coul-ter: [OE, OF, Lat. culter, "ploughshare"] n. "knife"
Digby has a great post up today about Ann the Knife and her apologist in the New Republic (is this what "moderation" is now, defending Ann Coulter? Stop the ride, I wanna get off). I've wanted to write about Coulter a number of times, but I've tended to refrain b/c I really don't wanna give her any more publicity. But I'm all for joining the rest of the blogosphere in talking Elspeth Reeve back from the brink.
Baking elephant shit in a graham-cracker crust.
Coulter says the things that hard-core conservatives really think, the nasty little prejudices and condescensions of the rightwing mind that people try to conceal when they're arguing with non-likeminded folk. Underneath the theories and the ideology and references to obscure people and events is a bullying spirit that everyone else hides, but Coulter proudly displays. All non-whitebread conservative American Republicans are inferior, especially the blacks who would all be working at McDonald's if it weren't for affirmative action. The Middle East (b/c it's all just one big pile o' brown folk at the end of the day) needs to be forcefully subjugated to protect (whitebread Republican) American interests. All the "pretty people" are conservative. The "weenie" motif in Reeve's article. Digby's "superiority theory" take on Coulter's brand of humor.
The Knife's brand of "humor" is something I'd thought about before, along a somewhat different tack. A favorite tactic of hers when she's confronted for making a comment so hideously offensive that it really does teeter on the brink of genuine "bad publicity"-- as much as such a thing exists for political pornographers like the Knife-- is to dismiss the comment as "a joke."
But as Al Franken famously said of Limbaugh's Chelsea Clinton/dog bit, "what's the joke?"
If one of Coulter's statements is a joke, the implication is that "she's kidding," i.e., she doesn't really believe that, say, the 9/11 widows are griefarazzi harpies who made a cool mil off of their husband's deaths. But how, then, is that funny? Such a funny is only "funny" in 2 cases: 1. she believes the complete opposite of the statement and is mocking people who believe it (Stephen Colbert), or 2. she really believes it and has put it in an exceedingly defiant and witty way (Dennis Miller). Any exaggeration is often minimal, as in Dennis Miller doesn't believe Saddam has bin Laden literally "on speed dial," but only because bin Laden isn't using phones anymore.
We can bet that reason #1 probably does not apply here.
Significantly, she never has retracted any of these statements, either. Her comment that "it's a joke" is just a faux retraction with a wink to her rightwing fans and friends who know how much of a "joke" that line really isn't. To use the Rush analogy again, do you think Rush "was joking" when he insinuated that Chelsea Clinton was a dog in the sense that he didn't really think she was ugly and used that to kick the president in the balls? Whether or not "it's a joke" doesn't say anything about the "joker's" belief in the insinuation and their conveyance of it as truth.
The joke excuse is just that: an excuse to get away with saying things that considered outside the boundaries of reasonable discussion, but things she and her ilk, nevertheless, believe to be true. As Digby sez:
Ann Coulter is not a brash comedienne, she is a propagandist and if you can't see that she is deadly serious you are a fool.
If Ann really is "the Knife," it's not because she cuts to the heart of the matter. Or cuts through the bs. Or flays the opposition with her razor wit. It's because she's a political hit-man, a professional character assassin. She gets paid to go on TV and print and take pot shots at everyone who gets in the conservative movement's way. And when she says she thinks the New York Times building should be bombed, or Justice Stevens should be poisoned, or liberals should be tried for treason, believe it. She's deadly serious.