How about them boobies? I was traveling yesterday, and missed most of the astonishing uproar over being photographed while bearing breasts—so I won’t add much to the thrashing except to point out the bright side.
You see, the real resentment is over the fact that Jessica happens to be young and attractive, a couple of fortuitous and irrelevant features that don’t matter to the assessment of her writing. There are a lot of people like that in the blogosphere, like Amanda and Lindsay, and it’s not just the ladies—look at Ezra and Chris. They’re the competition. If we old and homely people can take them out by impeaching them on the basis of their looks and simultaneously elevating our raddled, decrepit appearance into a sign of gravitas and wisdom, we win! We need to constantly reinforce that pleasing “he/she-sure-didn’t-get-there-on-looks-and-sunny-disposition” source of false credibility, and divide the world into crotchety sourpusses you must obey and young kids with taut connective tissue you can ignore.
I suspect Ann Althouse must be cleverly thinking the very same thing.
Elayne Riggs says
And what’s really cool about all this mockery of the Althouse gang is that it detracts from productive discussion on how the liberal blogosphere could have striven for more diversity in the invitation list! Hoorah for myopia! Booyah!!
The kind of controversy this “storm in a D-cup” (sorry) represents is nothing new to the internet(s) at large, even if if is a novelty to the segment of the blogosphere concerned with American politics. There’s a rule which was established a long time age: Pics or STFU.
I blame X-President Clinton.
Jeezy Chreezy! Somebody get that woman a burqa, stat!
It’s just ridiculous. Really ridiculous. Althouse and the others need to get over themselves quickly.
"Q" the Enchanter says
It’s a real Catch 22. If everyone knew how hot I am, my blog would be much more popular. But then no one would take me seriously.
Damn. PZ is right. I, too, have a vested interest in driving out the beautiful people. Geek chic is no match for pulchritude. (Even billions and billions of bucks couldn’t make Gates sexy.)
Burgess Shale says
No matter which way this resolves, you can be sure it will be used by Dembski’s blog gang to deride Evolution and/or as overwhelming global evidence for ID somehow.
To me that looks like a very poorly posed/composed picture all round. The photographer made the usual, if somewhat vague, attempt to put the tall people at the back and the shorter ones in front so that all the faces are visible (which necessarily means mostly women, and any other forward-facing assets they happen to have, at the front!). But it really wasn’t carried out well. So the line-up is extremely ragged instead of being evenly spaced and having a nice flow to its height. They also mostly seem to have been looking at an entirely different camera than the one taking the Flickr shot.
Comparing the various poses and “smiles”, they all look rather awkward. I’d say Jessica was the one who appears most genuinely pleased though and also one of only a couple making a decent attempt to pose nicely for the group photo at all. It might be interesting to see the other camera’s (or cameras’) view of things though.
Dave Eaton says
Somebody analyze all this using evolutionary psychology, and quick. Not about boobs and sex, but tribes. It’s not my area, but let me start:
Katherine Harris’ boobies are ok for liberals to point at, Jessica’s are OK for conservatives to point at, and then the appropriate recriminations are made inter-tribally (with the liberals, having a bit more conscience, throwing in a little intra-tribal recrimination about the bigger picture that everyone is missing (like the fact that it was, ah, not so diverse, at the conference) for fun). OK, someone else pick it up.
I like boobs. I can’t be sent to enough reeducation camps (liberal to see the sexism, conservative to see the sinfulness) for that to change. Prudence and self-preservation instinct keeps me from doing more than mentally noting, though. That, my wife, and sobriety.
This shit is why I am a libertarian- both sides want to oppress me. And my boobs. Well, not my boobs, but those boobs with which I have either a passing or intimate relationship.
PZ Myers says
But Elayne, Ann and I are also both slugbelly pale people — we can’t say brown people shouldn’t be the kings and queens of the blogosphere, because that would be racist, but we can just ignore them, and we still win!
Or perhaps we should be more concerned about the quality of bloggers’ ideas than the color of their skin, texture of their hair, sociocultural background, or presence of boobies.
Molly, NYC says
It’s not remarkable that this is a really idiotic argument; people make silly points all the time.
What’s remarkable is that: Ridiculous as it was, it got picked up! It became a right-wing talking point (at least among their blogs).
If someone publishes, on the spur of the moment and on her own little blog, some brainfart that she dreamed up all by herself–that’s nothing, everyone has their schlocky moments.
But how weird is it that these others (each of whom carries rather desperate intellectual pretensions) actually adopted said brainfart as their sweet very own, something they utterly agreed with? Was there even an instant when they thought Would I look like a fool if I express this?
The Right is to thinking what fashion victims are to clothes.
Heh. Back when I worked there, a long time ago (i.e., pre-Melinda), at the height of the speculation about whether Gates would ever marry and settle down, some enterprising employee printed up T-shirts with “Bill G, Pick Me!” on them.
I know at least two straight guys who were planning to buy them.
To me that looks like a very poorly posed/composed picture all round.
I agree — that one woman’s black blouse is indistinguishable from the black suit of the guy slightly in front and to the side of her. Also, why is Duncan Black hiding his face? Is this a tribute to his former completely pseudonomous nature (when we weren’t sure if Atrios was Sid Blumenthal or Gene Lyons or perhaps if Sid Blumenthal was Gene Lyons?).
Ha! I remember those days. One of the apparently straight guys in my computer club said Bill could have him for a billion dollars. I was charmed by his generous self-assessment.
I also met one of Bill’s pre-Melinda girlfriends at a computer-related gathering. She seemed nice, but naturally enough hovered near her beau while the computer users at the reception orbited about him. She seemed ill at ease and most of us felt kind of sorry for her. Melinda doesn’t give off that sort of vibe at all.
I want politicians to start saying; “Yes, I have a penis,” or breasts, or vagina, or whatever, “and what about it? You’re electing me to balance the budget, fight our enemies, and figure out that stem-cell-policy thingie.” Why should politicians pretend to be sexless?
High time we got over scorn for noticing. Clinton’s a womanizer? Good for him! Presumably the adult women he ‘-ized’ were able to tell him to go jump in the lake if they were so inclined. Isn’t it a little patronizing to women to suggest that they are helpless pawns in men’s sexuality?
I’ve never seen a picture of Jessica and don’t care what she looks like, but if the meeting served a purpose for both her and Clinton, her t-shirt is just somebody else’s flip-flops. I’d love to meet Bill Clinton, just to thank him for being a good president.
Dave Eaton says
Stupidity knows no politics. I cringe when I encounter those on the left who think science is just another privileged way of knowing. Or anti-GMO protesters who say that they don’t want any DNA in their food. The inability to think is equal opportunity. Politics and stupidity readily go hand in hand. Stupid is as stupid does. I’m not giving my tribe a pass. Which is probably why they’re always trying to run me out of it…
Besides, I don’t see how we can paint the Right as the absolute source of evil and simultaneously claim that they can’t think. Evil thoughts can be well-constructed, by left and right.
I love it how the people taking this attractive blogger to task are old and dried up hags. Seriously, I think that progressives need to give a gigantic bird to the “feminists” who seek to suck the sexuality out of people. Are they as bad as the religious conservatives? In this regard, absolutely.
Oops, apparently the old hags are right wingers… Pandagon’s post has me all confused.
No one seems to notice the MAN posing on the far left- clutching at what may well be a penis-pump secreted in his tented pants!
PZ, shuddupalready! If you reveal the scheme we’ve put in place with all the other schumps, we won’t meet the schedule for the singularity! Even counterproductive memes like Althouse are required for the plan. I know, her and the Reynolds are going to be a pain for gigaseconds, but we need them if this whole blogosphere thing is going to be more than a metavore. Um, I mean -phor.
Wait, this is public? I deny everything.
plucky punk says
Althouse *is* claiming Jessica doesn’t represent “real feminist values” because she is young and pretty and is well-dressed.
This type of crap is only further down the slippery slope from the conceit esposed by several matriarchs of the feminist blogosphere that women who wear heels or read Vogue are tools of the patriarchy.
And it’s just up the slippery slope from the “she asked for it, she was dressed slutty” rape defense. Truly disgusting and disturbing. It really lets young women know what the world thinks they have to offer…
Comments on threads here lately have included some real clunkers, enough to drive me away from regular reading. My least favorite are the “and your side, too!” types (evidently they are “bats,” as Aesop put it).
I especially wish to take the self-confessed “libertarian” above to task (to me, and this includes even people I generally respect, “libertarian” is a political position that means “everything I believe is good, and I’m never responsible for how fucked-up things are”) and point out that Katherine Harris’ boobs are used as objects d’art of satire, while she is taken to tak on other forums purely on the basis of her completely insane, dishonest “ideas,” with no reference at all to her bizarre dressing habits and poses. The stupid attacks here do not even begin to engage the target’s actual positions.
I conclude with a quote from the libertarian philosophist Gee U Suk: “If you meet the Libertarian on the road, bore him.”
Now I see I completely missed the point of Elayne’s comment the first time round because I was too busy concentrating on the merits of the people as individuals. I was thinking that I don’t know any of them well enough (or at all!) to know what their blogs (etc) are about and thus whether or not the collective contents of their various blogs is sufficiently diverse. Obviously (if PZ’s interpretation is correct) I was supposed to be counting skin colours (and perhaps sexes and maybe even religions magically somehow) to check whether they were superficially a representative sample of something I regard as entirely irrelevant to the issue.
That also doesn’t seem to me like something I should be apologising for – ie not being adequately shallow to be preferentially noticing the unimportant things about people.
Molly, NYC says
I cringe when I encounter those on the left who think science is just another privileged way of knowing. Or anti-GMO protesters who say that they don’t want any DNA in their food.
The R’s defenders quite frequently attempt to argue–as you do here–that even its most despicable actions are somehow balanced by something the Left did, or does. This commonly requires them to pretend that failings which are clearly not equivalent, are.
(Ex: The belief, held and promulgated by most Republicans that, although Bush knowing lied about the reasons for invading a country that was no threat to us, thus arranging the deaths of 2,684 American soldiers, the maiming of thousands more, the violent deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, the waste of hundreds of billions of tax dollars and the destruction of America’s good name beyond our borders, Democrats are no better because Clinton got a BJ.)
In this case, you refer to beliefs held by virtually no one on the Left–but you assign to the Left group blame for them.
In fact, IDists and creationists, who clearly think of real science as a “privileged way of knowing,” are not merely overwhelmingly from the Right–they represent a mainstream view on the Right.
And this is a pattern among the Right: Views that any sensible person would recognize as ill-informed, batshit crazy or both are commonly held, mainstream beliefs among conservatives. Swing a cat at a Republican Convention and you’ll hit someone who believes that Al Gore claimed to have invented the Internet, that we found WMDs in Iraq, that Iraq was behind 9/11, etc.
There’s a reason why the Left refers to itself as the “reality-based community” (and incidently, they didn’t give that name to themselves; it came from a comment by some aide at the Bush WH. And he didn’t mean it as a compliment).
Besides, I don’t see how we can paint the Right as the absolute source of evil and simultaneously claim that they can’t think.
In the first place, no one’s painting the Right as “the absolute source of evil”–it’s another famous ‘winger arguing technique, the straw man.
Secondly, people who don’t think, who don’t consider the consequences of their actions, especially w/r/t other people are where most evil come from (however you want to define “evil”).
Evil thoughts can be well-constructed, by left and right.
More false equivalence. “Oooh, the Left and Right are equally evil.” No we’re not. It’s not even a contest: if you voted for Bush in 2004, we are your moral superiors. But then, who isn’t?
I wonder if you can see how incredibly offensive that remark is even to supporters of Jessica, the blogger in question who edits and writes for http://feministing.com/ ?
George Cauldron says
What you call “moral superiority” I call delusions of grandeur.
New troll? Or an old one with a new name?
Incidentally, why does this one indent all his comments?
Eli Rabett says
The real key to this is that Althouse despises men. Thus her viscerial hatred of Clinton, and by association anyone who associates with him especially other women.
Her groupies are a very slow bunch. She leaves lots of clues around.
Molly, NYC says
Groundhog: If you voted for Bush, your denial is understandable. And it’s also likely–if you voted for Bush–that the idea of any morality, or moral imperatives, that don’t involve genitals is completely beyond you.
But you”d still be the enabler and abettor of a war criminal. That would put you quite a few rungs below those of us who aren’t.
like what exactly are they complaining about?
who started up and exposed the Lewinsky thing? Democrats? nope.
follow the money.
afterthought: and who turned the Lewinsky thing into a carnival?
frankly, as far as the current situation in Congress goes, if the public simply turned out everyone who voted for either Clinton’s impeachment resolution in the House or for impeachment in the Senate, they’d go a long way cleaning up that bunch of boobs.
Seth Edenbaum says
So a pretty teenage girl and some of her friends are all agog over a charismatic ex president. I don’t give a shit about Althouse, but you’re the serious one; explain it to me.
“When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State] thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”
It’s not dining with the devil that bothers me. It’s the purblind idealism of tractable idiots.
Pieter B says
Am I the only heterosexual male blog reader who was properly weaned? I looked at the photo and was struck first by how many people’s faces were obscured, and then I noticed Clinton in the middle, and then I thought “Is PZ pulling some kind of weird gotcha visual pun? I thought this was about boobies, and I expected to see either breasts or gannet-like birds. Oh, wait. There’s a young lady in the picture with a nice figure. Is this what all the fuss is about? Sheesh! Get a life!”
like what exactly are they complaining about?
Ann’s first post wasn’t complaining, it was an attempt at humor. Heh. There’s still good fun to had at Clinton’s expense.
George Cauldron says
Does Groundhog ever post anything that isn’t an (indented) one-line insult directed at individual posters? If not, I’d recommend HG be put on the disemvowelling list.
Matt T. says
There’s still good fun to had at Clinton’s expense.
Well, sure. Keeps you from having to think about the current mess in the White House. And Althouse’s attempts at humor are about as sharp as her attempts at punditry. “As a wet mouse”, as my pappaw used to say.
Seems to me Jessica is awfully thin-skinned for a blogger. And, judging by the Feministing comments section, Ann Althouse was successful in driving a wedge between older and younger women. Once again, conservatives have used personal attacks to exploit insecurities (young people are lightweights/old people are jealous) and widen the gap between potential allies with the added bonus of throwing a little more dirt on Clinton.
bad Jim says
Excellent, Molly. And my reaction was much the same as Pieter B.’s (actually, I wanted a caption labeling all the bloggers).
goddogtired wrote, I especially wish to take the self-confessed “libertarian” above to task (to me, and this includes even people I generally respect, “libertarian” is a political position that means “everything I believe is good, and I’m never responsible for how fucked-up things are”)…
Actually, in many (perhaps most) cases, libertarians is a political position that means “I hate freedom and love feudalism.”
Phoenix Woman says
This is as good a time as any to remind everyone that the Jones “sexual harrasment” nuisance lawsuit fell apart when it was revealed that Clinton was on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion presiding over a very public (and well-covered by the local media) function at the very time he was alleged to have done whatever it was Jones (whose story changed radically about every other day) or her Republican activist husband (who divorced her once the lawsuit gravy train dried up) said had happened.
Meanwhile, if having large breasts while appearing with prominent men accused (rightly or wrongly) of harrassing women is a crime, then what does Ann Althouse have to say about Word Salad Pam of Atlas Juggs (erm, Shrugs) twice parading her mammoth mammaries in front of accused harrasser of women John Bolton?
I, for one, welcome our crotchety sourpuss overlords.
So a pretty teenage girl and some of her friends are all agog over a charismatic ex president.
At 27, Jessica’s a pretty darn elderly teenager. As an elderly (43 y.o.; dried up haggish?) and regular reader of feministing.com, I haven’t see any great divides between younger & older feminists. The divides between feminists of different persuasions, and between feminists and “I’m not a femnist but” women are much greater. And then there’s Althouse and her ilk…
Patrick May says
Jessica happens to be young and attractive, a couple of fortuitous and irrelevant features that don’t matter to the assessment of her writing. There are a lot of people like that in the blogosphere, like Amanda and Lindsay….
How could you leave the lovely Tara Smith out of that list?
Seth Edenbaum says
She posed like a teenager, she writes like a teenager: “awesome weird” “super pissed”
and she has the politics of an idiot slacker. Atrios answered Althouse et al. simply enough with a photo of Frau Reynolds doing the same girlish little twirl.
If you’re “a Hag” at 43, you don’t sound like much of a feminist either. Stop whining.
I’m as young as you
And you ignored the substance of my comment.
The culture of narcissism doesn’t bother me, I’m as much a part of it as anyone, but there’s more knowing irony at lake Havesu in march.
The Grouch says
Your comments have no substance, Seth.
“Posed like a teenager”? Bitch, please.
Seth Edenbaum says
“Ricky Ray Rector (January 12, 1950 – January 24, 1992), was executed for the 1981 murder of a police officer Robert Martin in Conway, Arkansas.
In 1981, Rector decided to rob a convenience store. During a stand-off, he shot and killed a civilian, and police officer Robert Martin. He shot himself in the head, but did not die. Later, his I.Q. would be measured at around 70.
Rector was subject to a unique overlap of controversies in 1992 during his execution in Arkansas. A question of the morality of killing someone who was functionally retarded. An oft-cited example of his mental insufficiency is his decision to save the dessert of his last meal for after his execution. In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the execution of people with mental retardation in Atkins v. Virginia, ruling that the practice constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Rector was black, adding to racial questions relating to the death penalty.
Bill Clinton returned to Arkansas to preside over Rector’s execution during his 1992 presidential race. Many consider it a turning point in that race, hardening a soft public image. 
Rector was executed by lethal injection. It took medical staff, with Rector’s help, more than fifty minutes to find a suitable vein. The curtain remained closed between Rector and the witnesses, but some reported they could hear Rector moaning. The administrator of the State Department of Corrections Medical Program said “the moans did come as a team of two medical people that had grown to five worked on both sides of his body to find a vein. That may have contributed to his occasional outbursts.” The state later attributed the difficulty in finding a suitable vein to Rector’s heavy weight and to his use of an antipsychotic medication.”
… many say that, although president Bush led this invasion, that president Clinton laid the groundwork with the sanctions and with the previous bombing of Iraq. You were president Clinton’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations…. the U.N. sanctions, for example … led to the deaths of more than a half a million children, not to mention more than a million Iraqis.
Well, I stand behind the sanctions. I believe that they successfully contained Saddam Hussein. I believe that the sanctions were an instrument of our policy. [Emphasis Added]
To ask a question that was asked of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright, do you think the price was worth it, 500,000 children dead?
Well, I believe our policy was correct, yes
Posed just like a fucking teenager, yes
Dave Eaton says
I’m not claiming equivalence, I am pointing out, with examples, that liberals can be stupid. 2 seconds worth of conversation with those I mentioned would reveal their adherence to pretty much all of the standard model of liberalism. Atypical? I hope so, but an important example all the same. A dispassionate assessment of the landscape reveals plenty of stupidity to go around. That’s all I meant. It was a lament, as much as a false equivalence. It was a gentle contrarian rejoinder to a little hate spilled toward the right.
What I wanted to say, and would translate into Latin if I could, “us quoque”. So put the tar and feathers away. As Pope Benedict would say, I am deeply sorry for the way you all over-reacted to my obviously benign statements, made in the spirit of love, solidarity, and understanding.
The libertarian stance was meant to be ironic. Real libertarian thought is too unrealistic and curmudgeonly for my tastes. Both sides demand a solemnity about pet issues and a fealty to causes that I’m not going to give, so in that sense, they can both fuck off, but that doesn’t mean I draw a line down the center.
Still, just saying ‘libertarian’ will instantly piss off partisans of both stripes, so it’s fun. Kind of like ‘agnostic’ pisses Christians and Athiests…
About the boobs-
I never claimed KH was only noted for jutting out her boobs, but she indeed was noted for it, with malice and glee appropriate to the photograph. Althouse is not my cup of tea, but I read this stuff to see what the kerfuffle was about. The person at the center of the controversy jutted out her boobs. Maybe I only saw because someone pointed them out. People made fun of it. I didn’t see it as more than juvenile, and am sorry the dust-up made it more prominent.
Not because it was grave, but because it’s boring.
Seth Edenbaum says
“As Pope Benedict would say, I am deeply sorry for the way you all over-reacted to my obviously benign statements, made in the spirit of love, solidarity, and understanding.”
You fucking pompous ass. Begin here asshole:
I’m sick enough of college kids and slackers but your suburban daddy shit don’t cut it. Take your pope and shove it.
Dave Eaton says
I was being facetious. “Fucking pompous ass”? That, on the other hand, nails it. Good call.
I’m sick enough of college kids and slackers but your suburban daddy shit don’t cut it.
Cool. We’re sick of self-congratulatory asshats who think they have the monopoly on language and the ability toi get points across to multiple people. Jessica is an amazing writer, and your bullshit shows you have read dick in regards to what she has contributed to the feminist cause, thus your opinion is dick. Ye scurvy bilge rat.
Aye, as we all be knowin, only the wenches believe in feminist principles. How long have ye bin a misogynist, ye blighty sea dog?
And when ye enjoy the smell o’ yer own ass so much, ye bound to be called an asshat.
“I suspect Ann Althouse must be cleverly thinking the very same thing.”
I suspect that Ann Althouse has never cleverly thought ANYTHING.
That certainly wasn’t “lame and juvenile” insults. Right.
What an obvious, dumb troll.
PZ Myers says
Mr Holy Groundhog is wearing out his welcome, and is clearly an embittered bitch himself.
This is the one and only warning you’ll get. You’re done. If you can’t do anything but grumble, you’re outta here.
At the very least, stop this silly affectation of embedding all your words in blockquote tags.