Feb 13, 2006

On Ann Coulter And Racial Epithets

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(Toledo, OH) "Raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences."

These six words uttered by Ann Coulter on Friday were a disheartening example of the descent into Neanderthalianism that many people pass off today as intelligent discourse.

Coulter's comments were meant to be a rhetorical response to Iranian leaders, should they choose in the future to engage in some sort of nuclear posturing, or, in Coulter-speak, "if they start having one of these bipolar episodes with nuclear weapons."

The fact that Ann Coulter engaged in this sort of lunkheaded quasi-nationalism is not what bothers me; her stock in trade is to be as shocking as possible while pandering to base elements on the right. In the past she has claimed to have pondered an assassination attempt on Bill Clinton, and last month suggested that someone should poison Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

All in good fun, of course.

No, what disturbed me was that Coulter's comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC drew a standing ovation from the crowd.


This is not an essay inspired by some dreamy, politically correct vision of a world without harsh words. The image of a packed room of cheering audience members salivating over the "triumph" of an Ann Coulter spouting racial epithets reminds me of 1933 Berlin.

How far removed are we, really, from rounding up Arab Americans and resettling them in concentration camps, like we did to Japanese Americans in World War II? Before you answer, examine closely the signature of the artist of the cartoon.

Then tell me.

32 comments:

historymike said...

The artist (if the image is too small for you to read) was Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss.

Anonymous said...

Coulter on the right, Franken on the left. What's the difference?

MemyselfandI

McCaskey said...

Here's the difference: Franken is right a helluva lot more often than the blonde bimbo....

Anonymous said...

No. Franken is always wrong.

historymike said...

Franken, in my book, is too much of the standup comic for me to take seriously as a political pundit - flippant, glib, and always shooting for the one-liner.

In his own way, he is equally guilty of dumbing down political analysis.

I just haven't heard him sink as low as Coulter with some of this race-baiting.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that was Dr. Seuss...

Petrograde

liberal_dem said...

I'll have to defer to the comment made in Toledo Talk which questioned whether she had two x chromosomes.

Stefan Schmidt said...

History repeats itself, Mike.

Nationalism will rise again; bet on it.

Lisa Renee said...

Yep, It was Dr. Seuss

Political side of Dr. Seuss

Personally I don't think Ann or most of those like her are worth the attention they get. Dr. Seuss however is a different topic...

:-)

Stephanie said...

Mike,

We can only hope that we, as a nation (not necessarily as individuals), have learned our lesson from our own history.

This time, it won't be just extremists or those easily dismissed as extremists who stand up against such an action.

Race-baiting paired with standing ovations is inexcusable. Free-speech or no, it's just wrong.

Stephanie said...

Stefan,

Nationalism of the sort you describe was the downfall of Nazi Germany. As a true patriot, I cannot let my country degrade to such mindlessness, for I want this country to exist for my children and their children.

Your nationalism is America's death.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Nationalism of the sort you describe was the downfall of Nazi Germany. As a true patriot, I cannot let my country degrade to such mindlessness, for I want this country to exist for my children and their children.

Your nationalism is America's death.
=======

Germany was surrounded by hostile enemies such as France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union.

In a nuclear age the outcome will be much different. A war on the USA will mean the destruction of all of humanity. They are not that crazy.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

Anyone else notice the double standard at play? A quick search found surprisingly few mainstream media references, but if she'd slurred blacks or Jews instead, everyone would be all over her. Remember the furor over Farrakhan's somewhat milder remarks?

M A F said...

It isn't all that suprising to know the words spoken by Coulter, or of the crowds response to them. There is a fanaticism that exists within the conservative movement as well.

Let us not forget that she is another one of Bush's "opinion leaders." I am reminded of Mr White's reliance upon rhetoric. Of course, her nationalism plays better than that of White.

Anonymous said...

None of this is nearly as offensive to me as the former Vice President of the United States criticizing the U.S. on foreign soil -- complaining that we are abusing Arabs.

I find that very disturbing. I'm sure to good Americans such as McCaskey, this is acceptable conduct.

And, if we're going to discuss the moral outrages of opinion leaders, should Ted Kennedy be allowed to serve in the Senate after killing young girls?

McCaskey said...

"None of this is nearly as offensive to me as the former Vice President of the United States criticizing the U.S. on foreign soil -- complaining that we are abusing Arabs.
"I find that very disturbing. I'm sure to good Americans such as McCaskey, this is acceptable conduct.
And, if we're going to discuss the moral outrages of opinion leaders, should Ted Kennedy be allowed to serve in the Senate after killing young girls?"----obviously from MemyselfandI




You're joking, right???

historymike said...

Coulter's remarks, per se, are just a symptom of the deeper demonization of the Muslim world.

I do find it interesting that some defenders of Coulter are calling her a "satirist" now.

I have found her sarcastic, even caustic, but never satirical.

-Sepp said...

I'll agree with History Mike. Franken is just a clown (and not a very good one). Keep in mind that Coulter played to her audience. When Farrakahn made his comments he played to his audience. It's politics plain and simple. Both went in knowing in advance what the ticketholders wanted to hear. Same as when Jack Ford made his "make white businessman's knees buckle" remark to Toledo's black businessman's group he was addressing. He was playing to his audience even though he knew he needed to "buckled knee votes" in November. Rather than letting the ignorant ramblings of some pundit who isn't elected to anything get your goat, dismiss it for what it is...rhetoric.

David said...

A little more reason in the discourse wouldn't hurt, true. But "ragheads" is hardly a _racial_ epithet. Since when are Persians or Arabs or whomever defined as a "race"? Culturally, they differ a great deal. And even if one were to buy into the definitions of race on a biological basis, "ragheads" come in a wide array of races.

In the same vein as calling "ragheads" a "recial epithet" is the current trend of calling criticisms of "The Religion of Hate, Intolerance, Brutality, Lies, Slavery and Mass Murder" as founded and defined by The Butcher of Medina," Mohammed (he who rots in hell forever) "racist" or "bigoted" when they are neither, except in the minds of folks for whom words mean only what they idiosyncratically decide they must mean whatever the accuser desires them to mean. (Or who have bought into the faux liberal position of labeling anything one finds distasteful with loaded terminology.)

Shouting "racist" in a crowded agora is as loaded and disingenuous--and provocative-- as shouting "raghead" in downtown Tehran.

And so the language of public discourse becomes pejorated, as "gay" is hijacked by neurotic homosexuals angrily agitating against imagined slights, "niggardly" is flamed as a "racially insensitive" term by illiterate boobs and "raghead" is misidentified as a "racial epithet".

I really had thought better of you, Historymike. Your posts are usually much better thought out.

(Meanwhile, back at twc, I shall continue to denigrate the religion founded by The Butcher of Medina loudly and longly... and openly. Because the facts of Islam support my asseertion that it is, as it always has been and continues to be, the world's preeminent "Religion of Hate, Intolerance, Brutality, Lies, Slavery and Mass Murder" and the foremost example of a way of thought that more than anything else ought to be extirpated from the world. And yes, I know about "the Crusades" and the Inquisition and much more about the history of Christianity than 99% of the idiots who go on about such things. And I'd be willing to stack any one century of Islam up against the entire history of abuses of Christ's teachings and find Islam weighed in the balance and found wanting... )

Oh. My. I really ought to take my rants about language, history and religion to my own blog, oughtn't I? :-)

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

"Germany was surrounded by hostile enemies such as France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union."

This is possibly the first time I've ever heard France being described as "hostile" towards anyone. :)

"Keep in mind that Coulter played to her audience. When Farrakahn made his comments he played to his audience."

Yes. But Farrakhan didn't call Jews "kikes." Everyone knows her politics, her "get tough" stance isn't a surprise...but using an ethnic slur has been getting even a lot of conservatives' hackles up, mostly the thoughtful ones who want to persuade liberals to join the fold, and realize that offending them isn't doing anything but reinforce bad stereotypes of conservatives.

Sometimes, people with agendas play right into their enemies' hands...conservatives dropping slurs, black people rioting when NSM comes to town, NSM types who post illiterate rants on Mike's blog.

historymike said...

David:

Pehaps "ethnic slurs" would have been more accurate on my part, but Coulter was WAY off base here.

nmtpg:

I am in complete agreement, and you correctly note the bizarre historical revisionism inherent in an "innocent" Germany somehow being the "victim" of its neighbors.

Stefan Schmidt said...

I am in complete agreement, and you correctly note the bizarre historical revisionism inherent in an "innocent" Germany somehow being the "victim" of its neighbors.
======

Mike as a historian you should be aware of the proverb: History is written by the winners.

That being said, France and Great Britain declared war first.

What do you find objectionable about the Third Reich?

Anonymous said...

Ted Kennedy does kill young women.

Al Gore criticizes the U.S. on foreign soil.

I find both offensive.

No joke.

McCaskey said...

Well, Ted Kennedy was involved in a auto accident in which a young woman drowned. One version of the story is that he could have done more to save her, but that was in 1969 and I wasn't there....were you?

No, Al Gore did not criticize the United States, he did in fact criticize the Bush Administration. Believe it or not, it is NOT the same thing.

When conservatives were bashing and calling for the impeachment of Bill Clinton for having ill-advised but still legal and consensual sex with a young woman and then lying about it were they "great Americans" and doing so for the good of the country? No, they were opportunists who saw an opening to drive from office a twice-elected sitting president from the opposite party.

So, spare me your pious and patriotic-when-it suits-your-needs horse manure.

historymike said...

Stefan:

I am more hardpressed to name something I actually LIKE about the Third Reich.

Let's see...they did manage to get some wild-looking uniforms, so I can give them a few props for "creativity in costumes."

The writing of history is, indeed, directed by the winners, but that is no reason to dismiss all winning team history.

Just a reason to be skeptical.

historymike said...

McCaskey and anonymous:

Dragging Kennedy and Gore into a discussion about Coulter is just an attempt to obfuscate the issue.

If Kennedy committed a crime, then God will kick his ass, since the courts didn't do it.

Coulter's comments speak for themselves, and the old adage of "two wrongs ain't gonna make a right" applies.

Christ, even a ton of conservatives are telling Coulter to knock it off. This was stupid, and her timing was horrible.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy had an "accident". Left the scene while the victim huddled in an air pocket in the back seat. He returned to his hotel, showered, called his lawyer, and finally went to the police more than six hours after the accident.

Overseas, the Bush administration IS the U.S. government. Politics stops at our nation's shores -- at least to decent Americans.

I won't characterize your comments as anything more than an honest disagreement. Not sure where impeachment entered the equation, but I'm sure you had a train of thought there.

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are saying, HistoryMike.

However, there are things in this world that offend me more than Ann Coulter and Ted Kennedy and Al Gore are at the top of that list.

Coulter is a paid talking head. She is inconsequential. Any discussion of her is inconsequential.

What Kennedy and Gore do and say is important because they are supposedly statesmen. These statesmen are held up as paens of virtue by the left.

Stefan Schmidt said...

Their management of the economy was impressive.

What really stands out is their ingenuity and all the technical innovations (like missile technology; and preliminary understanding of the atom bomb are all good examples) that occurred during that era.

It is hard not to marvel at such a profound recovery that Germany accomplished under NAZI rule.

It is also hard not to respect their war waging abilities (they decimated France, ‘neutered’ England, and almost beat the Soviets).

BTW,



I find it funny that both Napoleon and Hitler succumbed to the Russians in an almost identical fashion.

McCaskey said...

"McCaskey and anonymous:

Dragging Kennedy and Gore into a discussion about Coulter is just an attempt to obfuscate the issue."---

I didn't drag them in; just responded to someone elses dragging.

My final thought on this matter is that anonymous (memyselfandI)has some interesting viewpoints on what constitutes a "great American" or some such nonsense.

historymike said...

Sorry, McCaskey, I should have made it more clear that you were responding to, rather than engaging with, the Kennedy/Gore diversion.

Stefan: the Russians are keenly aware of the connection, but the Third Reich learned very few lessons from Napoleon.

Hooda Thunkit said...

The first time I saw Ann, I thought "hottie!" Then, she opened her mouth...

Reminds me of Prussian Blue, pretty to look at, until the performance begins...

Ann with her mouth closed? There's still that scowl...

As for her "message," what message?