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Feeding the Ultimate Troll
Allan Uthman

I managed to stop caring about what Ann Coulter says a couple of years ago. It was easy somehow—like finally walking away from a boring ass who’s wasted half your night already bending your ear at a party. Once in a while, I’ll peek at the first couple of paragraphs of one of her alarmingly well-published columns, but I never have the stomach, or the time, to bother finishing them. If I see her on television, I change the channel reflexively. Life is too short.

But it’s been dismaying this past couple of weeks to watch the ease with which Coulter has whipped up yet another media frenzy in time for the release of her new book. And no, it is not a demonstration of media savvy. It doesn’t take a PR expert to know that if you lob bricks at people they’re likely to get angry.

Unsurprisingly, Ann’s last three columns have been nothing more than promos for her book. They are even more disjointed and juvenile than usual, and artlessly provocative, the rhetorical equivalent of a hot fudge sundae dropped onto an outfielder from the visiting team. A line from her June 14th column, exemplifies what I’m talking about:

“Let’s pause for a moment to observe that two facts are now universally accepted: Liberals are godless and Hillary’s husband is a rapist.”

You see what I’m talking about? There’s nothing clever, funny or even novel here. It’s strictly trash talk. It’s an open attention-getting ploy, executed with no skill or meaningful point. She might as well be writing about how fat your mother is.

But it’s even sadder when you read on, and realize why she claims these “facts” are “accepted.” You see, Ann made these claims in her new book, and nobody is paying attention to them!

“My book makes a stark assertion: Liberalism is a godless religion. Hello! Anyone there? I’ve leapt beyond calling you traitors and am now calling you GODLESS. Apparently, everybody’s cool with that. The fact that liberals are godless is not even a controversial point anymore.”

It’s not just the incredible egocentrism involved in demanding that her pathetic screeds be heeded (Hillary Clinton is supposed to respond to that?), or the backward assumption that “godless” is a worse epithet than “traitor.” What makes Coulter the most reviled woman in America is that “Hello! Anyone there?” bit. It’s the sheer obnoxious juvenility of her.

Some might say that I or another vitriolic writer whose politics skew left are simply the flipside of Coulter, mirror images who can’t recognize our ideological reflection. Well, I say hogwash. For one, Coulter writes like a twelve-year-old. For another, I don’t just invent facts to support my positions, as Coulter has been thoroughly and repeatedly shown to do. Also, I can be funny. Any conservative writer who has to mention Ted Kennedy in lieu of a decent punch line in every other column she writes is clearly a hack.

With Godless, though, she’s partially right. I am proud to be godless. It’s not a shameful thing to live your life free of delusions, however common they may be. Certainly, there are religious liberals—nearly everyone in this country claims a god, if the stats are to be believed—but one of the good things about liberals is that they’re unlikely to tell you about how you’re going to hell. That’s not a problem for me.

But Ann’s thesis in Godless, that liberalism is a religion unto itself, is an old and stubborn canard, borne of the fact that the devout often cannot imagine what it really means to live without gods or superstitions. I have heard this crap my whole life—evolution is a religion, atheism is a religion, and so on. It’s a reassuring illusion for the faithful, because it puts them on equal footing: I may be a brainwashed drone, but hey, so are you, so we’re even. Wrong. Logic is not an article of faith; it is a proven method of thinking. It has been shown to work.

Like my fondness for reason, my political beliefs are results-based. But results mean nothing to the true believer. That’s why there is simply no point in expending energy on Ann Coulter. Even if she herself is nothing more than a publicity hound playing a character—the Larry the Cable Guy of political opinion—her core fans are devout and unfazed by factual rebuttal. And, like Larry's fans, they are transfixed by those who echo their own astounding ignorance.

The same people who preach about “respect for the office” whenever Bush is criticized think it’s a fucking hoot when Coulter calls the former president a rapist. They drummed Dan Rather out of the corps for bringing up Bush’s AWOL days and messing up on a memo, but Coulter can call our last president a rapist based on a thoroughly discredited relic from the Clinton wars and hey, heh heh, wow, that chick is tough, right?

There’s a reason for this double standard, and it’s not just the usual home field advantage that conservatives now enjoy in the mainstream media. The reason is that Dan Rather was expected to be diligent and sensible, and Ann Coulter is expected to be an inflammatory asshole, willing to say anything to draw attention to herself. If George Will or David Brooks called Clinton a rapist, there’d be serious, career-changing repercussions for them. But nobody important takes Coulter seriously. They just know she attracts attention, as embarrassing as it is to watch her do it.

The problem isn’t that Ann Coulter exists. Of course Ann Coulter exists. Insufferable idiots are about as hard to find in America as amputees in West Africa. The problem is that she is paid attention; that she’s on TV and in newspapers; that the words “Party of rapist proud to be godless” float across the opinion section on Yahoo! News in bold alongside her empty face and no apologies are made. The problem is that mainstream editors and producers have no goddamn shame, that they would give Vlad the Impaler his own show or his own column if it would give them a quarter-point ratings bump. Coulter herself indicates nothing but the eternal human capacity for unpleasantness. Her mainstream acceptance, though, is symptomatic of a national mental degeneration. That’s the problem.

And the problem is also, as Ann would no doubt agree, liberals. Liberals who waste precious hours of their lives feverishly debunking her preposterous claims. Reading Coulter’s work in order to refute it is as pointless as covering your face in shit just so you can wipe it off. You don’t have to do research to dismiss Ann Coulter. You don’t argue with a street lunatic; you just keep walking. But instead of having the good sense to reserve their energies for people who could possibly be taken seriously, liberals exhaust their outrage on a cartwheeling rodeo clown whose sole purpose is to draw more and more negative attention from these self-same liberals.

Yes, I recognize the irony of writing an essay about Ann Coulter to tell everyone to stop writing about Ann Coulter. But my point is that it is not necessary for anyone to illustrate that accusing widows of enjoying their husbands’ deaths is outrageous. Of course it’s outrageous; everyone knows that, and after all, that’s why she said it. That is, she said it just so you would get upset about it, and there you are doing it. There you are, arguing about whether you’re a commie traitor. The minute you engage that kind of blarney, you’ve lost.

You don’t have to fall for it. You don’t have to go crazy every time she says something stupid. Coulter herself says, in her last and equally detestable book, “You must outrage the enemy. If you don’t leave liberals in a sputtering impotent rage, you’re not doing it right.” So don’t sputter; laugh. Laugh out loud. That’s the proper and natural reaction to a clown.

Trust me; if you want to go insane with abject political rage, there are all kinds of radio and TV shows to fit the bill. Just stop encouraging Ann. If we don’t stop now, we’re going to have to watch her go through a horrific series of facelifts until her forehead slides around when she talks. And nobody wants that.

I have to admit that there is one thing I encountered while writing this that truly galls me about Ann Coulter. On her website, in a section called “Quotations from Chairman Ann,” she posted this Bobby Kennedy quote last April 30th, presumably directed at her liberal assailants:

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists, is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”

Yes, it is astounding that Coulter could post these words without recognizing that they are applicable to no one more than her. But so what? She’s just another moron with a megaphone. That position doesn’t imply self-awareness.

Coulter isn’t a pundit; she’s an insult comic who’s been mistaken for a commentator because she’s not funny. The only difference between her and Andrew Dice Clay is that Clay made people laugh. And, as with the Diceman, all we have to do to get rid of Coulter is grow tired of her.

Seriously, aren’t you tired of her yet?



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