October 10, 2009

I respond to those 2 posts Andrew Sullivan wrote about me yesterday.

In Sullivan's first post, he quotes me saying that if his blog had comments, it too would collect some homophobic comments, just as mine does. He called this "disingenuous," because his readers, according to his polls, have said they don't want comments. That's irrelevant. I'm not criticizing him for not having comments. I'm just saying that if he did have comments, some of them would be nasty.

He also accuses me of having comments so that I can get "vile ad hominem, anonymous hate-speech" which he thinks, I "rel[y] on for traffic." What proof does he have that that is my reason for having comments or that it helps my traffic? I'd be very surprised if the ugliest comments brought more traffic. I think they hurt traffic, so I certainly am not relying on them for traffic. I do think a vivid, flourishing comments section keeps readers coming back to this blog, but not because of the ugliness. I think that drives people away.

This is more serious:
[T]hese were not just homophobic comments. They were vicious personal attacks on a specific human being, using both my sexual orientation and my illness as targets.
But generic attacks on gay people as a group are much worse than attacks on a specific person who is a public figure, like Andrew Sullivan.  They are still mean, but they are more like the anti-Bush material that goes on about how he was an alcoholic or used cocaine or whatever. I'm not saying it's good, just that it's different from general bigotry. And I would like Andrew Sullivan to acknowledge that I have a good number of active commenters here who are gay men. (Lesbians too.) So there is plenty of pushback against homophobia, and anybody who hates gay people is not going to be happy in my comments section.

Sullivan goes on to criticize me for not deleting the comments that attacked him:
I am glad she does not deny that she engaged in this thread herself, and she did so long after many of the references to my HIV were published. It seems to me that if you are actually contributing to a comment thread, you tend to have read the thread leading up to that point.
Well, try it some time. There are hundreds of comments. I skim. I look for spam. I stop at the names of commenters I know and like. I have a free speech policy and ignore stuff that looks like low-quality junk. I have a lot of idiosyncratic strategies for getting through it all, and it's still a lot of work. I'm telling you: Your assumption is wrong.
So the idea she had no idea what was afoot is ludicrous.
I may know what's "afoot," but only in a vague way, and not oriented toward finding things to delete. My working strategy is not to delete. From that I have exceptions. One is to look closely if someone emails me and points to something specific. Sullivan never did me that behind-the-scenes courtesy. He just made a post attacking me — and reprinting the ugly stuff. If he really wanted it excised, he wouldn't have reprinted it. He wanted to expose it and air it out. And there you see the value of my non-deletion policy. The ugly stuff is self-destructing! It argues against itself. Why drive it underground? Why empower the haters by letting them see they got to you? They are their own worst enemies.
She has already accused me of being a racist, a heterophobe and a misogynist...
I appreciate those 2 links, because I wouldn't have remembered what I'd said. Go ahead and read those old posts of mine. I didn't generically call him a racist. I found racism in the way he talked about Bobby Jindal. As to heterophobia and misogyny.... well, frankly, I do think Sullivan has a problem with women. Does he ever write positively about women? For the most part, women barely exist in his world. And when one comes into prominence — notably Sarah Palin — he seems to feel a special antagonism.
[E]ven if everything Althouse says in her defense is true, it says a lot to me that she is unable even to offer a word of apology or regret, or to remove any of the vilest personal attacks in that thread. I offended her a while back with a post on her announcement that she was getting engaged to one of the commenters on her site... I subsequently apologized for any offense she subsequently felt.
Did he really apologize? I emailed him about his outrageous insult and he posted something, but it wasn't really to the point.  And anyway, "I subsequently apologized for any offense she subsequently felt"... that's what's called a nonapology. Okay, if it's really that easy then: Andrew, I am subsequently sorry if anything on my blog subsequently offended you.
I was too glib, and insensitive, but it's in a different universe from the hate speech she publishes.
It's different all right. The difference is, what was said about me, you wrote. I didn't write any of the the offensive comments. I just have an open forum and a free speech policy. To say I "published" it makes it sound as though I pre-screened it. Ironically, you published those comments. You chose to copy and paste them on your blog.
If Althouse had not partially built her traffic on this kind of stuff for years, and if she weren't a big blog, and a contributor to bloggingheads and other MSM outlets and a professor at a university, I'd let this slide as I usually do....
Since I didn't respond yesterday, he may have thought I was letting it slide, because he came up with this second post:
Just check out Ann Althouse's reaction to Garance Franke-Ruta's rather anodyne reference to Jessica Valenti breast controversy on bloggingheads....
Oh, for the love of God.
I have no idea what the reference is....
Don't worry. It has to do with breasts. It would only bore you.
... she threatens to hang up and tells Garance that she is involved in character assassination. But she is happy to post the vilest attacks on my being gay and having HIV and refuses to apologize.
Again, jeez, I don't post the comments! I have an open comments section and a policy against deletion. In the Bloggingheads, I was in a one-on-one conversation with someone who was quietly sticking a dagger in and I called her on it. Where is the contradiction? I don't like crap said about me — and believe me, the breast controversy was a shitstorm — and I completely understand that you don't like crap written about you. Do you realize that my free speech policy includes leaving hundreds of insults against me in my comments section?

Finally, Sullivan restates my asserted free-speech position and then quotes something I wrote in 2005, when I was annoyed by the trend in the comments and said "I'm adopting a new, more activist form of supervision." He then says:
Maybe I missed a post after that where she expressed her willingness not just to accept but to participate in threads that accuse an HIV-survivor of AIDS dementia because they disagree with him.
Let me use his word, "disingenuous." It's disingenuous to assume that a policy I stated 4 years ago is the policy I maintain and employ today. Obviously, it's not. Digging up the old defunct policy is a lame device that Sullivan is using to push the point he's been tying himself up in knots trying to make, that the insulting remarks came from me. They did not.

Why antagonize me over this? My inclination is to be sympathetic to anyone with an illness, and I like substantive argument (or funny snark) and not mean-spirited trash.

And, Andrew, if you ever want to go on Bloggingheads and talk about it one-on-one, let me know.

101 comments:

SteveR said...

I am pretty sure, after being here for five years, that the vile, hate filled comments have driven away far more commenters than it has attracted.

So I think he's just wrong about what you do and why. Not surprising since he's wrong about lots of things.

L. E. Lee said...

Ann, you are so funny.
Two days ago you got into a self-righteous snit because Sullivan questioned you about the ugly bigoted comments on your blog. You puffed out your chest and claimed that you were a champion of free speech and that he was not. Now it turns out you had a very different view about blog comments and free speech not that long ago. How you can do a one eighty and then be so self-righteous about it is quite humorous.

Ann, you appear to be intellectual shallow and more than a little bit vain.

Jeffrey said...

Has anyone seen any of these polls that the Dish has allegedly conducted in which the readers overwhelmingly voted NOT to allow comments? That's just bizarre. What kind of reader would vote NOT to allow responses to blog entries?

Just like editors at newspapers, Sullivan selects "letters to the editor" to show reactions to what he writes -- and, of course, we must trust HIS JUDGMENT as to what is published and what isn't. The internet and blogs have clarified just how slanted that situation was. Sullivan, to my mind, is less of a blogger than just another newspaper columnist from the old media who wants to guard the flow of information and debate.

One thing I've learned over the last few years is just how many involved with the media do not like true freedom of expression -- I mean expression at all levels, from the down-and-dirty and demotic to well-informed analyses and confutations. Because of the monopoly they had on two platforms of wide dissemination -- newspapers and magazines -- they thought THEY were the only ones capable of writing and expressing their thoughts. Guess again, mothers.

chickenlittle said...

Wow- It's starting to sound like Althouse is the new Palin in Sullivan's world.

kathleen said...

Perhaps Sullivan's subconscious mistakes this blog for Althouse's womb, and we commenters are all her vile offspring parrotting the voices of big momma Althouse. So in a way, our comments are posted by her and her monstrous fertility.

rhhardin said...

Universal apology

I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. So. How's the weather?

Kevin said...

When Andrew drops his incredibly bizarre obsession with Palin's alleged gynecologic issues, then he can start whining that people are being mean to him in the comments.

rhhardin said...

I haven't seen mashed italics and regular text recently. Is that bug gone?

italics

regular.

danielle said...

i would LOVE to see that BhTV match ! Ann, I think he has a mistaken impression of your views; and perhaps you have a misunderstood him as well ....

Meade said...

Universal apology accepted.

Snow, cold. Wanna do a Bloggingheads?

nomilk said...

As to heterophobia and misogyny.... well, frankly, I do think Sullivan has a problem with women. Does he ever write positively about women? For the most part, women barely exist in his world.

And this is surprising about a very public advocate of homosexuality how?

And we're just discovering that this is a real problem with the new very public face of homosexuality?

edutcher said...

Don't let him drag you down to his level. I understand when someone maligns you, it's natural to defend yourself (I wish Dubya had done half of what you do), but you don't want to get involved in some tit-for-tat flame war. Sullivan (much like Pat Buchanan earlier) went off the deep end years ago and he's trying to take as many people with him as he can.

WV "birbache" what Andy can give you in your birb

David said...

The problem is that Sullivan doesn't have a clue that his original suspicions about Trig were odd and his obsession over the course of an entire year looks unhinged.

If someone is HIV positive and is acting objectively unhinged, I don't see how its homophobic to mention AIDS dementia. It's not an insult, it's a diagnosis.

dennisr2 said...

I think this is a damn decent blog, and I keep reading in large part because of the comments. Most of the commenters are clearly smart people (Madison, Former Law Student, Hoosier, Revenant, Dust Bunny, Cedar, many many more), and I often learn something from their contributions. Sure there are wackos here from both the left and the right, and there are some nasty food fights sometimes, but overall it is a good place to spend time.

The only thing I question is the amount of ink wasted here on Andrew Sullivan. Lord knows I don't read him.

danielle said...

...oh, and sorry to harken back to the prizapollooza (sp ?) day, but Ann -- I never did quite understand the basis of your analogy to Obama as a child prodigy ...

Here's what i wrote yesterday:

oh, and Ann, a follow up to my question above -- around minute 18 you say something to the affect of 'the fact is...he's like a child prodigy .. he has prematurely been elevated to positions he didnt deserve'. So, clearly, no person would put BO in the same category w/ E Weisel, MLK, Mandela, D. Tutu etc. So if this is one's view of the Nobel Peace Prize, then yes, he doesnt deserve it. But, in light of your statement that no one deserves the presidency, what else are you using to make this analogy to him as a child prodigy ?

Your arguments typically seem to me that you're trying to cut through other people's Obama-worship, and sometimes also Obama's cockiness. But here you seem to be piling on w/ Rush et al as Obama being an illegitimate President (i.e. child prodigy) ...

so, what gives Ann ? I cant imagine that you agree w/ people who want to delegitimize a President you voted for and for an office which he won in a fair and democratic election.

madawaskan said...

I just want to say-

before I even see that Bloggingheads-entre L'Althouse and Le Sully that I think just because it could have so much potential and holds so much promise it should only get a little encouragement and be awarded a-

Nobel now damn it now!

Sinncerely,

Ludwina of the Lutefisk

[Chair and Liaison de les Nobel Distribution Department]

John Lynch said...

I don't understand why so much time and effort is spent on Andrew Sullivan. Since he pisses off so many people, why not just avoid him?

Is it because he's a conservative apostate? Or is it because he trolls so many people?

Either way, I find these duelling posts incredibly boring. I can read both blogs if I want, and I don't see the need for anyone to "defend" themselves from Suliivan's near-constant smears. If you are a conservative of any prominence at all, or even a non-Democrat, he'll smear you. Live with it.

madawaskan said...

*Sinncerely*

I did that on purpose you know-after all I am an artist.

Ah Pooh said...

How do you refute or confirm stereotypes? In the past I have name called commenters who appear to be anti-semite, misogynist, racist etc. Awhile ago Althouse said engage people who make comments that appear to indict groups or individuals for unpleasant, unwanted behaviour - don't just name call. Admonition made me think, and then to agree with her. Labels are so easy however that switching gears may take time.

Gary said...

I rarely comment here because God knows how you're gonna get ripped. It is amazing what we're capable of spewing when it's not face-to-face. But it hasn't driven me away from reading Ann. In fact the comments have become so predictable that they have become largely boring. But this applies to most sites.

But an aside to Ann, marriage has done wonders for you. I think you are writing some of your posts. Congratulations.

Jason (the commenter) said...

L. E. Lee: Ann, you appear to be intellectual shallow and more than a little bit vain.

If you're going to re-post on another thread then at least spell "intellectually" properly the second time.

Mian said...

Andrew's obsessions (Palin, beagles, Gay marriage, GWB, "christianists," Provincetown, and lately, Althouse, etc.) have made his blog a buzz-kill place to hang out for a long time.

He's yesterday's newspaper (er, pixels.) Let's move on...

Gary said...

Oops...

"I think you are writing some of your 'best' posts.

Don said...

I really don't care about Andrew's sexual preferences or what his medical condition is, but if he is going to take issue with this blog he should focus on what YOU said, not one of your commenters. And if he wants you to remove a comment he finds offensive, he should politely ask you to do it.

Fred4Pres said...

The problem is that Sullivan doesn't have a clue that his original suspicions about Trig were odd and his obsession over the course of an entire year looks unhinged.

We have a winner.

And Ann, it is not you, its Andrew. I have attacked Andrew for his Trig comments because they deserve to be attacked. They are nuts. As for him being HIV+, I do not think it is relevant to this behaivor, but I also think Sullivan loves to paint all Republicans and conservatives as homophobes. Beyond his Trig hysteria, he attacks Sarah Palin as if she was James Dobson on social conservative issues--and there is no real basis for him to do so.

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

Oh, that does it!

* looks up anodyne *

Pffft. I knew that.

miller said...

It appears that your opponent thinks he should not be criticized for his lunatic obsession about Sarah Palin, who ALMOST BECAME PRESIDENT!!!!ELEVENTY!!!!!

Really, he's not that interesting or important.

He does know how to call in favors to avoid deportation, however.

Matthew said...

Andrew Sullivan and Maureen Dowd would make a lovely couple.

knox said...

Don't worry. It has to do with breasts. It would only bore you.

... unless they're Sarah's!

wannie said...

Ann, you have much more delicious topics to cover than this half-digested trash that Andrew Sullivan puts out. Challenge him to a BhTV death match. If he doesn't show, game over.

I'm a back row reader of Sully -- don't read him, just read what other people quote or say about him. We back-rowers are in the majority. I vote we move on.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Clicked on him the other day (otherwise pretty much am with winnie). Don't recall what he said. Mostly he's showing that it's not not pc to slur heterosexual women. Ergo (as they say in the Latin trade): please only brag a limited amount about his compliments.

Bob From Ohio said...

Compare:

"They were vicious personal attacks on a specific human being, using both my sexual orientation and my illness as targets."

with

"They were vicious personal attacks on a specific human being, using her disabled infant as target."

The first is an inevitable by-product of the second.

Further, mere comments on a private blog are far less significant than those launched with the approval of one of America's oldest "respected" magazines by a well known TV network contributor and author.

If Sullivan wants to avoid personal attacks, he needs to stop his Trig Trutherism and make a sincere, public mea culpa to Sarah Palin. Then, he can be attacked for his views only. Until then, the attacks against him personally are going to continue.

Sullivan claims to be a devout Catholic. Perhaps he should look into his soul a bit.

Lincolntf said...

Nice to see that reasonable people here have rejected Sullivan's irrational hatred of the Palin family. He has demonstrated that his judgment is so poor and easily clouded that I can't take him seriously on any issue any more.

John Kindley said...

Ann, nice takedown of Sullivan. It comports with everything I've known and loved about this blog and the comments section here. I don't participate as much as I used to, as I've been focusing more on my new blog at peoplevstate.com, but will have to comment more in hopes of snagging some traffic.

bagoh20 said...

This is simple from my view:

Where Ann is courageous, open, fun, and interesting; Sullivan is cowardly, insular, petty, and booring.

In general, the commenters here are the best anywhere for open topics. In fact, the boorish here are far more rare than just about anywhere else politics are discussed.

Sullivan simply envies your accomplishment here which is exceptional.

His decision to not have comments is an understanding of his own limitations. Limitations Ann does not share.

Dave said...

'It's disingenuous to assume that a policy I stated 4 years ago is the policy I maintain and employ today. Obviously, it's not. '

How is this obvious or disingenuous?

L. E. Lee said...

Jason (the commenter) wrote

"If you're going to re-post on another thread then at least spell "intellectually" properly the second time."

Jason, a grammar flame is beneath you. I will proof read more closely next time so as to keep you from embarrassing yourself. Also, I removed my post from the other thread before placing it here were it was more appropriate. Thank you very much.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

If someone is HIV positive and is acting objectively unhinged, I don't see how its homophobic to mention AIDS dementia. It's not an insult, it's a diagnosis.
Oh, god. It's comments like these that almost make it OK for Andrew to question Trig's maternity.

c3 said...

you guys keep this up and Pres. Obama will appoint a special envoy to resolve the Althouse-Sullivan conflict.

Kansas City said...

Ann seems to win easily on the merits of the debate.

There apparently is something about Andrew, that makes people pay attention to him. He seems to be a troubled fellow with some inner demons of some significance.

I too would be astonished if an honest poll of his readers actually said no comments. The notion that they think it is better to let Andrew pick the comments to publishn is laughable.

I would love to see a blogginheads discussion between Andrew and Ann. I'm not sure at all how it would play out. Ann can be either brillian or emotionally distracted in person and from what little I have seen of Sullivan in person, he is better and more stable than in writing.

Kudos to Ann for issuing the challenge. If she is correct about Sullivan, he probably will turn it down or, perhaps more likely since he does not allow comments to challenge him, ignore it.

L. E. Lee said...

were=where
(I don't want Jason to get into a snit.)

Zachary Paul Sire said...

It's when Andrew says "But she is happy to post the vilest attacks on my being gay and having HIV and refuses to apologize" where he really loses whatever credibility he might have had as a blogger. He's a total fraud. He knows damn well that Althouse doesn't "post" the comments, but he frames it this way to ridiculously trick his readers into thinking otherwise. Insane. It belies his entire argument. The end.

And, this point has been made before, but Andrew doesn't allow comments on his blog. I can't think of any other web "personality" or major blog that doesn't allow comments. Until or unless he starts permitting comments, I don't see how anyone can consider him a real blogger. He's a joke. There's nothing that pisses me off more than someone like Andrew who can make incendiary, controversial statements all day long (some of which I agree with), but then not open himself up to public criticism. Infuriating! OK, I'm done.

steve austin said...

The day I deleted Sullivan from my bookmarks was the day he approvingly quoted Sen. Dick Durbin's smear of US troops as "Nazis." This is also a man who conflates "Christianists" with "Islamists," as if prayer in the schools and flying airplanes into buildings are two sides of the same coin. "Hate speech"? Heal thyself, Andrew.

Photog714 said...

Is Sullivan really worth the time and space you devoted to answering his ill-conceived criticisms of you?

I don't think so, but you obviously do. I wonder why ...

sydney said...

Clearly, those comments referencing dementia hurt him badly. How could they not? Anyone who publicly states that he has sex to escape his enormously fabulous brain can't be expected to understand how anyone else could not comprehend the self-evident enormity - dare I say "eloquence"- of his mind.

Come on people! How can you possibly think it is wrong to question Trig Palin's paternity when the question arises from such a superior mind.

traditionalguy said...

In my younger days, my position on slander directed at me that missed the mark because I had done no such thing was that my friends all knew me,so the slander was their problem and not mine. But in today's world of cyberspace where slanders go viral to millions of people who do not know you at all, it is different battlefield that requires quick and reasoned responses ASAP. That reality will toughen up or discourage those expressing truthfull insights. I fully understand why Sarah Palin decided to stop offering to be an easy target under the Alaska Ethics Statute procedures. IMO Sullivan's attacks are a sign of his feeling the heat from a women's leadership that out-classes him, be that from a Sarah Palin or from an Ann Althouse. Free Speech attracts counter attacks when the speech exposes things desired to be kept secret. It is an example of a military patrol going out and drawing fire to expose the enemy's hidden positions.

sydney said...

That should be Trig Palin's "maternity" not "paternity."

richard said...

Professor, Mr. Sullivan is not worth your time. I would have given up on him long time ago. The man is impervious to logic and reasoning.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

The problem is, Althouse sort of needs to respond to his attacks. Andrew is considered a major blogger and national political commentator, despite behaving like a 5-year-old on the internet. Many, many people listen to him and consider him an authority. Hopefully, with consistent, rational smackdowns by Althouse and others, Andrew's followers can objectively realize that the man is a hack. He may write well and offer well thought out insights on a lot of things, but the man has no business being on the internet, at all.

Alex said...

Guys just skip past:

Jeremy
LE Lee
Danielle
Garage Mahal
Michael
AlphaLiberal
Former Law Student

montana urban legend is ok.

Methadras said...

Alex said...

Guys just skip past:

Jeremy
LE Lee
Danielle
Garage Mahal
Michael
AlphaLiberal
Former Law Student

montana urban legend is ok.


You've just highlighted who the Althouse Stooges are.

kentuckyliz said...

Maybe Sully will quit sullying Sarah when Levi's pictures are published in Playgirl, which is actually a magazine for gay men.

It will distract him like a new shiny thing.

I stand by my criticisms of Sully. I think his application for naturalization should be denied because he has committed crimes here. He needs to confess to his immigration officer and go back to England.

Lots of poofs there, he should be quite happy.

Methadras said...

Ann, I wonder how soon Little Miss Sullivan will start a conspiratorial investigation on your womb? I can see Meade laughing.

tjl said...

"Two days ago you got into a self-righteous snit because Sullivan questioned you about the ugly bigoted comments on your blog. You puffed out your chest and claimed that you were a champion of free speech and that he was not. Now it turns out you had a very different view about blog comments and free speech not that long ago. How you can do a one eighty and then be so self-righteous about it is quite humorous"

Speaking of 180* turns, who has ever performed this maneuver more dramatically than Sullivan himself? One day after the Massachusetts gay-marriage decision, he turned on a dime, espoused liberal positions on everything, and launched bitter attacks on everyone who held the very same views he used to advocate.

William Tyroler said...

I didn't generically call him a racist. I found racism in the way he talked about Bobby Jindal. As to heterophobia and misogyny.... well, frankly, I do think Sullivan has a problem with women.

No, no. Certain groups simply instill in him an "intemperate and over-wrought" reaction. What could possibly be the problem with that? And God knows, his obsessiveness is motivated by his love for the target of his wrath: you can take his word for it.

Titus said...

Althouse does a nice job responding to Andrew.

I don't care for some of the gay hating stuff that is written by some commenters but I have a thick skin and move on.

Sullivan is a "famous gay" and I don't like him bein the face of "the gay" to many. I don't know if he likes women or not but if he gives some that impression than I feel other may feel "gays don't like women".

I love women. Women and girls have always been my best friends in life all the way back to when I was a young boy and the other boys hated me. I have always been able to connect with girls/women more than other men-straight or gay.

Also, I agree the entire gay marriage thing changed his political views instantly. That is obvious.

Also, for Sullivan to make a connection between some of the comments "published" as in you wrote or endorse them is cheap and unfair.

Many gays to love you Althouse and know you love them too.

You do piss me off sometimes though but that's ok.

Now lets all enjoy the fall foliage.

Mimi said...

I think Zachary Paul Sire (1:51 p.m.) is right -- because AS is such a big name, Ann has to take on his smears now and then. In the best of all possible worlds, though, we could all ignore him because, basically, he’s just a dishonest, creepy twerp.

Example: Yesterday, the day the news broke about Obama’s Nobel prize, I ventured over to AS’s site for the first time in a very long while just to see what he had to say. Guess what? Absolutely nothing until about two minutes before Obama spoke in the Rose Garden, and then he used the lame excuse that he’d been up late the night before and was just getting to his blog. Yeah, sure.

holdfast said...

"They were vicious personal attacks on a specific human being, using both my sexual orientation and my illness as targets."

Damn straight, beeatch. Andi traffics in nothing but vicious personal attacks against those he does not like - attacking their alleged alcoholism, children, spouses, pregnancies and anything else that comes to hand. He is nothing but a screechy little girl (and yes, I would say this even if he f*cked chicks) who can dish it out by the bucket load but cannot take a thimbleful in return.

I am very glad that he understands that these are indeed personal attacks and not aimed at gays in general, though sometimes the less attractive aspects of Andi's gayness (i.e. his gynophobia) is used as a cudgel against him - not particularly classy, I'll grant you, but fully earned.

V the K said...

Sullivan --- what a crybaby. No wonder he has such an unhidden mancrush on Obama; they're both thin-skinned crybabies.

MnMark said...

I've probably written some comments on here that some people would find offensive. So reading about this hullabaloo over "homophobic" and "hateful" comments, I wondered: what exactly qualifies as "homophobic"?

Technically the word means "fear of homosexuals". I'm not afraid of homosexuals, but I find male homosexuality repulsive. The mannerisms, the sexual acts, the whole package - I find it viscerally grotesque. Does that make me "homophobic" and a "hater"? Must I like it, or at least profess to feel neutrally about it, in order to get the seal of social acceptability? Because frankly, I think the goal of homosexuals like Sullivan is not simply to win equal rights, but to force society to behave as though homosexuality is just as normal as peachy and pleasant as normal human sexuality. I think their goal is to make it socially unacceptable to find homosexuality repulsive, so that those who do must cover up their feelings on the subject. I believe their goal is to reach a point where a man would be ashamed to refuse to dance with another man, for fear of appearing to be "homophobic". (That actually happened to a friend of mine - he and his wife took dancing lessons and a pair of homosexual men was in the class, and did not excuse themselves when partner dancing began. Thus my friend ended up having to do a hot, sexy salsa with a homosexual man in order not to make a scene.)

So if it makes me "homophobic" and "hateful" to find homosexuality repulsive, then I guess that's what I am and will remain.

RobertL said...

...and how come you don't stop your readers from thinking bad thoughts about poor, persecuted Andrew?

There is NO way you can satisfy the total self-absorption of this man (why else would Bill Mahr have him on so much?) regardless of how much time you devote to responding to his accusations. Stop wasting your time...

LonewackoDotCom said...

Obviously, this didn't sink in the last time I posted it here, but if you want to discredit someone's opinions, show how they're wrong about facts.

And, here's one example of Andrew Sullivan lying. (Note: understanding how he was lying isn't that difficult since we're just dealing with easy-to-understand facts. However, it also requires someone to be intellectually curious and honest, something some bloggers/pundits have issues with.)

Rialby said...

There is NO way that Sully will do a debate. If he's not open to comments on his blog, he ain't open to debate. Al Gore will debate global warming with dissenting scientists like Bjorn Lmborg or Ian Plimer before Sully "lowers himself" to discuss anything in public with you, Ms. Althouse.

By the way, I absolutely love debates and am sorry I wasn't into WFB's Firing Line when it was on tv. I wish there were more formal debates on tv rather than the scream-over-the-top of each other stuff we get on cable news or the joke-as-debate stuff from the Daily Show.

SMGalbraith said...

The comments about his illness and so-called dementia were ugly and uncalled for. Why are they needed?

Respond to his stupid views (he endorsed both Ron Paul and Obama?) and bizarre obsession with Palin.

The personal stuff is just, frankly, ad hominem silliness.

Yes, it's the internet and anything goes but there's a limit.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

...what exactly qualifies as "homophobic"? Technically the word means "fear of homosexuals". I'm not afraid of homosexuals, but I find male homosexuality repulsive. The mannerisms, the sexual acts, the whole package - I find it viscerally grotesque.


Yes, just as I find someone like you disgusting and moronic, this does not make me heterophobic.


Must I like it, or at least profess to feel neutrally about it, in order to get the seal of social acceptability?


Based on what I've seen from you in the comments here, I don't think becoming OK with homosexuality is going to make you any more socially acceptable than you already are.

I think their goal is to make it socially unacceptable to find homosexuality repulsive, so that those who do must cover up their feelings on the subject.
I don't give a flying fuck what you think about who I stick my dick in. In fact, I prefer you find it gross.


I believe their goal is to reach a point where a man would be ashamed to refuse to dance with another man, for fear of appearing to be "homophobic". (That actually happened to a friend of mine - he and his wife took dancing lessons and a pair of homosexual men was in the class, and did not excuse themselves when partner dancing began. Thus my friend ended up having to do a hot, sexy salsa with a homosexual man in order not to make a scene.)
LOL.

tjl said...

MnMark writes "I think their goal is to make it socially unacceptable to find homosexuality repulsive, so that those who do must cover up their feelings on the subject."

Similar brickbats were once thrown at those who worked to make racism socially unacceptable.
Troglodytes like this give Sullivan an excuse to wallow in his persecution mania.

SMGalbraith said...

Yes, it's the internet and anything goes but there's a limit.

Brilliant, no?

Just about anything goes but there should be some limit.

LoafingOaf said...

That would be cool if they did a bloggingheads now that they've aired some of their grievances. Sullivan has Althouse on his "Blog Love" list and Althouse has posted some very nice things about Sullivan in the past. They might come away as friends after a bloggingheads. Aw, then we'd all be able to smile about how nice the blogospehgere can sometimes be, even after a messy flame-war.

And, was it my lil comment in the thread that started all this that motivated Sullivan to post replies to Althouse? :o If so, I hope getting these two superpower blogs talking will lead to them smoking a peace pipe on bloggingheads, and that someone nominates me for a peace prize. :)

Robert said...

Free speech is ugly. However, once you start putting limits of the sort Mr. Sullivan desires, it really isn't free anymore. Soon you are telling writers like Mark Steyn what they can and can't write.

Hang tough, Professor.

LoafingOaf said...

One thing both sides seem to agree on is that some commenters here posted some despicable things. Have any of these commenters who have brought shame on our community posted apologies for their comments? If not, why not?

I think the blog that probably is most responsible for the vicious attacks on Sullivan is Ace of Spades. A lot of the commenters here are readers of that blog and it has encouraged such attacks on Sullivan as a way of punishing him for turning on the Republican Party.

I'm not saying I've never posted despicable things (though I don't think I've posted hate speech). I understand how easy it is to get carried away as an anonymous commenter, especially if you're drunk or something. But why aren't these commenters who posted such nasty things about Sullivan's sexuality and illness saying that they, on reflection, are sorry. Especially now that their comments are being republished around the internet to show how vile the Conservatives4Palin wing of the Republican Party can get. A lot of these people claim to be Good Christians, so why don't they confess their sins and ask for forgiveness?

Instead, commenter David posts this above: If someone is HIV positive and is acting objectively unhinged, I don't see how its homophobic to mention AIDS dementia. It's not an insult, it's a diagnosis.

See. No remorse.

Oliver said...

This article is a terrible defense by Ms. Althouse. Negative comments drive away readers? No, negative comments start huge fights and lead to massive increases in hits. She knows this. I write for the web and I know this; anyone who writes on the internet knows this.

I've never commented here before, but I see this right at the top of the comment form: "Digress only to be funny/interesting. I will delete trolls and troll feeders according to my whim, and if you have an issue with that email me. DO NOT comment about it."

I would thus assume that comments saying that Andrew Sullivan suffers from AIDS dementia were not considered "trolling," and were allowed to stand. And since Ms. Althouse commented on those same threads, she clearly saw them. Which is really what this was supposed to be about. It's her website; if she considers such comments to be appropriate, then fine and dandy; her choice. But such comments are vile, and attempts by commentators to defend them by saying, "Well, Andrew Sullivan says stuff about Sarah Palin that I don't like" are... completely beside the point.

Paco Wové said...

"Have any of these commenters who have brought shame on our community posted apologies for their comments? If not, why not?"

You sort of answer your own question, do you not? If people feel no remorse for a given act, it's unlikely they'll apologize for it.

Given the generally low levels of shame and remorse found on the Internet, I think you'll be waiting for apologies for a very long time.

LoafingOaf said...

Oliver, I disagree with you and Sullivan saying that Althouse obviously had to have seen comments above comments that she replied to. Come on now. I find it far more likely that she scrolls quickly through comment sections and replies to a couple out of the handful that she happened to have read, than that she reads every single comment before posting replies to some of them.

That said, I just noticed the thread about the Althouse Hillbillies t-shirts Althouse wants to produce in the wake of this scandal concerning her right-wing commenters. Isn't that patting those commenters on the back after they had just posted the hate speech Sullivan shined a light on?

Paco Wové said...

Hate speech!

Scandal!!

...and you, a law professor!!!

XWL said...

Sullivan is bonkers, but his fragrance is nice...

William said...

There must be an electron microscope somewhere that can measure the difference in moral high ground between these two mole hills. Micrometerologists have perhaps discovered a way to measure the wind velocity in these two teacups......I like to see the way a thought will twist and turn in the comments section here. I see it not so much as a ladder to heaven but rather more as a colon. If Sullivan would look upon it thus, he would be less offended.

nomilk said...

But why aren't these commenters who posted such nasty things about Sullivan's sexuality and illness saying that they, on reflection, are sorry.


Randy Andy said some of the comments were "funny." I assumed he meant might mine, so I'm not going to apologize for being funny.

But when I call him the "Sultana of Sodom," I'm making a deadly serious point that his advocacy of same-sex marriage is a threat. The regime of gay marriage will inevitably result in second-class citizenship for religious believers and other people of conscience--aka, dhimmitude. And that, plus the degradation of marriage itself, poses a direct threat to my livelihood, my family, my church, and society itself.

filmat11 said...

"I like to see the way a thought will twist and turn in the comments section here. I see it not so much as a ladder to heaven but rather more as a colon. If Sullivan would look upon it thus, he would be less offended."


I'm sure Sullivan has looked upon quite a few colons and it's not helping.

LoafingOaf said...

Uh-oh. Another blog has entered the dispute by unearthing what appears to be Althouse going after Atrios in the same manner as Sullivan went after her: "Atrios managed to summon up worse misogynists than Charles Johnson did. I hope he's proud of his people." Link.

nomilk said...

And yet another blog enters the fray--with a literary critic of rare discernment at the helm.

Jason (the commenter) said...

L. E. Lee: (I don't want Jason to get into a snit.)

I hope you now see that personal vanity can make other people happy and that you were misguided on how much vanity is appropriate.

LoafingOaf said...

NoMilk: You and your ilk sit in the right-wing blogs' comment sections riffing on the "milky loads" thing all night whenever Sullivan is mentioned, so yeah, you've crafted some funny ones as you mingle with your fellow homophobes. You'll also find some creative hate speech in neo-Nazi forums.

DADvocate said...

Sullivan is mad because Ann married Meade and now his heart is broken.

nomilk said...

You'll also find some creative hate speech in neo-Nazi forums.


I'm pleased to announce that the Norwegian Academy has awarded you the Godwin Piece Prize. Suck on it.

lucid said...

I do think that Sully's strange, hate-filled, and unique obsession with Palin, her body, and her giving birth suggests that he has a terible issue with his mother, her attitude toward him, and her feelings about his birth. Has he ever written about his mother? Might do him some good to explore this.

scinfinity said...

So, Sully wants Ann to defend his honor? Is that the gist of it here?

I'm not sure he really has enough to defend in the first place.

Andrew Sullivan (sotto voce) said...

Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo. Why do people say such mean things about me? Just because I can't stop writing about the curve of a Vice-Presidential candidate's belly?

scinfinity said...

Let's see if I got this straight: A rather well-known individual who has books written and is one of the most influential liberals out there...is whining because commenters are "mean" to him? Not bloggers, journalists, celebrities...but message board COMMENTERS?

At the risk of being mean, Andy, sit up and put on your big boy undies. I've seen you unload on public figures --- what makes YOU so above reproach that nobody can unload on you? I enjoyed your takedown of Michael Moore immensely --- but it takes a special level of idiocy to believe your own crap doesn't stink.

Don't want people to insult you? Don't act like you're a step away from cutting yourself "to relieve the pain"? My mom works with psychotic girls at a hospital and they are more composed in the face of criticism than Andy here.

MadisonMan said...

Sullivan is mad because Ann married Meade and now his heart is broken.

Hmm.

Did Sullivan wanted to marry Althouse, or did Sullivan want to marry Meade? And is Meade's heart now broken, or is Sullivan's?

Dudley Do-right said...

Good grief, Ann, ignore him. He's just a vile troll with his own blog.

Is there any good reason why you can't?

vw = gantoo, as in, "Yes, you gantoo!"

Cedarford said...

Pretty funny. Sully lashes out at the Christionist breeder and demands to see her medical records to prove Trig isn't Bristols.

Observers note Sullys bizarre obsessional behavior and sarcastically ask for Sully's medical records to prove the proudly HIV+ barebacker bloke isn't in AIDs dementia.

Of course, Sully puffs up and screams How-Dare-You accuse him of something on such flimsy evidence AND compound your bigotry/homophobia/vicious ,,,etc., whatever charges by asking him to PROVE he isn't AIDs demented by releasing his medical records!!!

This is fun.

I think I was one of the ones who mentioned the flimsy AIDs dementia smear and a demand for med records as sarcasm and a reverse play for Sully going off the cliff on Palin Conspiracy Theory. And his demand that his target "medically prove" there was nothing to the groundless smear he lodged.

I am pleased the erratic Andrew bit on the bait...deep...and went right into his indulging his simpering, mewling Victimhood..

Cedarford said...

SMGalbraith said...
The comments about his illness and so-called dementia were ugly and uncalled for. Why are they needed?


It is called sarcastically reciprocating Sullys tactics against Palin.

Make a baseless personal smear.
Then demand the person's medical records so others can look at them and "clear their name".

And "Excitable Andy" got, well, excited -- about a few commentors having the temerity to do it.

LoafingOaf said...

You guys claim it's crazy to ask questions about whether anything funny was going on with Palin's pregnancy, a pregnancy that was the main reason the Religious Right championed her. But we've just seen that another recent VP candidate - John Edwards - was willing to go so far as to try and falsify DNA reports about his love-child to help his political career.

I don't put anything past people who seek great power. There really are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding Palin's pregnancy, and Palin chose not to put them to rest when she easily could have. This is a woman who tried to become our VP even though she didn't know jack squat about anything, and she told about ten zillion lies along the way.

Some of you are so in the tank for Palin you didn't even recognize that Levi was forced into being a pawn in her quest for power. I told you all long ago that Levi would turn on Palin, after she tried to force him into a shotgun marriage.

Sullivan asks questions of those seeking great power. A lot of you are mostly busy making excuses for those with great power who abused their power (Bush and Cheney) in violation of our laws.

Anyway, as to the issue at hand, I find it strange that Althouse has gone after other bloggers' commenters in exactly the way Sullivan went after her's (see the link at my above post). But when Sullivan went after her commenters, she said she wanted to make t-shirts celebrating them (the "Althouse Hillbillies"). What would she have said if Atrios had responded to her attacks on his commenters by saying he intends to make t-shirts celebrating them?

LoafingOaf said...

I'm pleased to announce that the Norwegian Academy has awarded you the Godwin Piece Prize. Suck on it.

I brought up neo-Nazi forums in perfectly reasonable fashion. If you go to those forums, you'll see creative hate speech.

You were busy sucking your own dick over your hate speech about Sullivan's sexual orientation and illness. I wasn't impressed, as you were just doing unoriginal variations on all the "milky loads" riffs that fill the comment sections of certain right-wing blogs whenever Sullivan is the topic.

kent said...

a pregnancy that was the main reason the Religious Right championed her.

Evidence?

salvage said...

You're an inspiration Ann, anyone thinking about getting into law but worried they're not smart enough? I just send 'em here, makes it clear that one does not have to be particularly clever to get into the field.

But nothing tickles me more than seeing you and Sully go at it. Two dull sides to the same coin, please keep it up!

lucid said...

@loafinoaf:
Try not to make strained comparisons as a form of serious argument. John Edwards was the object of newspaper reports and references to staffer comments. There was a documentary and eyewitness record that was getting explored. After a while, even the NY-Behind-the-Times got into the act. Sullivan is out there by himself like a female-hating raving lunatic. It is in the same category as claiming that the Apollo moon landing took place on a movie set in Arizonia or that the governement spread AIDS to blacks or that Bush knew about 9-11 ahead of time. It makes you an object of appropriate dersion and disqualifies everything else you say.

Paco Wové said...

"Evidence?"

Kent: If you were hanging around here before the election last year, you would probably have noticed that Sarah Palin drives LoafingOaf just about as crazy as she drove Excitable Andy. LO just has a really strong hate-on going for Palin.

Marshal said...

It's pretty revealing Sullivan believes commenters on Althouse's blog should be held to a higher standard than he. Maybe he does realize how disgusting and vile he his.

Giraffe said...

" It's disingenuous to assume that a policy I stated 4 years ago is the policy I maintain and employ today. Obviously, it's not."

No shit. The policy you stated 4 years ago was adult and responsible.