Coulter Culture Shock

Someone is always saying something outrageous these days. So when right-wing columnist Anne Coulter opined last week on MSNBC that Jews were "incomplete" and should convert to Christianity, it set off a predictable wave of outrage.

But those who seek to debate the risible Coulter and to prove to her that Jews are quite complete as they are miss the point not only about what she said, but about the entire genre of cable-TV, talk-show opinion-mongering and celebrity authors that she represents.

The goal of Coulter is not to persuade Jews to become Christians, or for anyone to agree with any position she has taken. Rather, it's to get us to notice her and applaud her willingness to be outrageous. Bad manners aren't incidental to her point of view. For her, style is substance. Devoid of genuine wit and preferring the tactics of a blowhard to an exercise of the art of debate, she is an apt symbol of the degradation of contemporary culture.

The best way to deal with Coulter and those of her ilk — on both sides of the spectrum — would be to ignore her and, like the schoolyard bully, hope that she eventually goes away.

But the bad news is that, far from being an exception, Coulter and her lack of civility are becoming the norm. We have no need to worry that her remarks will herald the rise of religious intolerance in this country, but we should mourn the fact that her statements are par for the course in an increasingly polarized political discourse.



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