If Ann Coulter Weren't Such a Bitch, You Might See Her Point

That Ann Coulter can be crude, mean and wrong-headed is not news, even to those of us who share most of her views. Was she way out of line in the things she said about activist widows of 9/11? Of course, and it would be idiotic to pretend otherwise. She owes those women an apology… thoughg we’d be wise not to hold our breaths waiting for one.

Thing is… she had a point, one that even liberals would have to concede if she hadn’t been so casually callous and cruel. The point is, being the victim of a terrible tragedy doesn’t give ANYBODY special status, special wisdom, or moral superiority. And nobody is entitled to deference simply because he or she has been the victim of a terrible tragedy. And so, while leftists who lost loved ones at the WTC have every right to speak out on the issues of the day, it doesn’t follow that their heartbreak makes their arguments any more valid than yours or mine. Cindy Sheehan has every right to say whatever she wants about the Iraq War… but if she says or does things that make her look like a fruitcake, the devastating loss of her son does not oblige us to overlook that.

Thing is, most liberals understand this principle, too.

Let’s say that several teenage girls were raped and murdered in Michigan, where the death penalty was banned long ago. When the killer is caught, the girls’ teary-eyedmothers all appear on television demanding that the death penalty be reinstated immediately. Most (not all) liberals would try to be polite, but all would say, “We’re terribly sorry for your loss, but victims’ families do not set policy in this country.” And they’d be correct- emotional appeals from victims of terrible tragedy are a silly basis for making laws or setting policy.

In my opinion, Ann Coulter was right about precisely two things:

  1. SOME victims of the 9/11 attack have tried to use their status to push a political agenda. (And not all of the people doing so are pacifists or civil libertarians.)

  2. Those people are fair game for rebuttal and criticism.

But there are rational, sane ways to say that. Unfortunately, Ann Coulter doesn’t seem to know how to say anything rationally or sanely.

Her point was “I’m gonna say some crazy shit, get people talking about me and sell a million copies of my next book”.

True the 9/11 widows don’t necessarily have any special insight. But there’s no need to give them grief for voicing thier opinions while they have the publics ear. If one disagrees with them, argue with their points rather then “no one would be listening to you anyways if you hadn’t been lucky enough to have your husband burned to death by terrorists”.

And while it doesn’t give them special insight, having surviving family members act as advocates for the dead during tragedies is pretty ingrained in human nature. It get’s a little silly sometimes (as with Cindy Sheehan) but it’s usually quite effective.

W, is that you?

Being a victim does give you a special authority when it comes to answering emotional arguements from the other side: were an unrelated person to use the rape and murder of a child to advocate the reinstatement of the death penalty, the grandmother would be in a stronger positon to argue what does and does not constitute a social obligation to avenge that death.

Emotional arguements have always played a crucial role in politics: go look at Lincoln’s Second Inaugural. Should emotional arguements replace logical ones? Of course not. But everyone makes emotional pleas, and I’d rather see specific ones like this than vauge allusions to “the victim’s families” that can be used as political hay by anyone.

I have a clause in my will that if I am ever murdered, I ask that the perpetrator(s) not be given the death penalty. My clause is in no way legally binding, of course, but I hope that a jury would take it into consideration.

Or, would they instead listen to my mother, who is a strong supporter of the death penalty. Would her grief and rage trump my request?

Did she explicitly make point 1?

Did anybody disagree with the point itself? Or did they just call her an unbelievably insensitive shitbag?

Who specifically has been arguing that the 9/11 widows are beyond reproach because of their victimhood? I thought that was just a strawman argument that AC rasied, but maybe I missed something. I have seen some of these women pushing a political agenda, but I haven’t seen anyone shouted down for disageeing with them.

Cite? As far I as can tell, this is your humble opinion. And in that opinion, I guess you think no special attention should be paid to Elie Wiesel, or Black Elk, or Frederick Douglass. I disagree.

I didn’t really mean that to sound as bitchy as it was, but this is a thread about Ann Coulter.

Coulter is telling people how they should, or should not, deal with something that really happened to them, but was just an image on her TV. She is making vituperative statements to people who have gone through something she can’t grasp. She should shut up. True, some victims may have questionable aims and say questionable (or even nutty) things, but this is, after all, humanity we’re talking about. And having somebody who makes a *very good[/] living saying questionable and nutty things come down on you is absurd and revolting.

Speaking of Ann Coulter,
she’s going to be on Jay Leno tonight along with George Carlin.

I hope it gets interesting.

Coulter’s argument is disingenuous. She doesn’t have a problem with exploiting hot button emotional issues for PR purposes. She just wants to be the one to do it.

She’d be an idiot, and she wouldn’t be so wealthy. You’re giving her too much credit.

I don’t know why “he’s using to promote his political agenda” is a criticism. Everyone does it about everything. And I have never heard anyone suggest that those women are above reproach.

Even were I to accept Coulter’s absurd idea about suffering a tragedy lends someone no weight in political commentary about such tragedies – that still leaves unanswered the question as to why in Hell I should give Ann Coulter’s political commentary any consideration whatsoever.

The greatest tragedy she’s facing is that the public might wake up and realize how irrelevant she is, and she’ll stop getting media attention.

Coulter’s point is still disingenuous and hypocritical even if taken and face value. If she was willing to criticize 9/11 victims who support Bush and the war – if she made the same accusations that they were exploing their status as victims to push a political agenda – she would at least be consistent. Still wrong, but consistent.

She also made the absurd claim that she isn’t allowed to respond to 9/11 widows who disagree with her. The irony of that claim appears to be completely lost on her.

Yeah, AC really is having a hard time finding avenues to voice her opinion of topics. If only there was somebody willing to put her on TV or to publish her columns…if only…

Help! Help! I’m being oppressed!

Bingo. Her whole schtick is to say something zany and when called on it, either ignore the objection or take the opportunity to say something even zanier. It’s theatre and I bet it pays better than being a thoughtful, sober, well-reasoning conservative of which there are plenty already living quiet unfamous lives.

The only significance of her Fifth Estate appearance (in which a Canadian journalist points out that her statements about Canada’s involvement in the Vietnam War were incorrect) is that she didn’t have a snarky or wacky comeback on hand because it looked like she had actually believed Canada was an active combatant in Vietnam (and was not simply making it up on the spot to get attention). In other televised situations, her response is typically not the reasoning behind her position, but flippancy and counterattack.

There are plenty of conservative commentators who write thoughtful political books. Coulter just gets more air time because she’s a reasonably attractive woman who has no philosophical problem reducing complex issues to ten-second soundbites.

All true.

Also true, providing it cuts both ways. Those 9/11 widows have every right to push their agenda. So does Cindy Sheehan.

So do those who support a different agenda. No more, no less. If the father of that guy who got beheaded in Iraq wants to advocate for pacifism, that is legitimate. If some wounded Iraqi vet wants to support the war, or the father of one of the fallen wants to do the same, also legitimate.

But Coulter has got a book out, and needs to pump up the sales. Thus this.


This is good.

A Love Letter From Henry Rollins to Ann Coulter (YouTube video).

Her latest book is currently the #3 non-fiction on Amazon. So there you go.

I think Coulter really missed a great turn of phrase when she called the widows “grief-arazzis.” (Come to think of it, the final s in that word is unnecessary, since the i makes it a plural.) Why didn’t she say “griefstapo?” It sounds WAY better.