| In Defense of Ann Coulter?
continued - page 2
And let's be serious about Edwards: He does have a bit of a vain, pansy quality to him. Did you see the YouTube clip where he’s having his make-up applied and then spends an inordinate amount of time preening, making sure his hair looks perfect? The idea that it's unconscionable for a famous Democrat-hating asshole to call John Edwards a faggot when he behaves like a contestant on American Idol, or for someone to use the word faggot when denying that he used the word faggot is, well, unconscionable.
And let’s be serious about CPAC: Conservatives, virtually all of them, hate faggots. Quindlen and her ilk admonish Coulter not for her numerous and documented deliberate lies, but for exposing her party for what it really is, for lifting the veil of reasonability from modern political discourse. The people at Time and Newsweek want to pretend that the red vs. blue divide is primarily about intellectual issues of economics and morality, but Coulter and her brethren rudely burst that bubble, revealing the unspoken but plain truth that, for them and a hell of a lot more people than we want to admit, it is about faggots. Faggots, and dykes, and niggers, and spics, and, of course, the goddamn ragheads. Even Democrats outside of places like San Francisco and Massachusetts would never vote for a real faggot, after all. In fact, I’d guess a lot of the outrage is not about the word faggot, but about libel—in other words, “Hey, John Edwards ain’t no faggot!”
The blandistas, who work diligently to hide this fact, and who get upset about these types of reality flare-ups, are really the larger problem. Who are these people, like Anna Quindlen, who think they know what is appropriate? One is columnist and author Jane Smiley, who said, “Fortunately, Coulter doesn't yet have her finger on the red button, but looking at her, you can begin to understand some of the female crazies we have known--Madame Mao, Imelda Marcos. The best thing about them—maybe the only good thing—is that as they become increasingly ridiculous and frightening, they demonstrate for all to see that they are exactly the sort of persons our society needs to inoculate itself against.” Smiley, a tame denizen of the wine and cheese set, conflating Coulter's rhetoric into a serious threat to society is fear mongering at a level that would make Karl Rove proud.
Likewise, DNC Chairman, Howard Dean immediately released this scolding: "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the issues, we should all be able to agree that this kind of vile rhetoric is out of bounds. The American people want a serious, thoughtful debate of the issues. Republicans—including the Republican presidential candidates who shared the podium with Ann Coulter today—should denounce her hateful remarks." Yeah, right Howard; elections are about issues, not personal attacks like criticizing someone's excited yell.
So where does this “Oh, my God, you can't say faggot” demographic come from? It seems more a product of the absurd, prefab morality Madison Avenue employs to sell the American dream than anything else. It's a lifestyle-based morality that measures faith in terms of churchgoing rather than actual curiosity about the universe. It's the kind of morality that preaches the evils of marijuana but refuses to question the motivations or the actual devastating consequences of the war on drugs. It’s the kind of morality that says, “We voted for the war in Iraq so we’re stuck with it, and by the way, we might have to invade Iran.”
Unfortunately, Quindlen and the Democratic Party have for a long time embraced this phony ethos, and it is no small part of what has made the party a revolting farce of corporate sellouts, pandering puritans and self-aggrandizing charlatans. They are so detestably self-assured in their vision of morality and their own integrity that they can't see they've become triangulating sophists with no more authenticity than any other political striver from any era or nation.
The Republicans have long been comfortable with this hypocritical morality, and now with the Democrats becoming such cranks, it is no wonder that so many of us have been turned off by the political system as a whole. What's vexing is that Quindlen, like most Democrats of her stripe, recognizes the obvious symptoms of the country's dysfunction. The “war...a fruitless quagmire...An educational system that often seems not to educate...A criminal-justice system that is a swamp... A health-care system that leaves sick people running up chemo on their high-interest credit cards. And a future built on a monstrous deficit that could sink Social Security and any other meaningful entitlement program for coming generations.”
So the solution is to clamp down on “faggot?” According to Quindlen, that’s how we got into the mess. Quindlen not only thinks Coulter is “irrelevant” but also that Coulter and other “agents provocateurs” are to blame for the failure of the “national discourse” to inform. Quindlen believes that if we get rid of “true believer” bomb-throwers like Coulter then a justly informed public will happily join the march of Jeffersonian Democracy to victory. Of course that means electing a Democrat President in 2008. That's right, because with the situation so “desperate,” the rational virtue of a Democratic President is our only chance.
So what is the mainstream, desperate-for-change political punditry doing? Far from employing any serious analysis to shed some light on a moribund political environment, the serious journalists like Tim Russert, Howard Fineman and Wolf Blitzer have already plunked their pasty asses in their ringside seats for the 2008 Presidential election and they're cheering loudly and obediently.
Like them, Quindlen thinks this “is an election that really matters” and calls 2008 “the most momentous race in our lifetime, that it's clear that the country is teetering on the cusp of something, good, bad or cataclysmic.” With such dire stakes, her description of the Democrats’ presidential contenders as “everyone good is running” couldn't be a better example of how fatuous this notion that we are desperate for change really is.
This blind faith in the ability of the political system and mainstream Democrats to shepherd it is inscrutable. Democrats and many self-described liberals believe that if everyone just takes their seats like good little children while the adults (them) explain the issues, then we'll realize how truly lucky we are to have them. When a goodhearted centrist Democrat (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) is elected, she or he will ride in on a white horse and save the day. Is there any dimension where such childish boosterism would be considered healthy?
In Quindlen's desperate efforts to script a politics of fairytale civility, she resorts to a favorite hack device, equating the current political struggle with the only good fight there ever was, WWII. This is probably the most overused and shameless tactic employed by mainstream hacks today. Quindlen ruminates, “Were there commentators during World War II content to mock the way Hitler styled his mustache, or the idea of Franklin Roosevelt's running (ha, ha—get it? Running?) for a fourth term? If so, they've been forgotten. These times are, in some fashion, as significant and serious as those, and the way in which voters are attending to this election and the issues makes that clear.”
I love this greatest generation idolatry. It's a staple of the type of pathetic liberal that believes Newsweek and Time are authentic bastions of the fourth estate. They are so ensconced in their own piety that they can't see that the views adorning its glossy pages are simple devices of indoctrination, not a forum capable of promoting honest debate. For Time or Newsweek to cut any deeper would contradict their raison d’etre, reassuring mildly intelligent citizens that American politics still make sense, and that our precious American way of life is still totally awesome.
It's not surprising that Quindlen believes the old schoolmarmish notion that civility will help politics achieve the electorate’s most sincere wishes and desires. People like Quindlen are so sanguine because they think they are the proper authorities on what is an acceptable way to live. Anna Quindlen, feminist, progressive, soccer-mom, lives completely within the bounds of what is acceptable to maintain the life of privilege that she was raised with. She will do anything but entertain the idea that maybe Anna should reconsider the lifestyle that got her where she is, got this country where it is and what that means for the future.
Mainstream Democrats have lost touch with a large segment of the population. I like to think about what would happen to these dead-center fundamentalists like Quindlen if they faced circumstances that really turned their lives upside down. Wouldn't it be funny to watch Anna Quindlen's reaction if her daughter Maria came home from college and informed her mother that she is quitting school to become a crackwhore?
Maria: “You know mom it's like, God, sex is totally awesome and like all the guys say that I'm like, really, really good at it, and I really love crack so it's like totally perfect for me.”
Anna, “Wha, wha, whaaaaaat? You little bitch, I'll kill you. You are grounded for the next century you little cunt! KABOOM! (Head explodes.)”
Quindlen is not going to get out a piece of paper and map out the pros and cons of choosing that lifestyle for her daughter, so they can “move the conversation in fruitful directions,” as she calls for. Anna Quindlen and mainstream Democrats don't give a shit about where the country is going. They care about their lifestyle. That lifestyle doesn't enjoy bad words or notions that maybe that lifestyle needs drastic change. When Quindlen's kid graduates from Georgetown or wherever, she'll call her Barnard College friend whose husband Chad will line up a nice job for the kid on Wall Street, in a government embassy or some think tank where she will embark on a life of cultured wonderfulness. She'll wait for the day when mother and daughter can pick out her wedding dress, choose wallpaper together and decorate for the holidays while the government they believe in slaughters people in the name of democracy and brainwashed poor kids do the bidding of fat old greed-monsters in this horribly grotesque charade called American politics. But don't use any bad words; that wouldn't be nice.
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