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crossposted at MBATR

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.

Ann contributes nothing to political discourse.  Contrary to what Reeve says, she brings no insights to the conversation because, as Digby says, her arguments are absurd and her proofs are all too often patently false.  She deals merely in political porn: asinine assertions written wittily.  

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.

Originally posted to exiled texan on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:21 AM PDT.

Poll

Does Ann mean what she says?

45%37 votes
6%5 votes
1%1 votes
32%26 votes
2%2 votes
12%10 votes

| 81 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  panhandling (9+ / 0-)

    you'd do it, too.

    Comment tentatively approved by Supreme Overlord Kos

    by exiled texan on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:12:30 AM PDT

  •  Ann serves a purpose... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suburi

    ...making Bush/Cheney appear moderate.

    ...making Hannity/Limbaugh sound sane.

    FYI Paris Hilton;this is what you'll look and sound like after years of rampant sex and bulimia.

    Never give up on Peace

    by Gator on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:15:00 AM PDT

    •  Your're probably right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gator

      She probably does set the reference point of the far-right-loony fringe, thereby suggesting legitimacy for these other wingnuts.

      A less cynical view might be that she actually helps the progressive/liberal cause by:

      (a) Serving as a reminder of what wingnut politicians really think (but are too savvy to say openly), which helps voters more clearly choose whether they want to identify with the side of bigotry and hate.  I.e., on the whole, she probably causes a net loss to the pool of Repug voters, and probably induces more minority citizens to vote Democratic (I'm guessing -- no numbers to back this up).

      (b) Serving as a litmus test for the 'health' of media and politicians.  I.e., if an MSM outlet (e.g., TNR) or a given journalist/anchor rewards A.C. with airtime and sympathy, then we know they are sick, and its on the record so we can question their legitimacy later.

      •  How is your view less cynical? (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks for the aknowledgement and I ask this question with 0 snark.

        Never give up on Peace

        by Gator on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:50:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cynical was the wrong choice of word (0+ / 0-)

          My bad.  I meant to say that one could interpret A.C.s extremism as having a net negative or net positive impact on the liberal/progressive cause.

          On a day when I'm feeling pessimistic, I might think that she establishes a far-right looney reference point against which less-shrill-but-more-dangerous wingnuts (like Cheney) are deemed relatively legitimate.

          On a particuarly optimistic day, however, I might enjoy the fact that she's allowed out of her cage and encouraged to spout her insanity, because it brings the Repubs down by association, and tars any person or organization that is seen giving her the time of day.

          Both viewpoints are cynical.  I'm proud of being cynical and would not easily admit that you or anyone is more cynical than I am ;-)

  •  What you have to get about her is (5+ / 0-)

    she's saying things that the wingnuts agree with but would never say themselves outside their own closets because they are so outrageous to regular folks. So it's kind of like locker room "jokes" with them about people who are different (everyobody but "white trash") and women ("sluts"). But they were believe these "jokes."

    She is the "outside" of the sick mind of the average wingnut. Yeah, this is what they think (when they think at all).

    If not now, when? When they come for you, then it will be too late. Shout it from the rooftops, take it to the streets.

    by tjfxh on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:17:17 AM PDT

  •  question (0+ / 0-)

    I've heard a bit about this, but figure all ya'll know more:  is it true that the Knife claimed responsibility for mailing fake anthrax to the NYT?  If so, how is that not a federal crime?

  •  Why does TNR hire these people? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator, suburi

    And, honestly, do they even have any circulation outside of Washington, DC anymore?  I can't imagine who this sort of "we're liberals as long as you don't say or do anything liberal" attitude appeals to.

    Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

    by ChicagoDem on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:43:39 AM PDT

  •  Tom Tomorrow was right on the mark (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exiled texan, bustacap

    with this cartoon.  When right-wingers spout bloodthirsty rhetoric, the mainstream media tends to assert that they are merely joking--making trenchant points about liberal failures in an attention-grabbing but harmless manner.  When liberals use far milder rhetoric, we're branded as a danger to all that is good and true.  

    TNR presents an excellent example of this trend.  This week, Elspeth Reeve is telling us how clever Ann Coulter is.  But a few weeks ago, Lee Siegel of TNR was telling us that Daily Kos and other liberal sites represent "blogofascism" because they sometimes use terms like "moron" and "wanker" to describe people they don't like.  

  •  Do Not Speak of The Demon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exiled texan, bustacap

    The demon gains strength every time its name is uttered.

    Do not speak of the demon as it will empower its evil.

  •  That dull thud you just heard... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exiled texan, bustacap

    ...was the sound of TNR hitting bottom.

  •  Pretty people (0+ / 0-)

    All the "pretty people" are conservative.

    Maybe, but looking at a picture of Ann Coulter (I'm not going to post one during lunch), one is forced to conclude that not all conservatives are pretty.

    Truth and beauty are definitely linked, because only the wingers who believe Coulter is truthful say she's beautiful.

    "Everything's shiny, Captain. Not to fret."

    by rmwarnick on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 11:01:36 AM PDT

  •  She think like they do (0+ / 0-)

    Ann would be a a perfect racist KKK dragon..

  •  The Daily Howler (0+ / 0-)

    also discussed that article yesterday. It used some of the same quotes from it. The major point he made was that liberals don't cringe at her nuggets of truth but at her lies.

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