Conor Friedersdorf suggests that Ann Coulter has been displaced by someone even more disgusting.
This ought to be a challenging time for the right-wing polemicist, who only recently found herself in much the same position as Madonna: Both provocateurs exploited cultural boundaries, stoking outrage to give their work reach beyond their talent, and profited—only to wane in relevance as their industries became crowded with imitators. Then Donald Trump got into politics. He was unsurpassed in his willingness to state odious beliefs, and really, truly the best at stoking ethnic tensions to benefit himself. Coulter couldn’t beat him in the attention economy—he was maximally shameless, denying her a key advantage she has over many rivals. Nor would she oppose a coalition that included so many of her fans. But she could join him, being one of those rare sorts who is willing to stoke humanity’s darkest impulses.
My view on this kind of thing is the same as my view on violent porn – I don’t get it. I don’t get that impulse and I don’t get how people who do can live with themselves.
Well, it’s not that complicated – they’re different. People have different tastes, different impulses, different instincts about what it’s ok to do. I shouldn’t expect to “get” them because that’s what “different” means – it means you don’t share it because it’s different from yours.
I still go on having the puzzlement though. It seems to be built in, like a reflex.
After the September 11 terrorist attacks, when people with good character spoke more responsibly, Coulter said, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians.”
In 2016, she published In Trump We Trust, adding sycophancy to the mercenary indignities to which she has subjected herself, staking her credibility (among the narrow slice of the ideological spectrum where she had any left) on a known huckster.
Right-wing entertainers excel at getting rich as they lead their base astray.
Today, as Trump and his circle continue to suck up most of the outrage oxygen in America—meanwhile making fools of their populist supporters by betraying them at many turns—Coulter ought to enjoy no more relevance than she has respect or esteem, her work read mostly among authoritarian AARP members as their younger analogs gravitate toward Yiannopoulos, a hateful Lady Gaga to her bigoted Madonna. In fairness, Madonna never responded to Gaga’s success by donning a meat dress of her own, whereas Coulter watched a violent mob elevate Milo by preventing him from speaking at Berkeley, then proceeded to follow the character she helped create.
Poor Ann Coulter. Milo has stolen her thunder.