November 11, 2009

Pointed, pointless questions.

You — I mean YOU — do realize that in the context of the post you are mocking "Why has the United States sent this woman?" is a thought satirically attributed to Merkel and Sarkozy? Or, oh, hell, what does it matter? Why actually read and understand anything written by people who are on my shit list? Clue: Those last 2 questions were thoughts satirically attributed to you.

***

I know I can't do much about the anti-Althousians misreading me, but do I assume too much from readers? Am I too elliptical? It's a style choice not to explain everything. It's beyond a style choice. It's a demonstration of faith in the capacity of readers. That faith is the spirit that keeps me going here. I want to be the writer that has that faith. But there are times when I have a crisis of faith. There are times when I look at how readers respond and I want to say: I'm kind of surprised you even read the Althouse blog. What's the point?

83 comments:

vbspurs said...

Not that I'm your psychiatrist sofa, but I think so long you challenge your readers to think by posting positions which may or may not reflect your true viewpoint on a given topic, that you will always have anti-Althousians getting what you mean, wrong.

It would happen anyway. But I've always thought that if you're going to get criticised for something, at least make it on something you truly believe in, not just to stir the pot.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

@Victoria What if I truly believe in stirring the pot? There's something to be said for stirring the pot. Otherwise things stick to the bottom.

Brn said...

Isn't that obvious misreading proof of the fact that those who are incompent are the least aware of their own incompetence?

traditionalguy said...

We like the challenge of thinking in response to your pointed analysis of the news stories that we are being fed most days. When it appears that your analysis requiring thinking is a dangerous activity because it can be ridiculed by using every stray word's similarity to another thought altogether...then it will seem frustrating. But many Jurors/readers with the poker faces are almost always cheering you on inside. Please keep up your great teaching style.

Brn said...

See, for example, Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own
Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

William said...

Part of the fun of the comments section is watching people get it wrong. Fumbles and touch down, kick off returns are all part of the game.

k*thy said...

Brn - I'm very aware of my incompentencies and still struggle (misread) here more often than I'd like.

Also, add what Tradguy said.

Triangle Man said...

I am frequently unsure of how what you post relates to your thoughts on an issue. Most of the time I assume you are tossing out interesting tidbits for discussion. It is gratifying to know that when I inevitably get something wrong, that at least William is enjoying it.

rhhardin said...

What provoked the post isn't obvious to me from the comments there, which seem mostly to digress.

Close analysis might turn something up but it seems like it must be girl stuff.

elHombre said...

Professor: I'm not sure I understand your objectives here, but mostly it seems to me that your posts are intended to stimulate discussion.

There are obviously bloggers and commenters here who don't get it and assume you are baring your soul. There are others who pretend they don't get it so they can run personal agendas that may include attacking you.

Surely, your "faith" doesn't rest on consistent evidence of the acumen or sincerity of your readers.

Freeman Hunt said...

That post wasn't particularly elliptical. Pretty obvious what you meant.

Plus, all of the posts look like squares or rectangles, not ellipses.

David said...

This blog administrator has been deleted by a comment.

Ann Althouse said...

@rh Did you not see the first link in this post (on the word "you")? I made it more obvious.

maninthemiddle said...

Although I don't often comment, I visit daily. While not always agreeing, I enjoy the perspective and the contrepoint de point.
As primarily an observer, I notice a few whose responses are reflexive to subsets of a post.
Keep it up professor - if your thought process is ever too serpentine to be broadly disseminated, there will be more than a smattering replying 'huh'?

vbspurs said...

Ann wrote:

@Victoria What if I truly believe in stirring the pot? There's something to be said for stirring the pot. Otherwise things stick to the bottom.

I know you do. It's a position that I've come to understand these many years.

But didn't your cri de coeur request that your readers tell you if you're too elliptical sometimes? Well, you are. But then WE know what you're up to -- however, those who do not read you normally will come to all the wrong conclusions about your opinions.

You know, I was thinking about this post just now.

I don't think there is a single woman blogger more hated than Michelle Malkin. And I don't for a millisecond believe that she posts just to stir the pot -- on the contrary, her posts reveal her most strong-held beliefs. They have very little of the Socratic method you employ here.

So you know, Ann. You'd be misunderstood if you're stirring the pot or baldly stating your opinions, either way.

If you can take it, then carry on, because you wouldn't be any the less the target of misjudgement.

Cheers,
Victoria

former law student said...

Instaputz?
Rilly?

Remember always: Aquila non capit muscas

Or, you could just let it roll off (or help it along).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZJex9Ge2-Q

Dark Eden said...

I knew what you meant and I'm not that bright.

bearbee said...

@Victoria What if I truly believe in stirring the pot?

View you as more a pot stirrer. It makes for more interesting comments.

I read primarily for the variety of comments.

David said...

I'm with Freeman on the underlying post. Seemed pretty clear to me.

Actually, it Obama's fault. Had he gone to Berlin instead of sending Hillary, Althouse would not have made the post, I would not be writing this comment, etc. etc.

I talked to my son who is in grad school in Madison this morning. He has a new girlfriend and seems quite happy. He likes his studies and is a TA now which is harder than he thought it would be. His six year old computer is getting weird and I am so pleased with him I am going to buy him a new one.

TML said...

The guy's blog is called "Instaputz". He can attempt to substitute lame, snarky, "sophisticated" sarcasm/disdain for actually thinking and commenting, but his blog is called, again, "Instaputz".

David said...

I made a pot of chili this weekend.

My wife helped me stir when I had to go out for a while.

We are still getting along fine, even though we stir each other's pots.

bagoh20 said...

Of course we are often unfair to Ann, we pick out pieces of a post like small rocks and throw then back at her like she is in the stocks dripping wet on a rainy day in Plymouth.

God I miss the stocks, what fun that must have been. I thank you, Ann, for volunteering to get in them. It truly is brave and entertaining.

That other blog is pretty lame, just lazy and that's why they missed your point.

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Sometimes, a putz is just a putz.

WV: chili

A real word!

reader_iam said...

Come for the elliptical**, stay for the controversy. And for the friends.

**(I'd be one of the last commenters, if not THE last commenter, with standing to criticize anyone for being elliptical or obscure. LOL.)

[Some typos bother me more than others: thus the repost.]

David said...

"I don't think there is a single woman blogger more hated than Michelle Malkin."

Althouse is a married woman blogger, Victoria, so your comparison fails.

I tried to do a blog once, just for my extended family.

It failed.

It takes a lot of work, maintaining a blog.

David said...

But I digress.

t-man said...

Nothing can be written clearly enough to prevent the intentional distortion of your meaning.
See your post on Mr. Erdroso below.

You give them too much credit by thinking that they misunderstand your writing. They are liars who are attepting to discredit you. Push back, but don't despair.

wv: binvint: wine bought from a cheap, second-hand store.

reader_iam said...

Michelle Malkin is married (as I'd bet money Victoria knows), too, but I'm inclined to agree with Victoria that Malkin is the single most hated female blogger .

MadisonMan said...

Y'know, I never know exactly what the point of many blogposts is -- and I like the way the conversation evolves out of that uncertainty.

If I were a control freak, maybe I'd be pissed off that what I think I read isn't what I'm actually reading at all, and go all high and mighty on you. Posts such as those you link to reveal the inflexible thinking of the authors.

In other words, there are many ways to interpret a sentence -- why shouldn't mine be the one and only correct way? I certainly will not entertain the notion that I could be wrong.

Scott M said...

@MM

It's exceptionally rare to see anyone here, or blogs elsewhere, gracefully admit that they are wrong or have been proven to be incorrect.

This seems to be fundamental to the blogosphere. Granted, nobody likes to be shown how they're wrong, but we're supposed to be bandying about in a vigorous debate of ideas.

If nobody every admits they are wrong, all we're do is self-aggrandizing, self-therapy.

WV - "nongic" a new branch of logic which finally proves how the Stimulus created/saved as many jobs as the White House claims.

Dark Eden said...

I like that this blog is more conversational, more questioning and occasionally playful. Most blogs are pretty straightforward and every post is advocating some specific position. The whole reason I have come to read Althouse so much is because frankly sometimes you just want to fuck with us, or laugh with us, or share stupid pictures with us, or share stupid pictures and make us puzzle out what hidden theme is present in all of them.

And when you do post on politics its not usually in the authoritarian, 'everyone who disagrees with me is a monkey brained mendicant' kind of way.

Don't let the haters get to you. Even most Democrats are getting sick of them.

wv: unburnt <--- What Althouse should be after today's weaksauce attacks

miller said...

I like this blog. It encourages me to think, to post my own opinions, and sometimes gives me great links for online bingo.

rhhardin said...

@AA: Ah. No. (I have to mouse-over a link to see that it's not just ordinary text, and that must have been too small a target area to hit.)

Alex said...

I'm all for anti-Althousia, the way Ann has been dithering lately.

Alex said...

it's hard to think on this blog when BSR, Jeremy, FLS invade the comments section.

miller said...

BSR/MUL I just skip over. Gene/Luckyoldson/Michael/Jeremy is a sad example of alcohol abuse. DTL and C4 are predictable one-note johnnies.

The rest of you, right, left, and center - you're a fun read.

John Lynch said...

I got it right away and didn't think anything of it.

I'm a rather obtuse person, too. If someone known for literal mindedness and stating the obvious has figured out this blog, then it can't be that hard.

Not that I always get it.

It's more an issue of people not wanting to get it.

Joan said...

I'm all for anti-Althousia, the way Ann has been dithering lately.

I vehemently disagree. Ann's work lately has been a tour de force. It doesn't surprise me that she's getting more attacks because the writing has been so sharp lately. It's a great pleasure to come here and read and discuss the issues of the day, or simply visit the cafes that accompany the gorgeous photographs.

Keep on stirring those pots, Ann!

edutcher said...

As for elliptical, all I can say is that some of us take things at face value. (You'd be surprised how many fights are started because my wife does the female ("Well, you know what I was thinking...") thing. Needless to say, Meade doesn't have this problem.)

Your style is what it is. Don't change anything if it goes against your grain. A law prof's gotta do what a law prof's gotta do.

Or words to that effect.

WV "stally" See Obama, Barack H, POTUS/TOTUS (Sometimes WV just hands you material).

Chip Ahoy said...

Now hang on a minit, jest oooone dogone minit.

These here words I'm reading and all these little punctuation thingies,:;-- ?‟“¿¶ and all them indentions and indented indentions mean eggzakly what I intend them to mean when I'm read'n 'em. AND NUTH'N ELSE !!!! So get off my back.

Penny said...

I'm greatly relieved that we are all right or wrong, or alright, which is very cool too.

George Galt said...

There's something to be said for stirring the pot.

Sure there is. But that isn't what you do. If it was, then you would have "stirred the pot" in ways that challenged or criticized George Bush during all of those years. Or you would challenge the right-wing nuts who love your blog. But you studiously avoid that kind of "stirring."

Your "stirring" is demonstrably predictable, partisan, and, therefore, dishonest.

Classic AA.

Ann Althouse said...

Why just yesterday I took a shot at GWB.

Dark Eden said...

In a time when a Democrat President, Democrat House and Democrat Senate are pushing the most left wing agenda since the New Deal, Althouse is focusing more on them than the right.

Shocking.

kentuckyliz said...

Perhaps if someone has free time, they could publish a remedial version of Althouse for the not-very-bright.

Instaputz is a parasite.

garage mahal said...

In a time when a Democrat President, Democrat House and Democrat Senate are pushing the most left wing agenda since the New Deal, Althouse is focusing more on them than the right.

Staying the course on two stupid wars, bailing out banks, passing a timid health care bill that's a huge bonanza to the health care industry, let's see, what else? Oh, inserting an abortion amendment into a health care bill from a C Street fundie restricting abortion access for women.

Sir Archy said...

Felicem ante alias o te scriptore puellam;
Altera non fama dixerit esse prior: —Vir.


To Professor Althouse.

Dear Madam,

As the Ghost of a Gentleman, dead these 260 Years and more, I have read many an Impertinence writt'n by such base and cruel Authors whose Self-Conceit of Wit naturally led them to the Press.  Lampoons & Satyrs, when written with a generous Spirit and true Humour, may be a rational Entertainment.  Yet, there are others whose Barbs are meant to be as poison'd Darts, which not only inflict a Wound, but make it incurable. For this Reason I am very much troubled when I see the Talents of Humour and Ridicule in the Possession of an ill-natured Man.

I shall not, however, importune the Audience at this, your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it), with moralizing Speculations upon such ill-meant Writings, noisome as they may be.  Nor shall I, in my former Capacity of Surveyor of Lunaticks, offer up Cures to such as whose distemper'd Brains impel them to pester the more rational & well-bred Members of your Audience. Nay, Madam, I only mean to improve those poor Authors whose Reach for Wit exceeds their Grasp; and to castigate others whose Designs may be more ill.

In this Case, the Author should consider, that an Injury is not to be measured by the Notions of him that gives, but of her that receives it.  'Tis not to be expected that Professor Althouse should suffer silently the malicious Misconstrual of her own well-made Witticisms. The Author of this Derision, by Reasons of Laziness, or of simple Malice, may have done what many another Author had done: Write Lies & Calumnies and call them Wit.

To put perhaps a better Countenance upon this Outrage, we may with Christian charity look upon this poor Author as one whose Understanding is imperfect.  Such Persons have long thought to become Authors.  Readers of Sense & Penetration will only turn the Page and, if they were of a generous Spirit, utter a silent Prayer for such poor deluded Souls as imagine themselves Wits.

And yet, there is another, less favourable Light in which this may be consider'd:  That the Author had a subtle Purpose in Mind; which, is to give Professor Althouse Second Thoughts about taking such Flights of Fancy as she may consider her Audience incapable of following.  It may be our Author does not, in fact, want Understanding; he may be possessed of a deeper Plan to insinuate such Doubts in Professsor Althouse's Mind as would cause her Wings to be clipt by her own Hand when she considers those who may be amongst her Readers.

I pray you, Madam, do not give way to such Thoughts.  Writing down to your Audience is ne'er a good Design; even though there are those who would play the Ideot to convince you otherwise.

Feeling all the Impropriety of my giving any Advice upon the Subject of Writing, I am, Madam,

Your Humble & Obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Ralph L said...

It's exceptionally rare to see anyone here, or blogs elsewhere, gracefully admit that they are wrong or have been proven to be incorrect,
Isn't that true of all arguments, when one party isn't hoping to get in the other's knickers?

Meade said...

I say, keep the faith. (To quote a phrase.)

---------------------------------

Half your readers can partly get you all of the time, and some of your readers can completely get you part of the time,
But all your readers can't all get all of you all of the time.

I think Bob Dylan said that.

"I'll let you stir my pot if you'll let me stir yours."

I said that.

k*thy said...

Agreed, your style is what it is (it's actually nice to see it laid out). Some can see it and some prefer things a little straight forward. //raises hand//

It's your blog, but the reaction to your posts is on each of us. The conversations run the spectrum from stimulating to hyperbolic and childish. Links and reactions from other blogs is understandable and kind of expected, no?

chickenlittle said...

They have very little of the Socratic method you employ here.

Truth be told, I get a little bored with all the cross-posting under different names by the same blogger ID. I mean, if somebody feels compelled to do that (and NTTAWWT) at least don't be so obvious about it.

Ricardo said...

I read Althouse because I live in the South, and I know that from her porch Althouse can see Canada, and such, and that therefore she's our first line of defense if the Canadians ever attempt to invade the U.S. I sleep well at night, knowing that Althouse is ever-vigilant, and that if something is important, it will get thrown into the pot, and that because of this our democracy is even safer than the chili we're stirring.

Freeman Hunt said...

Using your elliptical is easy on your joints.

John Lynch said...

I'd like to see Sir Archy meet Edmund Blackadder.

Seneca the Younger said...

Am I too elliptical?

Sometimes. So what? It's your goddamn blog.

now, if lots of people seem to be misunderstanding you, it might be worth asking if you are being too elliptical to serve your own purposes, but it's not as if you seem to lack for readers.

Dark Eden said...

In a time when a Democrat President, Democrat House and Democrat Senate are pushing the most left wing agenda since the New Deal, Althouse is focusing more on them than the right.

Staying the course on two stupid wars, bailing out banks, passing a timid health care bill that's a huge bonanza to the health care industry, let's see, what else? Oh, inserting an abortion amendment into a health care bill from a C Street fundie restricting abortion access for women.
>>>

So you seem to be saying Althouse should spend more time going after Goldstein?

Triangle Man said...

she's our first line of defense if the Canadians ever attempt to invade the U.S.

Between Althouse and the 115th Fighter Wing Madison has you covered as far as invasion from Canada is concerned.

Darcy said...

garage: How does not having the government (taxpayer) cover abortion as "health care" restrict womens' access to it? Do you mean to say that having the government include it in this wonderful reform will actually increase the rate of abortions? Seems like that would be likely, with your logic.
Tell me where I'm wrong?

Christy said...

Has this topic been brewing for some time? You've surprised me by using that not very interesting blog posting as a springboard. Were you looking for an excuse to broach the topic? We revisit it yearly, don't we? But what really has you torqued today?

I confess, I didn't get your post either, but I read it as a genuine wish that Hillary had won. Silly me.

bearbee said...

re: pot, good to keep 'em off balance.

...she's our first line of defense if the Canadians ever attempt to invade the U.S.
....Althouse is ever-vigilant, and that if something is important, it will get thrown into the pot, and that because of this our democracy is even safer than the chili we're stirring.


Should have been more vigilant against the Chicago invasion.

G Joubert said...

The post wasn't hard to get. The intellectually dishonest will sometimes choose to mischaracterize or to misunderstand something as a cheap form of argument. That's all what this is.

garage mahal said...

The Dems never proposed having the gov pay for abortions, it wasn't in any of the bills. The Stupak Amendement is an entirely new restriction banning insurance coverage for abortions that participate in the new exchange. Yet another without a vagina thinks they can stick his nose between millions of women and their doctors. Amazing.

Fred4Pres said...

Is it fair to say you are peeved?

I love stirring the pot. It is the only proper way to make gravy (pasta sauce), gravy (the brown stuff you put on turkey), and of course pot stickers.

Richard Dolan said...

"I'm kind of surprised you even read the Althouse blog. What's the point?"

To pass through night's sindark nave, and celebrate virtue's dawn. No doubt, it's just what you intended. Sir Archy can illustrate with appropriate quotations from Virgil.

mariner said...

Meade,

I should have thought only one of her readers got all of her all of the time.

Roger J. said...

someone who posts as instaputz should be shot for terminal stupidity.

that said, I seldom read the professors musings and go straight to the comments--that I think is a major compliment to the good professor--because she puts the bait out for us and stands back from the fray.

Ms Victoria--welcome back, you have been missed and I would be most appreciative if you would tell me with what handguns you have armed yourself

and Palladian--you, sir, have really been missed.

Glad to see the prodigals return to the fold.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I know I can't do much about the anti-Althousians misreading me, but do I assume too much from readers?

Different people take different meanings from each post. They are more useful and interesting than if they were all unimaginative statements of fact. I don't know why Althouse is complaining. If she's hearing a lot of complaints from Anti-Althousians of late, it is only because they have nothing to say in defense of Obama; all they can do is attack her.

P. S. Anti-Althousians, it's a lot more fun if you read drug crazed/other illegal activity into the more elliptical posts.

Roger J. said...

this by the way is veterans day--and I was happy that even the excreable google acknowledged it.

Veterans day is important to us because we recall those of us who have served--our band of brothers and sisters--and their sacrifices. And I am thankful that we really do live in such a wonderful nation. Putting political differences aside I suggest we mourn those who have served and died, but we are strengthened in the knowledge that those who follow us are steadfast and true. this should be a celebration of the United States of America--the shining city on the hill. There is nowhere that I would be.

Jenniferwhatnot said...

I'm with Sir Archy, and couldn't have said it better myself.

So I won't.

Derek Kite said...

I'm amazed at how closely you can express the thoughts of millions.

Your journey with Obama, Bush and other issues, as expressed through your blogs, is probably a better indicator than any poli-sci or analyst.

That is why you are dangerous. You express a reality that is inconvenient to ideologues. You must be stopped.

Derek

john said...

Thanks Sir Archy,
thanks Victoria,
thanks Palladian.

(Ricardo - if my recollection of various Althouse homestead pictures is correct, I think her porch faces south. Not good for Canadian viligance, but fine for Chicago.)

Titus said...

Who has time to read what other bloggers write/

I can barely read Althouse. I am very busy and important you know.

I have no idea who many of these blog people are.

My response to them would be "fuck em".

Thank you and good day.

Joe M. said...

I know I can't do much about the anti-Althousians misreading me, but do I assume too much from readers?

No.

blake said...

You know, sometimes it's annoying. That is to say, sometimes I find it annoying. Sometimes (more often) I'd like you to say, "Here's the way it is, and FYATHYRIO if you don't like it."

But it's your distinct voice. Without it, there's little point in coming here at all.

There's been a rash of stupid lately from both sides of the aisle about "what you mean".

blake said...

By the way, whence the outrage over privacy from lefties like garage?

Yet another without a vagina thinks they can stick his nose between millions of women and their doctors. Amazing.

Amazing that you can say with a straight face while advocating for the government sticking its nose between EVERYONE and his doctor!

Amazing? Or just insane?

The Crack Emcee said...

I never wanted friends who agreed with me all the time - and why the hell should you get any?

Lavinia Schwarz said...

I love that you speak in your own voice, and never talk down to anyone.
Thank you.

Oligonicella said...

You write abstrusely. It appears this is on purpose, but it is nonetheless not your average reading. On the other hand, you are pedantic in your interpretation of the words of others, will sometimes devote rather large posts to phrases you think they've used incorrectly and will state that a simple typo alters their meaning. Can't have it both ways.


wv: blaut all I've got to say about that.

BrianE said...

I read your blog daily and can find at least one offensive comment on every visit.
Reading a blog is more like attending a boxing match than a dinner party. Mixed in with the sparring is an occasional low blow, usually followed by cries of foul.

AlphaLiberal said...

I know I can't do much about the anti-Althousians misreading me, .

Hunh. So you write a post that is easily taken as a slam on Obama (because, uh, it was). And then you get all wound up for being called on it and insist that you meant the opposite of what your post said.

IOW, your post was witty and clever and anyone who took it to mean what the words said has some type of deficiency, intelligence or humor or something.

Own your stuff, Althouse, don't try to disavow it. If you're going to be an Obama basher at least try to find some good reason.

Yeesh.

AlphaLiberal said...

Jason's bad logic:

If she's hearing a lot of complaints from Anti-Althousians of late, it is only because they have nothing to say in defense of Obama; all they can do is attack her. .

Uh, no, not at all. It's possible to have plenty to say in defense of Obama but to have a preference to criticize the blogger who acts as a repeating station for Limbaugh, Drudge and the other sludge peddlers of the right wing.

Deb said...

Your writing is elegant. I post comments somewhat fearfully because I don't add much to the conversation. It's to your credit you don't routinely delete them. The commentariat is good company.