Between Paris Hilton's driving with a suspended licence, Britney Spears' bald appeals for attention and Anna Nicole Smith's – yup, she's still dead – lineup of self-declared sperm donors, you'd think it would be impossible for yet another blonde bombshell to go off in the media.
But then, right-wing harridan Ann Coulter hasn't been on a Time cover lately. Or the bestseller lists.
Good thing for her that, this week, the cable news channels again stepped up to the plate to help her pitch her 2006 book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, an appalling piece of tripe in which she writes, among other things, that progressives seek to "foist" sex education topics such as "(a)nal sex, oral sex, fisting, dental dams, (and) `birthing games'" on grade-schoolers.
That's because, oops, like Britney, Ann Coulter did it again.
Last week, as a keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference, she referred to John Edwards, John Kerry's running mate in the last presidential election and a contender in 2008, as a "faggot."
Now, while I am here to damn Coulter, I am not out to ban her, as so many others are. They're demanding that she no longer be booked on TV, that her syndicated service no longer carry her column, that conservative groups sever their ties with her.
"She went too far this time," thundered media critic Jon Friedman, who writes for Dow Jones' MarketWatch.
This time? Not the time before this, nor the time before that?
Coulter has called for the bombing and conversion of Muslim nations. She has advocated the assassination of Supreme Court justices. She has accused the 9/11 widows, also known as "The Jersey Girls," of "enjoying" their husbands' deaths. She has mocked Vietnam war heroes as cowards for opposing the invasion of Iraq.
Within days of her comment at the conference this week, Republican presidential hopefuls, including former New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom Coulter endorsed, disassociated themselves not from her, but from her words. A coalition of right-wing bloggers launched a petition against her. At least four newspapers dropped her column. Advertisers fled her website.
But still, she got publicity.
She went on Fox News.
CNN's Larry King Live devoted a show to her. She was supposed to appear on Paula Zahn but backed out at the last minute. That didn't stop CNN from promoting her and her book – without mentioning she went on to call Edwards' campaign manager David Bonior a front man for "Arab terrorists" on her blog.
Now, back when I was a girl, a "fag" meant a cigarette. But then, gay was gay. Now faggot is the new f-word. Hell, it's practically the new n-word, much more than the "schoolyard taunt" that Coulter unapologetically claims it to be.
"It isn't offensive to gays," she told Fox News. "It has nothing to do with gays."
That may be, if you're gay-friendly, and count gays among your friends, and use just the right inflection and and and and ... Which is something that Coulter – who, ironically enough, has been something of a gay icon – should have known.
But in front of the conservative crowd, filled with we-hate-the-sin-but-love-the-sinner anti-same-sex rights types?
Homophobic hate speech.
Now, I confess that I stopped taking her seriously years ago. She's a media crack whore but no political commentator. Her books are funny but infuriating and inaccurate. Her followers and fellow travellers in the vast right wing cyberconspiracysphere parrot the Republican talking points as fast as they drop out of Karl Rove's mouth.
So why has it taken so long for the media to latch on to her?
This woman gets more face time on network TV than every anti-war, anti-Bush type put together has ever had. She has issued fatwas on ethnic and religious groups, politicians and judges.
But she sells. Boy, does she sell. Talk about shock and awe. You never know what she will spit up next.
Her popularity is a frightening commentary on the so-called Godful in the U.S. but there it is.
Yet, to call for her banning is to give in to their tactics, to militate against free speech.
To do that would mean that Coulter and her brand of terrorism win.
© Copyright 2007 Toronto Star