December 20, 2009

A debate about Althouse.

In the comments to yesterday's "right-wing reaction was predictable" post, there was a debate about Althouse that I feel like front-paging. After MediaMatters had called me "right wing" and Crack Emcee pronounced that "hilarious,"  Tonejunkie said:
What Althouse’s fans are too naïve to figure out is that her claim she voted for Obama is her shtick. It's what she thinks gives her, as a right-wing blogger, something unique and interesting to talk about. Plus, it gives the impression she has more balanced-observer credibility, that all her criticism of and complaining about him (which, aside from neutral/ambiguous comments, is all there is -- there are no positive comments) carries more weight and bonafides because, after all, “she voted for him.” In their obliviousness, they eat it up and Althouse becomes a favorite because yes, it does feel more truthful and satisfying when someone from a different political camp observes things you knew to be true all along -- when they concede things that your political camp got right. When they go rogue. Problem is, Althouse is not from a different camp, she’s from their own. She’s playing a game. She’s going after blog hits. It’s way past time they grew out of this naivetee, but like children and Santa, maybe they’re better off clinging to the belief.
The Crack Emcee responded:
... Ann might be going for blog hits. Big whoop. That's allowed. But, from where I sit, she also appears to be some kind of observation machine, so it figures she'd alight on an interesting topic, or seven. I don't like all of her choices but, clearly, I like a lot of 'em. Don't hate on her because she's good. We need more good things. I'm all about things getting even better.

I think, like a fellow Leftist reviewing Rush Limbaugh, you miss the point of Ann Althouse's little salon (and, thus, why it's successful and, possibly, even influential) and, especially, how I see it and her. This is a free speech zone. This is what Jazz musicians get to do after all the paying customers go home.... And this is where a unique, and, I think, more workable form of conservatism is residing. Can't find much like it anywhere else.

And that's to Ann's credit, big time. I don't know what she set out to accomplish with this, but the fact she hasn't chased this crowd away is, in my opinion, kinda brave. She's not afraid of us, as you are, and we embrace her for that. When she and Meade say "We love you, Crack!" it means something to me, personally, even if it can ring of paternalistic white guilt or something. I, very much, love them in return.

So, is she conservative? Not on your life - but she's changing, right before our eyes, and that's worthy of applause - not condemnation. You can knock her for dissing the president, but that's just a sign you're brain-dead and she ain't. The guy's a douche. Y'all fucked up, but unlike many, she can finally see it and so we're not gonna completely torture her over it. Conservatism is supposed to be a "big tent", and she's built one herself, so there.

The fact you don't feel comfortable under it says much more about you, than her, by a long shot. We conservatives like this woman, faults and all, just as we do Sarah Palin, and that pro-woman stance, too, goes against the image you carry of we "troglodytes", so it's no surprise, to us, you still can't accept that you're the one with the vision problem.

With her keen eye, good humor, winning smile, a sense of fairness, and very feminine ways, Ann gives herself a very good name - and that name, as we all know, is "Althouse".
Thanks. We do love you, Crack. And, here, have some blog hits.

52 comments:

Peano said...

"So, is she conservative? Not on your life ... "

That's the takeaway line. I often find Ann interesting and even more often quirky. But she is no conservative.

rhhardin said...

Derrida comments in Choreographies that woman has no place (contra in the home, in the kitchen) because woman makes places; which he suggests is what Emma Goldman was saying, ``If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution."

peter hoh said...

I like liberals who keep their eyes open. Same trait I like in conservatives.

Scott said...

Media Matters tells the left what to think, so they don't have to.

In that sense, Media Matters is a left-fascist organization. It throws out vitriolic accusations based on half-truths so that the left can have a unified opinion on its perceived class enemies.

Why engage this organization? They are as creepy as philosophical gender-changer David Brock, its founder. In his world, as in his life, truth is something to be molded to support the cause du jour, in my opinion.

If you were walking the campus at UW Madison and some loud, strangely-dressed person started shouting insults at you from across the street, I think you would probably avoid them. Media Matters deserves the same treatment.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

WHAT THE FUCK???!

I do hate to profane your comments section, Ann, but the idea that you are a "right-winger" is so absolutely FUCKING ridiculous that I have to take a break from building my porn sites and from tending to the marijuana plants in my basement and planning how to fuck with my local cops to respond to it.

These guys at MediaMatters etcetra see every fucking thing as a fucking contest between right and left, which in their simple minds means REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT. They're on the left, which means the Democrat side, and if you are not with them, you are against them. They've adopted the same arrogant and stupid dichotomy that they (and I) criticized George W. Bush for having back when he was the fucking Emperor.

I strongly suggest you give no more than a flying fuck about whether you are considered "right" or "left" or whatfuckingever. You and your readers know damn fucking well that left-minded people frequent this blog as much as the assholes on the fucking right do. And we loyal readers of the leftist persuasion love it because there are very few other fucking places where an honest and reasonable conversation can be had.

WV: "dighte", and yeah, I do dig it.

Matt Eckert said...

I love to visit here on a Sunday morning.

DADvocate said...

it does feel more truthful and satisfying when someone from a different political camp observes things you knew to be true all along

At least Tonejunkie that we know the truth. As other commentors have noted, the accusation of Ann being right wing is the leftie equivalent of calling you a poo-poo head. To them calling someone is an grave insult and since they can't argue the facts (because we know the truthg), they resort to name calling. Tonejukie, et al, are committed to a position no matter how wrong they are proven to be.

knox said...

What a great endorsement. And well deserved.

This site has had its ups and downs, but it has maintained the best comment section anywhere. And Althouse really does have a gift for finding the best, most interesting news and topics. I've said it before: it's like The Book of Questions in blog form. (If the Book of Questions were a lot better than it actually is!)

Scott said...

@knox: What you said. :)

Roux said...

ROTFLMAO!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ann is a rightwinger? You've got to be kidding.

Rialby said...

Remember, the Left has mastered "Nuance". Therefore, Althouse is a "winger". Too funny.

Lem said...

Well said Crack..

Now we just need you to come to Jesus ;)

master cylinder said...

Okay, maybe althouse is not right wing,
but the commenters sure are. Maybe she is
providing a free speech zone, but the reactions of the commenters is right down the line right wing.
The commenters here routinely dismiss
"democrats" and "the left".
Part of why I like to come here is because I
know I will get the right wing take on things.
Once in a while you get a well rounded discussion
here, but often times it's just routinely
Obama hatin' and y'all know that.
Anna posts are designed to whip y'all into the same
right wing tizz over and over

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Althouse is sometimes weird, sometimes kind of artsy-craftsy, always attractive for us old guys, and certifiably independent of spirit, even if she did vote for The One, The Messiah, He Who Lowers the Oceans While Walking on Land, el Presidente (For Life?) Obama. Still, I have cousins who also so voted in like fashion and they haven't been divorced from the family, yet. Althouse's blog amuses me, tickles my fancy, and brings forth many varied views on our American and human scene. Cheers and all that.

Why does the Socialist / Marxist Left try to vilify everyone who expresses a different opinion? Not really a mystery is it after all, eh?

Shanna said...

I like liberals who keep their eyes open. Same trait I like in conservatives.

Well said. I like people who CAN be persuaded, or at least are open enough to listen. Maybe they'll persuade you. Otherwise, what's the point in conversation?

Michael Hasenstab said...

MediaMatters is a group of Trotskyites constantly bitching about the Marxists being too conservative. Crazy bastards.

AprilApple said...

Cruel neutrality. Isn't that Ann's deal? I like and appreciate that.

traditionalguy said...

Amen, Sir Crack.

Fred4Pres said...

Anyone who reads this site knows that Ann, at best, would be classified as a moderate of sorts. Not that there is anything wrong with that and that classification really does not mean a lot either. She is pro choice, somewhat liberal on social issues, somewhat conservative on fiscal issues but not overtly so.

Ann is one of those "swing voters" who went with Obama this time around and is now having buyers remorse. Hmmmmm, maybe George W. Bush was not that bad after all.

EDH said...

For Tonejunkie, it's all about what "camp" you're in. And Bush was accused of a "with us or against us" mentality.

Watch the Rock the Vote video with Susan Sarandon's daughter at Crack's site. You're with us -- or you won't get sex.

Althouse is in no "camp." Camp is for children. Althouse has conservative instincts about the role of government, but she's liberal in her social outlook.

This is anathema for most liberals because they've been indoctrinated in the belief that government is the only force for personal and societal progress.

Simple as that.

former law student said...

Not on your life - but she's changing, right before our eyes

When a Conservative Calls (1979) Charles Durning, Carol Kane

Ann, this is sergeant Crack. Listen to me. We've traced the call... it's coming from inside the house. It's Meade!!!!!


Seriously, how long will the professor be able to live with Meade before their POVs are aligned?

Paco Wové said...

"the reactions of the commenters is right down the line right wing."

Yep. MadisonMan, Beth, Garage Mahal, Montaignex2, Ritmo/MUL, AlphaLiberal, peter hoh, Eli Blake ... reactionaries all.

victoria said...

I actually like Media Matters, they see many things that Drudge and all the tunnel visions righties don't. I have to disagree that Ann is a rightie. She sees things clearly, as most women do. Calling Media Matters Trotsky like and fascist is just the right wing's way of dismissing them with ad homanem attacks and labeling them. It's what they do best. You do seem to attract those with some pretty wild rightie conspiracies but that is part of the fun.
BTW, Emma Goldman rocks too!!!

Ann, you rock!!!


Vicki from Pasadena.

Paul said...

"Calling Media Matters Trotsky like and fascist is just the right wing's way of dismissing them with ad homanem (sic) attacks and labeling them."

This from the dolt who says, "Dick Cheney...he's just EVIL!"

The level of projection on the left is stupefying.

Ron said...

Althouse straddles the Meadian...as it were.

Dave said...

' You can knock her for dissing the president, but that's just a sign you're brain-dead and she ain't. The guy's a douche. '

Is this the more 'workable' form of conservatism you speak of?

Alex said...

Media Matters folks need a cattle prod up their asses. Enough is enough.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dave,

Accept it:

Our first black president is a douche. He was chosen by NewAge liberals who, as the old saying goes, likes their negroes "big, black, and in a CD format".

That said, and in light of his brilliant handling of the economy, I'll gladly sell you an audiobook of Dreams From My father for $5.00.

Dave said...

Crack Emcee

Show me where in my comment I defended the president?

What I did do was challenge your statement that Althouse's blog represents a more workable form of conservatism. Perhaps you can explain what you mean by 'workable'.

kcom said...

Ann's biggest mistake on this thread is wasting any time on a comment by tonejunkie. He's only a stone's on this side of the troll line. He comes to make trouble. He's shown evidence he can actually be thoughtful, when he wants, but mostly he doesn't want. Mostly he just wants to be disruptive and spew ad hominems. There's no real reason to acknowledge it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Nice. A post that shows why both Althouse and Crack Emcee are so good.

trogdor said...

I've been coming here for years -- linked from Instapundit, no doubt -- and this place was always a truly delightful read. It was interesting to hear an intelligent defense of the Bush administration, a defense that you really wouldn't expect to hear from a (historically) Democratic-voting law professor from Madison, Wisonsin. She emphasized her support for the Bush national security policy, but acknowledged when she disagreed with some of his choices. The open comments, generally from people to the right of Althouse, topped it off. The whole thing was an interesting study in contrasts.

But at some point along the way, this blog lost its flavor. In the past, Althouse has kept me reading by maintaining my trust; for all her conservative commentary, there were glimmers of neutrality that would seem to shine through. I just don't see that anymore. My problem isn't that we're witnessing a transformation to conservatism; that's pretty predictable, given some of the Democratic party's failures thus far. Rather, it's that conservatism, or more like anti-liberalism, is the only sentiment that I see. Obama is trying to kill me with his health care plan. Global warming must be a hoax. Obama bowed to another world leader instead of sending more troops to Afghanistan. Etc, etc. I don't see a "workable form of conservatism"... I just see anger. "Obama stumbles." Now, embarassingly, I can't even remember what makes Althouse a moderate. Gay rights and abortion rights, I guess?

It's brave to encourage free speech, and it's brave to listen to conservative arguments. But as the author of a blog that is read primarily by conservatives, a moderate should be brave enough to stand up for her liberal principles, as well. Otherwise, I might as well be reading Michelle Malkin. I'm not afraid of you... I'm just bored.

Penny said...

"Nice. A post that shows why both Althouse and Crack Emcee are so good."

It does show that, and I agree that both are "good", Freeman. What I notice even more is that Althouse also gave some serious space to someone who doesn't share the majority view here.

THAT is the trait that is highly undervalued, and Althouse is breaking some ground in that respect. She's setting the standard for, OMG, dialogue?

Two thumbs up!

Penny said...

"...a moderate should be brave enough to stand up for her liberal principles, as well."

Moderates, centrists, if you prefer, are the ones who ask the questions of those who would have your heart, and mind and VOTE.

Remember us? We're the ones in the middle who have NOT decided to dig our heals in either to the left or to the right.

We hold no "moderate" position that can be hammered home, and if you find us boring? Maybe that's because "thinking" is held in too low regard these days.

We prefer to take our issues one at a time. When we vote, our internal dialogue sounds a lot like this..."All things considered, this time I gotta go with "X"."

Those hanging off the right or the left would do well to understand that it isn't their "entertainment factor" that moves us. Instead, it's that "all in all" factor.

So trogdor? If it's entertainment you look for, or finding those "in kind", then by all means, head to Michelle Malkin. On the other hand, if you think you might learn something through dialogue, or getting to know a few of us socially? Well then, sit down and talk with us.

The Crack Emcee said...

Penny said:

"If it's entertainment you look for, or finding those 'in kind', then by all means, head to Michelle Malkin. On the other hand, if you think you might learn something through dialogue, or getting to know a few of us socially? Well then, sit down and talk with us."

And that, Dave, is what I mean by more workable.

PWS said...

This whole debate is so amusing because I have never thought of Ann Althouse as a conservative. I had her as a law professor 15 or so years ago and have read the blog quite a bit.

Her stated views, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc. seem to lean left, but really Ann is a contrarian, always wanting to find the unique view, against the grain. Notice how she loved Fish's review of Palin's book b/c it slapped the NY Times' readership in the face. She likes to tweak the liberals but she's more of a left leaning libertarian.

The "free speech" angle may seem unique to lay people but is something I think most lawyers take it for granted.

The contrarian meme has gotten a little tiresome because it seems to appear more for it's own sake. so I don't read the blog as much as I used to.

I find Ann's pictures and sketches more entertaining. Or the discussions about sex and breasts.

Beth said...

Althouse is no right-wing blogger. I like the word "contrarian," PWS; that makes sense. Althouse does go after blog hits - tonejunkie's right on that point, but I don't see how much any political stance plays into that. I keep coming here because I do want to engage and interact with people who don't think the same as me, or even the same as people who identify as similar to them - I see a range of opinions and experiences from conservatives and liberals alike here, and that's a good thing.

As for anyone who doesn't read this blog much, though, I can't really blame them for reacting negatively to the typical Althouse vortex that makes its way to the top of some kind of headline list. What I don't excuse is taking comments out of context, typing any blogger by the comments in an unmoderated comments thread, and making inaccurate generalizations. That tends to be the status quo for a lot of left/liberal blogs reacting to Althouse.

vbspurs said...

Althouse is no right-wing blogger, and we've all tired of saying so on this blog but also...she's no left-wing blogger either.

Her instincts are classically academic left-liberal, but unlike a prominent seemingly "right-wing" blogger who officially changed sides in the last month, I can tell Ann will never have that kind of dramatic switch-over.

Frankly, I was put off by her Obama vote, but having seen her grapple with the Obama presidency, I realise she's like so many Americans -- when faced with two men running for President, she will tend to vote for the man she views as most capable between the two. Political ideology plays a secondary role in the decision-making process.

I'd rather have that kind of blogger, than one so entrenched in ideology, that it's impossible to read their blogs when things go south quickly for the guy they voted for.

Marie Everington said...

This conservative doesn't like Sarah Palin because the same worship-language is used on the right-wing side for her that is used on the left-wing side for Obama.

The two are peas and carrots, not diametric opposites. Both pretty, er, NewAgey and McCultastic.

Issob Morocco said...

Free thinker, believer in the power of the individual to decide their pathways, knows when the boundary is crossed. These would be my thoughts on Ann and her blog.

Not afraid to say what others feel or think but can't or won't express openly.

A site worthy of far ranging and sometimes heated discourse, that ends with open minds coming back for more and closed minds retreating to their village and resuming their roles as the idiot.

Thanks Ann and Meade!

Dave said...

Crack Emcee-

This, to me, sounds like 'entertainment', not 'dialogue':

'Accept it:

Our first black president is a douche. He was chosen by NewAge liberals who, as the old saying goes, likes their negroes "big, black, and in a CD format".

That said, and in light of his brilliant handling of the economy, I'll gladly sell you an audiobook of Dreams From My father for $5.00.'

tonejunkie said...

pt.1
Front page?! Ehhhxcellent. *tents fingers* It’s all going according to plan. First Althouse. Then Instapundit. Then Roger Ailes. Then the world! (Wow, what’s in this coffee? That didn’t even make sense. Mr. Burns isn’t a liberal. Anyway…)

Look, I don’t want to be the villain here. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do enjoy upsetting conservatives on their own turf. But this time, instead of my usual more prepared villainy, I got a bit sloppy. Going through the Althouse blog archives just now to retrieve my stick of ACME dynamite, I discovered too late it was a dud. Here’s the quote of hers I was looking for which was said during the big election month last year:

Althouse in Nov ’08: "I would like some good conservatism.”

That sentence leaped off the page amd basically told me Charlatan! Look at that! What a total right-winger! She can’t stand Obama! (That and a comment she made elsewhere which I can’t find where she flat-out said she never really liked him.) But then I just now read the other sentences around it and saw that she didn’t mean it like I remembered it -- i.e., that after 8 years of Bush she was wanting the federal gov’t to be still more conservative. No, actually she meant she wanted some conservatism in the WH to offset the Dem Congress. Why she thought Obama would be more conservative than McCain doesn’t make sense to me, but nevertheless, I feel like I lost about a third of my evidence and suppose I’m offering about a third of an apology, for what that’s worth.

However, I’m still two-thirds convinced I’m right and will fight on. For instance, there’s the devotion to Limbaugh and revulsion at “liberal media.”

“It's necessary to listen to Rush as an antidote to all the liberal media. He reads news texts and plays news clips and tells you what they are really saying. Highly useful, insightful, and entertaining. The people who put him down either don't listen enough to get it or are afraid.”

“Antidote” she says. Mm-hmm. So to Althouse, liberal media is poison and Limbaugh is the remedy. To her, liberal media is inherently more inaccurate, untrustworthy, deceitful, etc., while the paradigmatic conservative Limbaugh is accurate, trustworthy, honest, etc. Moderates are not biased like this. Conservatives are.

Then there’s this little tidbit I found:
The Top 40 Conservative Blogs For 2009 (Althouse is number 12.)

Yes, I realize this is one conservative webmaster’s list, but look at all the other blogs on the list. Is it not basically spot-on in its categorization?

And, of course, there’s the aforementioned profuse Obama bashing which this link just shows a fraction of, and which, coupled with its utter lack of counterbalance and patience taking into account the enormous challenges he's had to deal with, gives no indication from the overall tenor an Obama supporter produced it. I’m not saying she didn’t vote for him. I think she did and geniunely meant it even if it only amounted to an eyelash tipping the scale. I just think there was some anticipatory schadenfreude involved in that vote, too, as a popular blogger who would get to flex her critic’s writing muscles and relish letting him have it, again, sorry to say, with the more interesting, counterintuitive distinction of “someone who voted for him.”

tonejunkie said...

pt.2
But most of all, it strikes me that such a devoted fan of Limbaugh who thinks he’s so accurate must also think he’s correct to a large extent in wanting to see Obama fail. And it’s to that extent I consider the Obama voter/supporter part a charade. For it to be otherwise seems inconsistent. And that she thinks Limbaugh's so accurate as opposed to the "Obama-fawning" liberal media also puts her more accurately in Limbaugh's/right-wingers’ camp, not Obama's.

tonejunkie said...

I see scant agreement for this viewpoint of mine -- extremely scant -- so I really feel like David taking on Goliath here, except Goliath’s got lots of supportive townsfolk to help eff me up. But I did spy this nugget:

trogdor said, speaking about Althouse…
But as the author of a blog that is read primarily by conservatives, a moderate should be brave enough to stand up for her liberal principles, as well. Otherwise, I might as well be reading Michelle Malkin.

Indeed.

As for this one…
peter hoh said...
I like liberals who keep their eyes open. Same trait I like in conservatives.

If that’s a nod of agreement, thanks, peter. But if it’s meant more like, “I like liberals who keep their eyes open… and you, tonejunkie, are not one of them,” then, well, okay. Noted.

And then there’s this one…
kcom said...
Ann's biggest mistake on this thread is wasting any time on a comment by tonejunkie. He's only a stone's on this side of the troll line. He comes to make trouble. He's shown evidence he can actually be thoughtful, when he wants, but mostly he doesn't want. Mostly he just wants to be disruptive and spew ad hominems. There's no real reason to acknowledge it.

Gee, kcom, thanks. Happy Holidays!

Pogo said...

If only tonejunkie wrote longer paragraphs and posted more times in a row.... my scrolling thumb needs the practice.

The Crack Emcee said...

Dave,

Unlike Ann, I am a conservative - and the most-hated kind: a black one - so, no, I have no love for the douche. He's a socialist, his Godfather was a communist, his formative years were spent away from home, he has a billion other politically ugly friends fighting for things I don't want (and none of them care that I don't want them) he was proven to be worthless before he even got into office, and he's been all of those things since he got in - and, as a black man, it's doubly insulting to be told by his supporters, repeatedly, that I should be for him just because of his skin color when A) that's not how we do things and B) I already know his only accomplishment is continually running for something.

Then, of course, there's the cultish aspects to his entire candidacy and election, his support from the queen of NewAge, Oprah, and his own mystical claims to bringing "light" down to the rest of us.

Now, if you want to "dialogue" about all that, fine:

It should prove to be quite entertaining.

Dave said...

Crack Emcee,

I'm not sure whose posts you reading, but they aren't mine. I don't care whether you like Obama or not.

I asked a simple question about what a 'workable' form of conservatism meant. You quoted another person who said that on Althouse you'll find dialogue, whereas on someone like Malkin, you'll find 'entertainment'.

My point was that your post sounded more like the latter than the former.

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

In the absence of a poll, I'll vote here: Professor Althouse is conservative.

Evidence: jihad against shorts, weed, snowball fights in the street.

And I agree that the Obama vote was not heartfelt, but her instrument to signal neutrality. (word verification suggest an catch-phrase for that: "obacitti")

The Crack Emcee said...

One where I don't have to be an offshoot of Trent Lott's hair to be accepted.

TJ said...

"With her keen eye, good humor, winning smile, a sense of fairness, and very feminine ways, Ann gives herself a very good name - and that name, as we all know, is "Althouse"."

An excellent endorsement.

I would like to add that Ann almost certainly smells wonderful.

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