Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Coulter: Open Mouth, Insert Foot

i-ceb0fd034f958d613bffb16f52792a45-coulter.jpg That vile woman just doesn’t know when to quit. A lot of mudslinging is tolerated in political banter, but you really have to have some god-awful dirty mud when even your own party denounces you as the bigoted banshee you are. For those of you who aren’t familiar with her most recent foray into stupidity, here’s what she said about Democratic candidate John Edwards during a speech at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards,” Coulter said, “but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’”

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I mean, come on. There’s PLENTY of acceptably nasty things to say about candidates without sinking to that level. Why, then, would she let such a thing slip? I can almost guarantee you that that was ad libbed, that “that word” wasn’t on her speech sheet. Which is much, much more disturbing than if it was. Why? Well, because it suggests that Coulter, who (unfortunately) people DO listen to, is an actual bigot who thinks and says these things to her friends and colleagues. That calling someone “faggot” is acceptable enough to her–and that she’s gotten enough positive or neutral responses to it—that no red light went up in her mind to use it in a speech in front of hundreds.

Liberals, conservatives, and most any person with a full-functioning cortex has denounced Coulter’s statement as “offensive.” And conservatives would do well to distance themselves, to wash their hands of her. For as one blog put it:

Ann Coulter used to serve the movement well. She was telegenic, intelligent, and witty. She was also fearless: saying provocative things to inspire deeper thought and cutting through the haze of competing information has its uses. But Coulter’s fearlessness has become an addiction to shock value. She draws attention to herself, rather than placing the spotlight on conservative ideas.

Without nitpicking over whether Coulter was really ever a help to conservatives, its obvious now that she isn’t. An email sent to Coulter from the NY Times garnered this response:

“C’mon, it was a joke. Do you think I would insult gay people by comparing them to John Edwards?”

Illustrating that she completely is missing the point of the outrage. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. If she had called him a homosexual, he likely would have sighed and set the record straight, and that would be that. Coulter would look silly. But she chose to use a slur. A slur has the same connotation to the gay community as the n-word does to blacks: it trivializes someone, reduces you down to a single trait, which somehow, in their eyes, is bad. Its repugnant speech, even in 8th grade locker rooms or frat parties or wherever. But ESPECIALLY in an auditorium filled with educated adults, leaders of our nation. Who instead of booing her, applauded. And perhaps that’s the most disturbing thing of all.

Comments

  1. #1 PeterC
    March 5, 2007

    Being British I know nothing of her politics. Having seen the video though I wonder if, for some reason, she’s trying to get into rehab. Maybe she’s a Britney fan & this is her only hope of meeting her. Whatever, she must be desperate to use a word like that to describe someone.

  2. #2 Kristjan Wager
    March 5, 2007

    Whatever, she must be desperate to use a word like that to describe someone.

    That’s pretty par the course with her. At least this time, she didn’t fantasize about anyone getting assassinated, as she did with Clinton while he was president, or being blown up, as she did with NY Times.

  3. #3 Elizabeth Bauer
    March 5, 2007

    So what else is new?

    We’re talking about a woman who was fired by National Review for being TOO conservative for their tastes.

    She’s a sideshow freak … nothing more.

  4. #4 Roy
    March 5, 2007

    She’s a sideshow freak … nothing more.

    Maybe. On the other hand, it’s pretty troubling when she says something like that and her audience, as Shelley points out, instead of booing her, applauded.

  5. #5 coturnix
    March 5, 2007

    She is saying out loud what they all whisper to each other in private.

  6. #6 Left_Wing_Fox
    March 5, 2007

    One year ago, Ann Coulter used the words “Raghead talks tough, Raghead faces consequences”.

    And they STILL invited her back! And Mitt Romney STILL Introduced her warmly!

    Ann Coulter is not a sideshow freak. She’s the living embodiment of the GOP.

    And the sooner people realize that, the better.

  7. #7 ivan
    March 5, 2007

    Well, people on these kinds of events are there to applaud regardless of what has been said. Its more like an Oprah-show audience applauding.

  8. #8 John C. Welch
    March 5, 2007

    Ann Coulter cares about one thing: Ann Coulter’s net worth. If she could make more money being a liberal loudmouth, she’d switch so fast that Steve Jobs would have burn marks on his iMac.

  9. #9 Boosterz
    March 6, 2007

    John is right. Just as the average televangelist isn’t half as religious as they let on, I doubt if Ann is half as crazy as she lets on. Like the televangelist she has figured out that the far right in this country can be easily manipulated for profit. She’ll say ANYTHING provided it will whip up the wingnuts and get them to buy more of her useless books.

  10. #10 Roy
    March 6, 2007

    Okay, let’s say that John is right, and that this is all about her looking out for her wallet by playing to her crowd… is that even one ounce better? I mean, I’m sorry, but I don’t see how it’s better that she’s a homophobic bigot because it pads her wallet than that she’s a homophobic bigot because she’s a homophobic bigot.

    I don’t see the value in excusing her behavior on the grounds that “Well, it’s just her. You know how she is” or “Oh, she’s just playing to the crowd. She’ll say whatever if it makes her money.”

  11. #12 Boosterz
    March 6, 2007

    Who said anything about excusing her behavior? I still think she’s a wart on the ass of humanity.

  12. #13 Redleg
    March 6, 2007

    Her comments border on sedition; and her references to people’s “hysteria” in reaction to her comments is the first step towards normalizing intolerance. More bad news, she was an easy target on this one because conservatives are trying desperately to hold on to the silly Log Cabin Republicans who – *gasp* – feel betrayed by the anti-gay policies of the current administration (imagine that). Each time she speaks the fabric of our society rips a little further.

  13. #14 romunov
    March 7, 2007

    Khm, “she” or “Ms” is a bit of a stretch in my book.

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