Reminder: Ann Coulter is probably faking it

Ann “Coultergeist” Coulter is out with a new book, ¡Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn our Country into a Third World Hellhole. If you didn’t know better, the title may leave you confused as to whether she means that America is doomed, or that the conservative firebrand is immigrating to Mexico.

Unfortunately, it isn’t the latter.

The book is, predictably, a racist screed against the “browning” of America — going after the latino community for attempting to destroy America from within. Aided and abetted by the Democratic Party, of course.

In an Q&A with Fusion on Tuesday to promote the book — not to Fusion’s latino audience, but to the conservatives who salivate every time she says something racist to a latino’s face — Coulter called Mexicans more dangerous than ISIS militants, described Mexican culture as “deficient” and refused to give an audience member a hug when asked (the audience member noted that when she posed the same question to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the avowed racist manned up and gave her a hug).

I could go into the rest of the details in Coulter’s book, but I won’t. Her ideas do not deserve to be taken seriously.

What’s more, there’s reason to believe that they aren’t supposed to be taken seriously. As Chris Sosa documented in Salon two years ago, the Ann Coulter we know is, in all likelihood, the original — and far more devoted — Stephen Colbert.

For starters, Coulter’s past belies her image as a caricature of Liz Cheney and the aforementioned Arpaio. As Sosa writes:

Most people aren’t aware that Coulter had a career as a journalistic voice and lawyerprior to her current incarnation. She helped found Cornell University’s student paper the Cornell Review, obtained a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and practiced law in New York City. Her work as a litigator for the civil liberties organization Center for Individual Rights and assistance in crafting deportation legislation with Sen. Spencer Abraham may give an idea of her ideology.

Later in her career, she realized that throwing debasing rhetorical bombs — “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building” or “Like the Democrats, Playboy just wants to liberate women to behave like pigs, have sex without consequences, prance about naked, and abort children.” — was a conservative goldmine. All ten of her previous books have hit the bestseller list of the very newspaper she loves to hate, and her latest is unlikely to be an exception.

Read Coulter’s work as committed satire, and she makes far more sense. Sosa again:

Is Ann Coulter genetic? (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-187967735/stock-photo-dna-background.html?src=LvNs67CB8ODdCi-ExPjQ0Q-1-2)

Ann Coulter, via Shutterstock

While liberals had a collective meltdown, [these quotes] could be attributed to Lisa Lampanelli with no fanfare whatsoever. It’s a matter of context. Ann Coulter had found the perfect recipe: treating news spaces as comedy platforms where she could deliberately make ridiculous statements to infuriate liberals who would be too dense to notice what was going on. But her performance requires equal condescension to conservatives, without whom the Coulter brand would disappear. Coulter knows her performance hurts the right, and she clearly doesn’t care.

Sosa goes on to articulate how Coulter’s absurd use of circular citations in her endnotes serve as a literary middle finger to serious readers, how her affable and poised backstage persona doesn’t match her derangement when the cameras start rolling. What’s more, Coulter counts Bill Maher and Joy Behar as close personal friends — both comedians who, as Sosa notes, “find large swaths of the American public stupid beyond repair and make a living out of taunting them.”

When Stephen Colbert hit the stage, liberals across the country took pleasure in being able to laugh at a caricature of conservative movement — and at the conservatives who didn’t get the joke. But Coulter was doing Colbert’s act long before he hit the airwaves; she just kept a straight enough face that no one’s ever been sure whether to laugh.

Serious or not, Ann Coulter’s a joke that isn’t funny. Whether her intentionally insulting, racist invective is the literary equivalent of clickbait or industrial-strength performance art is irrelevant: People are going to use ¡Adios, America! as another excuse to hate brown people, no matter what Coulter truly believes.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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36 Responses to “Reminder: Ann Coulter is probably faking it”

  1. JohnnyD says:

    You are right, of course. Whether she truly believes everything she says, and I think she does – the fact that she has discovered the money in being over-the-top about everything, and makes that her centerpiece, means she’s manipulating conservatives for more profit at the expense of liberals. About the worst human being imaginable, in my mind, or as most Conservatives would describe her, if they’re not drooling, “really funny, and good at business, too”.

  2. JohnnyD says:

    I think he was referring to Coulter as the celebrity believing the “crap”, versus the Coulter doing it for profit. He wasn’t slamming Colbert.

  3. JohnnyD says:

    I’m not sure whether I would hate her more or less if she were in fact just putting one over on the public. For one, I doubt I CAN hate her any more. But then again, the idea she’d fool all the others in the GOP is believable as hell, just because of who those people are, and with her knowledge of which buttons to push to stroke their egos, fears, or whatever. I find that thought eminently amusing. But that would also force me to deal with the revelation that she’d said all those bad things about liberals over the years without really meaning them, just for profit, and with no consideration to the effects, for good or bad, those words or people who supported them might have had on said liberals over those years.
    No, that would make me hate her more, definitely

  4. barada says:

    Please give examples of “vile, racist” things said by Colbert.

  5. barada says:

    Nah. I don’t buy it. With Coulter, what you see is what you get.

    Stephen Colbert has a real and sincere side that is publically known.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Colbert

    Coulter? Not so much.

  6. BillFromPA says:

    Who’s worse, a celebrity who really believes the vile, racist crap she spews or a ‘decent’ person who does the same thing but only for profit and notoriety? I say it’s number two.

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  8. 2karmanot says:

    I imagine ole’ Dennie Diddler is ‘wrestling’ with his shady past about now.

  9. cambridgemac says:

    Speaking of “comedians.” here’s a story. An old friend of mine, A german woman born in 1934, was startled when I compared Dubya to Mussolini during a phone call one day as Dubya was getting closer to the orgasmic beginning of the Iraq invasion. “Mussolini?” she cried. “Mussolini! Mussolini was a COMEDIAN!” I was nonplussed, thinking about the oceans of difference between our experiences of evil, war and comedy.

  10. shonangreg says:

    After getting tired of the flood of rightwing trolls on a site a few years ago, I began trolling as the stupidest rightwinger I could imagine. And it went great. The rightwing dittoheads up-voted me like crazy.

    However, after posting for a half-hour or so over week or three, I’d carry that stupidity and second-guessing paranoia around with me in the real world for several hours. I just couldn’t stop having duplicitous and insincere impulses. If that is how I was affected, I wonder about Victoria Jackson, Ted Cruz, and the rest. They’ve been doing this for years.

    The Real Victoria Jackson
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KG1kXyN1Fg

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  12. Baal says:

    You could now make the argument about pretty much the entire GOP, not just Coulter. They have become caricatures of themselves. It is now close to impossible to write a satire of the far right short of pretending to advocate for cannibalism and Swift already wrote that.

  13. fry1laurie says:

    I’m going with the “not at all” option.

  14. Lordwhorfin says:

    Coulter is what she appears to be. She was an ‘elf’ in D.C. working on Paula Jones’s legal team before and during the Clinton impeachment hearings. She, as D’inesh D’zouza did at Dartmouth, used the Cornell Review to out gay activists. Coulter’s father was a major union-buster in the copper mining business-he was a serious, dangerous heavy-a very dangerous thug in a suit. He was also close to founding Birchers and an associate of the Koch per. Not only does the apple not fall far from the tree, Anne is pretty unhinged in her own right-she says what she says because she sees her ideological opponents as less than human. That what she says pisses everyone off is just icing on the cake.

  15. olandp says:

    It may be nice to think of Ann (and the other right wing cranks) as a comedian, but a comedian is supposed to be funny, let the audience in on the joke. It may have started, in her mind, as comedy, but it just isn’t, just like Dennis Miller. She is just a mean skanky whore.

  16. mf_roe says:

    This will be sweet, can hardly wait for the details on this one.

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  18. The_Fixer says:

    I have very little interest in the question of whether her ruminations are her true beliefs. The fact is, she knows that she can rile up the Republican base and make a lot of money in the process. That she makes her living doing what she does is the height of cynicism.

    Comparing her to real satirists and comics is like considering a MacDonald’s hamburger the same class of food as that found in a fine French restaurant. It’s totally invalid association, don’t even “go there.”

    I am with those who say it’s best to ignore her. There’s really nothing there worth getting upset about.

  19. mirth says:

    Any thread to a Coulter post is a fun read. The feel-good takeaway from this one is that young conservatives are embarrassed by her. Better would be to know they are repulsed, but still…

    On another cheerful note:

    Federal prosecutors on Thursday said they had indicted former US House speaker Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges, allegedly related to paying an unnamed person to conceal his past misconduct… He was also accused of lying to the FBI… Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

    Blackmail, evidently; he got caught by taking multiple withdrawals over time from his bank, something like $3.5m total, in amounts over $10k which the bank was federally required to report.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/28/former-house-speaker-dennis-hastert-indicted

  20. keirmeister says:

    Okay, that clip made me feel better about the world. :)

  21. stoplyin2217 says:

    I think she has always believed this. David Brock, in his book Blinded by the Right, writes some of the comments she made years ago, before she was on TV. Young conservatives are embarrassed by her and know she is bad for their cause, so they are trying to pass her off as a comic, as somebody who doesn’t mean what she says, etc. They are not fooling anyone.

  22. stoplyin2217 says:

    There is nothing to indicate that she doesn’t believe what she says. She might be less abrasive in real life, off camera, when she is surrounded by her own kind of people, but that means nothing. And if you have heard her over the years, she has slammed every non-white ethnic group, even the successful ones, so this notion that she only cares about “culture” is just a way to inoculate herself against charges of racism.

  23. LasloPratt says:

    There’s a memorable character in an Eric Ambler novel who is a dedicated communist. He didn’t start out as a dedicated communist. He started spouting Marxist rhetoric as a way to piss off his wife. Then one day he realized he actually did believe the things he was saying. I suspect Mr. Coulter has followed a similar character arc.

  24. stoplyin2217 says:

    Young conservatives are embarrassed by Coulter so now they are trying to pass her off as a comic.

  25. Indigo says:

    She’s an entertainment commentator like Rush Limbaugh but if she’s a Colbert, I’m a Susan Sontag. Who, by the way, might have neatly labeled Ann Coulter “high unintentional camp.”

  26. Indigo says:

    Thanks. That was pretty funny!

  27. FLL says:

    What are the possible purposes of Ann Coulter’s writing—or anyone’s writing for that matter? To inform, to persuade or to entertain. In the case of folks like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, I think we can easily eliminate “to inform” and “to persuade” as possibilities, in which case, Coulter and Limbaugh are just opportunists in the entertainment sectors of book publishing and radio, and financially successful opportunists at that. There you have the difference between opportunistic entertainers and serious political commentators.

    So what is the difference between an opportunistic entertainer like Coulter and a troll? Probably not much except that Coulter has perfected the skill of making troll-like ideas marketable and profitable. As an example, here is Coulter’s quote criticizing Senator Dianne Feinstein’s response to questioning by Senator Ted Cruz:

    “I used to think women just shouldn’t be able to vote. Now I think at least liberal women should not be able to hold office, and by woman I do not mean to limit that to the biological sense.”

    So Coulter holds forth on how liberals (not limited to those who are biological females) shouldn’t hold office and, presumably, shouldn’t vote. The result for Coulter? $$$

  28. dommyluc says:

    I keep thinking of that wonderful episode of “The Boondocks”. If only! LOL! NSFW!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1seThIG34R8

  29. BeccaM says:

    I think it was over about 15 years ago.

  30. 2karmanot says:

    Good Lord, hasn’t scank Barbie had her 15 minutes of fame yet?

  31. Houndentenor says:

    John Stewart stopped even mentioning her years ago. I think Andrew Sullivan has made the same claim. Bill Maher claims that she believes all that crap but even so much of what she said is clearly designed to make liberals go ape-shit creating a “controversial” story for a few news cycles. It’s the same kind of shit Madonna and others do when they have a new book coming out. If you’re hawking yourself I guess that’s what one does these days, but it’s hardly discourse worth noting by intelligent people. Maybe if we ignore her she’d go away. If you’ve ever read the right wing response on social media it’s clear they only love her because liberals hate her. If we stopped reacting to her every verbal grenade she’d have nothing.

  32. Peter Castle says:

    Coulter is an opportunist and con artist of the first order.

    See “Fifty Shades of Coulter” at http://wp.me/p4jHFp-5E.

  33. KarenJ says:

    Here’s an experiment to prove whether or not Coulter’s book title premise is right or not:

    Let’s see how long it takes for the part of Mexico affected by the torrential rains recently to recover, vs. how long it takes for GOP-controlled Texas, even with Greg Abbott begging for Obama administration federal disaster aid relief.

    I’m betting on Mexico and all its brown people.

  34. Badgerite says:

    America isn’t about ethnicity or culture. It is about an idea. Well, many ideas really but Lincoln said it best. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. Demographics change. They always have and they always will. The hope of America, of keeping the American idea alive is to cross ethnic and cultural barriers. So that immigrants that come into this country become ( fill in the enthnicity)-Americans. Mexican Americans, Afro Americans, Muslim American. Etc. It is about expanding the American idea. Not diluting it.

  35. keirmeister says:

    Ann Coulter may very well be an intelligent, caring, and friendly person.
    (*cough* I need a shower now)

    But the important question to ask is: Does that matter?

    Does it matter that Coulter is smart enough to know better than some of the stupid stuff she says and writes?

    Does it matter that Coulter peddles in hate speech even if she may not believe it herself?

    The simple fact is that Ann Coulter makes her living using viciousness to punch down; and comparing her to Lisa Lampanelli is misdirected because Lampanelli lets you KNOW it’s in good fun: She’s an insult comic. People PAY to get insulted by her, and her message is that she pokes fun as a way to not take ourselves too seriously.

    At some point, Coulter should be defined by her public BEHAVIOR; and that behavior deserves nothing but scorn, condemnation, and utter marginalization. We shouldn’t ignore her or laugh her off; but instead destroy her and her ignorant and beastly character.

  36. orogeny says:

    Maybe Coulter is a real-life version of Howard Campbell from Vonnegut’s Mother Night. If so, she should take heed of that book’s moral: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

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