Friday, October 12, 2007

Ann Coulter, Perfect

Idiot. Normally I don't watch or listen to talk shows, nor do I pay much attention to what Ann Coulter says, unless I read about her inane opinions elsewhere. In this case, I followed a link from today's post by Laila Lalami to a transcript of Coulter's interview with Donny Deutsch on his CNBC show "The Big Idea" last Monday. I could not believe it. Just as Deutsch kept pressing Coulter to clarify her statements to the effect that Jews need to be "perfected" by becoming Christians, I kept reading through the transcript trying to figure out if my eyes were deceiving mein other words, trying to figure out if, at any time during the interview, she'd made a statement that would make sense to an intelligent person.
Now I want to be fair. I couldn't find the actual word "need" in her statements in the transcript. However, it does start off with this startling exchange:
DEUTSCH: Christian -- so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?
COULTER: Yes.
DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?
COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?
Later, in response to Deutsch's attempt to compare her to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the head of Iran, she clarifies as follows:
COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.
DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?
Are these the dumbest things she's ever said or written? Not even close. Do I think she's as bad as Ahmadinejad? Not really. But did her statements take her down a rhetorical path well-travelled by anti-semites? Absolutely! I love the last lines of the transcript:
DEUTSCH: You said -- your exact words were, "Jews need to be perfected." Those are the words out of your mouth.
COULTER: No, I'm saying that's what a Christian is.
DEUTSCH: But that's what you said -- don't you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic --
COULTER: No!
DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You're an educated woman. How do you not see that?
COULTER: That isn't hateful at all.
DEUTSCH: But that's even a scarier thought.
I like to call these attempts by media arch-conservatives to communicate their ideas "close encounters of the sixth, seventh, or eighth kind" (according to Wikipedia, first through fifth are taken), which I define respectively as "An entity is observed, but no intelligent activity is reported in the area at that time", "An entity is observed, but the subject (observer, listener, viewer) experiences some kind of 'unintelligible or incoherent communication' ", and "Attempted abduction of intelligence by alien entities in the form of right-wing media pundits". Note that, unlike other classes of alien sightings and encounters, these can be observed with high frequency by large numbers of humans under ordinary conditions.

7 Comments:

Blogger sieglinde said...

I hate Ann Cunter. I mean Coulter.


*See comment in previous blog post.

October 12, 2007 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Much as I hate to support someone who's views (I assume) are as misguided as the rest of the religious right, I am forced to say that she wouldn't be much of a Christian if she didn't think that EVERYONE is imperfect before they accept Christ. How can a person believe that one way is the only way to salvation without believing that all other ways are wrong? It was not an anti-semitic comment, since it was directed towards a group's religious choice, not their birthright. The same thing goes for all non-CHristians. She might even have thought she was paying Jews a compliment. They share the history of the OT with the Christians, and therefore have a head start. Just one little step from perfection.

I'm "allowed" to say this, since my father is Jewish (as I've mentioned), making me (historically, at least) equally qualified for extermination if the wrong people ever are in charge again.

Oh, and hello here for the first time.

October 18, 2007 at 4:43 AM  
Blogger Zalman Paktorowicz said...

Jeanne:

I believe you are qualified not only by having a Jewish parent but also by being a generally intelligent and sensitive person.

I agree her comments are an actual reflection of fundamental Christian beliefs, but not all Christians, not even all fundamentalist Christians, would have the nerve to give voice to them on a TV show with a Jewish host and a potential audience of millions (not sure how many actually watch "Big Idea"). I've heard or read all of these things before, especially in "recruitment" material particularly directed at Jews, which I usually find only mildly offensive to downright amusing. I, for one, am quite happy that we are no longer simply given the choice of baptism or death.

It's fair enough to admit that Christians and Jews are tied together by the OT, which gives us a "special" status from the Christian point of view; it doesn't help that the OT already gives Jews a "special" status as the "Chosen People", which some of us have been, and still are, altogether too willing to accept. In any case we are quite separated by the NT, which gives Jews another kind of "special" status. Historically, as you know, the latter has been a bit of a problem; and this history is something Jews carry around with them wherever they go. My personal feeling is that I want nothing to do with being special in any of these senses, and I believe the average assimilated European or American Jew is not particularly interested in it either (although my assumption could be wrong). Anyway, I would think that Coulter might be educated enough to be aware of all this.

She is, of course, entitled to say whatever she likes, just as it is other people's right to express their indignation. The real problem with her, and people like her, in my humble opinion, is that they live off assumptions about other people, and are insensitve to the possibility that they might be incorrect, even after having their assumptions unambiguously contradicted (of course this isn't a disease exclusively of the right wing). I thought a case in point was Coulter's stated assumption during the interview that Deutsch isn't religious in his Jewishness; then, having been alerted this might not be the case, she still forges ahead and assumes he wouldn't be offended by being asked to join her at church, not simply to be neighborly, but with the implication that he might be a real prospect for "perfection", if only he would show up and hear the "Word".

Of course we know what Coulter's really good at is stirring the pot, the main purpose of which is to sell her books.

& Thanks for dropping by!

October 19, 2007 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I am blissfully unaware if what Coulter is good at. We get your used Oprah Winfreys and Dr. Phils, and Sixty Minutes (no idea if it's new or used) goes once a week, but I can't bear to watch more than about five minutes of it, but no more than that without pay-cable or satelite.
In general, though, I think any secure person of any religion should be able to appreciate another person's attempt to bring them to God (if that indeed was her intention), rather than being offended.

October 19, 2007 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I blame the awful syntax of that last comment (and this one if necessary) on the fact that I should have gone to bed about two hours ago.

October 19, 2007 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Zalman Paktorowicz said...

I reserve the right to be offended (by Coulter).

What gives offense is quite relative, really. Some of my friends are offended that I even bothered to mention Ann Coulter in my blog.

Which doesn't mean I won't do it again.

October 20, 2007 at 4:03 PM  
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