Whilst waiting to begin serving his sentence for fraud, Lord Conrad Black pens an encomium to Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham in the National Review Online. He writes:
Coulter attracts greater leftish opprobrium because of her more frequent recourse to reflections that she well knows will, as she says, “stir the pot.” Thus, John Edwards was a “faggot,” by which, she explained, she only meant a “wuss,” and Christians were “perfected Jews” because the New Testament was “like Federal Express.” When an airline was boycotted for yielding to passenger concerns and disembarking six Muslim imams before takeoff, she said that if the Muslims would boycott all the airlines, there would be no need for any airport security. And when a Muslim questioner objected to this comment at one of her speeches, in Canada, she replied, “Take a camel.” More of a jolt to conventional sensibilities was her lamentation that Timothy McVeigh did not bomb the New York Times building instead of a federal building in Oklahoma, after, she explained as the intended controversy erupted, “everyone had left the building except the editors and reporters.” The mindless reflexiveness with which the soft Left responds to Coulter, especially, is premeditated by her and is a vastly entertaining send-up of the boring, high-minded liberals that she can turn on like a spigot at will, to her own amusement and profit.
As Black puts it very ironmannishly, Coulter is a professional troll, and people are suckers for feeding her. I suppose I'd agree with that.
via Sadly No
2 thoughts on “Professional troll”
And yet it wasn't liberals who made Coulter famous, who bought her books, who paid her speaking fees, hired her as a commentator or published her columns, invited her to CPAC, etc. – that was conservatives and people like Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch. We heard pretty much the same thing about Sarah Palin – same story.
What you're really seeing in Black's statement, in my opinion, is a comfortable rationalization for why it's okay to pay for, listen to, and cheer on Ann Coulter's form of commentary. "It makes liberals crazy." Whether or not any liberals are actually paying attention to what she's saying? Irrelevant. It's a bit like reading Playboy "for the articles" – historically speaking, a few people probably in fact did so, but most were there for the pictures. ("Which article stands out in your mind?" "Um, they did a great profile of Jimmy Carter.") If somebody says "I listen to Coulter because liberals hate her," it's difficult to me to see that as anything but cover – as a statement intended to provide plausible deniability when she makes her more venomous assertions.
That's right Aaron. Other than Scott, I don't know anyone who has copies of Coulter's work (nor do I know anyone who voted for Nixon).
Anyway, it seems to me that Lord Black (people call him that) thinks offending people to get a rise out of them constitutes a contribution to public discourse. There's going to have to be some room for offense in public argument, but I'm having a hard time seeing how saying something racist exposes the intolerance of the people who properly accuse you of racism for saying something racist.
For one if it's something you believe then it's racist; two, are people supposed to just keep their mouths shut about public figures saying racist, or er, provocative things? I suppose this exposes the left for sticking up for people. I guess that's doing them a favor.
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