Let’s Not Demand an Apology from Ann Coulter

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 someone a retard (this time, the president). 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.

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145 thoughts on “Let’s Not Demand an Apology from Ann Coulter

    • I have never understood why she is popular, on any level. I have never found her interesting/thought-provoking, or witty/funny, or physically attractive. Normally you need at least one of these attributes to be successful in showbiz. So what exactly is the appeal? Is it just that for some people, she makes the “right” (=left) people angry?

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      • Don’t think of her as a political commentator. She’s a comedienne.

        She’s the Howard Stern of the political right. The “comedy” is not in wit, or insight, but in outrage. And the denouement of her “routines” is when people–well, liberals–rise up and demand an apology, or threaten to boycott newspapers that carry one of her columns.

        I don’t really understand our historical moment, but that seems to be the essence of conservative humor: pissing off liberal sensibilities. That’s the engine that drives the humor of Glen Beck, of Rush Limbaugh, and–to an almost hyperbolic degree–Ann Coulter. Liberal overreaction is the point of it. It seems very much like the same kind of thrill boys get by urinating on the mean neighbor’s bushes.

        So, liberals… If you want this moment to pass, just sit on your hands.

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            • ” I would say your link is largely left-wing people shocking conservative ”

              The point, you congenitally syphilitic retard, is that shock as a form of satirical humor is hardly something limited to modern conservative commentators, you filthy dogfucker.

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              • Perfect example of why conservatives are so bad at it. Shock as a technique is intended to knock people off balance so they entertain thoughts they would otherwise reject out of hand. Rephrasing “I dislike liberals” as “I want to torture and kill liberals” doesn’t cut it.

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              • DD, I’m not going to ask that you apologize either. But as I indicated in the OP, I really, sincerely don’t like “retard” as a pejorative. You can check out my original post on the issue if you like– link in OP. If your point is to be outrageous, please find another way. Eg, filthy dogfucker.

                I understand you think demands like this are a form of persecution. I see it as a demand for some respect. If you don’t have that respect, well, you know. Don’t say anything at all.

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                • I don’t think demands like this are a form of persecution. I think that insisting that shock comedy is a uniquely reprehensible-conservative mode of speech invented by Rush Limbaugh in 1994 ignores several hundred years of intellectual tradition.

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                    • Why stop there? Coulter is our century’s Thomas Aquinas.

                      A man has free choice to the extent that he isn’t a retard

                      By nature all men are equal in liberty, but most of them are retards

                      Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. But the rest of you are retards.

                      To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, stop being such a retard.

                      That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the retards in hell.

                      Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and not to be such a fucking retard..

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                    • That was pretty dang good, Mike. You get a seldom-proffered McSnarksnark Snarkity-Snark award. Make sure you have it ensured before you bring it out in public places.

                      It reminds me, a bit, of a classic piece from the National Lampoon, from the 70s: The Churchill Wit

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        • I don’t think this is part of our historical moment. I think this has been going on for ages and is a largely persistent but constantly present part of American History. Or at least for the past several decades.

          Conservative Politics in the United States has always seemed to have a love/hate fascination with the “in-crowd”. The in-crowd being the “elite” not so much in terms of wealth (though they are often well-to-do) but in terms of cultural importance.

          Richard Nixon famously started a look at Whittier for the students who could not get into the cool-kids club. A biography recently came out of the National Review’s original publisher. According to a review (I think in the New Republic), he also felt a kind of seething anger at his more established classmates and felt mocked for being a “black shoe” IIRC black shoe was a Princeton insult for striving undergrads and also ones who were less than sophisticated and kind of prudish.

          The new variant of this is to regale in a kind of anti-PC against anything that upper-middle class professionals consider good. Hence the dissonant combination of Hell’s Angels with the Christian Right. But a certain subset of American Conservativism has never understood why the upper-middle class and economically well-off choose to go for cultural sophistication over thrift and homespun values.

          In short, I don’t think this a moment that is going to pass but will be with us for a long time if not forever.

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        • It is also worth noting that Ann Coulter comes from upper-middle class suburban Connecticut and her father was a big-time Corporate/Union busting lawyer. She is not from the same resentment background of the Sarah Palins of the world. Rush Limbaugh comes from an equally important line of Missouri Republican Judges. These are not people who grew up in the lower-middle class that Marx marked as the most reactionary.

          Though most poltiical strife can probably be explained by resentment and ressentiment.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressentiment

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  1. You know it’s funny. Why would anyone expect a professional bomb thrower like Ann to apologize? That’s her shtick–throwing out these things and letting everyone get all riled up.

    And god bless her. It’s like watching a movie. I don’t care who she insults, it’s the reaction that’s fun to watch. Now, if you just ignored her, she’d fade away.

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  2. From way back in the archives of last week from Ann:
    “If liberals were prevented from ever again calling Republicans dumb, they would be robbed of half their arguments. To be sure, they would still have “racist,” “fascist,” “homophobe,” “ugly,” and a few other highly nuanced arguments in the quiver. But the loss of “dumb” would nearly cripple them.”

    You know it’s IOKIYAR if Sister Sarah of the Northwoods doesn’t immediately defend Tripp.

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  3. I believe a few weeks ago, someone in the comments section of this website was semi-defending Ann Coulter, arguing that behind the insulting demeanor there was a well-trained legal mind capable of offering strong arguments to whatever issue she advocates.

    While I believe that, she’ll only be remembered for being a male Mark Levin – a sleazy, witless insult machine who ignored their legal education and took the easy path to political fame.

    Why bother with someone who chooses to sound like a nasty bullying child?

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  4. I was just thinking about Coulter and Limbaugh today, and wondering why I don’t see their names online more than I do. Limbaugh in particular…have the rest of the media decided to not play into the latest outrageous quote game?

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          • There comes a point in every bully’s life where he picks on the wrong kid. Watch what happens next: when the tormented kid is finally pulled off the bully, there are a considerable number of people who are actually sorry for the bully.

            With all these recent tragedies surrounding bullying, especially cyber bullying, there seems to be a constant in these incidents. The bully isn’t alone: there are always bystanders who amplify the bully’s message. Not verbally, but the bully isn’t communicating with his target so much as with those sniggering bystanders. Look at me, I’m powerful, I can harass others and get away with it. I’m funny and if my funny arises from making other people cry, those people don’t matter.

            While Ann Coulter throws bombs around, she’s not really saying Obama’s a Retard. She’s communicating with her readers, people like Tom f’rinstance. Now Tom wouldn’t call anyone a retard, but when others lash out at Coulter, he’s right in there to tell them to get back in place, be quiet, be subservient.

            Ignoring a bully doesn’t work. The Bully and the Bystanders depend on Reasonable Responses. It’s pointless to pretend the bully isn’t talking. At some point, the bully has to be separated from the Bystanders and confronted alone. Ann Coulter is protected by the First Amendment. But she is vulnerable, nonetheless. Pick away at her toady Bystanders and she stands alone.

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                • I remember how using sexual slurs to describe a woman was a terrible, terrible thing, clear evidence of the reprehensible nature of the person doing it, an undeniable refutation of that entire philosophical outlook’s claims to legitemacy. But, hey, obviously different rules apply when we’re talking about conservative women.

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                    • So it’s okay to insult women, now?

                      Ahhh, I see how this game is played, DD. On your view, if I were to insult Krauthammer because of the views he expressed, I’d be insulting the physically disabled. And that’s a PC violation of the first order.

                      Nice work! There’s just no way for a liberal to get out of this masterful trap. Hypocrisy abounds!

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                    • Caveat – I think comparing anyone to “a secretion of mammalian genitals”, is admittedly pretty tasteless (so likewise is anyone older than say 10 calling anyone a ‘retard’) – but FTR, smegma has no gender.

                      More to the point, what exactly is it that you and TVD are arguing here? Scroll back up to the top of the post, to the tweet that sparked the whole discussion – do you think it’s cool (not as a matter of free speech, but as a matter of civility) for an adult to call another adult a ‘retard’? Is it cool to the person being so called? Is it cool to people with developmental disabilities? What does it bring to the table?

                      No one is saying Coulter shouldn’t have the right or freedom to say this stuff. They are just saying that it is tasteless and stupid and pointless; and to some, hurtful.

                      What is it that you are saying? Is it just that 2 wrongs don’t make a right (which I readily concede; but if this is what you mean, why not just come out and say that, while conceding Coulter did in fact say something crappy to start with?)

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                    • James, I think that’s demanding too much. For DD – and apparently Tom up above – the argument is that BP said nasty things about Ann Coulter; Ann Coulter is a woman; so therefore, BP is sexist.

                      QED.

                      I also didn’t see any “sexual slurs” from BP. I looked (briefly) since that would be completely out of character for Blaise.

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                    • It’s always okay to insult women. It’s not, however, okay to insult women for being women. Or to bring the fact that they’re women into the conversation when, really, the conversation doesn’t much call for it. Or, for that matter, relying on a lot of gender-specific tropes.

                      Ann Coulter says something. The response “What a horrible human being. She embodies everything that is wrong in politics today and, specifically, everything that is wrong with the Republican party.” This is totally awesome.

                      Ann Coulter says something. The response “Let’s talk about what she looks like. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s make oblique references to insults used against ugly women.” This is one of the things that should piss people off.

                      I mean, if we actually shouldn’t do it. If it’s just something that we complain about when they do it and then we do it when it’s our turn, well… That’s how the game is played.

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                    • Poor old Duck. You’ve already said Conservative Women can say whatever they like, no matter how crude. You’ve only stuck your hairy ass farther out the window by saying nobody else can respond in kind.

                      When Ann Coulter insulted a group of 9/11 widows who had the temerity to endorse John Kerry, she said “I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”

                      Your argument is sorta like Jack Nicholson’s Joker, who put on a pair of specs and asked Batman “You wouldn’t hit a man with glasses, would you?”

                      Get this on the record, Duck. Ann Coulter gets to call people faggots and retards. Ann Coulter doesn’t care what people call her. She’s on record saying “We’re not pussies like them. We don’t care what names we’re called. We all stop whining and weeping and ‘Oh he called me a name.’”

                      So take heed, Duck. Dr Blaise prescribes 4mg STFU q.d. p.r.

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                    • Jaybird – I did get into the ‘Hot or Not’ game above w/r/t Coulter – but I was 1.) exploring whether or not there was any explanatory power there in regards to her (to me) inexplicable popularity and 2.) Noting that my own assessment of her physical attractiveness is affected by my perception of her persona (that is, it is entirely possible that she is objectively physically attractive, but her public persona makes her ‘uglier’, to me).

                      Are these the kinds of comments that you see as out of bounds? I could see making similar comments about a male media figure who was considered (by some) to be physically attractive while saying or doing odious things, though I am having trouble coming up with an example just now.

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                    • I’m not trying to point fingers at anybody.

                      Ann Coulter is an awful human being who deserves scorn shoveled upon her for the shit she pulls on an hourly basis.

                      But one of the things she excels at is turning her enemies into people who act in ways that are reflections of how she acts. She’s positively brilliant at it.

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            • Profound.

              But please, stop picking on toads; they deserve better. They do not cause warts, spread disease, or any act as receptacles for witch hearts.

              But they do eat annoying insects and are a part of the food chain. In some places, toads are an indicator species, the ‘canary in the coal-mine’ of an ecosystem going awry. A shortage of toads is only similar to a pack of bully bystanders in that both portend bad stuff on the horizon.

              So int that last line, Pick away at her toady Bystanders and she stands alone. I suggest the collective noun for crow — perhaps, ‘Pick away at her murder of crows and she stands alone.”

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  5. Books on dog (puppy) training taught me that dogs want attention. So they do the stuff that gets them attention. If you yell at them when they bark, when the jump on people, when the slobber on someone’s face, etc, they’ll continue doing those things.

    But if you tell them how good they are when they’re being polite in terms of human society — and you ignore them when they’re being rude, they’ll learn (quickly, too) to be polite.

    Now, obviously Ann Coulter is not a dog. It might take a big longer to break her of her rude habits.

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  6. For the record, I am not tired of reading about your son. We who never knew such trials are instructed by what you write on this subject.

    To be truly human is to care for others who may not be able to return that care.

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  7. The greatness of Lenny Bruce:

    Dig: if President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, “I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet,” and if he’d just say “nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger” to every nigger he saw, “boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie,” “nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger” ’til nigger didn’t mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school.

    Thus it is with Retard.

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    • This is another reason that I’d compare to Dice.

      You can bust out Lenny Bruce’s records *TODAY* and be amazed at his bits.

      Dice’s stuff worked *ONLY* because it was a reaction to a very particular moment in time…

      I’m pretty sure that, every day, dozens of folks out there listen to a Lenny Bruce bit. Dice? Nobody listens to him anymore.

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  8. Well, it sounds like a bunch of you folks are no different than Ann Coulter and alot of your response dilute the issue. I am sure that Mr. John Franklin Stephens did not expect more people to call other people names when he wrote this letter. Your remarks are an insult to him and his letter. As far as Ms. Woodhouse is concerned, her comment “When I sense that my career is flagging, I do not need to revive it by insulting one or another group of people” should be followed by, I just need to latch onto the coat tails of the flagging person and help destroy them and I will be famous.

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