It’s not that Ann Coulter says vile things to get attention

(No.  I’m not linking to the latest vile thing she’s said. If you have a burning need to know, you can find it easily enough).  It’s that, unlike other people who make a living being vile, such as Jerry Springer or Opie and Anthony, she is still, at this hour, feted as a “thinker” by Fox, Talk Radio, Human Events (where her latest piece of filth was honored with publication), or Town Hall. Everybody treats Springer and these other debasers of common decency like the sewer rats they are. But the Thing that Used to be Conservatism *still* honors and promotes people like Ann Coulter and treats them as something other than a stain on the human race.  Why on earth does the discernment-free audience for these people continue to let people like her insult them and bring dishonor on them?  For the sake of one’s own self-respect, if nothing else, you’d think that people would demand that conservative media no longer consent to welcoming such vileness into its universe of discourse.

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  • Dave G.

    No different than so many treated like serious contributors today. Bill Maher leaps to mind. Jon Stewart is another. Personally I wish they’d all go away.

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      As much as I often disagree with Jon Stewart, I don’t think he purposefully spouts off nonsense-masked-as-seriousness just to make the headlines. Coulter does.
      .
      And to be fair, Stewart is very up front about the fact that he is first a comedian, secondly a commentator. And he can be equally hard on the Left at time. Coulter doesn’t have the honesty to admit that she’s basically a Republican Rodeo Clown.

      • Dave G.

        I fear Stewart and Colbert take it a level down. As does Maher and to a lesser extent Glenn Beck. That is be obvious commentators until the heat is on, and then duck behind the “we’re just humble comedians” shield. Punditry without accountability.

        • CJ

          This is absolutely true. Especially with Stewart. He loves to present himself as a brave truth-teller . Look at how he dismantled Kramer and his much less successful attempt to go after the torture memo guy. But when he is called on his BS, he goes to the “I’m just a comedian” defense. His vaunted takedown of Crossfire followed this script to a tee.

          • Ken

            Comparing who is worse is all nonsense. Constantly pointing to the other side to justify bad behavior is immature. Just because one person did something wrong doesn’t lessen the responsibility of the other party. It’s childish.

            • Dave G.

              Nobody has justified her horrendous comments. Merely point out that the problem is when we chicken pick one while condemning the other. Which is why I wish they’d all go away.

              • Ken

                I didn’t mean to say you or others were justifying her comments. I agree these cynical attack jobs are wrong regardless of who is doing them. Hopefully it’s hard to find someone who agrees with her “editorial.” Unfortunately, it’s common for these types Coulter, Rush Stewart etc… to constantly look for some sort of other horrible behavior as justification for them to also act poorly.

                Part of the problem is these people label themselves as entertainers so when they say something like this they claim it’s comedy and they were only joking. We just didn’t get it. It’s always a moving target. They can’t lose.

                • Dave G.

                  Bingo. I think you said it better than me. She is a major problem. But only part of an even bigger one.

                • Elaine S.

                  “These people label themselves as entertainers so when they say something like this they claim it’s comedy and they were only joking.”

                  One of the most insightful (in my opinion) of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters touched upon this very issue. In the letter Screwtape explains to his nephew Wormwood the difference between genuine jokes/humor and flippancy. He notes that humor, particularly among the British, was considered “all excusing” — i.e. you could get away with just about anything if you convinced people that it was a practical joke. In addition, flippancy — a chronic attitude of irreverence or of automatically treating everything as a joke — was in Screwtape’s words “the best armor plating against the Enemy (God) that I know”, which “dulls, rather than sharpens, the intellect (and) excites no affection between those who practice it”.

                  I enjoy comedy and political/social satire as much as anyone, but when a person makes their living at it, and never gets out of that mode of having to poke fun at everything, I suspect it can become a real danger to their souls. Sharp political and social satire is like hot sauce or a very strong spice — in small doses it makes public discourse more lively, but you can’t douse EVERYTHING you consume in it all the time and not get sick.

          • Dave G.

            I have less regard for Stewart and Colbert because they don’t have the stones to admit what everyone knows they are. They are obviously pundits who advance agendas, but when they cross a line or get caught, they run and hide behind ‘just comedians, just comedians!’ At least most cable news types (on both sides) are what they are and don’t rely on me denying what is obviously true just to excuse them.

        • Mark S. (not for Shea)

          I haven’t paid any attention to Maher in ages. He used to host an interesting late night talk show. But over the past few years he seems only to enjoy fighting straw men and congratulating himself on how quickly they fall.
          .
          Stewart is funny, and his crew often does a great job of dissecting hypocrisy in politicians and celebs. But true journalistic analysis? No. He doesn’t do that, at least on the Daily Show. He goes for the joke, even if it conveys only a very shallow take on whatever he’s poking fun at.
          .
          Colbert is unabashed satire. I have to smile at how he offends conservatives so often. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, don’t fault the mirror.

          • Dave G.

            And yet they’re all part of the larger problem: everyone excuses all of them at some point. Which is why it continues. And continues to get worse rather than better.

            • Mark S. (not for Shea)

              What problem do you mean? Politics? You can hardly blame the complete failure of the fourth estate on Colbert, Stewart, and Coulter.
              .
              I don’t fault a clown for being a clown. I do fault the audience for taking a clown seriously.

              • Dave G.

                The lowering of discourse.

      • jaybird1951

        Someone should tell his viewers who consider him their chief or only source of news. Maybe Stewart himself.

    • jroberts548

      Instead of just repeating your knee-jerk hatred of anyone who makes fun of conservatives, go read Ann Coulter’s column, and then point to anything Stewart has done that is half as vile as this column.

      • Guest

        I read it and it’s as vile as it gets. It’s obviously racist and disgusting. She’s a coward. If she had any guts she would at least come out and say that she’s a racist instead she tries to hide behind an American flag. You should be ashamed to defend her or the article.

        • CJ

          Where did jroberts defend Coulter?

          • Ken

            He didn’t. I have a friend who has a son who is from Africa I was horrified by the article I inappropriately lashed out at him without reading his comment in detail. Just for the record the things that people say in public have an impact and can be very hurtful. What is an African to think when they read something so demeaning?

        • jroberts548

          Self-deleted.

          • Ken

            Sorry, I was going too fast. I have a good friend who adopted a child from Africa and when I read her article I was so upset I just started typing. Please forgive me.

      • Guest

        Also, just because other people act poorly doesn’t justify her actions. My seven year old uses this same excuse. I thought conservatives are morally superior how is going to the same or worse levels then your opponents prove anything?

        • jroberts548

          self-deleted.

          • Guest

            I deleted both posts. Sorry again. These “editorials” aren’t just for sport they can really hurt someone. I hope my friend or his son never read what she wrote.

        • Dave G.

          No it doesn’t. I can’t abide her bilge. I just reject them all or I continue to be part of the problem.

      • Dave G.

        I can think of a few. Though they’re usually bleeped.

        • jroberts548

          “a few”? Which few?

          Do you have any specific examples? I’ve watched The Daily Show almost daily for several years, and I can’t think of anything nearly as bad as “helping Africans with ebola is evil because you could be proselytizing to New York Jews instead.”

          • Dave G.

            I’m on my phone. Once he got particularly vile when speaking about the CEO of Chase. I turned the channel it was so bad. The typical adolescent vile wrapped in hate. Again no different than the others.

            • jroberts548

              Are you talking about this? http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/ixd0ca/bank-yankers—jamie-dimon-on-capitol-hill

              Mocking senators for their obsequiousness towards investment bankers, even doing so through vulgar metaphors, doesn’t come anywhere near saying, to wit, “helping Africans with ebola is evil because you could be proselytizing to New York Jews instead.”

              • Dave G.

                I can’t link it on my phone. For me I avoid modern gerrymandering of standards that always ends up with it only being wrong when someone else likes it but awesome when I like it. Nothing keeps the problems going more than that. Which is why I don’t care for any of them.

                • jroberts548

                  How is it gerrymandering of standards? Judging both Coulter and Stewart by the substantive content of what they’re saying, which is respectively that helping Africans is evil and that senators shouldn’t be obsequious to investment bankers, no one with a sense of morality could find a comparison between the two.

                  • Dave G.

                    Easy. To say he’s wrong for saying raca while she’s awesome for saying fool. It’s what keeps the greater problem going.

                    • jroberts548

                      Coulter wouldn’t be wrong for calling an evil thing or an idiotic thing evil or idiotic. Coulter is wrong for saying that it is evil and idiotic for a doctor to help treat ebola patient. Coulter is in fact evil or idiotic for saying that. Calling virtuous things evil is what makes Coulter vile; mocking things that deserve mockery is what makes Stewart an American hero.

                      When senators fawn over investment bankers, they deserve mockery. When doctors get ebola because they were helping people in Africa, they deserve support. There’s no similarity between mocking senators for being lackeys of JPMorgan Chase, and mocking a doctor for getting ebola.

                    • Dave G.

                      Wrong isn’t the point. The point is her whole vile approach to the issues. Which is as bad as the others. I reject them all. I call that consistency.

                    • MarylandBill

                      No, the point is very much who is being attacked and why. Jesus said some pretty vile things about the Pharisees, priests and the scribes of his day; the point was they were the truth. Coulter is attacking a man for risking his life to save the lives of others. Not the same thing at all.

                    • Dave G.

                      And that’s why I can’t abide her. Just like the others. They’re all as bad but are kept in business because they all have fans who insist they’re different.

                    • MarylandBill

                      So you are saying attacking bankers and senators for trying to defend the system that lead to a major economic crisis is substantially the same as attacking a guy for going to Africa to try and help people dying of a horrible disease?

                    • Dave G.

                      No. I’m saying I can’t access the link. But if they don’t deserve dignity only hate then just say the word.

                    • jroberts548

                      Mocking someone for doing something that deserves mockery isn’t an offense against someone’s dignity. Saying that helping Africans with ebola is evil is.

                    • Dave G.

                      I’ll leave you to being part of the problem. As I said above, justifying behavior we condemn in others is as old as humanity, and seldom is there a way to overcome it.

                    • jroberts548

                      When Ann Coulter criticizes senators for being too obsequious to the investment bankers who wrecked the economy, I won’t condemn that behavior in her. Likewise, when Jon Stewart calls someone evil for helping ebola victims, I won’t justify it.

                      You know who’s part of the problem? People who make up some b.s., abstract, larger social problem at the expense of the actual, discrete, concrete problem. Ann Coulter isn’t a mark of our decadent culture, or a devolved discourse. The problem with Ann Coulter is that she regularly says things that are at best idiotic and at worst evil, and gets praised for it. Her tone is the least offensive thing about her; at least occasionally she used to be a little but funny. Ann Coulter isn’t an abstract problem. She’s not even a large problem – she’s very skinny. The worst you can say about Jon Stewart is that he’s sometimes wrong and often crass and vulgar. I’ll take crass and vulgar over literally evil any day of the week.

                    • Dave G.

                      In other words, when they attack who you want, you’re OK. When they don’t you’re not. Understood. It’s as old as humanity. And Stewart is as bad, if not worse since he hides behind ‘just a comedian’ when the heat turns up. At least Coulter admits what she is. Not that it’s not part of the problem either way. But just because someone says something I agree with doesn’t mean I give them a blank check.

                    • jroberts548

                      Criticizing people who deserve criticism is good. Criticizing people who don’t is bad. There’s no inconsistency there. Saying evil things is incomparable to saying good or merely mistaken things. Again, no inconsistency. This has nothing to do with sides.

                    • Dave G.

                      Of course there isn’t anything wrong with criticizing people or actions or words. Encouraging hatred is another thing. And that’s what they do. We’re awesome, hate them. Often based not on actions, but on wrong thinking or standing on the wrong ideology There are as many people who try to justify Coulter or Limbaugh as try to justify Maher or Stewart. For me, they’re all part of the problem. The bigger problem being compelling us to to explain why the principle we invoked yesterday simply doesn’t apply this time today. Again, it’s not new to human history. But you’d think with our educated generation we’d know better. And that perhaps is the greatest problem. I think we do know better, but the whole modern media discourse has done wonders in getting us to ignore what we otherwise should know.

                    • jroberts548

                      And who is Stewart encouraging us to hate? Mocking senators for doing things that deserve mockery isn’t the same as encouraging hatred.

                      Again, you can’t point to anything specific. You just want to pretend this is an abstract problem, rather than a very discrete problem. When Jon Steward does anything as vile as call treating ebola patients evil, you’ll have a point. You have a point as to Maher, who is evil, and, through his anti-vaccination rhetoric, has actually killed people. Maher and Coulter aren’t part of a large, abstract problem. They’re real, concrete, discretely existing individuals who have a concrete, rather than abstract, existence. But you’re still trying to invent a social problem. There’s no larger problem to speaking out against vaccinations or against treating ebola patients. The problem with saying things like Coulter or Maher say is that those things are wrong and harmful.

                    • Dave G.

                      Sure I did. I pointed to an actual case that you said didn’t exist. You just did what most humans do. You said it didn’t qualify because you agree with his assessment. Which is what keeps the whole thing turning. Everyone has their fans who justify their actions. Does that mean Stewart is the same in his style and delivery as a Coulter or a Hannity? Or even a Maher? No. They all have their styles. But they all rely on the same idea: that it’s awesome when we do it to those people, but horrible when they do it to our people. The great thing about our generation is that we are all educated enough to make the age old BS sound credible – at least to ourselves.

                      After all, the point of the post was why do people like Coulter get treated as if they have credibility? I give you the comments on this post. No greater proof is needed.

                    • jroberts548

                      It is awesome when people mock senators for sucking up to the bankers they’re supposed to regulate. It’s horrible when people say its evil to help people with Ebola. There is no analogy between those two situations. There’s no inconsistency in praising one and condemning the other.

                    • Dave G.

                      Again, you may excuse who you want. It’s the lifeblood of modern media punditry. I’d rather point out the obvious that they’re all part of the same problem. To each I guess.

                    • jroberts548

                      Mocking senators isn’t part of the same problem. It is, in fact, not part of any problem. Not mocking senators is part of the problem.

                      What’s the problem? What problem unites mocking senators for being obsequious to investment bankers, and calling someone evil for treating ebola patients? Can you say what the problem is?

                      Pretend I’m a complete moron. What’s obvious to you is completely opaque to me. Please, enlighten me as to how Jon Stewart mocking the senate for how they treat Jamie Dimon is the same as saying that it is evil to treat ebola patients.

                    • Dave G.

                      Pretend? I don’t think I should have to. You’re defending what is obviously wrong, but just the kind of defense that Stewart and company crave. Or Coulter. Or Limbaugh. Or any of them. Of course when we attack it’s OK, or justified, or excusable. But when they attack? Despicable. Sigh. Whenever i see these things I’m reminded why our nation is rotting away. You can’t build a future on punditry over principles. Sadly it will be our kids and their kids who get screwed because of it.

                    • jroberts548

                      1.) Are you implying that I am a complete moron? Why, when you condemn such insults by others, do you make them yourself? Did you call me despicable? That’s the sort of vitriolic name calling that is making our once great nation rot from the inside.

                      2.) I’m taking the completely principled position that senators shouldn’t suck up to the bankers they’re regulating, and also the principled position that treating Ebola patients is, at worst, not evil. I’m unaware of how defending Stewart but not coulter violates those principles.

                      I value the substantive principles here significantly more than I value a veneer of fake civility. Criticizing senators for being unprincipled lackeys is more valuable than doing so nicely. Conversely, there’s no way to say that treating Ebola patients is evil that isn’t vile.

                    • chezami

                      When you attack the powerful and corrupt, you are not morally the same as when you attack the weak and helpless. Coulter attacks the weak and helpless. It’s vile.

                    • Dave G.

                      It is vile. I never said otherwise. But we’re talking about people who spew verbal poison in the hopes that we all jump on board, ignoring the same standards we apply to others. A dumbing down of the discourse. And in Stewart’s case, without the stones to stand behind what he is. It’s the same thing: we’re awesome, hate them. It’s just depending on the topic and the sources as to who the them is we’re supposed to hate. No room for nuance or complex debate. It’s just bumper stickers Richard Pryor style. My point is that they’re all part of the same problem, the biggest one being encouraging us to squirm and squiggle our ways around why the thing we just blasted out of the water yesterday is just so awesome today.

                    • MarylandBill

                      You are the one who claimed that John Stewart heaped vile on the Chase CEO, so whether the link in question is the same as you are referencing or not, you are the one who needs to show why the CEO of chase shouldn’t be placed under this scrutiny.

                    • Dave G.

                      Again, can’t access the link on my phone. I don’t know which segment it’s about, unless Stewart has only one time ever gone after him, and then I still say it marked a type of contempt and disrespect we are called on by the Church to avoid. And for me, treating people with hatred and contempt is a high bar to clear. But enough of this. I don’t think anything will convince those hellbent on defending what they attack in others. That’s as old as humanity and can seldom be overcome. To me, those defending some and attacking others are the main cause of the problem. Just like those who say Coulter is ‘just trying to shake things up’. I don’t care. They are all about ‘we’re awesome, they suck, who cares about actual debate, F-Bomb!’ That’s the approach to problem solving we support? It’s all part of the overall problem, one I don’t care to rationalize or excuse. Others, apparently, disagree.

                    • jroberts548

                      You’re confusing the use of coarse language with intellectual dishonesty and being evil.

                    • Dave G.

                      No I’m not. Which Iis why I reject the lot of them.

                    • jroberts548

                      So in your mind, there’s no difference between mocking the senate for kowtowing to Jamie Dimon, and calling a doctor evil for helping Africans with ebola?

                    • Dave G.

                      Since I can’t see the link I can’t compare. I don’t think hatred is justified just because you’re hating on the right people.

            • Alexander S Anderson

              If there’s a downtrodden victim that doesn’t deserve to be attacked, surely the CEO of Chase is he.

    • chezami

      Jroberts is right. Maher has said vile things. But Stewart is not in Coulter’s league at all.

      • Dave G.

        True. He’s in a completely different league. One that appeals to our modern idea of not being accountable and relying on what everyone knows to be false to dodge responsibility.

      • Dave G.

        BTW you considered his ludicrous response to be right? I laughed at the absurdity of it for minutes.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Politics is no longer about public service or patriotism. It’s a team sport. And every sporting event needs a clown.

  • jaybird1951

    I read her latest yesterday and found it unnecessarily mean spirited in tone. She also repeated an earlier snide jab at the pope. I often enjoy what she has to say about certain subjects or politicians because she doesn’t hold the punches and can write cleverly. However, she has recently become shrill(er) and off base.

  • wlinden

    …it’s that people who complain about the vileness of Ann Coulter keep drawing atention to her.

    • chezami

      People point to the vileness of David Duke without Sean Hannity feeling a compulsion to give him a platform.

    • Dan C

      Its important to point her out as worthy of quarantining because many folks say, “Well I don’t like how she says it, but she makes a good point.”

      Nope. Her points are vile and evil.

  • Alexander S Anderson

    But other people say bad things, too, Mark, and they aren’t even part of our tribe!

    • Dave G.

      I know. I’m tired of consistency of standards. That’s so pre-post-modern.

      • Alexander S Anderson

        When you’re on trial for pickpocketing, bringing up even what Charles Manson did is not a good defense.

        • Dave G.

          And if that applied it would apply. But again postmodernism has no room for consistency. Even among Catholics.

          • Alexander S Anderson

            I have no idea what postmodernism has to do with this. Do you really think we need to deconstruct narratives to find what Coulter says offensive?

            • Dave G.

              I didn’t say it wasn’t. It’s just part of the bigger problem. And postmodernism when Bill Maher is offended that the president he supports has been disrespected. Best definition ever.

              • Alexander S Anderson

                What? I said nothing about Maher or Obama. I was questioning your use of “postmodernism,” which is a term that actually means something, not just a byword for “habits and viewpoints I don’t like.”

                • Dave G.

                  I said that’s the best definition of postmodernism I’ve heard. Which is why it it applies to this topic.

                  • Alexander S Anderson

                    Ok, we’re done. It’s obvious you have no desire to engage even remotely intelligently. Go take your sophomoric definitions of terms somewhere else.

                    • Dave G.

                      Excuse me? I was just trying to be whimsical like you were. Sorry I didn’t agree.

        • Ken

          Agreed. It’s a competition to try to stay barely above the low standards others have constructed. I got pulled over for speeding and I insisted that somewhere else someone was going faster than me. I was shocked it didn’t work.

          • Alexander S Anderson

            The chattering equivalent of the “race to the bottom,” really.

          • Dave G.

            Or it’s a consistent moral standard. You and the other were guilty of speeding. Which was wrong on both counts. The point I’m trying to make.

            • Alexander S Anderson

              The point is that the other person’s speeding is completely irrelevant to yours. Bringing him up derails the conversation, which wasn’t about him in the first place.

              • Dave G.

                The point is people like her being treated as if they are credible. I pointed out she is part of a larger problem.

                • Alexander S Anderson

                  That’s the same point Mark was making, and the same point I was making. So… why are you running around whining about other people?

                  • Dave G.

                    Because to damn her and yet praise others like Stewart who are part of the larger problem seems problematic.

                    • Alexander S Anderson

                      1.) Stewart isn’t relevant to this discussion. Really. 2.) Stewart, while often wrong, at least tries to be thoughtful most of the time, and rarely says things with the intent to just make people angry.

                    • Dave G.

                      Yes he is. Because they are all part of the bigger problem. The biggest problem being our justifying them.

  • HornOrSilk

    Thing is, it wasn’t just her. But others from the right truly called her out on this:

    http://www.religionnews.com/2014/08/06/ebola-case-prompts-criticism-ann-coulter-donald-trump-ben-carson/

    • Dave G.

      As well they should.

      • HornOrSilk

        Of course. I just wanted the full picture here

        • Dave G.

          Kudos.

  • jeanvaljean24601

    And… with all the rise of endorphins among the commentariat, She Wins Again!

    • Dave G.

      :)

  • KM

    Ann Coulter simply voices what our elite conservative “leaders” are truly thinking, so in that sense she serves a helpful and enlightening function. The only thing she left out of this latest column was that “instead of helping Ebola victims we should be bombing them” because that is the preferred public policy position of our feckless political class.

    • Dave G.

      I can’t help but wonder if the most vile commentators simply voice what the elite leaders on all sides are thinking. I’d like to think not.

  • PalaceGuard

    She’s intelligent. She can sometimes say amusing things. She is, however, basically one nasty piece of work.

  • obpoet

    Yes, she is vile. And her points are almost always valid.

    • chezami

      What was “valid” about this? Her point was when translated into plain English, “What’s with helping those worthless darkies when we should be enlisting those rich Jews to help us good white people?”

      • obpoet

        The valid point I got was that Christian charity need not reach half way around the world to be true charity. It can be bestowed upon your neighbor. It is a valid point. That is not the same as saying one shouldn’t reach half way around the world. The more difficult question she asks, is why are we ignoring our neighbor in need to reach half way around the world?

        • Jonk

          Chesterton once wrote something similar, suggesting that charity toward your neighbor is more truly charity than charity toward some far-off stranger who can’t get on your nerves.

          • HornOrSilk

            But in this instance, going to the far off stranger makes them the neighbor and not just someone who you don’t meet. Nonetheless, the whole response and push to defend Coulter would reject the Church’s missionary activity. That’s how bad it is.

  • elizacoop

    Wonderful post about why we need to be in Africa dealing with Ebola and other emerging diseases at Patheos home page:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/publiccatholic/2014/08/ebola-the-family-disease/

  • AquinasMan

    I know I’m going to get flamed for this, but,

    If you have a wife and two little children, you don’t get to fight Ebola.

    Carry on…

    • HornOrSilk

      What about fight in the military? Join the police? …

    • PalaceGuard

      Stupid Louis Pasteur…

  • capaxdei

    If I haven’t mentioned this before, it’s nice to see Mark has completely recovered from his “we need a few bomb throwers” phase of defending Coulter. Others aren’t quite there yet.

    • chezami

      I’m slow, but I figure things out eventually.