Comfortable and Furious




Ann Coulter is a cunt. There, I said it. I could write paragraph
after paragraph about the book’s failure to provide well-rounded
arguments, its propagandistic tone, its sneering self-righteousness, or
its wild, unsubstantiated claims. Or I could dispense with such details
and get to the point most readers desire; that Ann Coulter is a snippy,
sanctimonious, unscrupulous, lying cunt. And then some. And let me tell
you, I read this book from cover to cover not because I agreed with
anything Coulter has ever uttered in public, but rather to earn the
right to destroy her in print. I suffered through two days of rumor,
innuendo, and old fashioned bullshit to earn that right, so bear with

First, this book is poorly written. Coulter’s idea of “reporting” is to
take a preconceived idea, search for quotes (taken out of context, of
course) to substantiate that idea, and pass it off as “brilliant
revelation.” Because she is a zealot of the highest order, she does not
see it as necessary to bring forward contradictory information, lest
she complicate the matter. True, she “documents” her information via
footnotes (which has become the new method of lying with authority),
but she only selects quotes that portray liberals as either absurd or
buffoonish. These people might have indeed uttered these statements,
but it would take me all of three minutes to find as many quotes from
the other side that also prove her point. In other words, for every
dippy liberal, I can find an equally vapid conservative. Does she
really ask that we believe only one party in this country has a
monopoly on stupidity? Yet, in her blind rage to lionize all
right-wingers, she closes her eyes and ears to anything negative about
her perspective, and anything positive for the other side. And yet she
drones on and on about the “biased” media and its unscrupulous
journalism. Is she truly this ignorant of her own methods and attitudes?

But let’s get back to Miss Coulter herself. While there are dozens of
right-wing assassins in the public eye today (a curiously high number
of them are blond bimbo types), Coulter has achieved a certain level of
celebrity because she has created a persona that is impossible to
ignore. Wearing skirts that barely cover her crotch and showing off
legs that are as thin and long as they are hideously unshapely, she has
made certain to get the lion’s share of the press attention because she
is rude, cruel, and further to the right than even John Ashcroft.
Normally I would abide unfeeling savagery, but Coulter has as her
sinister goal the elevation of conservatives to every post of
importance in the nation. I, on the other hand, dispense hate for its
own sake and would prefer we ALL go away. Moreover, I must object to
any woman who exempts Christians and fetuses from her wrath. If she
decided to toss those interest groups on the white-hot fire, I might
pick up her second book. Hell, I might even send her a polite e-mail.
But she defends them as she does all conservatives, and that is simply

Ruthless Ratings

  • Number of times Coulter used the phrase “Reagan single-handedly won the Cold War”: 3
  • Number of times I giggled when I remembered that this same man now craps his pants on a daily basis: 8
  • Number of times Coulter referred to a “liberal media bias”: 223
  • Number of times she needs to be anally raped until she admits there is no such thing: 111
  • Number of times I thought about fellow right-wing pundit Barbara Olson as I read this book: 3
  • Number of times those thoughts were related to my wish that
    Coulter had also been on that hijacked flight that hit the Pentagon: 3

Erich is the one-eyed king

Ok, I’ll admit to not having read all, or even most of this book. I
sat in Borders and dipped in and out, got too mad and had to stop. I
went back, tried again and the same thing happened. I probably got
through 75 pages, plus a bunch of skimming.

Am I liberal who can’t stand the harsh truth and logic of a clear
thinking (so-called) conservative? Hardly. Yeah, I’m a liberal in many
ways. But I like reading good, intelligent commentary from people like
Milton Friedman and Richard Posner. I’ve sometimes been persuaded by
those readings. In fact I’m watching this cool little roundtable with
Bill Buckley and some of his chums right now. I disagree with
everything they’re saying. I was particularly amused when B-Buck
brought up the fact that Americans are perceived as being chauvinistic,
even by our allies. Each panelist took his turn identifying a defect in
non-American cultures that would cause them falsely perceive such
chauvinism. I chuckled, but my blood is nowhere near boiling.

So it’s not conservatism that pisses me off. What pisses me off is (1)
that Coulter gives fantastically bad arguments, and (2) is taken
seriously. This book should have been self-published and sold through a
1/16th page ad in the back of Soldier of Fortune. Then I could just laugh at it. Don’t get me wrong, I did laugh at this book. I’m saying that then I could just laugh at it instead of compulsively pointing out the abominable reasoning.

Coulter seems smart enough and after seeing an interview or two with
her, I don’t think she is insane, so it’s pretty obvious that she’s
demagauging for dollars. She’s the one, if you don’t remember, who said
we should invade the Middle East and convert everyone to Christianity
in response to 9-11. Even the National Review thinks she’s a disingenuous sensationalist and a deliberate liar, but she gets loads of publicity.

Bad, bad arguments. To start with, this book is one big sweeping
generalization about “them:” liberals, just the sort of thing to appeal
to talk radio fans, who will plug through this book over two or three
weeks, patting themselves on the back for doing some reading. Knuckle
draggers love to get all riled up about thems. Liberals will do just
fine, regardless of whether the reader could actually define the word

One chapter argues that liberals are childish because half their
arguments consist merely of calling Republicans stupid. Coulter
emphasizes the rhetoric and press coverage surrounding presidential
elections. Of course, ad hominem attacks are perfectly legitimate when it is the hominem who is at issue. George W. isn’t unusually stupid for a Joe Blow, but
he is pretty clearly of average intelligence, which combined with
minimal intellectual curiosity, makes him vacuous. So, compared to
Clinton, Dole, Gore or McCain, he is a dim bulb. There are many
examples to support this claim, from the fact that he named Jesus as
his favorite political philosopher, to the ever-expanding collection of
“Bushisms” (plenty of which are more than just instances of
misspeaking), to the fact that he couldn’t name Pakistan’s head of
state when asked to do so during the election. When asked what he had
been reading, GW named a biography of Dean Acheson, a claim that was
evidently false when he was unable to produce any basic facts about the
book’s content. In fact, I am not aware of any evidence that GW has
read a single book during his adult life other thanThe Hungry Caterpillar.
Reagan was criticized for similar reasons with similar justification
and we now know that during the last two years of his presidency, his
cabinet seriously considered removing him from office because he had
grown too feebleminded for the job, even in their opinions.

Assuming some level of intellectual prowess is desirable in a
president, the above concerns and criticisms are plainly legitimate.
What kind of a moron would think otherwise? Probably not Coulter, but
the people Coulter is trying to sell books to. Am I name-calling, in
just the way that she describes? No, I am accurately labeling. Ducks
are birds, cardinals are Catholic and anyone who swallows her crap is a
stupid shit-eater.

The second half of her argument is that the media exaggerates the
intellects of Democratic candidates. There are some interesting tidbits
here. Bill Bradley bombed the verbal portion of his SATS, Gore tanked
his sophomore year of college and essentially flunked out of divinity
school (personally, I find it more troubling that he attended divinity
school), but at times Coulter’s grasping at straws. For example, she
equates Gore’s use of colloquialisms like “she’s cool” with Bushisms.
I’d rather that the guy with the button says “Da Bomb!” from time to
time, than that he not know the correct name of what the button is
connected to (it ain’t nook-yoo-ler). She isn’t able to put together a
body of evidence that either man is as thick skulled as GW or as out to
lunch as Reagan, although I was persuaded that their intelligence is
probably exaggerated. This, however, is just part of the process of the
media fashioning them into simple characters for the simplistic
coverage of the election. Each man had negative attributes that were
also exaggerated like Bradley’s being “spacey” and Gore’s mendacity.

One of Coulter’s main points, as Matt points out, is the tired mantra
that the media are biased against conservatives. The best counterclaim
is that I just saw her on CNN. She’s on TV pretty frequently. Other
people espousing equally nutty views, like Fallwell and Robinson get
their airtime too. Who would be the leftist equivalent to Coulter and
the gang? A neo-Stalinist? Yet CNN rarely gives airtime to someone as
far to the left as say, Michael Moore, who’s book has sold
significantly more than Coulter’s, in spite of the disparity in exposure.

It’s pretty obvious to most thinking people that the press, being
composed of educated, affluent people and owned by corporations, tend
to be liberal on social issues, rightist on others. For example, few of
them share Coulter’s view that non-Christians “burn in hell.” (This
view is expressed a bit before the chapter asserting that the
fanatical, religious right is basically a myth). But on minor issues
like foreign policy, economic policy, the distribution of wealth, the
prison system, the drug war and, to a lesser extent, the environment,
the press is pretty much in step with the corporate and/or state agenda.

Do people really believe that AOL/Time-Warner and General Electric are
promoting a radical agenda? Coulter even asserts that they do so
knowing that they will sell fewer products and have lower profits as a
consequence. How do you convey the error in a line of thinking that’s
already reduced itself to absurdity?

In reality, the media operate within the biases discussed above;
producing the most consumable content they can within that context. So
we get the election between the wonkish, mendacious dork and the dim,
but honest frat boy. Both characterizations are exaggerated in order to
sell crap. It’s the same sensationalism and irresponsibility that
provides Coulter with a platform in the first place and takes our
political discourse from being constrained by bias to being lowbrow

If the press were so hostile toward Republicans, would a man who was so
senile his own cabinet almost pulled him from office, and a dope like
GW ever have been elected? The press would have torn them apart. I
mean, did you hear more about Clinton’s pot use and deferment or about
(pro-Vietnam war, pro-drug war) Bush’s naked draft dodging and cocaine
use? Do you know how GW “earned” his money? Do you know what GW
predicts for Jews in the afterlife? It’s worth looking up if you don’t.
The point being, that most people would have to look it up. If the
press wanted to sink Bush, these would have been front-page headlines.
“Bush Used Coke; favors prison for others who do same.”

Apparently, Slander is supposed to be funny. The alleged humor usually takes the form of observations about liberals. For example did you ever notice how
liberals always say that someone “has a right to his opinion?” That’s
because they don’t think that people have rights to their opinions! A
conservative never says something like this, because it is assumed out
of their general respect for individual rights, but a liberals have to
concede it explicitly because doing so goes against their inclinations.
Who are these people?

Do I actually have to explain why this
isn’t funny? First off, it borders on incoherence. Second,
observational humor is only funny if it at least vaguely corresponds to
some state of affairs in the actual world, like the fact that airplane
food is inedible. I have heard people say, “he has a right to his
opinion” but never noticed a correlation with political ideology. Even
if such a correlation exists, many definitions of the word ‘liberal’
include respect for individual rights, especially
with respect to speech and opinion. I mean, did my copy of this book
fall out of another dimension, or are the ACLU generally considered
liberal and John Ashcroft conservative? The guy who tried to shut down
a museum because he didn’t like a painting they showed was Adolph
Giuliani, right? Am I confusing Ed Mease and Jello Biafra? Isn’t the
Libertarian Party’s existence based on the belief that the Republicans
don’t have sufficient respect for individual rights, while the
Democrats favor too many social programs and business regulations? In
short, what is Coulter even talking about? Maybe if she had said
something about how desperate many liberal white people are to have
black friends or how hysterical Democrats are about cigarettes. Citizen Ruth did a brilliant job of ridiculing liberals. Slander is almost bizarre. Bizarre can be funny, like my idea for a sketch in which two people mix up each other’s felching straws, but Coulter is “please God, don’t let that lady sit next to me” bizarre.

The defining moment of the book comes when Coulter banks on the
stupidity of readers to an extent I’m not sure I’ve seen elsewhere. The
book repeatedly refers to Gore’s claim to have invented the internet.
Of course, Gore never made such a claim. He said that while in
Congress, he took the initiative to create the internet, which might be
false for all I know. But Coulter doesn’t take that line. She says
straightforwardly that creation and invention are synonyms, citing a
thesaurus, and that Gore therefore claimed to have invented the
internet. Needless to say this was one of the parts that made me laugh.

Now, you don’t have to be Bertrand Russell to understand the
distinction between taking the initiative in the creation of something
and inventing it. You don’t even have to be Bill Russell. Let’s use
Coulters method on another sentence, just for fun: ‘Scorsese made Casino.
Using my thesaurus and Coulter’s method we get. ‘Scorsese built a
discotheque.’ I’ve seen these kinds of arguments presented in
convoluted ways designed to hide their fallaciousness, but I can’t
remember coming across so overt a presentation of so obvious a fallacy
elsewhere. The distain for the reader is hard to believe, but
apparently well placed.