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By the Quality of Our Insults, They Shall Know Us

Debbie says

Ann Coulter, enraged right-wing demagogue, is an easy target, as are Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, enraged right-wing demagogues. They all trade in saying outrageous, infuriating, and intolerable things, and then basking in the outraged, infuriated, and often intolerant responses. However, because Coulter is female, she gets a whole different range of responses than the two comparable men.

A couple of weeks ago, Lindsay Beyerstein at
Majikthise blogged a defense of Coulter by “liberal” Elspeth Reeve in The New Republic. Beyerstein does a fine job of pointing out the rather twisted angle from which Reeve is defending Coulter, and finishes with the marvelous “Win the argument about reproductive freedom and suddenly a New Republic writer is talking about your ass.”

The point gets illustrated again not very far down the comment thread on the Majikthise post, when commenter Davis says, “Let’s get something straight: Ann Coulter is not attractive. (But you are, Lindsey, for what it’s worth)” As Alan Bostick (who also referred this post to us) points out in the next comment, now we’re talking about Lindsay’s ass.

Yawn. If you’re talking to a woman, you have to bring her attractiveness into the conversation. If you’re talking to a man, you never do that. So what else is new?

Well, this t-shirt (link not safe for work) may not be new, but I just learned about it this morning. I’m trying to imagine a comparable t-shirt with Rush Limbaugh’s name. I can’t imagine who would wear it. Hardly any woman will wear a shirt that says “Will somebody please fuck [this man]?” because it will sound like she’s volunteering. A man, however, can wear a shirt that says “Will somebody please fuck [this woman]?” because a) everybody has known since the 1920s at least that “the cure” calms women down; and b) if he was volunteering, he’d be a stud, not a fool. More yawn.

What makes this worth writing about? For me, the biggest point is this. Ann Coulter can rave and rant and carry on with as foul a mouth and as nasty an attitude as anyone else in the right-wing camp … and it doesn’t protect her one bit. It doesn’t protect her from comments about her ass in The New Republic, and you can be sure it doesn’t protect her from comments about her ass in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. No matter how out there she is politically, she’s going to be treated as a woman first and a barking-mad commentator second. And there’s nothing she can do about it. No wonder she’s angry. Hell, I’m angry on her behalf, and I can’t stand her.

The best thing we can do for Ann Coulter is the best thing we can do for each other — respond to words and not chromosomes. If her enemies did this consistently and respectfully, who knows what would happen?


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6 Responses to “By the Quality of Our Insults, They Shall Know Us”

  1. Dan'l Says:

    The Ann Coulter snipes are of the same quality as the old “Nuclear Reactors are better built than Jane Fonda” slogan. (I once observed to a bearer of that slogan that I knew perfectly well which I’d rather spend the night with. It was funny at the time but perhaps ill considered.)

    You’re dead on that nobody would put up that slogan about Rush Limbaugh. The idea that a bitchy woman’s bitchiness comes from her lack of sexual satisfaction seems to go back at least to Freud, and is why I finally had to stop reading Michael Moorcock.

    The closest thing I’ve ever seen to that line addressed to a man was Robin Williams’s remark to an uptight officer in Good Morning Vietnam: “You are in worse need of a blow job than any white man in the history of the world.”

  2. Siobhan Says:

    For bonus points throw in a little transphobia and compare her appearance to a “drag queen” or “she-male”.

    That kind of shit makes me want to tell people to get the hell off my side.

  3. Lynne Murray Says:

    Dan’l, thanks for the laugh–two laughs actually, my coffee is still kicking in and I first read the Williams remark as directed to God, then I reconsidered, drank more coffee, read it again correctly and laughed again. Not much to add–oppressed groups are always being put down by being reminded that they (we) are less than human, property, existing only to serve or service. It’s schoolyard humor one step removed from rock throwing.

  4. Adrian Says:

    One other exception to the usual pattern is, “Won’t somebody give W. a blowjob already so we can impeach him?” I’ve heard women say that, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see a woman wearing it on a t-shirt. You’re right that it’s almost always the other way around, with men joking about the need for an unspecified someone to have sex with a disliked woman.

  5. Lynne Murray Says:

    The sexual politics of insults is so complicated. I had an old (as in born in 1919) female radical friend who used to say, “Fuck him! Or rather don’t fuck him.”

  6. janet lafler Says:

    I know a man who has as bumper sticker on his car that says “Will someone please give George Bush a blow job, so we can get him impeached?” Or something to that effect.

    Did the New Republic article comment on Coulter’s ass? The comment from tNR that Lindsey refers to was about “fat feminists,” not about Coulter. Nevertheless, it is certainly true that lots of Ann Coulter haters stoop to insulting her looks and attacking her as a sexual object or in sexual terms. This would probably happen anyway, but it’s certainly fueled by the way that Coulter tries to make hay out of her own supposed attractiveness and insult other women’s looks and sexuality. I am not saying that she has therefore “invited” this sort of attack; what I’m saying is more like “she started it.” Nevertheless, it’s obviously a stupid level on which to combat her. I don’t care what she looks like: I just wish she would fall into a deep hole. [Note: that was not meant to be a sexual metaphor.]

    I’m dubious that the best thing to do is “respond to words, not chromosomes.” I’m not sure if there’s any effective way to respond to someone like Coulter (or Limbaugh, or Savage). And frankly, I don’t think responding “respectfully” is warranted: in my opinion, none of them deserve to be treated with respect. But responding with sexual insults just demeans US.

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