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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

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» Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Ann Alt from Jon Swift
Let's subject Ann Althouse's blog to Freudian analysis, since it seems only fair. [Read More]

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Alex

Wow. Just goes to show that the Internet will make you stupid. I now feel just a little more intellectually fatigued trying to figure out just how someone can be that looney tunes.

Sisyphus

Scott, sometimes a muppet is just a muppet.

SEK

The Vortex, Alex, the Vortex!

Sisyphus, call me crazy, but if there isn't a castration complex manifesting itself mighty strongly in that second shot, then I don't know that there's ever been anyone with a castration complex in the entire history of the whole world.

Karl Steel

I do seem to remember reading an article (this in 1992) that suggested that Molly's reference to L. Boom [sic] in the last chapter of Ulysses was a quasi-castration, because, you know, the phallic l.

Swear to God.

Luther Blissett

I'm sort of freaked about about your attention to things like Ann Althouse refreshing a website. It's bad enough that Althouse, like too many of us, obsesses over blog-related things. It's even worse when bloggers monitor the nose-picking and crotch-scratching of their readership. I say this will all due respect.

SEK

Luther, this one's easy to explain. It's not narcissism (not that I'm not narcissistic, mind you, I am a blogger). When I link to Althouse, a link to my post automatically appears on the bottom of the page I linked to. Because of her traffic, this means many, many spammers see my site, and then the comment-spam-deluge begins. When I went back through my stats to see which IP addresses to ban, I saw one from Madison, WI, over and over again. Maybe it's not her, but since it never went to the comments page (where you type the capture), I knew it was merely refreshing, not spamming.

Anyway, if I cared about my site stats, I wouldn't have written another post about Althouse anyway, as my readers are clearly tired of her insanity. I mean, where's Rich?

Rich Puchalsky

I tried to comment on the Michael Moore thread, but something went wrong. On this one, yes, easy target, fish in barrel etc.

Let's see, is there anything to be salvaged from this? I think that this is an implicit criticism of Berube's What's Liberal, the part in which he assures his readers that he wishes that there were more smart conservatives in academia. There are many conservative academic bloggers, but I haven't yet run across a smart one. Mostly they are people like Volokh, say, who was completely unable to understand a judge's sarcasm when it was directed at Scooter Libby's defenders, or like Jeff G. (sorry, Scott) -- if I had his blog, I would close it immediately rather than suffer through reading any more of his commenters. I think that if there were more conservatives in academia, they would just dumb it down.

Jonathan Dresner

You're a stronger man than I, SEK.

I don't care how "influential" or "important" they are in the blogosphere, I can't read stuff like that on more than an ocassional basis.

I'm grateful for your willingness to step into the breach. But not for the muppets, which are going to trouble me for the rest of the day. I like muppets, but they are kind of creepy in conjunction with real-live people, particularly without context.

SEK

No need to apologize, Rich. I like Jeff as a person, disagree with him as a FUCKING CRAZY-ASS REPRESENTATIVE OF EVERYTHING THAT'S WRONG WITH AMERICA TODAY ... but since I grew up in the South, I'm an expert in this charitable bit of cognitive dissonance. (Others aren't, I know, but what can I say, I mean, sometimes "alternatives" amount to nothing.)

Jonathan, I have a head-cold best described as "debilitating," so reading Althouse was like a breath of fresh air. I mean, sure, it's like watching Ghost Dog and rooting for the chumps, but I can't help it. I've a sinus-pressure-induced hair-trigger, and I'm going to responsibly depress it given my degree of abject annoyance. Sure, I should just stop posting, but I parsed the above for tenure-denying in-the-moment insanity, so I think I'm alright.

The Constructivist

Hey, it's summer, so enough with the roughhousing, already. How about taking your blog to the course for next week's U.S. Women's Open?

Ginger Yellow

Don't you understand? Althouse is engaged in a new kind of academic blogging - academic blogging as performance art. You just don't get it, do you?

Anyway, isn't it interesting that whenever Althouse lists the mean things other bloggers are calling her, she never includes the most pertinent and common one: rampant narcissist?

Alex

Doubtless Althouse will be around these parts in a flash to spy on what we are saying. Here's what I am saying - Technorati is for los3rs yeah?

Karl Steel

I like Jeff as a person

Huh? this and this

Conservative academics? What about Mark Bauerlein? Oh, wait.

JPool

It seems to me that the most effective and easiest way to make a post not be about a particular individual but about a type of individual would be to include other examples of such individuals (or was this a some kind of embedded satire in which you recreate some Althouse tick where she claims not to be writing a post about a particular person despite the fact that she very clearly is?).
I don't spend a lot of time around Althouse's site, really only visiting it when others have flagged some nutty thing, but I wonder if she's really an example of what you're saying she is and whether you aren't being unfair, if not to her then to the intelligence of the people who read her. On the one hand, she's clearly nuts. Anyone who reads her comments enough to witness her angry shouting at her commentators can see this. On the other hand, while she is an academic who blogs, her blog is not, as far as I can tell, an academic blog. So it seems like either you're saying that readers are incapable of making this distinction, or that all academics (including ones existing under the freedoms provided by tenure) are required to behave professionally on line at all times (which seems to be a favored tack of her on-site critical commentators, needling her as "Professor" and such), lest they lower the standing of other academic bloggers. She should certainly behave much better than she does, because that's what we expect of people in society, but if the public estimation or future of academic blogging is seriously affected by people like her, then you're just screwed.

SEK

Karl:

This was hashed out in a particularly vicious thread (which I lurked on but declined to participate) on Unfogged the other day. I call it cognitive dissonance for a reason, and it's something easier for people who grew up "the good one." One of my best friends was unthinkingly antisemitic (his father, not so much). When you're the only Jew in your high school, you learn to deal.

JPool:

while she is an academic who blogs, her blog is not, as far as I can tell, an academic blog. So it seems like either you're saying that readers are incapable of making this distinction, or that all academics (including ones existing under the freedoms provided by tenure) are required to behave professionally on line at all times (which seems to be a favored tack of her on-site critical commentators, needling her as "Professor" and such), lest they lower the standing of other academic bloggers.

I don't think that anyone who readers her will make this mistake, but one of the problems with the perception of academic blogging is that it's judged largely by people who don't them, but do see Althouse and Reynolds in The New York Times. In other words, I think it's non-readers who make this mistake. That said, yes, I do believe academics should adhere to some higher standard when writing under their own name. It's one thing to do something your peers would consider "frivolous" -- cat-blogging, say -- another entirely to embarrass yourself with sad displays of "analysis," when your value to your institution is ostensibly intellectual cache.

Ginger Yellow:

Performance, I can see, but art? No, I think not.

Alex:

Technorati is for los3rs yeah?

But but but, what else will I do with my time? You want me to work? Heaven forfend!

The Constructivist:

How about taking your blog to the course for next week's U.S. Women's Open?

One day I'll understand your obsession with the LPGA. Wait, scratch that, I probably won't. There's just something about golf; it's appeal fundamentally escapes me.

Scott Lemieux

And let us not forget that she was given a month long slot at the New York Times, fer Chrissakes...

Karl Steel

Scott, I suppose I don't know your history with Jeff G. My reactions to him are all the obvious ones: even bracketing off his politics, I'm repulsed by his violent masculinist fantasies and his tendency to misogyny, and so far as I've looked at it, I find his focus on "intent" monomaniacal and indefensible (simple question: which version of Piers Plowman represents Langland's "intent"? And then the obvious stuff about the problems of being able to isolate intent given our Freudian and Marxist intellectual inheritance). But this is almost too obvious to say.

Re Cognitive D: If you're able to maintain a soft spot in your heart for him, more power to you, I suppose.

Page

... the notion that blogging's the second most masturbatory means of procrastination.

It isn't ?

Jonathan Dresner

It's one thing to do something your peers would consider "frivolous" -- cat-blogging, say -- another entirely to embarrass yourself with sad displays of "analysis," when your value to your institution is ostensibly intellectual cache.

I've yet to see any evidence that the vast majority of academics draw this sort of distinction, and I'd include high quality academic blogging as something they don't distinguish from cat-blogging or LiveJournaling the LPGA.

SEK

I've yet to see any evidence that the vast majority of academics draw this sort of distinction, and I'd include high quality academic blogging as something they don't distinguish from cat-blogging or LiveJournaling the LPGA.

I have, somewhat, but that's because I keep being on panels in which I slowly explain this to them. My problem is that Althouse gives us a bad name partly because, as Scott mentions above, she's got publicity (as does Reynolds). I'm not too worried, though we'll see how I feel when I hit the job market year after next.

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