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Wednesday, March 07, 2007
An Overlooked Example of Coulter Defending Anti-Gay Hate
Right after Ann Coulter made the "faggot" comment at the CPAC conference, many commentators and bloggers dug up some of Coulter's other homophobic comments such as her calling Al Gore "a total fag"(AndrewSullivan has a thoughtful article on why the "faggot" comment was so hurtful).
Comments like that are bad but nothing compared to something I caught in my review of Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right. If you're not familiar with this blog, here's a little background: I got an advance copy of Slander before it was released and discovered that Coulter lied through her teeth in the book. I announced this on this blog and other bloggers joined in and fact-checked the book and found more errors and outright misrepresentations in the book(here's a newspaper story on our efforts) I created this separate blog to address Slander. Our efforts culminated in an article in the Columbia Journalism Review that took Coulter to task (unfortunately, most of the supposedly liberal mainstream media didn't notice because Coulter's pathetic excuse for a book received good reviews from the New York Times,Washington Post, and the LA Times).
Back to Coulter and homophobia: here's what she wrote in the first chapter of Slander (to buttress her premise that "[e]ven Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do”):
In the wake of an attack on America committed by crazed fundamentalist Muslims, Walter Cronkite denounced Jerry Falwell. Falwell, it seems, had remarked that gay marriage and abortion on demand may not have warmed the heart of the Almighty. Cronkite proclaimed such a statement "the most abominable thing I’ve ever heard."
The problem is that this claim is just another example of Coulter playing fast and loose with the facts. In fact, what Cronkite had denounced were Falwell's now-infamous statements on Pat Robertson's 700 Club program two days after the 9/11 attacks in which he partially blamed that attacks on a variety of groups such as the ACLU, the People for the American Way, and family planning groups. Contrary to Coulter's claim, Falwell didn't mention gay marriage but he did include gays and lesbians as also being part of the reason that God supposedly lifted "the curtain [of protection to] allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve" (quick note on Falwell: talk about blaming America first!).
When I think about Coulter's whitewashing of Falwell's almost universally condemned diatribe, it lead me to several conclusions: 1) The people who paid good money for this book and remembered what Falwell actually said and still take Coulter seriously are sheep; 2) Did the reviewers who gave the book a good review catch this? 3) Did Coulter's gay friends take her up on this?
Having it Both Ways
What I find particularly noxious about Coulter's defense of Falwell is that she was lying to defend things she doesn't agree with. Coulter is an urban cosmopolitan who has many gay friends. She plays to the homophobic right because they buy books and tickets to her public speaking events. Coulter is a good example of a closet tolerant--someone who exhibits homophobia for political or economic gain. With both the Falwell whitewash and the faggot comment, she did it for political and economic reasons: to bash a liberal and to generate controversy that would lead to more book sales.
It isn't just the issue of homosexuality that Coulter is a closet tolerant. Coulter is a party girl. In my book, there is nothing wrong with this: I sometimes go to ridiculous extremes for a great party. It's just that I don't piously accuse my political opponents of being against chastity. Coulter courts the puritan right but lives a party girl lifestyle from the book sales and lecture fees. For instance, I noted that for spring break, Coulter will be hanging with the people who were instrumental in destroying Fort Lauderdale as a spring break destination. Coulter reminds me of members of the Saudi royal family who live a decadent lifestyle but who impose a strict lifestyle choices on others. It just sucks.