October 25, 2008

I got so mad at George Packer last night.

As expressed in this post and its comments. Here I am in the comments:
I don't mind people attacking me for doing that post itself ["[I doubt that] Obama wore an earpiece that was clearly visible on HDTV"], which was done at the end of a long session of live-blogging. But what angers me are these broad statements about how insular and narrow-minded I've been, when I have spent the last year (and more) being incredibly balanced, to the point where my readers really didn't know which candidate I was going to vote for. [Links added.]

You know, I'm going to vote for Obama (94.67% chance), but these assholes make it a really distasteful exercise.
Later, I added: "Now I feel like voting for McCain... and pushing the inside the ear transmitter theory..."

That was after reading this, from Original George:
Before dismissing the idea that Sen. Obama was wearing or does wear a hearing device, in less than 60 seconds on the net, I found many, many websites advertising CIC hearing aids. Go here.

They fit entirely inside the ear canal. They cost about $1,000. They're the size of a large seed or piece of corn. Probably sold by every audiologist.

So....could there be a radio receiver that size? Why not?

And, lo and behold, another five seconds on Google, and up come many in-the-ear-canal radio receivers...like here.

The mistake the Professor made, if she made one, was not to invest a few minutes research. Best thing to do would be to call two or three manufacturers of these gizmos and see what they think.

Heck, if I were running for President, I'd use a radio so I could be fed reminders and tips, and I'd be gobbling Provigil. Anything for an undetectable edge. Lifts in the shoes, hair dye, Wheaties, whatever.
A night's sleep put me at some distance from my rage so that, even with harassment from the excessively early-rising marching band, I was feeling cool-headed enough. And then, reading more deeply into the comments, I was cheered by our little friend, our favorite insect, blogging cockroach:
i don t know about sir archy or even titus
but i am a 100 percent sorta brown blooded
american cockraoch born right here
in cambridge mass if you want to count
that as america which i am sure some of you don t
and i ve got to say i think that hatchet job
done to professor a was terrible
that s the trouble with blogging
it s supposed to be easy and breezy
but there are people who deconstruct every
breadcrumb that gets stuck under the letter r
for example that really happened and i couldn t
write a damn thing with r

railroad crossing look out for the cars
can you spell it without any r s...

anyway soon people started to say
i broke my right front leg off and other
stupid theories and my blog went to hell
until tommy came back from camp
and fixed the keyboard

tommy is the boy whose computer i use

anyway tommy and i took the blog private
and maybe i ll start again
but this sure is a cautionary tale

i have a confession to make
tommy subscribes to the new yorker
oh the shame
he s very bright and sophisticated for 12
hell he s bright and sophisticated for 34
so he started reading the new yorker
in the office of his fancy private school
and next thing he had to have a subscription
mom and dad got him one for his birthday

i m glad that hit piece is only online
as i would have to find and eat the page
if it were in the magazine
so tommy wouldn t see it
and while there are some magazines
with yummy casein coated glossy paper
i only eat the new yorker as a last resort


KCFleming said...

Blogging cockroach is a gem.
"i only eat the new yorker as a last resort" is priceless.

Packer's behavior is inexcusable, but if Obama is elected, expect attacks on real and perceived criticisms of BHO to escalate. This is how a socialist party and the cult of personality work; it has happened many times before, each ending the same way.

Consider whether the racial healing can possibly occur in such an atmosphere. Consider whether the people who support him deserve 4 to 8 years of demanding lockstep compliance, because they will.

Some people are treating this as a throwaway vote, a might-as-well-give-it-to-him-what-harm-could-it-do election.

My fear? McCain will institute a few more socialist programs. BHO will go whole hog. The first can be undone, maybe. The second cannot.

Lenin understood what Packer is doing, and would applaud. You and I are expendable, a mere few broken eggs on the way to an Obama omelet.

Bissage said...

There will always be dick-heads in the world and there will always be even more of them on the internet.

But you, professor, have many loyal readers who respect and admire your work. They also respect and admire you, and (dare I say it?) they are quite fond of you, because of your personality. Because of who you are.

There’s a name for people like that. They are called friends.

Having good friends is worth quite a lot, in my humble opinion.

And after all is said and done, I’m not so sure there’s really anything more worth having.

KCFleming said...

Well said, Bissage.

Host with the Most said...

Now that you have calmed down, Ann - and yes, you were wronged by Packer - perhaps you can now consider the question I asked in your original post:

#1 - Fascinating - and a bit heartwarming - to see all political stripes of Althouse commenters rush together to Ann's defense.

Count me in. It was a crappy thing to do to include Ann out of context. But then again it's the "New Yorker". Which brings me to:

#2 - Ahhh, the New Yorker - am "important" magazine. Ann, this is the part Ann that troubles me. Why are you concerned that Ann Althouse look good in the "New Yorker"? Why do you consider it "important"?

The "New Yorker", in the last 6 months, ranked 87th in circulation among American magazines. Would you not consider some of the other magazines as important or even more important>

Or is it the audience that you perceive the "New Yorker" commands?

Me thinks I smell a bit of elitism here. Which explains Ann's recent defense of Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Colin Powell, and others who many of us feel are honestly more concerned with their appearance and reputation among other elites than they are with their basic ethical and political principals.

Please Ann, when you have had a chance to calm down - and again, I agree that you were wronged - do tell us which other magazines are "important" enough that you don't want to be libeled therein.

Ron said...

I certainly agree with what Bissage said! Plus, I felt your anger was justified; why should Packer even call himself a blogger if he won't link back? It's just fusty old magazines thinking another layer of eyeshadow will fool someone in a dark enough bar that they're still 25.

gefillmore said...



wait a minute, let me adjust this thing-

I'm not sure who is where on this thing, but this is one george who loves you, ann, no matter who you vote for or what you write-

George M. Spencer said...

If you are me, then who am I?

Once upon a time, The New Yorker ran 10,000-word articles on grain, geology, and lint. It was famed for the reportorial lengths to which it would go. Not today, not so much.

I linked to this Kos article last night. Written by an engineer (?), he believes it would be possible for a candidate to receive tips via hidden earpiece, but difficult.

All ya gotta do is call up the manufacturers, corporate spy types, and ex-politicos like Charles Colson or Pat Cadell to see what they think, and ya gotta a story. Not loony at all.

Original George
(formerly 'george,' formerly 'Stinger Assassin"....etc

Richard Fagin said...

Prof. Althouse, you should not be surprised that a member of our esteemed fourth estate would completely mischaracterize one of your blog posts. Whatdya think they've been doing to John McCain for the last eight months?

The real tragedy for the country is that it takes someone with the business connections of a George Bush or the communication skills of a Ronald Reagan to overcome the information Siefgried Line that the media put up and give right-leaning ideas a fair public hearing. That sort of person is exceedingly rare.

Even this morning, the Wall St. Journal reports that members of the press sense an "arrogance that they hope doesn't carry into an Obama White House." Good luck with that, you idiots.

gefillmore said...

roses are red
violets are blue
george is schizophrenic
and so is george
(with thanks to anon.)-

oh gee, o.g., I've been it for 58+ years, but 'animal', 'crazy asshole', 'psycho george', whatever will do-

Palladian said...

"If you are me, then who am I?"

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Peter Stevens said...

Even after a night to sleep on
it ... you were right to be angry.

Packer was wrong and owes you
a correction and an apology.

The dismissive tone was sooo

KCFleming said...

Jean Francois Revel
on the bizarre appeal of socialism
Introduction, The Flight from Truth 1991, pp. xviii-xix

"Has Man, thanks to his ability to undertake an anticipatory analysis on the basis of information permitting him to effect a correct diagnosis, ever averted or foreshortened a disastrous experiment? Has he not, more often pursued the disastrous experiment right up until the culminating, disintegrating catastrophe -which is to say, behaving as though he were not an intelligent being and as though he lacked the necessary knowledge and capacity to envisage potentially disastrous outcomes?

... history is full of examples of political leaders who ruined themselves and their countries by their pigheaded insistence on pursuing insane projects despite expert warnings a wealth of admonitory information. But we would do well to remind ourselves that the old Latin saying "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" applies not only to dictators and autocrats, but also to democratic leaders...

Reflection, when preceding action ...allows us to gain time, to spare ourselves predictable vicissitudes, to avoid having to live bad solutions, which need only to be thought about seriously for it to become obvious how bad they are. If thorough hypocrisy or ideological fanaticism we do not employ thought toward this end, above all in the field of politics; if we are content to be swept along to the very end of risky experiments before being able to judge them at last (and when it is too late), as we have so often done in the course of the 20th century; then one may well ask what point there is in possessing the faculty of knowledge or an abundance of information."

Anonymous said...

What Bissage said.

Richard Dolan said...

"But what angers me are these broad statements about how insular and narrow-minded I've been, when I have spent the last year (and more) being incredibly balanced ..."

I can understand your anger at Packer's having twisted what you wrote just to create a convenient target to shoot at. Context obviously matters, just as it did when CNN twisted Byron York's piece to slam Palin in an interview. The CNN reporter had the grace to acknowledge his mistake, and said so directly (and publicly) to York. We'll all know soon whether Packer is capable of the same (just don't count on it).

But accusations of "insularity and narrow-minded[ness]"? That's an odd thing to get worked up about. It's just a statement about perspective. It's all relative, and says as much about the perspective of your erstwhile critic as it does anything else. Why, every "analysis" piece in the NYT or WaPo is premised on the "insularity and narrow-minded[ness]" of all who don't share the broad minded perspective of the lefty reporter writing the piece. And, as a partial dissenter from the lefty conventional wisdom in academia, I'd have thought you were used to much worse by now.

Anonymous said...

Even this morning, the Wall St. Journal reports that members of the press sense an "arrogance that they hope doesn't carry into an Obama White House." Good luck with that, you idiots.

the main consolation I will take in an Obama presidency - while trying to pay my higher taxes and the requisite 5% of my income that the government will insist it "invest" for me, figuring out how to retire in twenty years without a 401(k), finding another job when my law firm lets me go because our receivables plunge following the massive tax hikes on all our clients (the evil corporations and people with money), figuring out how to keep my husband's business going when his customers, "rich" folk who will get shafted with new taxes - where was I?

Oh yes. The one consolation I will take will be in the tears and fury and shock and heartbreak of the media, as they confront a President Obama who doesn't feel properly beholden to them. They will find themselves facing the same thuggish intimidation, baseless accusations and legal threats as all the non-Obama worshippers do now. Why, their rights might even be violated. They will be appalled. They will be incensed. They will be powerless to do anything about it. A lot of us will be amused.

I won't say I told you so till the first tax hike hits the under 250K set, or the first nuke hits Tel Aviv, whichever comes first.

And then, I'm afraid, I won't be able to shut up for quite some time.

Fatmouse said...


"even with harassment from the excessively early-rising marching band,"

Before clicking on the link, I seriously thought this was a strange reference to the commenters who kept posting in the thread loooong after you'd gone to bed.


You forget that whenever a cult-of-personality leader is chosen, his followers, who have a personal emotional investment in him, will always have a foolproof excuse for any failings of their chosen one.

This time, it won't be "the Jews are behind it!" or "capitalists are sabotaging the five-year plan!" No, the cry will be much simpler:

"It's George Bush's fault!"

Anything can be explained away with this - economy, defense, international relations - despite Obama's most noble efforts, the irreparable damage caused by W's eight-year reign of terror simply could not be overcome. However, there is Hope; if the Democrat-controlled congress would kindly vote to remove those presidential term limits, then perhaps with another several terms we'll be able to finally make things right.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but mouse - I don't expect the Obama worshippers, the true believers, to ever wake up. But I don't think that all members of the media are true believers - a lot of them are simply Democrats, and they hate Republicans anyway, and when a black guy with charisma comes along to snatch the Democratic nomination away from an old, familiar, somewhat annoying figure - they jumped headfirst into the tank. But it's not a love match. Maybe a couple of jorunalists are truly in love; the rest are just in it for the party power, and as a last ditch effort to keep their industry's dying corpse alive for a few more years.

And even more than the media - a lot of people are voting Obama this year because he has a D after his name and they've convinced themselves that he can't do any worse than the Republicans would. And maybe by himself, he couldn't. But with Pelosi and Reid and Frank - oh yeah. The people who don't live and breathe politics all year every year, they aren't going to buy the "it's all Bush's fault" line for more than a year. And if something really bad happens internationally - which it will, cause Biden was telling the truth - it will be worse.

When taxes go up, instead of down, and employers stop contributing to 401ks, and the government takes another 5% of income apart from taxes - in other words, when peoples actual, everyday lives start getting fucked with - that's different.

No, the true believers can't wake up. But there aren't enough true believers to win this election for him. It's the folks who just want Change, and aren't too worried - yet - about what that Change will bring.

Trooper York said...

What Bissage said.

(That's why he is so wonderful)

mnotaro said...

Holly said: "But there aren't enough true believers to win this election for him. It's the folks who just want Change, and aren't too worried - yet - about what that Change will bring."

Oh Holly, you are so right! People just want change, heck I want change,but people-you need the right change! McCain is NOT Bush Jr. He is his own person! Just because they are both Republicans people assume if McCain is elected all will stay the same..economic turmoil, the war, etc...Just because Obama is intelligent and has an amazing personality doesn't make him prepared to run our country. His lefty illuminati politicians in DC think they've found some puppet to do their dirty work and the American people are falling for it.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps President Obama will tell Helen Thomas to shut the hell up. Sort of an only-Nixon-can-go-to-China thing.

Chip Ahoy said...

paul zrimsek, you just gave me an idea for a Halloween costume.

Justin said...

How does the blogging cockroach use the mouse? Color me perplexed.

blogging cockroach said...

i think it takes something away
when you start discussing technical details
the charm and mystery vanish
it s like sex in the modern world
some of us don t really need
to know all the details
and how madonna resembles
a piece of gristle in bed etc
although i m not opposed to gristle
if some falls on the floor
anyway justin asked about the mouse
and i will tell him even if it pains me
first i avoid mousing whenever possible
second tommy got a really cool
little notebook mouse that s small and light
and clicks if you look at it crosseyed
which is hard for me to do with my eyes
but a good backflip onto the left side
usually does the clicking trick
and it s so light i can push it around
even if it s like you pushing a pickup truck
so there you have it
no secrets
just the right equipment and sweat
but please don t talk to me
about those damn apple mighty mice
the little ball is fun and just right for me
but i d need a pile driver to click it
and i might as well push around a sherman tank
now aren t you sorry you asked
cause you just gave me
another reason to complain

blogging cockroach said...

now i m perplexed
what to do...
there s one word too many
in the above comment
that spoils the whole effect
i think i ll pull an althouse and take a poll

what word do you think it is...

shoud i pull the comment and fix it
even though it will ruin the flow...

i m such an artist

Bissage said...

** Lets loose with long, sustained belly laugh **

** accidentally knocks plate of cheese bits and cracker crumbs to the floor **

** Leaves them there **

Simon Owens said...

Let's play a game of Spot The Irony:

"What Packer seems to have done is to have adopted another blogger's summary of what a lot of bloggers, including me, have done over the course of the election season. That other blogger paid no attention to my year of balanced blogging, under an explicit vow of cruel neutrality. And Packer, I bet, did not perform an independent check to figure out what my blog is really like. It is this failure, even more than the failure to link to the particular post he purported to describe, that is really a failure of ethics."

So Ann, how does it feel to be a hypocrite within the same exact paragraph? You do realize that you characterized Mr. Swift's blog post without either naming him or linking to the post and then in the *exact same paragraph* tried to wag your finger at Packer?

Ann, I demand an abject confession of your self-isolation and rancidity

Ken B said...

Suck it up Ann. The "cruel neutrality" was a POSE not real, and since you have explicitly come out for Obama a lot of us have noticed you just don't seem serious anymore -- just flippant and dismissive. You've pooched your credibility with a lot of readers such as I - live with it.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon Owens, I have not named and slammed that other blogger on the front page of my blog, and I decline to reward him with a link after the deceitful way he wrote about me. I don't name him and never have. This post only exists to defend myself from Packer. I will not be pressured to link to the original harmful, dishonest post in order to write about Packer.

Lem said...

But you, professor, have many loyal readers who respect and admire your work. They also respect and admire you, and (dare I say it?) they are quite fond of you, because of your personality. Because of who you are.

I second that.

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