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If You Say It, It Is True
Ann Coulter and Canada and Vietnam. Ann gets clobbered by the CBC's Bob McKeown, but naturally, refuses to acknowledge it.

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Posted by aalkon at February 1, 2005 4:33 AM

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I once wrote a review of Anne Coulter's book "Slander," since someone had challenged me to read it, sneeringly suggesting that I didn't have the courage to because I "knew" Ann Coulter "tells the truth" about "us" liberals. (Actually, I'm a registered independent, and unlike Bill O'Reilly, I'm telling the truth when I say that).

Before I actually read the book, I decided to do my homework and learn a little about the author lauded so highly by the less dispassionate conservatives on the message board I was posting.

I hadn't known that Ann Coulter's step into the limelight was due to her activities as a lawyer providing clandestine services for Paula Jones in her suit against former president Clinton. In this capacity, Coulter thwarted Jones' attempts to settle out of court by leaking attorney-client privileged information with the press. Her agenda, entirely apart from Jones', was to, in her words, "get the President."

I found this all very interesting, in light of the first paragraph of "Slander," which reads in part and to the best of recollection.

Civil discourse in this country is insufferable... At the risk of giving away the ending, it's all liberals' fault.

I wasn't certain if I was reading an earnest author or not. Was this intended to be satire or parody? Certainly, we're all taught from a young age that "it takes two to tango." Meaning simply that rarely, if ever, can one side in any dispute can be found at fault. Certainly a woman in her forties, and intelligent enough to be a lawyer, would know that much. Yet, "It's all liberals' fault" reads like a pouty 5-year-old blaming a sibling for fighting in the back seat on a road trip.

As I read further, and gradually understood that I was actually reading what was intended to be a sincere work. With the coming of full realization, my first thought was, "Her failure to bring down the Clinton administration has left her extremely bitter."

The work would prove its thesis with rather shoddy tactics; the sort of arguments a lawyer might employ when suspending logic and employing demagoguery.

An example would be found early on when she is discussing the New York Times on Clarence Thomas. Not only does she imply that the Times' editorial called "The Youngest, Cruelest Justice" would hurl ugly racist epithets at Clarence Thomas, such as "handkerchief head," "chicken and biscuit eating Uncle Tom," "house negro," and "race traitor," (in actuality, a glance at her endnotes would show that these quotes come from Joycelyn Elders and a black leader at a Southern Baptist convention), but would employ the fallacy of the sweeping generalization to say later in the chapter that, among other things, liberals have called Clarence Thomas "every racist epithet under the sun."

With this type of logic, I'm certain I could make all kinds of outrageous statements about anyone. All women believe that heterosexual intercourse is rape. After all, Andrea Dworkin said so, and she's a woman, right? Would all Christians like to be pooled together with, say, Fred Phelps?

Her work is not intended to appeal to the rational (in fact, Coulter would prefer that you suspend all logic) but it merely feeds the more irrational conservative contingent what they want to believe is true.

I find myself rather disappointed that so many would gleefully be swept along in the swirling eddies of illogical propaganda. The book's greatest value is in the sad state of the average voter that its success discloses. But then again, this is nothing unique to Coulter, or even new. Propagandists without facts but with an agenda will always find their followers. Limbaugh, for instance, has capitalized on this for years. More recently, so has Michael Moore. Coulter is merely one of a number that have enjoyed a depressing measure of success in appealing to the passions rather than the reason.

Posted by: Patrick, fan of the Advice Goddess at February 2, 2005 2:40 AM

Wise words Patrick. You've got to come around more often!

And just a thought -- but if Anne Coulter looked like Andrea Dworkin, she'd be lawyering in obscurity.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 2, 2005 5:02 AM

The Goddess writes:

And just a thought -- but if Anne Coulter looked like Andrea Dworkin, she'd be lawyering in obscurity.

And if Andrea Dworkin looked like Anne Coulter, she'd be authoring "The Joy of Sex"!

Posted by: Patrick, fan of the Advice Goddess at February 2, 2005 5:33 PM


Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 2, 2005 6:24 PM

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