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March 26, 2007

The Greatest BloggingHeads Ever

I was going to write this whole post solving, for Ann Althouse, the mystery of why progressive bloggers don't like her. But never mind. Really, I just beg you to go watch her flip out on BloggingHeads when Garance mentions the Jessica Valenti episode (which is certainly the root of my dislike for Althouse). Click on this link, scroll to 5:07, and settle in for the Greatest BloggingHeads Performance of All Time! I wish I could keep it in my pocket for moments when I'm feeling blue.

Update: Althouse's comments actually got me thinking about conservative bloggers I like. The problem is, so many of them are libertarians. The crew at Hit & Run, Julian Sanchez, Will Wilkinson, Michael Cannon, Megan McArdle, Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, and so forth. But they're not really Republicans in any serious sense of the word. I've always liked the crew at Tigerhawk, and I don't really know how Ross Douthat votes but I'm hoping, for the sake of this paragraph, that he swings right (and categorizing Reihan strikes me as hopeless). Captain's Quarters has long struck me as pretty savvy, and I think The American Spectator's blog is actually pretty good. I used to read The Corner, and still think they're really interesting, but for some reason, their site keeps freezing Firefox, so I don't go as often anymore. Who've you got?

Oh, and so long as I'm responding to Althouse more substantively, I really have no idea where her policy preferences lie. 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. But my primary reaction to Althouse stem from her treatment of Jessica, which was, to me, unforgivable.

March 26, 2007 | Permalink


I'm not sure what's so interesting about The Corner except the window it offers into the paranoid posture of contemporary conservatives. I read it often too, but except for John Derbyshire, they are all hacks hacks hacks. Party of Death? Liberal Fascism? Legacy? Can She Be Stopped? These are the tomes these people cook up when they're not offering us their inane pop culture commentary or recycling the same trite points that every other conservative media outlet uses. And K-Lo is probably too stupid to be allowed to wander the streets unattended, let alone write a book.

The reason you can't think of many good conservative blogs is probably because conservatives don't bother much with quality any more, as you yourself have pointed out on a pretty consistent basis.

Posted by: Ashish George | Mar 26, 2007 6:36:20 PM

I think one could get into why Althouse - and her bog - are quite like they are, but it involves psychologizing on a personal level I'm not necessarily comfortable getting into (though Lord knows, she sure invites it).

I agree with you about Captains Quarters, and the Corner trouble you mention I've found as well - I think it has something to do with their banner ads, because sometimes it freezes, and other times it's just fine.

I also read RedState, which has some interesting takes from a variety of posters, though you have to slog past a lot of frothy hard right anger to get things that are useful; I also find Michelle Malkin least objectionable of a bad bunch, and I'm likeing more of Hugh Hewitt, now that it's less Hugh Hewitt. I wish Matthew Continetti blogged on his own... I can't really bother to slog much through The Weekly Standard site what with Kristol and Barnes. I also occasionally catch The Anchoress and LaShawn Barber - the Anchoress can get very Catholic, and Barber's very off and on with her blogging these days.

I think more than libertarian, I rpefer to read conservative women - they're less likely to be quite so knee jerk, and when they are knee jerk, they're less likely to ba quite as annoying; and they tend to have a breadth of interests that's wider than the (largely white, largely male) pure political types. I do also read Althouse. And Garance. :) Though I don't think she knows just how much of a fan I am.

Posted by: weboy | Mar 26, 2007 6:36:41 PM

Daniel Drezner
Gregory Djerejian (Belgravia Dispatch)

I read or used to read a few others (Professor Bainbridge, Steve Dillard at SouthernAppeal.org).

Back in the day I used to like the guys from tacitus (now redstate?), but I think they've become more hacktackular since 2004.

For some reason, whatever's left of the Rockefeller Republicans doesn't exist in blog world. It's all libertarians or Bush partisans. So it is hard to find reasonable people with whom you might disagree.

"Expand my list of reality-based Republican bloggers" has been on my todo list.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Mar 26, 2007 6:47:13 PM

Daniel Larison is sharp and interesting in a really kind of alien way.

Posted by: LarryM | Mar 26, 2007 6:51:42 PM

The Althouse grossly over-reacted and childish (I'll take my toys and go home) response to Garance's mild point that Althouse's attack on Jessica was one of the reasons that the left blogs don't like her, was telling.

Althouse displayed all the classic indicators of someone who is in deep denial that she had gone over the line regarding Jessica. This is a deeply insecure person and active-aggressive person (the kind that you don't want to be in a room with if there is a gun or knife handy).

I really do think you, Ezra, should someday produce a comprehensive response to Althouse on why the left blogs find her repulsive.

She needs an intervention, and interventions start with facing reality and the facts of her previous behavior. Maybe you could manage the co-production of a response involving those other bloggers who want to join in. Give her a final draft before publishing with a deadline for response.

Until she accepts that her behavior mode if the problem, the air won't be cleared and she'll continue thinking and saying that she's innocent, pure, and enlightened.

(BTW, I think Garance went way to far in retreating into submission, which just reinforces Althouse's use of aggression. Garance could have replied that there appear to reasons why progressive bloggers oppose her and suggest that she solicit from the progressives why that is.)

Ann is a real piece of work, for sure, and seeing her on video makes that real clear.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Mar 26, 2007 6:56:17 PM

Garance was obviously thrown for a loop, and I can hardly blame her. I, too, was watching and wishing she would stick it to Althouse, but it's easier to be a spectator thinking about all the things you would say than it is to have the presence of mind when you are put on the spot like that.

Even though it's only Blogginheads.

Posted by: Jason | Mar 26, 2007 7:03:21 PM

Jim - I'd just say your response would be the starting point for what I'd like to say - "piece of work" I think kind of sums it up - but in defense of Garance (I am, after all, a fan), I think she responded as one does when conversations derail in quite this way, and I say that as someone who has, at times, gotten set off oddly by an apparent offhand remark. Sure it encourages Althouse to some degree, but I think it's one of those "don't antagonize the crazy lady" responses (and I'm not saying Althouse is crazy) that people do when faced with unexpected behavior. And I think her "why aren't they nice to me" petulance sort of answers itself, really. They would be... except that I think you get back what you give.

Posted by: weboy | Mar 26, 2007 7:06:34 PM

Does Andrew Sullivan count as a conservative? Whatever he is, he's astonishingly readable.

"I'm not sure what's so interesting about The Corner except the window it offers into the paranoid posture of contemporary conservatives."

I'm not sure either, but like you I still read it. Really, I dunno what's going on there.

Posted by: Korha | Mar 26, 2007 7:08:35 PM

This episode of Blogging Heads even tops Althouse's passive aggressive attack of Doughy.


Posted by: mrbubbs | Mar 26, 2007 7:11:05 PM

Andrew Sullivan, Gregory Djerjian, John Cole, Michael Totten (for foreign affairs stuff), The Cunning Realist, John Derbyshire (and on that note, I like Mark Steyn's Post Mortem column in The Atlantic but not his political writing), and (for a bit of the European touch) Oliver Kamm. I enjoy some of the stuff put out by The American Conservative and every once in a while, The National Review still surprises with something good.

Posted by: James F. Elliott | Mar 26, 2007 7:11:46 PM

I know scarcely anything about Althouse or Garance and I had forgotten the Jessica Valenti 'debacle', so I was both confused and quite taken aback by Althouse's seemingly sincere, but very misguided and unfair outrage toward Garance, whom I thought had been very polite, certainly more than polite enough to afford her due courtesy in response. Althouse seemed to have been unreasonably asking Garance to be an avatar of the progressive left and therefore responsible for their treatment of her. I admit that I admire Garance for persisting in her decorum and not escalating, which would feed Althouse's persecution complex, the affair.

As for reading conservative weblogs, I find myself in a like problem, most of them that I read are really libertarian (Asymmetrical Information, The Volokh Conspiracy, Marginal Revolutions, QandO). The only unambiguously conservative ones that I read are Right Wing News, which I don't take to seriously since Hawkins is far too obnoxious and too much a 'true believer for my taste, RedState, which seems to have declined severely in quality as the years have gone by, sometimes being outright puerile, and Captain's Quarters, which is a good weblog, aside from the annoying "Day by Day" cartoons (the Left can't succesfully imitate the right's talk radio and the right can't imitate the left's comedy, although "Day by Day" is funnier than "Mallard Fillmore", in the same sense that hangnails are).

I concur with Mister Beaudrot about Tacitus. I used to read it regularly, but gave up on it rather a long time ago. I think the departure of Josh Treviño from it and from RedState might in some part to blame, although Treviño seemed less interesting and tolerable as time went on.

I need to find a set of good conservative weblog writers to read.

Posted by: Paludicola | Mar 26, 2007 7:12:08 PM

What I find telling is the values she seems to place on reactions, she likes conservatives because they are kind and nice to her (and why not, when she manages to argue against democratic positions from an allegedly "independent" framework), but liberal blogs are just "so meen" she repeated that over and over again, about how the conservative blogs are nice to her, liberals "character assassinate her" (evidently disagreeing with you or saying you went over the line in a smear now equals character assassination.. good to know!), and that seems to be what really drives her. If I were to engage in remote web pop psychology, as I am about to do, I would say she seems to want more than anything attention and love, and this honest disagreement is anathema. "Why do you have to be so mean and not say I'm right" is more or less what I get from that.

Posted by: Chilango2 | Mar 26, 2007 7:19:06 PM


Check out her Bloggingheads segment with Jonah Goldberg, where she discusses another occasion where she made a bizarre and inexplicable scene -- that time at a libertarian conference. Mid-way through the first segment of the talk with Jonah, she actually says, "This is why I think you should be more friendly to me, Jonah." It is a recurring theme throughout their discussion. Crazy, crazy, crazy stuff.

Posted by: Seth | Mar 26, 2007 7:28:54 PM

> Who've you got?

Weeel, there's Dan Drezner, and Jim Henley, and Radley Balko, and I see what you mean.

Posted by: joel hanes | Mar 26, 2007 7:36:46 PM

Those, like me, who don't have the time displayed on the video can get directly to the start of her meltdown by following this finely-crafted link.

Posted by: Zzedar | Mar 26, 2007 7:37:21 PM

The intart00bs have allowed Ann to be 55 going on 16. She enjoys the coterie that praises her every blog queef, and like Maureen Dowd and the other mean girls she doesn't talk about substance she talks about what other people are wearing, and who is mean to who, and who likes her.

Discussions of substance are BORING and inevitably partisan and weird and just soo not cool.

However, if you want to piss her off, call her a cat lady, or mention her ratings at ratemyprofessor.

Two days ago she had a post that discussed how Yglesias found Joe Wilson weird. Her blog groupies went nuts about the evil that is Joe Wilson. I wasn't sure what the value of posting a 5 second snippet from Yglesias was, so in response, I posted her ratemyprofessor ratings and asked her what her point was.

So she banned me and deleted my post.

Basically, she's a passive-aggressive 16 year old mean girl in a 55 year old body of a tenured professor. There's a lot worse with the world. But it is pretty ugly and amusing to behold.

Posted by: anon | Mar 26, 2007 7:44:35 PM

Okay...so Ann Althouse thinks there are people at Tapped who are trying to assassinate her. Huh. That's just...really, really weird.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Mar 26, 2007 8:01:40 PM

I don't get how anyone can like conservatives. It's been clear to me for a long time that they don't view us as human. They'd herd us into camps and butcher us if they could, of that I have no doubt. They think of us as vermin that needs to be exterminated, and many have all but said so. How can they expect us to treat them well when it's clear they've been trying to set the table for our murders for a long time. Treated them like anything but a total enemy just confirms to them that we are weak and pathetic. It will only hasten the day they decide to put their decades long rhetoric into action.

Posted by: soullite | Mar 26, 2007 8:02:48 PM

Thanks, Zz. I find the double-close-up cinematography model deeply uncomfortable and wasn't going to watch the whole thing to find the juicy bit. Also, I don't really care at all. The blogosphere is too overfull of clowns to get particularly upset when another one pops up.

My righty blogosphere:
Hit & Run Minus Ron Bailey
John Cole
Cato Unbound
The LewRockwell.com crew
The Obisidian Wings right hand (Sebastian Holsclaw, Slartibartfast, and at one time Andrew Olmstead)

So yeah. . Libertarians and apostates.

Posted by: sidereal | Mar 26, 2007 8:14:36 PM

whoa, remind me never to get on your bad side soullite.

Posted by: Korha | Mar 26, 2007 8:15:45 PM

No list of the most interesting conservative blogs is complete without mentioning zombo.com.

Posted by: jerry | Mar 26, 2007 8:24:47 PM

Oh, and Giblets.

"Giblets saw a Canadian at the mall today. He said “Nice day for it, eh?” Nice day for what? For your secret terrorist plots?! For your Islamist beheadings?! What is this “eh” business – he was speaking in code, in feverish Muslim “chatter” to Giblets! Giblets does not know your “frequency,” Saskatchewan Salafis! He will never yield to the mad zealotry of your maple leaf caliphate!"

Posted by: sidereal | Mar 26, 2007 8:27:32 PM

"I really do think you, Ezra, should someday produce a comprehensive response to Althouse on why the left blogs find her repulsive."

It's pretty simple, really. Althouse makes everything about her, as this clip makes absolutely clear. She then uses her bizarre sense of grievance to attack other people, for no obvious reason. She's the single most narcissistic person in the entire blogosphere, and her lack of self awareness is spectacularly funny, as anyone who read Sadly, No will attest.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Mar 26, 2007 8:42:25 PM

Wow, soullite, I'm about a standard deviation from the mean with regard to my negative feelings toward conservatives, but you've got me beat by (several) miles.

Posted by: LarryM | Mar 26, 2007 8:42:33 PM

Or, indeed, anyone who is able to to spell "reads".

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Mar 26, 2007 8:44:28 PM

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