Friday, March 30, 2007

Breast Defense

The latest bit of entertainment in our little blogonaut meta-ecosystem, the recent Althouse temper tantrum, really captures something special. Her unprovoked tirade against Garance Franke-Ruta (who, incidentally, kinda scratches a hot-librarian itch I didn't even realize I had, sexist pig that I am) has become the butt of many well-deserved pokes. Dave Neiwert has the transcripted rundown of the hissy-fit.

Here's the thing. Paranoid temper tantrums aside, what really gets me about Althouse's bluster is the persecution complex she works herself into. All the horrible, mean things the evil bloggerses on the left -- who, naturally, are much bigger meanies than those warm and fuzzy gents on the right, paragons of virtue, reason, and inventive spelling that they are -- are saying about her. So cruel, so terrifying.

Bullshit. I remember the original kerfuffle she stirred up, talking about Jessica Valenti's so-called breast-blogging, and her supposedly provocative pose in front of that awful Clenis, and on and on, how it set back the cause of feminism six generations, blah blah blah. As if stocking the courts with evangelicals and Opus Dei retreads, or spasms of stunt legislation from the prairie states weren't doing exactly that on an actual policy level. Anyway, it's not to hard to dig up the original posts Althouse launched to get this all going, which sorta cinches the deal.

(I'm not exactly Phil Donahue when it comes to feminism and decorum, nor have I ever pretended to be. I'm not going to turn away in horror if I see an attractive woman with a nice body. Nor am I instantly going to assume it either endorses or repudiates feminist orthodoxy. Maybe she's heterodox in how she expresses her feminism. Maybe she doesn't want to hide her light(s) under a bushel. If good-looking women embracing their assets is wrong, then I for one don't wanna be right. If a man can't have the freedom to grind his loins against his monitor every so often, what's the point of the internets in the first place?)

So anyway, this is indeed a spat of Edna Krabappel's (brilliant coinage, that) own creation. That she prefers to run from it is unsurprising. But again, Krabappel's main problem is this ridiculous notion that she's had to endure some sort of vicious slander, rather than just a lot of jokes made at her expense, mostly with her own unwitting help.

Let me tell you something, honey. Having people tell you for four goddamned years that you're a traitor, that you hate your country and are rooting for it to fail, that you want American soldiers to die and your country to be embarrassed by a bunch of creeps who decapitate contractors and blow up children -- that's some truly messed-up shit. Watching pile-on after pile-on at numberless right-wing boobyhatches, "joking" about lynching journalists for not being propagandistic enough, laughing at Ann Coulter's vicarious sadism, guffawing and nodding at Rush Limbaugh's empty-headed spiteful bullshit, that's creepy, that's the ugly taint of American soapboxing.

These are the internets. They're not a bunch of trucks, nor are they a lawn party with king-size martinis and cucumber-and-watercress sandwiches, and a bunch of douchey pecksniffs playing bocce. They're a series of tubes, sure, but they're a playground, first and foremost, and when someone consistently engages in smug, ill-informed narcissism to make poorly-considered brownie points, they should not be surprised when the inevitable electronic pimp-slap stings their cheek.

Snide comments about one's personal appearance is about the least one expects, especially when the argument in question was initiated by comments about someone else's appearance. Perhaps Althouse thought the breast-blogging controversy was dead and buried; you'd think she'd have gotten the memo by now. Nothing stays buried forever, not here, not when it's an episode that so richly informs the context of one's own complaints about civility. Civility is for suckers with selective hearing, who still take people like David Broder seriously.

It's pretty simple. If you don't want people to accuse you of being a goofball, then quit saying goofy things, and maybe don't drunk-vlog yourself watching American Idol. Don't start fights you don't really have the stomach for. And for Christ's sake, grow a hide already. Jesus, it's just a blog.


Ripley said...

There seems to be an awful lot of Prom Queens and Fancy Lads on the other side of the aisle. But hey - the more time they spend whining about their perceived persecution and engaging in their little episodes of digital Munchausen's syndrome, the less time they have to advance their ridiculous and dangerous philosophies.

As I told Althouse in her comments to one of these episodes, "You don't have the guts or sense of Self to be a blogger." I think that's a fairly applicable statement for quite a few of them, though I'm sure they'd be simply stunned, once again, to learn that one of the 6.2 billion people on the planet disagrees with them.

Heywood J. said...

Yeah, that's pretty much their calling card -- their level of projection is directly proportional to their utter lack of self-reflection. It's nothing less than a point of pride to disrespectfully disagree with such a pack of gibbering idiots.

John O said...

Brilliant as usual. I don't generally link Inside Blogging stuff since most of my no readers wouldn't know A.A. from Ward Churchill, but this kind of stuff is why I 'rolled you.

As a blog-nerd, though, this one really gave me a boner.

And a great vivisection is always fun to read. This was a beauty.

Heywood J. said...

John O:

Cool, thanks. Throw a link down, let 'em know where to find you.