Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Coulter Of Life™

There's a bit of a rankled buzz circulating the lefty blogosphere, regarding the Ann Coulter puff piece in the latest issue of Vremya (aka Time, for you non-russophiles). On its pallid, sunken face, this appears to be just another incident in which the so-called SCLM (yes, so-called so-called liberal media; the redundancy is facetiously intentional) shows its true colors.

Indeed it does. What we used to regard as "news" media have obviously undergone a sea change over the last twenty years or so. All the major players in print and broadcast media are either wholly or largely owned by either defense contractors or multinational conglomerates with no vested interest in keeping Murkins on the proverbial up-and-up. If anything, the opposite is true. It is less of a sordid smoke-filled-room conspiracy, and more of a plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face kind of deal.

With the rise of corporate ownership, and the increase in influence, the mission statement has been completely re-written. Overseas bureaus have been shut down, news divisions have been subsumed and/or merged with entertainment divisions. The mission is no longer to inform, and hasn't been for quite some time. The loyalty is no longer to you, the home viewer, but to the merchant princes running the show.

The mission is to sell, sell anything and everything, whether tangible or abstract. The surface stuff is the commercials. The easy answer is that they're there to sell you cars and tampons and such; the whole "news" product is just filler between plugs for various pharmaceuticals which supposedly help alleviate that feeling you've got that your life is basically that of a heavily-mortgaged hamster.

That sinking feeling is augmented by the parts of the filler that are engineered to stick with you, the sensationalized, titillating nonsense that has nothing to do with you and your life, but you're supposed to think that it does. Michael Jackson blowing 13-year-old boys. Child molesters/killers in Bobo's World. Car chases. House fires. Recklessly stupid people doing recklessly stupid things. Shit that makes your blood boil, to be sure, but has no actual impact on your life. Oh, you'll hug your kid a little tighter, and say a little prayer. That's fine. But this is a nation of 300 million, and the law of averages says there are bound to be some bad apples.

The problem is that it's all presented as if said apples are all lurking on your block. A steady diet of network news would lead you to believe that nobody ever just got up, ate breakfast, went to work, did his job, came back home, ate dinner, updated his blog, fucked his wife, and went to sleep. Surely he must have at least snorted an eight-ball of crank and robbed a liquor store along the way.

It's a tactic of distraction, sure as shit, so that maybe you'll forget for a few minutes that while your real wages don't keep pace with inflation, you're paying about 35% more for gasoline than you were just ten weeks ago. Maybe you won't notice that your lawmakers just sold you out for thirty pieces of silver from the finance industry. Or that China, patient country that it is, is slowly, surely encircling us while we jostle each other for position, trying to find our ass-groove on the barcalounger, happily ignorant of the world, engrossed in our bright and shiny distractions.

And politics, when they do bother addressing it, is now presented in roughly the same dynamic as professional wrestling or "reality" TV. It's all very choreographed and contrived, all geared specifically to whip up the usual sentiments about things that don't matter, so that the things that do matter can stay below the radar.

The product being sold here is conflict, and Ann Coulter has been a masterful salesperson of this product. She knows what her crowd wants to hear, and she gives it to them. She knows what her opposition expects of her, and she gives it to them. She checks her inventory regularly, and is very efficient about re-ordering as needed. And demand is high, as are the sales commissions.

There is a scene in the Howard Stern biographical movie Private Parts, where they are discussing Stern's demographic and ratings, measured by listeners' response, and average length of time spent listening to the show. The people who loved the show stayed on for an average of 1½ hours at a time, which was unheard of.

The people who hated the show listened on average for over two hours at a time.

Coulter, if you've ever read or heard her nonsense, has nothing useful or innovative to say in either medium. It's just the usual string of abusive conservatard tropes, duct-taped together for consumption by people who have no sense of history, perspective, or proportion. Every liberal mis-step was during a break from ritual child sacrifice; every conservative mis-step was undertaken with the absolute best of possible intentions -- and besides, they do it too, so there!

Her only real gimmick is that she thinks that racist insults and inciteful rhetoric are evidence of her oh-so-un-PC cred. It seems to escape her (or at least her fans) that the people she defends with these noxious rhetorical tools are the very epitome of the stodgy PC status quo, and that her cheesy lib-baiting fools no one aside from real mouth-breathers and jackasses, who actually believe this invective and take it quite literally. She's laughing all the way to the bank, heedless of the total irresponsibility with which she presents her arguments. Her real job is to make people think she's shaking things up, while really leaving things exactly where they were.

And the machine keeps chugging along.


headless lucy said...

They're missin' the boat by not outsourcing the writing.

Craig Heath said...

She's perfect for the "yelling shows". Camera-ready, locked-and-loaded with sound-bite rounds. Badda-badda-badda! Gotcha, nasty liberal!

Ladies and Gentlemen, if I may distract, uh, direct your attention to the Center Ring...

zeke L said...

bee-yoo-tee-ful rant. brings effin' tears to my eyes, it does.

not much to do with coulter, really, everything to do with the reality of life in the sunset days of the good ole US of A.

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