Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In defense of Ann Coulter (sort of)

So to recap, Ann Coulter -- an insane, chain-smoking and possibly anorexic "author" who will say just about anything at this point to keep her books on the bestseller lists -- accused Bill Clinton of being gay. Here's her discussion with Entertainment Tonight (I think it's Entertainment Tonight -- "ET" anyway):

Ms. COULTER: I think that sort of rampant promiscuity does show some level of latent homosexuality.

DEUTSCH: OK, I think you need to say that again. That Bill Clinton, you think on some level, has — is a latent homosexual, is that what you’re saying?

Ms. COULTER: Yeah.

Oh no she didn't! Clinton likes having lots of sex. Homosexuals like having lots of sex. Ergo, Clinton is a latent homosexual.

Obviously, the argument is completely facile and stupid. But here's what's interesting: many people have latched on to this to accuse Coulter of being a homophobe. Cue Peter Beinart, of The New Republic, on a recent talk show with Coulter:

Mr. PETER BEINART ("The Good Fight" Author): It's a statement of a bigot. Pure and simple. To suggest that gay people are somehow inherently more promiscuous than straight people and that straight people who are promiscuous are--therefore have latent homosexuality tendencies, and, look, Larry, I'll--let me throw it to you. It's not enough for people like me, for liberals, to say that when Ann says that, she's being a bigot. You need to say it. As a conservative who agrees with her on issues, it's up to you, because you don't believe in a conservative movement that is bigoted. You don't believe that's what the Republican Party stands for. It's up to you to say that it's bigoted and to distance yourself from it.

Andrew Sullivan, in more reasoned fashion, notes that Ann has mistakenly conflated gay men -- who, like Bill Clinton, are laden with testosterone, and therefore eager to play ride the baloney pony -- with "homosexuals" in general:

The claim that Coulter is making and [Mickey Kaus of Slate] is seconding - that same-sex love is inherently more promiscuous than heterosexuality - has a simple, logical rejoinder: lesbians. Where are the lesbian bath-houses, Ann? Where's the rampant lesbian promiscuity? Aren't lesbians homosexual? Or do we just deploy these terms broadly, whenever they can be used to stigmatize an entire minority?

Ok, so at this point, you may be wondering how in the world I'm going to defend Ann Coulter's comments. Here's how: to state that you think someone is gay, or might enjoy gay sex (in this case, former President Bill Clinton) is not inherently bigoted. To be sure, many insecure people feel insulted if they are accused of being gay, but that's their problem. We should not reduce ourselves to the lowest common denominator by equating, in our minds, "homosexuality" or even "promiscuity as a personal flaw. Thus, when Ann Coulter says she thinks Bill Clinton might be gay, she slurs neither Clinton nor gays. Nor should we even consider it insulting when someone is thought to be gay because they are promiscous. The fact is, many gay men are promiscuous -- but so what? Coulter's reasoning is completely looney, but not bigoted. She hangs out with gay men, she observes that they like to fuck casually, and she applies this perception to, uh, Bill Clinton.

So Coulter thinks Bill Clinton is a promiscous gay man who might enjoy frequenting the bathhouse. What's wrong with that? No, seriously!


Post a Comment

<< Home