Monday, March 05, 2007

Coulter in Eclipse

Ann Coulter thinks she understands funny. She thinks she understands American politics, too. She's horribly wrong on both counts.

As I'm sure you're aware, Ms. Coulter's latest of many, many nadirs came during her speech at the American Conservative Union's Political Action Conference on Friday in which she referred to Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards as a 'faggot'. It was a huge applause line for the cretins at CPAC, of course, but it got a far less sympathetic hearing from more sentient beings including, importantly, all four GOP presidential candidates.

Coulter has 'laughed' the whole incident off as a joke, which it couldn't possibly be by any definition of the word I'm familiar with. It's not funny; it's just mean-spirited and hopelessly, preposterously wrong. As such, it's a perfect snapshot of what Coulter actually is. This is not an anomaly—it's her bread and hateful butter.

The main difference here is that Coulter is finally coming under the disapproving glare of her erstwhile enablers—and it's her own fault. The weak-willed pundits and bloggers in the employ (both real and figurative) of the Republican Party are required to suckle at the teats of the current stable of GOP presumptives. By making her bigoted remark at an event attended by some if not all of these candidates, she forced these candidates into commenting upon her stunning incivility. And they did to predictable results. Their entourage of scribblers and water-carriers had no choice but follow along.

It wasn't so long ago that Ann Coulter could freely prattle on about converting all Muslim countries to Christianity (by the sword, even—how ironic), claiming all liberals are literally godless sodomites and abortion enthusiasts or suggesting that 9/11 widows were reveling in their husbands' deaths without sustaining too much damage to her 'credibility'. People criticized her, sure, but she still sold a bajillion books and had the tacit support of many right-wing bloggers and pundits.

All that's changing, it seems, and it's not because she's finally gone 'beyond the pale'—she lives out there, for crying out loud. It's because she's forced people to choose between her and the future of the Republican Party. Not too smart.

But again, that's Ann in a nutshell. As I mentioned above, Coulter tried to pass her remark (which managed to be simultaneously homophobic and slanderous) off as humor. True humor requires a tincture of intelligence, so it's no wonder that she's so often wide of the mark.

Calling a married man with four children who happens not to be a rabidly anti-gay evangelical preacher a 'faggot' isn't funny. It's just a weird non sequitur. No, real humor needs to be mixed with at least a dash or truth or, barring that, at least a whiff of plausibility.

Like, say, starting a rumor that a certain statuesque blonde far-right pundit is actually a drag queen and performance artist from Key West by the name of Pudenda Shenanigans. Now that's funny.
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