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Ann Althouse

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Ann Outhouse Althouse is a law professor, blogger, and tenured basket-case at the University of Wisconsin. In her off-time she runs an eponymous blog, which has served as a repository for Clinton-centered conspiracy theories and drunken video logs of reality TV programs since 2004.

Politics[edit]

Politically, Althouse is generally described as centrist or center-left, something which must come as a shock to those who actually follow her, given her support of George W. Bush, her hatred of Bill and (especially) Hillary Clinton, her repeated promotion of Instapundit,[1] her generally conservative readership and her flogging of right-wing smears[2] and conspiracy theories.[3] However, she describes herself as "lifelong Democrat"[4] so she has got to be a liberal.

Breastgate[edit]

In September 2006, Bill Clinton had lunch with a group of bloggers in New York City. As part of the meeting, they took a group picture. You can see it here. To a normal person, this looks like a run-of-the-mill group shot. Of course, Althouse is not a normal person.

Althouse dashed off a brief post on the meeting, ending with the picture and the cryptic comment "Let's just array these bloggers... randomly."[5] Her commenters quickly picked up on Althouse's implications, namely that the woman in the front (Who turned out to be Jessica Valenti of Feministing) was a raging slut. Eventually, Valenti showed up to defend herself, so Althouse decided to expand into another post entitled (no joke) "Let's take a closer look at those breasts." Althouse made no bones of the fact that she considered Valenti a raging slut and a betrayer of feminism:

Sooooo... apparently, Jessica writes one of those blogs that are all about using breasts for extra attention. Then, when she goes to meet Clinton, she wears a tight knit top that draws attention to her breasts and stands right in front of him and positions herself to make her breasts as obvious as possible? Well, I'm going to assume Jessica's contributions to my comments are an attempt at a comic performance, as was her attendence at the luncheon dressed in the guise of Monica Lewinsky. Lord knows we need more comical feminists.[6]

Her commenters were in fine form, with such tasteless comments as "It's obvious that you're bending over backwards -- figuratively and literally -- to keep the attention on your breasts" and "Jessica should have worn a beret. Blue dress would have been good too." Actually, we kid; It was Althouse who said those things.

A plethora of bloggers rose to Valenti's defense,[7] and Althouse was forced to concede that her attack was poorly thought out declared that she was bored with it all and would no longer respond to criticism.[8] With that, the controversy went into hibernation.

The Bloggingheads Interview[edit]

In March 2007, Althouse was interviewed for the website Bloggingheads.tv by blogger Garance Franke-Ruta. Things went smoothly until Franke-Ruta mentioned "the Jessica Valenti breast controversy." The sound of those words made Althouse go from zero-to-rampaging-boar in under six seconds:

Althouse: It was character assassinating to talk about it like that. There's a whole controversy that could be explained if it was one of our subjects, it could be explained in a way that would make sense to people. But you just throw out a term, that's character assassination toward me, and I don’t like it.

Franke-Ruta: I didn't mean to --

Althouse: [shouting and pointing] There's a whole story there! You want to talk to me personally about it, why don't you find out what the story is, and raise it in a way that has a factual context that makes sense to people, instead of throwing out a term like that that's just an assault on me! I find it very offensive.

Franke-Ruta: That certainly wasn’t my intention. I had just watched this segment where you and Glenn Reynolds were talking about it, and it was a phrase that used within that discussion,[9] so I just -- I certainly didn't mean to --

Althouse: Well, you were raising it within a context of people who are trying to assassinate me on frequent occasions, who say the most nasty things about me with no cause, or just any context -- they take things out of context -- It's a very nasty, ugly thing and I don't like it at all and I don't like just glancing references to it in a way that makes me look bad like that.[10]

After becoming the laughing stock of the blogosphere (again), Althouse responded to the mockery, stating that she was sorry for her immature overreaction she was planning on ignoring all criticism.[11]

See also[edit]

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