Ann Coulter is in trouble again.
The most unpredictable mouth in America has once again proved that idiocy is not a mental state confined to the left wing in American politics. Calling Arabs “ragheads” while joking about her “ethical dilemma” regarding whether or not to kill Bill Clinton when she had the chance is simply the latest in a very long line of over the top – some would say out of control – thoughts that have spewed forth from her brilliant, eccentric mind.
In the end, this is Coulter’s dilemma. And the great trap she has set for herself as she has climbed the ladder of success to achieve fame and fortune. In this celebrity, media soaked age where the ravenous appetites of the news nets, “lifestyle” shows, and political talk radio are constantly demanding more and more controversy, more and more outrageous personalities to fill the time and attract more audience, the danger for any one personality like Coulter is that yesterday’s jaw droppers and head shakers can’t be repeated. She must come up with entirely new derogatory sobriquets to call her political opponents and ever more outrageous metaphors to describe her political pet peeves. By definition, she must go “over the top” on nearly a daily basis.
This way lies madness. Once people like Coulter start down this road it can only end in one way; you become a caricature of yourself. The barbs that once zinged your opponents with razor sharp wit causing even your political enemies to chuckle will lose their edge and end up as simple, hurtful, name calling more akin to playground epithets and hardly worthy of approbation except by your most rabid fans.
Hence, jokes about Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades morph into daydreaming about assassinating a President. And spot on, uproariously funny critiques of racialsm and the stupidity of identity politics segues easily into ethnic slurs. She has little choice if she wishes to remain atop the rickety pyramid of notorious celebrity she has carved out for herself. To do less would disappoint her numerous acolytes whose immaturity allows for giving her standing ovations when she casually refers to Arabs in a politically incorrect way.
The left, of course, is already all over the “raghead” comment, calling it “racist.” I constantly marvel at such ignorance (even though we should all be used to it by now). To say that Arabs make up a separate “race” is imbecilic. The racial origins of Arabs, Persians, Afghans, and people in Northern India are, in fact, Caucasoid (um…that means “white” my lefty brethren). They are more closely related to the Swedes than any of the Negroid sub-groups in southern Africa. But since the left never lets the facts stand in the way of their constant drive to twist the English language into doing its political bidding, I guess it really doesn’t matter. In a similar way, we’ve seen media savvy Muslims these past couple of weeks charge that the Cartoon Intifada is actually western “racism” directed against the “Religion of Peace.”
I guess you can’t accuse the fanatical jihadists rampaging through the streets, burning and murdering, of not having read the media Bible as written by the hard western left. After all, they seem to have more in common than either probably realizes.
Coulter’s speech at the CPAC Conference, while well received by the audience, laid an egg with righty bloggers. A sampling of reaction:
The problem is: she’s indicative of the rapid decline of issue-based political discourse in this country. Political opponents are described as evil enemies versus competitors with different ideas and approaches. It’s anti-PC that sells exceedingly well on radio and cable talk shows and on college campuses in particular â€” but people roaring in laughter at the undercurrent of zingers that jokingly suggest assassination is what’s troubling (and particularly because these same folks would be up in arms if someone such as Michael Moore suggested the same thing about people on their side).
Okay…sorry Joe. You’re not a “righty” per se but I liked your analysis, although disagreeing with your thoughts that Coulter has contributed to the “rapid decline” in sane, political discourse. The existence of Ann Coulter was not necessary for that to happen, not since the left announced that “the personal is political” back in the 1980’s.
Jeff Harrell: (CPAC attendee)
We all think youâ€™re really funny, okay? We all think youâ€™re hilarious. Youâ€™re witty and funny and all that.
But seriously, standing up in front of a microphone and calling people â€œragheadsâ€ isnâ€™t helping anybody. Ever.
You wanna say that stuff, do it in private. And donâ€™t let anybody hear you. And donâ€™t let anybody quote you. Ever.
Reasonable people everywhere
Why stop at “reasonable people?” Even “unreasonable people” like me are upset.
Sean Hackbarth: (also blogging CPAC)
With Ann Coulter you should only expect a bad stand-up comedian with a conservative shtick. That’s what CPAC attendees got today. My expectations were low, yet she proceeded to go below them.
Sad, isn’t it? That those talking in sensible tones will be forgotten for the loudmouths with braggadocio. What happened to the impassioned and dedicated work of smart and talented men and women on behalf of the duty of a grateful nation? Is it lost upon the masses in favor of the reptilian revenge driven brain? The five second soundbyte generation?
I think I’m going to go be ill.
You answered your own question, Tom. Those “loudmouths” suck all the media oxygen out of the tent with precious little left for the rest of us.
Wasn’t it James Joyner who coined the moniker “our Michael Moore”? I’ll never buy one of her books.
Great observation. Which brings me to my final point.
A cursory Technorati search a little more than 12 hours after Coulter’s remarks reveal dozens of lefty bloggers pillorying her for her remarks. This is to be expected. But the sample above from righty blogs (which I fully expect to grow massively as the day goes on) points up an enormous difference between right and left “partisans.” From Trent Lott, to Rick Santorum (and others who use the term “Nazi” to describe Democrats), to Pat Robertson, the right is pretty good at policing itself when its adherents go beyond the pale in political discourse and decorum.
Would that the Democrats had half that kind of sensibility.
Most recently, the funeral of Coretta Scott King, which turned into a political rally with partisan attacks on President Bush who had come representing the American people, was actually cheered by the left as entirely appropriate. And the casual, constant references to their political foes as fascists, Nazis, Klansmen, and the like has become so pervasive that there is not a writer on the left who can say anything about conservatives without using one of those disgusting epithets.
Until the left can police its rabble, they will not be taken seriously by the rest of the country. The day that Michael Moore is dethroned as an icon of the left due to the words and actions of liberals is the day that conservatives will accept criticism of Coulter and her ilk with more than a grain of salt.
Forgive me for not including James Joyner’s excellent analysis:
CPAC is attended mostly by the people who man the booths and by wild-eyed college kids hoping to see some famous conservatives in person. I understand wanting to have as much red meat as possible for this crowd. But Coulter is an embarrassment and her words continue to get quoted as representing what “conservatives really think.” The CPAC organizers should be ashamed for inviting her back year after year and giving her such a prominent stage.
On a side note, the commenters on Sager’s site are mostly siding with Coulter. Sad.
I’ll try and update this post every once and a while as the reaction pours in from the right.
Eric over at the excellent site Classical Values has a hip, literate, and spot on post about Coulter. He has an interesting take that may just surprise you:
For some reason, burka belittling is considered fair game, but making fun of male Arab headgear, well, that’s just not cricket!
And “raghead.” While I don’t think it’s racist (because turbans and keffiyeh scarves are by no means limited by race), “rag” has a certain implication that the people wearing them might not be able to afford anything better. Howard Stern used to say “towelheads.” Maybe that’s more fair and neutral. Nah, that’s insensitive too, as it implies kids playing dress-up games in the bathroom or something.
I must say I’m not surprised by the comments. Many on the right want me to lay off Ann and those on the left are typically stuck on me taking them to task for mis-using the term “racist” as it applies to the ethnic group made up of Arabs. Both responses are expected but still disappointing.
If you want the classy response of someone directly affected by the pejorative “raghead” please go here and read Aladdin’s take.