Respectful Insolence

A couple of days ago, on the Day of the Beast (6/6/06), Ann Coulter took the opportunity to unleash yet another spray of spittle-drenched attacks on liberals (Godless: The Church of Liberalism) into bookstores across the nation. As is her schtick, she’s made quite the stir over the airwaves by making very inflammatory and offensive statements. This time, it was about the 9/11 widows during an interview with Matt Lauer Tuesday morning (video here) about what she wrote in her book:

These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing Bush was part of the closure process.

And:

These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.

And a quote from her book that Matt Lauer didn’t mention:

And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren’t planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they’d better hurry up and appear in Playboy. . .

I don’t want to rehash how despicable and mean-spirited Coulter’s remarks are too much. Some conservatives will excuse her by saying, “Oh, that’s just Ann’s schtick,” implying that she’s not serious, that she’s just being a provocateur. (Of course, to me, her choice of topics and rhetoric to use to provoke tell me all I need to know about her.) Others, like Michelle Malkin, will lament that the controversy about Coulter’s remarks is supposedly drowning out her “substantive” points. Still others will defend her. Of course, Coulter has no one to blame for that but herself, given her choice of what to use as grist for her provocations. Indeed, she revels in the controversy; she seeks it out; her very position in the media requires it as much as you or I require oxygen. Like a shock rocker, Coulter must keep constantly increasing the shock value of her schtick as her novelty wears off and the audience is less and less provoked by her act. Idiotic pundits like Coulter are one of the factors that have driven my politics to be less conservative over the last several years.

No, I’m not suprised at Coulter’s moronic and vicious attacks on “liberals” and certain 9/11 widows to whom she refers as the “witches of East Brunswick” (they live in East Brunswick, NJ). What I wonder about is Coulter’s creationism. Apparently she devotes 80 pages of her book to bashing evolution. Check this out:

Then, of course, there’s the liberal creation myth: Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
For liberals, evolution is the touchstone that separates the enlightened from the benighted. But Coulter neatly refutes the lie that liberals are rationalists guided by the ideals of free inquiry and the scientific method. She exposes the essential truth about Darwinian evolution that liberals refuse to confront: It is bogus science.

Writing with a keen appreciation for genuine science, Coulter reveals that the so-called “gaps” in the theory of evolution are all there is — Darwinism is nothing but a gap.

After 150 years of dedicated searching into the fossil record, evolution’s proponents have failed utterly to substantiate its claims. And a long line of supposed evidence, from the infamous Piltdown Man to the “evolving” peppered moths of England, has been exposed as one hoax after another. Still, liberals treat those who question evolution as religious nuts and prohibit students from hearing about real science when it contradicts Darwinism. And these are the people who say they want to keep faith out of the classroom.

Liberals’ absolute devotion to Darwinism, Coulter shows, has nothing to do with evolution’s scientific validity and everything to do with their refusal to admit the possibility of God as a guiding force. They will brook no challenges to the official religion.

You know, I think I’m with PZ on this one to some extent. I think it would be enormously entertaining to read the section of Coulter’s book on evolution if I could get my hand on a copy of the book without Coulter profiting from my purchase of it. I bet I’d have a hard time finishing it because I’d be laughing so hard; such comedy is hard to come by. A used copy somewhere perhaps? I don’t think I could tolerate reading the rest of her diatribes, though. Slumming among vicious political provacateurs is only amusing for a little while, and, besides, even reading just the chapters on evolution would put me in danger of blowing a fuse thinking about all the logical fallacies, distortions, and outright lies likely contained therein.

Given Coulter’s performance–well–being Ann Coulter and causing a firestorm of condemnation of her nasty attacks, even from her conservative fans and bloggers and secular conservatives–now seems as good a time as any to recall something that John informed us of a couple of months ago: that William Dembski had a big hand in helping Ann Coulter write her attacks on evolution. Indeed, Dembski even bragged:

I’m happy to report that I was in constant correspondence with Ann regarding her chapters on Darwinism — indeed, I take all responsibility for any errors in those chapters.

I wonder if Dembski’s quite so happy and proud to be affiliated with Coulter’s book now that he (and everyone else) knows what’s in the rest of it.

ADDENDUM: Scoobie Davis takes on Godless in a continuing series, wondering about a statement Coulter makes regarding how liberals supposedly consider chastity not to be a virtue: “…it raises a question with me: what is Coulter’s view on chastity? Does she think chastity is a virtue? If so, is the 44-year-old never-married woman still saving herself?”

Comments

  1. #1 epador
    June 8, 2006

    Sigh, too bad you have a day job. I was hoping for a line by line dissection of her faulty reasoning from you. Unless your Public Library can get you a copy, I guess that any other regular readers of Orac will need to chip in and get you a copy. Either way she’ll still end up getting a profit unless someone pulls an Abie Hoffman and “Steal[s] This Book.”

  2. #2 epador
    June 8, 2006

    Uncle!

    After reading PZ’s post and comments, and the Afgh-Ann-a-Skank picture linked by thoughttheater, I guess it might be kinder just to burn all her books.

  3. #3 Ruth
    June 8, 2006

    I am a conservative, mass-on-Sunday Republican, and I find her indefensible. Speaking of harpies with a short shelf-life, how come a feminist like myself managed to marry and have kids, but the anti-feminist Coulter is still single? About a year ago, Joan Rivers said about the same thing about the 9/11 widows and was critized by the right-will the same rules apply to Ann?

  4. #4 The Commissar
    June 8, 2006

    Good post. Thanks for the links.

    A quibble. Glenn Reynolds is no “fan” of Coulter. I doubt you intended that, but that’s the linked word you used.

  5. #5 drcharles
    June 8, 2006

    i agree that slumming with provocateurs is only amusing for a limited time before it starts to wear on you. glad to see coulter is still carving her name in the stone age for eternity.

  6. #6 Chris
    June 8, 2006

    Coulter doesn’t have any substantive points. Coulter *never* has any substantive points. She exists only to stir up argument and controversy. I’d call her a right-wing Howard Stern, but I don’t want to insult Stern.

    On the Internet, we have a word for people who say inflammatory things just to stir up arguments: trolls. Coulter is a troll with a publisher. Don’t feed the troll.

  7. #7 Hans
    June 8, 2006

    A conservative’s take on Coulter at Jon Swift:
    http://jonswift.blogspot.com/

    ;)

  8. #8 Ian B Gibson
    June 8, 2006

    It’s interesting that you’re getting less conservative as you age – most of us go the other way (so they say). However, I expect 8 years of GW will have a similar effect on more than a few people.

  9. #9 Daniel Morgan
    June 8, 2006

    I haven’t yet read anyone comment on the Chernobyl comment Coulter makes:

    Now it turns out even Chernobyl wasn’t as bad as people thought…Instead of tens of thousands of cancer deaths from acute radiation exposure, there were 4,000. Only 50 deaths were directly attributable to the explosion. There has been no increase in leukemia, birth defects, or fertility problems in the surrounding area.

    Of course, this directly conflicts with the IAEA reports, but hey, who’s paying attention to the pesky facts when there’s all this fun screed?

    The projections indicate that, among the most exposed populations (liquidators, evacuees and residents of the so-called ‘strict control zones’), total cancer mortality might increase by up to a few per cent owing to Chernobyl related radiation exposure. Such an increase could mean eventually up to several thousand fatal cancers in addition to perhaps one hundred thousand cancer deaths expected in these populations from all other causes. An increase of this magnitude would be difficult to detect, even with very careful long-term epidemiological studies. [IAEA source]

    But hey, who’s counting?

    And, I mention again, this was in the Soviet Union. Soviet engineers couldn’t make Jell-O. They’d show up at the World’s Fair and stare at a flush toilet like it was a rocket ship. They turned half of Germany into an inefficient manufacturing center. Do you know how hard that is? It’s like botching a train wreck. Of course the Soviets screwed up nuclear power!

    Indeed, Ann. After all, they just beat us into space.

    I had to go hit the toilet a few times as I read about her comments re the widows of the WTC. Mindless and heartless is a dangerous combination.

  10. #10 Prup aka Jim Benton
    June 8, 2006

    Hans, mein hans:

    You say “A conservative’s take on Coulter at Jon Swift:”

    Jon Swift is as much a conservative as Orac is an Altie, or Skeptico is a Creationist. He is perhaps the most brilliant ironist (I’d call his work ironical rather than satrical, but will accept either) in the blogosphere. I’m not surprised when a Creationist falls for his mockery — as did the host of an anti-evolution blog carnival did, but I expected Orac’s readers to be a bit sharper. Still the guy is that good. Go back and read him again.

  11. #11 TheProbe
    June 9, 2006

    Ruth said: “I am a conservative, mass-on-Sunday Republican, and I find her indefensible. Speaking of harpies with a short shelf-life, how come a feminist like myself managed to marry and have kids, but the anti-feminist Coulter is still single?”

    Yes, Ruth, she is still single. Can you imagine awakening in the morning and having her critique your performance the night before? With her mouth, she brings a whole new dimension to the term “oral contraceptive.”

  12. #12 Hans
    June 9, 2006

    Really Jim Benton?

    I just received my first shipment of rectal candles form ORAC! So, who’s got who by the neck ?!

  13. #13 CL
    June 9, 2006

    Chastity? As George Carlin said, “I wouldn’t f— her with a stolen dick.”

  14. #14 Prup aka Jim Benton
    June 9, 2006

    I hadn’t expected this one, but the unspeakable Ann — according to Max Blumenthal, haven’t had a chance to confirm it myself — uses Joseph Sobran as a source. Sobran describes him as a Holocaust denier. Reading the site I reference below demonstrates that the characterization is accurate. If she does use him (in a positive way, not just as a target) this gets her 0pretty close to a ‘full house’ of irrationality and obnoxiousness. Creationism, holocaust denial, and her whole general tone gives her her ‘three aces,’ now all she needs to do is support anti-vaccination and homeopathy to give her the two ‘eights.’

    The Blumenthal quote is at
    http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Godless_author_Coulter_unknown_at_church_0608.html
    (which, delightfully, demonstrates that the ‘non-Godless’ Ann is unknown at the church she claims to attend.)

    The Sobran article (which details his speech at the IHR and, in the second sentence, describes the WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE as “Zionist”) is at
    http://www.sobran.com/fearofjews.shtml

    Can anyone who’s read her books tell me how she uses Sobran?

  15. #15 Prup aka Jim Benton
    June 9, 2006

    Since I wrote the above, I’ve discovered that she called Sobran a ‘wonderful writer,’ wrote a forward to his book on Clinton, and gave him credit for helping her through a writer’s problem. I suppose it would be possible to find excuses for all of these, were her other comments not so poisonous.

  16. #16 Stewart Peterson
    June 11, 2006

    Mr. Morgan, sorry, but the two statements are consistent. There were up to 4,000 deaths from radiation exposure–so says the World Health Organization–and the only major (statistically detectable) other health effects were child thyroid tumors. Had the Soviets evacuated the area earlier, even that could have been prevented. What that IAEA source said was that those deaths are added to the 100,000 or so cancer deaths that were going to happen already, and you can’t statistically detect any rise in the cancer rate.
    By the way, the Soviet space program (like so much else in the Soviet system) was a paper tiger because it never had sustainability or extensibility as a goal. The US decided to go to the Moon in 1961 and shaped its entire program around that aim. The Soviets simply cobbled together whatever they already had, and sometimes only beat us by a few weeks. Their N1 lunar booster used 30 engines in the first stage because they couldn’t develop a larger engine–and unfortunately their quality control program wasn’t good enough to reliably produce 30 engines. In short, the Soviet approach didn’t scale up and ours does, but it takes us slightly longer at first.

    It really irritates me that nuts like Coulter are the only people who get this stuff (nuclear power) right. We can do better than this.

  17. #17 David Edwards
    June 14, 2006

    I took a peek at that video of Ann Coulter.

    Listening to that nails-on-blackboard voice was a severe test of endurance.

    As for waking up alongside her the next morning, that thought brings forth memories of the time I was reading about the epic verbal duels between Winston Churchill and Lady Astor. This one springs to mind particularly:

    Lady Astor: “Sir, if I were your wife, I would give you poison!”

    Winston Churchill: “Madam, if I were your husband, I would take it.”

    Incidentally, those who are interested will discover that there is in circulation at least one page on the web that, at first glance, appears to be Ann Coulter fanfic … before anyone here faints at the prospect of such a horror, it transpires that it is, in fact, a comedy piece masquerading as Coulter fanfic, but which I shall have to leave unlinked for reasons of taste and decorum. It will not be hard for the dedicated Coulterphobe to track down though. :)

    As for her being involved with Dembski and Holocaust deniers, well, talk about the unholy trinity …

  18. #18 Peter
    June 19, 2006

    HAHAHAHA. SHE’S GREAT! SHE REALLY MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE! HAHAHAHAHA.
    Hate her you idiots, hate her!
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  19. #19 Orac
    June 19, 2006

    HAHAHAHA. SHE’S GREAT! SHE REALLY MAKES PEOPLE UNCOMFORTABLE! HAHAHAHAHA.
    Hate her you idiots, hate her!

    Apparently the above representes the intellectual capability of a typical Ann Coulter fan.

  20. #20 Graculus
    June 20, 2006

    Apparently the above representes the intellectual capability of a typical Ann Coulter fan.

    No, that’s one of the brighter ones, it’s figured out how to use a keyboard.

  21. #21 Orac
    June 20, 2006

    No, that’s one of the brighter ones, it’s figured out how to use a keyboard.

    Point taken.

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