Ann Coulter has finally arrived at that really tough place shock-talkers always inevitably reach in which they have all but run out of ideas. In order to continue to provoke outrage, get media attention, and especially, sell books and columns, they have to calculate the risks of going too far: will the attention they receive be worth the attendant hostility? Will they be able to look at themselves in the mirror in the morning? Most importantly, might going too far sell a few more books?
But actually, I don't want to write about Ann Coulter's latest desecration. I want to post excerpts of what I believe to be really great writing — something I love to see and see so little of — in response to what Coulter and "pundits" in general, so-called, do for a living (or not, as the case may be; some do it for a hobby! They are sometimes called "trolls"). I usually don't post men's writings here or anywhere, but I think what Leonard Pitts (whose work I admire and respect very much) wrote here is too good not to share. My very favorite lines are in bold.
Frankly, it's easy to do what Coulter does. Just say the most outrageous thing in the most inflammatory way. Just give moral and mental cover to that small-minded, anti-intellectual strain of the electorate that recoils like Superman in the face of Kryptonite from complexity and incertitude. And when people call you on it, just wrap yourself in the flag and declare yourself a straight shootin' conservative under siege by that mean ol' liberal media.
…Ann Coulter is not reviled because she is conservative. Some of the best and most respected pundits in the country are conservative: George F. Will, Kathleen Parker and Charles Krauthammer, to name just three. They offer smart, snarky, cogent analyses of world and national events, and if you disagree with them, as I not infrequently do, you will be required to do some mental heavy lifting to dismantle their arguments. They challenge you.
No, Coulter is reviled because she is mean, malicious, the barbed-wire frontwoman for a cabal of bloviators, bully boys and blow-hards (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and too many others) who are pleased to regard themselves as the guardians of conservatism's soul. Conservatism's soul should sue for slander.
…The nation's political discourse has never been as polite and decorous as we like to think. Abraham Lincoln's political foes called him a baboon; Lyndon Johnson once said that Gerald Ford played too much football without a helmet.
When, however, even widows (and orphans?) become fair game for a viperous harridan with an ax to grind and books to sell, maybe decent people should wonder at the lines we have crossed and the type of nation we have become in the process.
Well, I don't like the sexism in the term "viperous harridan," and in calling Coulter a "chick," (which Pitts did elsewhere in the essay) so I can't give Pitts an A. But I won't grade him down to a "B" either, because he does recognize (as most men, and sadly, most women, as well, don't or won't) that Coulter is a frontwoman. She fronts. She fronts for evil, rich, powerful, white men, most of whom hate women, including Coulter. There is nothing these guys appreciate more than a tall, skinny, pretty blonde white woman who will front for them. Perfect!
Anyway, reading Pitts' essay last night on the way home from work was, pure pleasure, like eating really good chocolate, so I thought I'd blog about it.
(Edited to add: I'm on the same wave length with Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Professors but danged if I can remember my password over there and it won't show up in my e-mail box. So the second best thing is to link! :))