Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Long Walk. Short Pier.

Good grief. Dave at LGM finds a set of Althouse posts even more, uh, remarkable than usual. And in following the links, I saw this, and then this, and then it got weirder with this, and then, By The Holy Tits of Santa, this. And even this! Makes even my modest contribution here seem tame, and I'm a total and complete bastard.

This is all a bit Inside Blogball, so if that's not your thing, sorry, but, well, if Atrios didn't expect me to gaze aghast at the spectacle that is Althouse, he wouldn't have given me the blog-keys, dammit. Anyway, the upshot is that Ann Althouse has managed to alienate pretty much everybody in the blogosphere except for Glenn Reynolds. Congratulations!

To be fair, her defense is here, and here. And to be even more fair, I have some sympathy for her position, having been at academic conferences myself where my position was the odd one out, and it's no fun at all. And if as Ron Bailey writes, one dinner conversation ended with Althouse in tears and leaving abruptly (an event she concedes actually occurred) -- well, I've seen far stranger behavior at academic conferences (as well as in corporate offices). Also, I think she actually does have a point about how frustrating it can be to argue with someone who keeps presenting hypothetical "thought experiments" at the expense of examining the historical record.

But that said... if you are invited to a conference on a topic and in a format that will annoy you, my advice is don't go. (And a conference on the topic of Frank Meyer sounds about as horrible an experience as can be imagined, this side of bamboo shoots up the fingernails.) But if you do go, well, the general rule about how to behave in Rome applies. And if you deliberately take a contrarian position, to "provoke," you lose sympathy when you complain if someone gets, well, provoked. And when you then get all gnomic about how you're up to some secret juju in your blog posts, and how none of your adversaries "get it," and how you have a "25 year history of scholarship!" that you won't discuss... well, you come across as a self-absorbed adolescent.

Anyway. How 'bout those Broncos!