Among those pundits gleefully dancing on the grave of killed minor Trayvon Martin was, not shockingly, Ann Counter, joyful in her no-doubt intentional attempt to be offensive. It's just her way. Wannabe provocateurs are like that. But Ms. Coulter isn't a provocateur, she's just... well, whiney and mean-spirited.
A couple months back, after one of her typical mean-spirited attempts at fake humor about killing someone ("I was just joking" tends to be her default defense), I wrote an article about it. But as things happen in the news, other more important news than Ann Coulter kept happening. That's not hard to do, but still it's good to be prepared. However, the article got filed away for another day, and then another -- and then it got forgotten, and too late.
But there again has been dear Ms. Coulter, dancing around her bugaloo over the death of young Trayvon Martin, seemingly ready to pop a cork over George Zimmerman being found not guilty of manslaughter for having actually killed the boy. No perspective, no sadness at the loss, just one big "Whoo hoo!!." Ann Coulter might like to joke about killing people, but here was a real one! Whoo hoo, indeed.
And suddenly I remembered that recent column about Ann Coulter, filed away. Waiting to see the light of day. Not out of date at all, but rather very fresh. Because, you see, when you love joking about killing people, sometimes that just becomes part of the zeitgeist. Ann Coulter isn't responsible for Trayvon Martin's death. It's just that she's irresponsible.
In that column a couple months back, Ann Coulter was her ol' glib self about killing others. What she wrote was, "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" -- a lie, by the way, but we'll get to that later -- and then she oh-so-cleverly added her own thought on the subject: "(Let's start with Meghan McCain!)"
This is a standard mantra of Ms. Coulter, who loves to suggest that people she doesn't like should get killed. (Among others, she said that Rep. John Murtha should be "fragged," which is when soldiers kill one of their own. She also suggested that someone should put rat poison in Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens's creme brulee.) And then she tries to dismiss it as a joke.
And once again, on cue, this time she says it's all okay because -- "I was making a joke," she told Sean Hannity on Fox, saying it was just "hyperbole" -- before she then slammed Martin Bashir's "heinous" comment. Now, either she thinks Martin Bashir was actually suggesting that people be actually killed, which would make her an idiot to think that, or she's suggesting that her hyperbole is okay, but his is heinous. Which would make her an idiot. It's a win-win.
The reality is that it will not come as a shock that Ms. Coulter twisted what Martin Bashir said -- which was, in fact, not a suggestion at all, but rather a question, in response to a guest. And even then, he added a follow-up statement to make his feelings 100 percent clear. Bashir had been talking with Rep. Elijah Cummings (R-MD) who told a heartbreaking story of his nephew being killed. Bashir then said, "But Congressman, is that what needs to happen to move these senators to stop threatening a filibuster? Is that really what needs to happen? That you need to have a member of your family killed in order for you to do what the American people want you to do?"
Rep. Cummings replied, "I hope not. I don't wish this pain on anybody." To which Bashir answered -- are you ready? -- "None of us does."
"None of us does." Gee, who would have guessed that he said that after reading Ms. Coulter's "joke."
Mind you, the very best part of her whining "defense" came later. That was when she said, "I think the exclamation point made it clear. And the fact that everyone laughed when they read it."
Okay, speaking as someone who actually does write comedy professionally, a few tips for Ms. Coulter. 1) Putting an exclamation point at the end of a sentence doesn't make it a joke. What it does is give what you just wrote more emphasis. 2) When you write something in a column, you really, honestly don't have any idea whether or not "everyone laughed" at it. Or if anyone did. 3) When you don't have any idea whether people laughed, your assumption is just a guess, not a "fact." 4) Sometimes people make a joke about things that they believe. 5) It's generally not good to keep repeating the same joke. 6) If you're going to dance on the line of bad taste when you make a joke, you'd better do everything to make it incredibly well-crafted so that everyone actually knows it's a really great joke. And 7) most importantly, just because you tell a joke doesn't mean it's funny.
By the way, to be clear, I don't think Ann Coulter wants all these people "dead" who she keeps "joking" about wanting dead/ What I do think, though, even before the news from Boston last week, is that in today's culture it's seriously dangerous and in horrific taste to joke about killing people, and keep joking about killing people, because as we've too often seen, there are sick human beings who can't tell what a joke is or isn't. And what I also think is that Ann Coulter is an idiot.
Sorry, I mean, what I also think is that Ann Coulter is an idiot!
There. The exclamation point made it clear. And the fact is, everyone laughed when they read it.
Robert J. Elisberg's new novel The Wild Roses, a comic adventure in the spirit of The Three Musketeers but with three women, is now available here in paperback or for $3.99 as a Kindle eBook.