[This is cross-posted at the main page, and I’d appreciate comments there.]
Although I like my “job” (grad student and lecturer in philosophy) enormously, it has its downsides. Ann Coulter’s “job” has many advantages over mine: she makes a lot more money, people likely treat her with some small amount of respect due to fame, she has book contracts. My “job,” however, has one significant advantage. When I sense that my career is flagging, I do not need to revive it by insulting one or another group of people and basking in the resulting liberal media outrage. Ann Coulter has decided once again to call the president a retard. And her fans love her all the more for it. (Although I note with interest that Michelle Malkin called her out.) It’s the Rush Limbaugh formula, writ more desperate. And her rapidly fading limelight twitches alight for another half second before it eventually peters out.
Does she plan the intervals between insults? Rotate between insulting LGBT and the developmentally disabled (something tells me she’s not a regular at Blinded Trials) and blacks in turn? Or does she try to create an appearance of randomness?
A father of a child with Down syndrome has demanded an apology from her, as people always do when this happens. And of course, I am on his side in spirit. As our regulars are no doubt tired of reading, one of my sons has severe cognitive and psychomotor disabilities. I do not like when people consider it a pejorative merely to be likened to my son. But…can we just let this go? Can we please stop asking Ann Coulter for apologies?
As I’ve written before, my feelings about the R-word are complicated. I wish it were not the only issue that brings disability into the mainstream eye. I have noted before, too, just how many insults are derived from what were once legitimate terms for disability: idiot, moron, imbecile, dumb, spaz, lame, stupid, etc. Just last night, Kyle Cupp discussed “crippling” sanctions. Interestingly, people don’t seem to know where the word “idiot” comes from. Several Facebook friends were calling Ann Coulter an idiot for using the word retard. Yet we reflexively use adjectives like “dribbling idiot” or “slack-jawed idiot,” so I’m guessing the real meaning is buried in our minds somewhere.
Demanding an apology makes sense in the case of Obama making his comment about his bowling being like the Special Olympics. His apology is likely to be more or less on the sincere-ish side of things, and might make him a little more aware of what he’s saying.
But Ann Coulter? Hundreds of demands for apologies, with bunches of accompanying news articles, is exactly what she wants. So let’s end it here. Let’s agree never to demand an apology from Ann Coulter again. Let’s let this particularly odious incarnation of Gloria Swanson totter down the stairs for her grand finale with the lights turned off.