Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Al Gore and Jessica Valenti, etc.

a childishly inappropriate collage of ann althouse, bill clinton, jessica valenti, and al grabby gore

from Paul Goyette, who (possibly) wouldn't care for the exceptionally juvenile collage above:

"Maybe our very existence isn't threatened"

Since watching An Inconvenient Truth, I've had conversations with several people about it, and one of them emailed this morning to point out that Al Gore has eight bathrooms in his house. This certainly sounds grim. It turns out the eight bathrooms factoid is a bit of a meme in the conservative blogosphere right now, apparently originating with this column by Peter Schweizer (the author of this book, naturally).

I don't have any great love for Gore (although I was impressed with An Inconvenient Truth and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't seen it yet, eight bathrooms or eighty), but I was seriously disturbed by the way Schweizer, upon savaging Gore for his liberal hypocrisy, concludes that the environment must not be in crisis. The logic seems to be that if Gore really believed what he was preaching, then he would act on it, monk-like and decisive; so if not Q then not P.

here's part of the comment I left(edited for clarity):

If big Al wanted to move back to Tennessee, he had to either build his own house or buy something that was on the market. He couldn't exactly buy a 3bedroom-2bath starter home, not because he necessarily would look down his nose upon it(and how would I (or Schweizer, or anyone else) know if he would thus regard it)but because given his status and consequent security concerns, he needed to live in a house with at least x-number of feet distance from the street, etc.

Let's say he found a house that met all these requirements, and it had 8 bathrooms.

Al:hmmm. I really like this house, but eight bathrooms? The right would have a field day.

Tipper: I know, honey. We really should have some of them knocked down.

Then, presumably, the right would make fun of him for being so absurdly P.C. as to knock down his extra bathrooms.

It's not so far removed from the idea that a wealthy person is a hypocrite if he's in favor of progressive taxation.

"Did you hear that Al Gore takes all of his eligible deductions?

"Yeah. What an S.O.B.!"

thinking about Al Gore and all those darn bathrooms made me think about the bustupdustup between Ann Althouse and Jessica Valenti. I realize the connection may not seem immediately apparent; Althouse(upper left) hectoring Valenti(lower right) for not being a sufficiently true feminist for posing with Bill Clinton, a bunch of other lefty bloggers, and worst of all, her breasts. David Neiwert, of all people, has a pretty useful discussion of this.

... on the surface, at least, the brouhaha over Jessica's boobs is just a petty bit of self-revelation from the right-wing blogosphere. Certainly, Ann Althouse displays far more about her own character -- or utter lack thereof -- than whatever wares Jessica shows us.

But there is more at stake than meets the eye, because what Althouse is up to, along with her cohorts on the pseudo-libertarian right, is actually attacking and undermining feminism and whatever gains it may have made over the years.

Neiwert tries to put it in the larger context of the right trying to pigeonhole the left. For my part, I don't know enough about Althouse's politics to offer a judgement.

I'm reminded of how many right-wing talk show hosts often ask guests whom they perceive as liberal to give an example of how their thinking differs from liberal orthodoxy, as if it is somehow incumbent upon them to

prove to the host and the audience that they're not nuts, and to
help reinforce stereotypes the audience may hold about liberalism in genral as indeed true.

But I also wondered, just in passing, if Al Gore is being attacked for having too many bathrooms because the white house does in fact see him as a meaningful threat in 2008. George Junior's recent faux-enviromentalist initiative suggests a concern about co-opting Gore. I had some more trenchant points I wanted to make about this, but I think I will post them later, since I realize the silly image above may diminish my argument if I offer it now. Some of the comments above I left at Hugo Schwyzer's weblog, where I suggested that Ann Althouse was just trying to get attention for her blog. At the time I didn't realize that she taught at Wisconsin's law school, and that the afore-mentioned blog of hers is apparently something of a big deal in legal blog circles. Still. Maybe if I pick a fight with her and play my cards just right, I will have both increased traffic and wake up one day with a big block of cheddar in bed next to me.

(and no, I don't think Al Gore behaves like that. Not even when all his bathrooms are occupied.)