Quick Take: Is Ann Coulter MissUnderstood?

People, I am asking for your prayers.   I need Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Apostles and all of the saints to intervene on my behalf.   Light a candle.  Douse me with holy water.  The laying on of hands will be greatly appreciated, for ladies and gentlemen, I have gone over to what I believe to be the dark side….

…I am developing an (albeit slight) empathy towards…Ann Coulter!!!

Yes, it is true.  This ” feeling ” developed during my regular morning viewing of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Prior to the broadcast, I had always viewed Coulter as a blond harpy in a cocktail dress who was in need of good sandwich and some weight-bearing exercise.   Coulter often gave me a headache with her shrill rhetoric.

But on the morning of June 28, something happened.

Joe Scarborough had the uberconservative provocateur on Morning Joe to give her side of the story regarding the now infamous dust-up between her and Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic Presidential candidate, John Edwards,  during the June 27 broadcast of Hardball with Chris Matthews .   During the show, Elizabeth Edwards asked Coulter to “stop the personal attacks” which included  suggesting that John Edwards should create a bumper sticker saying, “Ask me about my dead son.”

It seems that the controversy began with remarks Coulter made during a June 25 Good Morning America (GMA) appearance during which, according to published reports, Coulter said she wished Edwards “had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” 

But as Scarborough and co-host Willie Geist pointed out, Coulter’s comment may have been taken out of context.  

“…And this is what I am saying my friends:  Hey, if you are going to hate Ann Coulter, hate her for all the right reasons…,” implored Scarborough.  

Then they ran the GMA clip which showed the interview.

From the clip, it was easy to see that Coulter was referencing statement made by Bill Maher regarding Dick Cheney and used the Edwards’ remark to make a point about what she perceived to be the media’s  double standard.  

I often tell my students that words have power and context is everything. 

Case in point:  Recently, I sent my friend an email encouraging her to explore her God-given talent as a writer.  To drive my point home, I wrote in the subject line:  “Don’t Make Me Use My P**p Hand” (insert appropriate letters) emphasizing how much I wanted her to stop making excuses and to start writing.  Such a statement didn’t seem out of the ordinary or too over the top because we both are inclined to make outrageous remarks. 

Time passed and I hadn’t heard from her.  Did I go too far?   Finally, she sent a reply.  And thankfully, she got the joke.  During a moment of reflection, I realized anyone else reading the statement, perhaps taking it out context, would think that I might be anti-woman and pro-domestic/relationship violence.   Context is an important part of the communication paradigm; for without context, there is no true understanding.

Back to the show.

Just when Coulter was beginning to take the slow train from harpy to “heroine”, the wheels came off the track. 

When Scarborough commented that he would not have invoked the name of Edwards’  dead son to make a point, Coulte, in usual fashion when she is challenged, began her shrill rant.  Joe had “there she goes again” look on his face and the interview ended shortly thereafter.

Too bad.

For a brief moment, I did not see a harpy but a woman who was tiring of being misunderstood.  Our greatest desire is to be understood.  Ann Coulter isn’t any different.  

Yes, Coulter is a woman who allows celebrity/notoriety to define her.  Clearly, she believes that it’s important that people notice her regardless of whether they scream for her or scream at her. 

And sure Coulter may be using this most recent wave of controversy to sell books but the Edwards’ camp is using the same to raise money.  Both are pursuing the almighty dollar.

Hey, stop looking at me like that.

No, I am not going soft or losing my mind, just serving up my own brand of compassionate conservatism. 


One thought on “Quick Take: Is Ann Coulter MissUnderstood?

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