Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swift Reactions 9: In Which Ann Althouse Tasks Me

You would think that my piece “Great Moments in Election-Year Blogging,” which brought well-deserved attention to the underreported stories on Obama in the conservative blogosphere, would have been greeted by those hard-working bloggers with great appreciation. Astonishingly, many of them responded with ingratitude and even hostility. Perhaps the most puzzling reaction came from Ann Althouse, who may have earned a place in Bartlett’s for her quote "You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see," thanks in no small part to the efforts of this modest blogger.

After I sent Ms. Althouse a link to the story as a courtesy, she wrote back to say, “Deceitful as usual. Thanks a whole hell of a lot.” I replied that I was “deeply troubled” that she would consider my piece “deceitful” and assured her that “like you, I am very scrupulous about what is published under my name (well, pseudonym), and I would hate to ruin my reputation by giving people the idea that I just publish whatever outrageous idea pops into my head without regard to what damage it might cause to myself and others.” Unfortunately, it was difficult to have a discussion with her about just what was wrong with my piece because she has a very strict policy against reading my work, lest the intellectual purity of her ideas be sullied by my clumsy attempts at reason, which I completely understand. Perhaps I didn’t praise her enough.

But her annoyance at me for my inadequate praise turned into rage after George Packer of the New Yorker linked to my piece and accused her of belonging to “a self-isolating political subculture gone rancid.” How did Ms. Althouse respond to this ridiculous and unfair charge? She and her commenters circled the wagons and viciously lashed out. “George Packer, names me and slams me, but doesn't link, so there's no way for readers to see the context” she wrote. “Shame on you, George Packer! That is truly sleazy!” Finally, she told Mr. Packer, “Look in a mirror, man. Look in a damn mirror, loser.” If Mr. Packer bothered to come to her site and read what she wrote as well as all of the supportive comments from her loyal and insular community of regular commenters, he would certainly see there was nothing “self-isolating” or “rancid” about her subculture. Later, she added, still fuming, “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.” It seemed to me, however, that she undermined her case, and might even strike some as a wee bit hypocritical, when she referred to me as “that other blogger” without linking to me or even naming me, while accusing Mr. Packer of the very same violation of blogger ethics. Although I’m not a law professor like Ms. Althouse, from what experience I have gathered watching Matlock, I’m pretty sure that undermining your case is something you want to avoid.

When I politely pointed out this apparent contradiction in an email, she replied, “Your name has never appeared in a post on my blog. You smeared me by name on your blog and so did Packer. I chose only to write about Packer because of his prominence. I chose to ignore you other than to tell you by email that I regard what you wrote about me as deceitful.” I did not have the heart to tell Ms. Althouse that perhaps Mr. Packer applied her own reasoning to her and did not link to her because he did not consider her prominent enough to warrant such attention. Despite the fact that Ms. Althouse considers my blog to be The Blog That Dare Not Speak Its Name, said to me in her comments, “I don't like you, and screw you” and referred to me as a “little prick,” a “s---head,” a “hypocrite,” “boring,” and an “a--hole,” I know that this is just her colorful way of speaking, and probably how she speaks to her students as well to toughen them up, so I don’t take it personally. I only wish her well in her desire to someday earn the respect of the eastern elites, which she so clearly craves, like those other “wet-fingered conservatives” that Charles Krauthammer writes about.

Ace of Spades also seemed unhappy with my piece, cruelly drawing my attention in an email to the fact that his traffic is somewhat higher than mine. I pointed out that we have different goals: “I have aimed for a quality audience instead of simply quantity as you have,” I told him and encouraged him to “keep up the good work,” cheering him on by saying, “I know you're going to hit on a story that will actually have an effect on the election someday.” Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs took issue with my post as well, linking to it in a comment (see comment #79) and telling his readers, “If you want a graphic demonstration of how much damage is being done by the so-called ‘conservatives’ who are chasing after conspiracy fantasies and stupid ugly rumors, read it and weep.”

Some of my own commenters also expressed disappointment with my piece. First-time (and apparently last-time) reader Dawn Marie, wrote, “It would have been nice to find a conservative blog that I could read in order to get a balanced perspective on the news. Unfortunately, your blog is just a collection of unsubstantiated rumors.” Although she allowed that “there are moments when your writing is fair,” she went on to say, “Your bias comes out with statements such as (paraphrased) ‘supported the democrats until they nominated an unqualified African-American candidate.’ Why not just say they nominated an ‘unqualified candidate’? Is there something particularly juicy to the placement of unqualified and African-American next to each other?” I have to confess I'm not sure what she is trying to say here. Does she mean I should use fewer adjectives? My good friend Neddie Jingo quickly rallied to my defense: “How dare you come into this good conservative blog and imply that it's ‘unbalanced’? Mr. Swift is and always has been a deep conservative thinker of the first water. I get all my news from him, just as he gets his from Fox News and Jay Leno monologues. That way, it's extra-filtered and pure, pure, pure,” he wrote. “I suspect you are actually a LIEberal flying under false colors, trying to make us think you are a conservative in order to make our brains explode from the sheer contradiction.”

Although there were some naysayers, such as Lonewhacko, whose name, I think, is supposed to be ironic, most of the comments were enthusiastically respectful. I urge you to read them all, though if you are rushed for time, Mistah Charley summed them up nicely. I must say, however, I was a bit hurt when Driftglass compared my post to an old rug, though I’m sure he didn’t mean to be quite so unkind.

Finally, my piece “Pro-America vs. Anti-America,” which included a handy chart outlining the differences, really brought out the creativity of my dear readers, who provided their own wonderful illustrations of Pro-America/Anti-America. Here are a few examples: Distributorcap: Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy; Dr. X: Fried/sautéed; PK: Dogma/Karma; Tom: glossolalia/stream of consciousness; rynato: Elvis Presley/Elvis Costello; Pamela D. Hart: lemonade/Kool-Aid; chicago dyke: meth/pot g4rg4ntu4: God/Boognish. Please go read them all. In the end I think I will take my very small, high-quality, not-particularly-loyal community over that of Ann Althouse and Ace of Spades any day.

Update: Ms. Althouse is still very angry.

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Anonymous said...

Bravo! Jon. I thought your article was excellent indeed. I don't understand why Althouse got her panties all in a bunch over it. I didn't see anything in there that would have brought her wrath upon you!

Good follow-up. Keep up the great work here. You have another loyal reader now!

Also - with regards to my ad over there...didn't realize the feed would come out so large on your blog. I'll fix that and remove the feed. I don't want to be so obtrusive like that.

Anonymous said...

If you only focused more on the important stuff, the Obama's getting jiggy with it, and such, then you'd get both quality and quantity. The audience for the dry, wonkish stuff you specialize in will always be limited.

zencomix said...

"You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see,"

Sounds like something Rumsfeld would say! Bravo, Ms. Althouse, bravo!

Hipple, Rev. Paul T. said...

Dear Brother Mr. Swift-

It can be painful at times like this, when one is misunderstood and subject to such severe unChristian persecution.

I always pray for the persecuted, that they don't never forget that Jesus the Christ was completely misunderstood, too.


Anonymous said...

ann althouse = ethanol anus

fish said...

I think you could increase the number of visitors if you occasionally posted pictures of cats in amusing positions. Perhaps with cleverly misspelled captions, suggesting the cats actually wrote the captions themselves.

The Raj Man said...

You smeared me by name on your blog and so did Packer. I chose only to write about Packer because of his prominence.

Even a dimwit yahoo like me can easily spot the problem with Althouse's logic: we all know that you are much more prominent than Packer. Hope that makes you feel better.

Your problem (and the reason you got all the negative feedback) is that you overlooked George Costanza's timeless wisdom: A lie is not a lie if you believe it with your whole heart. How dare you, sir, lampoon real Americans?

Anonymous said...

I'll just put it this way. I subscribe to you, I don't subscribe to either Ace of Spades or anything that has anything to do with Althouse.

That's all I have to say about that.

Mo MoDo said...

Ms. Althouse obviously does not subscribe to the theory that all publicity is good publicity. You did spell her name right, didn't you?

Anonymous said...

Jon Swift quoting:
" a self-isolating political subculture gone rancid "

I call on Jon's little family of regulars to lift their voices in unity, and to condemn all such rancidly self-isolating and congratulatory, subcultures.

Anonymous said...

I am astonished that so many good conservatives have turned so viciously on one of their own. Does loyalty mean nothing anymore? What is happening to our world?

Anonymous said...

"Hostility"? Sounds like somebody's sensitive... :)

Well, if my little joke hurt your feelings, I apologize.

Neddie said...

You know, just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see.

Of the godzillions of unintentionally hilarious sentences that have been written this election season, it is my fervent belief that this is by far the unintentionally-hilarious-est. From a professor of law, no less!

I'm a bit chopfallen that it didn't appear in your tete-a-tete with Professor Althouse. A proper conservative blogger would have had no compunction with employing it.

mw said...

I understand what Ms. Althouse was saying, but just because the thing she didn't see was there, does it not also imply there was something not there that she didn't see in addition to the something that was not there that she saw? That is why I am not voting for Obama.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

While I enjoy the original posts of deep conservative thinking you write, Rev. Dr. Swift, I'll admit to being confused when you uncork these pieces about how other conservatives get their knickers in a twist over you. Like that stoush with someone, perhaps it was Lucianne Goldberg's son, who went on and on having a go at you.

You see, I know who YOU are, and your standing in the conservative blogosphere. But who the heck are these other people? I have never heard of them. I suppose I could research their pip-squeakity, but frankly, I can't be bothered.

Now if you had angered the mighty Drudge, or the great and powerful Hannity, or the radio man so awesome that we dare not speak his name, then I might have some context. I suppose it's nice of you to give some attention to the small fry.

That said, I'm sorry to hear that you are seeking quality readership. That rules me out. Sorry to be a nuisance. I'll close the door quietly behind me.

James Higham said...

I thought that last post was a stand alone classic.

Maryscott OConnor said...

Jon, you do not pay enough attention to me.

dguzman said...

Did you tell Althouse that you were rubber and she was glue, and what bounces off you sticks to her?

Anonymous said...

As a latte-sipping liberal fat jew bastard I was, as usual, pleased to read your erudite commentary on the political landscape. Although you are clearly "in the tank" for the conservative right-wing nut jobs I find you to be most illuminating. (wink)

EL said...

Jon: Driftglass not only compared you to an old rug, I think it's an old FRENCH rug. What an insult! I'd sue because, as A. Althouse would gladly testify, you're not a public figure who would need to prove actual malice or some other obtuse, legal mumbo-jumbo, liberal Supreme Court crapola.

Anonymous said...

"Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today, Oh how I wish he'd go away." I didn't know that Ms. Althouse had inspired my favorite nursery rhyme.

Anonymous said...

I am so amazingly sorry that I haven't found this womderful hotspot of TRUE conservative ideals before! Had I known that you, Mr. Rev. Dr. RN Swift, were out here in the ether, I would have long ago sworn off my regular sources of news. To think, I once actually listened to people in the 'media'... I'm so happy that you're here to filter out all the mumbo-pocus for me and tell me the truth!
After all, those damn commie LIEberal scum can goosestep all they want to their new Adolf Obama, but WE of the right wing, of the Rush and Sean and Billbox, WE know there is a dark secret to him... We'll win in 08, yes we will!

J. said...

Horses for courses...

Representative Kimble said...

Jon,I'm sorry to hear about your trouble with the elite liberal blogosphere. I too seem to have come under a lot of fire lately. I guess it didn't help that I posted video of the Ohio State University marching band forming what Bob Grant and I believed to be the Obama flag. Did you know every state has their own flag? South Carolina really should change theirs--it looks Muslim. I've been receiving a lot of flack from hard core liberal blogs like chess.com and cookinglight.com who don't care who they trash if it furthers their own agenda.

Nate Peele

Anonymous said...

jon, i really love your blog... keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Ace of Spades also seemed unhappy with my piece, cruelly drawing my attention in an email to the fact that his traffic is somewhat higher than mine.

Don't feel bad, Mr. Swift.

I'm sure Ace didn't mean to be cruel. He knows that big isn't necessarily better:

"And that’s how you build audience. You kiss Glenn Reynolds’ ass every other day… Thus, the mutual jerk-off society. It's like eighth grade, where people will send you a valentine as long as you send them one."
--Ace of Spayeds

Anonymous said...

Dear Readers:

You are making an egregious mistake by backing Barack Obama. It is BO's policies, and the excessively restrictive regulatory and high-tax policies of Congressional Liberals, that have destroyed American jobs by driving those jobs to low-cost, deregulated, pro-growth, foreign countries like China.

Additional regulations and higher taxes will only accelerate this job loss and further strangle our job-creating businesses. The net effect is a substantial, and unnecessary, restriction of America's ability to compete in the global economy.

I sincerely urge you to seriously reconsider your support for the failed regulatory and tax policies of Congressional liberals like BO and Joe Biden.

Sincerely, T Boo Pickens

Anonymous said...

It's a race to the bottom, losers.

Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Jon, my sweetpea, if them con's are having a go at you, it must only mean one thing --- you are the real conservative and they are the charlatans, knaves, and hunchbacks. You go, babe. So sorry I was not here to defend you in the thick of the fight. I was being tarried by a snake on email. But I would have been here. Seriously.

Micgar said...

Why Jon-these people should be on their knees thanking you for what you have brought to them: The power of thinking conservatively! Ann Althouse is a lawyer?! Not with that mouth, she isn't!?
The truth hurts doesn't it Ann!?

Anonymous said...

You know, just because the link Ann althouse didn't give you wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't some links to you there that I didn't see.

Plus - just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean that there's not somebody out to get me.

Alphonse said...

Mr Swift,

Just because Ms Althouse calls you naughty words and declares you to be too low in the food chain to rate a link doesn't mean she isn't more balanced than you.

This will serve you right for deceitfully enlisting her to the anti-Obama cause. Her non-partisanship is not to be besmirched. She is a unique voice in the blogosphere AND in mainstream media!

Anonymous said...

I do have to say I was shocked, shocked I tell you to see that Ms. Althouse was a professor at the UW! To think that my taxes are going towards the salary of a woman with so irrational and vulgar... Is she really the best and the brightest my state can come up with to educate our youth? What a potty mouth. I fell sorry for her students. She is most likely as capricious in her classes as she is in her blogs. How sad!

Anonymous said...

"Just because the thing I saw wasn't there doesn't mean there wasn't something there that I didn't see."

Ooh, I like it. It's very Donovanesque --

First there was an earpiece
then there was no earpiece
then there was

-- except Donovan sang of mountainous illuuuuusions, and he was stoned (not to suggest that Ann was stoned, but that doesn't mean she wasn't).

bitchphd said...

Jon, how long will you spurn my offers of legal matrimony?

Bukko Boomeranger said...

CORRECTION: In a previous comment, I mistakenly referred to Prof. Outhouse as "gorgeous."

I have revisited her blog whilst doing research on Rev. Dr. Swift's latest update. I had a closer look at the perfesser's picture. Let me amend my statement to say that the gorgeousity is an outdated attribute which has been alterhoused by two decades of passage through the Fourth Dimension and some apparent heavy alcohol usage. I now can see why her Blogger profile lists one of her favourite movies as "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control."

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