Ann Coulter is not the Lone Haranguer riding bravely through the night to yell up at the castle, "The king is a fink!"
She works for the fink.
Coulter is a wholly-owned subsidy of the Republican Right, stamped with the Karl Rove seal of approval. Her job isn't to humble the king; it's to help the king keep the peasants in line.
One of the ways she does that is the same way that Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and the rest of the Right Wing bully boys and blowhards in the media and on the blogs do it---she stirs up their anger and resentment at the wrong targets.
She encourages them to hate people like the 9/11 widows for their truth-telling so that they don't listen to the widows and start saying things like, "Hey, you know what, Bush did sit there like a lox that day. And he did have a memo a month before warning him that Al Qaeda was planning attacks that involved hijacking airplanes. And he really hasn't done anything since to protect us except start an unnecessary war and use and manipulate our fear for his own political gain!"
Ann Coulter gets them to say instead, "Yeah, those women are glad their husbands are dead!"
The outrageous lies, vulgarity, and plain, open hatred that define Coulter's schtick are ok in Reeve's book because everything Coulter says is "kind of true."
That's why Liberals can't stand her, Reeve thinks, because we're uncomfortable with that little bit she says that's "kind of" true.
Reeve is accepting a definition of humor and satire that would have it that a joke is funny because it's kind of true.
But the mark of great humor and satire and a good joke is that they are wholly true, true through and through. Swift, and Hogarth, Dickens, Mark Twain, Walt Kelly, and company didn't draw and write stuff that's "kind of" true.
It's "kind of true" that some Jews are cheap, that some Irishmen drink and fight too much, that some Poles are dumb, that some black people and Mexicans are lazy, that some women are castrating shrews and battleax fishwives.
But ethnic jokes don't attack cheapness, drinking and fighting, stupidity, laziness, or castration. They attack Jews, the Irish, Poles, blacks, Hispanics, and women.
The object is to define "the other," make them objects of derision and contempt, in order to justify treating them as others and excluding them from any definition of "fellow human being."
Coulter tells the political equivalent of ethnic jokes.
When the subject is Muslims, she tells the ethnic joke equivalent of ethnic jokes.
Defending Coulter's attacks on the 9/11 widows, Reeve writes, that what Coulter says is again "kind of true."
It is a little absurd to hold up a person as an expert judge of the 9/11 Commission Report, for example, just because she lost a loved one.
Yes, it would be absurd, if those women had not made themselves experts on the 9/11 Commission Report, if they had not in fact been the ones who pushed and pushed and pushed until there was a 9/11 Commission to issue a report, if it had not been the case that if those women hadn't worked as hard and as intelligently and as expertly as they did, then George Bush and Company would have gotten their way and there'd have been no Commission, no report, no investigation at all, even the half-baked one that we had.
That's why the Bush Leaguers hate the widows. That's why Coulter attacked them. To discredit them, to distract the peasants from the widows' expertise and the truth---not the "kind of" truth, the real whole truth---they were speaking to power.
Reeve accepts Coulter's explanation that she wasn't criticizing the widows themselves, just the way Liberals use sympathy for the widows to try exempt them from criticism and stifle debate.
Reeve says it's "kind of" true that Liberals do this. But what's more than "kind of true" is that not just Liberals but lots of Americans aren't trying to talk about the widows, they're trying to talk about the 9/11 Commission's report and the many and various failures of George W. Bush, which the Bush Leaguers don't want us to do, and so they've sent out their propagandists, like Ann Coulter, to change the subject in order to deflect the criticism and shut down the debate.
What's not "kind of" true but all true is that it has been the Bush Administration and its flunkys and apologists in Congress and in the Media who have been using emotional responses to 9/11 to shut down debate.
Criticize the President and you're a traitor giving aid and comfort to terrorists.
Object to the Radical Christian Right's attempts to outlaw freedom of choice and women's autonomy, replace science in school with superstitious twaddle, deny gay people status as citizens, and generally force a backwards cult of male authoritarianism they call Christianity on the whole country, and you're Godless.
Suggest in any way that the Republican Right wing agenda's not a boon and a gift to the nation and you're a liar, a malicious slanderer, who can only be properly argued with while holding a baseball bat.
All of this seems to have escaped Elspeth Reeve's notice.
Because what Elspeth Reeve likes about Ann Coulter is that Ann Coulter reminds her of Elspeth Reeve.
For six months, I was the only liberal on Line Three. It was in an assembly line in a small town in a dark red state, and I worked the second shift with mandatory overtime, which meant the only humans I ever saw were my fellow button-pushers and sticker-application specialists. The choice between soul-searching monotony and political shouting matches was not a hard one to make, especially after September 11. And, to avoid being trampled by the majority, I had to play dirty, to use the kinds of lines that kill political careers: about coat hangers, say, or about how Jesus was a liberal. It always helped to have a few seconds of stunned silence to let my point sink in.
I love Ann Coulter because, in her, I see a loudmouth on the assembly line, fighting not to be squished and whittled and boxed into the shape Washington seems to think fits a girl just right.
Ok, how a fawned over and flattered multimillionare TV star who apparently can't say anything outrageous enough to lose herself a gig or a book contract is like a young assembly line worker being harrassed (sexually as well as politically, it turns out) by a gang of angry male co-workers needs to be better explained to me.
Doesn't seem even "kind of" true.
But what hasn't dawned on Reeve is that those angry male co-workers of hers were almost certainly getting their arguments, their "facts," and their style of "debate"---yelling punctuated by snorts of derision and angry, dismissive laughter---from the Right Wing blowhards and bully boys in the media. And they were doing what they'd learned to do from the blowhards and bully boys, shout down your critics instead of engaging with them in rational debate, insult and humiliate them as a way of keeping uppity little snots like Reeve in their place.
In short, the men Reeve was "arguing" with were parroting what they'd heard on TV and talk radio.
Which means that Reeve, defender of her heroine Ann Coulter, was in a way being attacked and put in her place by...