Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In Which Ann Coulter Makes Me Physically Ill

In the spirit of confronting madness head on, I recently attempted to read one of Ann Coulter's "books." I picked up Treason: Liberal Treachery From The Cold War To The War On Terror from the free table at the local library, thinking it might be good for a larf. This was right after her wacky comments about the 9-11 widows enjoying their husband's deaths, which come out of her new book, Godless: The Church Of Liberalism. What a kidder!

I am somewhat familiar with Ms. Coulter's schtick, and, having read listened to Al Franken's Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them, I even know some of the jujitsu moves that will counteract her Praying Mantis style kung fu attack.

But I was not prepared for this. It was ugly, nasty, fetid, shameful, grotesque, dishonest, callow and disgusting...and that was just the first few pages! The first chapter was only about 20 pages long but it took me almost a week to read it, because I couldn't take more than a few paragraphs at a time. There was literally not a single sentence in the first chapter that I would accept as a free-standing statement of truth, and that was just based upon my general knowledge of the world (plus a healthy dose of skepticism), rather than a Franken-esque line by line dismantling. A couple of times in his books, Franken says that we, the readers, will never be able to thank him enough for actually slogging through Coulter's screeds. He's not kidding.

I gave up after about 3 or 4 chapters. Her thesis is: Liberals, a/k/a Democrats, actually hate America and have been actively working for its destruction for over 60 years. O...K... So who are these "traitors"? FDR. Harry Truman. I'm not kidding. She takes any debatable policy initiative by these former presidents, as well as dozens of other big name Democrats since WWII, and interprets their actions as not just incidentally harmful to certain American interests, but as conclusive evidence of intentional hostility and, well, treason, toward the country. It's sick and bizarre.

Did you know that Ann Coulter attended Cornell University and was a member of the law review at the University of Michigan Law School? These are top-flight institutions.

She also clerked for a federal judge and worked at the Department of Justice and for a U.S. Senator. So it's not as if she's been marginalized. And yet, she's stark raving mad. I have heard more logical arguments spewing forth from old ladies in overcoats on downtown street corners. (Plus, according to The Rude Pundit, her lunacy is not even original -- she's a serial plagiarist.)

I stopped reading Treason right after page after page after page of screech about how FDR sold out the U.S. at the Yalta conference in 1945 due to his deep and abiding love for Uncle Joe Stalin and his coddling of Soviet spies in the State Department. Again, her argument is that, what a fair-minded person might recognize as certain ill effects from any given policy decision by any Democrat, are, in fact, absolute, concrete block, solid gold proof of complicity in a wide-ranging plot to bring down the U.S. political system and hand over control to Communists the U.N. Al Qaeda Eastasia Eurasia somedamnbody. She's absolutely bonkers. But anyway, before going on to argue that Joe McCarthy was the greatest American hero since, I don't know, Miles Standish or somebody, she yammers on about Yalta, Yalta, Yalta. "WTF?" I said as my eyes glazed over, a knot churned in my stomach, and beads of frustration and confusion formed on my forehead. It took me absolute days to read this part of the book, and at some points it actually made me nauseous. Finally I put it down and moved on to something intended to be vile and disgusting -- Filth by Irvine Welsh (more about that later).

So it is with some satisfaction that I note that various outlets around the Intertubes have flagged this piece from Harper's about the psychology of the right wing's cult of victimization. It's a bit of a rough ride at first, and it's got more than a whiff of the rarefied air of academia throughout, but it's a very interesting and convincing take on the neo-con con. (It turns out they're only fooling themselves, but they're hurting us all.) And, just to bring this full circle, it makes mincemeat out of the yapping from Coulter specifically, and the right wing in general, about the supposed sell out at Yalta. I'd have to say I learned more from reading this article than anything I've come across this year, at least.

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