"When Right-Wing Fembots Attack"

By Charles Taylor

By Salon Staff
Published June 28, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

[Read the story.]

Thank you, thank you, thank you for outing Ann Coulter as the tunnel-visioned, half-smart, bile-spewing person that she is. Bravo!

-- Mark Solomon

Charles Taylor's review of Ann Coulter's new book is proof positive that everything Ann wrote about in her book is 100 percent accurate.

-- Abel Keogh

I am so grateful that some of the media is beginning to hold the Ann Coulter types accountable for the often hate-filled lies and half-truths that they spew. Just because Ms. Coulter can get her tripe published, does not (and should not) give her the automatic credibility and free pass that she assumes. I applauded Katie Couric and then Mike Barnicle for conducting the kind of hard-hitting interview with her that counters her false accusations with fact. It was incredible TV and she simply crumbled. Mr. Taylor has shown that print journalists can also still rise to the occasion and demand the facts from those who seek to manipulate the public with half-truths, exaggerations and outright lies.

-- Gayle Miller

What a load of hypocritical tripe! First, Coulter is taken to task on charges of factual distortion and incompleteness. And then the author follows with: "I don't know the social background of Coulter, Ingraham, Conway or Pinto, but I've encountered their type before." Ah, their type. No need to do any research or, you know, a simple interview. Just argue from the stereotype.

Of course, no one at Salon would have the cojones to note that a fair number of the heavies on the right do not come from simple suburban, country-club backgrounds. Hayek was a refugee from the Nazis, Rand from the Communists. Nixon came from the humblest of backgrounds, and even William F. Buckley Jr., while certainly a child of privilege, is also the son of a revolutionary. Regardless of one's own beliefs, the attempt to reduce the sophisticated, nuanced philosophical system we know as conservatism to a conspiracy of argyle socks and school ties is absurd, vulgar, cheap and dishonest. Perhaps one day we'll be treated to a lecture on Hillary Clinton's world-on-a-platter background, or a tsk-tsk for children of privilege named Kennedy.

-- Kevin D. Williamson

I began reading Taylor's article on Ann Coulter with some trepidation -- and the "blond bimbo" stuff almost made me stop entirely (is that really relevant to evaluating someone's ideas?). But I'm glad I kept reading, because overall, Taylor hits the nail on the head.

It's about time for conservatives to stop complaining about a lack of conservative voices in the media. There are enough easily accessible conservative news sources out there now to make this complaint out-of-date. That's not to say that media bias shouldn't be pointed out when it occurs (on either side), but saying that there are no conservative voices out there is crap.

Taylor's also right to point out that Coulter, who specializes in invective and polemic, shouldn't complain about political tactics. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

There are reasonable voices on both sides of the aisle and I applaud Taylor for emphasizing that fact -- especially in an online journal that increasingly seems to disagree.

-- David Bzdak

Thanks for your evisceration of Ann Coulter's book. I had no idea who she was until I read your review, and now I'm glad I've never encountered her (there's a lot to be said for rarely using a TV).

What's amazing to me is that someone besides Rush Limbaugh holds the view that liberals are completely incapable of rational thought.

If someone who was raised a conservative and grows up to espouse conservative views considers American liberals -- many of whom, like me, were raised in extremely conservative families -- unable to think, then what exactly does this person consider thought to be?

Upon listening to Limbaugh, I've often wondered what would happen if you substituted the word "liberal" with "black" or "Jew." The result, I think, would be the most unapologetic hate speech in the history of radio.

It's good that somebody on our side is rebutting this country-club notion that the only good thought is one of their thoughts.

-- Lou Schuler

My, what an exceptionally well-thought-out rebuttal to the arguments of the Idiot of the Month, Typewriter Division. Was it really necessary to spend the time reviewing Coulter's book? Anyone who would care is already familiar with her "writings" and well aware of her non-status as anything but face candy for the (psychotically) far right. What next, a thorough deconstruction of the speeches of Dan Quayle? "News flash: He might be a dumbass!" And why the gratuitous attack on Chomsky? It does nothing for the author's credibility, and in fact undermines it severely. I mean, why use the relatively obscure term "quisling?" You couldn't come right out and say "traitor"? Too blunt, too direct, or just too obviously a gross mischaracterization of the type we would expect from, well ... ?

We all should have the integrity and courage to question our government's motives and actions as ceaselessly and thoroughly as Chomsky; someone attempting to establish the intellectual high ground should know that, or expose himself as little better than the fraud he so pointlessly rails against. Of course, I guess Chomsky could spend his time trying to put together scathing reviews of second-tier wannabe celebrity non-thinkers. Did Salon have an office pool to see who got to slap the Coulter book around? What next, a "McCarthyism is still wrong" column? "Racism is bad, really bad" could be another winner for you guys; should be a truly stunning exposé.

-- Michael Huff

As a conservative, and a woman, I've often cringed at Ann Coulter's more bizarre effusions. As a personality, she is like Roseanne, only not funny. But for a woman who peevishly denounces feminism on general principles, she doesn't seem to realize that if she looked like Roseanne she'd never speak on TV or get away with her more hallucinatory rants. Although I agree with the general tone of Taylor's article, I must complain about his adolescent comments about Coulter's "getting her thong in a bunch." Coulter's defenders will seize this sentence to discredit Taylor's entire article and declare him a petty, nasty, misogynistic, arrested adolescent. Given this and his earlier articles (e.g., The Golden Age of Porn") they'd likely be right.

-- Lillie Wade

Legitimate conservatives have virtually nothing in common with right-wing teleschmucks like Ann Coulter. Yet few are willing to challenge the right's claim to be a conservative movement instead of a radical reactionary movement. And most interviewers are content to let the most egregious distortions of reality go unchallenged.

Katie Couric, of all people, took Coulter apart with a smile and a dagger this morning. In an interview that exposed the total lack of intellectual integrity that permeates Coulter's writings, Coulter's general nastiness also stood out for all to see.

Katie's ire was the result of Coulter's personal attacks on her, so journalistic principle did not exactly triumph. Still, whatever motivates anyone to expose a jerk as a jerk is a good thing.

I recall reading several months ago that Coulter was complaining about how hard it was to get a date in Washington. As I mentioned in a personal note to Charles Taylor, I cannot imagine this woman ever getting laid.

-- Robert Benjamin

It was disconcerting to read an article on Salon with a blatantly chauvinistic attempt at humor for a title. "When Right-Wing Fembots Attack" was a delightful dismissal of Coulter's work, but what bothered me was the dismissal of her because she is a woman.

As if being a sexy young woman means one can somehow not have political beliefs. There is a prevailing attitude on the left that all women and minorities are (or damn well should be) leftists, and that if they aren't they have betrayed their sex, race, class, sexuality, ad nauseum. This sort of rhetoric insists that only straight white Christian men have the mental ability to distinguish political positions and take a stand. The rest of us must follow like sheep. As a queer leftist, I'm ashamed to be part of a movement that would espouse such a foul belief. There is much about Coulter to despise (far more than there is to admire, certainly) but attacking her as a woman is, come to think of it, pretty reactionary.

-- Joshua Gibson

I note that in Coulter's dismissive passage about the Selma march she states that it occurred "35 years ago." You would think that someone bored by endless reminiscences of the event would know that it took place in 1965 -- 37 years ago by my count.

-- Michael Gentile

Salon Staff

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