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March 27, 2007

Oh, Ann, Not Again

No, not Ann Coulter. Ann Althouse.

Ann Althouse has her virtues. A thick skin, a sense of proportion, and cool demeanor are not among them.

The meltdown occurs at 5:07, though you might want to watch the whole thing, to illustrate the fact that previous to this her interlocutor (who is, unless I'm mistaken, Velma Dinkley of Mystery, Inc.) was treating the exchange as colleagial and friendly, and in fact was largely conceding Althouse's points (like the fact that the sinestrosphere is nastier than the dextrosphere).

Velma mentioned, in passing, the "Jessica Valenti breast controversy" simply to note that was the only sustained attack on Althouse from the left she was aware of, and then Althouse just loses her shit. Velma repeatedly attempts to apologize and de-escalate but nothing seems to work.

Ann Althouse seems to be a basically decent and level-headed person, but for the love of Pete, even high-tension power lines look at her and say, "Ehhh... a bit high strung, isn't she?"

Dude, you must chill. Begin taking deep breaths and counting to ten, or maybe forty, when you begin to feel emotional about something.

There's some irony here. Andrew Sullivan joyously piles on to Althouse, delighting in her looking foolish in a moment of loss of emotional reserve.

Because, you know, he himself isn't easily offended.

Oh, and up-page, he whines that Instapundit is linking "pro-torture blogs" like The Corner when he could be linking to Andrew Sullivan all day long.

BTW: All viewers of this video have an advantage that Althouse, I presume, did not -- we could see Velma Dinckley's expression, and could tell that she 1) didn't give the comment much thought, 2) didn't mean it maliciously, and 3) was quite sincere in her statement about not intending to give Althouse offense or cheap-shot her.

The fact of the matter is that tone is often hard to discern in print, and still somewhat hard to make out via audio. The human face conveys so much information that words don't. And Althouse, of course, couldn't see Velma's.

Another cautionary tale here is that one should be careful to assume the worst possible motives in one's political adversaries. The left does this to me all the time -- when I write about my fear of brown people or vaginas, they quote me, slack-jawed, wailing in righteous fury that someone could not only have such views in this day and age, but could feel perfectly comfortable expressing such views. It never occurs to them -- never -- that of couse I don't hold such views at all, and am merely employing a rather well-known device called "irony." But because I'm conservative, that possibility isn't even considered; there is no bigotry or irrational phobia (vaginaphobia!) that a troglodyte like myself (or like any of you) is not to be presumed guilty of.

Apparently Velma's fellow bloggers at TAPped regularly take nasty pot-shots at Althouse, which is what leads Althouse to assume, wrongly, that Velma is doing the same here.

Assuming the very basest behavior in one's lefty opponents may be a fine operating rule 80% of the time, but 20% of the time it's going to cause miscommunications and some embarrassment.

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posted by Ace at 07:37 PM

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