Tuesday, March 27, 2007

TANTRUM. Ann Althouse's recent webcam performance has been, I think, widely misapprehended. To say she "loses it" in the video, as C&L does, is technically correct but misleading. That is, we may also say that a badly-brought-up child who throws a tantrum has "lost it," but this implies that the child is thoroughly and helplessly victim to his own passion, when experience teaches that kids milk their shit-fits in hopes that they will cause the relevant adults to change the rules in their favor.

Professor Althouse's whole online career, as has been tediously documented here, may be seen as one long series of tantrums, thrown to remove from herself the responsibility of making logical arguments on behalf of her crack-brained ideas. She constantly commits the most egregious offenses to common sense -- as when, after ceaselessly decrying political correctness in others, she decided Mel Gibson's anti-Semitic remarks made his movies retroactively ungood -- and, when challenged, says that her opponents just like to argue ("link only for the things they disagree with"), that their "political vision... feels like depression," and other such non-sequiturs.

In other words, as soon as things start going any way other than her own, Professor Althouse resorts to behaviors usually seen in the as-yet-unsocialized. So let us not deceive ourselves that the Professor was showing us anything new when she blew up at Garance Franke-Ruta. Her video tantrum only looks different from her written ones because, confronted with a live commenter whose words she could not delete, Althouse resorted to a more physical form of her usual schtick -- that is, yelling and making faces.

And she got what she wanted -- Franke-Ruta backed down like Alan Colmes with a shy bladder. I think that's too bad, but I suspect that even if Franke-Ruta had come roaring back, Professor would have done something else as evasive -- sticking her fingers in her ears and singing "Yellow Submarine," perhaps.

And the same people would notice, and the same people would fail to notice.

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