25 April 2008

Amy Alkon is a Dim Bulb * (First in an Irregular Series)

Photo of the 'Advice Goddess' Withheld to Avoid
Wild Charges of Copyright Infringement

I've decided to add a new feature here at the blog.** It will consist in the irregular exercise of my god-given right to ridicule and more generally poke fun at the astoundingly dim "Advice Goddess," Amy Alkon. As you know from posts earlier this week [1] [2] I've had the privilege of making it onto the loathsome Ms. Alkon's enemies list. Why? I had the temerity to disagree with her over at her blog.

I figured that, given her celebrity status and syndication schedule, Amy could just move on. Apparently she simply can't and has continued to rant about my alleged mis-deeds even today. Now, Ms. Amy has decided that she is qualified to peddle "advice" to entire nations and religions, on which more below. Like me, photographer Tom White had the temerity to question one of her pronouncements. The intrepid Amy (who, as a joke, includes the label "journalist" in the header to her web page) tracked down this miscreant and discovered that on his blog Tom was a link to mine. Imagine Amy's outrage on discovering a vast virtual conspiracy out to question her precious judgment. (Another good reactionary criterion of assessment - "guilt" by association. The only problem is that neither Tom nor I are guilty of anything other than questioning some of Amy's inane pronouncements.)***

In any case, Amy seemingly had posted some typically insightful and well-informed advice on the looming threat of ISLAM to various Western countries including Britain, the U.S. and Canada. And she even generously explained to Muslims how they might most effectively "speak out" against slanderous attacks on their religion. I am certain they are grateful for the advice. I am not fan of any religion, but I try my hardest not to tell the religious how to go about their business.

Of course, Amy knows roughly as much about this topic as she does about copyright law ~ epsilon (Amy, that is just a really, really small number, OK?). Her ire had been raised by a story in the Moonie funded Washington Times regarding John McCain's propensity to identify terrorism with Islam. (Ooops, forgot about, say, Northern Ireland.) Fortunately for Amy, lack of knowledge is no obstacle because, of course, she can bring in experts to bolster any ignorant case she makes. You'll recall that on copyright law her expert was a photographer whose primary qualification was having lost a law suit over the "fair use" of one of his images. I'd sure be eager to rely on his interpretation of the relevant decisions and statutes!

In this case, the Advice Goddess has stumbled in a similar way, buttressing her case with a video rant from the sophomoric Robert Spencer, perpetrator of JihadWatch. Of course, Mr. Spencer is a crank as I noted here last fall. There are reliable sources - right, left, and center - on Islam, terrorism, Middle East politics, and so forth. Robert Spencer is not among them. Dim as she is, though, Amy could not discriminate in this case if her life depended on it. So, once more, she is piling it higher and deeper.
* This may seem to be overly harsh. But I first stumbled across Amy after she wrote a post entitled "Rebecca Solnit is a Sniveling Idiot."

** I don't intend to comment on every inanity that Amy utters. There are not enough hours in the day to do that. And I have no interest in responding to the predictable howls of indignation and outrage that she and her coterie of admirers will unleash. I just think it will be fun to have a laugh every so often at Amy's expense. I'll restrict my comments to her more egregious utterances.

*** For the record, Tom and I have never met. I believe we may have exchanged an email or two on photography since I've been writing this blog. I did, however, drop a line to congratulate him on having apparently made Amy's enemies list.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jim:
I believe that there are certain writings one shouldn’t bother to read. Borges, I don’t recall exactly where I read it, was asked if someone should read everything or if one should always finish a book that one is reading? His answer was quite very Borges, he answered (and I hope my memory don’t fool me): "No es necesario… recorrer toda una ciudad para conocerla, basta con las calles más importantes" (“It is not necessary to…walk all a city to know her…”). Amy Alkon writings falls on this category. She writes for the American majority who wants simple answers for complicated matters. That is why Mr. Bush is president of the U.S.A.
Alejandro López de Haro

25 April, 2008 04:31  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Alejandro ~ Broges is, of course, right. Thanks for reminding me. The re are two reasons, in this case, why I will occasionally set his advice aside.

(1) After my encounters with Alkon earlier this week, I simply walked away, assuming that was that. But she continues to harangue me at her place simply because someone else disagreed with her. Hence:

"Not surprisingly, the guy -- "Tom White" -- has a link on his blog to the creep in America recently stinking up my comments section who posts photos of professional photographers and cartoonists including Gary Larson without offering payment or obtaining permission. Tom, who probably found me through that blog, apparently does the same on the blog he linked to in his comment."

So the Advice Goddess is still running her mouth, leveling idiotic, irrelevant accusations, and linking to my blog. The result will be more detritus floating from her place to mine.

Second, the quality of public debate suffers unless, even occasionally, the nitwits and windbags pressing pop psychology, and poorly thought out conservative or libertarian politics onto the public are held up to the obloquy they deserve. I don't intend to waste too much time on this. But occasionally when Amy serves up an especially idiotic rant, like her recent comments on Muslims, I feel like it will be worthwhile to say something about it. Also, since I do not read much of the right-wing rant-o-sphere, it is useful to see, every so often, just how crazy things can get out there.

25 April, 2008 08:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beyond Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) is an important case to note where non-Muslims utilized terrorism. There have been many more casualties there as well relative to Northern Ireland.

25 April, 2008 10:32  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...


Thanks. You are right, of course, there are terrorists of nearly every creed. I chose Northern Ireland because most Americans are Christian of some variety or other. So I figured that recalling that terrorism has been going on among Christians in NI for a century or so might, however remote the chance, call Amy and her minions part way back to reality. It is hard to get to folks encased in an ideological bubble. (in this case the ideology is xenophobic anti-Muslim idiocy.)

25 April, 2008 11:52  
Blogger Tom White said...

Jim, thankyou for the email - as I said in my reply I think I have little to fear from Amy Alkon.

For the benefit of other readers, I looked at her blog out of curiosity after reading about the copyright debacle here and although I only read one post I found her views unpleasant and posted a brief note. I find it mildly amusing that my short comment pointing out the basic and essential flaw in one of her arguments managed to elicit an entire post dedicated to myself in which I am labelled a defender of Islam (as if it were an insult) and a thief (copyright infringement apparently).

Guess I must have hit a nerve.

26 April, 2008 20:53  
Blogger bjkeefe said...

Hi, Jim,

I came across your blog by Googling Amy Alkon. I'd never heard of her before a few days ago. My sympathies for coming to the attention of one of the Thin-Skinned and Clearly Unhinged. I've had a couple of encounters with Ann Althouse, so I know the feeling.

The way I heard about Alkon was via Sadly, No! I thought you might enjoy knowing that Alkon is now on their watch list, and that you might like to read what they have to say:

11 Aug entry | 14 Aug entry | 15 Aug entry

We of the Nonwingnut Persuasion have to watch each other's backs.

Oh, one other connection. I also live in Rochacha. Weird place this Internet, huh?

Maybe I'll see you around someday, meatspace or otherwise.

16 August, 2008 03:36  
Blogger bjkeefe said...

Quick follow-up: I commented a couple of times on the most recent of the three posts that Sadly, No! covered. Long story short: I guess I'm now on her Enemies' List as well -- she "banned" me (not very successfully) and published my email address.

If you're in the a morbidly curious mood, you might have a look -- there's a lot of funny stuff from other commenters who appear to have followed the Sadlys' link. A.A. spent something like 20 straight hours feverishly responding to every comment that didn't come from one of her usual admirers, crashed for about four hours, and then jumped right back to it. (My pre-ban comments are signed "Brendan," my post-ban comments are signed "bjk," if you care.)

The only question now is, do I decide I've had my fun and forget about her, or do I become another one of the Alkon Watch Irregulars?

16 August, 2008 15:38  
Blogger Unknown said...

I too have made it on Alkon's enemy list. It's now a very convoluted tale but it starts with Alkon slandering and attacking someone she has never met and who she knows nothing about.

She employs as her editor a moronic(who can't stand Amy, by the way) sociopath who is friends with friends of Sarah Silverman. Alkon, most probably, starstruck by this has waged a sad campaign to promote the comedy of a twisted individual(and... bit player on the sarah silverman show) and to rip into and to slander someone who seems to have a valid complaint against this Notaro. By all indications, it is because this person she employs has fed her false information and Alkon wants to show some sad allegiace (and get tickets to comedy shows) and has joined the fray. She's a dreadful writer-- The worst. She advises everyone to "move on," yet seems to obsessively cling to any slight.

I'm now investigating L.A Citybeat magazine as she seems to be involved in some shenanigans over there.

18 October, 2008 19:17  

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