the most talented and articulate proponents of same-sex marriage, and no doubt needs no education on the discrimination, both soft and hard, that can befall human beings based on their relationships. Yet he doesn’t miss a beat in responding derisively to Ms Althouse’s engagement even though… Who cares?Yes, I too think that Sullivan's reaction to me was detrimental to the cause of same-sex marriage (for which he has fought so admirably). Obviously, he had to have thought he was serving his cause by asserting that his 5-year relationship deserved more respect than mine, but he has a tragic blind spot. He was acting as though it's perfectly fine to trash someone else's relationship because it strikes you at a gut level as wrong. But that's how millions of people feel about his relationship! If we start arguing in that emotional mode, your cause is doomed.
What should be treated as an unremarkable event, worthy of cheer if anything, is held up for derision, by someone who ought to know better. So I felt the need to speak up.
The first comment chez Gobry is quite something:
is this post about althouse or about you?I love that Gobry responds right away in the next comment:
Look, it’s not that complicated. Online relationships are weird. Flirting between a blogger and a random commentator is double weird. Marriage after three dates is just fucking stupid. Toss in a raging storm of Ann Althouse hatred, plus Althouse’s own special brand of comic cluelessness, and you got a fun little story to pick over for a while. The bizzaro [sic] marriage is a final confirmation of what we all already knew, namely that this woman is batshit insane.
As for minding our own business? If Althouse didn’t want people to gossip about her private life, then maybe she shouldn’t have posted about it on the internet.
Actually, it’s about Sullivan and a few others.A good comment, from matoko_chan:
And look, I disagree with you. Online relationships are no longer weird. Online dating services have been around for more than a decade now and countless people use them. And here in France, people have been using the Minitel to date since the 80s. Note that I haven’t used online dating services, but I honestly don’t see how anyone should find them weird in 2009.
Same thing with flirting between a blogger and a commentator. Why? I mean, honestly: why? Why is it weird? Why is it any weirder than, say, flirting with someone in line at Starbucks?
And marriage after three dates being “fucking stupid”… What particular expertise do you claim on the subject? I have friends who dated for like 5 years, moved in together, and then broke up after 3 weeks. That, to me, is fucking stupid. If a friend has met someone and wants to get engaged after three dates, I might be surprised and curious, but I haven’t been in his shoes, how the hell can I claim it’s stupid? I mean, seriously?
We’re talking about two private individuals we don’t know, who have made a decision that by definition none of us can understand because we haven’t been in their shoes and can’t understand their innermost motives, and yet we feel entitled to heap judgmental scorn on them.
That’s what’s pretty fucking stupid, in my opinion.
I thought Althouse’s love story was charming and romantic.Stalkers and predators are everywhere, on-line and off. You've got to look out. But who would spend 4 years writing comments on a blog to get at some 58-year-old lady in Madison, Wisconsin? You might as well worry that your spouse of 20 years is just faking the whole damned thing. Or that you yourself are a big empty fraud.
It is like a chaste victorian correspondence.
Since love and sexuality are initiated by brain function, what better way to really get to know someone, than as a pure intelligence scraped off of physical packaging and environmental distractions?
After 4 years of meeting minds, I think Ann Althouse and her sweetheart have a much better chance than most.
To give Andrew credit, I think he wonders if Althouse’s erstwhile suitor presented himself factually. After four years, I would believe the guy.
It is true that stalkers and predators roam the virtual spaces, but 4 years should be enough to reveal it.