Archaeologists today completed a major dig into Ann Coulter, hoping to discover the location of her soul. They returned without finding anything.
"We thought for sure we'd at least find a crumb of a soul," said Dr. Philip Vanderly, leader of the expedition, "even if just in a lower extremity, but there was nothing. It was cavernous inside there. Just one big empty space."
Yes, Ann Coulter has stepped into it big time. Hold on, it's worth the wait.
I've done my best to avoid writing about Ms. Coulter, since it's obvious to even the most obtuse rock she just likes the attention. And it's equally clear that all she wants to do is get a "reaction." Hint: it's easy to get a reaction. Spit in someone's face, you'll get a reaction. Throw a temper tantrum at bedtime, you'll get a reaction. Easy. A child can do it. They usually do. Adults tend to know better.
But sometimes, in that sad effort to get attention, people reach a level that's actually worth mentioning - not because it shows them in a bad light, but because it puts their supporters and defenders in a bad light.
And that's the level Ms. Coulter reached Monday night, appearing on "The Big Idea," hosted by Donny Deutsch.
Mere quotes don't do it justice. The whole, sad transcript must be read. Unfortunately, it's near-impossible to make it through. But click here to see it, if you must.
For everyone else, highlights will have to do. Buckle your seatbelts.
After the subject of being Christian has been broached, Deutsch asks his guest to clarify. "So, we should all be Christian?" he inquires. "It would be better if we would all be Christian?"
Are you ready for her answer?
DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?
The stunning thing is that this isn't even the bad part. It gets worse. (And this doesn't even counts when Ms. Coulter tries to be a know-it-all and tweak Deutsch by snarking, "Well, you could be a practicing Jew, but you're not," and he answers, "I actually am.")
No, she's just warming up. Later, the host tries to get a focus on what he can't quite believe his guest has been saying, seeming to think his show has entered a worm hole and come out in another time, like, perhaps the Spanish Inquisition. Or hell.
DEUTSCH: "...you said I should not -- we should just throw Judaism away and we should all be Christians, then, or - "
COULTER: Well, it's a lot easier. It's kind of a fast track.
COULTER: Yeah. You have to obey.
DEUTSCH: You can't possibly believe that.
Here's the thing - this isn't even the bad part. That's how bad it is. In fairness, there's a bit of insane comic relief, to give audiences a breather. It comes when she makes a point about mixed couples, which Deutsch refutes. And then, on national television, Ann Coulter actually and bizarrely says the following as her rebuttal. As her...defense.
COULTER: No. In fact, there was an entire Seinfeld episode about Elaine and her boyfriend dating because they wanted to be a mixed-race couple, so you're lying.
Yes, you read that right. She actually said that. Her "proof" was a work of fiction. From a sitcom. Try that in a court of law, and you'll be laughed off the bench. Try it in the schoolyard, you'll get laughed off the seesaw.
(The topper, of course, was the "...so you're lying.")
Years back, Vice-President Dan Quayle solidified himself as an object of ridicule by chastising the fictional TV character 'Murphy Brown' for having a child out of wedlock. But even he didn't offer that as proof. It's possible that Ann Coulter just one-upped him. If only Donny Deutsch had responded, "But you're forgetting about that episode on 'Star Trek' when Captain Kirk dates a Kardassian."
Anyway, so much for the frivolity. Back to the part where the bad finally gets worse. You see, Ann Coulter thinks she's being a provocateur when she communicates, but the sad truth is that all's she's doing is showing herself void. And so, she says -
COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.
DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?
Wow, indeed. Talk about being pithy. But later, after a commercial break, the ever-decent Deutsch gives his guest a chance to explain herself. Ludicrously, she tries to deny that she said what she actually said - and which is on tape - and Deutsch admirably gets her back on track.
DEUTSCH: You said - your exact words were, "Jews need to be perfected." Those are the words out of your mouth.
COULTER: No, I'm saying that's what a Christian is.
DEUTSCH: But that's what you said -- don't you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic -
DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You're an educated woman. How do you not see that?
COULTER: That isn't hateful at all.
DEUTSCH: But that's even a scarier thought.
And so it is.
Now, no doubt there is a directionless cadre of people reading this thinking, "But, no, that isn't hateful at all. And she's right. We should all be Christians. Jews should be perfected."
And that's the scary thought, too.
Because ultimately this really isn't about Ann Coulter being needy for attention and showing herself to be divisive or hatemongering. Again. That's on the record. No, this is about people who actually agree with everything she said - and think there's nothing hateful, anti-Semitic or wrong with it.
(NOTE: Just because you don't know you're being hateful and anti-Semitic, doesn't mean you're not. It's like an ostrich sticking its head in its butt and thinking it's safe, as a caravan of steamrollers rumbles towards it.)
This isn't about Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter by herself is meaningless. A lone voice braying against the moon. The world has long had such people, wandering through the village, howling and tolerated for their eccentricities, but then passed by. Shakespeare had his eloquence: "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." It's only the people who stop to listen and give the ramblings an ear who can carry the virus, and not just to others, but harming themselves, as well. Because in the end, if this is how you associate yourself without disapproval, if you accept such things, if this is what you close a blind eye to, it doesn't disappear unnoticed, and you can't yourself help but be tarnished.
At some point, however, the core decency inside people will win out, and at least the better spirits of some will drift away from the worst.
All that lingers is the image sitting in a chair of a shell from which words out of step with the human soul drip, graspingly. To Donny Deutsch's credit, he didn't steer away from criticism, closing out one segment of his show bluntly -
"Ann Coulter, author of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans, and if Ann Coulter had any brains, she would not say Jews need to be perfected. I'm offended by that personally. And we'll have more Big Idea when we come back."
But the question remains - to everyone but those who somehow support such things that Ann Coulter gibbers - why in the world do people of good will keep putting her on the air?? Why keep giving her a platform, a microphone?? You know she needs the attention and will get it by saying things that offend. You know it. But was nothing learned from Chris Matthews's debacle devoting "Hardball" to this one person? You're not exposing her. She's long been exposed. You're pumping up her volume. I'm glad Donny Deutsch was blunt with her; I'm glad he said to her face how offended he was. But it's unfortunate that he gave someone the airtime to offend him - and offend any decent person - who he knew was going to do so. Such people as his guest have a right to say what they want. But no one has an obligation to give them yet another giant bullhorn.
And people have a right to believe her, drinking their acid-laced Kool-Aid, thinking it will bring them peace, when all it does is rot out their insides until they've expired. But more, these very same people have every right to say out loud just how intolerant they are, as some may do here, right now, opening their mouths and, with every word, showing the world for all to see their small-minded lack of common, human decency.
But we're supposed to be better than that. Fortunately, most people are.
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg