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September 16, 2006

Let's take a closer look at those nuts

Ann Althouse is bitterly lamenting the mean liberals who showed up to complain about her thread entitled "Let's take a closer look at those breasts."

The breasts in question belong to Jessica Valenti a young activist, blogger, and freelance writer from New York City. Ms. Valenti is the executive editor of the blog Feministing. She also runs NARAL's "Bush v. Choice" blog. Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, Salon, and other publications. She's got a book coming out next year.

Last week, Jessica was one of several prominent liberal bloggers invited to lunch with Bill Clinton at the former president's Harlem office.


On Wednesday, Althouse posted this picture of the happy event, signing off with the following ironic comment, "Let's just array these bloggers... randomly."

Frankly that line would have gone right over my head, but Althouse's commenters got the point:

[First out of the gate with a Monica joke.]
Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?
8:13 AM, September 13, 2006

[19 minutes later, the same joke is just as funny.]
Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?
Dunno, but by her expression, it looks as though she may be getting "a small glimpse at greatness."
8:32 AM, September 13, 2006

[He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos...]
Since we don't know who she is, this is quite the cheap shot: Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?
As such, it would be beneath me to respond, I don't know, but she can deliver my pizza any day.
8:50 AM, September 13, 2006

[First penetration joke. Is Goesh is Ken Starr?]
- no mention of after-dinner cigars I note....
9:49 AM, September 13, 2006

[Brimming with respect for the office, Ann explains why Clinton is a contemptible person, and why bloggers should have dressed better to meet this heinous sex criminal.]
Ann Althouse:
Palladian: I agree that Clinton looks really pink, but why are you assuming it's some generic old white man thing? He could be inflamed with sexual desire. Or teetering on the edge of a heart attack.

And really, I've got to wonder about all the commenters here who don't see the humor in the situation. I don't hate Bill Clinton. I voted for him twice. But, jeez, you've got to be able to laugh at him.

And you've got to laugh at bloggers who show this kind of pliability. This is high on my list of things that make bloggers look different from journalists.
11:22 AM, September 13, 2006

[First complaint about Monica-surrogate's appearance, but I'm sure he doesn't mean in a judgmental way.]
SippicanCottage: "The girl in the center is a hot babe, huh? This is why plain girls go to trekkie conventions. In here, I'm Miss America."

This is all before Jessica Valenti shows up to register mild annoyance that a bunch of strangers are making disparaging comments about her picture and using her image as fodder for crass sexual innuendoes. Note that so far, neither Althouse nor her commenters have the slightest idea who their Monica-surrogate is.

Jessica Feministing:
The, um, "intern" is me. It's so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait...
10:57 PM, September 14, 2006

Ann Althouse:
Well, Jessica, you do appear to be "posing." Maybe it's just an accident.
7:45 AM, September 15, 2006

Jessica Feministing:
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.
9:09 AM, September 15, 2006

Ann Althouse:
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, the sort of thing people razz Katherine Harris about. I really don't know why people who care about feminism don't have any edge against Clinton for the harm he did to the cause of taking sexual harrassment seriously, and 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....
12:03 PM, September 15, 2006

Jessica Feministing:
Of course--the one "representing feminist values" must be the person judging a woman and her "behavior" off of a picture.
12:40 PM, September 15, 2006

The discussion continues at great length.

At 2:10 pm Althouse announces that she's promoted the catfight to the aforementioned Let's take a closer look at those breasts post.

"This isn't a post about how Jessica looks. This is a post about the way she and a bunch of other bloggers played up to Clinton," Althouse insists.

Let's take a closer look at Ann Althouse's Closer Look at Jessica Valenti's breasts.

I agree that, initially, Ann wasn't judging Jessica by her looks. For the most part she and her commenters were just using her picture as fodder for cheap Clinton/Lewinsky laughs. But when Jessica politely objected to the tenor of the discussion, Ann felt compelled to justify her trash talking. After all, Ann Althouse doesn't engage in idle trash talk. No, she's a serious intellectual. There must be a principle at stake.

According to Ann, Jessica deserved the Monica jokes because of her wanton "posing" and her willingness to stand next to Bill Clinton. Then, Jessica's presumptuous complaining sealed her fate:

"Provoked, I decide to actually give her a small dose of the kind of judgment for brains she seems to demanding," Althouse writes.

Notice that Ann is invoking an obscure technicality in the Rules of Feminism: If you think that another woman looks goofy in a picture and you have a substantive ideological disagreement with her, then it's okay to judge her based on her looks. In fact, she's literally asking for it. If you later learn that she runs a blog with a sexy logo, then she double-dog deserved it.

Having decisively established her feminist obligation to ridicule Jessica's appearance, Ann continues.

"Sooooo... apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible? Well, I'm going to assume Jessica's contributions to my comments are an attempt at a comic performance, as was her attendence at the luncheon dressed in the guise of Monica Lewinsky. Lord knows we need more comical feminists.

Or are you going to say she's some kind of Karl Rove plant? Alternatives: She's a clueless fool. She's in it for the money. (And you know the blog money is all in the T-shirts.)," she writes.

Here are some freshly-picked nuts from thread number two.

Ann Althouse:
But I certainly think that to really do a great comic performance, Jessica should have worn a beret. Blue dress would have been good too.
12:51 PM, September 15, 2006

[Rapists are bad, but rape is hilarious.]

Notice Clinton: Can't see his hands and he's checking out the profile like a coyote looking at a pork chop! For appearance sake she should have stood anywhere but directly in front of the lech in Chief.

This intern has her line in the water and is trolling for Clinton saying "you can look, but don't touch the bait!"

Maybe she thinks she really can have it all!

1:11 PM, September 15, 2006

[Pop Ev Psych, at last! We've been expecting you.]
Old Dad:
From a Darwinian perspective, Femisnisting was simply featuring what she perceives to be natural advantages. Sexual display for a powerful male is quite common in Washigton, by that I mean the animal kingdom. And the old lech, I mean President Clinton, is obviously enjoying the show.

I don't know whether or not orthodox feminists should behave in said manner. From a survival of the fittest perpsective, it's probably a bit dangerous around Bill Clinton.
1:20 PM, September 15, 2006

A little later, Jessica returns.

Jessica Feministing:
Wow, Ann. You certainly like talking about my breasts. You know, if you feature t-shirts for women, they tend of have breasts in them. And as for my "pose," I moved to the side because I figured that people would be more interested in seeing Clinton than me standing directly in front of him.

As for attacking the content of my site, that's just kind of low. I posted about this on feministing because I was trying to make a point about the insanity that is feminists attacking each other. This is just kind of sad.
2:50 PM, September 15, 2006

Ann Althouse:
Jessica: Why don't you attempt a substantive defense of your own blog instead of saying things here are "low" and "sad"? I'm really disgusted with women fawning over Clinton and playing up to him. Why not read the posts I've linked to here, like this one, and get to some serious reflection about feminism? You come across as a lightweight seeking attention on the web for pretty much nothing. You load up your blog with breasts, and then you're offended why someone points it out. That's low and sad if you want to just dribble out three letter words.

You do not impress me at all. I don't see how you have a damn thing to do with feminism. You seem like a self-promoter appropriating and debasing a word that's important. You've got a lot of explaining to do. I can see why you prefer to go on the offensive and attack me. But all you're attacking me for is something I pointed out about you. Why don't you defend yourself? Or better yet, why don't you try blogging without those crappy silhouettes and tight T-shirts? And start taking what Clinton did seriously. Then I might begin to have some respect for you. But I expect you'll just come back with another wow, Ann, you're really low and sad to talk about my breasts comment. And that will be totally lame, let me say in advance. It's obvious that you're bending over backwards -- figuratively and literally -- to keep the attention on your breasts. How about some actual intellectual substance instead?
3:19 PM, September 15, 2006

Seven Machos:
I think the main idea here is that it is very, very difficult to pose with the president with your tits hoisted and in a little grey t-shirt and be taken seriously as an intellectual.
So, to review:

1. Hoist your tits and pose.

2. Be a serious mover and shaker in the intellectual world.

3. Both.

The subject of the debate clearly has succeeeded at (1). It appears based on the evidence that she has failed at (2). [...]
2:56 PM, September 15, 2006

[Macho man does his part for feminism.]
Seven Machos:
Actually, Doyle, this disaster of a discussion began with someone who clearly doesn't understand the engineering brilliance of a good modern bra calling a grossly average-looking woman "unusually attractive."
3:43 PM, September 15, 2006

[Sluts shouldn't pretend to be accomplished professionals, it's confusing.]
price said...
This is my favorite post in a long time. This Jessica chick could have gone really far with just saying, 'yeah, I do sort of look like that,' and laugh it off. But when she got all highfalutin' about her blog's mission, she completely invited Ann's hilarious remarks.

If she just pulled an Ana Marie Cox and admitted her slutty sensibility, people would respect her honesty and therefore intellectual integrity even more.
4:24 PM, September 15, 2006

[Seven Machos invokes the spretza-tits-azzura principle (aka, the law of of effortless mammary mastery), which would seem to contradict his earlier advice that sluts should just own up to their sluttiness, but I'm not going to worry my pretty little head about it.]:

Seven Machos:
The post by tcd nails it. If she just pulled an Ana Marie Cox and admitted her slutty sensibility, people would respect her honesty and therefore intellectual integrity even more.

You absolutely can be intellectual and powerful and sexy. The woman's problem is that she obviously puts a lot of thought into being sexy but doesn't seem to want to admit it. There's a certain fraud being perpetrated as a result.
4:31 PM, September 15, 2006

[You fools, not Monica, Paula Jones!]
I agree with Ann that Bill's ruddy color in the photo is probably due to lust rather than age. Given this, and given that Jessica the Chaste bears some resemblance to Paula Jones, it is likely that Lusty Bill will contact Jessica the next time he is in her city. And if he does, will she agree to inform all of us of this as well as about the specifics of anything that transpires later?
6:27 PM, September 15, 2006

[Clinton's a rapist, but I'd rape her, too. And so would Charles Darwin!]
Shaky Barnes:
Ewwww, this Jessica clearly is a real nosebleed. Nevertheless I'd like to see her necked and introduce her to my little Republican friend ... if you know what I mean. Damned evolution.
8:40 PM, September 15, 2006

[JP, for one, fears our new boobie overlords.]
J. Peden:

"Do you have to be ugly to be a feminist?" - Candy

Candy, if you are a gender-feminist, you are ugly.

Gender-feminists [total hat-tip to Christina Hoff Sommers] are Female Supremists, who believe that Males are inferior, evil, and need to be enslaved. Think, Racist.

11:47 PM, September 15, 2006

[Cry boobofascism! And lube the dogs of war!]
J. Peden:
Karl, the echos from the cult chambers leak out, but nothing gets in. A mind is a terrible thing to entomb, as the Fliberals seem to know, at least subconsciously. What's worse is that their straits are their own doing, and they know that, too. That's why they love their brothers in this psychopathic cult, the Islamofascists, and can't miss the outcome thus engineered, Death. They are all bonded by death worship. They all fear life more than death.

1:19 AM, September 16, 2006

[The shorter Mr. Snitch: Darwin! Clinton is a sexual predator, blame feminists--saaaay, did anyone notice that Jane Hamsher and Christie Hardin Smith are HOTT?! BTW, have I told you lately what a nice guy I am for recognizing gorgeous women over 30?]
Mr. Snitch:

400+ comments says it all. When men stop looking at breasts, mankind goes on the endangered species list.

Men looking at breasts and other physical female attributes isn't the problem, never was. It's what they're willing to do for that (and more than that) that's the problem. Clinton having a fantasy about an intern wasn't the problem. But yielding to it, being a man in the situation he was in (US President, married) caused all kinds of problems, and not just for him.

Women like Jessica, who pose as 'feminists' while offering plenty of cheesecake and then ciriticizing men who take the bait, are all too common. Recognize them for the predaory hypocrites they are, and move on to better women.

I mean, there's a VERY attractive blonde two doors over, who might be warm and supportive and quite flattered if you told her she was beautiful. (Hmm.... for that matter, the redheaded woman between them might have more going for her than a photo can convey, and might also be open to attention.) Why would anyone knock on Jessica's vain, unhealthy door with such possibilities right nearby?

Oh, wait. Look closer: The slightly heavy redhead's married. Someone has figured her out for the prize she is. And hey - Jessica's NOT married. Huh. Maybe men aren't as dumb as she claims.

12:27 PM, September 16, 2006

Sisterhood is indeed powerful.

It's ironic that we feminists are continually accused of making spurious charges of sexual harassment and rape. Yet many of our accusers think it's okay to accuse the former POTUS of sexual harassment and rape without supplying any evidence whatsoever and argue from their fantasy sexcrime to feminist hypocrisy.

Seriously, wingnuts, within your small, isolated subculture it may be accepted fact that Bill Clinton is a rapist, and that Hillary killed Vince Foster so Bill couldn't rape him any more, that the Clintons sexually harassed people with those bathroom fixtures they stole from the White House, and that Bill kept an entire airport waiting for hours while he raped someone on the runway at LAX. However, you must bear in mind that normal people don't even keep track of your conspiracy theories, let alone believe them.

Here's a tip for looking less crazy. If you want to accuse someone of hypocrisy, you've got to start with what they believe, and find something they've done that's inconsistent with their beliefs. Your beliefs don't count for gauging someone else's hypocrisy. If someone does something that doesn't square with your paranoid fantasy plus their ideology, that's not hypocrisy on their part. Sorry.


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Breasts. Breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts. Breasts. Breasts, breasts, breasts. Breasts! Breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts, breasts! Breasts, breasts, breasts. Breasts, breasts! Breasts. There. Now, if Ann Outhouse wants to... [Read More]


Yup. As always: if the silly fuck had just owned up that, okay, was having a "meow" moment, just, cause, know, Clinton, and you, well...anyway, sorry about that...

it'd be over by now. Or well a lot closer to it anyway.

But no.

So, sure, keep digging, Ann. May as well at this point. Let's see if you can make it all the way to China.

and hope that when you emerge and say something stupid-as-shit about them, too, they'll whack you upside the head with the shovel.

>but the absolute ugliness of the Althouse threads have also had the unintended effect of suddenly making me uncomfortable with all the breast-based mockery of that crazy Atlas Shrugged lady that goes on in left Blogistan, including by writers I really respect like James Wolcott. While rightly decrying the ugliness directed at Ms. Valenti, perhaps we might collectively think about getting our own house in order, too?>


Brian: I wasn't thinking of you specifically. I was thinking more of some of the commenters at Althouse's blog in addition to many, many past commenters here who relied on much flimsier pretexts than you. And yes, I understand what satire is, although I think it's abused as an excuse.

Dave: Her videos are about as nutty as they come. And she doesn't use her last name on her blog, but it's not hard to find if you feel like it.

Aeroman, I see what you're getting at. There are some really nasty people out there, even on progressive blogs. I even felt bad when some commenters started insulting Ann Althouse's appearance. I'm furious at her, but it made me uncomfortable to have people insulting her her looks. Instapundit is the same age and conspired in the same backstabbing bullshit and he didn't get nearly the fallout about his looks. Maybe it's just because he doesn't have comments, but I suspect he's not getting snide remarks about,say, how he's just jealous of Jessica because she has more hair than he does.

Still, there is also plenty of good natured bantering. It's welcome from people I like and trust. The folks on this thread are friends. Aravosis's commenters often make bawdy jokes, but it's not a big deal because it's between friends.

You're right all too often beneficiaries of male privilege show up and disrespect strangers, only to plead that they were joking and fault women for objecting.

Well, I did say she had a mean-looking little mouth, even without taking into account what's been coming out of it, but really that's more of a personality, hell, let's be honest, DGAS, i wanted to hurt her back. but i still could've gone a lot further below the belt, and didn't.

>Jessica: Why don't you attempt a substantive defense of your own blog instead of saying things here are "low" and "sad"? I'm really disgusted with women fawning over Clinton and playing up to him....>

And that right there is all you need to know. Jessica comes and directly confronts her: look, this is hurtful, this is what the sitch was, knock it off now, please.

Thingie responds with, well, check it: -classic- bullying technique. Shift it back onto her, up the stakes, -change- the rules midstream, attempt to shame-dump...

yeah. Why doesn't she attempt a substantive defense of her own blog? Because she shouldn't have been under attack in the damn first place, you incredible creep, even if it HAD been a "substantial" critique. And you're just gonna keep getting nastier and nastier and nastier, because 1) you ARE nasty 2) christ Jesus forbid you ever utter anything remotely resembling the words "you're right, I apologize."

Fuck you, ghoul.

The image of pieces of "Mr. Snitch" having to be picked up off the floor after he tries hitting on Jane Hamsher is almost funny enough to make having read this whole display of right-wing psychosis worthwhile. Almost.

I note that Jane quotes you over at FDL, Lindsay, but I'm too lazy to figure out how to link to the post. Just look for the notorious photo of Pam, folks.

I have the impression that Pamela video segments are loonier, but I've never watched one

Well, you might want to do that before passing judgement on Wolcott etc. There's a pretty sharp and clear line between Pam's fanservice videoblogging (in a bikini at the beach, or lip-synching to "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me") and Jessica being photographed in the same room as the Clenis.

Also, Pam is batshit crazy, whereas Jessica is a serious blogger, writer, and soon-to-be book author. There's that.

...god, reading through to the end of that is making me ill.

really even more basic:

"Why don't you defend yourself?"

What a question, eh?


DJA, speaking only for myself, I don't think the two situations are exactly analogous, but after reading several very good analyses of the attacks on Ms. Valenti for having a female body, suddenly all the "Atlas Juggs" jokes start to read a little differently. And surely there are enough ways to attack Pamela without going to the boobs place (stupid, Arab-hating lunatic, anyone?), even if I did giggle indecently at Wolcott's "Sorrow and the Titties" headline.

In situations like this, I'm always reminded of Alexander Pope's words:

"[D]eformity becomes an object of ridicule when a man sets up for being handsome; and so must dulness when he sets up for a wit. They are not ridiculed because ridicule in itself is, or ought to be, a pleasure, but because it is just to undeceive and vindicate the honest and unpretending part of mankind from imposition, because particular interest ought to yield to general, and a great number who are not naturally fools ought never to be made so, in complaisance to a few who are."

LB, your stomach is stronger than mine. I couldn't make it half way through that thread. Oy.

Banter is a difficult subject, to say the least.

Matt Yglesias recently had a strong, if flawed, post that referred to the role of essays in college admissions, and the way that "character" enabled discrimination in tough-to-trace ways. I worry that an environment of sexualized banter may do the same thing, to the detriment of people unwilling to conform to accepted paradigms of sexuality. Ability to engage in sexual banter in the accepted form often becomes a sort of professional currency, to the detriment of capable people who are less able to engage in it. Banter seems to often favor attractive straight people and non-straight people willing to engage in stereotypes like the boy-crazed gay clown. People whose preferences/identities are less compatible with that kind of banter may suffer either from being unable to participate, or from perceiving it as necessary.

On the other hand, I certainly acknowledge the experience of working myself to the bone next to someone and developing a type of closeness that might include some harmless, steam-releasing flirtiness. It happens, and there's nothing inherently wrong with it.

The difficulty seems to arise from the forum itself. On the one hand, commenters here are friends, either from the blog or from elsewhere, who have earned that kind of intimacy. On the other, strangers may be looking through, trying to figure out where they stand.

In conclusion, the internet is hard. That's all I've got!

Also, "fanservice" captures Pamela's blog perfectly, even if only the nerdy will understand.

Feathers McGraw,
What DJA said is true, Pamela at Atlas Shrugs it nuttier than a tree full of fox squirrels and there does seem to be the implication by both herself and her supporters that there are, as Joe Bob Briggs might say, two specific reasons to view her vlogs. That being said, I see a whole lot of "Atlas Juggs" cracks that do indeed seem to be little more than an easy, lazy crack from that sort of background radiation level mysoginy that infects modern society.

The sad, sorry fact is a whole lot of progressive/Democratic/liberal/left blogs' comments sections aren't the paradise of inclusiveness and tolerence we all wish they were. Classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and various other things we'd rather not own up to are ingrained parts of our culture. I can't be the only one who gets oogies at "Mann Coulter" cracks or cackles of glee at a GOP ne'er-do-well's future career as a prison bitch. It's not often and it's definately not the norm, but it's there.

And this whole kerfluffle comes from those ingrained, cultural reasons to be an asshole. An attractive woman in front of Clinton? Easy joke. Easy reason to be an asshole. No real reason and for no real gain, it's just mind-boggling to think that I'm still supposed to take these people seriously in the realm of political debate. The whole broad range of screaching from the wingnut side has just been rediculously pointless, it's disturbing to me to think they're considered "moderate".

Actually, American politics hasn't made much sense to me since I quit drinkin'. I imagine that might have something to do with it.

"I mean, there's a VERY attractive blonde two doors over, who might be warm and supportive and quite flattered if you told her she was beautiful."

I would love to see this guy try to hit on Jane Hamsher. He'd come away with the same bloody stump that Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone did when they tried it.

I can't believe I wasted nearly two hours of my life last night reading this shit on Althouse. You made excellent points in the comments, Lindsay. But it's impossible to talk sense to that person.

Maybe numbers instead -- as in counting tit hits? Let's look at Ann Althouse' s Site Meter -- and what she has to say about her Site Meter and blogging.

I've been reading the comments, back and forth, here and there on this topic but I've refrained from commenting mainly because I thought the original 'clinton jokes' were funny. Watching the rhetoric pile up, I saw no reason to add fuel to the fire. At the same time, I certainly see why Valenti was upset. She got sideswiped pretty badly.

My compliments to you Lindsay, I think you have made your case well. Even if I don't completely agree with you, you've made me think, which is why I like your blog. The main problem here, as I see it, is not who's a truer feminist, who's right or wrong, but rather that no one is really listening to the other.

Valenti got sideswiped because she was 'with Clinton' and reminded some who saw the photo enough of his 'betrayal of feminism' to get them good and mad. Initially she was just an easy, anonymous target. Althouse was talking from her gut, not her brain. She didn't represent herself as well as you have, and I think she owes Valenti an apology. That said, I think her anger is honest and her criticism of feminists who associate with Clinton has some validity.

More than anything, I think she needs to learn not to post when she is angry. Good advise for everyone.

I think the University of Wisconsin would be very interested to hear about Ann Althouse's treatment of Jessica. I often disagree with her, and find her popularity totally mystifying, but this is the first time I've found her wrong on a purely moral level. It's the first time she's gone from someone who I think is wrong about a lot of things to someone who I think is a bad person. Who shouldn't be teaching young women Jessica's age (27? A little older than most law school students, but not much) if that's her attitude towards young professional women.

This--belittling someone, making fun of her looks, and inciting a misogynist audience--is really beyond the pale for a public intellectual who blogs under her real name and uses the reputation of her employer as part of her web presence.

I plan to write their law school on Monday morning with some of the comments Althouse made. If you do the same, obviously, be nice about it, it's not their fault, nor is anything Althouse's done or said illegal. But I see nothing wrong with informing her employers--UW is an educational (and public) institution, and it reflects very badly on them when one of their most prominent employees acts this disgracefully. She's not a lawyer, or, for that matter a programmer or athlete or accountant or stonemason--she's a teacher. The ideas she presents publicly are significant because HER JOB is the transmission of ideas.

For the record, I've gotten in trouble with my employer for things I wrote on a blog. I'm glad it happened--it was an immature thing to do, and realizing that you can do harm, even if it's totally inadvertant, to the people who cut your checks in good faith is a very real thing, and I felt like an asshole for it. And if you blog under your real name and cite your employer on a regular basis, like I do now, you can whinge all you want about being able to speak your mind, but they can also call you on it. This, I think, is one of those times where it would be a good thing for all involved.

Feathers, Matt T., Dave,

There's a big difference between being an intelligent, assertive, substantial feminist blogger who is attractive and unashamed versus a ditzy antifeminist lunatic who never met a stereotype she wasn't afraid to play up.

And it's got nothing to do with the amount of skin shown -- one feminist blogger is a nude model who posts pictures from her portfolio on her blog, and most people don't seem to see any inherent contradiction there.

What it's really about is whether you're actively fighting the patriarchy, or performing little tricks for them in the hopes of earning some treats.

Put another way: the difference between Jessica and Pam is like the difference between Neko Case and singing sensation Paris Hilton.

What I despised was how A.A. used Jessica Valenti's body:

(1) as a prop to make a rhetorical point
(2) to get attention and publicity
(3) to criticize Jessica in a totally inappropriate manner
(4) as bait to attract horn dogs to her site. And then she allowed them to use Jessica's body as a site of homosocial bonding. ie - "I'd do her!" "But she's a slut!"

Instapundit is the same age and conspired in the same backstabbing bullshit and he didn't get nearly the fallout about his looks.

Yeah - it's easy to use the body/looks to attack women (young, old, short, tall) -- whatever -- women's bodies are easy to attack rhetorically for obvious reasons. It's much less common for people to attack men on the basis of their looks, because the attack doesn't carry nearly as much weight in our culture.

Okay, I gave Ms. Valenti a sensible, conservative makeover. As you can see, she can't help but receive admiring glances from Commander Codpiece. You can tell he's thinking about giving her one of his trademark shoulder rubs, and you know she wants it.


Here's a slightly improved image of you as Madame Secretary of State. I restored the polka dots on your shirt and the necklace too, because one of the most important things a woman in power must learn is how to properly accessorize. That is, if you REALLY want the boys' attention.

whetstone, although I agree with belledame222's suggestion that Ann and her readers simply seemed to be knitting a sweater out of hoary Clinton-hating navel lint:

had just owned up that, okay, was having a "meow" moment, just, cause, know, Clinton, and you, well...anyway, sorry about that...

it'd be over by now. Or well a lot closer to it anyway.

I also agree with what I think Lindsay said above, that you shouldn't try to bring heat from Ann's bosses upon her head. Even if Ann Althouse were saying the things that Ann Coulter does, it seems a chickenshit thing to do. Not only for the reason that Lindsay cites, that our bosses already have too much power over our private lives, speech and all (though I agree with that). We should allow Ann her opinions because her free will is intrinsically to be respected. The blogosphere needs, above all, to be a place where ideas can be freely exchanged--offensive ideas, horrifying ideas, good ideas, and all the rest. It's as certain as night following day: we send one of their guys off for writing something that offends us, they'll send one of ours off for the same reason.

If you have an issue with what someone says, the answer is not to tattle to their boss; go to the person him- or herself, and tell him or her exactly what you think and why. One of a few things will happen: 1) the person will listen to reason and say "you've got a point;" 2) the person will say "you've got a point, but:" and list their own rejoinders; or 3) they'll disparage or disregard your opinion. Should we not allow our opponents to choose option 3? Should we order them to bow to our own views? This leaves out the fact, though we never like to admit it, that at least three things are possible when two people disagree: 1) we're wrong; 2) they're wrong; 3) we're both wrong. The third of those possibilities occurs far more often than most of us would like, or would like to admit; but if you feel it's very clear that the other side is indeed wrong, then your good argument should be sufficient to show it. If it's not, and the other person is persisting in living in error, then again, a few possibilities emerge: 1) they are often so wrong, and in many ways, or very badly, in which case their errors will bring their own punishments and difficulties; or 2) they are seldom so wrong, or aren't wrong to a bad degree, in which case they will neither get, nor _deserve_ many punishments or difficulties, because they aren't really offending that many people very badly. But to say that their mere airing of their views, however offensive, deserves punishment, is un-American and counter to that most basic human right of free speech. Also, if we quash the speech that offends us, we are depriving the offender of the chance to air and discuss his or her views; without this opportunity, will those now-unchallenged views not lead their bearer into even worse errors than they would otherwise?

Don't start a letter-writing campaign to get her disciplined or fired, please. Let your ideas speak for themselves, and if they don't suffice, then let your opponent use their free will. The answer to bad speech is more speech.


>Not only for the reason that Lindsay cites, that our bosses already have too much power over our private lives, speech and all (though I agree with that).

Er, obviously that means, I agree with Lindsay's mentioning that they have too much power, not that I agree that they should have so much power.

Yeah, plus, honestly, you know what: I think the constant outpouring of disdain is really making her writhe. If people go over her head, she can pull the "see, they ARE out to get me!" martyr bit and feel vindicated. If you try to shut her down, that means she's IMPORTANT, see. I wouldn't give her the satisfaction. Just keep mockin' in the free world. And keep giving more support to Jessica and others, and be sure to make rather loud and pointed announcements whenever she or any of the other feminist bloggers win an award, get published, or any other reward that Annie ain't gettin'. Nothin' a narcissist hates more.

Good points again belledame, true. I had noticed that Ann had put a comment on her blog about Lindsay earlier, saying in effect that "I've heard Lindsay of Majikthise has put angry words about me on her blog, but she's a woman with strong opinions, so I have to give it to her, and more power to her." So conciliator that I hope to be, I did find it sad to see this post. But when I look at that photo of Jessica, I _really_ feel like it's reaching to read anything into either her pose, her dress, her possession of bosoms, or the fact that she's standing in front of a guy who once had sex.

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