August 11, 2006


Hey, I'm on Bloggingheads (with Bob Wright)!

ADDED: They're calling it the "Special Gender Difference Edition." You'll have to watch it to ascertain whether that's apt. The topics -- which you can jump to individually within the hour-long show -- are:
Ann's crackpot colleague and the 9/11 `conspiracy' (11:12 minutes)

Mel Gibson, Take 2 (10:07)

How to tell a male blog from a female blog (09:49)

America's polygamy problem (11:07)

Bob dances on Lieberman's grave (04:28)

Ann proves manlier than Bob (07:38)

Anyway, it was great fun get to go on Bloggingheads, which is a show I was already a fan of, and really cool to talk to Robert Wright, whose book "Moral Animal" played a central role in something having to do with me and feminism that happened back in the 90s and that I bring up, to Bob's surprise, in the third segment.


Cody said...

This is worth watching just to see Ann laugh like a teenage girl. So cute.

Ernst Blofeld said...

I'm assuming you used the built-in mac video cam. Bob's video is quite a bit better quality. I still think ubiquity trumps quality.

I cracked up when Bob said "You think he should be allowed to teach, right?" and you have him a disapointed look, as if he just fluffed an easy answer in class.

The male/female body language differences are interesting. Does bob even have a video feed of the other person? I think he's said he doesn't in some of the Mickey/Bob episodes after Mickey has been taunting him.

Ann Althouse said...

We hear each other via the phone line (note the earpiece), but there is no video feed. We're just trying to look like we can hear each other.

Palladian said...

God, the Wright guy sure screwed the pooch at the end. It seems that the "forbearance" of terrorism is exactly why the world is in the position it is in today. Wright's "bend over, take it, and ask for more" strategy is suicide. How a reasonably intelligent person (I'm assuming he is, since he has a lot of books on his shelf in the background) could advocate such a thing in the wake of 9/11 and the attacks that followed in Madrid, London, Bali and elsewhere is proof that intelligence isn't a necessary corrolary to sanity. His loud, nasal delivery didn't endear him to me either. I loved watching Ann's facial expressions, from bemused to troubled to "you've got to be kidding" as he made his pronouncements.

Ann Althouse said...

One of the most ridiculous things about terrorists is that they are willing to do the most pitiless and brutal things and then turn around and play the victim assuming pieta poses for photographers and sobbing about their children. It is right us to feel sad about the innocents among them who really are hurt, but the terrorists know we have this human feeling and they hope to take advantage of it to lull while they ready the next brutal attack. And when we are the victims, they won't pity us. They'll laugh in our faces and triumph. To think that our demonstration of human feeling will make them change their plan to destroy us does not fit the facts.

Anonymous said...

I've only watched the first segment so far, but that was really good. You've really developed a nice on-air persona rather quickly. Smart, but fun. And your look was good: very pretty, very clean, very professional. Not to insult Wright but he seemed very techno, very Internet. You seemed like you were on TV. Again, nothing against Wright. He seems like a nice guy and a gracious host.

I'm dissappointed that Wright's analysis of the Situation is so off. But I shouldn't be surprised. I read and enjoyed "Nonzero" but even at the time I thought the theory was too pat, too sanguine. That said, I still recommend "Nonzero." It's a good, quick, provocative read.

Anonymous said...

One more thing.

I just watched the last part.

Ann says she consistently voted Democratic until '04. Wright asks what happened.

Ann says, "It was a little weird thing called 9/11."

Wright says, "That was it."

That was it. You gotta see how Wright says, "That was it." He pauses after he says it, waiting for Ann to explain herself, like it needs to be explained, like it was a disagreement about a highway bill.

This is the key to the whole shebang. Wright, and those like him, do not get the significance of 9/11.

Wright also says that Ann's case is unusual, that in his experience the people who switched sides were conservatives who were fed up with Bush. For this, I nominate Wright for the 2006 Pauline Kael Award For Political Self-Delusion.

And again, I really don't enjoy slamming Wright (really, I don't) but his Big Idea, which Palladian so aptly describes as "bend over, take it, and ask for more," is flat-out batty.

Ann Althouse said...

Note that the reason I call 9/11 a "little weird thing" is that he expressed surprised that I was against Bush in 2000 but for him in 2004, which he says is the opposite of what he saw in conservatives he knows. He says it must have been some "weird" thing. Later, I was reflecting on this part of the dialogue thinking, oh, yes, it was weird... it was the weirdest thing I ever saw in my life... 9/11.

Brendan said...

Ann, I love ya, but you let Bob off the hook when he implored Israel to essentially take one in the back from Hezbollah. This would have been for the betterment of ... who, exactly? Israel, or the terrorists? You seemed to shake your head in agreement as time ran out, but I'm not sure if you endorsed his ridiculously naive "make peace, not war" mantra.

Ann Althouse said...

Brendan: I didn't agree with that. Listen to it again. It's true that I said "yes, yes" a lot when I was listening, but that shouldn't be read as agreement.

Bissage said...

Big Johnny said: "Wright, and those like him, do not get the significance of 9/11."

Failure of imagination, IMHO.

The Tiger said...

I don't understand how Wright can't understand how people went from supporting Gore in 2000 to Bush in 2004. I mean, Bush gained votes (he actually won the popular vote this time) and gained electoral votes.

And if he knows conservatives who gave up on Bush after his first term, he must know that there was an equal (or greater) number of liberals who gave up on the Democrats after the campaign in '04...

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I find this style of blogging to be very intriguing, but it's too time-consuming! At least with a podcast, I can multi-task.

That said, I laughed at this gem about your permission to drink on camera.

"You can reach Mel Gibson levels of candor."

I certainly appreciated the topics being broken down into separate chunks.

Did that hour fly by?

Ann Althouse said...

No, the time didn't fly by. It's much harder to do a dialogue for an hour than a solo podcast. With the solo podcast you see ahead to where you're going and you talk your way there. With a dialogue, you have to pay attention to things the other person says and figure out how to respond and how to maintain your relationship with the person while avoiding getting suckered into agreeing with things and how to make creditable points in response.

And I didn't ask permission to drink on camera. I was talking about being entertaining by drinking (and my failure to leave the screen to turn off the noisy air conditioner).

Editor Theorist said...

I watched this through - but I'm not really won-over by the blogging heads format. This was about the sixth I've watched, and I havent found any particularly compelling.

Of course, it may just be that brilliant writers (like Ann Althouse and Robert Wright both) are not necessarily the best improvisatory broadcasters. Mickey Kaus seems more of a 'natural' in this format.

Re: 9/11 - the world is divided into those who felt the world changed on that day - like I do. And those who do not see a discontinuity.

The great 'Letter from America' broadcaster Alastair Cook said in one of his last radio posts that to understand the USA now you have to understand that 9/11 changed everything forever. Strangely, not all Americans yet realize this. Apparently not Bob Wright.

BTW: I rate Robert Wright very highly indeed - both his books the Moral Animal and (even more so) Nonzero are among the very best popular science books ever written IMHO (actually, that should read IMPO - in my professional opinion - since they lie in my area of specialism).

knox said...

One of the most ridiculous things about terrorists is that they are willing to do the most pitiless and brutal things and then turn around and play the victim ...

Well unfortunately, not so ridiculous in that it works quite well for them. Just look how Wright manages to come to the conclusion that Israel has overplayed its hand, and should just do nothing (even as bombs are lobbed into their country--he admits this!!!) in order to avoid more deaths.

I am especially puzzled that he has enough presence of mind to realize that the "War on Terror" (god, I'm getting sick of that moniker, by the way) is going to last a long, long time--and yet advocates a non-Hawkish strategy. I mean, our policy was pretty much restraint and forbearance in the years leading up to 9/11, and that didn't exactly work too great. (Though, given his blase attitude about 9/11, maybe he really doesn't think it merited action--he obviously doesn't think it should change anyone's worldview substantially.)

PithLord said...

Wright was writing about terrorists getting WMDs long before it was a big issue. The assumption that he doesn't know what he's talking about is a dangerous one.

Sanjay said...

Professor Althouse, please do more of these if the opportunity presents itself. I enjoyed it.