Ann Althouse gets livid at Garance Franke-Ruta over nothing. At one point, she threatens to hang up. She’s become such a pathetic figure that it’s almost painful to watch. (UPDATE: C&L excerpts a section here. Dave has the full transcript of the segment with commentary.)
Garance is understandably surprised that Althouse would go into an incoherent rage because she brings up the Valenti incident (make sure to scroll down to Althouse’s own comments, including such knee-slappers as “Jessica should have worn a beret. Blue dress would have been good too”), since she had apparently discussed it the previous week with Glenn Reynolds and Dr. Helen. But this isn’t really surprising — she’s constructed a very carefully sanitized ex post facto version of this incident, and she’s not going to engage the merits with anybody who might remember it or who might challenge her version of events. (It is worth noting that it was Althouse who first brought up the “breastblogging” accusation, so it was hardly out of bounds for Garance to describe the incident the way she did.) I won’t fully rehash the events (I discussed it in detail here and here), but obviously her claim that her attack on Jessica was about how some bloggers “lacked the feminist grit to object to what Clinton meant for feminism” is farcical. It’s highly unpersuasive on its face to claim that a feminist can have absolutely nothing to do with a President with a relatively good record on woman’s rights because of a consensual (though potentially objectionable from a feminist perspective) affair. But coming from someone who strongly supports George Bush and Sam Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, this absolutism is laughable. Is feminism served by appointing a staunch opponent of woman’s rights who boasted about his membership in a group that wanted to keep women out of Princeton? Or by a President who would institute a global gag rule in his first day of office, appoint people like David Hager to important positions, appoint people like Altio and Priscilla Owen to the federal courts, etc etc.? This wasn’t about feminist principle; this was about someone obsessed with The Clenis and with a well-documented resentment toward liberal feminists taking a cheap shot that she was rightly called on.
Anyway, as a public service to counteract her revisionism I thought I would transcribe a relevant portion of “Audible Althouse 65,” (seriously, you owe me for this) in which she discussed the incident. If you go to about 20 minutes in, you’ll get some instructive comments. She first of all claims, erroneously, that Feministing is “sexed up with pictures of women in bras” and “talks about breasts a lot.” (She engaged in a vicious attack on a blogger, on other words, without the slightest idea what the hell she was talking about.) Her outrage over Garance’s description of the incident is particularly amusing when you hear how often she asserts her imaginary claims about Feministing being dominated by breast images. Then, 35 minutes in, after her speculations trying to explain the deep, deep puzzle of why someone would take a picture with the taller people in the back and the shorter people in the front, you get this (the transcription is not perfectly word for word):
Now why they brought in this woman with the breasts all over her blog [sic], I don’t know….now, obviously, you could come up with a theory that Clinton actually wanted to meet her….I think her blog has a lot less traffic than the other bloggers, and the name of her blog is “Feminsiting,” which I think is pretty clearly a portmanteau word combines the words “feminist” and “fisting,” (!) so it’s a graphic sexual image. And then there are all these breast images on the blog too [sic]. I don’t really know why you would want to bring that in and connect it up with Clinton. I mean, the sort of Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation, is that Clinton actually wanted to meet this woman.
Yes, the most straightforward explanation for the fact that a campaign event associated with Hillary Clinton would want to bring in a prominent feminist blogger (and NARAL’s house blogger) is…that Bill Clinton wanted to get laid! And if you describe utterly banal T-Shirt ads of the type found on many blogs across the ideological spectrum (combined with an obvious parody of sexist mudflaps) as “sexualized images,” it all becomes clear! Yes, I can’t imagine why this serious nonpartisan thinker and principled feminist is such a object of contempt and derision.