October 11, 2010

I "toast or roast" Andrew Sullivan.

At Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish.

I'm one of a bunch of bloggers invited to "toast or roast" Sullivan's blog. As he explained yesterday, today is his blog's 10th anniversary. He reflects on the occasion:
I'm a Catholic, so let me start with the things I am sorry for and even, in some cases, ashamed of. When you blog in real time, day by day, hour by hour, emotions can get the better of you. The blogosphere is awash in examples of invective, abuse, cruelty, accusations of bad faith, or just bluster - in part because blogging is so much more like speaking than writing and also because it addresses people in the abstract, not face to face. I am not innocent in this, and wish I could take back a few barbs, especially in the early days, when we were all discovering what this medium could do....
His greatest failure, he says "was giving in to my legitimate but far-too-powerful emotions after 9/11 and cheer-leading for a war in Iraq that remains one of the most disgraceful, disastrous and murderous episodes in the history of American foreign policy." He reaffirms that he is a conservative:
I remain deeply skeptical of government's ability to solve most human problems, but have never denied its necessity or importance in tackling the profound questions of the common good no other institution can replace. I'm a Whiggish Tory, not a pure libertarian....

I remain very proud of a few things: of my early recognition of the anti-conservative nature of the Bush administration in almost every respect - fiscal, constitutional, social...
And he reaffirms the value of unseriousness:
From '80s music video contests to our now constant Mental Health Breaks; from mischief and blasphemy and black humor, from Road Runner videos to ghetto mashups, the Dish has always had an anarchic streak, what Bodenner calls "Dishness". The sardonic awards; the reader threads that became riveting - the "cannabis closet" which will soon be a book; the wonder of that simple idea - The View From Your Window - that then became a weekly puzzle; the dialogue with Sam Harris on faith and reason; the countless faces of the day that can convey things no words ever can; the Poseur Alerts; the randomness of bear culture, beard disasters, straight anal sex, South Park out-takes, Hathos Red Alerts, baby panda sneezes ... we've created an institution here that remains alive because we really don't know what the fuck we are going to do next. And yes, I used the word "fuck". Because I fucking well can, if I want to.
Ah, yes. There are so many blogs that are no fun at all. 

71 comments:

Scott M said...

How in the hell does Andrew Sullivan post something like that and not mention his Palin fixation?

TML said...

What about Palin's womb? No honorable mention?

TML said...

Ummmmm, what Scott said.

Alex said...

Typical vulgar leftist.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


I certainly hope you laud him for standing up to the scary, scary “Christianists.” Those bomb-making, knife-wielding, intolerant of the gheyz Christianists…Screaming “Yhwh is Great” and “Death to the Infidel!” They scare me, as a Jew, threatening Eretz Ysrael with destruction, and declaring war in Jews and other Crusaders.

Alex said...

To be fair, many evangelical Christians are not tolerant in America, especially in the Bible Belt region where they are like 90%. Atheists definitely feel the intimidation with all those mega-churches around.

AllenS said...

Alex,

Maybe you'd feel safer in Dearborn or Detroit, MI.

traditionalguy said...

Sully says that he is aware that blog invective can powerfully hurt the subjects that he goes after. And then he says his Blog is a non-serious, fun world. He says that he was a conservative, but that Bush never was a conservative. The mental gymnastics that he suggests shows his versatility just makes his thoughts painful. Ergo: Sully likes to inflict pain on others.

Moose said...

I have to admit - I read Sully every day, many times a day. He drives me crazy, and is frequently delusional.
However, he was one of the first bloggers I read, along with Ann and Glen Reynolds. Things would not be the same without Sully.
Happy Blog Birthday!

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
To be fair, many evangelical Christians are not tolerant in America, especially in the Bible Belt region where they are like 90%. Atheists definitely feel the intimidation with all those mega-churches around.

Atheists, what about us Joooos? I mean all the Christianists are blaming us Juice of “Killing Our Lord and Savior.” I’m frightened to go and collect my over-due/non-performing loans on certain days leading up to Easter! Christianists running around trying to cut off my forelocks or prick me until I bleed!

Now, OTOH, those Mega-Churches are nice, because of all the nubile Christian virgins are in just a few places, and so there are some compensations. Used to be I had to cruise all over town looking for young girls to corrupt, now just have to hit a few places and *VIOLA*

GMay said...

ASDNR

AprilApple said...

blah blah blah... I hate Bush... straight anal sex... blah blah blah.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


Seriously, is there anyone, who claims to be a “serious” blogger, less serious than Sullivan? He supports bush, UNTIL, Bush opposes Gay Marriage, and suddenly Bush and the GOP are “Christianists” And then he gets on the Trig Palin and Sarah Palin womb, kick…Sullivan is a “Single Issue Voter” who has become obsessed with a straight womon’s genitalia. I USED to read him until he went off the tracks, some years back.

AprilApple said...

I hate Bush... Torturing terrorists really flips my lid... Palin faked her pregnancy...mental health break... Look a window! ...I'm a real Christian... Matthew Yglesias award... You're a Chistianist... blah blah blah...


Christians are some of the most decent, generous, and charitable people I know. But the meme usually wins: Christians are bad... except the real ones, like Andrew Sullivan.

Scott M said...

Maybe he drinks too much Diet Coke...

MadisonMan said...

I stopped reading him a while ago, about the time blogspot starting taking off. Sullivan and TPM were my first two blogs. That was a long time ago.

Roadkill said...

Yeah, like Joe said. Sullivan's thinking is just too disjointed and inconsistent -- incoherent even -- to interest me anymore.

master cylinder said...

viola!
i was thinking flute.
I found this blog thru Andrew

James said...

Uh, the guy who proudly supports Obama is conservative? Sure.

peter hoh said...

My favorite line on the Daily Dish came from a reader, writing after one of his August breaks, during which he had several guest bloggers filling in.

The reader wrote something like this: I don't visit this site to watch four writers argue with each other. I come to watch one writer argue with himself.

SteveR said...

He claims temporary insanity in response to 9/11 and he has the nerve to criticize a well thought out support of the Iraq War.

He jumps ship when it gets tough. He's an embarassment to pussies.

Ann Althouse said...

Feel free to read what I wrote over there!

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Sorry Althouse, I just can't give him the page views.

I will say this, you, for the moment, are on the Top of the World, Ma...You guest host at Instapundit AND Sully wants you to write for him.

MayBee said...

You did it? Why?

AprilApple said...

Andrew is a REAL conservative. Real conservatives vote for real conservatives; Like ultra hard left candidate Lord King of Hope and Change. It all makes sense in the same reality where Palin faked her pregnancy.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Andrew is a REAL conservative. Real conservatives vote for real conservatives; Like ultra hard left candidate Lord King of Hope and Change.

Just like REAL Libertarians vote for Obama. As a case-in-point, T. Coddington Voorhess VII.

garage mahal said...

I stopped reading Sullivan when he stopped agreeing with me.

deborah said...

I did read it, Althouse, and please know that it takes a lot to make me click through to him. (I begrudge him the pageview.)

It's interesting that Meade found you through Sully. I came here via Bloggingheads.

Has Bob ever asked you to diavlog with Sully? That would be internet gold.

Scott M said...

I stopped reading Sullivan when he stopped agreeing with me.

I know that's snark, Garage, but others here are going to see it as proof positive you're an insular ideologue.

Unless of course that wasn't snark...

edutcher said...

"I'm a Catholic"?????

As they once said in the Royal Special Reserves - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

He's a Catholic like I'm a Moslem.

"giving in to my legitimate but far-too-powerful emotions after 9/11 and cheer-leading for a war in Iraq that remains one of the most disgraceful, disastrous and murderous episodes in the history of American foreign policy...

I remain very proud of a few things: of my early recognition of the anti-conservative nature of the Bush administration in almost every respect - fiscal, constitutional, social.."

God, what nonsense. He started disliking Dubya the second he (Bush) came out for an Amendment (bad idea, I agree) that defines marriage as heterosexual, and that's the only reason.

He threw a memorable hissy fit and said he wouldn't let Bush or the Church get away with it.

Ann Althouse said...

any given link of mine is likely to provoke one of my commenters to denounce me for linking to Sullivan

Ann, the only reason anybody says anything is because he's gotten so bizarre. Nobody's reproaching you, it's him.

ndspinelli said...

Sullivan doesn't mention his obsession w/ Palin because he is Capt. Ahab. "From hell's heart I stab @ thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath @ thee. Ye damned whale."

Actually, I think Palin arouses some latent hetereosexual tendencies in Sullivan...maybe some 7th grade librarian?

El Pollo Real said...

Sullivan's comment: ...and cheer-leading for a war in Iraq that remains one of the most disgraceful, disastrous and murderous episodes in the history of American foreign policy echos a comment recently left on my blog: El Pollo Real describes the bombers as "terrorists" but fails to describe the U.S. government as the terrorist against Vietnamese that it was, just as it was in the invasion of Iraq.

Odd bedfellows those two.

Fen said...

Andrew Sullivan, Charles Johnson, Mary Mapes. All in next week's "Whatever Happened To..." segment.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse, I read what you wrote over there, and considering how shitty he's been to you over the last couple of years...you were too nice.

You should have ripped into him.

I wonder if he invited Ace from Ace of Spades to the "toast or roast". I'll wager not.

Marshal said...

It's funny to read some of the other toasts, such as those complimenting his "intellectual honesty".

Is there any major blogger less intellectually honest? Maybe some who are pure partisans. Most of his substantive comments prove unreadable within the first paragraph. He so mischaracterizes his targets position or belief his conclusions are absolutely meaningless. What's the point of reading someone who clearly doesn't understand reality?

Unhinged is the best descritpion of Sullivan. When he doesn't like something he can't just state his opposition or disagreement. Nothing is ever a hard choice or reasonable disagreement, those who disagree with him are Christianists. This of course is only true on the right, he's cordial to leftists when disagreeing with them.

Ultimately he's a cultural leftist. Even though he disagrees with some leftist principles he fundamentally agrees with their vision of conservatives.

c3 said...

why does this feel like some perverse mutual admiration society?

Marshal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SMGalbraith said...

I stopped reading Sullivan when he stopped agreeing with me.

There's a limit on the internet of eight usages of the same line, Garage.

I believe this is #15 or #16 for you?

Maybe get it copyrighted?

Fen said...

My Ode To Sullivan, courtesy of RUSH:

"The writer stares with glassy eyes
Defies the empty page
His beard is white, his face is lined
And streaked with tears of rage.

Thirty years ago, how the words would flow
With passion and precision,
But now his mind is dark and dulled
By sickness and indecision

And he stares out the kitchen door
Where the sun will rise no more...

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee."

- Losing It, RUSH.

garage mahal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garage mahal said...

There's a limit on the internet of eight usages of the same line, Garage.

Google can't find any usage of that line. So I'm good for 7 more?

The Crack Emcee said...

That he overlooked Palin is obvious. But I was fascinated by this:

And yes, I used the word "fuck". Because I fucking well can, if I want to.

Endorsed by "no n-word", Ann. Incredible.

john said...

Ann,

Graciousness to your host in his own home is a tribute to your upbringing. Mentioning that he (in effect) introduced Meade to you is touching.

Andy also introduced me, and probably many other commenters here, to your blog. He may regret that, and we may regret ever reading him, but few of us regret the introduction.

SMGalbraith said...

Google can't find any usage of that line. So I'm good for 7 more?

Liberal bastards at google; no surprise there.

You've used it at least three times here, haven't you?

Copyright the damned thing.

SMGalbraith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1jpb said...

I have never understood why Althouse was bothered by Sully's comments re Meadehouse.

It's not like Sully and Althouse were best friends, so they don't need to walk on eggshells, as a courtesy, w/ each other. And, it is true that the way Meadehouse was formed was extremely unusual, especially in a world where there's the cliche of a lot of creepy losers who comment on blogs because they have unhealthy infatuations w/ the posters, e.g. the proverbial guy in the basement. And, Sully is well known for his emotionalism, so everything he rights should be attenuated down a few notches to convert it back into normal-person-range.

Maybe Althouse only cared because she was worried that non-crazy folks reading Sully's post would form an opinion about her based on what he wrote.


john,

I also came via Sully. [Then, I stayed because Althouse doesn't ban (w/ some exceptions?: maxine?) commenters (although I've been reprimanded a few times), which was nice because at that point I'd already been banned a few times. Thankfully Althouse has a high tolerance for provocation/trollishness, which is only fair considering that her own style can get close to the line.]

P.S.
Even though he can be nutty, I still read Sully. And, his blog roll is the best.

1jpb said...

rights or writes

who cares?

Bob From Ohio said...

"I stopped reading Sullivan when he stopped agreeing with me."

I read him until September/October 2008. Well past his left wing move.

The Palin vagina monologues turned me off him for good.

So long as The Atlantic carries him, the whole site/magazine is dead to me.

Cedarford said...

Hard to fault Sullivan and others (inc. myself) for gambling on Obama. The choice was between a guy running as a centrist who might be a secret Lefty - and an unstable, incoherent, treacherous man offering a guaranteed dismal Presidency while giving Democrats the full McCain "bipartisan figleaf" of cover for going along with 80% of what they wanted.

Sullivan has plenty of other problems past endorsing Obama.

People now saying "Don't blame me, I voted for Palin" have the same irrational allure as someone saying "Don't blame me, I voted for Lieberman in 2000."

El Pollo Real said...

People now saying "Don't blame me, I voted for Palin" have the same irrational allure as someone saying "Don't blame me, I voted for Lieberman in 2000.

Did vote for Lieberman...and for Palin!

...so don't blame me

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
The choice was between a guy running as a centrist who might be a secret Lefty -

Who MIGHT be a “secret” Lefty????Uh excuuuuuuuse me, Health Care Reform, Single Payer System in 10-15 years, Spread the Wealth Around, Increase Capital Gains Tax Because of Fairness??? C4 there was NOTHING secret about him being a Lefty….now you, Althouse, the Two Davids, Kathleen Parker, Dame Noonan, and T. Coddington Voorhees VII can tell yourselves anything you want, but anyone who thought Obama MIGHT be a Lefty was being willfully blind.

Now had you said “I didn’t want to vote for McCain because he’ll be a disaster.” Or something like Ann Coulter, OK…I can buy that. I didn’t want to vote for Mr Crank Pants either. But please don’t try the “Who knew Obama was a Liberal?” line.

El Pollo Real said...

Joe wrote: ...anyone who thought Obama MIGHT be a Lefty was being willfully blind.

Commenter t-man once wrote the following about Obama & the willfully blind:

The trouble is that the people who were willfully blind about Obama before the election and supported him, all thought, and still think, that they are far more intelligent that those who opposed Obama. Their self image depends upon perceived intellectual superiority, and it will be extremely difficult for them to admit to themselves that they were wrong.
link

Maguro said...
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Maguro said...
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Maguro said...

I was hoping someone would mention the absurd bandwidth pledge drives Sullivan used to do back before he drew a steady MSM paycheck. Didn't he collect a bunch of "bandwidth" money from his readers, then retire and come back a couple weeks later working for Time magazine? The man has always been utterly full of shit and it's very amusing that people continue to take him seriously. What a fraud.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


I will say that Althouse will have made it when she has a “Senior Editor/Editrix” for her blog. Mead does NOT count…

stevenehrbar said...

He's still pretending to himself that he's a Catholic?

I mean, set aside stuff like homosexuality or the authpority of the Magisterium. He's linked, with approval, theological speculation that directly contradicts the Nicene Creed. The founding statement of faith of the Catholic Church, issued by the very first council of the Catholic Church.

Sheesh. Sully's capacity for self-delusion is truly enormous.

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

I curse. on occasion, my language has been so salty that gas station attendants warned me, "watch your language, we've got mechanics in here!", but really, this self congratulation for being willing to use the word "fuck", well, at this late date, isn't it a bit dated; a little cliche?

It's like claiming to be deep because you wear all black, or rebellious for wearing jeans, or being edgy for voting Democrat.

ndspinelli said...

Prof Althouse,

You care too much about what people think. Wear Sully's scorn like a badge of honor for chrissake. It's when people like Sully say nice things about you that you should be concerned. He's in a DC/PTown bubble.

murgatroyd666 said...

Didn't Kenneth Tynan say "fuck" on BBC television in 1968?

Perhaps it isn't the word but the concept that Sullivan finds transgressive.

1jpb said...

It looks like Althouse lawyers are getting a lot of attention from Sully today: he's got another post up.

Palladian said...

Roasted Andrew Sullivan is far too stringy and full of gristle.

pst314 said...

It sounds like Sullivan is only apologizing for things he said or did years ago, never for anything he's done more recently.

In other words, it's a fake apology and only serves the twin purposes of self-justification and continued criticism of others.

sonicfrog said...

Ann, you nailed the reason why I still read his stuff:

"Ah, yes. There are so many blogs that are no fun at all".

You may not agree with him, heck, you may be reviled by him... But damned, his blog can be fun!

Tertium Quid said...

Andrew Sullivan was the first blogger I read, and I once read his every post and most of the comments. His arguments for war in Iraq were far more persuasive than the weak refrain from the opposition: "It's going to be another Vietnam!" (Yes, in the desert... in a Muslim nation... without jungles... without Soviet supplies... without the Cold War... etc.) The debate never got off the ground because the opposition believed its arguments and virtue were self-evident. They were much better at second guessing than in presenting a muscular American foreign policy capable of taking the offensive against jihadis without the deployment of infantry. We would have listened if they had.

I quit reading Sullivan when he started to "shit in his messkit." He attacked the people he once supported. His intemperance became legendary and intermined his analysis and coherence. Moreover, he began to bore us with repetition: a post would begin with the topic of the day (from Iran to the Beagle)and almost inevitably end with a plug for gay marriage. It was neither creative nor persuasive.

I quit reading him about the time he endorsed John Kerry, so I missed his Sarah Palin fixation. Being that I am an expert on BBQ, baseball, '74 Toyotas, and Freudian psychology, I agree with the commentor above that Sarah Palin brings out Sullivan's dormant attraction for woman, and thus appears to scare him to death. His current theme might as well be: "Palin delenda est."

Let's hope Sullivan lives a long life, and like Oscar Wilde, finds a Catholic priest on his deathbed.

jamboree said...

He needs another 10 years to realize he needs to be ashamed of the way he treated Palin's womb - just like he needed 10 years for 911.

He's big on wholesale jumping on the bandwagon/cheerleading and then having regrets - it just takes a long long time and in the interim he's quite loyal and vicious to the other "side".

He's got long turnaround times. I've been reading him almost since the beginning and I've only recently begun to tire of the pattern.

tim maguire said...

Sullivan's excesses--though how he turns that into a mea culpa of his early blogging rather than his recent blogging is...I was going to write "beyond me", but it's not beyond me, it actually makes sense. He's gone mad so he thinks his sensible posts are the crazy ones.

Anyway, the point I intended to make when I started typing is that I would be more forgiving of Sullivan's excesses if he, having cooled down an hour or a day or even a week later, would have the decency to admit his excess instead of attacking the people who point it out for him.

El Pollo Real said...

Peter Hoh wrote: The reader wrote something like this: I don't visit this site to watch four writers argue with each other. I come to watch one writer argue with himself.

Reading the Daily Dish can be like watching a deranged Queen argue with herself, whereas the Althouse comment section is like watching (even participating in) a raucous House of Commons.

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