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Can Ann Coulter Be Stopped?
What To Do About Polarizing Figures Who’ve Staked Their Reputations On Disrepute

Although we can???t always shake the nasty habit of writing in the royal we, occasionally one of our editors decides to shake off the cloak of anonymity to write a short, pithy statement long, rambling diatribe about a topic of their choice. Today, Debbie Newman is that editor.

Pot-stirring pundit (and brazen book self-promoter) Ann Coulter is no stranger to causing controversy—in fact, most conscientious observers would agree she’s made a fairly lucrative career out of it. And last week was certainly no exception. After dropping by the otherwise irrelevant Donny Deutsch show*, ostensibly to discuss her new book, Coulter had tongues of all races, ethnicities and party affiliations wagging over her calm, methodical and, doubtless, premeditated statement that the Jews need to be “perfected.”

Another day, another firestorm by –and for – Ann Coulter.

Or, put another way, in the unlikely event that Coulter keeps a journal [Ed: Admittedly, a rather antiquated practice more conducive to opinionated adolescent girls—and Julia Allison—than to polemic right-wingers] her entry for that day would have read something along the lines of:

“Dear Diary…Jackpot.”

Is Ann Coulter an Anti-Semite? Possibly, but first and foremost, she’s an opportunist. Which is to say, she’s also, at least to a certain degree, a capitalist. So rather than indulging her by buying what she’s selling (in this case, intentionally incendiary remarks about religion) put yourself in her pointy, high heeled shoes for a moment and reconsider this from an economic standpoint. What we have here is a glorified case of supply and demand—so long as Coulter’s critics keep chomping at the bit for a chance to tear her down in the press, she’ll continue to maintain some semblance of relevancy and, worse still, legitimacy.

In a sense, it’s no different than the all too frequent occurrence [Ed: Especially on planes] of a screaming toddler throwing a temper tantrum in order to get what she wants. But therein lies the dilemma. To give into the child’s whims is to give into the immediate external pressures—the disapproving glares from annoyed onlookers, the phone calls from your overbearing *insert appropriate ethnic stereotype* mother, the knee-jerk reactions from the offended parties—and reward her inappropriate behavior. To stand firm, however, is to sacrifice everyone’s immediate comfort for the sake of a long-term solution, an admirable endeavor, albeit one that most shortsighted adults [Ed: Again, especially on planes] often fail to appreciate.

So does that mean we should all pull a Cindi Leive, and simply ignore the minor unpleasantness until it dissipates on its own (i.e. stops hurling racial and ethnic slurs primarily in order to generate book sales?) Not necessarily, but perhaps it does mean the majority’s interests would be better served by downplaying Coulter’s importance in the mainstream media.**

In reality, however, that’s not how it works. Instead of downplaying Ann Coulter’s foible, Donny Deutsch (who, not incidentally, also stands to benefit greatly from the ensuing publicity bonanza) spoke to AdWeek recently to reiterate how personally “offended” he was by Coulter’s remarks and to remind us that he had the polarizing politico on the show “not to talk about politics but to talk about her brand strategy.” Which, depending on whether or not you believe him, either makes Deutsch an extremely naive individual, or, more likely, a liar—and therefore equally as agenda-driven as Coulter herself.

Not to be outdone, Coulter predictably fired back during an appearance on her favorite stomping grounds, The O’Reilly Factor, where she sniped, “I didn’t realize [Deutsch] was going to turn himself into the Al Sharpton of the Jews.”

Outrageously offensive? You’d better believe it. Of course, then again, that’s exactly what Coulter was going for. So the real question becomes, when does it all end? As for the answer—well, that all depends on one thing:

How patient are you when it comes to other people’s screaming children?

*Actual title: The Big Idea
**From this point onward.

Oct 16, 2007 · Link · Repond

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