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March 27, 2007

Ann Althouse on Bloggingheads.TV

Welcome, viewers: Here's the Jessica Valenti breast controversy post you're looking for.

I'm told that posted a memorable exchange between Ann Althouse and Garance Franke-Ruta in which Althouse appears very angry at Ruta. I haven't seen the video because I'm a Mac user and I can't get to play on my machine. Does anyone have the video in a more Mac-friendly format?

Althouse is blogging about the exchange here.


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I watched it on my MacBook without a problem. Is there a plugin you can download?

It's quite remarkable. Five minutes in, after AA hounds GFR relentlessly to tell her exactly why liberal bloggers (esp. GFR's "friends at TAPPED") are so very nasty and vicious to her, GFR says she doesn't remember hearing anything bad about AA until the "Jessica Valenti Breast Controversy." From there on out, for a solid five minutes, AA wails and cries that GFR is using inflammatory, slanderous language to take what happened out of context. She never admits that something actually happened at all. When she's had her fill of wailing, she smiles pertly until GFR apologizes for seeming to upset her, which gets AA wailing again. There's no resolution, just contentless wailing about these nameless "friends" of GFR's who are out to ruin her.

I assume she's mostly referring to Scott, and mostly what he writes at LGM, not his work at TAPPED. But she never responds to the event as if it was about something, just complains that Bloggingheads shouldn't discuss "flamewars" because they are boring.

And thanks for posting the clarified link to your coverage. I think now, as well as then, it speaks for itself.

AWB, is there a plugin I can download without paying? I clicked the link proffered, but the only option was some kind of premium for-pay plugin. I know we share the virtue of thrift, so I figured if anyone had beat me to the bargain plugin, you might be the one.

I think if you download the free Real player plugin, it should work. Go to and there's a free one there.

Yes, I'm using OS X as well and the free RealPlayer download should work. And honestly, if there were ever a reason to download an app, this is it. Click the "Is Ann a conservative?..." link on Bloggingheads and scroll to the 5 minute mark.

Wow, that was . . . something . . .

I tend to steer far clear of Althouse's website, and wathching this excruciating spectacle only confirmed that this has been a wise course.

However - and I'll preface this by saying that I'm extremely wary of armchair psychoanalysis and the danger of ascribing mental illnesses to those one disagrees with (which is sort of like the ultimate ad hominem attack) --

but I found this comment in the forum, by someone who claims first-hand experience with a family member with high-functioning autism/Asperger's, to be incredibly insightful and interesting -- and whether there's anything to it or not, it sort of allowed me to break through my visceral outrage and I found myself actually feeling sorry for her.

And whether there's anything clinically pathological with her or not, after everything I've read about and by her (including of course the -- I'll say it -- Feministing Breast Scandal, as well as her bizarre dust-up with Glenn Greenwald a few months back), upon reflection I'm not sure that sympathy isn't really the most appropriate emotional reaction...

You can watch it on You Tube:

Mail that link around to everyone you know.

This is actually good news, sort of like a suicide bomber blowing himself up on the way to the target, doing no damage to anyone else but destroying himself utterly.

Considering Ann's nastiness and mendacity, it's good when her credibility suffers.

How did you know people would be looking for that post of yours? I actually posted a link to it from bloggingheads' forum, since it is one of the best summaries and contains links to all the other good stuff written about it.

Hey, you ought to get a spot on bloggingheads! You'd be great.

I second the idea of Lindsey Beyerstein appearing on that website.

I just listened to the Bloggerheads clip and I didn't hear a thing about Jessica. Could they have cut it? I didn't hear any of the clip that White Bear describes.

I watched half of it before I got sick of GFR's backpeddaling. Someone needed to tell AA that people attack her because she did a very bad thing, and if she takes offense that that's just tough.

suzib -

You can hear the part which mentions Jessica Valenti at:

Amanda points us to David Neiwert's dissection of Althouse "shouting herself in the foot". Several alternatives to BH are linked there.

AA is right. GFR is baiting her, and quite successfully. AA demonstrates that the right is, indeed, much more calm and impersonal when it comes to a little criticism.

Althouse is stupid. How do I know? She voted for Gore in 2000 and Bush in 2004.

That video is amazing. I need a cigarette.

Dave Neiwert posted a transcript. My favorite line is where Althouse says GFR's friends are trying to kill her: "Well, you were raising it within a context of people who are trying to assassinate me on frequent occasions..."

(Yes, I know what she really means...but I think what she actually said is kind of revealing.)

Ann Althouse was not justified in a-sploding in response to that innocuous comment. I agree with Ann, though, that the vapid encomiasts of Pandagon and Feministing (aka the cabal of women with worthless degrees) have been nasty to her.

Twin Swords, I saw a bunch of traffic coming over sitemeter from So, I went over and I read your comment and saw that you'd linked approvingly to my blog, but I didn't see a link to the specific post, so I thought I should supply one. Thanks for the boost.

I disagree with GFR pretty strongly sometimes, but Althouse behaved like a freak. How was GFR 'baiting' her? She responded directly to AA's (rhetorical, I guess) question with a mention of the only controversy she (GFR) was familier with; she merely mentioned it, and BOOM.

I guess the point is that Althouse's question was rhetorical. She's not really interested in understanding why people on the left criticize her. She has since said that she was 'standing her ground', but of course she wasn't standing her ground at all. Doing that would've involved talking substantively about the 'controversy' in question, or talking substantively about something. Sorry, but Althouse is an asshole (this is only further proof). You'd think a law professor would be more comfortable with rational argument, rather than using vague, dysfunctional attacks. Just read the Valenti thread. What IS she so upset about?

BTW, the original Bloggingheads clip worked fine on my mac (via Safari).

I can view on my mac. Safari works OK. Firefox works better.

I think that it was staged. Did AA really not expect to get asked about that, given how she was pushing the why-are-they-mean-to-me question? She's a lawyer. She had to expect that response, she did this on purpose. (That, or she's a total loon).

All an act. This is reason enough for me to not think well of her; either she's unhinged, or baiting someone into asking her a question so she can fake shock, outrage, and surprise.

I'm fascinated by the presumption that so many sexists make that anyone self-styled feminist blogger must have a degree in women's studies. That, or Robert O'Brien thinks that literature is a worthless field, since that's what my degree is in. Which I suppose wouldn't surprise me, with the anti-beauty/anti-pleasure leanings of the American right these days. Before we know it, they'll be a ban on poetry and music after the American Taliban is finished.

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