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Cindy Handler

Cindy Handler

Posted January 6, 2009 | 05:33 PM (EST)

Ann Coulter: Move Along, Nothing to See Here


It's Ann Coulter Promotion Season again, and even the most committed among us will have a hard time avoiding her. As usual, the first thing you think of when you happen upon an interview with her is, "There is nothing this woman won't say." And clearly, this is the reason that TV and radio producers return to the well every time she comes out with a new "book," or rather, a repackaging of the same old diatribes. They're betting that viewers won't be able to resist rubber-necking at this particular train wreck.

It's easy to see why the producers would think this. There's a freak show aspect to her appearances. She says crazy things, and to be fair, she always has a rejoinder and a unique talent for never backing down, no matter how thoroughly the interviewer demolishes her arguments. Anyone who criticizes her is a whiner, or jealous of her book sales; everyone who isn't a reactionary, like her, is guilty of all the ills of the universe. People she thinks of as do-gooders--especially the ones who champion the rights of the disadvantaged, or who sympathize with them--are the chief targets of her scorn.

Why wouldn't she keep performing the same act every year? The free publicity works well enough for her. The question is, why is it a good thing for anyone else? Her fan base, the ones who always pony up for her highly profitable screeds, will watch her for sure. But as we learned in the last election, they're a distinct and ever-shrinking minority. What do the rest of us get out of the experience of enabling her except high blood pressure? Each performance is utterly predictable. She shows up, inevitably, in a short black cocktail dress, as if she's been busy propping up a bar all night and hasn't had time to change. In short order, she's blasting away like someone begging for an exorcism. Every segment concludes with a smug Ann Coulter and flabbergasted listeners. We all know the drill. Her shtick is old and tired, and it needs a rest.

So the best thing anyone interested in supporting Barack Obama's post-partisan vision can do is to turn away. Don't watch, don't listen, don't be a passive party to the hate speech. And media bookers, don't hide behind the excuse that she's "controversial," and you're just doing your job. As with Sarah Palin, the woman turns off more people than she attracts. Maybe it's easier to think of it this way: Just as, in the immortal words of Zuzu Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," "every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings," every time Ann Coulter says something awful about a good person, she pockets more cash.

But like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, if no one's there to hear her, she won't make a sound.