WTF, Ann Althouse?

We’re used to the true wingnuts saying batshit crazy things about Obama, but Ann Althouse is not some Tea Party crank, she’s a law professor at the University of Wisconsin. And she tries to turn this umbrella bullshit into some weird and vague emotional narrative about Obama. She does a search of Dreams From My Father for the word “umbrella” and quotes the one passage she finds:

For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept. When my tears were finally spent, I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America—the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I’d felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago…. all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain I felt was my father’s pain. My questions were my brothers’ questions. Their struggle, my birthright.

A light rain began to fall, the drops tapping on the leaves above. I was about to light a cigarette when I felt a hand on my arm. I turned to find Bernard squatting beside me, trying to fit the two of us under a bent-up old umbrella.

“They wanted me to see if you were okay,” he said.

I smiled. “Yeah. I’m okay.”

And then this bizarre analysis:

Flash forward, and he’s President. He is in the Rose Garden. It starts to rain. No man suddenly appears with an umbrella. He is getting wet and he is President — with plenty of airplanes and rifles and all of the world’s greatest military at hand — but he is still getting wet. He has to order the Marine to shelter him. It isn’t Bernard squatting with a bent-up old umbrella. It’s a Marine in full-dress uniform, with a fine unbent umbrella, which is nevertheless not correct under the official — male, rigid — Marine Corps regulations. Where are the words of encouragement, the embraces, the strong, true love? You could never forge yourself into a whole man by leaving those things behind!

Now, here is the whole world gathered around him. Was there ever anything more unlike the time when he was alone between 2 graves? And yet, back then, the moment a light rain began to fall, his brother was there, sent by others who loved to see if he was okay. And here he is, the center of the whole world’s attention, and he had to call for the umbrella. He is not okay.

WTF? Seriously. What? The? Fuck? This is a law professor at a major university, for crying out loud.

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  • And I bet there’s no deeper look into Reagan or the Bushes asking Marines to hold their umbrellas for them…

  • Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty

    Hard to suppress the Charlie Brown like “Aarrgghh!”, isn’t it?

  • Actually the post itself is nothing next to the yahoos posting in the talkbacks.

  • Abby Normal

    To understand Althouse’s article one only needs a little knowledge about her background. When she was a young girl in school she got picked on by the other children. She was brainy and awkward and deeply conflicted in her feelings about the more popular kids. On the one hand she hated them because they were selfish, shallow and cruel. But on the other she wanted desperately to belong.

    Then one day she discovered an outlet for all those conflicted feelings, journaling. She poured out her anger and frustration into those pages. The stupid thing that Cindy said, that time Ryan stuck paperclips in her hair without her noticing and she walked around like that all day, the mean teach who let it all happen, it all became grist for the mill.

    Then one day she found a boy, Chris, she connected with. Their friendship grew and eventually she showed him her journal. He was honored. He understood: Cindy was stupid, Ryan was a jerk, Mrs. Johnson was a mean old crone. At last she had the validation she’d craved all her life. But, as so often happens, it didn’t last. Chris became friends with Cindy and Ann found herself on the outside once again. So now she blogs. She complains about some girl’s sweater being too tight, or that the mean old President is being mean, all in a desperate attempt to recapture that moment of validation.

    Names may have been changed to protect people’s privacy. Also, I might have made the whole thing up. But in my defense, fabricating complete bullshit post hoc is every bit as much fun as Althouse makes it look.

  • catbutler

    The piece from Obama’s book is actually rather moving.

    Althouse, well, that’s more of a bowel movement I suppose.

  • screechymonkey

    “Ann Althouse is not some Tea Party crank”

    No, but she’s been pandering to her following of Tea Party cranks for years now. And she’s always been big into this kind of weird psychoanalysis. So this is a bit of a two-fer for her.

  • Well meaning, I suppose, but damn, this sentimentality is way over the top!

  • dingojack

    Abby – all it needs is a few Ellis Washington style quotes:

    That geeky black kid will, I think, come into high office. I’d better tear him down now before he calls the shots; I thought. ‘Hey Barack, you’re a poo-poo-bumhole and you can’t even hold an umbrella!’ I yelled. I desperately hoped Cindy had heard my devastatingly witty banter, maybe now she’d be my BFF!” –

    Ann Aithouse aged 12¾*



    * Or at least that’s what I imagine she might have said and thought had she been a Washington-esque figure of my fevered imaginings. And that’s a good as a direct quote, donchaknow!

  • kantalope

    ” which is nevertheless not correct under the official — male, rigid — Marine Corps regulations.”

    I think Wonkette’s brother answered this pretty well under the other umbrella-thread but I would offer you the following (which I can’t recall if the question was brought up by a recruit or the Drill Instructor): A Marine can’t carry an umbrella, but what if he is escorting a lady and it is raining? Drill Instructor in Drill Instructor language so avert your eyes if you are sensitive: “Then you better shit out an umbrella. We are still gentlemen.” You just have to keep her and the umbrella on your left so that you can keep your saluting arm free.

  • petemoulton

    I suspect that Althouse has been into the box wine again.

  • drr1

    Althouse has demonstrated, time and again, that she can gin up the batshit machine with the best of them. Kind of makes you wonder how long it will be before the dean of the school takes her out for a walk and convinces her of the virtues of emeritus life.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    but Ann Althouse is not some Tea Party crank, she’s a law professor at the University of Wisconsin.

    Textbook false dichotomy.

  • “No, that’s not deep”, the stoners said, before kicking her out. On her way out, she smashed their acoustic guitar. Althouse has issues, man. Deep issues.

  • Althouse, or as I like to call her, Ann Outhouse, has been in crank territory at least since back when she obsessed over a picture of Jessica Valenti with Bill Clinton because the picture showed that Valenti had ample breasts and she was in close proximity to Bill Clinton, or something.

  • slc1

    According to Wikipedia, she voted for Obama in 2008.

  • naturalcynic

    According to Wikipedia, she voted for Obama in 2008.

    Just so she could be disappointed in him.

  • escuerd

    — male, rigid —


  • busterggi

    Because it never rained on Obama even once inbetween those two occassions as Althouse knows.

    And Althouse knows about the secret graves in the White House Rose Garden too.

  • Ann Althouse’s brain is in pattern-seeking overdrive.

  • karmacat

    “Male – rigid”. The penis envy is strong in this one

  • Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    Because it never rained on Obama even once inbetween those two occassions as Althouse knows. – busterggi

    Usually, he has an honor guard of giant flies circling his head to keep the rain off, but on this occasion, he’d lent them to George Soros.

  • There’s a whole cottage industry on Planet Wingnuttia that revolves around trying to decipher Obama’s every move for hidden connections to his childhood. It’s really amazing. Fox’s resident “psychiatrist”, Keith Ablow, does some amazing contortions to explain everything Obama does in terms of his “abandonment issues” relating to his father.

  • dan4

    “…Althouse is not some Tea Party crank,…”

    Althouse wrote that she found nothing wrong with Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments. That fact alone puts her in the “Tea Party crank” category (IMHO).

  • Ichthyic

    This is a law professor at a major university, for crying out loud.

    who started the Discovery Institute again?


  • Ichthyic

    …oh, I guess there might still be a few out there who didn’t know about Phillip Johnson…

  • @16:

    I think that the comment @14 is more likely. After all, Sarah Palin has noticeable breasts and she was standing right next to McStain.

  • ricko

    Please, she’s working in Wisconsin, but most Wisconsinites aren’t anywhere near that CRAZY.

    In fact, despite her work here (and I did have a late friend who knew her as a Professor) she hasn’t affected the vote in any way… Which is why, despite the state being nearly 80% white, she managed to miss Obamas electoral win, which was massive around here.