July 18, 2008

Bob Wright proposes a "competition to see who can be more civil and at the same time be more disagreeing in a substantively contentious way."

It's supposed to be a competition between "my" commenters and the Bloggingheads commenters:

How could this competition could take place? Which post(s) of mine would be the venue? And who could ever judge whether a group of persons over a series of statements is "more civil and at the same time ... more disagreeing in a substantively contentious way"? How do you even know who counts as the real Althouse commenters and the real Bloggingheads commenters? Some of my commenters are people who would want my side to lose, and they will have an incentive to say really uncivil and unsubstantive things. And some of my best commenters are people who don't engage substantively but do idiosyncratic off-subject things.

But if any Bloggingheads commenters want to drop in over here, on one of the posts that sets up a substantive topic, and try to interact within this community, they can see what it's like here and how it compares to the Bloggingheads comments section. They can write down theirobservations about the experience on this post.

By the same token, I invite my commenters to go to some recent Bloggingheads diavlogs — you don't need to identify yourself as an Althouse commenter when you do that — and experience life as a commenter in that environment. Then come back to this post and talk about it.

So let this be the post where we talk about — and judge! — the competition Bob proposes. But please, don't change the way you comment to try to win (or lose) the competition. If Bob thinks some of what we do is too unsubstantive to be good as he defines good, that's his problem. We should not be shaken away from our right to define our own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of blogging comments.

(Here's the earlier post of mine that Bob refers to at the beginning of the clip.)


Meade said...

I would but I barely have time to engage in non-substantive idiosyncratic off-subject things right here.

Bob is likable enough but it's just that he's sort of like an embryo with a long long way to go.

MadisonMan said...

Does he have a brother who can understand?

knox said...

Could they have a more unflattering still of that poor woman?

MadisonMan said...

Really makes you want to go straighten the camera!

Ann Althouse said...

Knoxwhirled, if you watch the whole segment of the diavlog on commenters, you'll see that one of Hurlburt's main points is that the commenters always talk about how women look.

Ron said...

I said over there that Bob thinks he could invade like D-Day, and I thought it would be more like the Canadians at Dieppe!

Maybe it's idiosyncratic me, but I can't this "competition" all too seriously...Maybe Bob is jealous 'cause we're just too damn sexy over here! Yes, yes, that's it!

Ron said...

huh! Visual medium. Commenters mostly men. Female bloggingheads. And that the men comment on this surprises you?

MadisonMan said...

The problem with commenting on bloggingheads is the time commitment. First you have to watch an hour or so -- who has time for this? A blog post to comment on -- that's easy. While my programs compile, I read and comment.

knox said...

It's not her, it's that still. Nobody wants to be caught with that look on their face. Whoever does the editing should make an effort at not making people look fug.

And here, to even the playing field: the men on blogging heads aren't too gorgeous, and some of them could clean themselves up a bit and not look so slobby.

Anonymous said...

my commenters?

Sorry, but to use the possesive with commenters just bugs me as if you own their thoughts, too.

I am not an important commenter here but others are. FWthatIW.

I comment because you never came to my blog, Ann. Though, it sure does seem to me that you have seen it. And i do know the Glenn Reynolds gang from slate. AND you know me, despite any lack of disclosuse of such from way back even pre 200.

My blog is gone now and that's all i have left is my photography on line. I think I will be gone again from here for a while too. MY goodness.

Salamandyr said...

I've always found the Jonah Goldberg/Peter Beinart debates to be rancor free. Largely I think it's because they're both good friends outside of their professional lives.

Henry said...

Yesterday, at 6:19 pm, Palladian wrote:

Your new(ish) picture is super cute, Zachary. I can say that now, since we're not arguing about anything.

That gives Althouse the win hands-down. The competition is over. TKO. Bloggingheads loses.

I'm Full of Soup said...

And the name "Hurlburt"- sounds like the name of really good college drinking game. You expect us to get our heads around a name like that and be substantive?

knox said...

Henry, hee! You know, there's been a lot of wooing around here lately, what is going on?

Anyway, just think if a couple decided to play out their internet romance within the comment section on a blog? If they could keep their interplay intriguing and the dialogue hot enough (without being icky), think of the traffic!

One thing for sure, it'd be the final thing to push rhhardin over the edge: even Althouse goes soap opera.

Ann Althouse said...

nansealinks said..."my commenters?Sorry, but to use the possesive with commenters just bugs me as if you own their thoughts, too."

Oh, bullshit! I put "my" in quotes in the first line to indicate that I didn't mean it that way. It would have been irritating to put it in quotes every time.

walter neff said...

"Does he have a brother who can understand?"

No. But he does have a brother who always says "Go ahead Seattle, I'm

walter neff said...

Plus the commenter's in blogging heads are a bunch of pussies. They don't have the balls, not even the long droopy old man balls to bring their weak shit over here. What a bunch of weenies and nincampoops.
Even our wishy washiest weak knee liberal pansy is tougher than their toughest tough guy. Plus we got RH Hardin the wildest, wooliest chicken fucker in these United States. Bring it on losers.

I love trash talking!

Anonymous said...


Okay. You are right.. But secretly, don't you feel like they are yours when you tell them to keep the place going the day before. And there is the term Althousian by your commenters themselves.

Nothing else to say. I gotta go to the market and buy some organic carrots if they are chalked up on the slate cheap enough for my vegie delight lunch.* And I fear I may have been bordering on toxic with my comment. I've got my waist in order lately that I don't want to expand on that trouble area again. Amazing how my diet always reminds me to come back down and be grounded.

*I've recently read to get healthy we need to eat more dirt. That pulling a carrot out of the ground and eating it so helped people of yore with their health.

I'm not promoting geophagy, just yet, though.

Zachary Sire said...

Again, those faces! They remind me of something out of Tim Burton movie.

knox said...


don't let the doorknob hit ya where the good lord split ya

what weirdos like you don't understand is that Althouse's commenters actually like interacting with each other and when she's gone, we usually do. And I'm not the only one who visits the blogs of other commenters. So stop trying to make it all about Ann. The comments section is the main reason why a lot of people come here.

Trooper York said...

I would like to state up front that I will come out of
semi-retirement to personally bitch slap each and everyone of these blogging heads pussies the minute they show their fugly mugs here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It takes me back to old days. I think I left my old zip gun in my mother's attic. And I know I have a spare car radio antenna. Let's get it on.

Anonymous said...


you miscalculated "my" behind and thesapring in the door. I lost weight there, too.

knox said...

I think you're miscalculating what "where the good lord split ya" means

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've recently read to get healthy we need to eat more dirt. That pulling a carrot out of the ground and eating it so helped people of yore with their health.

Not so much helpful for their teeth.

I also don't have time to listen to a complete blogging heads clip. But I might be tempted just to have the fun of insulting and tweaking other posters.

Anonymous said...

i'm back from hunting carrots,

so tell me, since you know so much about what the good lord did with my body...where did he split me?
I got one large split/crease that goes from my pubic area around to my lower back, which is the exact place that i cured the soreness from lifting a package-- by doing dolphin kick for an hour in the pool.

So lord, help me out here,with my physiology.

Off topic: Organic carrots with the greens on top... market price this week 2.19.

Anonymous said...

know your dirt.

ingredients in homemade toothpowder ...besides oils and baking soda:

one tablespoon of white clay

Trooper York said...

Niles is just pimping for comments in his slumber party over there in SloggingHeads. And man, it's a fucking slog. Those comments over there, you got to be pulling my pecker. Seriously. I mean Althouse has nerdier nerds, douchier douchebags and crazier crazies any day of the week. Plus we have chickens. We can argue from any point of view and twist the argument any way we want. The only thing we regret is our contortions

knox said...

douchier douchebags

and you can read things like this here

rcocean said...

The BHTV commentators are civil but as interesting as a Red Guard meeting discussing Dialectical materialism.

Trooper York said...

Like I said, nerdy pussies.

I mean they have their place.

Let them stick to it.

Smilin' Jack said...

Bob Wright proposes a "competition to see who can be more civil and at the same time be more disagreeing in a substantively contentious way."

Bite me, Bob, you %$#^&$% sack of &^&$@%*.

Trooper York said...

I say we call Tessio to bring all the boys from Brooklyn and tell Clemenza to get the crews from the Bronx. I will rent us an apartment and send Paulie to get some mattresses. The streets are gonna run red with blood. But that's ok. You need this every couple of years to get rid of the bad blood. Capisce.

Richard said...

What a sad thread. But then I think this speech had it pretty much right:


Richard said...

Hmmm ... well, that's one way to find out you can post links here.

OK, the speech is titled "Lay Your Hammer Down." Anybody who cares can find it with Google. Judging by the postings thus far, not many are likely to care. It's a speech about civility.

Trooper York said...

Hey Richie, when you see a mouse and you are standing on a chair and holding up the folds of your dress and screaming "EEEK A MOUSE!" does eeek have two "e's" or three.

MadisonMan said...

Richard, you do have a sense of humor don't you? Use it when you read the posts here.

Ron said...

nerdier nerds, douchier douchebags and crazier crazies

Nerd, Douchebag, and Crazy are mere campaign ribbons for we Dirty Dozen Althouse commenters!

walter neff said...

Richard’s sense of humor is vestigial. Much like his vagina.

Joe M. said...


Richard, baby: you gotta get yourself a sense of humor. It's necessary 'round these parts.

walter neff said...

Hey where was Mickey? Isn't he starring in that new chimps in space movie?

As the uncle who takes them to space and camp and gives them herpes.

Joe M. said...

Wrong uncle: that would be Uncle Ernie.

Which, going on prevailing theories about secret puppet identities, would be Bob.

walter neff said...

The Who are on tour now and Daltrey and Townshead won't even talk to each other because they hate each other so much. Good old Peter wants to play new stuff and Roger wants to do the hits that the fans want to hear.

But I guess the contents of Peters computer let us know where he got the inspiration for uncle ernie eh?

I'm Full of Soup said...

Zip guns, car antennas, tire iron under the car seat- those were the good old days.

reader_iam said...

Oh, cripes. This sounds too much like one of those forced mixed social situations fraught with clash and awkwardness--you know, like a rehearsal dinner or something, where you find a bunch of people who normally wouldn't hang together and therefore you have no idea what's going to happen and who is going to lose his or her mind.

Given that for my rehearsal dinner, a young in-law relative actually hired a male stripper (as a surprise for me! well, it sure was that!) which led to different camps crying and/or ranting in different parts of the house, you can imagine my visceral response to this whole idea.

No thanks. Not even if my best friend--whom I'm really, really missing, having not seen her in the flesh for three years now--comes from 1,500 miles away, laughs her ass off continuously for about an hour, and takes pictures of everything (which, to this day, only she and I and my husband have seen). Not even then.

... running away as fast possible from this one ....

walter neff said...

Cool. Now I know what to get you for your birthday!

Mortimer Brezny said...

Knoxwhirled, if you watch the whole segment of the diavlog on commenters, you'll see that one of Hurlburt's main points is that the commenters always talk about how women look.

Yes, but she was wrong. Wright noted that men received comments about their looks, too. And Hurlburt is rather silly if she thinks that people respond to her looks only because she is a woman rather than the combination of the fact that she is a woman and that she has a prissy attitude and that she has a gap between her two front teeth and that she is the type of woman to get so upset when you point this out that she will blame it all on the patriarchy.

Trooper York said...

Is it racist or sexist if we call her a gappy toothed ho?

Trooper York said...

Now I know who she reminds me of!

The recently retired Micheal Strahan of the WORLD CHAMPION NEW YORK GIANTS.

Did I mention that the Giants won the Super Bowl?

Randy said...

While I appreciate most of the humor here, it does seem to me that it is veering into intentional cruelty WRT Hurlburt. At the same time, it is beginning to provide solid support for her point. Not saying I'm right, just saying how I feel.

veni vidi vici said...

Ann said: "Knoxwhirled, if you watch the whole segment of the diavlog on commenters, you'll see that one of Hurlburt's main points is that the commenters always talk about how women look."

Yeah, but that doesn't mean he was wrong to say it. It was my first thought too: she seems pretty anodyne to attractive in appearance, why freeze it on the most awful still?

Wright looks like a douchebag, but we expect that because he IS a douchebag. Hurlburger, not necessarily, but that still ain't doing her any favors.

former law student said...

the commenters always talk about how women look.

The commenters talk about how everybody looks. People who never saw E. Volokh before remarked on how he looked. Other people have commented on how boyish and well-scrubbed (i.e. dorky) Bob Wright looks. And I of course has commented on how scraggly Mickey Kaus looks.

Trooper York said...

Sorry Randy, we want to be equal opportunity ball busters. And I think we did smack around the male bogging heads douches pretty much to a fare thee well. Plus no body said that she wasn't right.

But you are a much kinder and gentler soul than I am. When they throw down the gauntlet, we must rise to the occasion. The black flag is up. We have gone to the mattresses. No quarter. El Deguello is playing in the background by Theo on the Cello. Simon is coughing in his quarters while Mort is sitting at the table sipping from a jug of corn whiskey. Meade is brushing his cap while thinking of Annette Funicello. Palliadan has already drawn his line in the sand and is sharping his sword for the next time he sees Zachery Paul Sire. Pogo is brushing off his bees as they swarm while he extracts the honey from the hive. And I stand on the ramparts cleaning my old Hawken.

It's allfull quiet out there.

Too quiet.

knox said...

Given that for my rehearsal dinner, a young in-law relative actually hired a male stripper

ugh, I went to a birthday party in college where that happened. The poor guy finally stopped halfway through and said "You guys obviously aren't enjoying this, I'm outa here."

The only thing like that anyone's ever done to me is to have the wait staff sing "Happy Birthday" at some restaurant. Annoying enough, but not even close to the level of male stripper.

Trooper York said...

Hey no fair. I already hired a Chris Farley impersonator for reader_iam's next birthday. Don't spoil the surprise.

KCFleming said...


Spring for the extra $20 and Al Gore will strip down to his GW-string.

Bissage said...

Wow! Really . . . just wow!

I’m kind of surprised (and a little disappointed) at the Althousian commentariat’s reaction to Bob Wright and Heather Hurlburt.

I think they’re both pretty cool. They’re obviously intelligent, educated, well-read, sophisticated, thoughtful people. You don’t like what they have to say? So what? Does it really matter? Think you’re never going to die? Cripes!

And you know what? Their looks are perfectly fine. They’re real people. We’re all different. Deal with it.

And a good-natured sense of humor goes a long way to make a person fun to be around. The operative word is ATTRACTIVE. Get it?

I think Mr. Wright has a great sense of humor. And frankly, if it’s okay to say so, I think Ms. Hurlburt’s got pretty eyes and her special, easy-going smile is downright sexy. I really mean it!

If I weren’t a (relatively) happily married man, I could go for her in a big way. It’d be a lot of fun. I’d charm her with funny little stories and give her backrubs and pedicures and offer her a kind word and a shoulder to cry on should she ever need it.

We could be so happy together. She’d put me up in a nice apartment near the park and buy me nice clothes and little presents every now and then for no reason at all.

Please Heather, think about it. I’m not so married I can’t get a divorce in an instant. Leave a comment here. Maybe we can get together to talk about it. I’d really like that. Here’s hoping.

P.S. I like cocaine.

Smilin' Jack said...

I agree that Bob Wright is clearly a smart, well-spoken guy with a good sense of humor, and I really enjoyed The Moral Animal. And it's not fair to judge someone by his looks.

But the world's not fair, and judging by his looks, he needs a wedgie.

KCFleming said...

I pity the fools who do videoclips without make-up, lighting, or animation.

Have you eve seen your local newscasters in real life? Ack.

The still picture here makes me think I'm watching a scene from Plan 9 from Outer Space.
"Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you
and I are going to spend the rest of our lives."

blake said...

I'm too torn between:

Richard’s sense of humor is vestigial. Much like his vagina.

and Bissage's Swiftian transition from scolder to stalker to declare a winner for this thread.

Honorable mention to Pogo for the "Plan 9" quote. To answer the rhetorical question, no, my heart really can't stand shocking facts of Commentariat From Blogging Heads!

PatCA said...

"more disagreeing in a substantively contentious way"?"

Okay, what the heck does that actually mean anyways? I think Bob wants to come over and get into our clubhouse and play with us. What do you say, kids? I get to be Darla!

reader_iam said...

Two confessions:

1) I'm a BHTV addict (not a new revelation, I don't think: I'm sure I've indicated that before. I even respond to questionnaires, especially being a girl and all). However, I should note that I'm an inveterate consumer via podcast. I do click over to watch a few times when there are new pairings, or a new face, so I can get the sense of of information inherent in seeing people speak. Thereafter, I rely on the information gained (and my skills in relation to that).

I do try to click over to BHTV regularly, in tab, due to the whole links consideration. But I feel no obligation to PERUSE, just because the tab is there.

2) I really don't like the commentary on personal appearance, especially the aspects which involve physical experience, which, after all, has its roots in that which is beyond control. But then, I'm not into that generally. (If you all think about it, I think you'll agree that you won't be able to recall more than a few, if any at all, examples counter to that statement.)

I tend to range from "I didn't bother to notice" to "I don't care" with regard to all of that. However, since it was brought up, I think Hurlburt looks just fine and hasn't done anything to merit judgment in such an irrelevant fashion. But that's just me. (Also, gaps between middle teeth aren't auto-negative. I'm a assuming there is a significant mass of people here who can name a person or two who has that feature AND has also been embraced by the culture in specifically visual terms.)

The freeze of Hurlburt is unfortunate. But this happenstance is frequent enough with regard to BHTV links (and even BHTV itself) to render it a not particularly personal thing--although, of course, that won't stop drive-by commenting, on whatever blog, from rendering it so.

Eh, feh, meh, and whatever. Also, FWIW ... and as always ... so it goes.

reader_iam said...

I think Wright was being MORE than a little tongue-in-cheek (also, I suspect, wanted to express a particular exasperation, being an exasperated sort of guy).

Assuming that someone really wanted to stage this sort of thing (the premise of which is fairly weird and silly to begin with by my lights, FWIW), I question the premise of it taking place in EITHER space. Better to set up a separate space--a neutral ground, so to speak (for which endeavor there are various options)--and THEN encourage the commenters to have at it.

That's if one were being serious, which I'm having a hard time believing is the case, as opposed to just manipulating for--whatever reasons and purposes.

Eh, whatever.

reader_iam said...

Um, one more thing:

I think the quote Althouse used as her post title is priceless.

Oh, Bob! (as Suzanne Pleshette's character used to say).

Trooper York said...

You are such a girl.

reader_iam said...

Jeez!--regarding my 10:56:

In 1), second graf: "whole links consideration" should be "whole HITS consideration...".

In 2), first sentence: "which involve physical experience" should be "which involve physical EXPERIENCE...".

I could edit/fisk the whole thing, but those are the things which are important in terms of clarity.

Trooper: Keep at it. You still have a way to go. Just sayin'.

reader_iam said...

You're the one who keeps pushin'.

reader_iam said...

Also, why the hell would you want to bait me, in and under circumstance and context?

Only askin'.

Trooper York said...

Because when you see a button you push it.

DaveW said...

Bob Wright is full of crap. Sorry.

I actually thought about this when you guys were going at it on abortion. Those were some very interesting threads, and I found myself thinking then about Wright bragging on how uniquely civil, fair and balanced and intelligent his comment section is. Please.

This is one of very few blogs that have comment sections worthy of reading (which I do often, though rarely do I comment).