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