There’s a news item making the rounds right now about how Republican pundit Ann Coulter called Obama retarded, and how an athlete with Downs Syndrome from the Special Olympics called her out on it.
While the letter that athlete John Franklin Stephens wrote to Coulter is both touching and entirely factual, it should be noted that Coulter has quite literally and without apology made a career out of being a troll. And by that I don’t mean that she lives under a bridge and feasts on goats and children. Ann Coulter is a troll in the same way that the internet uses the word: someone that starts shit just to see the reaction.
Coulter isn’t stupid: not in the classical sense of the word. In no corner is she sitting with a triangular hat, facing the wall; her academic pedigree speaks volumes about her analytical mind and perhaps more about her character than she or any one of her (many) detractors will care to admit. Born and raised in New York City, she can’t be a stranger to diversity – so what, if anything, could make a New Yorker so adverse to the likes of liberals?
The Jewish issue in particular is disconcerting. Anyone who has spent more than 34 seconds in this great city can attest to the vast Jewish influence over culture here. Bagels! Woody Allen! Orthodox guys wearing fur hats in 90ºF weather! So why is she saying that Jews need to be “perfected”?
Why is she saying this?
Because she’s playing to a base. Think about it for a second.
What kind of person in this media landscape – where jobs and livelihoods hinge on single words – could possibly get up on stage and on television and rail against targets the way that she has done? Somebody who doesn’t give a shit what you think because she’s getting paid a lot of money to make people like you angry.
She’s a patsy, a fall
guy gal, a gift of mana from the heavens for the GOP base who buy her books. To say that she is the cause of such fear within the Republican base would be to read the problem wrong: she’s merely a public face of the fear that a vocal minority in this country have and have had since the white flight from the cities of the late 1940s… that change is bad, that diversity is ruining everything, that everything should go back to the way it was when good Christian men and women, yada yada yada.
Why do people think this way, still? Kitchen tables and bar stools, my friend. The kind of small town mental nepotism that breeds hate: hey, see that guy over there? He’s different than us and therefore a (perceived) threat. Let’s beat the shit out of him. Man, I don’t like those black people. Man, I don’t like those (insert whatever here). It is all the same – an entire culture bred of willful ignorance to those around you. Coulter is just the messenger of a lot of these people that liberals can’t reach (and don’t seem to want to truly reach) in these small towns. If liberals truly wanted to reach across the aisle they’d stop the affectations of looking like they give a shit about everyone and realize that some people are just born angry and/or stay angry because they never moved on in life or for some reason are pissed that x, y, or z never happened for them because of the perceived threat. It is a lot easier to blame the fact that you’re stuck in middle management on something like Affirmative Action than it is to accept the fact that things just never came together for you. How do you appeal to anger? You become anger.
Which is what Ann Coulter does so well.
Look at the words in this speech she gives: Muslim, Muslim, slaughter, Muslim, slaughter, (our) worship. This isn’t so much a “speech” as it is a kind of poor-man’s hypnotism: by repeating some words over and over again, Coulter allows the more susceptible listeners to fill in the gaps between those words, creating her underlying message without ever having to really say it. Watch:
People on the left NEED someone like Anne Coulter to hate and to pin the blame on because it is a lot easier to say “I hate Anne Coulter” than it is to say “I hate ignorant people.”
Ignorance isn’t a terrible thing by itself – by very definition it is merely the state of “not knowing” – so when I say “her base is ignorant” I in no way mean that they are stupid; simply that they do not know much about the vast world around them. Could her base learn more? Of course. But to fault someone for not having the chances some of us have had in life would be exactly what Coulter wants us to do. To play the elite liberal character. The way Coulter has set both sides against each other is nothing short of brilliant; the James-Bond-villain-sharks-with-lazer-beams-on-their-heads kind of brilliant.
Somewhere between Cornell and the University of Michigan Law School Ann Coulter developed a persona that she used to her advantage: first off, taking advantage of the types of people that would fund her (or, rich white people) by spouting the message that those rich white people need to stay richer and whiter. Secondly, using the liberals’ reactions to show her base that, essentially, what she is saying is riling liberals (and more importantly, the media) up. She’s playing all three sides (right, left, and the media) against eachother, and brilliantly so; she is the Yo Yo Ma of pissing people off. Eight New York Times bestsellers, hundreds of appearances on television, and countless (high paying) speaking gigs? She’s the one that is laughing all the way to the bank.
So she called the President a “retard”? That’s just a Tuesday for her. All the heartfelt and honest responses aren’t going to shut her up. The only real way to get her to shut up is to ignore her, which, quite frankly, given how successful she is at what she does, I don’t see anyone doing quite yet.
It’s all an act, some sort of bizarre performance art writ large across the headlines on a regular basis like some hate-filled Holly Golightly. She still lives in NYC and is reported to have many liberal friends, especially amongst comedians. Its all an amazing act, I can assure you of that. She’s playing a character of a blonde-haired blue-eyed outspoken GOP dragon, and she is playing it so well that she is getting called back again and again to play her GOP pundit character no less than Jim Carrey plays his Ace Ventura: Pet Detective character. And they’re getting paid royally for it.