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Saturday, June 17, 2006

What is it about Anne Coulter?

There is something about Anne Coulter that drives some people nuts. There is, of course, the Left which is the object of her ridicule and invective. But you really don’t have to drive them nuts, they have already reached that destination all by themselves.

But there are those on the Right or Libertarian part of the spectrum that really, really don’t like Anne. Her first UNFORGIVABLE SIN was referring to the “Jersey Girls” as witches who “enjoyed the deaths of their husbands.” In this case this metaphor was interpreted literally. The detractors did not even try to deny that these women used the shield of their widowhood to accuse anyone who disagreed with them of impiety while they bled all over the media attacking George Bush.

But here is Dorothy Rabinowitz (no bomb thrower she) in the Opinion Journal on the Jersey Girls:

Who, listening to them, would not be struck by the fact that all their fury and accusation is aimed not at the killers who snuffed out their husbands' and so many other lives, but at the American president, his administration, and an ever wider assortment of targets including the Air Force, the Port Authority, the City of New York? In the public pronouncements of the Jersey Girls we find, indeed, hardly a jot of accusatory rage at the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. We have, on the other hand, more than a few declarations like that of Ms. Breitweiser, announcing that "President Bush and his workers . . . were the individuals that failed my husband and the 3,000 people that day."
For daring to counterattack this garbage, Anne Coulter is under attack and the Jersey Girls are deified - spotless media virgins speaking truth to power. Rubbish.

And now we have the “nuclear option” being employed. Anne is being accused of anti-Semitism for describing Monica Lewinski as Jewish. Oh the humanity! There are some things that you can’t say in America today: the “N” word (unless you’re Black) and you cannot call a Jewish girl Jewish.

Which brings up the question: why? Oh, Anne is a spear thrower. It’s what she does. But why are so many parts of the “visible” Libertarian/Right so afraid of spear throwers? Are they what Tom Wolfe once deliciously described as that fabled “Victorian Gent?”

They would probably describe themselves as defenders of universal standards. In Biblical terms they do not wish to be seen as hypocrites. As the Bible says: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, But considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? “ So they would maintain that they are disassociating themselves with Anne before she fouls their nests and they are seen to be associated with people who call other people names.

That is a logical and even a principled position. But in it’s not a position with which I wish to be associated. Not in this case, and not for the reasons given.

First, because the objections to Anne’s words are in bad faith. They require not just a strained interpretation of her words, but they have to be taken in the worst possible light. And having lost the fight over the Jersey Girls, to bring up an accusation of anti-Semitism based on Anne’s description of Monica Lewinski is simply slander.

Which gets back to the question of motivation. Patterico has made a virtual internet career over criticism of the LA Times. It’s fun and often correct. He lives for the too infrequent correction and gleefully prints his correspondence with their ombudsman. I have enjoyed reading him. But I suspect he craves their approval. He wants to convert them and be told he is right. And for that reason, he must distance himself from critics who really don’t care for the conversion or approval of the kind of people who write for the LA Times.

Amateur psychoanalysis? Perhaps. But if Patterico can keep asking the question of why Anne used “Jewish” to describe Monica Lewinski, it’s fair for me to ask why he has this obsession with Anne, and why he wants to make it perfectly clear that he believes she is an anti-Semitic witch.

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