Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I woke up this morning, certain it was 2006, and now I learn that it's the mid-1990s all over again and Camille Paglia is rampant once more, declaring all sorts of people feminist heroes, the only grounds for disqualification being that no one is eligible who's an actual feminist.

Only this time it's not Paglia -- it's The New Republic, in the person of a young female journalist named Elspeth Moore, who for six months half a decade ago ago was "the only liberal" working on a red-state assembly line, an experience that now makes her cheer hate speech as long as it's delivered by a gal with sass:

I love Ann Coulter because, in her, I see a loudmouth on the assembly line, fighting not to be squished and whittled and boxed into the shape Washington seems to think fits a girl just right.

A couple of Coulter lines Ms. Moore regards as empowering:

* On the First Amendment: "An excuse for overweight women to dance in pasties and The New York Times to commit treason." ("Just completely terrible, I know. But I have to admit, I giggled.")

* "Al Gore? Total fag." ("I admit it, I snickered. What can I say--her timing was great.")

And attacking the four 9/11 widows who pushed for the creation of the 9/11 Commission? To die for:

It is a little absurd to hold up a person as an expert judge of the 9/11 Commission Report, for example, just because she lost a loved one. Liberals do tend to do that kind of thing, and it makes us look like weenies.

I'll let Lance Mannion handle that:

Yes, it would be absurd, if those women had not made themselves experts on the 9/11 Commission Report, if they had not in fact been the ones who pushed and pushed and pushed until there was a 9/11 Commission to issue a report, if it had not been the case that if those women hadn't worked as hard and as intelligently and expertly as they did, then George Bush and Company would have gotten their way and there'd have been no Commission, no report, no investigation at all, even the half-baked one that we had.

I'll add that the widows in question, far from being tools of the Democratic Party, made themselves into experts on their own, over a long period of time -- here's the story -- and only in 2004 attached themselves to the Kerry campaign.

I'll also remind you that the Bush campaign held up a 9/11 victim's teenage daughter as an expert on the effectiveness of George W. Bush's foreign policy, in a campaign ad that ran nearly 30,000 times.

That's what I despise about this argument -- the fact that Coulter has given the "moderate" mainstream press mass amnesia with regard to the fact that the GOP is happy to put up "unassailable" spokespeople. People such as Debra Burlingame, the sister of a 9/11 pilot who wrote this anti-Kerry op-ed for The Wall Street Journal and otherwise backed Bush in 2004. Or, earlier, a sister of a Willie Horton victim who campaigned for Bush the Elder in 1988.

Moore has half a point about the sexism of some criticism of Coulter -- we ought to be able to do better in critiquing her than crude schoolyard vulgarisms. But is that all it takes to make someone a hero? That people call her bad names?

And on that subject, this is just dumb:

She makes nice liberals think bad thoughts--particularly about whether they would have sex with her.

I can only speak for this not-so-nice liberal, but the only "bad thought" of this kind she inspires in me is that she's trying, desperately, to make me think about whether I'd have sex with her. You know what? It's not working.*

(Looking for Coulter-lust? Look no further. Also go here.)

Hat tip to Shakespeare's Sister, particularly the commenter who got me past the TNR subscription firewall.


*JUST TO CLARIFY: She is trying, and sometimes she seems to resent the self-imposed effort. See her recent Jay Leno interview, specifically the part about a third of the way through in which she talks somewhat wearily about "wear[ing] sexy dresses" and growing her hair long.

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