Thursday, March 08, 2007

"Fag" Comment by Ann Coulter: Gee, We Hope this is Goodbye... But Don't Count on It

Ann Coulter's perky version of fascism again walked the GOP runway in "fag" comments made about, of all people, John Edwards.

Here's the video:

John Edwards, who ran as Veep candidate with John Kerry, may not be an exciting candidate. He's almost too sincere. But his personal world makes him one of the more family-friendly candidates in either party. He, like Al Gore, is a man with a solid marriage and family, and more than his share of sorrows (his 16 year old son in 1996 died in a car crash). Coulter's rant -- and the applause for it -- tell us not about Edwards, but the speaker and her faithful audience. After all, she's done this before earlier similar comments made about Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton (a closet lesbian, according to Coulter).

I demand that every Christian Right spokesperson reject Coulter's comments on Edwards -- as well as the Clintons and Gore -- and also demand she never be asked back to any GOP or CPAC function. But I'm not holding my breath. She was condemned before for such comments, then invited back next time as though nothing happened. Why? Well, I have my opinion.

Coulter's words betray the absolute viciousness of her rhetoric. The right wing is currently as mean (and lying) as the Snake, and they feed on this rhetoric. Show me progressive pundits (other than bloggers, who don't -- wink, wink, nudge, nudge -- count) who say anything remotely as disgusting as this! These comments drew applause from her audience because there is a vocabulary of hate and derision shaping their common worldview.

In this case, it is rooted in their not viewing homosexuals as human beings. In great contrast, a child of Jesus is to view her or his homosexual neighbor as a fellow traveler in need (as is the believer!) of the Lord's compassion, and whose sins (such as they be) do not usually begin or end with homosexuality.

But at bottom this isn't even about homosexuality. It is about xenophobia, exploiting the irrational fear of the other to create political power and consensus. It is fascism. It is anti-christ.

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And an afterthought:

I recommend three movies in that regard for those who might want to see if I'm "over the top" on seeing links between the Right's rhetoric and fascist rhetoric: The Architecture of Doom traces connections between Fascist art and architecture and fascist philosophy, and its low-key tone makes links between Nazi ideas of beauty and their violent way of enforcing that beauty all the more shocking. Language Does Not Lie uses the real-life diary of Victor Klemperer, who wrote down Nazi words and phrases as they appeared on billboards, posters, newspapers, and documents. This took place while Klemperer lived in fear of his life in Dresden during the war (he escaped death only because of allied firebombing of that city the day before he was to go to the gas chambers). Finally, there are a few good movies on Hitler, but The Empty Mirror's surreal premise somehow works: (Hitler survives WWII and spends the entire movie walking around in what appears to be an underground bunker, talking alternately to himself and to other characters from Goering to Sigmund Freud). The theme of the movie is simple: Hitler is continually viewing film (and sometimes photos) of his time in power. His own unspoken question -- "Who was I / am I?" -- becomes intertwined with the film images with disturbing results.

So, am I Coulterizing Coulter by calling her rhetoric fascist? I'd like to hear your opinions.


Colin A. Lamm said...

Those comments are completely wrong and uncalled for. I'm not sure, however, that we can conclude from this one clip that she represents a latent, or realized, fascism within the GOP. Maybe an overt lack of charity and respect, and a definite predilection towards stupidity: but I'm definitely not convinced about the fascist label.

Colin A. Lamm said...

By the way Jon, in case there is any confusion, I am referring to Coulter's comments in my mini diatribe above, not yours. Please forgive me if there was any confusion. Re-reading it today I thought it could have been interpreted both ways.

Koelpien said...

What surprises (or maybe not) me is the total silence from the main evangelical/political community [Focus, Falwell, Coral Ridge, FRC] on Ann Coulter.

If you can't acknowledge the problems of your own community, how can you hope to guide/inspire others?

Jon Trott said...


I understood your first comment as you meant it to be understood. No worries.

Re the fascist thing, I think if you do a web search on Coulter and comments she's made in the past, you'll perhaps see more what I mean. And part of that issue for me is also about just *why* Coulter is so doggone popular among the Right Wing. I don't think all conservatives, historically at least, have been rooted in the same madness as this current crew. My personal agenda isn't even primarily to "defeat" them -- though at the polls that would be nice. My hope is far more tenuous, alas. I want to separate them from their sacrilization of our nation-state with Jesus.

It might be a strange thing to say, but the God-Man himself, as Jean Vanier once said in my hearing, is "incredibly fragile." This all goes deeper in my personal theodicy, but at root I believe on some level Christ continues to suffer with us human beings and (of course!) because of us.

Anyway, far afield. My main issue is not America-hating, or Christian Right hating. But it certainly is to in my small way attempt to thwart them in their xenophobic, self-righteous nationalism wrapped in flags, guns, Jesus, a pernicious mythical "history" of a once-Christian America they would like to return us to ... oh, and did I say guns? I meant a larger military than anyone else, because it is our duty as a nation to defeat Evil.

Pogo years ago said it best. "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Let me know if you happen to watch any of the movies I listed after my post. Those flicks got me thinking more along those lines than I already had been thinking, and (right or wrong, though I think right) led to to use the 'f' word (seven letter version!) in discussing the Right / Christian Right (which have pretty much merged).

Jon Trott said...


No surprise whatever. Dobson, Falwell, D. James Kennedy, and many more have already used the gays as a political rallying point. Remember Falwell's comments on 9/11 being God's judgment?

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

That was on Pat Robertson's CBN program.

Dobson has in the past put out horrendously twisted literature reporting on homosexuals wanting to take over America (actually, pretty laughable if one is in a sick mood... theologically equivalent to a Japanese monster movie.) But he has in more recent years dialogued with Exodus, International, as well as bringing John Paulk (a former gay also married to a former lesbian) on board Focus on the Family. Hopefully, that will help him... I haven't seen any wild quotes lately from him on homosexuality, at least.

Anyway, re Coulter, she is a political asset for the CR and the R overall. They are not about to throw away her hate rhetoric, because it draws their voters / activists out, just as anti-poor rhetoric in our neighborhood draws certain voting blocks / activists out.

Colin A. Lamm said...

Whew! I'm glad you read my comments that way.

There's a lot about American politics that I'm still pretty ignorant about (Anne Coulter being one of them). I've done my best to try and keep up with a few things since my wife is American (born in Illinois, of all places) rendering my kids halfers. I read Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch and George Marsden's "The Search for Christian America" several years back, and had a lot of my presumptuousness about that glorious 'christian' nation quickly put to rest.

Living three years in South Carolina several years ago also did a lot to develop a healthy (and vigorous) fear of the Christian Right et al.

I am definitely interested in looking into some of the recommended films (will let you know).

Lainie Petersen said...

Sorry for the late posting.

Coulter is popular because she is a skinny blonde woman who is audacious. She says a lot of things that many of her fans wish they could say out loud. This results in the sale of books and many media appearances.

Coulter is no dummy. She knows what buttons to push and how to defend herself against the (carefully manipulated) outrage of the left. She is, however, getting sloppy. Edwards is no "faggot" and everyone knows it. As such, she sounds like a 7th grade boy taunting another 7th grade boy in the lunchroom. This does not sell books. Hopefully she will drift off into obscurity, living off of the occasional tour to backwater VFW halls and the like. Won't be too soon as far as I am concerned.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon-
you might be interested in this:
It's a new book by a Pulitzer-winning journalist who was raised Presbyterian and went to seminary. I heard his interview on NPR's Fresh Air; there's also one on YouTube, I think.

Thanks for this, and for all the support you give to CBE. They're my heroes too.

Dana Ames
Ukiah California

Jon Trott said...

Understatement alert: In retrospect, the John Edwards "family guy" stuff turned out to be... well, not as it appeared.