Ann Coulter: Unusable and Not Funny

Townhall has published the Ann Coulter column that USA Today “spiked because it was ‘unusable’ and ‘not funny.'” Frankly, while it’s usable (for, say, lining bird cages) it’s not funny. It’s the same tired, worn-out cliches and insults that have been going around for years:

Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazoned with the “F-word” are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling.

Democrats are constantly suing and slandering police as violent, fascist racists — with the exception of Boston’s police, who’ll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they’ll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs.

Those things were mildly funny in, say, 1972.

Human Events has USA Today‘s editorial comments on the column, which, I must admit, are rather dense in their own right. For example, with respect to the passage quoted above, they respond:



They’ve never encountered irony before, apparently. Still, as Michele Catalano, also responding to the first paragraph, notes

It’s a simple paragraph like that which will cause me to run screaming from the conservative base. A few days ago I said that liberalism is the new elitism. Perhaps I misspoke. Maybe extremism is the new elitism, on either side. Coulter’s piece – and just that one paragraph is enough to make my point – reeks of “better than you” attitude. Basically, she is saying that Democrats are ugly and vulgar while conservatives are beautiful, religious patriots. No matter how much you want to believe that, it’s just a ridiculous notion.

There’s a fine line between withering sarcasm and bitter vitriol. Coulter is a talented writer and occasionally gets off some good lines. Too often, though, she has all the subtlety of Michael Moore.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, Media, Policing, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    And yet I’m fairly confident USA Today won’t spike anything Mikey submits.

  2. carpeicthus says:

    Man I wish they’d run that. It would have turned far more swing voter to the Dem side than the entire convention.

  3. Jeremiah says:

    Ugh, Coulter’s column is a disaster; she piles harpy-like sarcasm on like a kid with a butter knife and a jar of Peter Pan. Her exceedingly cancerous venom for the Left is starting to rankle those of us on the right who are not into poorly written shrill screeds. This column is designed for one thing: inflammation of an already inflamed right-wing fringe. This sort of diatribe does not make for healthy discussion.

  4. Bithead says:

    If being an over the top bomb-tosser is the limitation, then shall we discuss how many articles about Rotundo Moore, USA TODAY has spiked?

    I grant the column in question is arguably not her best effort… However, The more important issue here is not the quaility of Coulter’s column, or lack of it. Rather, the bias within Useless Toady.

    I will be watching with some interest to see if Jonah Goldberg, her replacement, comes off a bit more reined in than usual. I would take that as an indication of the basis of Gannet’s objections to Coulter.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    Again, the test is what happens when it’s Moore’s turn.

  6. dw says:

    Hey, someone else who didn’t get the column….

    This whole column reminded me of James Watt’s “black, two Jews, and a cripple” remark from before a bunch of you were born. Thing is, that comment was actually kind of funny. Offensive out the wazzoo, but funny. You can see the irony.

    Coulter, though, doesn’t seem to really understand what irony is. Definition 2 from Webster’s:

    “A sort of humor, ridicule, or light sarcasm, which adopts a mode of speech the meaning of which is contrary to the literal sense of the words.”

    Is she implying that Dem women aren’t unwashed hippies? Is she implying that the Dems and the police have a good relationship? No. The place I can see any true irony is where she’s comparing GOP women to Dem women, saying that GOP women are better looking than the Dems. There, though, the contrast breaks down when she starts into the hippie part.

    USA Today said “I don’t get it.” I have to agree. She’s trying way, way too hard. And the commenters screaming “Michael Moore!” need to put down the straw man and walk away.

  7. McGehee says:

    Strawman? USA Today hired Michael Moore to be the anti-Coulter at the Republican convention.

    Try to keep up.

  8. Kathy says:

    I agree that the USA Today editors seem dim. But the editorial comments you site are valid. If Coulter is claiming that Democrats sue the police and the editors don’t think that’s true, they should question it. As for the question of who turns into a fascist pig, this is a challenge to Coulter’s sloppy writing, which seems to say the Dems turn into fascist pigs. Read it closely:

    “… who’ll be lauded as national heroes right up until the Democrats pack up and leave town on Friday, whereupon they’ll revert to their natural state of being fascist, racist pigs.”

    Any professional writer would catch this as ambiguous – leaving the reader to interpret who turns into pigs.

    Other editorial comments did make them look slow witted and biased, though. I think Coulter, with whom I disagree, did a sloppy job here. It’s not the content that got her kicked, it’s the writing.

  9. McGehee says:

    Kathy, I had no trouble recognizing whom were supposed to turn into “fascist, racist pigs” — the parallel to the “fascist, racist” line earlier in the same paragraph may be an imperfect echo (I would have made the echo more faithful to the original, or added “pigs” to the original), but I would certainly assume most readers would catch it.

    I have to wonder why neither option occurred to the editor?

  10. The Sanity Inspector says:

    Coulter’s problem is that she tries too hard. She tries to make every sentence a hay-maker. She should learn (again?) to trust the power of the simple declarative sentence.