Listen, she an absolute genius. Listen, you can read all you want, but Jon Swift got owneded, because I don’t think Althouse is serious. How I prefer to read this is she’s decided to send up the argument ab totally cunning, calculating super machiavellian genius and or incompetent harpy- the inevitable dichotomy that everyone decides to use when they would like to claim some sort of “dog whistle” is being used to play any number of cards or tap into various rivers or sexism or racism. This statement does not deny that dog whistles exist or that sexism or racism exist. What the statement means is that the arguments of certainty that emanate from usually respectable writers about how hidden truths are oh-so-apparent due to the incredibly smart and/or calculating and careful nature of the speaker and/or deeply incompetent and obtuse nature of the speaker are just so full of it, I can’t take it anymore. Arguments about possible meanings are one thing, arguments about intent via the “calculating super geniusosity” of the said speaker don’t hold any water. Various places where I enjoy thoughtful writing but where I feel I’ve spied such arguments with my little eye include Lawyers, Guns and Money, Shakespeare’s Sister, Feministe and some pretty bad work from Talking Points Memo.
We’ve seen people argue about the dog-whistlery of the Clintons in terms of race, arguing that every word spoken out of Bill or Hillary’s mouth is so carefully and artfully chosen, they simply must mean deep and astonishingly racist things. Some of these very same people are also arguing about how incompetently the Clinton campaign has been run.
We’ve heard people argue about how sexist and condescending Barack Obama is because he is a rhetorical genius so it is clear that the hidden meaning of his words are obviously deeply sexist. Yet I’ve also seen people argue that Obama isn’t a great debater and under pressure sometimes isnt as put together as Hillary. I’m not really into arguing these points. All of the statements bandied about could have been intricately planned and tuned for maximal ist-ism, for which there is zero evidence, save that which one projects onto the debate. All of the statements could have been tinged with subconscious racism or sexism, in which our entire culture is completely marinated. At least in this case we would have the evidence of our actual racist and sexist culture. All of the statements could have been ill chosen but really just misinterpreted, again, it is impossible to know, but the certainty that our off-the-rails blog world finds so apparent simply isn’t there for many of these statements. It makes me so sad.
This is why I salute Ann Emu, because she has perfected the seemingly peerless shtick of Jon Swift. I know she can’t be serious with her pajama-based racist dog whistle. To quote (my emphasis):
Is the campaign responsible for sending out a subliminal message to stimulate racist thoughts in the unsuspecting viewer? It is either deliberate or terribly incompetent. There is no other writing on screen until the very end of the commercial, and if letters appear in any place in a commercial, they should be carefully selected letters. Certainly, each image is artfully composed and shot and intended to deliver an emotional impact. Could this be a mere lapse?
This is either a revolting outrage or shocking incompetence.
Clearly Ann is taking the piss, I mean I find the only possible explanations for her post to be that she has end stage lead poisoning or she’s a deeply artful rhetorical masterworker using hyperbolic satire to shame the horse race obsessed liberal chat-o-pundit cobloggosphere by doing the same thing they do everyday, but on a silent m massive scale.
Look at how many she’s taken in, on both sides of the aisle. First, there’s Kevin Drum, thinking Ann’s post to be entirely stupid. I mean, Kevin would never traffic in such deluded reading of the tea leaves. Nor would he casually fuel any such fires with an idle “I’ll talk about this because other people are” sort of substance-free speculation. Then there’s this deeply classy Obama fan, who first incorrectly identifies the non-partisan Ann Althouse as right wing, then seems to think that a liberal policy would be to toss off about any old rumor. Faithful Progressive I think is my fave. He/She knows Ann Emu personally, yet is still not old or wise enough to discern the real, undeniable genius underlying the surfacey genius that is Ann Althouse. To quote:
As a research assistant for a Dean and a second year, I helped Ann Althouse move her desk the day she arrived after being hired as a professor at UW Law School. Ann Althouse gave me good advice when I started this blog and has honored her word and my right to privacy and kept my identity confidential (if she even remembers it).
Ann Althouse is not bug shit crazy-she is a person of her word and smart as heck. I often disagree with her: but personal attacks on her are far more “bug shit crazy” than her floating the idea of a possible subliminal message. (The whole ad is creepy; and these guys hired Dick Morris, numerous times, for crying out loud!)
Ann is right– this gets to a jury; they are probably not gonna buy it-not sure I do…But Prof. Althouse is just submitting it to the jury of the Internets. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as bloggers?
I’m sorry, Faithful Progressive, but if your jury were made up of plover bloggers, your blog would be not long for the electric chair. Don’t call MENSA, they’ll call you. Thank you for your principled support for your candidate.
I found some other Obama fans jumping on Ann’s wagon. On the right side of the aisle, most that linked to Ann’s post didn’t really buy it, but some said they wouldn’t put it past Hillary, or that they didn’t buy it but the MSM should still report on the possibility, because as we know, something possibly being true is all the fuel one needs to talk about the ridiculous. Some vile, and photoshoppy personal attacks on Dear Ann here and here. Vile video attacks on Ann the Emeautiful here. I look forward to seeing it at our top sites tomorrow, but only if Drudge runs with it first.
Finally, I will second Bob Somerby, who has been discussing all week the fact that liberal cob loggers have horse raced themselves into a corner by playing footsie with Matt Drudge. People with widely read web logs still think of themselves as shooting the shit by the water cooler, so it is OK to traffic in any old rumor until which time the rumor is declared false, so they just say “oh well, not true” even after they passed the rumor on to hundreds of readers. I’m sure the view is that anything on Drudge is already out there, so merely talking about it is like talking about the weather. Not so. If Drudge reports something, the mere caveat of “if true, then…” does not suffice to keep the slime off. At some level of readership, you aren’t just talking about what someone else is reporting. You are reporting it too. I am sad to state that we see bad examples of this here at LGM, abominable work from the increasingly lazy Kevin Drum– a quote:
Drudge’s piece is ambiguous — who distributed the picture? who did it go to? — but the Clinton campaign, given a chance to deny the charge, rather loudly declined to do so. So apparently they not only sent the picture around, but then issued a statement slamming Obama for complaining about it. Points for chutzpah, I guess, but not much else.
And here at Talking Points Memo. Let me quote:
The Clinton campaign is either terribly inept at dealing with the story or they know or suspect that it’s accurate. In any case, what we try to do is give you the background to the blaring headlines you see and the benefit of what we find out through our own reporting. That’s just what we did in this case.
My emphasis. I’ve heard the same thing from TPM in correspondence regarding smearish stuff they’ve repeated that had been posted on The Politico. TPM reports what is reported, then they follow up and eventually issue an update, usually noting a denial or evidence that the original story is bullshit. Note in my emphasis that we have a “when did you stop publishing vile, malicious, immature, unprofessional and hateful attacks on Ann Althouse” situation created for the Clinton campaign. Let’s pretend they don’t want to get caught with their pants down, and attempt to ascertain due diligence before they issue their blanket denial. Since weren’t on top of the story within the allotted time period they were already declared to be guilty or inept. Drudge’s report is stamped 6:51 am. The TPM original post is 10:08 am. The damning late update is not time stamped, but the post above, stamped 2:59 pm, links to this 2:36 pm Greg Sargent story reporting exactly the denial originally wished for via a conference call from Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign.
I don’t love it when Bob Somerby takes the stick to TPM, because a lot of what they do is great. I think they’ve lost the plot a little and their blindspot is growing. I think people think that because they are writing a blog they have outs that they would never allow a journalist or a published pundit. You know what, these outs might be fine if you don’t write for TAPPED, or the Washington Monthly, or aspire for your site to do important journalism. The worst part about a lot of these arguments is that people are already to the mattresses in the first round, so it’s not really a debate, it’s let’s burn the bridge.
Also, read Bob this week on the McCain story. While seemingly everyone else falls for the “being a pundit is fun and consequence free” approach, he’s been on fire.