Presumably, public debate over current issues is still a vital part of our democracy. Somewhere, maybe in Paul Krugman’s basement, smart people are saying what they actually mean about important aspects of United States culture and governance. On TV, they’re doing something else. Cable news programs are about American politics the way The Program is about football. No one makes this principle more evident than Ann Coulter, who at one time probably believed what she said on television and hoped people would take her seriously. Now she wants us to look at her. Jesus, won’t you please look at Ann Coulter?
You probably already heard about this by now: Coulter went on Hannity and argued, apropos of Herman Cain, that “our blacks are so much better than their blacks.” Props to Schmen for the link.
First of all, we all knew Ann Coulter was the kind of person who says blacks, but I personally didn’t know I knew until I saw her do it twenty times on Hannity. If you are driving up to her country house and Coulter’s car gets stuck in the mud, she will get out, stomp her foot and say woefully, “if only we had several blacks!” During her semester in London, she was amazed at how clean the blacks were. The blacks make great music, although personally Ann Coulter does not care for it. And, most importantly, conservative blacks are better than liberal blacks.
“To become a black Republican, you don’t just roll into it,” Coulter explained to Hannity. “You’re not going with the flow, and that’s why we have very impressive blacks in the Republican party.” It also might be because you have to be a millionaire. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Coulter does not know a lot of black people. She likes Allen West, Michael Steele and Carlton. She hasn’t met Will Smith, but she’s sure he would be less street in person. The rest of the blacks just rolled into it—the whole big government, welfare state, liberal thing—because they were cashing the checks already.
Shocker here, but I disagree with Ann Coulter’s views on race relations. She is essentially advancing a variation on the old “there’s a difference between n*****s and black people” argument so popular with her fellow racists. There’s blacks, who are lazy and destructive, and then there are the black people whom Coulter knows personally. Unlike the black people she doesn’t know, who are only liberals because that’s what the undifferentiated mass of conceptual black people do, Ann Coulter’s black friends are conservative for specific reasons. They have personal accomplishments. Isn’t it weird that all the black people Coulter knows are smart, capable individuals, when blacks in general are liberal whiners?
I was about to type that she must be smart enough to see what’s going on in that reasoning. In the cosmic question of are these people stupid or incredibly cynical? I generally prefer the latter explanation, if only because it’s dangerous to mistake one group for the other. With Coulter, though, I’m starting to wonder. Here she is on why you should buy her most recent book, Demonic:
In Part One of my new book—released this week!—”Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America,” I demonstrate that liberals have all the earmarks of mob psychology. Their myths, slogans, demands for immediate action, messianic goals, demonization of opponents, creation of political idols and occasional resorts to violence—all this is classic herd behavior.
Emphasis mine. The title of her book is Demonic, in which she criticizes her opponents for demonizing their opponents. Here is a person who has sublimated the feeling of honesty into the feeling of saying stuff that might get her on television. She is to American discourse as that weird dude with the trumpet is to Sabado Gigante: not playing the game, really, so much as personifying it. Coulter is the ur-speaker in a discourse whose only objective is to get people to listen to it. She is not insightful, but she is audacious. She probably doesn’t really believe that Democrats are a dangerous mob, but she can commit to it. It’s not that Coulter is a good liar, because she’s not really trying to get you to believe her. She’s a great liar, because all she wants is for you to listen. I guess it worked on me. I guess I am entertained.