Well I hope all of you got the chance to read my article in the paper edition of Isthmus, and if not, pick up a copy before next Thursday or read it online here.
Ann Althouse, the subject of the article, responded on her blog yesterday:
I wasn't going to read the article because I didn't want to get annoyed, but then reader Larry K emailed me the link to it and - even though he alerted me that it was "scurrilous" - I couldn't resist. Then I was surprised that it wasn't as bad as Larry K seemed to think
Larry K's synopsis of the article was pretty entertaining. He defends the honor of Althouse against the "scrawny university kid trawling through your personal life and making repeated references to your UW salary." Which of course begs the question: Did Larry have to "trawl" through my personal life to determine that I was scrawny?
Wackadoo commenter aside, Althouse's response was surprisingly friendly. Although Althouse does not tend to be an angry blogger, she does tend to blow a gasket every once in a while, and she is especially sensitive to criticisms from liberal bloggers. I think she puts this mentality on display when explaining why she was suspicious of my interview request:
Isthmus, as you'd expect in Madison, has a lefty slant, and I had every reason to expect a hit piece. (Including past experience.) And since the writer was a UW student, if I'd spoken with him, I would have treated him in that friendly, accommodating, supportive way that suits my professorial role. Consequently, I would have found it hard to protect myself from a hit piece and to respond to it after the fact. I'm not going to get into any kind of a public fight with a UW student.
As you can probably guess, Althouse is no foreigner to spats with others in the media or the blogosphere.
She points out a factual error in my article which I regret. I assumed that her husband was referencing her well-established hatred of men in shorts when he made his first date proposal to her on the blog: "Want to see [Grand Torino] with me again? I'll wear my pants." Apparently that was not the case. If I had to get one thing completely wrong in the article, I'm glad it was that. Nevertheless, it is still unfortunate and I apologize.
The comments from Althouse readers ranged from very negative to quite positive. I was most delighted to see her husband Meade give me an A -. He still hasn't answered my question as to whether that is an A - of his generation or mine. If you don't get the reference just google "Grade Inflation."
"And any money Althouse makes blogging is money that she gets to keep."
Ah yes. Several commenters took issue with this sentence in the article. Reading the piece again, it was a bit awkward and out-of-place. It was the remnant of a theme that I didn't really end up exploring: The ethics of professors blogging on the job. I actually emailed Glenn Reynolds, another law prof blogger from Instapundit, about this issue, and he told me that he thought Althouse's blog could qualify as "public service and education." Given the content of her writing, I consider that claim absurd, but I don't have proof that she is blogging instead of doing what she is paid to do. That probably would have taken additional "trawling."