January 3, 2007

Know what I like about Ann Coulter?

No, that's not a trick question.

There really is something I like about her. Let me explain.

When I was a teen in the late sixties and early seventies and beginning to become socially aware and active it was just in time to observe as a truly inane meme was finally put to rest. In those days it was still possible to hear some dinosaurs utter the phrase "America, love it or leave it" without the slightest hint of irony.

With the logical and intellectual dismantling of this thoughtless bit of jingoism a climate of disapprobation arose around its use. This was well deserved.

I remember thinking during those days that it was impressive to see progress, if only by a small step, towards more rational discussion take place. It was a time that promulgated such visions of a better world where logic and compassion would eventually sweep away argumentation derived from knotted tendrils of thought distorted by insecurity and prejudice

Yeah, that was then and this is now. I'm older, a bit wiser, and though I can still feel that optimism, I understand that ignorance never really goes away, it just finds a new means of expression. Having an Ann Coulter around helps to keep that point up front in our national consciousness.

[Aside: One might think that after spending so much time dealing with issues like "Scientific Creationism" this observation would not seem so noteworthy as to deserve my attention. In my defense I would just say that for the most part I comment upon "intelligent design," which, though it does have its own bigoted and blockheaded aspects, is a bit more sophisticated than the reflection-free verbal garbage spewed by Coulter.]

Few pundits today serve up such a foul repast as the indomitably daft Coulter. The courses arrive in a blur of indignation, assault your senses with their acrid invective and are removed before you really have a chance to sink in your teeth.

Observe the furious pace of this post over at WorldNetDaily. How deep must the mental waste heap go to allow imputation of treason to the House Speaker, castigation of half of political America as hating their homeland, and characterization of the majority party as pathetic cowards who cannot think beyond their twisted desire to embarrass America and support its enemies, all in the space of three short paragraphs. There's hardly space left in there for an article or conjunction or two.

My, the woman can punch that keyboard (and doesn't it seem fitting to imagine her hammering the keys in accompaniment to defiant outbursts of rage?). Her commentary is filled with such wit and analysis as this quote from a few paragraphs later,
"Now, as publisher of the Times, Pinch [Arthur Sulzberger] does all he can to help the enemy currently shooting at American soldiers."
And later on we find this,
"It [bombing in Vietnam] would have worked, but the Democrats were desperate for America to lose. They invented "Watergate," the corpus delicti of which wouldn't have merited three column-inches during the Clinton years, and hounded Nixon out of office."

This is what I find so refreshing about Coulter. There are no hidden agendas, no layers of apparent coherence to sift through in order to find the nexus of illogic where an argument has gone wrong. There is just naked, brutish ignorance. Nothing to disect, nothing to consider for its value in prompting self-examination.

She may not be cheap, but she sure is intellectually easy.

And as a reminder that coarse obtuseness will never entirely dissappear she stands virtually unequalled in contemporary media. Ann Coulter is a mirror that we could all profit from looking into once in a while (thus resolving to remove that ugly smudge).

She is a national treasure. Long may she wave.


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