Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Thu, Mar 08 2007

Maybe we really can't take a joke

Ann Coulter got a few more journalistic slaps on the wrist this week after her recent joke regarding John Edwards. Several companies, who had apparently placed ads on Ms. Coulter's web site through an online ad agency, pulled their ads.

I caught a bit of the interview Ms. Coulter did on "Hannity & Colmes" and I'll confess to being a bit confused about exactly who the joke was supposed to be on, after listening to her refer to the word being a "school-yard taunt". She says that her CPAC audience laughed when she made the original joke, so I'll assume they must not have been offended by what she said. (If they were, they apparently didn't say anything out loud.)

Some other conservatives have found themselves in the (probably, for them) embarrassing position of siding with gay citizens against Ms. Coulter's speech. Many liberal commentators and bloggers spoke directly to the matter of what she said. Others, like Geoff Staples at Radio Left, went right for sarcasm, and made a few sexually-charged remarks about Ms. Coulter's state of mind the night she gave the speech. All sort of opinions have surfaced, some in support of Ann Coulter and some condeming her words. Many opinions fall somewhere in the middle. Jeremy Meister thinks she may have done some good. Sticking to politically correct terms sometimes makes conservatives sound unclear on their own stances. And it's true that using a term that isn't politically correct forces everyone within earshot to ask themselves how they really feel about the term and its meaning(s) in polite society. Maybe there were some people who squirmed in their seats the night Ann Coulter gave her speech. Was it all in fun as an insider joke against the world of liberal politics?

I guess that one of the things that bothers me just a wee bit is that it's typical for school-yard taunts to come from school-yard bullies. I'm not saying that Ms. Coulter meant to come across as a bully, but just that she may have inadvertently pushed some old buttons for many people, both liberal and conservative, who have found themselves at the wrong end of hurtful childhood remarks. And bullies often follow up their taunts by saying, "It was only a joke. Can't you take a joke?" It may not have been the politically incorrect word that upset people at all. It may have been an (unintentional) opening of very old, very deep wounds. And that's something we all need to think about when we say things to, and about, other people in the future.

posted at: 10:43 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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