Althouse gets a bit angry...
March 27, 2007 11:29 AM   Subscribe

BloggingheadsTV has been discussed here before and it’s a bit wonkish on policy issues. Last night’s Althouse outburst was a bit different. About four minutes in...
posted by mania (55 comments total)
Independent of the "outburst", watching this last night I was struck immediately by two things:

1) Garance Franke-Ruta up-talks, which isn't something I expect to hear from a successful Harvard graduate. I wonder where she picked the habit up.

2) I wonder how much Espresso Royale paid Ann Althouse for the product placement :).
posted by sbutler at 11:40 AM on March 27, 2007

Up-talk doesn't really respect classist/education bounds of any sort, as far as I can tell. It may be associated with bubble-headed valley girls, but I've heard out of every sort of person you can imagine, including a lot of academics.
posted by cortex at 11:51 AM on March 27, 2007

I don't really get what this is, but it's really distracting to watch people play with their hair and read instant messages while doing a video interview.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:13 PM on March 27, 2007

1. Video interviews are so 20th century. This is a diavlog!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:21 PM on March 27, 2007

blah blah blah blogsophere blah blah blah blogsophere blah blah blah blogsophere blah blah blogsophere blah blah blah blogsophere blah blogsophere? blah blah blah blogsophere! blah blah blogsophere!
posted by interrobang at 12:21 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

That would have been a lot funnier if I hadn't misspelled it
posted by interrobang at 12:22 PM on March 27, 2007

Who is Jessica Valenti? What's wrong with her breasts?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:23 PM on March 27, 2007

Ann Althouse is crazy. Film at eleven!
posted by infidelpants at 12:24 PM on March 27, 2007

These Premises Are Alarmed: the way Bloggingheads works, neither of them can actually see eachother. They're video confrencing with a 3rd computer which records the feeds and then stiches them together later.
posted by sbutler at 12:25 PM on March 27, 2007

I can't really watch this right now. What does she get angry about?
posted by brundlefly at 12:26 PM on March 27, 2007

I made it as far as Ann's outburst, but then had to bow out. There's only so much annoying chatter I can take and Garance's valley girl hit my limit. It was a level of annoying equal to The View raised to the power of Fran Drescher multiplied by the intro to Sir Mixalot's "I Like Big Butts".
posted by schleppo at 12:28 PM on March 27, 2007

What does she get angry about?

That's the thing! They don't really tell you, and none of the links on the page tell you.
posted by interrobang at 12:31 PM on March 27, 2007

Pretty weak outburst. I don't know much about blogginheads other than that Mickey Kaus is somehow involved, so I try to avoid it all costs.
posted by jefbla at 12:35 PM on March 27, 2007

the way Bloggingheads works, neither of them can actually see eachother.

Uh, if they can't see each other, and they obviously aren't paying any attention to the fact that we can see them, why make it a video at all? One advantage to a podcast is that, for instance, you can have trouble suppressing a belch at 00:59, and nobody needs to know.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:35 PM on March 27, 2007

man, that video goes fullscreen and doesn't give me the option to resize it. Alt enter, ctrl enter, space, nothin'. I'm not watching that all fullscreened.
posted by boo_radley at 12:35 PM on March 27, 2007

Here's a link for context if you can stand some pretty absurd advertising tactics.

Well, screw it. Here's some clips:

Here's a dispiriting turn: Feministing frontwoman Jessica Valenti is being virtually assailed for having breasts -- or, at the very least, for failing to cover them up with a dowdy sweater or scoliotic hunch. In case you've missed this blogger battle royal, here's an introduction: Valenti was one of several bloggers invited to meet former President Clinton over lunch, and the lunch was followed by an obligatory photo op, in which the 27-year-old happened to stand directly in front of Clinton.
Law blogger Ann Althouse -- who either wasn't invited to the party or couldn't make the trip from Wisconsin -- then weighed in on the photo, snarking about Valenti's proximity to the former prez. A reader took the bait, wondering, "Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?" And in a race to the bottom, others joined in: "Dunno, but by her expression, it looks as though she may be getting 'a small glimpse at greatness.'"
Valenti herself eventually joined the fray, cracking back, "It's so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait..." Althouse tried to rationalize her sniping by accusing Valenti of posing for the photo. Valenti replied: "It's a picture; people pose. And I'm not sure I understand your logic anyway. If I 'pose' for a picture (as opposed to sulking and hunching over?) then I deserve to be judged for my looks? I don't see anyone talking shit about the other bloggers smiling pretty for the camera." Fair points all, in our opinion.
But Althouse just dug in deeper, writing, "Jessica: I'm not judging you by your looks. (Don't flatter yourself.) I'm judging you by your apparent behavior. It's not about the smiling, but the three-quarter pose and related posturing... Posing in front of him like that irks me, as a feminist. So don't assume you're the one representing feminist values here. Whatever you call your blog..."

posted by phaedon at 12:36 PM on March 27, 2007

argh.. this hiccuping is driving me bananas.
posted by phaedon at 12:37 PM on March 27, 2007

And here's the picture.
posted by phaedon at 12:39 PM on March 27, 2007

The interesting thing about the 'blogosphere' is that the only people who give a rats ass about what is discussed there are other members of the blogosphere.

Much like most of the political reporting in this country: the only people who care are other members of the beltway media.

meh. I can listen to my family rant around the dinner table and get the same effect.
posted by tgrundke at 12:40 PM on March 27, 2007

Ok, so I watched this, and here's my conclusion.

The medium of video makes everyone and everything on it stupid, regardless of who they are. It's like all of these people are trying out for jobs as cable news talking heads.

They are obviously intelligent or they wouldn't have the jobs they do. Jobs which involve *writing* down ideas. So why do they come across as vapid twits on video? It must be something about the medium.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:43 PM on March 27, 2007

OK, so there's nothing wrong with her breasts.

So the woman on the left (in the video, the valley girl) pissed off the woman on the right (in the video) by saying "Jessica Valenti breast controversy".
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:53 PM on March 27, 2007

Good writers are often not good speakers, and the amateur quality of most vlog set-ups does little to help. Regarding bloggers turned video stars, "uncharismatic" is the word that springs immediately to mind.
posted by moonbiter at 12:55 PM on March 27, 2007

You know what else is annoying about this? The blond woman, whoeveer she is, gets upset, but it's completely affected. She's yelling into the camera. Not at the picture of the other woman on her computer screen, which is clearly off to the side (you can tell because she occasionally looks at it and it's illuminating her from that angle).

Picture what she's actually doing - she's shouting into a tiny crappy webcam, because she wants it to look to you like she's yelling at the other person. She's propped the camera up directly in front of her, and the computer is off to the side. If she were genuinely upset, she'd shout at the screen, looking at the woman who is the target of her anger, because that is how normal humans talk to each other.

What a farce. She (the one who freaked out) obviously did this intentionally to create some buzz in the blogosphere. This is clearly going on her highlight reel that she'll send to Fox.

You know the expression, "don't hate the player, hate the game"? I hate the players, the game, the stadium, the fans, the referees, the agents, the players' union, and most of all, the motherfuckers with the broadcast rights.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:56 PM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

Good writers are often not good speakers

I fail to see what that statement has to do with bloggers.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:58 PM on March 27, 2007

Ugh. I'm glad that I will never have Althouse teach me and I suspect that she's going to try to go the Susan Estrich route to Fox and this is just an attempt to show off her yelling chops.
posted by allen.spaulding at 1:02 PM on March 27, 2007

I totally had the same thing happen to me the other day in the speakosphere where some hateful and hurtful conversators brought up some out of context things from my talkolog stream.
posted by srboisvert at 1:21 PM on March 27, 2007 [3 favorites]

Is it just the medium which makes any vlog feel lonelygirl15-fake, or is Althouse exactly as she appears - self-involved to the point where she mistakes big-tent conservative conventioneering for respectful discourse and spends subjective eons lurching toward indignance in a private meta-narrative on a topic it would take minutes to address directly?


On another note, Franke-Ruta has a similar lilt to Faith Salie, my new love/hate NPR personality obsession.

Also: yay srboisvert.
posted by abulafa at 1:33 PM on March 27, 2007

Ann Althouse is a shrieking shrew...that is what I got from this and I know nothing about either of them.
posted by GavinR at 1:33 PM on March 27, 2007

That wasn't an outburst, it was a dominance display. Toss that woman a banana!
posted by maryh at 1:34 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm more offended by the Dasani stubby, though it's much less self-absorbed.
posted by user92371 at 1:34 PM on March 27, 2007

Female bloggers in distress?

This looks like another job for that wrinkly old blogfart from the last blogpost: Commissioner Gordon, send up the Rageboy signal!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:40 PM on March 27, 2007

That wasn't an outburst, it was a dominance display. Toss that woman a banana!


How sad is that when it is your only refuge in an online debate?
posted by GavinR at 1:41 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Going to Althouse's blog to register my polite dissent gave me a strong impression both would be misplaced:
Moderation. I don't like it... but....
I've got to do it. Moderating the comments again here... for a number of reasons. Please keep commenting. Be patient. It shouldn't take me long to get to them.

Suggestions for avoiding deletion: 1. Don't be someone I've banned. 2. Don't just insult me.
Why register my dissent you may ask? I WANT MY 10 (and counting) MINUTES BACK.
posted by abulafa at 1:45 PM on March 27, 2007

You know, as blog people become more intertwined with politics and media, these kinds of LJ-dramas are going to go more and more national, real media events, and we will just have to get used to it, to the great despair of the Pastabagels of the world and myself as well my god what are we going to do.
posted by furiousthought at 1:47 PM on March 27, 2007

Ann Althouse repeatedly finds herself on the wrong side of young, feminist writers by either attacking them outright or by being an apologist for those who are attacking them. (See her position on the repulsive AutoAdmit forums and Jill Filipovic's reaction to being targeted by the cretins on AutoAdmit, complete with stolen photos.) I'm not sure why she's being given any credence at all, really. She's an opportunist and rapidly descending into the realm of crank. The less attention paid, the better off we'll all be.
posted by Dreama at 1:47 PM on March 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

abulafa: well... were you going to just insult her, or did you have an intelligent comment to make? Sounds more like the former.
posted by sbutler at 1:52 PM on March 27, 2007

what andy warhol didn't explain is that our 15 minutes of fame would be for acting stupid and saying stupid things
posted by pyramid termite at 2:01 PM on March 27, 2007

I figure I had a comment to make much like the above -- she spent more time berating the other vlogger than it would take to address (and put to bed her issues with) the language to which she objected.

Also, figured I'd suggest her impression of conservatives/liberals in the (choking back bile) blogosphere seemed to generalize to a degree that makes any conclusions she draws lie someplace between untenable and straw-man fictitious.

Then again, I am spending my capitalization-worthy time discussing what might-have-been so you may have a point regarding the intelligence of any comment I could make; I appreciate your reasoned conclusion, well-supported by the evidence.
posted by abulafa at 2:05 PM on March 27, 2007

Is it really that big a deal that she got mad? I get mad all the time, although never about some chick's breasts.
posted by illiad at 2:16 PM on March 27, 2007

mania, give people context next time. If I came to this without context, I'd think it was stupid too.

(Well, it is stupid, but at least it's clearer why it's stupid and allows the possibility of discussing the stupidity intelligently.)

Althouse is a jerk. She's not inherently anti-feminist, but she perceives feminists as being on the "other side", so she can't stop extending her claws and trying to start catfights. Most of the real feminist bloggers really just stay away from her, but occasionally she does things that demand a response, like suggesting (seriously, she really did) that the only reason those 20 mixed-sex bloggers met with Hillary Clinton was not that Peter Daou thought it would enlighten the candidate, but that the candidate's husband, a well-known lech, wanted to meet the girl with the big boobs. The photograph -- where said lech is blatantly practically groping the big boobs girl, right through the other people standing between them -- is her proof.

That's Althouse-reasoning for you. You may now understand why she's treated with contempt.

(Unfortunately, she's actually gaining credibility in Wisconsin even as she's completely lost it in blogland, because of her defense of a professor's apparently misunderstood remarks regarding the Hmong minority.)

Garance Franke-Ruta isn't a vanity blogger -- she's a poli-sci type who blogs for Tapped (The American Prospect) -- and hardly ever gets into this sort of blog-incest thing, which is why she was completely unprepared for Althouse's reaction. It was really a sandbag worth of Billo. You can see she didn't even want to talk about this topic yet got roped into defending it (hopefully, she'll be smarter next time).
posted by dhartung at 2:41 PM on March 27, 2007

BTW, she tries so hard to say that she isn't a conservative yet she runs nothing but conservative ads on her site...Hhhhmmmmmm
posted by GavinR at 2:51 PM on March 27, 2007

Breathtakingly pointless. That fidgety valley-girl-talking brunette in the "I'm a smart girl!" glasses is almost as annoying as the Ann Coulter wanna-be. I want my ten minutes back too and I want them in Aruba.
posted by longsleeves at 2:58 PM on March 27, 2007

Context was needed I suppose. Apologies to those who feel want their time back.
posted by mania at 3:13 PM on March 27, 2007

Althouse is annoying. But this comment in one of the related threads on Pandagon, the following priceless comment...
Do not say Ann Althouse has no sense of humor! It is you, who that! If you call Ann Althouse old again, ANN ALTHOUSE WILL BAN YOU! Ann Althouse knows Google’s phone number! It is on Ann Althouse’s speed dial and YOU WILL BE BANNED! This means you!
That even made me laugh.
posted by at 3:14 PM on March 27, 2007

When the picture of Jose Padilla came out showing him with sensory deprivation blackout goggles and sound-proof earmuffs being led to the dentist, Althouse defended it as necessary to prevent him from blinking to the terrorists in secret code.

Her main complaint seems to be that she considers herself a liberal feminist, yet is disliked by liberals and feminists while embraced by conservatives. Maybe she should take that as a clue rather than complaining about it.
posted by JackFlash at 3:32 PM on March 27, 2007

Not related to Ann Althouse, but let me say that Faith Salie went to Harvard, just like Garance Franke-Ruta and I -- and lots of students there did, and do, uptalk. Men, too. Not me, as far as I know, but I am told I say "dude" a lot.
posted by escabeche at 3:45 PM on March 27, 2007

blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere blogsophere Ginger blogsophere blogsophere
posted by dong_resin at 3:47 PM on March 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

This woman clearly does not get enough death threats.
posted by phaedon at 4:12 PM on March 27, 2007

I want my ten minutes back too and I want them in Aruba.

Why register my dissent you may ask? I WANT MY 10 (and counting) MINUTES BACK.

Uh, you can actually accelerate the video to 1.8x speed (with pitch correction) on that site.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on March 27, 2007

Althouse an attention-whoring harpy: check.

Franke-Ruta a tiresome bore who makes it clear she's constantly going out of her way not to be supercilious: check.

Hm. Nope. Nothing new to see here.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:18 PM on March 27, 2007

I wish someone would invent a way to skim podcasts and videoblogs.

Imagine if you could only follow the MeFi comments by hearing each and every one read aloud? Torture.
posted by smackfu at 6:27 PM on March 27, 2007

Althouse has perfected the Reverse Malkin.
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on March 27, 2007

Ann Althouse [is] an opportunist and rapidly descending into the realm of crank.

What's fun about following Althouse (I primarily hear about her through Brian Leiter's blog, where he gives her a well-deserved slam every once in a while) is the growing realization we are witnessing the unraveling of her reputation among her colleagues. She's fallen prey to the allure of cheap fame of the blogosphere, and spends most of her time making trollish comments and engaging in silly flamewars in the blogosphere. What a waste of a choice spot in the legal academy!

Blogging has given her a tool that permits her to act upon her worst urges, and we are treated to a real-time view as she becomes less of a scholar and more of a hilariously reactionary harpy and troll.
posted by jayder at 7:52 PM on March 27, 2007

Odd, Altmouse is not updated.
posted by dhartung at 9:03 PM on March 27, 2007

what andy warhol didn't explain is that our 15 minutes of fame would be for acting stupid and saying stupid things

Actually - pyramid termite - what Warhol didn't explain was that people will take their 15 minute fame and try to parlay it into celebrity status.
posted by Rashomon at 2:32 PM on March 28, 2007

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