Back in 2002, I had sketched out a joint review of David Brock‘s “BLINDED BY THE RIGHT: THE CONSCIENCE OF AN EX-CONSERVATIVE” and Ann Coulter‘s “SLANDER: LIBERAL LIES ABOUT THE AMERICAN RIGHT,” two books which I read within a few months of each other. I had met both authors in the early 1990s, ironically our initial introductions were through meetings (albeit at different events) of the same organization, the Federalist Society.
Nearly three years ago, I had determined not to write the review because I feared its publication might cause me to be labeled a conservative, which, more often than not, is the kiss of death for aspiring screenwriters in Hollywood. Now, of course, I realize I would rather be honest about who I am than cover up my political beliefs in order to achieve success in Tinseltown.
Both authors undermined the valid points they were making by engaging in polemics to appeal to partisan audiences. Brock attempted to use his anecdotes of the zeal of certain conservatives to bring down President Clinton as a broadside against all conservatives. Coulter turned a book with a smart and well-researched first chapter on liberal misrepresentations of–and diatribes against–conservatives into her own diatribe against liberals. In his book, Brock used too many liberal clich?s about conservatism (which anyone who has spent fifteen minutes reading intelligent conservative magazines or blogs could easily debunk). Coulter engaged in the same sort of name-calling she appeared to decry in her initial chapter.
Now, Ms. Coulter is complaining that in her photo on the cover of a recent issue of “TIME” magazine, “my feet are the size of the Atlantic Ocean, and my head is the size of a tiny little ant.” For someone who spends so much time mocking those on the left, her whining seems a little petty.
When I met Ann, I was impressed with her intelligence and wit. She was not only one of the brightest young lawyers I had met while involved in Federalist, she was also one of the quickest on her feet, better able to argue her points than many who outshone her in legal analysis. But, even then, I could see her developing the persona which she would later ride to great success, the attractive, leggy blond who skewered those on the left, often by making outrageous comments.
Ms. Coulter has made a career out of being alarmed and victimized by alleged liberal media bias — so much so that her professions now of having been rooked by the editors of Time have a ring of phoniness. But that’s not the point. Of course she must play-act at being offended by Time’s treatment of her — otherwise it would shatter her carefully-constructed media persona and lay bare the reality that she’s a media-driven caricature of a serious intellectual, one who thrives on the spotlight and who would shrivel and die without it.
(FYI, for those who want some of the best insight into politics not available on the web, I highly recommend the Journal’s Political Diary to which I have subscribed for more than a year.)
Coulter often offers trenchant analysis of media bias and liberal posturing. I have referenced her on occasion (here for example). But, sometimes she goes too far. I wish the last 100 or so pages of her book “SLANDER” had been as sharp as the first 27.
I know Ann to be a bright person and an original thinker. Let’s hope that in the future she gets beyond the media persona she has so carefully constructed and realizes her full potential as one of the sharpest conservative pundits. Not only would she help further the debate, by better promoting the ideas she favors while better debunking those she opposes, she might also improve her own image across the political spectrum. For while a healthy number of conservatives, this blogger among them, share her general political philosophy, more often than not, we find her media persona a little hard to take.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com