Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Monday, March 05, 2007
I Write Letters
Eric Alterman addresses the whole Ann Coulter-faggot controversy:
And on a similar subject, what is it about Ann Coulter that inspires people to behave so stupidly? (Hello, Time editors, TV bookers, book publishers with a scintilla of honor ...) I gotta say, this CPAC flap is really, really dumb. Everyone's playing their assigned Pavlovian role. Look, Coulter wanted her name in the media and she got it. She wanted liberals to look like prigs and she got it. How many times is it going to work when she says "Jump?" Look, the word "faggot" which is a word one hears in private conversation quite frequently; she just said it in public. It's bad manners, but what did you expect? Grow up, everyone. And let Coulter rot in solitude ... (or solitary, as the case may be).
I agree with Eric, particularly in his addressing the media. But I also disagree with him about liberals looking like "prigs". So I wrote him a letter:


I've got to disagree with you about how to handle Ann Coulter. Ignoring her would be the correct strategy if you were dealing with her one on one or even in a small group of friends. But, like it or not, she has a national forum with many true believers. When her idiocy isn't countered, loudly and even with excessive outrage, her comments not only reinforce the lizard brains of the rabid conservatives, but also insidiously permeates into the national consciousness.

We ignored Rush Limbaugh for years and look what that got us. The right-wing nutbars that were assumed to be in the "ignore-them-and-they'll-go-away camp has grown exponentially and have a larger voice than ever.

It's unfortunate, but muscularity is something to which voters respond. Liberals need to loudly denounce such behavior sending not only the message of condemnation, but also the message that if needed we can be just a pugilistic as idiots like Coulter. The only difference is that liberals will be appealing to people's fundamental good-will, not hate.