Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, July 25, 2011

Attention Must Be Paid!

Conservatism, defined:

"The challenge is convincing many people, in particular those who are conservative, that [a streetcar system] is something that is not simply a luxury but something that is a necessary ingredient in terms of transportation and economic development," [Rob] Henken [president of the Public Policy Forum].

Henken said. "That's where it has been a difficult sell. People tend to ask, 'Is this something that I will use?' And if it's not something they are convinced they'll use, they don't want to pay for it."[my bold]

I would add one thing: they don't want to pay for it even if they are convinced they'll use it.

You can dress it up with labels but end the end it all amounts to one thing: children who grow up afraid and insecure or afraid and angry will be so preoccupied with their own pain that they will not spare one iota of mental energy on anyone else's pain. They will be permanently aggrieved that their pain was ignored and if they have a spiteful nature they will take pleasure in others' suffering, because misery loves company. Children know when their parents are unable to love them, they just don't (ever) understand why.

This quote is via Ann Althouse, who posted the following about the article:

"It is the job of every generation to be the Van Helsing who slays the vampire that sucks the taxpayers' blood..."

"... that is, the train."

Ms. Althouse is conservative because she is spiteful and conservatives respond well to spite. No doubt she is spiteful because life has disappointed her grand expectations but that is between her and the psychiatrist that she will never admit she needs to consult. From an old post about Althouse's attack on Jessica Valenti:

But let me admit something. I do think they have the motive to try to destroy me, and I can see why the left treats me nastily -- unlike the right -- even though I share their opinion on practically all the key issues (except national security).
Althouse admits that she doesn't even particularly agree with conservatives politically, but she find the party congenial to one such as herself. The right will applaud her attention whoring and Tennessee Williamsesque bleats of genteel victimization, just as long as she spends her time insulting their enemies. Althouse and conservatives are natural allies in that they care more about themselves than anyone or anything else.

I have obviously disaggregated myself from the fortunes of the Democratic Party. I will say what I have to say without trying to protect the party's interests. That's dangerous to them, and they should be afraid for me to have clout in the blogosphere.
Althouse's delusions of grandeur often drive her to extremes. She is so eager to be important that she makes arbitrary and ludicrous accusations of public figures in the hope that liberals will get angry and attack her and/or conservatives will be delighted by her meanness and praise her.

They have reason to portray me as crazy, stupid, drunk, or whatever the latest attack is. They should worry. And, as I say in the video, I will stand my ground.

The source of this distance I feel is exactly what I was talking about in those posts that ignited the old blogosphere flamewar: the way so many Democrats changed how they talked about sexual harassment in order to defend Bill Clinton. (Specifically, I was monumentally impressed by Stuart Taylor's comparison of the way Clinton and Clarence Thomas were treated.)
Ah, it's Democratic hypocrisy that angers her! Not envy and malice.

Let's take a closer look at what I wrote back then, when I mocked that photograph.

Bill Clinton, apparently eager to influence bloggers to give his wife favorable coverage as she sought the presidency, sat down for a lunch and a photo shoot with a select group of them.

Althouse, of course, was not invited. She had thrown in her lot with conservatives and in no way would qualify as a prominent liberal blogger. Poor Ann was unjustly ignored again!

They ate up the lunch and the flattery it represented and posed looking thoroughly pleased.

They were getting all the flattery and attention and Poor Ann didn't get any.

I think bloggers should maintain their independence and their critical stance, so I hated to read their gushing posts and to gaze on their shiny, happy faces in that photograph. I meant to be cruel to them.
After a fraction of a second of thought, Poor Ann was able to come up with a laughably mendacious excuse to let fly with all the hurt, resentment, and jealousy that constantly molder in the dank recesses of her soul. How dare they be happy and successful when she is not?

(If they are cruel to me, I concede that I started it and that I meant to be nasty. In that sense, I can't complain... except for effect.)
Of course aging Althouse, who was once pretty and never tires of reminding people of that fact, focused her ire on the attractive young woman in the foreground of the picture. The only thing worse than getting more attention than Poor Ann is being young and pretty and getting more attention than Poor Ann.

My cruelty took the form of trying to ruin the picture they thought was so nice by merging it with the idea of Monica Lewinsky. The last thing Bill Clinton wants as he offers his prestige to the cause of his wife's quest for power is for us to think about Monica Lewinsky.
This is the photo that angered Poor Ann so:

So I called attention to the fact that Jessica Valenti, positioned right in front of Clinton, did look a bit like that woman, Miss Lewinsky.

Yeah, she had dark hair and breasts.

Actually, what Althouse did was drop a little red meat before her commenters, in the hopes that they would rip it to pieces for her emotional satisfaction. Here is the red meat:

September 13, 2006
Bill Clinton, lunching with the bloggers.

Come on, you'd fly to New York City, to eat "southern chicken" with Bill Clinton and pose for a group photo, wouldn't you? And then you'd go home and blog about how he's good on your issues and how you're totally impressed, right? And, omigosh, "He's got beautiful blue eyes."

Hey, this blogger wrangling... it's easy when you've got blue eyes and chicken.

And check out the photo:

[above photo]

Let's just array these bloggers... randomly.

UPDATE: This discussion continues here.

Her commenters did what she admits she planned and wanted:

The first commenter, Goesh, picks up on my prompt -- "Let's just array these bloggers... randomly" -- and wisecracks: "Who is the Intern directly in front of him with the black hair?"

Eventually, Jessica from a blog called Feministing, shows up and says:
"The, um, 'intern' is me. It's so nice to see women being judged by more than their looks. Oh, wait..."
Snarky but somewhat conciliatory, I say: "Well, Jessica, you do appear to be 'posing.' Maybe it's just an accident."

Jessica Feministing returns and says:

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

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....
Making this colloquy into this new blog post, I actually click over to Jessica's blog, and what the hell? The banner displays silhouettes of women with big breasts (the kind that Thelma and Louise get pissed off at when they're seen on truck mudflaps). She's got an ad in the sidebar for one of her own products, which is a tank top with the same breasty silhouette, stretched over the breasts of a model. And one of the top posts is a big closeup on breasts.

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?

Back to the justification:

I thought the photograph was set up in a way that was detrimental to the Clintons' interests, and I thought that was funny and that it presented an opportunity for some painful satire.

Althouse, like McArdle, has amusingly transparent motivation. She is not fooling anyone but must justify her actions so she can live with herself and have an excuse for continuing her malicious acts.

I made it quite nasty, and I did it deliberately. I'm not sorry I did it. I mean to castigate feminists and so-called feminists who cozy up to Clinton. They were surely justified in fighting back at me, and I can understand why they want to ruin me.
Brave, brave cultural warrior! Unfortunately the past didn't appear in a puff of smoke and we can see her true motivation quite easily by reading her old posts.

But I did achieve my goal and ruin the photograph. You've got to admit that you cannot look at it the way the shiny, happy posers meant you to.

Poor Ann did try her very best to spoil the occasion for the liberal bloggers but she could never succeed in making younger, prettier, more famous bloggers as miserable as herself.

The photograph is -- as they say -- reframed. If I must suffer for that achievement -- which I sought -- so be it.

Martyr Ann bravely suffers for all of humanity. It's not attention-whoring, it's, um, principle!


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

They have reason to portray me as crazy, stupid, drunk, or whatever...

A penetrating glimpse of the obvious, as my Latin teacher used to say.

Of course she didn't mean it that way, but there it is.

Susan of Texas said...

It never fails to astonish me that people become politically involved--and often very dangerous--because of butthurt.

kth said...

But she's right about folks not being able to look at that picture the same way. I can't look at it without remembering that it provoked one of the most deranged outbursts in the history of a medium that has had no shortage of them.

Lurking Canadian said...

Anytime the issue of women being unfairly judged comes up, somebody will tell an anecdote that can be summarized as, "Once my breasts grew, people started calling me a slut."

Usually, this sort of experience is described as happening in middle school. Apparently, middle school is where Ann Althouse's development stopped.

Mr. Wonderful said...

I will stand my ground.

What "ground"? The ground of: I will comport myself like an asshole, announcing that the most salient aspect of my identity as a public writer is that I claim allegiance to the side I continually, spitefully, and disingenuously attack, and then court the approval of people I supposedly disdain.

Then, in a gesture that blurs the line between bad faith and unself-aware neurosis, I openly proclaim that I know I'm being an asshole, but take offense when others announce that I'm an asshole. I then claim victimhood and a martyrish resolve to continue with this (lunatic, asshole) cycle, demanding the respect which my behavior, as I myself describe and defend it, makes impossible.

That ground.

Anonymous said...

her "ground" is that she will do anything to up her page views. grifters gonna grift.

Anonymous said...

I think the thing that never ceases to surprise me about Althouse--though its true of Megan as well--is the complete lack of self consciousness they both display about a public acting out of an almost psychotic "mean girl" persona. Althouse comes across, in that series of posts, as the kind of psychiatric patient who has just enough knowledge to describe her own behavior and its consequences, without enough insight or self knowledge or humanity to recognize her own complicity in her shitty behavior and the world's reaction to it.

Basically she tells you up front that she behaved bitchily to Jessica Valenti because she wanted to make other people unhappy *because they looked happy* and even their happiness, which had nothing to do with her, was an afront to her angry and miserable solipsism.

Cats sometimes shit outside of their box, or in your bed, to let you know they are unhappy with your behavior. But what is her excuse?


brad said...

Never let it be forgotten that Ann's initial choice of career was as a performance artist. If I may horrendously unfair to legitimate artists for a moment, I'd say Ann hates the left because that's where people who succeed at what she utterly failed at live.
But I have to disagree mildly with calling Ann a "mean girl". Megan is, no doubt, insofar as mean girls are assholes to other people so as to help themselves ignore their own flaws. Ann is more closely kin with that other Ann, Coulter. They are both pathological beings of pure resentment of a degree which would have fascinated many now dead philosophers. Their success, such as it is, isn't due to them being able to harness their mental illness, but rather the fatal, malignant, rot that makes our media culture an enabler of societal suicide.
It's fun to know Ann Althouse, who I eternally am not, is so easily provoked and is reading our comments here hoping to find a way as to pretend she has accomplished something by being mentioned, but still, she always makes me think of Lisa Simpons's wise old lyric, "just don't look".
Megan is happy with sycophants, and really wants nothing but them, but Ann needs to know she's bothering people happy in ways she's inherently incapable of. It'd be sad, if it weren't so toxic.

Anonymous said...

Disagree, Megan has on multiple occasions said that she enjoys inflaming liberals.

Batocchio said...

Ah, the infamous "Jessica Valenti has Breasts" post. Then there were her later freakouts over it... As aimai says, Althouse reveals it was her plan to piss in the punchbowl, and seems quite proud of it. Althouse has pulled this shtick several times – essentially, she's accused, quite accurately, of being an asshole, and her master comeback is, "Ha-ha! But I meant to be an asshole!" Somehow, she thinks this exonerates her or wins her the argument, and that when people respond in befuddlement it's because they are stunned by her Randian intellect. But then, this a woman who has repeatedly argued that "To be a great artist is inherently right wing" and has argued that literature should not be taught in schools... because Althouse doesn't like fiction and prefers non-fiction. Considering she teaches at a good university, she could easily ask someone in the English Department about the latter issue, but like Barbara Bush, she can't bother her beautiful mind with such things. Hateful, arrogant pig-ignorance is her preferred state.

BTW, Stuart Taylor is a disingenuous torture apologist. But then, Althouse leans that way as well, although both she and her buddy Glenn Reynolds unconvincingly deny it even as they taunt torture opponents. The woman is very spiteful.

atat said...

The woman in the front row left has positioned herself with seductive 3/4 turn and appears to be caressing her hips. Plus she has breasts. Where's the outrage?

Also notice the rakish gentlemen on the right, who has the top button of his shirt undone, thereby exposing his undergarment.

Susan of Texas said...

Batocchio, she's such a fool. Yet she managed to graduate from law school and become a professor.

I am endlessly grateful for the internet but before it came along someone like Althouse could only annoy a small number of people, now she annoys hundreds and asks for tips to do it!

Anonymous said...

With atheists rebuking their opponents for the quality of their souls, and faithers seeking proofs in the Fibonacci series and other maths while they plot to enact Hell on earth, is it any wonder one doesn't know who to believe in, or not believe in, anymore?