We’ve received countless emails, telephone calls, smoke signals and telepathic messages from readers begging for Andrew Sullivan‘s reaction to Ann Coulter‘s twitchy, defensive appearance on Hannity and Colmes.
Well, the wait is over, patient readers, because old Sullivan’s finally put down that bong and released his statement on Coulter’s statement that her statement was just a joke.
Her defense, however, is that she was making a joke, not speaking a slur. Her logic suggests that the two are mutually exclusive. They’re not.
Coulter’s defense of the slur is that it was directed at an obviously straight man and so could not be a real slur. The premise of this argument is that the word faggot is only used to describe gay men and is only effective and derogatory when used against a gay man. But it isn’t. In fact, in the schoolyard she cites, the primary targets of the f-word are straight boys or teens or men. The word “faggot” is used for two reasons: to identify and demonize a gay man; and to threaten a straight man with being reduced to the social pariah status of a gay man.
Valid points from Mr. Sullivan, we think.
In his piece he also wonders whether or not conservatives are truly down with Coulter’s patented brand of inflammatory ink-grabbing. As you’ve seen, Republican candidates came out against Coulter, thus reassuring the American public that the Grand Old Party’s not down for such childish chiding. But what about the rank and file? Where do they stand? According to two other conservative journos, as far away as possible.
Though Renew America‘s Warner Todd Huston uses his column to compare Coulter’s comments with Bill Maher’s alleged calls for Vice President Dick Cheney’s untimely death, he does take a little time to admonish audacious Ann:
Sadly, she obviously feels she has to say increasingly outrageous things to stay at the top of the news. In fact, at this point she isn’t much different than Whitney Houston, Paris Hilton, or Britney Spears all of whom seem to feel a need to continuously up the ante of crazy behavior to keep getting noticed.
…Coulter no longer does much to aid the cause because her own fame â€” or more properly her infamy â€” has become her driving force, the cause having been eclipsed by her need to stay in the news. I feel, at this point, that she is hurting us on the right more than helping us.
Coulter’s over-the-top politics, then, detract the conservative mission: a sentiment echoed by another Renew writer.
Young Kevin Marotte – a boy who looks as if he’s just learned how to spell conservative- – laments the loss of the political sect’s mythical maturity: .
..I was taught that liberals’ arguments are more emotive, while conservatives’ are more rational. Liberals call names and hurl insults, I was told; conservatives use facts, history, and logic to construct their arguments. For the most part, this has always been true. But not now â€” and conservatives, evidently, seem to like it.
Nevermind the fact that conservatives are easily (yet unfairly) accused of bigotry for their views on homosexuality, affirmative action, and illegal immigration. Nevermind that conservatism, a belief system known for its principled thinkers, has always stressed character and integrity in its adherents. Nay, fling about vile epithets and give the liberals proof of our so-called prejudice.
That was Strike One: Cheering on and encouraging hateful words from conservatism’s most controversial commentator.
In all three of these men’s statements, one sees a disdain for Coulter’s ideologically injurious ways. So, does this mean Coulter will fade quietly into the night? Probably not, but one thing’s for sure: her once-celebrated star’s not shining quite so bright…