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Defying Ann Coulter
by Brian S. Wise
19 September 2002

A conservative critiques Ann Coulter.

However, the editor of this site would like to make it clear that there is a strong disagreement within this site over the validity of certain criticism against Coulter.(Coulter is brilliant! And her book Slander is one of the best books ever written for conservatives!)



Every once in awhile, someone says “no” to Ann Coulter, and a light-duty controversy ensues; typically you’ll see debate whenever some odd person or organization has the nerve to refuse a prominent woman’s desires, demands and / or opinions (e.g. the recent controversy over female memberships at Augusta National), but things are always different when Ann Coulter is the woman in question. The newest controversy began with a column, “Battered Republican Syndrome,” in which she fired off the following salvo:

“This [the Kennedy family badmouthing the Bush family out of turn] is as we have come to expect from a family of heroin addicts, statutory rapists, convicted and unconvicted female-killers, cheaters, bootleggers and dissolute drunks known as ‘Camelot.’ Why would anyone want such people as ‘good friends’?” (Well then! Let it be said here that some of debate’s most unbelievable battles have been drawn around the bodies of the Kennedy boys; the most savagely your author has ever been handled in a debate was the night it came from the conservative podium, “Am I supposed to respect them [JFK and RFK] because they each used Marilyn Monroe as a spittoon?”)

The Centre Daily Times, a State College, Pennsylvania newspaper, took that as the last straw and dropped Coulter’s column from its pages, having previously informed its readers that the column was on probation (as it were) due to the frankness of her views and the manner in which they were conveyed. On The O’Reilly Factor, Times editor Bob Unger went to reasonable lengths to say 1) that his paper is basically a moderate paper in a largely Right-wing town, 2) that Coulter is a hater of Democrats, liberals, environmentalists and “most Muslims,” and that, 3) a majority of mail sent to his paper plainly stated they were okay with the column’s removal because people are “tired of hate.” Safe to say no vote was needed on whether or not people are tired of hate.

In defense of Ann Coulter: she is an asset to a movement (conservatism) that is, generally speaking, much too plaintive and soft spoken for its own good, that refuses to recognize the rest of the world has modernized while it hasn’t, that will not face its opposition (liberalism) in the same manner in which it is continuously treated. Coulter’s tendency is to respond to liberalism as it has responded to conservatism over the years, with open contempt. In terms of tone, she has said nothing here of the Kennedy’s that hasn’t been said of President Bush’s family, by the Left, with the accusations changed to retain relevance.

It also bears mentioning, though it should seem obvious, that Coulter gets as good as she gives; the difference between “Battered Republican Syndrome” and Thor Helsa’s old “Ann of a Thousand Lays” column for salon.com (in which it is suggested Coulter injects herself with her own urine to stay thin) is that Helsa’s piece is considered high comedy by its primary audience, while Coulter’s blasts are considered hate speech. (One cannot help but wonder if this is because Coulter’s work is actually being read by enough people to register an impact. How many bestsellers has Thor Helsa had?)

Now to the other side: The more often someone is dumped, the less likely it becomes the person being dumped is simply misunderstood (cf. Coulter’s previous problems with National Review Online). A certain act can play itself out in a column distributed, say, to Internet-only audiences, but when it comes to newspaper syndication, one should probably exercise a little more decorum. (Your author wouldn’t, for example, refer to Marilyn Monroe’s being used as a spittoon had this column been written for the Wall Street Journal.)

Those who appreciate Coulter (I am one) cannot help but wonder whether or not she consistently stacks the deck against herself because she enjoys the challenge (“I Stand Alone Against the World”) or because she is a keener public relations maven than originally suspected. No matter the overall truth of the Kennedy statement (and there’s nothing but truth in it), Coulter’s thought pattern doesn’t always translate well to those not as vehement in their objections, especially over breakfast.

Anyone who openly defies or opposes Ann Coulter is her enemy; whether or not this is inherently healthy as a personal philosophy can be debated (though one suspects not), even if on a base level people appreciate protectionism of one’s allies and beliefs. Problem is, the more managing editors she alienates, the less likely it is Coulter will be taken seriously, and the damage done then is not only to her reputation, but to conservatism in general, which her fans hope she comes to consider.

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