November 20, 2015

At the Remontant Café...

IMG_1427

... there's one last burst of flowering as the big storm approaches our little town.

Please consider encouraging me by shopping through my Amazon Portal. (It costs you no extra, and it contributes to the project of writing this blog.)

We've put the comments on moderation, so be a little patient waiting to see your comment published. If you've been shy about commenting, perhaps fearing weirdness or abuse, now's a good time to consider sharing your thoughts with us. I'm especially interested in providing a forum for a wider range of commenters with differing points of view, not just on this post, but on all posts. And let me send out a special invitation to liberals and lefties and anyone else who can add to the balance, including apolitical types with unusual things to say.

61 comments:

FullMoon said...

Ya know, AA is one of the very few blogs where un moderated comments do not quickly devolve into same old cliches insults about politicians or into personal back and forth among commenters. It happens occasionally.
Other popular blogs, Ace and Hot air for example have a lot of predictable, boring , repetitive comments, sometimes as lame as Huff Po.

Also, genuine experts in different subjects show up here to educate ignoramus's like myself.

The comments on Mali posted earlier are an example. Beyond the imaginative"Religion of Peace" comments are actual facts regarding the country.

Anyway, will be interesting to see what happens if more liberals and others join in.

I predict we won't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Bay Area Guy said...

Beautiful purple color in the photo, thanks.

Yes, we need more liberals and lefties on this blog -- to make even a modest effort at defending their harebrained philosophy and political schemes.

Melissa said...

Thanks for this! I have never commented for exactly that reason.I have read your blog for years as liberal wanting to see what other pursuasions are saying, but also kind of as a "frenemy" specifically because though I am interested in what you write you commenters have often given me the creeps and I assumed you were on board with the creepy comments because they almost all appear at one end of the opinion spectrum. Lately I have noticed more variety and also pushback from you which I have enjoyed. Fyi, I came to your blog via andrew sullivan who I also started reading to see more co servati ve opinions (though he kind of stopped being conservative after a while.) Please forgive errors I am ony phone.

buwaya said...

Not able to provide ideological balance, but a meta-point -
It seems that comments on most political sites and articles are tending extremely conservative these days, even in "liberal" venues, - Washington Post, the Guardian, etc. - unless they are heavily moderated.
And even where moderated, there is very little in the way of actual argument. So its not just your blog.

Anonymous said...

What happened to the post where you felt like you shouldn't make fun of the students? That seems to have been disappeared.
Or is it like when I can't find the mustard in the refrigerator and my wife finds it in an instant?

Anonymous said...

My mistake...found the mustard.

FullMoon said...


Blogger Melissa said...

Thanks for this! I have never commented for exactly that reason.I have read your blog for years as liberal wanting to see what other pursuasions are saying, but also kind of as a "frenemy" specifically because though I am interested in what you write you commenters have often given me the creeps.......


Welcome Melissa!
Say, what are you wearing right now? Do you live nearby? Need a ride home?
Here, let me buy you a drink !

YoungHegelian said...

And let me send out a special invitation to liberals and lefties and anyone else who can add to the balance

Oh, professor, good luck with this! Between my liberal FB friends & the forum for the alumni of my college, I get exposed to quite a bit of the liberal spectrum. Here's what happens when you have to temerity to cross them by actually proposing a conservative alternative to their line of thought. First, comes the deer in headlights: how can you really believe that? Then comes the robotic repetition of the party line, just in case you, as a conservative are just too stupid to know these things. And then, when the conservative continues to press his case, the hate-swarm begins, & other lefties get on and tell you in sneering, condescending tones, just how stupid you are("but, but, I find snake handling relaxes me before I read Hegel"). I'm sure our few left of center commenters will agree that it isn't easy being left on this blog. I respect our few lefty commentators for staying around & being our punching bags.

If there could be good left wing comment forums, the interwebz would be full of them. Name one. It saddens me to think that, compared to what else is out there, this forum has a real good crew.

But, let me, in the spirit of Christmas, put out my wish list: I'd like to see as a new commenter someone who really knows the players & the ideological sources for post-Marxist leftism (e.g. critical law, critical theory, standpoint theory, 3rd wave feminism, etc). You don't have to like it or agree with it. You just gonna know it & be able to explain & argue it in the face of conservative gale-force winds.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for commenting, Melissa.

Ann Althouse said...

"But, let me, in the spirit of Christmas, put out my wish list..."

This is a great topic. What voices do we wish we could hear?

Some might say, if there's something you want to hear, why don't you just say it yourself? But there are things we don't think that others do and that we want to hear.

jacksonjay said...

I come over here and "folks want to pop off and want to have opinions about what they think they would do. Present a specific plan."

EMD said...

Another safe space for 'marginalized' commenters?

Good grief.

Bill Harshaw said...

Are you edging your way over to the dark side, now? We're supposed to get conservative as we age, so if I remain a liberal I must remain young as well, right?

AReasonableMan said...

As a moderate, I also would also like to extend a welcoming hand to liberal commentators everywhere who might wish to join the Althouse experience.

Derp said...

As a moderate, I also would also like to extend a welcoming hand to like-minded liberal commentators everywhere who might wish to join the Althouse experience. - ARM


Fixed it for you.

Limited blogger said...

Please don't change anything.

Every time in the past when 'Moderation' was invoked, I had to move on to greener pastures.

Derp said...

It's a well-known fact that if you don't moderate for point of view, your commentariat is going to shift right. Lefties seem to take lively argument as personal attack. Righties, for the most part seem to like it. I know, the internet is a very big place and such rules probably don't hold everywhere, but I have never commented on a lefty site for more than a week or so without getting banned. Often after bringing up uncomfortable facts that were being studiously avoided by the post in question and the commenters.

I was actually having a good time over at Media Matters where for a short while they experimented with a "Let a thousand flowers bloom" idea. It was clearly driving the regulars crazy that I was even on there. They kept claiming I was just a sock puppet for this or that other commenter that they had gotten banned. Well finally they banned me for taking an anti Hillary line, is all I can think of.

So if you want your comments to go left, start deleting posts from conservatives. It would probably make your life at the university easier, and after all, what is the free exchange of ideas compared to getting liberals into power?

Hagar said...

I bet Mao considered himself to be a "moderate" too.

eLocke said...

I have often wondered why there are not more liberal commenters here. Althouse herself is certainly not particularly conservative.

I have many liberal friends (Alright, I'm from Cambridge. Practically ALL my friends are liberal.) I know liberals are capable of reasoned, thoughtful debate. Yet when I read liberal sites' comments, you see almost none of that. (In fairness, very few sites have intelligent comments at all.) But you would think they would come here to engage.

It is sad to think it may be Althouse's strong commitment to free speech that causes them to stay away. Perhaps if others wouldn't beat up on Garage so much ...

Bay Area Guy said...

Memo to Liberals:

This is a "safe space" to express your point of view. However (verbal knives being sharpened), be prepared to support your beliefs with facts and logic, not simple emotion. Also, be prepared to be challenged, not coddled.

And, have a nice day!

Roughcoat said...


Well, compared to his wife, Jiang Qing, and her partners in crime--Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen, a.k.a. the "Gang of Four"--Mao was a moderate. Compared to the Red Guards, whom Mao finally had to surppress, Mao was a moderate. It is frightening to contemplate the fact that Mao--history's most prolific mass murderer, the man who was responsible for the death of upwards of 80 million Chinese citizens--must be regarded as the moderate when such comparisons are made.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Melissa-

Welcome. Always interested in more thoughtful voices.

Yes, there are creepy people on both sides. I expect some are actually creepy in real life, others are making creepy comments to be provocative or humorous. ( I try to fall into the latter category. )

Laslo is harmless enough, though you might want to use a bit of bleach when you clean out your browser history.

Bob Ellison said...

I like going to leftist comment sections in order to see what they're thinking and saying.

Getting banned by moderators, though, tends to turn me off the discussion.

Bobby said...

Roughcoat,

Excellent point- I've probably never seen anyone so succinctly demonstrate the truth that "everything is relative."

Bobby said...

buwaya,

Off-topic, but I saw on the other thread where you mentioned the Philippines policy of Jewish resettlement under President Quezon, and I'd never known anything about that. Can you recommend a good source (book, magazine, journal) that goes into detail on that? My parents are very devout Jews and I think it would make an excellent present for them!

Ann Althouse said...

"It's a well-known fact that if you don't moderate for point of view, your commentariat is going to shift right. Lefties seem to take lively argument as personal attack."

Those are not the only 2 options. I see a lot of stuff that's kind of mean and also predictable, reflexive. It's not "lively argument." It's just not an interesting enough place to be and it feels abusive. I can see why people don't want to expose themselves to that abuse. There's a lot of sarcasm and the same points over and over, like "religion of peace!" Lots of people don't want to be seen in that company. Too many people flatter themselves into thinking they are offering "lively argument" and those who don't want to go back and forth with them just can't take it. Consider the other possibilities: Are you an asshole? Are you boring? There, I hope you enjoyed my lively argument that was not a personal attack. What I'd like to see are just better comments, stuff people will actually get something out of reading.

Gahrie said...

What I'd like to see are just better comments

C'mon people..we're letting Althouse down...just like the American people are letting Obama down.......how can you sleep at night?

Bob Ellison said...

Professor, I've wondered how the comment section here might respond to hectoring from the peanut gallery.

Mick: STFU; we've heard it too many times before.

rhhardin: OK, got it; you think women are stupid. go to womarestupid.blogspot.com and bore us no more forever.

R&B_or_whoever_is_the_lefty_troll_today: try to compose an argument before vomiting on the keyboard.

Most of us, I think, just bow out when it gets stupid. Like FullMoon above, I find the comment section here better than almost any other (Volokh also excels), but it hangs by a thread sometimes. No doubt you and Meade have quite a job keeping it lively and argumentative when possible.

Anyway, thanks for the effort. It's a good spot, and I agree that a few more lefties like AReasonableMan would make the place more interesting.

Michael said...

It would be interesting to hear the voice of liberals, as opposed to progressives, who could rationally support the positions taken by progressives, or articulate their disagreement. I am an old school liberal who values free speech and am appalled by the progs. I am an old school liberal who was involved in the civil rights movement in the days when it was not comfortable to do so and am appalled by the BLM and the general drift of black culture over the last decades which has been aided and encouraged by the progs. I am an old school liberal who taught at the college level, in an Historically Black College, and am appalled by the weakness of faculty and administrators in the face of abject and undeniable bullshit from a tiny part of the student population.

Anonymous said...

It would be great if liberals would have some assurances that they and their families won't be doxxed on these comments threads. This has been something that has occurred in the past here at Althouse.

sydney said...

Speaking of wanting to be encouraged or rewarded for writing, have you ever thought of writing a book? (Or maybe you have and I am just not aware of it.) It would take time away from your blogging, but it seems in the internet age and Amazon easy self publishing, that would be the way to go to get money/rewards for your writing.

Derp said...

Are you an asshole? Are you boring?

Moi? Yeah, sometimes.

It is true that points don't need to be made over and over again. It is also true that people drag up arguments that have been refuted time and again as if they were something fresh and new. However, I will try to rein it back a bit and ask myself "is this comment really necessary."

I also agree with you that even though I agree on a lot of points with other commenters here, this place has become something of an echo chamber. However Hillary also has a lot of polarizing baggage that is not going to go away, even if you wish it were so. If you want Hillary's baggage to magically disappear from this blog, you are going to have to start deleting comments.

Derp said...

OK, I can think of a couple of comments I would take back, thinking about it, and will attempt to craft a more gentlemanly persona. Probably will change the handle. I have noticed that avatars and handles can influence a commenting persona, "Derp" is just sort of nasty and may have led to some nastier comments than I would have liked and which got too personal.

Anyway. Sorry.

Big Mike said...

Are you an asshole?

Me? Sometimes there are people who think so, and once in a while they're probably right.

Are you boring?

Well, I don't think so. But I've been known to be wrong once in a while. Not often, of course, but sometimes ...

There, I hope you enjoyed my lively argument that was not a personal attack.

Actually I did.

Levi Starks said...

You're on moderation? I guess we can take that to mean that you did get the threatening phone call, or perhaps or perhaps a young campus member is threatening a hunger strike?

Quaestor said...

Yes, let's definitely have some balance here. Shall we discus modern physics and the flat earth? Oh, and let us not forget the Great Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he has lots of important things to say, which some of us might poo-poo without moderation.

FullMoon said...

Ann Althouse said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Thanks for commenting, Melissa


What the heck? I came here during the Walker/Union dance. Have made comments amusing to myself and my wife. Disparaged Garage once, argued with Crack MC twice, made occasional sly Dylan references, and have never even received a howdy-do!

Melissa must be a relative , or somethin',

Anonymous said...

Pearls are formed around a piece of grit. Some grit pieces aren't substantial enough to stimulate nacre production.

Melissa said...

@FullMoon

Ha! You made me laugh. Twice. Wearing rain boots. Not a relative. Having a drink on my own, thanks.

@Ann Althouse and @Ignorance is Bliss

Thank you! I feel very welcomed.

@eLocke

Thank you also.

Personally, I love Ta-Nahesi Coates blog and his comments section, though of course l ike mant places there is hero worship and group think at times. He has always moderated his comments. I have also read him for years. Notwithstanding that he once offended Professor Althouse, I think he is a very original thinker and it is great to see him think out loud and change over time, as Andrew also did (though he could also be a jerk at times like when Prof. A got married.) I loved his blogposts about Jane Austen and George Elliot.




Bob Ellison said...

George, can you document the doxxing of which you write?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bob-

I can't document any, but I remember Inga and I believe Titus have both been targets. It is certainly not a common practice here, and only happened in cases of extreme personality conflict.

Anonymous said...

Bob, if I did so, I'd be doxxing myself. Althouse recieved an email about it when it happened and the response was less than desirable. One can only hope that such instances will no longer be allowed in future. Althouse commenter's had been allowed to get away with such behavior for many years and may have even been emboldened by the "civility bullshit" mentality. It created a thunder dome of sorts and liberal commenters were the victims 99% of the time. If Althouse wants a more varied flavor of commenter she will have to make the comments sections a bit less hostile to liberals. Push back and an exchange of ideas are expected, doxxing and other creepy behaviors cross the line of decency and should not be tolerated.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If you don't mind my asking, Professor, what triggered the moderation? Was it simply the commenter who won't take hint ( and the unfortunately numerous regulars who won't stop feeding her )?

Or was there something else that happened?

Ann Althouse said...

It's the personal stuff that's the reason i decided to go with moderation. But I can't catch everything. Wmail me about problems that you see.

And, no, to whoever upthread thought somebody at UW is leaning on me. There's absolutely nothing like that.

Ann Althouse said...

Email.

LOL about Wmail.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think moderation is a good development at this time. It will encourage more individuals to comment and higher quality commenting in general. Personal comments and flippant nastiness discourage discussion. Plus, no one likes to scroll through too much garbage.

Anonymous said...

Althouse specializes in wasting your time. I can't believe people follow her entries about the crap she reads on the internet. You won't learn anything here. You'll just have your arse planted on a chair for hours, just like Ann herself. Sad. There's a lot to learn and experience in life. You won't find it here.

John Lawton said...

I'm a daily Althouse reader since almost the beginning of this blog (thanks to Insty's frequent links in those days). Here on the West Coast, I work late and rarely get around to checking the blogs until midnight or so (2:00 AM Meadhouse Standard Time), thus very late to the party, usually too pooped to chime in, and somebody already said what I would have anyway. I just want to say Thank You, Ann. I don't always agree with you, but you always make me think. (Thanks also, Laslo and Michael K!)

Fabi said...

Sorry for the 'Religion of Peace' comment. I'll up my game.

Guildofcannonballs said...

My abuse was performed in order to mitigate chances of anyone reading being led to the gas chamber named Tenderness.

This theory was birthed by this site, as have many of my thoughts, including the assholish ones, such as "if the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, let's see where the bad-intentions-paved-road leads" and whatnot.

I realize I have got to accentuate the positive, mitigate the negative, and show genuine appreciation for the work of the hosts here who make it all happen, all too often thanklessly*.

*I once wrote that Althouse had written a flawless, Buckleyesque post, which is praise most high, involving even a degree of admiration, but not an express thank you, so thank you.


Gahrie said...

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/failing-sense-smell-might-alzheimers-warning/?xid=aol_eh-senior_2_20151116_&aolcat=HLT&icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl12%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D-933292924

Bob Ellison said...

George--

I call bullshit. Let me be more blunt: I think you're eating and selling bullshit.

The NSA or Anonymous could probably dox me. It would be difficult to do without strong resources, and just some guy on the Internet could not do it. My large dogs would object in the last resort.

I doubt that any doxxing has taken place here. Pics or it didn't happen.

Bob Ellison said...

Gee, it would be so difficult to create a new, untraceable online persona. So difficult to make that persona a commenter here and elsewhere. That would take oh, maybe 25 seconds. I can't lift my hands to the effort.

Bob Ellison said...

Blogger Bob Ellison said...

George, can you document the doxxing of which you write?

11/20/15, 4:54 PM Delete
Blogger Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bob-

I can't document any, but I remember Inga and I believe Titus have both been targets. It is certainly not a common practice here, and only happened in cases of extreme personality conflict.


Note the comments and the commenter(s). What's going on?

I'll tell you what's going on. Chicanery.

cold pizza said...

I post this every couple of years or so, and it's been a while since I last did, so, here goes:

Welcome to the real salon. A Solon salon, so to speak. Inside this mansion are many galleries with diverse and, occasionally, interesting conversations taking place. Sometimes the chaos devolves into pure noise and it's time to move to another room, but the conversations always continue.

Sometimes there's backslapping. Other times, backstabbing. We are each moderate (in our own minds) and extremists when our sacred cows are being turned into hamburger. Some strive for clever, others strive to divide. Some foment, others ferment. It's weird and congenial and frustrating and "if only the other people weren't so damned stupid and concede I'm right!"

We've got lefties, righties (why does my spellcheck recognize "lefties," but not "righties?" weird), neo-cons, ultra-progs, libertarians, pirates, and a vast flock of "normal" (for certain values of "normal") standing on the sides listening in. But I still miss the cockroach and the ghost. I even came across a comment from an older sibling who lives half a continent away and was unaware that he, too, was a reader.

The cardinal lesson here is "don't be stupid." You can be profound, profane, obtuse, obscene, and update us daily with your bowel movements. But heaven forbid you be stupid. Of course, we all get stupid at times. See "cows" above.

I've been here nearly everyday since nearly the beginning. I don't remember the exact year I discovered this most excellent venue, but it was pre-9/11, and even before I discovered Insty.

I'm here for the conversations. I don't care for some of the topics Anm does. So what? It's her blog. If I'm not interested in the topic-de-jour, I'll come back later.

It's eclectic. I like that. I like the engineers, the academics, the professionals, the artists, the military, the urbanites, the voices of opinions and counter-opinions that indicated a lively debate. We are not monolithic. We are each unique. We can sometimes unite in common cause, but such alliances are by their nature temporary.

We are here because we feel we have a voice. Even if it's to poke at someone, or something. These are the voices of the people that surround us in our daily lives and of which we are seldom aware because we do not hear the thoughts which are laid out naked and bare under the cloak of anonymity in these comments.

And it is a testament to our hostess that this anonymity hasn't devolved into cesspools and scorched earth.

So, long post.
The TL/DR distillment: Thanks, Ann, and Meade, for giving us a place to play. -CP

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Blogger Bob Ellison said...

Note the comments and the commenter(s). What's going on?

I'll tell you what's going on. Chicanery.


I don't know what you are saying? Which comments and commenters? What chicanery?

Bob Ellison said...

Doxxing? That's a pretty serious charge. Pics , docs, or something serious, or it didn't happen.

Bob Ellison said...

Ignorance is bliss, don't be an idiot is bliss. We know what's going on.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bob Ellison said...

Doxxing? That's a pretty serious charge. Pics , docs, or something serious, or it didn't happen.

Logic fail. It is entirely possible for something to have happened, even if nobody goes to the trouble of proving that it happened. And even if I felt like going to the trouble, I wouldn't link to proof, as that would just be perpetuating the bad behavior.

Ignorance is bliss, don't be an idiot is bliss. We know what's going on.

Who is we? Am I one of the ones who knows what is going on? Am I someone who is doing the things that other people who know what is going on know about?

What, exactly, are you talking about?

Bob Ellison said...

You're a liar.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Okay, we're making progress.

What do you believe I lied about?