Of the bloggers (and blogresses) I try to read on a regular basis, Ann Althouse is probably the one with whom I disagree the most on matters political. She voted for Obama, leans left on a number of issues, regularly criticizes conservatives; she repeatedly ridiculed John McCain. And yet it’s those on the left who are most eager to vilify her, the latest being blogger Ezra Klein.
On Saturday, I wanted to make sure to check her blog largely because she’s visiting my home town and posting pictures from the city Winston Churchill dubbed “the most beautiful city inland in the Union.” She offered a photo of my favorite flavor of ice cream from the best ice cream place on the planet. As well as images of the most delicious chili concoctions ever created by the mind of man.
She posed for a picture at the very statue where my grandmother gave me my very fist lesson on mythology in my favorite urban park in the nation.
Amidst all these happy images, she also alluded to her run-in with Ezra Klein, a blogger quite unhappy that this blogress diva doesn’t censor her comments and lets some pretty hateful ones stand. As she explains:
Well, Ezra, I do not delete comments based on viewpoint. I believe in the marketplace of ideas, and to the extent that there are some anti-Semitic comments here, there are many more comments that strike back. Is it not better to have scurrilous ideas out in the sunlight where they can die?
Now you know what we call her a diva. She doesn’t mince words and is unafraid of criticism and nut jobs. (Memo to self: remember Ann’s words next time you find a hateful comment in the spam filter; expose it to sunlight so it can more readily be killed.)
Blogger William Jacobson wonders if there’s method to Klein’s madness:
This is how the left does it. When you can’t find racist/sexist/anti-Semitic/homophobic comments by a conservative, you impugn their reputation by finding some lunatic in a crowd (or in blog comments) who did make such a comment.
. . . .
Now Klein plays the “anti-Semite” card against Althouse by using anonymous blog comments against her. Who placed the anti-Semitic blog comments? Was it Klein himself acting under a pseudonym? I have no evidence of that, but how about if I ran a post titled “Did Ezra Klein post anti-Semitic comments to set up Ann Althouse?”
Klein, who is internet savvy, knew what his headline would do. Do a search for Ann Althouse on Google now, and you turn up blog posts concerning the anti-semitism. Forget her scholarship, teaching, popular blog. No, Klein has succeeded in making the discussion about Althouse about anti-semitism.
The thing I don’t get about this hatred of Althouse is that she is kind of like the South Park of blogging. She’s witty, directing her snark at pretty much anything she finds amusing*. Is is that leftists in the blogosphere today are so humorless so self-righteous that they can’t abide the least bit of mockery, criticism or a combination of both?
Or, maybe it’s since they don’t have George W. Bush to kick around any more, they’ve decided to start going after prominent blogresses?
Perhaps it’s something else. Maybe Klein has a case of ADS (Althouse Derangement Syndrome), a syndrome afflicting partisans who can’t understand how a blogress can gain a following without subscribing to any ideology.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse linked this post on her blog and in the comments, one of her readers (who happens to be a an old friend of mine) offered a pretty good assessment of why left-wing bloggers labels Althouse a conservative even though she doesn’t subscribe to any particular ideology:
Apparently, liberals define these terms rather the way the New Yorker magazine used to mock New Yorkers in their mapping of North America: whatever’s not us is alien territory. Thus, whoever doesn’t march in lockstep with liberal pieties, is “conservative” or, grudgingly, a “moderate conservative.”
I think that pretty much nails it. Whoever doesn’t march in lockstep with them is by definition a conservative.
*Regardless of political affiliation.