Friday, June 16, 2006

OT: Sadly, No? Happily, Yes!

Sadly, No! has a good post on the latest Ann Coulter flap and her defenders. The upshot of the post is that those who defend Coulter immediately insist that she's making a point against the "infallibility of victims" or some such thing. But what's actually happening is something different. Coulter, and many others in the "mainstream" and online media, make a living attacking people not on the issues, but personally. And someone's status as a victim makes it harder to launch a personal attack; hence, the victim status must be stripped away so that the personal attacks can continue. There's nothing stopping her from saying "despite the tragedy that befell this person, he or she is wrong on the issues, and here's why." Nothing, except that she doesn't do issues (and is wrong on the few issues she does deal with). It's not that the background of John Kerry or Cindy Sheehan or John McCain or whoever makes it hard to attack them on the issues; it's that it makes it harder to attack them on irrelevant grounds. Or as Travis G puts it:

Look, it works like this: Disagree all you want with a victim. Sometimes their views are lacking in reason, common sense or sound judgement. (That’s why victims don’t sit on juries.) It’s okay to do that. Victims don’t have ultimate, unassailable credibility, because no one has that, but they’ve got some credibility they earned the hard way, and which they would gladly hand over if it were that easy. But you can’t bend the rules, twisting the truth itself, and imply that their unfortunate status as a victim is somehow false because it makes it harder to prove your point.

And, really, if you honestly believe that a person would want to be the victim of a tragedy so they can go on television, sell a few books and meet Jay Leno, would you please tell the rest of us, so we can be sure to stay the fuck away from you?

Also check out this follow-up post: ...As well as the contribution to the commments section by Michael Bérubé.

Sadly, No! is probably the best of the mordant humour blogs that have proliferated in the last few years; they pick kind of easy targets sometimes (obscure commentators at WorldNetDaily and such), but their in-depth analysis of bad political commentary is both hilarious and depressing.

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