Who Does This Make You Think Of?

January 13, 2010 at 2:17 am (By Amba)

I began to understand that there were certain talkers — certain girls — whom people liked to listen to, not because of what they, the girls, had to say, but because of the delight they took in saying it. A delight in themselves, a shine on their faces, a conviction that whatever they were telling about was remarkable and that they themselves could not help but give pleasure. There might be other people — people like me — who didn’t concede this, but that was their loss. And people like me would never be the audience these girls were after, anyway.

~ Alice Munro

I’ll put my answer in the comments.

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23 Comments

  1. amba12 said,

    Ann Althouse.

    (With the difference that it’s also often what she has to say, and that I do concede it.)

  2. Icepick said,

    The first Wonkette. I forget what her name is.

  3. amba12 said,

    Ana . . . OK, Googled it: Ana Marie Cox.

  4. Theo Boehm said,

    Amba is exactly right.

    That describes Althouse perfectly. Of course, I am also one of those who concede that, and who has gotten a lot of pleasure over the years from what she has to say.

    That’s beginning to change a little, but we are getting older.

  5. Ruth Anne said,

    That falls into the category of a ‘you don’t sweat much for a fat girl’ compliment.

    And spot-on, too.

  6. Elaine said,

    Palin, of course.

  7. amba12 said,

    Now that you mention it . . . !

  8. El Pollo Real said,

    Palin, of course

    That explains the jealousy angle.

    And people like me would never be the audience these girls were after, anyway.

    I don’t sit at that lunch table so I’m not too concerned.

  9. Peter Hoh said,

    Andrew Sullivan highlighted this quote about Palin:

    “She is a product of our narcissistic celebrity culture. Instead of doing the heavy (and unglamorous) political lifting required of a national leader, she is embracing the luxurious life of a TV talking head. She has abandoned the very basis of her populist legitimacy: her outsider status. … Rather than going rogue, she has gone establishment,” – Jeffrey T. Kuhner, Washington Times columnist and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.

    Link to the whole thing.

  10. amba12 said,

    Wow. Thanks. This part of it reminds me of our earlier discussion of “cheating” and the way our culture encourages shortcuts to success:

    Moreover, Mrs. Palin’s decision to step down as Alaska’s governor before completing her term was a betrayal of the state’s voters (and her supporters). It also showed that she was not willing to finish what she started. In the face of nasty liberal attacks and multiple frivolous lawsuits, Mrs. Palin capitulated. Compare this to Reagan during his tenure as governor of California. The Gipper served two full terms while standing up to antiwar radicals and a leftist smear campaign.

    Mrs. Palin claimed that, once liberated from the shackles of office, she would be free to campaign on behalf of conservative candidates and rebuild the Republican Party. She presented herself as the avatar of the conservative movement – just as Richard Nixon helped to revive the party in the wake of Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 landslide victory or as Reagan galvanized Republicans following Jimmy Carter’s 1976 election triumph.

    Nixon and Reagan, however, mobilized the Republican Party’s rank and file the old-fashioned way: through sheer hard work. They spent years in the political wilderness, fundraising and giving speeches at local Republican clubs and in church basements and town halls. They were serious about politics – which is why they built majority coalitions.

    Mrs. Palin is not demonstrating the same resolve. She is a product of our narcissistic celebrity culture. Instead of doing the heavy (and unglamorous) political lifting required of a national leader, she is embracing the luxurious life of a TV talking head. She has abandoned the very basis of her populist legitimacy: her outsider status.

  11. Randy said,

    Peter, how can you be sure Andrew Sullivan highlighted that? One of Sullivan’s staffers recently admitted that he and another wrote over half the posts appearing under Sullivan’s by-line. Even though the subject is Palin, there’s apparently only a 50/50 chance that Sullivan himself actually wrote the post or read the article mentioned. Many others have mentioned this article. Unlike Sullivan, they actually write all of the words publicly attributed to them as author. It might be better to attribute “Someone at Sullivan’s website.” Alternatively, follow his example and don’t identify the source at all.

  12. Ron said,

    If Palin were to remark on the joy we get from the light and heat from the sun, Sullivan would assume she’s in favor of global warming in his first paragraph and by the time of his third paragraph would know that she would have approved of the ovens in the concentration camps based on the above remark.

    But other than that…he’s an objective observer.

  13. Peter Hoh said,

    Randy, yes, I should have said, “As seen on the Daily Dish.”

    I’m not convinced that his staff posting quotes and other links is that big a deal. Andrew Sullivan — the blogger — and the Daily Dish — the blog — are fairly interchangeable in my mind.

    Ron, the quote directs to a generally solid conservative source — the Washington Times. If you want to pretend that the column can be dismissed because of the person who linked to it, go ahead, but that doesn’t strike me as a legitimate criticism.

  14. Randy said,

    I’m not convinced that his staff posting quotes and other links is that big a deal.

    There’s no reason to believe that’s all they do. ;-) Anyway, I agree with your point to Ron. That said, the distraction he and I caused could have been avoided by not referencing such an unreliable reporter of fact who is generally regarded by a large number of people (and not just her supporters) as bordering on unhinged when referring to this particular politician.

  15. Robin said,

    To answer the question in the post, it makes me think of Alice Munro as unattractive and envious.

  16. amba12 said,

    Alice Munro’s fictional character who spoke the lines, you mean.

  17. Robin said,

    No, I was actually thinking of Munro herself, not having clicked through to the source.

  18. amba12 said,

    Well, the words are put in a character’s mouth. Munro undoubtedly uses her knowledge of herself to understand her characters, especially her protagonists, so likely she has seen the human traits of envy and condescension in herself. But just as likely, no one character can be equated with the author.

  19. Robin said,

    Is it justifiable to just respond to the post? She could just as easily have said it in an interview.

  20. amba12 said,

    Sure. My fault for not specifying that it was a character in a story. Certainly there is snark in the remark. I read the story and remember the context vividly. It was spoken by an adolescent girl who had a job helping an older woman with a sick (grown, married) son. The nubile woman who came in to give massages to the son was the target of the remark. The girl was observing all the sexual, class, and personality crosscurrents among the adults. She was a keen but obviously not a dispassionate observer.

  21. amba12 said,

    For the record, Ann Althouse does not remotely resemble the woman who gave massages in the story (she was somewhat coarse, at least through the teen-ager’s eyes; Ann is not by any stretch of the imagination). So I’m taking the words out of context too. I think they very accurately describe a wider range of women than that one character in that story.

  22. Paul A'Barge said,

    Ann Althouse gives massages? Who knew? (other than her new hubby).

  23. Lem said,

    I could listen to Katrina vanden Heuvel for hours w/o a break.
    I could not disagree w/her more on a plethora of issues but I cant help myself.

    On the other side of the political specter I love to watch Mary Matalin .. I can easily see the best lip reader in the world having trouble with her.

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