I hate television. Which is why I don’t tend to watch as much video as I probably should. Still, I hate being ignorant — especially when other people are blogging and talking about stuff in a manner which suggests that you really ought to know what they’re talking about.
Ignorant was precisely how when I tried watching this bloggingheads episode. It seemed that all Henry Farrell and Daniel Drezner would talk about was an earlier video I hadn’t seen, and they were carrying on about it at such length that I just plain had to see what they were talking about.
A “spectacle”? From which “political junkies” and the like “just can’t turn away”?
I couldn’t ignore that.
Still somewhat clueless, I found what I thought was the bloggingheads episode they were talking about, but I didn’t see the now legendary explosion or meltdown or whatever it is everyone’s so upset about, so I scrolled through the little excerpts with comments, and found this segment, where sure enough, sparks fly. It kind of made me sad. Ann Althouse got angry (because she felt she had been casually mischaracterized on a complicated issue), and the other blogger Garance Franke-Ruta was obviously uncomfortable with the display of anger.
Frankly, I don’t think this is worth posting about, as I’d rather deal with text. It’s less emotional. Seeing people get upset makes me want to drink.
But ironically that comes back to how this started — which was Ann Althouse’s post about drinking (which Glenn had linked), and the “new meme about [her] in the left-o-sphere”:

Based on my “American Idol” vlog, where I hold up a glass of wine — look, it’s Jordin Sparks, reflected right here! — and eventually take two sips of it, they are all: Althouse is a drunk, Althouse’s drunken videoblogging, etc. This is the way these people see having a glass of wine? How very prissy and puritanical!

I watched the “wine drinking” video, and it was just friendly and nice. Not even a sign of mild annoyance, much less a drunken tantrum.
So, I guess the new rule is that if you’re a nonconforming blogger and lose your temper over something (justified or not), from that moment forward being seen with a glass of wine makes you a wino?
Of the many comments on the wine post, this one was my favorite:

This is getting so tiresome. Today the big complaint is that Ann drinks wine…? Not at all drunk, a little drunk, a lot drunk – who cares!?!? What the hell is this? Nannies Against Drunk Blogging?

No, what it is really is finding something anything to grab onto to criticize someone you don’t like. I swear it’s like a bunch of fifth grade girls. Did you see what Ann did today? Oh. My. God. She’s SO not sitting with us at lunch.

It’s hard for me to believe that people get as upset as they do about so little.
I think I’ll need a drink to finish this.
I guess I did.
UPDATE: I should add that there is a distinction between watching these videos and watching television. Unlike television (which is scripted, and on which people tend to be much more controlled), these informal videos make me feel closer to actually knowing the bloggers involved. I have no idea whether that is a good thing; in four years I’ve barely adjusted to the medium of moving words around. Video is probably a healthy thing — maybe only possibly, because it adds a stress factor that wasn’t there before.
But it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s good, as it’s inevitable. Few things are sillier (or more backward) than complaining about inevitable technology. Fortunately, there’s no law forcing anyone to use it.
UPDATE (04/02/07): My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking this post — especially in the context of the “what’s your permanent age” question.
It’s a real puzzle. Right now I’m 52, but when I was 50 I was still 30. (Yes, the test still works.) I often suspect life consists of going from the birth crisis to a childhood crisis to a teenage/adolescent crisis to a young adult crisis to a midlife crisis to an old age crisis, then finally into a permanant crisis we call death. These crises prevent us from enjoying the little time we’re here, but that hardly comes as news. Crisis management specialists have been trying to figure it out for millenia.
Like it or not, video is part of life, and I struggle with both constantly. More thoughts here.
UPDATE (04/03/07): The debate about Ann Althouse continues, with Bob Wright and Michael Kinsley apparently weighing in on another video. Whether she intended to or not, I guess Ann Althouse has not only brought a lot of traffic to that site, but given people something to discuss. Honesty can be painful. (And no, I have not watched the Kinsley-and-Wright-on-Althouse video.)
For those interested in the details of her side of the argument, Ann Althouse explains here.
UPDATE (04/05/07): Thank you, Ann Althouse for the link!