Saturday, June 8, 2013

#587: Ann Coulter


A.k.a. Coultergeist

A mainstay of any list of loons as well as the American Taliban, Ann Coulter has created a career out of saying the same things other rightwing pundits say in even more offensive and stupid manners. As such, her role among conservatives could be viewed as part of a systematic strategy to move the Overton window.

Facts are of course less important, and Coulter has become rather famous for her ability to distort, misrepresent, or omit them, sometimes to what would have been hilarious effects were it not for the fact that an uncannily large number people actually listen to her. Among her numerous attempts at rewriting history, for instance, one of the most celebrated may be her view on McCarthyism. Her book Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism had a chapter called “The Indispensable Joe McCarthy,” in which McCarthy was portrayed as the victim of liberal persecution and witch hunts: “The myth of ‘McCarthyism’ is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times [which is a rather strange claim, given that Coulter supports precisely the tactics of the demon of those alleged myths] … Liberals are fanatical liars, then as now. Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie.” Which is not entirely true. More obviously self-defeating is her staunch support of the Confederacy, which sits rather, well, interestingly with her accusations of liberal treachery and her claim that it was the Democrats (who have since became the Republicans) who formed the KKK and were the segregationists, and that liberals were to blamefor slavery.

In her book Slander, she claimed that “Books that become publishing scandals by virtue of phony research, invented facts, or apocryphal stories invariably grind political axes for the left … but it’s hard to think of a single hoax book written by a conservative,” which says little about the existence of crazy conservative books but lots about Coulter’s ability to survey reality.

Among her other more notorious publications you will find:

- Godless: The Church of Liberalism, a much-anticipated book in which she claims that liberals reject God and hate those who don't, and that liberalism is a religion in itself.
- Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and their Assault on America, in which she claims that liberals are always claiming to be victims while victimizing conservatives; for instance, she and Bush and McCarthy and Christians are all victims of liberal persecution, she claims. No, the slight tension in her thesis does not occur to her.
- Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America, in which she claims that liberals constitute a demonic mob and that she is a victim, and advocates shooting everyone who disagrees with her. Also, liberals are anti-science.

Godless presented her views on evolution, with talking points obtained from Bill Dembski and Michael Behe, as well as plenty that even Dembski and Behe wouldn’t touch (much of it is completely debunked here). She presented evolution as “the flatulent raccoon theory,” since the theory of evolution is just as likely to be true as the theory that a raccoon created the universe with a fart (see this for an eloquent takedown). In other words, she does not understand probabilities. Or evolution. But she does point out that evolution is just a theory and that lots of biologists are women, which is a smoking gun. Michael Egnor endorsed every word of it, but then Egnor is not particularly good at reality or reason himself.

Among Coulter’s celebrated opinions are the idea that the US should invade Canada, that the Occupy Wall Street protesters should be shot (discussed here), as well as the following (more quotes here):

- “I'm always suspicious when a story is covered heavily on one of the liberal stations and not being talked about on Fox. For example, the birther story, all over MSNBC – no one on Fox ever mentioned it.” Which is not entirely true (she also argues that liberals are to blame for the birther conspiracy).
- “The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so.”
- “I think our motto should be, post-9-11, ‘raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.’” Which was followed by “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
- “They’re [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let’s do it. Let’s repress them. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the First Amendment.”
- “My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that’s because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism.”
- “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building”
- “It would be a much better country (the United States) if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950, except Goldwater in ‘64, the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.” Followed by “I think [women] should be armed but should not vote … women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it.”

There is a helpful guide to Coulter’s quotes here.

She also blamed 9/11 on Edward Kennedy and Barry Lynn, but didn’t elaborate on the causal mechanisms purportedly at work.

She did receive some attention for her positions on the Fukushima disaster, where she endorsed the most radical crackpot position on radiation hormesis, even claiming that radiation released from the nucear power plant was good for you and can reduce the rate of cancers, and that “the scientific consensus has changed, but that the media are not reporting it.” It should tell you something that Bill O’Reilly had to assume the role of the voice of reason here. In the aftermath there were plenty of attempts to raise funds to send Coulter to the Fukushima reactor so she may experience the healing powers herself.

To put things into perspective Coulter has received criticism by people like John Lofton for being too liberal (and a woman), and has the last couple of years stirred up some controversy by speaking at “Homocon”, a conference sponsored by the homosexual Republican group GOProud. Her appearance made several wingnuts go off the rails, and invited criticism from notable characters such as Joseph Farah. Coulter is accordingly currently unpopular with some segments of the wingnut community, as illustrated by this not entirely coherent critique from Steve Deace.

(Much of this entry relies on this, and there is a decent Ann Coulter resource here.)

Diagnosis: Ann Coulter

5 comments:

  1. Why wasn't she #1 on the list? She almost makes Frank Turek and William Lane Craig look compassionate.

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  2. "Diagnosis: Ann Coulter" says it all.

    She's the standard by whom other loons are judged. Even though she has no class, she still is in a class of her own.

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  3. Coulter suggests organizing death squads for the people responsible if immigrant reform passes.

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  4. Actually, Coulter is even worse then appears in this article. According to a former gentleman friend (an FBI agent no less), Coulter doesn't believe 90% of the crap that comes out of her mouth or her word processor. She's just a grifter and grifters got to grift.

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  5. Sometimes, I want to believe she's nothing but a Poe.

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