August 4, 2006

A vlog.

Back in Madison, in my office, I'm talking about feeling awfully fried after my long drive and showing you some books: "Why Mommy Is a Democrat" and "Meet My Grandmother, She's a Supreme Court Justice."


JohnF said...

It's not often we get an entomological intro to a couple of book reviews. Thanks, Ann.

Perhaps you can extend this approach, explaining, say, Souter's vote in Kelo by the swarms of man-eating black flies he had to deal with back in New Hampshire that distracted him.

al said...

How about a review of Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! ?

I guess the author of Why Mommy is a Democrat hasn't spent much time with the progressive branch of the party - otherwise he might not think they were so nice and caring.

knoxgirl said...

I'll never forget once in 6th grade I had to choose between two books for a book report. They were Johnathan Livingston Seagull and Bridge to Terabithia. Both, in their own ways, were quintessentially 1970s fare. (Anyone who's read them knows exactly what I mean when I say that.) At the time I didn't know why exactly, but I hated both of them, and kept putting one down to try the other, and couldn't decide which one to suffer through... now I know it was the sort of didactic crap that permeated both of them throughout, coupled with mind-numbing boringness.

Anyway, Mommy's a democrat gave me that same creepy-crawly feeling. The illustrations right down to the touchy-feelie. oh yeah, and the boringness.

Simon said...

Ann -
You didn't know that you get given a little poodle when you join the GOP? It's a free gift. Like when you join a book club, although we send you a dog to ward off cats from biting you. We also send you a pamphlet offering various strategies on how to look down on poor people and how to look snooty. Stuff like that. Male members get sent a monocle, too, and naturally, there's complimentary Halliburton stock for all new members. All-in-all, it's an attractive membership package.

BTW, what's the CivProc book you have there? Couldn't quite make it out.

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Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl, I haven't read Bride to Terawhasis but I know it's still in the junior high curriculum. I never read Why Mommy is a Democrat either, but the day I heard the score to Jonathan Livingston Seagull is the day Neil Diamond was dismissed from my list of people worth listening to. Early Neil? Still good. Post-Seagull: Neil Who?

PatCA said...

I can't even find the book on Amazon. Is that part of the Rovian conspiracy, or are people just not buying it?

Johnny Nucleo said...

It is a parental imperative to politically propagandize one's own children. (Don't worry. They'll figure out what's bullshit and what's less bullshitty bullshit eventually.) But if you need a picture book to explain to your kid why you hold the political beliefs you do, you are an idiot. Just say, "We are the good guys, they are the bad guys." If the kid questions this, beware. Your kid may be some kind of evil genius.

In fact, any kid younger than 25 who has any interest whatsoever in politics is most certainly an evil genius. If you have an evil genius kid, my advice is that you immediately alert the government so that the kid can be properly trained to use his evil genius in the service of the United States of America.

Dave said...

Mommy is a democrat because women are sentimental naifs.

Well, that's probably too easy an explanation.

tjl said...

Love the lyrics, Palladian. How perfectly they capture both strands of that special icky ethos of "Why Mommy is a Democrat": whiny sentimentality and nannyism from hell.

jaynie said...

Ann, I registered this time because, well when you remarked about getting your child the Sandra Day Oconnor book if you think you want to influence the child to become a lawyer, I was thinking about that same sort of thing. How much do parents talk about and influence a child's choice of career? My friends tease me because I talk about colleges and careers with my 11 year old son and have since he was small. I just think kids go through childhood and then are plopped into college and expected to make informed choices about their lives without enough information. So how much has everyone influenced their child's choice of career?

Palladian said...

Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?
Mother do you think they'll like this song?
Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls?
Mother should I build the wall?
Mother should I run for president?
Mother should I trust the government?
Mother will they put me in the firing line?
Ooh, Ma... it just a waste of time?

Hush now baby, baby, dont you cry.
Mamma's gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mamma's gonna put all her fears into you.
Mamma's gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama's gonna keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooh babe... Ooh babe... Ooh babe...
Of course Mama's gonna help build the wall.

Mother do you think she's good enough... for me?
Mother do you think she's dangerous... to me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Ooh, Ma... Mother will she break my heart?

Hush now baby, baby dont you cry.
Mama's gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama won't let anyone dirty get through.
Mama's gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you've been.
Mama's gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooh babe... Ooh babe... Ooh babe...
You'll always be baby to me.

Mother, did it need to be so high?

Ann Althouse said...

Jaynie: I think you should expose your child to the idea that he has many options and that he will be successful professionally. Don't give him a complex and make him worry about failing or too keen on pleasing you (or rebelling against you). It's a subtle process, and who really knows how to do it well? Some of what you can do is to keep the child informed about what professions there are and how much people who have them enjoy their work and deserve admiration. Respond to the child's own interests -- buying books on subjects or having conversations -- and reinforce the child's belief that he really could go into that work and help him understand what he will have to do to achieve it -- like study and earn good grades. Watch how the child responds to what you're doing so you don't cause him to go in the opposite direction or to become morbidly absorbed in studying. Why do your friends tease you? Try to find out. Maybe it's just meaningless fun, or maybe they are expressing their own anxiety that they aren't doing enough for their kids. But maybe they think you're putting too much pressure on your child or that your child isn't getting enough of a chance to enjoy the pleasures of childhood.

Lisa McElroy said...


Thanks for covering my book, MEET MY GRANDMOTHER: SHE'S A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE. As a law professor and mom to two young girls, I agree with your comments that such books are great educational tools for kids who are interested in what their parents or grandparents do all day. They're also a terrific way to introduce kids to the idea that people in the news are ordinary people with ordinary families, even as they serve as important role models. My goal in writing my books is to help kids see that they, just like the subjects of my books, can accomplish just about any goal or dream

To see the MEET MY GRANDMOTHER books (there are three others, too), as well as children's biographies I've written about Sandra Day O'Connor, Alberto Gonzales, and John Roberts (which you also mention in your vlog), go to my website,

To the extent that others are interested in continuing this dialogue about educational books for kids, feel free to email me at

I've been a fan of your blog for a long time. Thanks again for the mention.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for coming by, Lisa.

XWL said...

So far your vlogging is very different from your podcasting.

Maybe it was the inclusion of the kiddie books, but your rhythm and intonations got very Mr. Rogers-ish for a good portion of this vlog.

(Hello children, I have this nice button, wouldn't you like to see this nice button? Here's this nice button. Isn't that a nice button?)

This isn't a negative criticism, it's an interesting difference, I appreciate the access to all these varied personae.

The blogging Ann differs from the podcasting Ann differs from the vlogging Ann (and presumably the Professorial Ann of the classroom and the Ann about town in Madison are yet more Althousian personae).

Everyone wears their personae like masks for a performance, which is appropriate (etymologically speaking anyway).

But, I still want to know, what's outside that window you keep glancing towards?

Ann Althouse said...

XWL: The podcasting is based on my reading my blog posts (and digressing). The vlogging is completely ad lib... although in this one I was reading children's books. I was also "fried" as I kept saying....

Out the window is Bascom Mall. Go to my flickr page and search for that tag...

Ann Althouse said...

But you're right that I have different "personae." I have recordings of presentations where I hear a different quality in my voice that really annoys me, that I'm trying to get rid of. I hear it in other women too. It's a strange "man" quality that slips in -- unwittingly -- when your trying to be serious. I really hate it and think it's ridiculous. The best example of the problem -- in its most exaggerated form -- is the way Dee Dee Myers used to talk when she was Clinton's press secretary. Mary Matalin does it too. News-reading women on CNN and Fox, on the other hand, never do it.

Bilby said...

It's interesting that nobody noticed there is no Daddy Democrat in that story. Perhaps that explains why Mommy is a Democrat, or maybe the fact Mommy is a Democrat explains why there's no Daddy around. :)