He also accuses me of having comments so that I can get "vile ad hominem, anonymous hate-speech" which he thinks, I "rel[y] on for traffic." What proof does he have that that is my reason for having comments or that it helps my traffic? I'd be very surprised if the ugliest comments brought more traffic. I think they hurt traffic, so I certainly am not relying on them for traffic. I do think a vivid, flourishing comments section keeps readers coming back to this blog, but not because of the ugliness. I think that drives people away.
This is more serious:
[T]hese were not just homophobic comments. They were vicious personal attacks on a specific human being, using both my sexual orientation and my illness as targets.But generic attacks on gay people as a group are much worse than attacks on a specific person who is a public figure, like Andrew Sullivan. They are still mean, but they are more like the anti-Bush material that goes on about how he was an alcoholic or used cocaine or whatever. I'm not saying it's good, just that it's different from general bigotry. And I would like Andrew Sullivan to acknowledge that I have a good number of active commenters here who are gay men. (Lesbians too.) So there is plenty of pushback against homophobia, and anybody who hates gay people is not going to be happy in my comments section.
Sullivan goes on to criticize me for not deleting the comments that attacked him:
I am glad she does not deny that she engaged in this thread herself, and she did so long after many of the references to my HIV were published. It seems to me that if you are actually contributing to a comment thread, you tend to have read the thread leading up to that point.Well, try it some time. There are hundreds of comments. I skim. I look for spam. I stop at the names of commenters I know and like. I have a free speech policy and ignore stuff that looks like low-quality junk. I have a lot of idiosyncratic strategies for getting through it all, and it's still a lot of work. I'm telling you: Your assumption is wrong.
So the idea she had no idea what was afoot is ludicrous.I may know what's "afoot," but only in a vague way, and not oriented toward finding things to delete. My working strategy is not to delete. From that I have exceptions. One is to look closely if someone emails me and points to something specific. Sullivan never did me that behind-the-scenes courtesy. He just made a post attacking me — and reprinting the ugly stuff. If he really wanted it excised, he wouldn't have reprinted it. He wanted to expose it and air it out. And there you see the value of my non-deletion policy. The ugly stuff is self-destructing! It argues against itself. Why drive it underground? Why empower the haters by letting them see they got to you? They are their own worst enemies.
She has already accused me of being a racist, a heterophobe and a misogynist...I appreciate those 2 links, because I wouldn't have remembered what I'd said. Go ahead and read those old posts of mine. I didn't generically call him a racist. I found racism in the way he talked about Bobby Jindal. As to heterophobia and misogyny.... well, frankly, I do think Sullivan has a problem with women. Does he ever write positively about women? For the most part, women barely exist in his world. And when one comes into prominence — notably Sarah Palin — he seems to feel a special antagonism.
[E]ven if everything Althouse says in her defense is true, it says a lot to me that she is unable even to offer a word of apology or regret, or to remove any of the vilest personal attacks in that thread. I offended her a while back with a post on her announcement that she was getting engaged to one of the commenters on her site... I subsequently apologized for any offense she subsequently felt.Did he really apologize? I emailed him about his outrageous insult and he posted something, but it wasn't really to the point. And anyway, "I subsequently apologized for any offense she subsequently felt"... that's what's called a nonapology. Okay, if it's really that easy then: Andrew, I am subsequently sorry if anything on my blog subsequently offended you.
I was too glib, and insensitive, but it's in a different universe from the hate speech she publishes.It's different all right. The difference is, what was said about me, you wrote. I didn't write any of the the offensive comments. I just have an open forum and a free speech policy. To say I "published" it makes it sound as though I pre-screened it. Ironically, you published those comments. You chose to copy and paste them on your blog.
If Althouse had not partially built her traffic on this kind of stuff for years, and if she weren't a big blog, and a contributor to bloggingheads and other MSM outlets and a professor at a university, I'd let this slide as I usually do....Since I didn't respond yesterday, he may have thought I was letting it slide, because he came up with this second post:
Just check out Ann Althouse's reaction to Garance Franke-Ruta's rather anodyne reference to Jessica Valenti breast controversy on bloggingheads....Oh, for the love of God.
I have no idea what the reference is....Don't worry. It has to do with breasts. It would only bore you.
... she threatens to hang up and tells Garance that she is involved in character assassination. But she is happy to post the vilest attacks on my being gay and having HIV and refuses to apologize.Again, jeez, I don't post the comments! I have an open comments section and a policy against deletion. In the Bloggingheads, I was in a one-on-one conversation with someone who was quietly sticking a dagger in and I called her on it. Where is the contradiction? I don't like crap said about me — and believe me, the breast controversy was a shitstorm — and I completely understand that you don't like crap written about you. Do you realize that my free speech policy includes leaving hundreds of insults against me in my comments section?
Finally, Sullivan restates my asserted free-speech position and then quotes something I wrote in 2005, when I was annoyed by the trend in the comments and said "I'm adopting a new, more activist form of supervision." He then says:
Maybe I missed a post after that where she expressed her willingness not just to accept but to participate in threads that accuse an HIV-survivor of AIDS dementia because they disagree with him.Let me use his word, "disingenuous." It's disingenuous to assume that a policy I stated 4 years ago is the policy I maintain and employ today. Obviously, it's not. Digging up the old defunct policy is a lame device that Sullivan is using to push the point he's been tying himself up in knots trying to make, that the insulting remarks came from me. They did not.
Why antagonize me over this? My inclination is to be sympathetic to anyone with an illness, and I like substantive argument (or funny snark) and not mean-spirited trash.
And, Andrew, if you ever want to go on Bloggingheads and talk about it one-on-one, let me know.