The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Occupy Althouse? (The Zero-Sum Error)

Posted on | December 21, 2012 | 19 Comments

There are times when you must choose between gratitude and resentment and, considering how rarely this blog gets linked by Ann Althouse, I’ve decided to be grateful that my thoughts on Professor Erik Loomis provided her and Meade with some laughs. Also, because her post linking my post got linked at Instapundit, I’ll be grateful for what bloggers know as the “Secondhand-o-lanche.” Nevertheless . . .

What’s up with people choosing to leave clever comments at Althouse’s blog, rather than to share their pithy witticisms with us?

Moneyrunner said…
It’s worth stating that there is a case to be made for the freedom of academics to take unpopular views. In Loomis’ case it becomes a matter of defending the right of academics to be outrageous assholes without consequences.
12/21/12 6:47 AM

Jim Treacher said…
What’s the big deal? It’s not like he put crosshairs symbols on a map.
12/21/12 7:27 AM

Astro said…
I’m guessing that 100 years from now, Prof. Erik Loomis will be regarded as an historical dildo.
12/21/12 8:46 AM

Jim Treacher? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Never mind. If Treacher wants to goldbrick on his Daily Caller gig by commenting at Althouse’s blog, that’s between him and Tucker, I guess

Good thing I’m not a lefty, or I’d call for an “Occupy Althouse” movement, to demand a more equitable redistribution of funny comments. This is where one is reminded again of the alternative between resentment and gratitude.

Our commenters aren’t chopped liver, after all, and what’s to stop other bloggers — Donald Douglas or Bob Belvedere, for example — from launching their own protest campaign against us?

“Comrades! We must resist the imperialist dominance of the blogospheric bourgeoisie that exploits the commenter proletariat!”

No, we’ve seen where that ideology leads: The HuffPo “killing fields,” with volunteer contributors rounded up in a digital veal pen, promised that their unpaid work will help advance the Progressive cause, only to see the People’s Democratic Republic of HuffPo shamelessly sold to the highest bidder by Arianna and her investors.

We’re not going down that road. We’re not even going to slow down as we pass the off-ramp that leads to that road.

It would be easy enough, I suppose, to find bloggers prone to a sour-grapes mentality, to convince them that success is a zero-sum game, to mobilize their petty resentments, to persuade them that the reason they don’t get more funny comments on their blogs is because Althouse is unfairly monopolizing funny comments.

But that would not only be false, it would be evil.

The spirit of generosity and gratitude can accomplish more in human affairs than can the spirit of selfishness and envy. And I suppose, since this is the Friday before Christmas — and most of you are reading this while goldbricking at your jobs prior to taking 11 days of paid holidays — I should remind you of this greatest gift, that God so loved the world as to give his only son. And the shepherds heard an angelic host, proclaiming, “Peace on Earth! Goodwill toward men!”

If you don’t get back here until Wednesday, Jan. 2 — like Treacher, goldbricking at your job again — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


UPDATE: This seems to be a good time to thank readers who have hit the tip jar in the past week: William in Bakersfield, James in North Carolina, Gregory in Elmhurst, Clare in Larchmont, William in Dallas, Cathryn in Oregon, Glenn in Tennessee, John in Annapolis, Charles in Oregon, Amelia in New Jersey, William in Owego and Dianna in San Jose.


19 Responses to “Occupy Althouse? (The Zero-Sum Error)”

  1. htowt
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    “rounded up in a digital veal pen”?
    Someone with that kind of metaphor in his back pocket deserves an honorarium! (I’m just not sure where.)

  2. wirejerk
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    I can’t bring any eyes but my own to your site but I can hit the tip jar.Merry Christmas Ya’ll and keep up the good work !

  3. Quartermaster
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    Bob won’t be leading Occupy TOM. He’s on vacation and much to busy with far bigger fish to fry.

    Now, don’t get all butt hurt on me for seeming to imply you are small fish. That last term was not meant as a label for you. If you’ve ever been on vacation, then you know what I’m talking about there.

  4. robertstacymccain
    December 21st, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    Actually, it was lefty blogger Jane Hamsher (Firedoglake) who used the term “veal pen” to describe how progressive bloggers were exploited (and then ignored) by the Obama campaign. It was (of all people) Matt Osborne who borrowed the term in May 2011 to describe the similar exploitation of contributors at HuffPo,
    The term has a left-wing origin, then, although it describes a phenomenon that also occurs within the Right: “Hey, gang, help me out here — we’re all in this together, right?” Except that when it comes time to sell the collaborative project to which everyone contributed in the building, not everybody gets a taste of the action. In fact, the case often is that one guy makes his fortune off the deal, Arianna-style, and everybody else is left to ask themselves why they ever believed that “we’re all in this together” bullshit.
    Generally speaking, you want to be very careful about managing your own expectations in a situation like that. A certain cynicism about such deals doesn’t prevent volunteer collaboration, it just prevents you from being blindsided if (as was true of the HuffPo contributors) you find out you’ve been “volunteering” to help a project on which somebody else made megabucks.
    We could talk about certain Tea Party people who have brought lawsuits against certain other Tea Party people, but I don’t want to bum you out at Christmas.

  5. K-Bob
    December 21st, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    It’s retail, baby! Speaking of which, when is your next book coming out? They may not share the gravy, but it seems folks do a pretty good job of spreading the word if you have something like that to announce. So it’s sort of like earned media, if you squint your eyes at it real hard.

  6. K-Bob
    December 21st, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    I think we should go “be funny” on other peoples’ sites until they relent and leave funny comments here. It’s like the old panhandler trick of following the nice people until they give you a dollar to go away.

  7. willpeir
    December 21st, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

    Looks like you got the good kind of Bills in the mail.

  8. Becca Lower
    December 21st, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    Now you’ve made me wonder: when was the last R. Stacy McCain vacation?

  9. Meade
    December 21st, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

    Very nice. Just read aloud your post to the Mrs. which produced much mirth and a general sense of goodwill. Merry Christmas and glad tidings to you and yours from Meade and Althouse.

  10. Quartermaster
    December 21st, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    RSm might be a danger to himself and all those around him if he took vacation. He reminds me of my beloved, but now deceased, Blue Heeler. If I didn’t keep her busy she’d find something to stay busy and normally I would not approve of what she chose to keep busy with. I don’t think I would want to inflict that upon his dear wife.

  11. robertstacymccain
    December 21st, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

    Bloggers don’t get vacations. They do, however, occasionally find important stories to cover in warm places with palm trees.

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 21st, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    Veal pens are a powerful metaphor for me. Just saying.

  13. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 21st, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    Say hi to Ann for me. Hi to you too Meade.

  14. Garym
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 12:21 am

    Vanuatu perhaps?

  15. Becca Lower
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 2:57 am

    I liked how you put this. Great image. 🙂

  16. Becca Lower
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 2:58 am

    Sure, sure.

  17. denverwindowwashing
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 9:57 am

    Althouse tends to have doggie posts which in turn drives folks to comment on the site. The comments aren’t about dogs necessarily, but the ambiance of known dog aficionados running the site keeps people talking and feeling like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

    If you want more comments by folks prone to witticism, the answer is doggie photos/stories/love.

  18. andycanuck
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    A blog link is a tool with a worker on each end, comrade.

  19. Badger Pundit
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

    Althouse has more funny comments; you have more substantive comments. Both are great, but the latter’s better. Moneyrunner’s comment “right to be outrageous assholes” is both (rare).

    Not that anybody’s keeping track, but I believe I was the first to publicize that comment, about 90 minutes after it was made:

    Apparently Moneyrunner is a money manager:

    Different background than most people online — consider trying to contact him and ask if he’d like to do a guest post sometime!