Monday, June 19, 2006

Ann Coulter and Right-Wing Political Correctness

Thanks to Ken Prescott at Called As Seen, we have seen these Ann Coulter statements from this interview:
John Hawkins: How about dashing off a quick sentence or even just a word or two about the following individuals...

Cindy Sheehan: The Dennis Rodman of the peace movement.
Joe Wilson: World's most intensely private exhibitionist.
Michael Moore: Rumors of his depth are greatly exaggerated.
John Murtha: The reason soldiers invented "fragging."
George Bush: My Commander-In-Chief.
John McCain: War hero and let's leave it at that.
Alec Baldwin: Our main source of so-called "greenhouse gases".
Most of this is simple hard-edged political commentary, and pretty good stuff at that.

Except for the itaclicized portion about John Murtha. I think Murtha's positions on Iraq are foolish and I think he's acting like a fool. But Coulter's comment is appalling. Ken Prescott:
Ann, I racked and stacked one of my Marines back in the day for making a joke about fragging an officer, and I personally marched him to the brig. You do not joke about stuff like this, particularly about an elected official, no matter how much you dislike him.
Before you start suggesting that we need to cut Coulter some slack, please note that the above interview was done by e-mail. There was no slip of the lip here. She deliberately typed those words.

Dean Barnett of Soxblog says it well:
[T]he real issue with Ann . . . is her style. [Other analysts] distill . . . her rhetoric down to its substance; the only reason such an exercise is necessary is because her rhetoric is unnecessarily laden with ad hominem insults, personal invective and gratuitous bomb throwing. If Coulter wants her ideas to be taken seriously, she should cease burying them under the personal attacks that her work so prominently features.
Someone with high-profile credibility on the center-right or right needs to say something about these sorts of Coulter excesses. Otherwise, their own credibility suffers. Last week I heard Michael Medved, a talk radio host I admire greatly, go to great lengths to defend Coulter and excuse her over-the-top punditry. Others have done the same. I wonder if these hosts have not become so afraid of their core audience that they have succumbed to a new form of political correctness: Thou shalt not call out or criticize very conservative pundits when they cross the line?

Almost 5 year ago National Review Online severed its relationship with Coulter. Jonah Goldberg's comments about that famous event are telling:

In the wake of her invade-and-Christianize-them column, Coulter wrote a long, rambling rant of a response to her critics that was barely coherent. She's a smart and funny person, but this was Ann at her worst — emoting rather than thinking, and badly needing editing and some self-censorship, or what is commonly referred to as "judgment."
Read the whole thing. I wish more conservatives were willing to show the spine that Goldberg and NRO showed. (Goldberg even apologized for running the Coulter column that sparked the controversy.)

To my mind, most of what Coulter says is defensible, but her very frequent out-of-line zingers are not. More of us should call her on such lapses. Otherwise, I think we are complicit in her rhetorical malpractice.

11 Comments:

Blogger Harold C. Hutchison said...

I have more of an objection to the political correctness that conservatism seems to be embracing in some matters - Ann Coulter's past comments are one area, but immigration has been another.

It seems that as a "good conservative", there are certain things you cannot criticize. Sorry, I don't buy that. 

Posted by Harold C. Hutchison

Monday, June 19, 2006 8:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Prescott said...

We've gone from trying to debate the liberals and using that debate to persuade the undecided; now we're seeing whether we can outdo them for uncivilized rhetoric that aims to satisfy the worst elements of whatever "base" is being pandered to. 

Posted by Ken Prescott

Monday, June 19, 2006 3:13:00 PM  
Anonymous BlueBuffoon said...

Ken's point is well taken. It is not that there are things that cannot be criticized. Rather, the point is that, however worthy of criticism something--and particular someone--may be, there ought to be some sense of propriety that limits the means used to level that criticism. As conservatives, we should stand for and encourage standards of civil discourse, even if the opposition may use, and feel fully justified about, mean-spirited, mendacioius, cretinous, and other low-brow attacks.

Posted by BlueBuffoon

Monday, June 19, 2006 4:18:00 PM  
Anonymous FredTownWard said...

I have to disagree. Where Ann Coulter gets out of line, and she DOES get out of line, is when she starts firing her trademark heated shot and double canister at the UNdeserving, like for example SCOTUS nominee Harriet Myers. No amount of in many cases quite justifiable disagreement with the Bush's choice of her justified the Democrat-like cruelty of comments by Ann Coulter and too damn many other conservatives I once had a lot more respect for.

However, the DESERVING are another matter. I question whether it is even POSSIBLE to insult many of the pond scum that pass for leaders on the Left these days. Chief of these IMHO is Congressman John Murtha who is, let's be perfectly honest here, a TRAITOR, a conscious, deliberate, knowing betrayer of his country for the most selfish political reasons, this from an EX-marine (yes, that's the correct term for HIM) no less. As long as it is merely WORDS, IMHO Murtha deserves ANYTHING he gets. 

Posted by FredTownWard

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Prescott said...

OK, Freddie: if Murtha is a traitor, then a majority of voters in his district are traitors, right? So, you going to joke about extrajudicial murder for those folks, too? Hey, maybe we can get Ann Coulter to joke about how Murtha's district is the reason US soldiers invented My Lai 3! Hee-yuk-yuk-yuk! That'd be really funny, wouldn't it? 

Posted by Ken Prescott

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 4:44:00 PM  
Anonymous FredTownWard said...

Nice try, Ken, but you completely dodged the rather important question of whether Murtha is in fact a traitor. I submit that any American who proposes having America LOSE A WAR as opposed to doing something different in order to WIN it is in fact BY DEFINITION a traitor. People who VOTE for said traitor are not automatically traitors themselves, but they have some explaining to do, especially since they look to have a good alternative in the Republican nominee.

As for your question, "So, you going to joke about extrajudicial murder for those folks, too?", I have a question for you. Were you offended when the movie "Animal House" joked about the extrajudical murder of a military officer by his own troops in Vietnam? If not, shut up, you hypocrite. 

Posted by FredTownWard

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Prescott said...

Nice try, Ken, but you completely dodged the rather important question of whether Murtha is in fact a traitor.

Whether or not Murtha is a traitor (and the bar for treason is set deliberately high; I sincerely doubt that anyone could even get Murtha indicted, let alone convicted) is utterly irrelevant to the question of extrajudicial murder of a Constitutional officer by those sworn to uphold that same Constitution.

Were you offended when the movie "Animal House" joked about the extrajudical murder of a military officer by his own troops in Vietnam?

Yes, I was, which is why I don't like that movie. Now, back to my question, which you absolutely refused to answer:

Would a joke suggesting that Murtha's constituents--i.e., the ones who support a man you deem to be a traitor--are the reason US soldiers invented My Lai 3 be appropriate? If not, why not? 

Posted by Ken Prescott

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous FredTownWard said...

Ken wrote "Whether or not Murtha is a traitor (and the bar for treason is set deliberately high; I sincerely doubt that anyone could even get Murtha indicted, let alone convicted) is utterly irrelevant to the question of extrajudicial murder of a Constitutional officer by those sworn to uphold that same Constitution."

Which is utterly irrelevant to the question at hand. I am calling Murtha a traitor because he is IMHO obviously betraying his country during wartime NOT because I think his conduct meets the "legal" definition for punishment as a traitor anymore than Ann Coulter's comments meet the legal definition for incitement to murder. Either apply your legalistic weaseling to both or to neither.

Ken wrote "Would a joke suggesting that Murtha's constituents--i.e., the ones who support a man you deem to be a traitor--are the reason US soldiers invented My Lai 3 be appropriate? If not, why not?"

Since you insist on this silliness, I'll answer. No, it would not be appropriate for the following reasons:

A: Because My Lai occured many years BEFORE Murtha even became a politician, much less turned traitor. Do you have a problem with the linear concept of time?

B: If you are talking about some possible FUTURE My Lai to be committed by US troops, what POSSIBLE link could there between that and the actions of some voters unless said voters enlisted and committed said atrocity? Even a joke in questionable taste requires some minimal grounding in truth and logic to be comprehensible much less "funny".

However, I WILL give you points for consistency with regards to the movie Animal House. Did said consistency extend to Alec Baldwin's famous "joking" about murdering the House Impeachment managers and their families? 

Posted by FredTownWard

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 4:38:00 PM  
Anonymous FredTownWard said...

Incidentally, though Ken may or may not be aware of it, there IS a logic problem with Ann's joke about Murtha -- the fact that "fragging" was invented BEFORE Murtha turned traitor, unless she is suggesting tnat he began to betray his country while serving in Vietnam, a legitimate point to ask her to clarify.

However, I still contend that there is no such thing as "inappropriate" humor when it comes to traitors like Murtha -- merely possibly poor attempts at humor. 

Posted by FredTownWard

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Prescott said...

Did said consistency extend to Alec Baldwin's famous "joking" about murdering the House Impeachment managers and their families?

Yes, it did. Rhetoric that calls for extrajudicial application of lethal force has no place in our society.

Additionally, the myth of "fragging" was created by the left. They took a very few real instances of murder, committed for the usual base and banal motives of murder--revenge against an officer for disciplining the fragger, for example--and politicized them for the aggrandizement of the anti-war movement, while simultaneously using the exceptions to characterize the whole.

The VAST majority of Vietnam veterans served honorably, returned home, and resumed honorable lives. A few of them are my neighbors. They are men of good character who run businesses, serve on church boards, and help maintain, in large and small ways, the society that they served so many years ago. It is an honor to know and work with them. They are not--and never have been--the drug-addicted, baby-killing, mass-murdering, officer-fragging psychopaths popularized by Hollywood and the mass media.

So, what is their reward as they head toward well-earned retirement? An alleged "conservative" repeats a lie that was originally told to slander good and honorable men, for the sake of a joke.

Ronald Reagan said that our cause in Vietnam was a noble and just one.

Too bad that neither Ann Coulter nor you agree with a great conservative such as Ronald Reagan, and choose instead to side with those who despise and slander our military.

I may not be a Vietnam veteran, but I was mentored as a young Marine by several who had served in Vietnam. Eventually, I mentored other Marines as a non-commissioned officer. Some of those I mentored are serving on the sharp end of the spear, passing on their knowledge to the next generation.

NCOs are the conservators of a proud tradition stretching back to the days of the American Revolution. In slandering Vietnam veterans, you slander all who came before them, and you slander all who come after them.

Thanks, Fred. With folks like you and Ann Coulter "supporting" the troops, we don't need the likes of Murtha and Code Pink. 

Posted by Ken Prescott

Thursday, June 22, 2006 9:35:00 AM  
Blogger F111RAAF said...

What I love about Ann Coulter is she has ignited fierce debate on topics that liberals would otherwise consider not worthy of their brain cells. Well done Ann, you are the only conservative who really make liberals furious, and if you aren't making them mad then you must be practically liberal. Ann is no liberal!

http://f111raaf.blogspot.com/

Sunday, November 25, 2007 10:57:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home