On the day after the Sep 11, 2001, terror attacks, Ann Coulter wrote a now famous column calling for the invasion of Muslim countries, the execution of those countries’ leaders and the forced conversion of their people to Christianity.
In an attempt to rationalize this clearly inappropriate behaviour, a right-wing friend in DC said of Ann, “Oh, she’s just upset that her friend was killed.”
Huhn? Sure, that explains her —maybe. But what about the editor, publisher and proofreader who let that nonsense go? What was their excuse?
Last year, Coulter again crossed the line when she referred to Iranians as “ragheads“. (Which is not only racist, it’s inaccurate…. Most Iranians are not Arabs, and almost none wear any traditional headgear.) This was done at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where none of the supposed “compassionate conservatives” took her to task for the comment.
The same year, she openly called Al Gore a “total fag“, and the TV host Chris Matthews cordially thanked her for her appearance.
Now at this year’s CPAC, a major “Conservative” assembly, Ann got on stage and called Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards a “faggot“. And no one present complained.
What’s my point? Yes, we all know Ann is nuts. Maybe she does it for the attention, to sell books. Or maybe she really is four eggs short of a dozen. Who knows? Who cares? My point is two-fold:
- There exist people akin to my friend in DC who will back whatever racist, sexist, homphobic slur she utters in her madness, and will be emboldened by Ann’s mainstream appeal.
- Why has she not been disavowed by her base? With the recent slur against Edwards, among high profile conservative pundits, only Michelle Malkin promptly spoke out against the language, and even then, only to chastise Ann for giving “liberals” fuel against the conservatives.
The first part is fairly obvious. Skinheads, white supremacists and others of their ilk regularly monitor the “acceptableness” of people like Coulter, as a barometer of how mainstream their views are becoming. How do I know this? About 12 years ago, I went “undercover” for several months for The Toronto Star, posing as a white supremacist on online discussion groups (back when such things were novel) in order to write an article on the phenomenon.
But it’s the second bit that worries me. If other, less telegenic, moonbats were spouting unfounded racial slurs, maybe they wouldn’t find as much traction in mainstream media. Let me suggest something more: if other, less connected to monied power institutes, moonbats were spouting such slurs, they would have been turfed a long time ago. In other words, Ann Coulter is tolerated –nay, supported!– by media because the monied set is without principle, and will support whomever is profitable, regardless of the damage she does to society.
There is evidence, apparently, that the content of many of Ann’s books has been plagiarized. Yet why does she continue to be published? Why are the books still on the shelves? Why has no apology been offered? Because they still make money.
So Ann Coulter may be insane and dismissable. But she matters because those with power cower behind her as they shovel in the profits from the hurt and sorrow that the gurgling fissure in her face continues to create.
Far be it for me to ever want to give more publicity to yet another attention-seeking harridan, but Michelle Malkin has a nice quote about the Coulter affair, though at this point I question Ms Malkin’s motivation:
“Not all of us treat the communication of conservative ideals and ideas as 24/7 performance art. You can and should use humor to convey your message. You can enlighten and entertain–without becoming a tired old schtick. You can joke without becoming the joke.”
It’s also worth reading the comments of Andrew Sullivan on this topic. Sullivan is essentially a neo-con, but a former Republican and is openly gay.