Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

4/19/2005

More evidence against John Cloud

Here are some lengthy excerpts from his profile of Ann Coulter in Time (with a smattering of my commentary thrown in):


But in person, Coulter is more likely to offer jokes than fury. For instance, you might ask her to name her historical antecedents in the conservative movement, and she’ll burst forth, “I’m Attila the Hun,” and then break into gales of laughter so forceful you smell the Nicorette. “Genghis Khan!”


This is an example of Ann's supposedly sharp sense of humor, even though that remark is not in the least bit funny. Cloud makes much of her humor in the article, even though he never once quotes her saying something that is actually humorous.


So finally, I asked that she be serious. I wanted to see the rancor that allegedly is her sole contribution to public discourse (that and being a “lying liar,” in Al Franken’s estimation, as well as a “telebimbo” [Salon] and a “skank,” according to a blog kept by Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott).

... what I saw of Coulter in that moment was a personality far more labile and human than the umbrageous harridan I had expected. After all, one of her most voluble critics, writer Eric Alterman (What Liberal Media?) told Time, “The idea that she doesn’t coarsen our culture and make it more difficult to speak complicated truths is nonsense.”


"Labile," by the way, means "open to change," in case you didn't know (I didn't). Plus the obvious connotations, which are inappropriate with respect to Coulter.


But while Coulter can occasionally be coarse—she’s not one of those conservatives who won’t say “f___” two or three times over dinner—she doesn’t seem particularly uncomplicated. When I spoke with her friend Miguel Estrada, an attorney and onetime White House nominee for a judgeship (Estrada asked President Bush to withdraw his name in 2003 after a Democratic filibuster targeted Estrada’s conservatism), he said Coulter’s appeal 15 years ago, when they met, was “the same as it is today. She was lively and funny and engaging and boisterous and outrageous and a little bit of a polemicist ... Most of the time, people miss her humor and satire and take her way too literally.”

I began to wonder, in a moistly liberal formulation, whether Ann Coulter might be ... misunderstood? All her right-wing capering aside (“We’ve got to attack France!”), Coulter was an Ivy League–educated legal writer before she was a TV pundit. She’s an omnivorous reader (everything from her friend Matt Drudge’s website to the works of French philosopher Jacques Ellul), and she isn’t afraid to begin a column on Bush, as she did in January, “Maybe he is an idiot.”


I'm pretty up on my philosophy, but I've never heard of "Jacques Ellul." Is he one of those "philosophers" who is only paid attention to by non-philosophers? You know, like Ayn Rand?


Although Coulter is often compared to conservative radio king Rush Limbaugh, he is “first a broadcaster,” as he described himself in one of his books. He said his show “is, after all else, still entertainment.” Coulter, on the other hand, doesn’t think of herself as an entertainer but as a public intellectual. Many would say she’s more of a shrieking ideologue, but regardless, her paychecks come solely from writing and giving speeches. She earns nothing from TV.


Yeah, and I'm sure the TV appearances have nothing to do with her book sales. Dipshit.


Coulter’s ubiquity on political talk shows is exceeded only by her inability to write a book that doesn’t become a best seller.

Some conservatives—many of them Coulter’s rivals for screen time, as she points out—have also drawn their knives. “Ann’s stuff isn’t very serious,” says a pundit who didn’t want to begin a public spat with Coulter. “We have this argument every now and then among our side: whether she is a net minus or net plus to conservatism. I have come to the conclusion that she’s a minus.”

...

... one is astounded to hear from Coulter something like, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity,” as she famously wrote of Muslims who were cheering after the Sept. 11 attacks, not least because Coulter might be shrink-wrapped in a black-leather mini as she says it. The combination of hard-charging righteousness and willowy, sex-kitten pulchritude is vertiginous and--—for her many young male fans--—intoxicating.


Okay, who got Cloud the new Roget's for Christmas? He can't be trusted with it. 'Pulchritude' means beauty and 'vertiginous' means, well, causing vertigo. (Don't ask me.)


Coulter believes not just in less government but in almost no government. She would eliminate the departments of Education, Commerce, Agriculture and several others. She opposes abortion rights and has written that court-ordered school-desegregation plans have led to “illiterate students knifing one another between acts of sodomy in the stairwell.”


Okay, Cloud, you unbelievable shithead, how exactly does the criminalization of abortion mean "almost no government"? Fucking twit.


One theory about Coulter is that she is less Joe McCarthy and more a right-wing Ali G, acting out a character who utters what the rest of us won’t. (“That led him to masturbate into [White House] sinks?” she asked in 1999, when President Clinton’s rough childhood was mentioned on Rivera Live.)

“This isn’t a game,” Coulter said at CPAC. “The fate of our troops isn’t a game. The fate of the victims on 9/11 is not a game.” But she told me several times that, as she put it in an e-mail, “most of what I say, I say to amuse myself and amuse my friends. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about anything beyond that.”

So which is it? Is she a brave warrior or a shallow hack? Or is Ann Coulter that most unlikely of conservative subspecies: a hard-right ironist?

... But as Coulter herself points out in Is It True What They Say About Ann?, “I think the way to convert people is to make them laugh or to make them enraged ... Even if I could be convinced that if I had gone through 17 on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hands, I might convince one more liberal out there, I think I’d still write the way I write, because it gives me laughs.” Coulter told me that when her editor suggests cutting a line from a column to save space, “I’ll ask him, ‘But is it funny?’ And if he says it’s funny, I’ll cut an actual fact [instead]


Okay, for the love of Christ: Ann Coulter is NOT FUNNY. She has NEVER said a SINGLE funny thing in her entire wretched life.


People say that Jon Stewart has blurred the line between news and humor, but his Daily Show airs on a comedy channel. Coulter goes on actual news programs and deploys so much sarcasm and hyperbole that she sounds more like comedian Dennis Miller on one of his rants than Limbaugh. Consider an exchange on Fox News in June 2001 with Peter Fenn, a Democratic strategist. At the time, Barbra Streisand had suggested that Californians practice more conservation, to which Coulter responded:

COULTER: God gave us the earth.

FENN: Oh, O.K.

COULTER: We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the seas.

FENN: Oh, this is a great idea.

COULTER: God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’

FENN: Oh, terrific. We’re Americans, so we should consume as much of the earth’s resources—

COULTER: Yes. Yes!

FENN: —as fast as we possibly can.

COULTER: As opposed to living like the Indians.

Coulter and Fenn were both laughing. But her rape-the-planet bit would later be wrenched from context and repeatedly quoted as Coulter nuttiness. “What p_____ me off,” Coulter says, “is when they don’t get the punch line.”

But it’s possible to get the punch line and not laugh. Last year Coulter wrote a column in which she joked, “Like many of you, I carefully reviewed the lawsuits [alleging bias] against the airlines in order to determine which airlines had engaged in the most egregious discrimination, so I could fly only those airlines ... Imagine the great slogans the airlines could use:

“‘Now Frisking All Arabs—Twice!’ ...

“‘You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin—Not So Fast, Mohammed!’”

But that’s not (or not only) a joke. Coulter actually favors discrimination based on skin color in airports. She argues that airports should establish a separate line for men and boys whose complexion suggests they could be from the Middle East; they would be screened more thoroughly than other passengers.

“Basically,” she says breezily, “aged 15 to 45—12 to 45, say. Swarthy men ... We’d be searching, you know, Italians, Spanish, Jews, males—but you’re excluding the women. You’re excluding the old people. You’re excluding American blacks.”

...

It would be easier to accept Coulter’s reasoning if a shadow of bigotry didn’t attach to many of her statements about Arabs and Muslims. At the reception after her cpac speech, she mocked some of the more ornate claims of torture from suspected terrorists detained by the U.S.: “It’s completely insane stuff. ‘The government flew me to Las Vegas and made me have sex with a horse,’” she said to laughter. But then she added with a grin, “Liberals are about to become the last people to figure out that Arabs lie.” How did such a flagrantly impolitic person become such a force in American politics?

Ann Hart Coulter was born in New York City on Dec. 8, 1961. (That’s according to her Connecticut voter registration. Coulter says she won’t confirm the date “for privacy reasons”—she’s had several stalkers. “And I’m a girl,” she adds.)


In other words, you know you're a shriveled up old hag--not a, ahem, 'girl'--and you are ashamed..


Coulter got on the honor roll as a kid, fenced and played lacrosse, went to Ramones and Grateful Dead shows (dozens of Dead shows—drug free, she claims). She grew up in a Reagan household and began to explore conservatism on her own at Cornell. There she discovered both liberals, who made her more conservative, and feckless conservatives in the “cigar-smoking, martini-drinking, oh-I-get-drunk-all-the-time libertarian mode,” who made her more socially conservative. But there was a twist. In 1984, in an article for the conservative Cornell Review, Coulter attacked its editor for writing, “Statistics are like bikinis: what they show is important, but what they conceal is vital.” “The message is clear,” Coulter responded in her article. “The vital parts are the breasts and the vagina, so go get her.” I was surprised to find that the piece made a standard feminist argument against pornography (an “atrocity” in which women are “exploited” and “dehumanized”). Its opening lines are: “Conservatives have a difficult time with women. For that matter, all men do.”

Coulter—who likes to shock reporters by wondering aloud whether America might be better off if women lost the right to vote—howls at the idea that she was a campus feminist. But even today, she can write about gender issues with particular sensitivity. In 2002, after Halle Berry won her Oscar, Coulter said in her column, “Berry’s unseemly enthusiasm for displaying ‘these babies,’ as she genteelly refers to her breasts, reduces the number of roles for any women who lack Berry’s beauty-queen features.”

...


Washington wasn’t quite sure what to make of the spindle-shanked blond. “When I first met her,” says a fellow conservative, “she was walking around with a black miniskirt and a mink stole, making out with Bob Guccione Jr. in the stairwell.” (Coulter dated publisher Guccione, son of the porn mogul, for six months. She says the stairwell story “could be” true, although “I make out in public less often now that I’m publicly recognizable.”)

Except for a brief stint in Missouri, where she clerked for a federal judge, Coulter has never lived in a so-called red (Republican) state; in fact she obliterates the overcooked red-blue, Republican-Democrat distinction. Although beloved in Bush country, Coulter lives in a New York City apartment, loves expensive Manhattan restaurants, chews Nicorette in church and hardly ever misses the drag queens’ Halloween parade in Greenwich Village.


Ah ha ... she likes to keep in touch with her people! I knew it! ANN COULTER IS A MAN.


In 1998, Coulter was one of the first pundits to argue forcefully that Clinton should be impeached; she helped lead the charge by writing High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, which became a best seller. When reporters asked David Schippers, the House Judiciary Committee’s chief investigator, for a “road map” to the impeachment inquiry, he told them, “Read Ann Coulter’s book.”



How about that for a comforting thought: people in positions of actual power taking their cues from Ann Coulter.


When I asked Coulter about her mistakes, she responded by e-mail: “I think I can save you some time ... The one error liberals have produced is that I was wrong when I said the NYT didn’t mention Dale Earnhardt’s death on the front page the day after his death. There have been novels and Broadway plays written about Ann Coulter’s one mistake, which was pretty minor IMHO [in my humble opinion]—the Times article DID begin: ‘His death brought a silence to the Wal-Mart.’”

Actually, it didn’t. The article began, “Stock car racing’s greatest current star and one of its most popular and celebrated figures, Dale Earnhardt, crashed and was killed today ...” The article doesn’t mention Wal-Mart, although a subsequent piece did.


You just caught her in a lie, you fucktwit. So what's with this:


Coulter has a reputation for carelessness with facts, and if you Google the words “Ann Coulter lies,” you will drown in results. But I didn’t find many outright Coulter errors. One of the most popular alleged mistakes pinging around the Web is from her appearance on Canadian TV news in January, when Coulter asserted that “Canada sent troops to Vietnam.” Interviewer Bob McKeown said she was wrong. “Indochina?” Coulter tried. McKeown said no. Finally, Coulter said haltingly, “I’ll get back to you.” “Coulter never got back to us,” McKeown triumphantly noted, “but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam.” What he didn’t mention was that Canada did send noncombat troops to Indochina in the 1950s and again to Vietnam in 1972.


Okay, jackass, Coulter clearly was claiming that Canada had fought alongside the U.S. in Vietnam. That would be false.


To be sure, Coulter’s historical efforts can be highly amateurish. Her writings on the Civil War—she calls Confederate soldiers “a romantic army of legend”—could only be penned by a (Northern) dilettante. And although she has admiringly cited the work of cold war historian Ronald Radosh, he says she misinterpreted that period in Treason. “There were Soviet spies in postwar America,” he says. “But McCarthy was really a nutcase ... She’s like the McCarthy-era journalists in a way. She’s just repeating what they said, that the only patriotic Americans are on the right.” Radosh, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank, also says Coulter has exaggerated his own troubles as a conservative in academia. “She called me a victim of the left and the academy. That’s partially true, but I’ve had plenty of jobs in academia.” Coulter responded that Radosh had complained to reporters in the past about being blacklisted. She also called him “a chickens___.”

One consequence of Coulter’s feline aggression is that she wins not only enemies (including one who hired a private investigator to look into her past) but creepily devoted fans. She has had discussions with the FBI about her stalkers, one of whom sent flowers every day for six months. Coulter is terrified her address will become public, and she sometimes hides behind a surgical mask when she flies.


What the fuck???


Ever since two men threw pies at her at the University of Arizona last year, she has traveled with a bodyguard, a bourbon-drinking ex-cop who says, quite believably, that he can kill with his bare hands.


Jesus, conservatives have, like, a bizarre phobia of pies.


Even so, Coulter told me her most persistent stalker “is the one who will kill me someday.”

Should I?

I shouldn't.

Well, okay:

We can dream, can't we?


Meanwhile, she is a single woman in her 40s who has been engaged at least three times—“I don’t know, something like that”—but never married.


See, this is because if she can't get married to a guy, because she is really a man.


But I’m not sure the public and private Anns are so different. On TV or in person, you can trust that Coulter will speak from her heart. The officialdom of punditry, so full of phonies and dullards, would suffer without her humor and fire


Again, Ann Coulter is not funny. She has never said anything funny. Right-wingers have TERRIBLE senses of humor. They do not understand what 'funny' is. They think the lamest things are funny. They think Colin Quinn and Dennis Miller are funny, for fuck's sake.

And if Cloud could maybe stop thinking with his dick (and his apparent transsexual fetish) for a moment, he'd realize that Coulter is the biggest phony and dullard of them all.

Kill yourself, John. It's the only honorable way out.

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