Because her character has been assassinated, justassassinated by a factually accurate and non-pejorative statement about a controversy she ignited. Poor Ann. These liberals are really out to get her! And the only appropriate response is to completely freak out on camera.
Ann is speaking with The American Prospect’s Garance Franke-Ruta about blogging. Ann is complaining about the meanies in the lefty blogosphere, and says to Garance, “So why don’t you ask some of them why they treat me so badly, and come back and tell me what the problem is?”
Garance, who makes it relatively clear that she isn’t representative of the lefty blogosphere, responds, “I’m not really aware of anything until this whole Jessica Valenti breast controversy, um … so, I know that there was some grudges and hostility that came out of that …”
Which is one of the reasons that I don’t like Ann Althouse, so I don’t think Garance was all that far off. Well, Ann did not like that answer, and proceeds to completely flip her shit. You really have to watch it to understand. She starts yelling at Garance and shaking her finger, and tells her that “I don’t accept your saying the Jessica Valenti breast controversy. I consider that an insult. — You know, I’m on the verge of hanging up with you for bringing it up that way.”
The look on Garance’s face is priceless. It’s the same look that I probably had when a little girl I was nannying for decided to pee on the floor to get my attention.
Ann then says that “It was character assassinating to talk about it like that.” Now, maybe I’m slow, but as far as I remember, Ann wrote a post about about Jessica’s breasts. The post was entitled “Let’s take a closer look at those breasts.” In the post, she refers to Feministing as a “breast blog.” Lots of comments ensued. Lots of other blogs picked up the post, and many were critical of Althouse. In other words, there was a controversy.
Garance is very poised in her response, after getting over the initial shock at having someone scream at you for making a totally innocent reference to a factual event. I kind of can’t blame Ann for being so pissed off — if I had written the kind of mean-spirited, vapid things that she posted about Jessica, I’d be embarrassed to have it brought up, too.
But the kicker is when Ann says, “I don’t want to bring up old flame wars. It’s not as if I attacked them.”
She’s right. It was actually Jessica who, after the Clinton lunch, put up a post on Feministing saying, “Ann Althouse is dumb and purposely sticks her tits out in front of the President because she writes a breast blog.” Right?
But Ann isn’t exactly known for her firm grip on reality. In “Althousiana,” sexualized insults and comments about stalking and sexually assaulting your fellow students is a right to be defended to the death, but when Ann is on the receiving end of sexualized insults, she wonders where all the feminists are, because the comments about her are “egregiously sexist” and need to be discussed. And her sexualized insults, like comparing a feminist blogger to Monica Lewinsky and strongly implying that she’s unattractive, are totally fine. She also says that she supports the “free speech” rights of anonymous internet posters when that right is used to defame and attack female law students, and thinks they should just be flattered to be called pretty, but considers it “character assassination” for Garance to bring up and neutrally characterize Ann’s own posts in an interview. And she calls readers “fools,” routinely characterizes the progressive blogosphere as “vicious” and “ugly,” goes after liberal bloggers like Jessica on the basis of their physical appearance, and then whines that they hate her.
Conclusion: Ann is either not the brightest crayon in the box, or she’s a massive hypocrite. I’m thinking it’s the latter. But this isn’t necessarily an either/or situation.
My question for Ann is why she isn’t just laughing all of this off. After all, that’s what she said law school women should do in response to the AutoAdmit controversy.* Ann has also asserted that “laughing it off” is what Jessica should have done: “You know what? If you breastblog and someone calls you on it, just laugh. If you try to deny it, people will laugh at you.”
Kind of like how people are laughing at her right now, yeah? At least she’s gained a more illustrative example of her point.
*Is Ann going to wag her finger at me and lose her shit because I called it a “controversy”?