April 22, 2010

Isthmus finally came out with that article about me by UW student Jack Craver — to whom I refused to give an interview.

Here's the article, in which — among other things — Craver quotes  my blog post from last January, where I talked about why I didn't want to do the interview. I don't know if he realizes it or not, but Craver's article is better because he needed to do what I told him to do and he did it: read the blog and try to get it instead of asking me to explain myself.

I'm not saying he got everything. He most assuredly didn't. For example, after (correctly) noting my peeve about men in shorts, he tells the story of Meade asking me out like this:
In fact, Meade's first date proposal came after Althouse posted a response to Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, from which she drew this piece of advice for men: "A young man should perceive when a girl likes him and he needs to ask her out to dinner and a movie before somebody else does."

Meade saw his opportunity and seized it. "OK. Want to have dinner with me and see it again? I'll wear my pants [a reference to Althouse's distaste for shorts]," wrote the loyal commenter, eyes averted.
That wasn't about shorts at all. It was a reference to my delight — "LOL! The green pants..." — when Meade changed his comments avatar to a close-up of a male model in green trousers immediately after — I can't find exactly where — I'd professed love for said model.

Mistakes aside, picking around through my various posts, looking for clues and quotes, resulted in a better material than Craver is likely to have produced if I'd talked to him for an hour. But he does make me look a little pissy in the email I sent him declining the interview:
Basically, the answers to all these questions are already on the blog. If that sounds enigmatic, I mean to be enigmatic. I'm bored by whether something is right wing or not and how can anyone be right wing and so forth. The point of the blog is not to be bored.
He doesn't include the questions he's proposed. In trying to decide if I wanted to overcome my instinctive disinclination to do an interview with a UW student writing for the Isthmus, I asked, "Could you give me an idea of what kinds of things you are looking at and how much of the blog you have read?" He offered these questions:
Why is your blog so successful?...

What is the goal behind your blog?...

What is the blog's politics?...

How have your experiences shaped the world view/political view expressed on the blog?
I didn't think I'd be very interesting blabbing in person about such things, and I didn't want to see what quotes would be cherry-picked out of my babblings for the readers of the local "alternative" paper. Isthmus, as you'd expect in Madison, has a lefty slant, and I had every reason to expect a hit piece. (Including past experience.) And since the writer was a UW student, if I'd spoken with him, I would have treated him in that friendly, accommodating, supportive way that suits my professorial role. Consequently, I would have found it hard to protect myself from a hit piece and to respond to it after the fact. I'm not going to get into any kind of a public fight with a UW student.

I wasn't going to read the article because I didn't want to get annoyed, but then reader Larry K emailed me the link to it and — even though he alerted me that it was "scurrilous" — I couldn't resist. Then I was surprised that it wasn't as bad as Larry K seemed to think:
[Criticize Democratic politicians and policies long enough] and you'll get a scrawny University student trawling through your personal life and making repeated references to your UW salary (which is healthy, but a fraction of what I'm sure she could earn in private practice)....

If this dude thinks her blog is right-wing, he ought to move out of the basement - and work on his critical thinking skills. The apparently big insight of this article - "People who call Ann Althouse a right-wing political blogger miss the point. She's a right-wing pop-culture blogger" - is simply asserted, and then goes nowhere. Having "attitude" is right-wing? Did this guy miss the 20th century?
Ah, but wait! Maybe having attitude is right wing! In the Isthmus article, Craver wonders about my (oft-derided) line "to be a great artist is inherently right wing." I stand by that, for the reasons I gave at the time. Now, I realize I could expand that into: Having attitude is right wing. That might ring true, and, in any case, it will rile the lefties, which is how I have my fun a motivating force behind my blogging, which you know I consider to be art work (and therefore... right wing!).

75 comments:

Trooper York said...

Al DeRogatis Lives!!!!!!!!!

Synova said...

I've never thought of you as right wing at all, but I'll admit that lately I find myself thinking, "Wow, she's finally come over."

I might be imagining things, but recently there seems to be a significant shift.

Trooper York said...

We do need an in-depth discussion of this important issue.

Thank you.
All the best.
Your pal Trooper

mRed said...

Attitude ahould've been listed in the Constitution. It's a valuable tool to remain free.

Attitude saved is attitude unspent. Now, that's boring.

Irene said...

"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."

A precious observation.

mesquito said...

I had never been a big Althouse fan. Still, as a UW student and amateur blogger myself, I was nevertheless surprised to be treated with such disdain by somebody whose salary is paid in part by my tuition.

What a pompous little shit. Althouse is payed a salary to try to explain the law to young skulls full of mush. What she does and who she talks to on her own time is her own goddam affair.

Diamondhead said...

Hey, I'm paying Barack Obama's salary, and he won't even pause before the 8th hole to answer a few of my questions!

SteveR said...

I don't think your under any obligation to explain anything about your blog to anyone. Not that you never have or won't ever again but good grief that kind of attitude makes him look stupid.

Bill Kilgore said...

That guy sounds like a whiny dooshnozzel in that article. But it's OK because he's simply letting everyone know that Althouse is right-wing. That way, if she says something challenging or thought provoking, it can be safely ignored. Because she's right-wing.

Being a lefty is so much easier than having to think and stuff, you just look for a player who's wearing the proper jersey and set your powers of cognition to hibernate. Of course, for this to work, you have to put a jersey on everyone. Such a course is a bit juvenile and sad, but it's a lot easier than critical thought.

wv- heacon; the default assumption people of intelligence have of politicians

Beta Rube said...

I knew Meade was an Althouse Fanatic. I had no idea he was also a Goerge Bush Fanatic too.

Looks like Ann has to share her adored status with W.

Or are all conservatives fanatics one way or another to the kids at Madison?

Ann Althouse said...

"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."

And I want to say: Thank you, President Obama.

Lem said...

I might be imagining things, but recently there seems to be a significant shift.

It must be Meade's right wing lettuce.

Synova said...

"What a pompous little shit."

Well, you sort of have to figure that a "do your homework" response from a Professor to a Student shouldn't have been that much of a surprise.

Hagar said...

Well, Meade and Althouse are of their parents' generation.

MadisonMan said...

but recently there seems to be a significant shift.

I think it's an anti-whoever's-in-power shift. But the Meade theory is plausible. Need more data.

mesquito said...

"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."

This is just mind-boggling. What's the freaking alternative? Does Craver get to keep the money he makes writing articles? Well, if he ever gets paid to write articles?

Beta Rube said...

What would be the alternative to keeping the money you earn?

That line struck me as odd and meaningless.

Slow Joe said...

I am curious, ball park, how much money does this blog bring in?

$20,000 a year? I bet it's not even that, even though it's a very popular blog.

Paddy O. said...

You didn't mention that it was Jack Craver of The Sconz who was writing the article.

He is one of the blogosphere's more popular local denizens and a local person of note! His purview pronouncements are read hither and thither!

roesch-voltaire said...

But from each crime are born bullets that will one day seek out in you where the heart lies. Pablo Neruda-- I think the claim that maybe having "attitude" is right wing ignores all the artist who riled the right wing and suffered far more than an article in Isthmus.

holdfast said...

"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."

Why you selfish little beeyatch! Don't you know that Obama needs that money so he can spread it around!?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P36x8rTb3jI&playnext_from=TL&videos=LyGU3bGicaM

Howard said...

Attitude is a cover for emotionally based fear.

Artists are not wingnuts, they tend to be personally conservative, you know, like Ralph Nader.

the Rising Jurist said...

I am disappointed in Jack. His own blog (about local Madison politics) usually strikes a more respectful tone. I suspect he's just trolling for a traffic boost. After all, what does a blogger hate more than another blogger who gets more pageviews?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Having read his article, I would have wanted to talk to him for an hour.

And I love the picture used to illustrate the article.

SteveR said...

"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."

I'm thinking that comes out to about $0.05 an hour, if that, over the life of the blog. Not including egg salad extortions, of course.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I think it's self defeating to complain that quotes of yourself make you sound prissy.

madawaskan said...

Althouse wrote that she had a dream in which she saw McCain as a grumpy father figure and Obama as a son whom she wished to see succeed. Any Republican readers she lost by this exercise were probably replaced by Freudians.

LOL! He's got my number.

But since I'm a dyslexic Freudian I'm really having to battle my instinct to correct his spelling.

Ann Althouse said...

"Having read his article, I would have wanted to talk to him for an hour."

I had to decide whether to talk to him before I could read it, and I didn't want to supply the material for a hit piece. You should read "The Journalist and the Murderer" if you haven't already. And it was for Isthmus, which has treated me shabbily in the past. I protect myself... including just my time.

"And I love the picture used to illustrate the article."

Yeah, I refused to pose for a picture, because I didn't know it wouldn't be a hit piece. And they'd probably have chosen something unflattering. I need control, baby.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think it's self defeating to complain that quotes of yourself make you sound prissy."

There's also a word "self-deprecating."

madawaskan said...

woos the Queen of the Commentariat with nothing more than sheer wit and a good old-fashioned sense of romanticism.

OMG the kid thinks bragging about the size of your private-is "romantic"....

Obviously his research in this area was-um...how shall we say it-he came up short.

madawaskan said...

I need control, baby.

OK I'm not touching this.

Back to you-Meade.

former law student said...

Wow. Craver really spanked Althouse with Grandma's Paddle

http://stepbystepcrafting.blogspot.com/2006/07/grandmas-paddle.html

I might be imagining things, but recently there seems to be a significant shift.

She's under the influence of daily draughts of Mead(e).

ricpic said...

SPEAK, MISERY

As long as you amuse us all error is forgiven --
With pebbles bright the darkest stream is strewn.

Original Mike said...

"Like a Fox News program, most of Althouse's news items seem intended to fuel readers' disdain for characters on the left."

Well, you can only work with the material life gives you.

LarryK said...

Hey Ann - thanks for the link. "Scurrilous" may have been too strong but I do think the article was cheap and petty. The repeated references to your salary really riled me. I don't care if you work at a state-funded university, what you earn is really nobody's business and I'm sure there are MANY UW faculty members who are contributing far less to society and still pulling down good coin.
Now, on whether having attitude is "right wing"...maybe I'm missing something from your earlier posts, but that doesn't ring true to me. It seems like your two key ideas are that being an artist means being "a strong individual, taking responsibility for his place in the world and focusing on that" and "the great artist needs to separate himself from politics and certainly to get it out of his art. I'm saying there's something right wing about doing that."
I'm more or less with you on both of those statements...but what does either have to do with "attitude" per se? An attitude is just a pose, it has nothing to do with "taking responsibility." And so much of the "attitude" you see from so-called artists amounts to little more than political and explicitly left-wing posturing.
I see attitude as the opposite of artistic integrity. Attitude is about trying to get something – most importantly attention, but money and fame aren’t far behind. It's inherently superficial, the opposite of real art. That doesn't mean that real art is necessarily high-minded and serious, but it has to be motivated by something intrinsic to the individual. Which probably explains the ‘starving artists’ cliché about people who stay true to their vision and never make a dime – for better or worse, they’re committed to their ‘art’ and don’t care about the consequences. Any untalented fool can cop an attitude.

ricpic said...

"Women experience less navel lint because of their shorter and finer hairs."

Yes, in every way women are so superior.

Ed said...

I'm not a reader of this blog but visited after reading the Isthmus article. My initial reaction is that tenure is a wonderful thing for those who have it. If it is really true that Professor Althouse is paid $158,000 and is only required to teach two classes, that's a good deal. The law school pays, I believe, less than $5,000 per class for adjuncts (generally, local lawyers) to teach a law school class. I appreciate that a professor also has various administrative and committee responsibilities. More importantly, a professor is expected to do research and publish the results. From looking at her vita, it appears as if Professor Althouse has not published any serious legal scholarship since 2005. Instead, it appears she is spending her time watching American Idol and blogging about it. Whether her blog brings in a lot of money or not is beside the point. The point is that she is a tenured professor, holds an endowed chair, is paid a salary commensurate with that position, and sure doesn’t seem to be producing much in the way of scholarship that taxpayers can see as a return on their substantial investment in her.

former law student said...

The point is that she is a tenured professor, holds an endowed chair, is paid a salary commensurate with that position, and sure doesn’t seem to be producing much in the way of scholarship that taxpayers can see as a return on their substantial investment in her.

Even if that were true, that's the great law professor scam, hardly unique to Professor Althouse. I know one who's still coasting on work he did in the 70's. They spell it T-E-N-U-R-E.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Being called a right winger in Madison is as big an insult as being called sober on Saturday night. Or Monday noon.

Irene said...

Isn't the title of the article, "The Ego Has Landed," the same phrase Drudge and Rush Limbaugh used to describe Obama?

Usage without proper credit.

On the other hand, Ismthus says: Althouse is like Obama.

Peter V. Bella said...

He is just jealous. He had to go to the dead tree media to write because his own blog sucked.

Man, that was one long wordy piece of bullshit!

Irene said...

Sorry about the Isthmus typo. I am not practicing Teabonics.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, "The Ego Has Landed" is a really over-used play on words. I bet Craver didn't write it and is a bit embarrassed by it. There was actually little material on ego except as implied by my refusing to sit for an interview. But that's kind of about Craver's ego, isn't it? If I were a big publicity whore, wouldn't I have jumped at getting my words out into the newspaper. Look at the questions I didn't want to answer. I wasn't interested in talking about myself.

Irene said...

I agree with Rising Jurist: Craver is usually more respectful and moderate in tone.

I was surprised by this piece. It is snarky. The prose resembles a restaurant review written by a food critic who is predisposed to dislike the food. A smug food critic.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

I liked it.

Well researched, well written, well done, Jack.

A solid A-.

Meade said...

@edutcher, I rarely wear shorts and never while working.

And I'm always in command.

Always.

Meade said...

"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."

And I want to say: Thank you, President Obama.


Haha ha!

danielle said...

i think the article is pretty good. if his main point is this:

No, the positions on political issues don't matter. It's the attitude. Like the attitude Althouse said she adopted when she first entered law school, where she replaced her "obsolescent hippie balkiness" with "a pragmatic attitude for the task ahead."

....then i dont think he's completely correct. it seems to me that the obsolescent hippie balkiness hasent gone anywhere. its just been repurposed... certainly the pragmatism is there too, in her political views and recent voting record ...

He did get this right:

She's a right-wing pop-culture blogger.

the funniest line in the whole article is this: In a manner similar to Times columnist Maureen Dowd (albeit less eloquent)...

OUCH ! i think he was just looking for a snarky liberal woman to compare you to, and dowd was the only one there.

Lets be clear though: Ann can run circles around Maureen Dowd.

Trooper York said...

"It must be Meade's right wing lettuce."

I am going to leave that one alone.

Make up your own jokes please.

Thank you. Tip your waiters and waitresses.

Kirk Parker said...

If something was going to be an "alternative" newspaper in Madison, wouldn't it have to be right-of-center?

garage mahal said...

Right wing lettuce? Oxycontin and a shot of Southern Comfort? I kid!

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm not a resident of this planet but visited after reading the Isthmus article. My initial reaction is that tenure is a wonderful thing for those who have it.

Fixed.

edutcher said...

Meade said...

@edutcher, I rarely wear shorts and never while working.

And I'm always in command.

Always.


Yeah, I know. I keep telling myself that, too.

The said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The said...

Meade ––

Is that a 1970's A - or a 2010 A -?

If it's the former I'm flattered. If it's the latter...well, I'll make sure to work harder next time.

Rising Jurist --

You're right on the money. I do not care much for bloggers who are more popular than me. But writing an article about Althouse doesn't necessarily solve that problem. I don't think too many of her readers are going to become regular visitors of a blog that focuses almost entirely on Madison, WI.

On the other hand, probably a fair share of the people who read the article checked out her blog and might become regulars here.

-- Jack Craver (I can't figure out how to get my name on the comment)

Trooper York said...

Well try taking your thumb out of your ass there Jack and you may figure it out. Just sayn'

1jpb said...

Being in total command is undesirable.

As my own in-command status has risen I've found that I spend a lot of time seeking challenges where I'm not in command.

I would guess that someone who openly brags about always being in command is, in fact, not all that very high on the in-command scale. Or, maybe they are always in command, and they love that status because they're the kind of person who fears the challenges associated w/o being in command.

Different strokes for different folks.

Steve Baker said...

I enjoyed the article. Thanks for linking.

Pogo said...

Althouse is a good teacher.

Craver should treasure the free lesson.

edutcher said...

Meade said...

Do keep telling yourself that, my friend.

Try it. And report back to me.

Believe it. Live it.

It's exactly what they most deeply desire. And it will give you profound satisfaction.

I kid you not.


Friday nights must be fun at your house.

MikeR said...

Carver, if you're listening, I enjoyed the article.

William said...

I read most of the article. The flattery wasn't in the words, but in the fact that he took all that time and trouble to study her days and works. It's not ephemera if someone thinks it's worth studying. Maybe the blog is like some kind of fungal, organic Jane Austen novel where we get to be readers and minor characters and critics all at the same time.

Ralph L said...

they go to hers to partake in one of the most elite liberal-bashing choruses in the blogosphere.

That's cool, but how the hell would he know we're one of the most elite liberal-bashing choruses? And what's that "one of" doing in there?

If it's anything like my college newspaper, the headline was written at the last minute by some exhausted person groping for whatever will fit.

Ralph L said...

Even with all your commenters going to the article, it's still less popular than "
Goats with erect human penises at the Chazen." Madisonians really love goats.

master cylinder said...

I love it when your commenters say you're not right wing. It's so fair and balanced here.

Jason said...

I'm always in command. Always.

IRON MY SHIRT!!!
IRON MY SHIRT!!!
IRON MY SHIRT!!!

Suburbanbanshee said...

I'm surprised that his original interview request didn't get trashed by your manual spam filter. I mean, those questions sure sound like "Write my paper for me" questions, and I would probably just have deleted it before realizing he was a reporter of sorts.

Mr. Forward said...

Irony My Shorts!!!
Irony My Shorts!!!
Irony My Shorts!!!

Fixed that for you.

PZ said...

It was quite a media day -- picking up print copy of Isthmus, starting to read the article on you -- logging onto your website, searching for original denial of interview entry (January?!) -- then seeing your blog comments later in the afternoon. Made me dizzy.

So I ginned up my Google account and jumped into the fray.

Synova said...

I didn't think that the article was all that negative. But it could be that I long ago gave up and decided to embrace the usual disdain. In any case, it was interesting and that's the most important part, right?

EnigmatiCore said...

"If that sounds enigmatic, I mean to be enigmatic. "

It is good to be enigmatic.

At least, so I have heard.

AlphaLiberal said...

No, Ann, your positions on issues are right wing. Your habit of constantly rebleating Limbaugh and Drudge BS is right wing.

Your attacks on Obama and constantly trying to whitewash and promote the TPers is right wing.

Your inability to accept objective reality when it conflicts with your politics is right wing.

You make it sound like this stuff is complicated. It's not!

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Write My Paper

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