Heard any good jokes lately?
I have, and from an unlikely source: the shrill, conservative provocateuse Ann Coulter.
I’m not especially a fan of Ms. Coulter’s oeuvre, her public comments or her close-to-continual appearances on the Fox News Channel I watch with little frequency. But, like the proverbial blind squirrel, she occasionally stumbles across, if not comedy gold, at least comedy bronze.
And, predictably, as with her more execrable comments, she catches hell for it.
If you’re not aware of the latest kerfuffle, Coulter wrote in a recent column:
“Obama has been draping himself in families of the children murdered in Newtown.
“MSNBC’s Martin Bashir suggested that Republican senators need to have a member of their families killed for them to support the Democrats’ gun proposals. (Let’s start with Meghan McCain!)”
Coulter is tough to root for, as she’s exhibited plenty of callousness and all-around jackassery (some of it outlined in a friend’s excellent blog), but her joke is obvious and funny: Meghan McCain, the high-profile “child” of one of the country’s most high-profile Republicans, hasn’t been particularly helpful in advancing the conservative agenda, so of course right-wingers like Coulter would “target” her. (At least she didn’t call her fat, unlike fellow shrill, conservative provocateuse Laura Ingraham.)
The joke is certainly not nice, but it’s hardly calling for Ms. McCain’s murder, as many media outlets are reporting. True, there are plenty of dangerous numskulls out there with too-easy access to guns, but Coulter is no more marshaling them to action than Jodie Foster somehow urged John Hinckley Jr. to shoot President Reagan.
That said, Coulter did lose me when she expressed (or feigned) outrage over Bashir’s ealier comment about Republicans needing to lose a family member to gun violence. His point, while piquant, perfectly plays off the “road to Damascus” moments recently experienced by Republican lawmakers regarding same-sex marriage. That is, many finally see the merits of marriage equality only after their own sons and daughters come out as gay.
Coulter’s criticism of Bashir’s comment is every bit as disingenuous as the criticisms of her recent jest. (I’m not including the Twitter responses by Meghan McCain — the target of the joke, who certainly has every right to hit back — and Cindy McCain, who was just being a good mom.)
This whole hullabaloo hasn’t changed my opinion of Ann Coulter. It has, however, reinforced my opinion that Americans need to get a grip.
Rather than getting worked up over a joke (and the rare Coulter one that actually hits the target), we should focus on the larger problem of whether our government has even a modicum of concern over the desires and welfare of the citizens.