The descent of Althouse as madness takes its toll:
Let’s take a closer look at what I wrote back then, when I mocked that photograph.
Bill Clinton, apparently eager to influence bloggers to give his wife favorable coverage as she sought the presidency, sat down for a lunch and a photo shoot with a select group of them. They ate up the lunch and the flattery it represented and posed looking thoroughly pleased. I think bloggers should maintain their independence and their critical stance, so I hated to read their gushing posts and to gaze on their shiny, happy faces in that photograph. I meant to be cruel to them.
(If they are cruel to me, I concede that I started it and that I meant to be nasty. In that sense, I can’t complain… except for effect.)
My cruelty took the form of trying to ruin the picture they thought was so nice by merging it with the idea of Monica Lewinsky. The last thing Bill Clinton wants as he offers his prestige to the cause of his wife’s quest for power is for us to think about Monica Lewinsky.
So I called attention to the fact that Jessica Valenti, positioned right in front of Clinton, did look a bit like that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I thought the photograph was set up in a way that was detrimental to the Clintons’ interests, and I thought that was funny and that it presented an opportunity for some painful satire. I made it quite nasty, and I did it deliberately. I’m not sorry I did it. I mean to castigate feminists and so-called feminists who cozy up to Clinton. They were surely justified in fighting back at me, and I can understand why they want to ruin me.
But I did achieve my goal and ruin the photograph. You’ve got to admit that you cannot look at it the way the shiny, happy posers meant you to. The photograph is — as they say — reframed. If I must suffer for that achievement — which I sought — so be it.
Just keep smiling and nodding and slowly …back… out…of…the…room.