Stephen Colbert vs. Ann Coulter

Adam Sternbergh has a long feature on comedian Stephen Colbert which is the cover story of the current New York Magazine. This part particularly stood out:

During one taping I attended, Colbert did a bit about eating disorders that ended with his addressing the camera and saying flatly, “Girls, if we can’t see your ribs, you’re ugly.” The audience laughed. I laughed. The line was obviously, purposefully outrageous. But it was weird to think that this no-doubt self-identified progressive-liberal crowd was howling at a line that, if it had been delivered verbatim by Ann Coulter on Today, would have them sputtering with rage.

In fact, here’s a list of statements by either Stephen Colbert or Ann Coulter. See if you can tell who said what (answers are at the end of the story):

1. “Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.”

2. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay. I have plenty of friends who are going to hell.”

3. “I just think Rosa Parks was overrated. Last time I checked, she got famous for breaking the law.”

4. “Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity, as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of ‘Kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and answer to the name Muhammad.’ ”

5. “I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Muslim, or Jewish. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.”

6. “[North Korea] is a major threat. I just think it would be fun to nuke them and have it be a warning to the rest of the world.”

7. “Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls?”

Of course, I’m not trying to equate Coulter with Colbert. For starters, Coulter is a shrill, abusive demagogue and Colbert just plays one on TV. But with Coulter, there’s always been a sturdy suspicion that she is playing a character (like Colbert) and amping up the obnoxious rhetoric for maximum effect (like Colbert).

I think that’s right. Coulter has gotten increasingly outrageous in recent years and, while that has led to polarization and alienation from many (like myself) who would naturally be in her camp on many issues were she not so extreme, she gets more popular with each increment of outrageousness. It’s simply difficult for me to believe that someone of Coulter’s intellect and education believes half the things that come out her mouth.

Quiz answers below the fold.


Answers: Coulter 1, 4, 6 Colbert 2, 3, 5, 7

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , ,
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.

Comments

  1. LEST WE FORGET: Coulter In Loafers Outside the Beltway quotes New York Magazine’s Adam Sternbergh’s reaction after Stephen Colbert ended a segment on eating disorder with the line “Girls, if we can’t see your ribs, you’re ugly.” Sternbergh writes: The audience laughed. I laughed. The line was obviously,

  2. Blogniscient says:

    Outside the Beltway | 10/10/2006 9:3:51 Continued… ________ Elsewhere: James Joyner, “Backdoor Draft?” TCS, 11 January 2005. OTB: Military Personnel, General Don’t Dumb Do… 17[IMG Right] Stephen Colbert vs. Ann Coulter

  3. legion says:

    Ummm… I haven’t had the chance to go through the whole source article, but does this guy not get satire?

    Part of Coulter’s whole schtick is that she comes across as insanely serious about what she says. Even if, as you say James, she doesn’t actually believe most of what she says, she’s not doing it for laughs. And that should still scare the hell out of us.

  4. James Joyner says:

    legion,

    True that. And, yes, Sternbergh gets that Colbert is doing satire: “For starters, Coulter is a shrill, abusive demagogue and Colbert just plays one on TV. “

  5. madmatt says:

    A spoof of a right winger is just that a spoof…does steven colbert think thin girls are ugly…who knows, do rightwingers in general think that women are meant to be subservient breeding tools…their comments sure seem to reflect that thought.

    I also notice that none of colberts jokes involve nuking largely innocent groups of people…that coulter…what a nut

  6. Timmer says:

    I’m thinking Coulter, Hannity, Malkin, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, all just do it for the shock value and ratings. I’ll watch them and go, “Yeah, okay, good, sounds reasonable…oh what the HELL?!” And when they started, I was right with them all…except for Rush, I always thought he was a liberal clowning on conservatives.

  7. JohnJ says:

    Ann Coulter is extreme? Well, one person’s extremist is another person’s suicide bomber.

  8. Michael says:

    legion is right, the fact that Coulter can suggest killing thousands, maybe even millions of people “just for fun” is frightening. Even more frightening is that she is saying these things because there are people out there, Americans no less, who agree with her!

    Why aren’t conservatives doing something about her? Conservatives who don’t try to stop that rhetoric are implicitly condoning it, and are just as bad as she is.

    (Fun exercise: Find the satire in this post)

  9. Name That Quote: Coulter or Colbert…

    James Joyner links to an interesting test. Click here and scroll up a little to take it…….

  10. timatotoro says:

    ann coulter is a media whore, she loves the spotlight and will say crazy things so she can be on tv.

  11. Bandit says:

    she doesn’t actually believe most of what she says, she’s not doing it for laughs.

    No – she’s doing it for money. She is a professional provocateur, a hyperbolist.

    do rightwingers in general think that women are meant to be subservient breeding tools…their comments sure seem to reflect that thought.

    Once again – you’re just projecting your usual stupidity