November 26, 2005

Breakthrough of the week.

When I see someone's talking about me on another blog, I don't click over and read. This is life in the blogosphere. At some point, you become a target. To go on, to do this thing, you have to accept that they are talking about you over there, but that there is no profit in knowing what they are saying.


reader_iam said...


Ann Althouse said...

What? Have you looked around out there? It's inhumanly ugly.

DEC said...

Nothing builds readership faster than controversy. Without it, no one would go to the Pajamas Media site. People simply go there to see if it is as bad as it was yesterday. The folks at Pajamas Media should be paying you a fee for your publicity services.

As every fiction writer knows, the story begins when the conflict begins and the story ends when the conflict ends.

Remember the old saying, "Just make sure you spell my name right."

Your "wars" are among the most interesting things on the Web these days.

Ann Althouse said...

DEC: You're right. I'm rapidly developing in the TTLB Ecosystem -- just one rung below Wonkette today -- and I know it's because people are slamming me! A strange business!

David N. Scott said...

I'm happy when I get mentioned at all... but, I've always had that problem. Uh, the Pererro staff likes you and says nice things about you. Wee!

DEC said...

Ann, I spent the first seven years of my career as a newspaperman. Conflict sells papers.

I once managed an African wildlife preserve in the U.S.. An old lion died, and I put a cross on the animal's grave. One pastor wanted to bring people to picket because Christians and lions never got along well historically. I offered to buy the signs for the protesters. The whole thing generated a lot of publicity for a few bucks.

Your online battles will help everybody involved. Sorry, that's the way the world of mass communications works.

peter hoh said...

The thing with fame, or infamy, for that matter, is that you want just enough. Too much makes life difficult.

Matt Moore said...

Those in glass houses?

If you didn't try to defame people with false accusations, or if you just retracted those accusations when called on them, you wouldn't have all those mean people out there saying such mean things about you.

reader_iam said...

No--I'm sorry--I wasn't questioning the ugly factor, of which I was aware very early in my blog-surfing (measured in years, not months). In fact, that's why it took me so long to get more actively involved than as a lurker, or even a regular e-mailer.

I was just wondering: what fresh hell now? (And by that I do NOT mean, "where's the link?")

I figured it had to be especially foul, since in this case you weren't responding, given the last week.

Sorry if I seemed either insensitive or obtuse, which I realize I probably was. I was just distracted.

(And it's true that I'm surfing less in certain quarters, than even a week ago. I've gotten all the "counterpoint" I need on my more regular site.)

Hang in.

Tony said...

Is that the blogosphere version of plugging your ears and yelling: "Nya, nya, nya, I can't heeeeeeeeear yoooooooou!!!!"

reader_iam said...

That should be, "sites." I'm sure you'll take no offense when I say that my "regular sites" number in the scores (at least in terms of surfing), not the ones.

Btw, years ago, when I was still in newspapers (to echo dec, a bit), I once walked into work (which was in another state, so I didn't get it delivered to my door), and was handed the paper with it open to the editorial page.

There, bold as you please, was quite the little headline over a letter to the editor, that headline of which said something along the lines of "Jane Doe is Ill-Informed and Stupid" (or something like that.) You can replace the "Jane Doe" with my name.

Someone had disliked something I wrote--I think not a news article, but actually a column, a regular one of which I was writing during that time period. And the editorial page editor of the time (of whom I was actually quite fond) wrote that headline, which did reflect the letter, but was mostly intended to yank my chain.

And all I could think of--as much as I was able to laugh at myself and that person's audacity--was that there were tens and tens of thousands of people who would read that at their breakfast tables.

This PALES in comparison to what's been going in your world for the last almost-week, and we're talking readership in the--what?--I'm not sure I could hazard an accurate guess, so I won't.

So again, hang in.

Scott Wickstein said...

Blah. I preferred it round here before Ann was 'famous'. The comments threads were an eclectic gang of lawyers, artists and eccentrics. The blog posts were legal commentary, television commentary and the odd and obscure detrius of Madison.

And we had podcasts and squirrels and bats in the roof.

michael a litscher said...

Scott: And we had podcasts and squirrels and bats in the roof.

And now it's barking moonbats in the blogosphere.

paulfrommpls said...

In Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring, there is a scene where the gang is running through Moria, pursued by thousands of orcs. This is right before you-know-what happens to you-know-who. You probably remember it.

In the movie it's done incredibly, with the orcs swarming like killer ants, racing on all fours down from every angle in the gigantic cave, zeroing in on Frodo and friends. The screech is deafening.

Caring what they're saying about you at Kos or wherever would be like Frodo wondering what those orcs really think. So I agree.

(I don't quite mean to equate you with Frodo, I should clarify. You're great, but Frodo - that's a high bar.)

Ann Althouse said...

Scott: I still have the same topics I always did. There's a squirrel right there last Thursday. I mainly write about MSM articles that interest me. I've never blogged about blogs that much. I haven't done too many photographs lately, though. It's harder in the dark months around here. I should take a vacation somewhere. Winter break is coming up in a couple weeks. Anyway, I'm not going to be using this blog to engage in arguments with other bloggers.

The call for apologies and retractions is particularly tedious. If there is something you think is incorrecct, and I've already explained why I disagree, there's nothing more to do here. All I'm saying in this post is that I'm not going to go over to other blogs and read people just being nasty, calling me crazy and a liar and that sort of thing. I'd engage in a serious debate on issues with other bloggers, but unfortunately, some write mostly repetitious namecalling, and I'm not going to fill my days with such ugliness. I don't want to live like that.

IAm: I can see from my Site Meter referrals that someone is blogging about me. I still check new blogs and blogs I respect by clicking on the referrals. There are many names, however, that I won't click on. You're welcome to click on the Site Meter in my sidebar and look at those referrals yourself. There is no one individual post that made me react, just an accumulation of nastiness that I know is there and have decided to ignore. I don't want to be upset by the details and I want to keep my focus on things that are worth writing about. Me and my cruel critics isn't usually an interesting enough topic, and I surely don't intend to link to people like that. That doesn't mean I don't want to link to blogs that link to me. I very much do if the blogger is engaging in some sort of funny or intelligent debate on the issues.

Matt: But I don't live in a glass house. I live in a Alt House. It's very strong. And I don't throw stones. I make rational arguments. People throw stones back when they can't make good arguments.

Ann Althouse said...

That is, I live in an Alt House. Ann Althouse.

Kev said...

"That is, I live in an Alt House. Ann Althouse."

Did anyone else just think of the Monty Python "Anne Elk" sketch when they read that?

reader_iam said...

Kevin: No, but now that you mentioned it ...

The Private intellectual. said...

I tend to disagree.

The advantage of reading what other people have to say about you, or about your writings, thoughts and the like, is that you see other opinions. It may be that you have made a factual mistake in a posting - as happened to me recently - which a reader comments on within their blog but doesn't communicate directly to you.

It may also be that someone has further information or insights linked to an interest you also hold which could enhance your opinions and understanding.

Reading what other people have to say is an integral part of the blogosphere. Agreeing with what they write or say is not.


Ann Althouse said...

PrivateIntellectual: People call possible mistakes to my attention in the comments here and in email. I'm exposed to differing opinions here too. It's one of the reasons I have comments. I also do go to new blogs and blogs I respect. But I can't spend my life combing through disturbing insults in search of useful opinions. One of the usual insults is that I'm crazy. Well, I would be kind of crazy if I wanted to spend my time like that.

I think a lot of the people on the blogs that I'm avoiding are themselves too insular and inbred. These insular communities support each other as they develop a style of discourse that is just not readable to anyone who doesn't agree with them and a comic style that is just so ugly that it doesn't matter that it was meant as a joke. Trying to debate with these people goes nowhere.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry, Matt. Your comment was a boring restatement of things that were asked and answered days ago. Reread my comments policy and either follow it or find your own place to perseverate.

vbspurs said...

Thank God, Toto. We're back in Kansas.

Ann, I stopped reading the blog because, well...because it had all gotten a bit weird.

Althouse is a refuge from the mudslinging of the more riotous parts of Blogosphere.

It's your blog, and you can talk about what you want, Ann, you don't need a reader to tell you that.

But the whole Kos/OSM/Pajamas thingie which fed you for a almost a fortnight, kept me personally away since Thanksgiving.

Let me now plunge knee-deep in delicious, par-for-the-course Althousian posts, as usual.

Hurrah! The Atrios witch is dead.


Janet Rae Montgomery said...

Ann -- In checking the recent hits from the sitemeter, all I can find is that everyone seems so desperate for your approval. I don't think I quite understand the clicking on the sitemeter to check referrals thing, but Hog on Ice has nothing but good things to say about how you have kept your independence and point of view even if it cost you some hits from "(self-)important places". Because that is what blogging is all about. I couldn't really follow the other comments to find things that were bad. But I only went to a couple of them. Thought this would make you feel better? relieved? convinced that not-caring is still the way to go? Just keep up what you do.

Ann Althouse said...

Janet: You happened to click on one of the blogs I like and respect. Try Protein Wisdom or Balloon Juice. (Think the Balloon Juice guy thinks of me when he looks at his balloon logo now? That would be funny!)

Matt Moore said...

That's fine, I'll post it on my blog. But my point stands... you've lost a lot of respect that you'd earned, and you'd get some back if you'd admit that you were wrong.

Sorry to bore, but calmly explaining hasn't worked, and neither has heated explaining, so repetition seemed to be necessary. Obviously that's not going to work, either, so after this I give up. I'd hate to violate your comments policy again.

Ann Althouse said...

It's okay, Matt. You're comment would have been fine a few days ago, but right now I have to be very judgmental abuot the kinds of comments that were dragging things down around here.

Victoria: I had to recognize the rabid poodle attack for what it was. But I strongly reject the idea that criticizing Pajamas Media was outside of the realm of my normal range of topics. Or that criticizing sexism in the comments sections of partisan blogs is not within my normal range.

Wombat Rampant said...


Ann Althouse said...

Damn, I mean "your comment."

Ann Althouse said...

And "about."

Sam said...

I don't think it's ever in bounds to go after someone for their comments. Some people moderate comments, and some don't, either out of time constraints or because they've taken a decision to let free speech flourish in all its ugliness. Anyone who takes a position on a controversial topic who has a large readership will generate nasty comments of all varieties. I've seen so many postings on blogs (and MSM even) where they make a reference to someone's comments as part of an attack on the blog author. It's just never a fair attack.

Janet Rae Montgomery said...

No, Ann -- I also looked at P___ W____ (maybe if I don't type it out it won't give him any traffic). I only detect a pathetic attempt (even at the cost of strident language and obscenity) to gain your approval. Even the commenters are all desperate for you to say that you have put the incident behind you and are not always right, but think you were right this time, and that you forgive them. Honestly, pathetic covers it.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I noticed that P.W. is no longer on your blogroll. Can my little slithering reptile of a blog take its place?

Ann Althouse said...

Sam: I disagree, especially when the blogger is deliberately setting up an individual, knowing he's letting loose his minions to do what they do. Both Charles Johnson and Duncan Black did that to me. For that, I hold them responsible. I think they knew what they were unleashing. I think they wrote those posts quite deliberately, fully intending to hurt me as much as they could. Johnson surgically cut one little thing from a post of mine, destroying all context, all possibility of understanding the joke, and I infer that he meant to make me look as weird as possible and to cue his commenters to savage me. Black wasn't quite as bad, nor were his commenters.

Ann Althouse said...

Was Protein Wisdom ever on my blogroll? I don't remember ever reading that site other than following someone's link.

Janet: You must have missed the part where he called me "despicable."

Ruth Anne: I put you on the blogroll. I put IAm on the blogroll too. I've been remiss in not putting more of the great regular commenters on the blogroll and will do better!

Maggie45 said...

Ann said:

"Johnson surgically cut one little thing from a post of mine, destroying all context, all possibility of understanding the joke, and I infer that he meant to make me look as weird as possible (snip)"

That's exactly what you did to Jeff Goldstein. You still cannot admit that. Instead you accuse him of smears and harrassment, while all he was doing was trying to correct the record.

Ann Althouse said...

Maggie: That is not so. I provided the context, and I participated at length with him in the comments and discussed his objections, even as he was abusing me at my own place. I also did several updates on the post discussing the issue in detail. The two things are NOT comparable.

Andrew Shimmin said...

The context you provided was factual but not true. You implied that the bloggers knew, or should have known, about injuries that they didn't, and couldn't have. It is, strictly, correct that they made jokes after two people were hurt. It is not true that they made jokes upon learning that somebody had been, or upon learning that somebody might have been.

I won't link it (since the entire point of the post is that you don't want to see it) but this was said, on the episode and it bears reading: ". . .[P]eople are arguing seriously that judging statements out of context in the light of later information not available to those who[m] you are judging, is somehow a legitimate and serious point of view."

It sounds a lot like your comment about Johnson's cheap shot at you.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

As one of the squism chorus, I say "thank you". I'm doing the happy squirrel dance.

vbspurs said...

Victoria: I had to recognize the rabid poodle attack for what it was. But I strongly reject the idea that criticizing Pajamas Media was outside of the realm of my normal range of topics. Or that criticizing sexism in the comments sections of partisan blogs is not within my normal range.

I hear you.

But you usually give a topic the once-over (unless it's law-related, obviously) and let it simmer in the comments section of that particular thread, rather than what became a multi-daily distraction of posts.

Well, it's done. And at least now, you know what to expect, both from others and from yourself.

Lastly, I know how being the target of trolls and disaffection can make one become a bit tunnel-visioned about that.

I know you were trying to address what you thought were legitimate points.

But remember, we're along for the ride too.

You lead, we follow. And sometimes, it's not about you. It's about the Althouse community.

Heard you got a cold in the meantime. Feel besser.


Ann Althouse said...

Where'd you hear that? Because I coughed in the podcast? No cold, sorry.