February 26, 2012

Looking back at my old Wisconsin protest posts from a year ago, I'm struck by...

... the bemused, distanced attitude I have and how coolly neutral I was presenting material that I could have been really sensationalistic about. It was just another day in Madison, Wisconsin, and I was looking for things to photograph. It confirms for me what I've known about myself for a long time: I'm not into politics the way other people are.

The original name of this blog was Marginalia, and — as I explain in the very first post — Marginalia was a name I made up for Madison, when I was, long ago, writing a fictionalized account of my life here in this remote outpost in the Midwest. I was writing about art and life and a little law. My only early political posts were about Wesley Clark's body fat and a mixed metaphor in the NYT.

I really do feel marginal, but as I said back when I named the blog Marginalia, I love writing marginalia.

35 comments:

CWJ said...

Love your blog. Thank you for your commitment.

Meade said...

Welcome, CWJ, and all new commenters!

edutcher said...

First, you are in no way marginal. You are a big part of many people's lives, in no small measure because you are willing to share your life with us as we share ours with you and everyone else here.

The neutrality, cruel or otherwise, (I'd call it objectivity) is why I think you and Meade (or the blog, in general) deserve some sort of award for what you did.

You gave us the view the news organizations are supposed to, but didn't.

PS Be interesting to see what Marginalia, the bloggy novel, would have looked like.

Ann Althouse said...

"PS Be interesting to see what Marginalia, the bloggy novel, would have looked like."

It's not good for me to write about myself... except marginally, as I do on the blog. It brings out the worst in me!

Hagar said...

Garage does not think you are "coolly neutral."

Meade said...

Takes cool to get cool.

Irene said...

Very cool!

traditionalguy said...

In Wisconsin it's probably better to use real butter than that Marginalia imitation.

Seriously, your way of seeing things is a treasure. Keep up the good work.

There, consider yourself buttered you up with the real thing.

Maguro said...

Bemused at your own bemusement, eh? Very meta.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"PS Be interesting to see what Marginalia, the bloggy novel, would have looked like."

It's not good for me to write about myself... except marginally, as I do on the blog. It brings out the worst in me!


Oh, boy!

To paraphrase the old British Army line, "There's a line in blogging a bloggress dare not cross".

WV "ficlemp" present tense of verklempt.

Chip Ahoy said...

I like marginalia too because it rhymes with genitalia aralia and bacchanalia. Saturnalia, regalia, penetralia and paraphernalia. And those are all very useful words.

I am too blown away right now to give the attention this serious subject deserves, to these expensive indulging self-promoting antics, because before he drifted away today Jesus suggested,

"You have it all wrong. Here is a parable for you."

He knew I was thinking, "this again."

"It is likened to the professor living in the shadow of the castle to write about it and schlepping water all day. Eventually at length over the days and months down there at the river a butterfly appeared and flitted about and then finally alit upon her shoulder, and in that moment of silence and solitude and solemnity down there at the river she felt deeply connected to and knighted by Nature. The butterfly lifted and flitted about and alit upon the other shoulder confirming her knighthood in her mind and then flitted off, and the professor dropped sobbing there in a heap in down there by the river in Nature . That is grace."

"Grace is a butterfly?"

No reaction.

"A river?"

"Grace is hearing the words, "this is my son in whom I am well pleased." It is a flower plucked from a tree and put on your garment. You looked in the wrong dictionary. You need the religious dictionary for the word grace. Let your favorite -- Morticia in Negative was it? -- show you what grace looks like. "

garage mahal said...

Garage does not think you are "coolly neutral."

For good reason. Do you think Althouse captured the "Real Story?" Exclude me for the moment.

gail said...

Garage,

I live 4 hours from Madison and only saw the protest through media. Why don't you tell us the "real story" instead of playing some game?

I think the professor and NMM covered the story better than TV or newspapers, and should have received an award. If they missed the real story, I think everyone else missed it too.

I'm curious enough to ask and put up with this damn wv. x2

gadfly said...

Marginalia is marginally amusing.

If "margin" is "the space around things" and if "alia" means "things pertaining to", then "marginalia" means "things pertaining to the space around things."

Of course the adjective marginal can mean "marked by contact with disparate cultures, and acquiring some but not all the traits or values common to any one of them."

Now that sound likes just like Mad-town. As Governor Lee Dreyfus observed so many years ago, Madison is "thirty square miles surrounded by reality."

garage mahal said...

@gail
I don't have any unique perspective than you do not. The Real Story is that it hasn't been told yet. That's what I think.

Beta Rube said...

Dear Mr. Mahal,

I live in Milwaukee, and Journal Communications, the behemoth that owns the Journal/Sentinel and several local TV and radio stations had predictable and soft coverage of the events of a year ago.

Meadehouse, by contrast, provided immediacy and detail. They were willing to sally forth into the mob with camera at the ready and report back to the faithful readers the real story of the occupying mob. It was a fantastic, and indeed, as gail said, award worthy coverage of a hugely important event in Wisconsin history.

Our hostess suggests we pass by the posts we are not interested in, and that rule applies well in my case regarding Bob Dylan, pop culture, and the New York Times appeal to middle aged women, among other topics.

But the reportage of events in Madison has made this blog not only interesting, but vital.

cassandra lite said...

I'm looking forward to a year from now, when you post about this post about that post.

fleetusa said...

Of course, "marginalia" is perfect for a good law professor as they are always updating aging lecture notes for comments on the latest cases or rulings.

We deeply appreciate your work and drop by several times a day to see the latest. My other daily reads are Taranto and Lucianne.

Fen said...

Garage: For good reason. Do you think Althouse captured the "Real Story?" Exclude me for the moment.

She captured the story the MSM hacks wanted to keep hidden. For that, we owe her gratitude.

If there is indeed an Army of Davids, Ann & Meade captain a unit.

Fen said...

Our hostess suggests we pass by the posts we are not interested in,

The people pushing back over the reminders of the Left's dishonorable behavior can't simply skip over these posts. They must pressure her stop.

MiniTru keeps trying to rewrite the history of what happened here, and Ann & Meade keep getting in their way.

james conrad said...

I'm not into politics the way other people are.

LOL, Thats OK, I dont come here to fuss over politics anyway

tim maguire said...

Garage, I don't think there is a "real story" to tell.

From what I know about you, I expect by "real story" you mean "exaggerated or, where necessary, outright invented Republican misbehavior while minimizing or outright ignoring Democratic misbehavior."

By that standard, no, I don't think she did tell the real story. But I do think she told the story fairly, giving each side a chance to show their true colors.

Jay said...

and how coolly neutral I was

The bizarro continued use of that phrase makes me wonder if it is some sort of joke between Ann and someone unknown.

Matthew said...

"For good reason. Do you think Althouse captured the "Real Story?" Exclude me for the moment."

For the most part, I felt she was significantly more balanced than a lot of other reports. She did not let them slide on the bad things they did, but we also have the things that painted protestors in an overall good light (like protest dogs!)

The problem was that the protestors routinely did things that no level-headed person would like (shouting down children, defacing public memorials, etc.)

Part of what made being neutral so damning was that, even in a neutral tone, having doctors write fake sick notes for teachers looks wrong, no matter how neutral you try to be.

purplepenquin said...

"Coolly netural"? Really?!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...that's cute.

Seriously, you skew things quite often; mostly by what you choose and choose not to report on (most of your readers still beleive that the protesters were rioting for days on end while the only violence that happened to any Recall Supporters is one torn up sign) but also in the way you present 'em. (Are there REALLY no "mock worthy" signs among the Walker supporters?)

Don't get me wrong...your house, your rules. You can serve all the red meat to your guests that ya wanna, but don't kid us into thinking it is something it ain't.

Matthew said...

Purple: What about the broken door?

What about the open bouts of intimidation -- or is it only violence when something gets damaged?

Matthew said...

Actually, the definition of violence is interesting. Sometimes, we only mean something is violent when a person or animal is injured.

Sometimes, we escape that problem by saying that it was "mostly peaceful" if no one is hurt too bad.

Sometimes, property damage is included in violence. Sometimes, merely being vocal and using harsh language will make people say that someone was being violent (or threatening violence!)

But, very rarely are those standards applied to protestors who shout at people, threaten people and often impede people's ability to enter or exit property. Maybe the problem is just that people have a sliding scale of what is considered violence?

For example, I consider it a violent act to intimidate others into submission, even if you don't lay a hand on them. I can see why some people would say that doesn't count though.

Hagar said...

I guess one could say that the little boy in Andersen's tale of "The Emperor's New Clothes" also was "coolly neutral" or at least not intentionally "into politics like other people."

roesch/voltaire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadisonMan said...

paraphernalia

Nobody knows just what

A paraphernalia is

And what is half a pair of scissors

But a single scizz?

roesch/voltaire said...

I think the notion one has the "real" story is a bit of an exaggeration. On one of the days I visited the protests, on the same day Mead and Althouse did, I reported what I saw: Japanese Koto drummers engaging the audience, Fire fighters playing their bag pipes and school children waling on stilts dressed like clowns wearing Anti-Walker signs, and my story was dismissed because it did not fit the narrative of this blog. Frankly there are many perspectives and another one is presented at Tamarack Studio and Gallery here in Madison, by folks who stayed over night in the Capital documenting the event which has resulted in a show entitled INSIDE , AT NIGHT ORIGNS OF AN UPRISING--I suggest a viewing to understand just how on "cool" any of the media is-- including MeadAlthouse.

Curious George said...

"purplepenquin said...
Seriously, you skew things quite often; mostly by what you choose and choose not to report on (most of your readers still beleive that the protesters were rioting for days on end while the only violence that happened to any Recall Supporters is one torn up sign) but also in the way you present 'em. (Are there REALLY no "mock worthy" signs among the Walker supporters?)"

This is the height of hypocrisy. First, the statement "most of your readers still beleive that the protesters were rioting for days" is made of whole cloth. I would ask you to back it up, but we both know it's bullshit. But it's necessary for an asshat that constantly pops in here wetting their pants over "violence"...which by your definition is a single person "tearing up a blank petition" or yelling at a recaller, but excuses or minimizes gangs of protesters breaking through doors to enter the capitol, or following and surrounding a GOP legislator to the point that a Democrat colleague had to intervene, or surrounding news reporters and shouting them down, or swearing at a young women making a speech, or blowing horns in peoples faces, or in Ann and her sons case, actually being assaulted.

purplepenquin said...

CurioGeo just proved my point.

He honestly beleives that the ONLY violence that took place against a recall supporter is one petition being torn up. Since Ann hasn't talked about any of the other attacks that have took place (the spitting on recall supporters, the broken camera, the rock thrown through the storefront window, etc etc) a lot of her commentators are not only unaware of those events, they think anyone who brings up those incidents are nothing more than an asshat and a liar.

Like I said before, our hostess is certainly allowed to write about whatever pleases her...but lets not kid ourselves into thinking her coverage on the political events in Wisconsin are "neutral", coolly or otherwise.


BTW, for those keeping score, I have spoken out (online and in person) against the behavior that some pro-recall supporters have engaged in. Here is one such example: http://tinyurl.com/7sxz59v

wildswan said...

Political hacks decide on a story line and follow it regardless. The rest of us - the 99.9 percent - drift among our interests and duties. Then we are marginal to the PR people and other hacks but not to our own lives. As someone said "Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind". Still Wisconsin politics are immensely interesting right now. BTW has anyone else seen the Hulu show "Battleground" which is set in Madison but has no connection I can see to Wisconsin politics. The Capital is immaculate.

hopechange said...

In quantum physics and metaphysics, I think some people posit that every point in the universe is the center of the universe.

I think they're also trying to grapple with the idea that consciousness is non-local and may be everywhere at once.

So, not to worry, you can't be in an outpost in Madison, any more than you would be in New York City, Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires. Or Tinker Creek, Picnic Point, Walden Pond, Shangri-La.