Thursday, April 21, 2005


FAIR has just published a response to the Ann Coulter interview in Time. Well worth reading if you are one of the few people not blessed with a far too intimate knowledge of the lunacies that Coulter spouts. Here's a taste:

Throughout the article, Cloud presented instances where Coulter was
allegedly misunderstood or underappreciated. And in each case, Cloud
either gave Coulter a pass, or concluded that her opponents were wrong.
Cloud generously wrote that Coulter "likes to shock reporters by
aloud whether America might be better off if women lost the right to
vote"-- as if she writes or speaks such things on national television
to get a rise out of journalists. Cloud also argued that Coulter can
"write about gender issues with particular sensitivity," an odd trait
attribute to someone who recently claimed that women are "not that
(Fox News, 9/23/04).

Cloud also recalled a TV debate over environmentalism where Coulter
offered her typical hyperbole: "God gave us the earth. We have dominion
over the plants, the animals, the seas.... God said, 'Earth is yours. Take
it. Rape it. It's yours.'"

And so on. It's entertainment, of course, or Coulter-tainment. The idea is to make politics into something a knuckledragger would enjoy watching, and the reason is in advertising revenues. If you make political debates into fights between wackoes (or better still, into wingnut wackoes beating up whiny Democrats) the folks who normally watch wrestling might be lured over! Hence a woman who advocates killing and violence routinely is portrayed as an Important Player in Politics.

That's probably pretty much the only kind of woman who could be famous in politics, though I think talking about blowjobs all the time would work, too. Whether Coulter is all an act or whether she is seriously deranged is irrelevant (though ethically the first alternative is worse). What matters is that this is the new entertainment of our era: politics as reality television.

Some argue that people like Coulter should be engaged in debate, not ignored or ridiculed. That is wonderful advice. How exactly would you do that? Just pick that statement above about raping the earth. How would you respond to that? And what would Coulter say then? It's impossible to debate someone who has no intention of actually debating back, who intends to yell and scream and call you names at every opportunity and who will simply talk more loudly if you try to interject an argument.

Coulter is a rabid extremist and should be regarded as one. That the Time magazine gave her inches and inches of positive column space tells poorly on the magazine. There is such a thing as responsible journalism. Too bad that Time has decided to have nothing to do with it.