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Many Good Items For Discussion -- But the Mix of Fact, Jabs & Humor Undoes the Message
on March 21, 2009
Honestly I believe Ann Coulter brings a lot of good points to the table, but in such a manner as to destroy the possibility of actually influencing American politics and culture through her writings. The constant interjection of side points and comments requires the reader to have much more knowledge than most Americans possess, and certainly vastly more than commanded by the "useful idiots" she castigates. If this book is designed to wake up the electorate or effect change in the body politic, then it fails miserably. Rather it comes out as a never ceasing mix of truly eye-blinking facts followed by off-point snide remarks, regardless of their accuracy, and then some humorous comments that often are funny only to the extremely well-informed. In this format, the book is self-defeating.
Take for example the comments concerning Bill Ayers on page 90. Coulter makes several telling points concerning the Ayers' concentration on his terrorist days as being the highpoint of his life (and unfortunately giving him a pass on his current activities in training new followers dedicated to the destruction of the US), but then says as a correction that "Ayers is a professor of education, meaning that he is less qualified to teach than the entire population of the United States." I found this comment extremely funny, although it is an exaggeration (education professors are probably less qualified to teach than only about 90% of the population.) However, the mass of readers will not understand the truly abysmal standards in teaching education that exist in the US today and why that comment is both true and hilarious. When one teaches entire courses in how to make lesson plans or how to cut out paper dolls for teaching aids and then gives everyone an "A" grade if they attend all class sessions, then surely that person is at the bottom of the curve. But the comment detracts from the subject at hand and confuses the average reader.
It seems that everyone is focusing on the massive problem of single motherhood that is having catastrophic effects on the health and future of the US and that Coulter covers in Chapter Two. Apparently many liberal readers or persons who have single mothers as friends simply cannot get past the idea that the CHOICE to have a child while single, not marry the father, and not give the baby up for adoption is narcissistic and truly devastating to the child's eventual welfare. For a better understanding of this phenomenon see "Promises I Can Keep - Why Poor Mothers Put Motherhood Before Marriage" by Edin and Kefalas, and "Unequal Childhoods" by Annette Lareau. In spite of Coulter's comments that many interpret as "mean spirited", her criticism of the ennobling of single motherhood by fleckless liberals (who evidently wish to construct a vast underclass that they can control and act paternalistic towards) is on point. The reader should closely examine the case of the "octomom" to see a very extreme example of pathology in this problem.
The main theme of the book that the adoption of "victim" status to attack possible critics -- even when no one is victimizing the individual -- is well worth comprehending and a subject for futher research. My favorite chapter is the sixth that focuses on (in part) the absolutely dominating far-left (not just liberal) bias in the meadia which is the primary force for disinformation and propaganda in the US today. Fake stories attacking Republicans receive top billing, and true stories about Democrat malfeasance are ignored by the main-stream media. The evidence is overwhelming that this is the case as Coulter points out, but again her constant comments and obscure side points damage the presentation. I can understand why the "Guilty" parties rage against this book -- not only for exposing the truth to a very large measure, but also because the author's writing style makes them look both evil and silly. Let's choose just one -- evil or silly. And the author makes a seminal contribution when she objects to using the word "courageous" to describe every little statement made by a liberal that might be unpopular to people paying taxes and working for a living.
In short I recommend this book but wish the author had confined herself to a scholarly style without the snide (but accurate) remarks and humor than tend to undermine the message with those not already in the choir. One is tempted to assume that the author uses this style to aggravate and annoy, rather than to inform and act as a catalyst to effect change. One is even tempted to assume that the continued malfeasance by liberals and the far-left is important so that more books like this one can be produced. I doubt that the reader benefits nearly as much as the author due to her chosen style.