February 27, 2007

Did you know about my vortex?

Jason Joyce writes in [the] Isthmus:
Sucked into the Althouse vortex

Boy, left-wing bloggers really hate Ann Althouse.

I arrived at work Tuesday morning to find a voice mail from Roxanne Cooper, director of marketing for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, informing me that Althouse, a UW-Madison law professor and nationally prominent blogger, had name-checked Isthmus in a New York Times op-ed piece. The left-wing blogosphere was hustling to check the veracity of her claims.

The piece, "A License to Blog" (paid subscription required)[free Int'l Herald Tribune link: here], mentions our paper in the first paragraph:
Unlike a lot of other political bloggers, I started blogging with a distinct lack of interest in politics. My first post about a presidential campaign, back in January 2004, the first month of my blog, was purely an accident. I was reading The Isthmus [sic, it's just Isthmus, Ann], our free alternative newspaper here in Madison, Wisc., when I ran across a chart comparing the Democratic candidates for president.

Because I had the longtime habit, inherited from my grandfather, of reading out loud whatever little things in the newspaper happened to catch my attention, I said: "Hmm. Little known fact: at 59, Wesley Clark has only 5% body fat."

My son Christopher, who was used to finding himself on the receiving end of this habit, came back with: "Should it be: 'Wesley Clark is 5% body fat?'"
Evidently, there's a pack of bloggers hoping to catch Althouse on any slip-up, particularly when the Times has given her space. Cooper was calling to see if Althouse was accurately representing our article. Shortly thereafter, Duncan Black of Eschaton (atrios.blogspot.com) checked in by e-mail with the same request.
Ha ha ha! What possible use were they hoping to make of it if I got Clark's body fat wrong or whatever?

[The] Isthmus put up a PDF of the old article, which wasn't on line before and thus was not linked in the original blog post, written on my second day of blogging.

Jason reflects on my vortex:
Personally, I have no opinion of Althouse's blog and rarely read it..., but this morning's experience proves that her adventures in online writing have brought her a measure of fame and notoriety normally reserved for talk show hosts and professional pundits.
Yes, it's an endless source of amusement for me that my off-handed commentary here gets people going. I have no political agenda. I'm barely even interested in politics.

I'm just out here in Madison, Wisconsin, doing my thing, since January 14, 2004, saying what comes to mind... creating a vortex....


The Pretentious Ignoramus said...

Professor: your opinions are undoubtedly not appreciated by some, but I suspect it is your credentials that really get them worked up.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Maelstrom sounds cooler.

Fen said...

Ann's a Heretic! Burn her!

..wait, see if she floats first. We're running low on carbon credits.

Dewave said...

Is there anyone the extreme left wing bloggers *don't* hate? Or the extreme right for that matter? Read the blogs! They're all one post of towering self-righteous indignation after the other.

When you believe that your political convictions make you morally superior to your fellow man, that's the path you head down.

LarryK said...

Admit it, Ann, that was the goal from the beginning, and now you have succeeded. You can't fight city hall, and you cannot resist the vortex!

Anthony said...

I read "Ann Althouse. . .vortex" and think "time suck".

And it's true.

Interestingly, in my minor corner of the blogosphere, I get the most heat for offhand, usually sarcastic/humorous, comments. Even though I get few comments, the one post where I made fun of shell middens (an archaeological site composed nearly entirely of shells) for being kinda messy, I got like 5 comments deriding me for being such a moron.

J. Cricket said...

Ah yes, there is Althouse worship and everything else is anti-Althousian.

Are these the kind of subtle distinctions you "teach" your students, Annie?

I'm Full of Soup said...

This is hilarious. You make an innocuous comment regarding how (and what you blog about) you came to blog and a bigtime lefty blogger makes a behind the scenes request to check and see if your vignette had accurate quotes!

Couldn't make this stuff up. I think someone wants your scalp.

Fatmouse said...

"I'm barely even interested in politics."

The problem is that the left is. Every damn thing is political to them and if you disagree with them on the tiniest detail it's a BIG DEAL.

Let's use a nerdy analogy: Star Trek. I think the old series was more entertaining than the new ones. But if you said "The Next Generation is better" I really wouldn't care since it's not that important. On the other hand, if you were to go to a convention of insanely fanatical trekkies and say the same thing, they'd flip out and start lecturing you on the superiority of Kirk over Picard and would be utterly exasperated that you could be so stupid.

It's the same with lefties - question global worming and they're aghast that you could be such a dimwitted brownshirt fuck, etc. The right, comparatively, has more important things to do.

Simon said...

You're marmite not cheerios. That's a good thing. :)

I can imagine that it must be quite a peculiar experience if you're a reader here, and then you go to school at UW. Because I wouldn't think that you can interact with Ann qua Professor Althouse in that setting quite the same way that one would interact with Ann qua "Althouse" in this setting.

Simon said...

^ Which is emphatically not to say that that isn't a sacrifice I would be unwilling to make!

PatCA said...

They cannot understand or bear the implications of the fact that you, arch conservative that you are (sarcasm off), got a gig at their Vatican, the NYT.

They are a mighty wind in search of a vortex. Today, it's you.

Henry said...

I'm barely even interested in politics.

Ah, but you are interested in political theatre (and fashion, of course).

This confuses the people who obsess about political outcomes (usually fantasy outcomes unrelated to actual human behaviour). They either don't recognize there is such a thing as political theatre or they are offended that anyone brings it up.

These partisans have lost their sense of the ridiculous. All experience must be reduced to their own lowest common denominator -- the one-dimensional left-right axis.


tim maguire said...

FWIW, I believe Christopher is right. Wesley Clark does not have 5% body fat (unless they meant in his refrigerator), Wesley Clark IS 5% body fat.

As for the rest...ehhh.

Now I suppose I have to visit eschaton to see if Duncan followed up on his query so I can find out what he was hoping for ("Althouse says it was her second day of blogging but perhaps she's never heard of google cache! As we can all see, the article was published on her first day of blogging. Ann, as is her way, was one day late!").

JAM said...

Fen said...

Ann's a Heretic! Burn her!

..wait, see if she floats first. We're running low on carbon credits.

She turned me into a newt!

Well, I got better.

paul a'barge said...

Looks like the Leftosphere has coined itself a new disease. Dr Sanity can you help?

It's ADS (Althouse Derangement Syndrome).

You know, when the best some simpering little leftogeek can come up with is a sic on the English article "The", you really can diagnose ADS.

The Drill SGT said...


Black Hole?

Evil Incarnate?

It all fits :)

Laura Reynolds said...

I prefer Wesley Clark's body is 5% fat.

Those of us who were around for the thought process involving the 2004 presidental vote, have stuck around for many other reasons, AI, what roads to take when traveling, art of all kinds, revelations about Lou Reed (revealed from Ann, loosely implied by Palladian), Christmas pictures, etc etc.

I know people whose life (scrotum) is on hold until late January 2009. Geesh

Ron said...

For the leftblogosphere:

Is the vortex the swirling drain in Janet Leigh's bathtub in Psycho?

Is Althouse Marion Crane? (Yikes!)

Do we fade/dissolve to the unblinking Eye of Althouse?

Is Kos Tony Perkins?
Does Kos take orders from...Mom? (after all, you think the picture is about Althouse...but it's really about Kos)

Is Instapundit Martin Balsam?

Who the hell is that windy gasbag shrink at the end, played by Simon Oakland?

Ron "I'm lookin' like Hitch, anyway, so embrace the role."

HaloJonesFan said...

Wait, did Ann just admit that her blog sucks?


PeterP said...

Jason reflects on my vortex...

Pervie git. Do him for sexual harassment of a 'fantasising out loud' kind. Make millions.

Montgomery Slacker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Montgomery Slacker said...

"Sucked into the Althouse vortex" somehow doesn't sound like an appropriate topic for mixed company...

Meade said...

"Did you know about my vortex?"

Can't say I knew about it, no, but I have dreamed about it, sure. Who hasn't?

And so every night I pray, just before closing my eyes and drifting away into that magic night. I softly say a silent prayer like dreamers do, "Please, God, oh please not vortex dentate."

My prayer then ends with, "And if I should sin before I wake, I pray the blog gods my scalp don't take.

SaysMeow said...

The correct phrase is "Wesley Clark is 95% fat-free".

Tully said...

NOW I know what that giant sucking sound is! It's the dreaded VORTEX!

I don't know why they're all so worked up. Have you been waving things at their aunties?

reader_iam said...



reader_iam said...

Nitpicking (n): Fact-checking ancient table chat about a candidate's percentage of body fat.

Works as parody, though.

P_J said...

Is no one concerned that Wesley Clark is borderline unhealthy? His body fat is below the level maintained by competitive athletes, and is barely enough for normal body function.

Nurse! Double cheeseburger and fries, stat!

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

You're missing an angle to mess with their minds. Try throwing in some obscure fact or pseudo-fact that is incredibly hard to dig up. "Did you know carrot juice was the fifth ingredient listed on chocolate-flavored YooHoo drinks sold in West Texas during Spring, 1956? Strange, but true." They'll waste all their cycles trying to fact-check it, thus keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.

Laika's Last Woof said...

I really think lefties hate you for the same reason they hate Michelle Malkin: sex appeal.

"The Vortex Monologues" are making the moonbats jealous.

Anonymous said...

Owooooooo, werewolves of Madison.

Christy said...

Congratulations! Too deliciously funny for words. Suggesting once again that those on the extreme lack all perspective.

George M. Spencer said...

Your vortex, my maelstrom.

Chris said...

Regarding the 5% bodyfat claim:

I have no doubt that Wesley Clark is very fit & has a relatively low bodyfat ratio. But if it's 5%, he's near death. 10-11% is on the low end of healthy (15% is generally considered ideal for men). Professional body builders go through herculean (sorry) efforts (including substances of questionable legality) to get down to 5% for a contest. But nobody can maintain a level that low without drastic negative health consequences.

Why do people make such ignorant claims?

Fen said...

Why do people make such ignorant claims?

The stat was likely inflated and put out by his handlers to make him look.. vital.

JohnAnnArbor said...

I think ploopusgirl skipped her nap today.

Sort-of-Mad Max said...


"I think ploopusgirl skipped her nap today."

And the milk at breaktime was all warm and curdely and the graham crackers were stale!

Viking Dawg said...

Five percent body fat is not near death, not even close. Serious male athletes average from 5-12% body fat. I myself have had as low as 3% body fat (measured using calipers, so not as accurate as volume displacement) when I was a serious wrestler. I didn't take steroids or other questionable substances, just a low caloric intake and lots of exercise. Not that it was incredibly healthy for me but I wasn't close to death as I was competing at a pretty high level.

Still, for a 50 yo male it's unlikely that its that low.

Here is Wikipedia's Take

Unknown said...

Wesley Clark does not have 5% body fat (unless they meant in his refrigerator), Wesley Clark IS 5% body fat.

Wesley Clark is 5% body fat between his ears. Otherwise he's rather slender.

AST said...

Just remember, vortices often form in the wake of fast moving objects, or in the lee of an object in a strong wind.

It's pretty clear that you are both an irresistible force and the immovable object and the vortices form behind you and leave your critics sucking wind. :)

Jim C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim C. said...

The Althouse Vortex!

I like it! You really should change the name of your blog to this.

The effect of the Althouse Vortex on the left may be due to their distorted background which results in a warped perspective.

Many believers claim that the site is actually paranormal. Some people find relief for back pain at the Althouse Vortex; others become disoriented. A few critics say it is in an actual mental anomaly, but other readers say it is at the boundaries of discourse or the intersection of political lines.

The effects are said to be strongest when the leftward spin of the Althouse Vortex is much less than that of the Vortex of the Left or when the moon is full.

(cribbed from here)

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amba said...

It's V-day . . . the Vortex Monologues . . .

- amba

Paco Wové said...

As Jim C. hints, maybe you could go into some sort of cooperative venture with these people.

"No matter your education or profession you will find a challenge to all your accepted theories."

David A. Carlson said...

For non Madisonians, the Isthmus is the only decently written paper in Madison. Lefty as it is, it's still only paper I seek out in Madison when I get back in town.

lefty said...

Shorter Ann Althouse:

I'm so important! Me! Me!

More important question, Ann:

Did they link to you? At the end of the day, it's all about the linkee.

Fen said...

..said the poster who felt a need to include "lawyer" in his nickname.

Can we get some quality control with this Vortex? Can't have lawyers flailing around in public. Its unseemly.

Jack Steiner said...

I have always wanted to have my own personal vortex. Irritate me and I'll see that you get sucked in and spit out a thousand miles away.

Jim C. said...

Annie said, "It's V-day . . . the Vortex Monologues . . ."

Slogan: "Every day is V-day at the Althouse Vortex!"

Kev said...

"I read "Ann Althouse. . .vortex" and think "time suck".

And it's true.

I agree...but it's a great time suck. I've spent way too much time in the comment sections of this blog on occasion. When the semester gets crazy (like now), it's why I disappear from time to time.

*returns to lurking mode till spring break*

in_the_middle said...

Agree with Kev.