Regarding Ann Coulter, I’ve always thought of her as a comedian, in the same way that George Carlin is a comedian. You’re laughing with Carlin, not necessarily because it’s funny; but because you agree with him. That’s what makes his stuff funny. If you didn’t agree with Carlin, you wouldn’t think he was funny.
And to be honest, I’ve never really liked Carlin’s stuff. Some of it was definitely funny, but too much of it relied upon you agreeing with him; and not enough on him telling actual jokes. It was all about the manner that he said things, rather than what he said. He’d bug out his eyes a little and use an exaggerated voice, and that might have been the only funny part to an otherwise serious statement. Not that I’m knocking anyone who likes him, but he’s just not my thing. I usually agreed with what he said, but wasn’t laughing. Maybe I just wasn’t stoned enough.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not making any kind of moral equivalence here. Even as equals, Carlin never said the over-the-top stupid shit like Coulter does. Like wanting people assassinated or anything. Nor am I making a humor equivalence. While I didn’t think Carlin was super-funny; Coulter’s humor is pure bottom of the barrel stuff. And finally, I’m not making an intelligence equivalence. Even at his worst, Carlin’s material is far more intelligent than anything that Coulter does. And overall, even if you don’t laugh, Carlin’s stuff stands-up waaaay better than Coulter’s.
But it’s the same kind of stuff. She’s trying to be funny. Not necessarily by telling jokes; but by saying edgy stuff that the wingnuts agree with. And just like with Carlin, her fans are supposed to learn stuff from it. It’s not just humor for humor’s sake. She is influencing them just as Carlin influenced his fans. And similarly, if you don’t agree with what Coulter says, you’ll never think it’s funny. The humor relies solely on the fact that you think it’s correct. Had things worked out differently, both of them would have been that cool professor who the smart kids like (though I’m not exactly sure what class Coulter could possibly teach). Similarly, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz would have been those tightass history or economics professors you couldn’t stand. I’ve often wondered if those second two dudes haven’t often wished they had gone that route instead.
But you should have no doubts that Coulter is trying to be funny and that that’s how her fans see her. I honestly still have trouble with the idea that she’s not just being satirical. Hell, I’m sure I’m not the only one who keeps thinking she’ll rip off her wig and turn out to be some gay dude who’s been mocking conservatives the whole time. Because her stuff is sooooo entirely offensive to her side and makes them look horrible. And you could never write an effective parody of her, because she’s already gone far beyond anything that could be funny. I mean, assassinating Supreme Court justices? What can you do beyond that? What tops that? Kidnapping Michael Moore? Gang-raping liberal Congressmen? Her material is just too fucking extreme to parody.
And deep down, I’m sure she is laughing at all the rubes who keep supporting her. She doesn’t believe any of that shit. She’s just found a good schtick and she’s sticking with it. And I’m not necessarily sure I wouldn’t do the same thing, assuming I’d get the same money. I’m not a sell-out, but life’s too short to be poor. And besides, my legs look waaay sexier than Coulter’s, and I don’t even need to shave them.