Althouse in the Middle of My Screen

So Ann Althouse completely flipped her shit in an episode of BloggingHeads. (C&L also has it here, and David Neiwert has a transcript of the relevant bit.)

Basically, after Althouse whined at TAPPED's Garance Franke-Ruta "Why don't liberals like me?" for what seemed like at least three hours but was probably less than three minutes, Franke-Ruta responded by suggesting it might have something to do with being an antifeminist twit who suggested Feministing-er and NARAL blogger Jessica Valenti was only invited to a Hillary Clinton campaign event because Bill Clinton wanted to meet her breasts. I mean her. Except Franke-Ruta didn't say it all snotty like that. She just called it "the whole, sort of, Jessica Valenti breast controversy." That's when Althouse went nutz in what Ezra calls "the Greatest BloggingHeads Performance of All Time! I wish I could keep it in my pocket for moments when I'm feeling blue." Me, too.

But let me back up for a moment and try to answer Althouse's question about why liberal bloggers don't like her, even though she's pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and voted for Bush in 2004. Oh—wait. Actually, maybe that last bit has something to do with why liberal bloggers don't like her. Supporting perhaps the most illiberal president America has ever seen, who thinks nothing of casually rescinding civil rights or trying to codify discrimination into the Constitution, might be one reason why she's not been embraced by the progressive blogosphere.

Spending much of the same segment in which she later goes haywire on a TAPPED blogger unleashing a torrent of whinging about how progressives inexplicably don't like her and how the progressive blogosphere is way more hateful and nasty than the conservative blogosphere might be indicative of another reason. She seems to fill her irony void with huge chunks of hypocrisy, which is a trait better suited to very particular outposts of the blogosphere—the ones still calling Bush the greatest president ever, for instance. And Althouse appears to judge the "sides" of the blogosphere not by how hateful and nasty they are full-stop, but by how hateful and nasty they are to her. Conservatives have been more willing to embrace her; ergo, they are intrinsically nicer and better behaved.

And then there's Althouse's style, about which Ezra muses, "What I assume she considers a playful, ironic approach to politics has always struck me as superficial and Maureen Dowd-ish, and I don't enjoy it." Mm-hmm. What really irks me, though, is not that she is superficial and catty and shallow, but that she so desperately pretends to be something more. It's a "law blog," you see. Right in the header is Slate's description of her as "formidable law blogger Ann Althouse." And the thing is, on her front page right now (which includes almost a week of posts) is very little law blogging. Clearly, I'm not against eclecticism—my criticism is about using any perceived gravitas conferred by her law background to mask the reality that her blog often lacks substance and seriousness. Personally, I prefer mitigating substance and seriousness with silliness. You know, a spoonful of sugar, bitchez! Ahem. Althouse, however, wants to give us a spoonful of medicine to make the sugar go down. And half the time, it's a placebo.

But ultimately, Althouse misses the point when she imagines that a few policy positions a conservative or progressive makes. Her wanting to know why progressives don't like her when she's pro-choice and pro-gay marriage is like my wondering why conservatives don't like me when I'm pro-fiscal responsibility and pro-religious freedom.

As it happens, I'm an old-fashioned conservative who believes in privacy rights—which is why I'm pro-choice, support same sex marriage, believe drugs should be legalized, and endorse right to die policies...and that makes me a modern progressive. I'm an old-fashioned conservative who believes that everyone can help themselves, given equal opportunities—which is why I support well-funded schools, equal educational opportunities everywhere in America, a strong social safety net, workers' rights, reforming all-or-nothing welfare, jobs programs, and affirmative action until we don't need it anymore...and that makes me a modern progressive. I'm an old-fashioned conservative who believes in family values—which is another reason I'm pro-choice (or, pro-family planning, along with comprehensive sex education) and another reason I support same-sex marriage, along with same-sex parenting, adoption, and fostering, and I support family-first legislation for working parents and elder-care providers, including extended leave for births and deaths and illness, and I relatedly support universal healthcare...and that makes me a modern progressive. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It's obvious why the conservative blogosphere doesn't welcome me as a modern conservative.

And it probably ought to be equally obvious to Ann "Jessica should have worn a beret. Blue dress would have been good too" Atlhouse why the progressive blogosphere doesn't welcome her as a modern progressive, either. But that's substantive. Not sugar.

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