Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fun with Ann Coulter

If you’ve been paying attention to the news this week, you’re well aware of the frenzy over Ann Coulter, the controversial American author and polemicist (a person who argues in opposition to another) known for her right-wing views against liberals, feminists, environmentalists and non-Christians.

Mayhem broke out when she came to the University of Ottawa for a speaking engagement and the event had to be cancelled. A large contingent of protesters made it impossible for her to proceed due to safety concerns. The incident has given rise to public discussion about freedom of speech in this country and human rights concerns. It has also created a fabulous amount of press for an otherwise uninspiring American media agitator.

Curious about this woman after the Ottawa hoopla, I’ve done a little research. I’d seen her before on television and perhaps come across her books at the bookstores, but was never particularly drawn to her bombastic approach. Now that I’ve seen a few interview clips, including interviews with Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, and Donny Deutsch, I know why she has not been on my radar.

Articulate, attractive, aggressive and presumably intelligent, she has the attributes of a compelling media personality. Yet what comes out of her mouth is astonishing. She may have the gift of gab, but the gab is certainly not gifted. Not to my mind, nor, seemingly, to her interviewers’ minds.

For example, on CNBC’s “The Big Idea” Ann Coulter tells host Donny Deutsch (who is Jewish) that “Christians are perfected Jews.” As you can imagine, Donny Deutsch took great offense. See the clip on YouTube for some head-shaking entertainment: Ann Coulter interview with Donny Deutsch

I wonder what Jesus Christ would say to the comment given that he himself was a Jew. I also wonder what planet this woman is living on. She wants to convert the entire world to Christianity yet she doesn’t seem to understand the fundamental teachings of Christianity such as “Love thy neighbour as thyself” and “Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.” Her inflammatory remarks may be attention-grabbing and discussion-provoking, but they can also be as red-neck ignorant as you’ve ever heard.

Jesus, who according to the Gospels promoted peace and love, would likely take umbrage with Coulter’s interpretation. In the interview she awkwardly and condescendingly tries to explain how it is that Christians are 'perfected Jews' and that Jews should not be offended by this fact. In less than one minute she made at least thirteen million enemies, not to mention the Christians and Muslims who consider her ludicrous.

Maybe Coulter should read the Bible, where she might learn that Jesus not only died for the sins of humanity, but that he epitomized “perfection.” So how can Jews be perfected, if Jesus, a Jew, is himself perfect? Perhaps Christians are imperfect Jews.

Furthermore, Jesus disapproved of self-righteous spirituality, and preached tolerance and inclusiveness. Basic knowledge of the New Testament should confirm this.

The above is but a tiny fraction of Coulter’s sensational perspective on life, religion and politics. She has no shame and spares no mercy. Should she be muzzled? That is the big question in the media this week. How far does freedom of speech go? How much seditious rhetoric should be tolerated?

This can be a fuzzy question. Inciting violence and defying human rights are against the law, but provoking anger, disparaging others, and saying outrageously ignorant things are not. Ann Coulter should not be censored as far as I’m concerned because she hasn’t broken the law. I think she’s on a self-destructive path, anyway; one day the spotlight will dim, the platform will disappear and she’ll have lots of time to reflect.

Sadly, it won’t happen until the media (and bloggers like me) stop giving her air time.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article, Carla. I was inspired to watch the video you gave the link for, plus others. Not really sure what to make of Ann Coulter. She's so outrageous! Some people claim she's a satirist and so shouldn't be taken seriously. She certainly enjoys riling people up! There are kernels of truth to some of her comments, and I always admire people who are willing to champion unpopular opinions. But I find it hard to believe she was 100% serious about Christians being perfected Jews. Is she taking the mickey (as we say in Ireland)? If she truly IS serious, then her views are too outlandish to mean anything. To really know, I think I'd have to read one of her books. And yet... not really interested enough by her to bother! Thanks for the food for thought.