If Canada's conservatives had any pride or principles whatsoever, they would be MASSIVELY pissed with hatemonger Ann Coulter right now, since Coulter -- unintentionally, I'm sure -- spectacularly exposed modern conservatism's intellectual bankruptcy in the most glorious way imaginable.
Return with me, if you will, to the evening of March 22 at the University of Western Ontario, and pay close attention to the exchange here:
Fatima Al-Dhaher, a political science student from London, rose and spoke about comments Coulter made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The firebrand Republican had suggested Muslim countries be invaded, their leaders killed and all Muslims converted to Christianity. She later suggested Muslims denied air travel take “flying carpets” instead.
“As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest,” Al-Dhaher said to loud and sustained applause.
“I thought it was just American public schools that produced ignorant people,” Coulter replied, prompting her own round of applause.
Coulter then noted many Japanese were converted to Christianity after the Second World War and “we haven’t heard a peep out of them.”
To shouts of “Answer the question,” Coulter finally replied “What mode of transportation? Take a camel.”
HA HA! Take a camel! Oh, man, that's fucking funny. But seriously. No, really, but seriously, and that's precisely why Coulter -- and by extension, her adoring groupies -- are utterly irrelevant to anything resembling serious political discourse. Because once you got past what was a snotty, pathetic, racist retort, what should have followed was an actual answer.
Because Ann Coulter has (if memory serves) publicly and, by all accounts, seriously suggested that Muslims should not be allowed to fly. But if that's her position, and if she wishes to pass herself off as an actual pundit, then she kind of has an obligation to subsequently explain just how the world's hundreds of millions of Muslins should travel if they need to go long distances.
This is precisely the issue that political science student Fatima Al-Dhaher was raising -- it was a deadly serious question to a deadly serious position, and Al-Dhaher absolutely deserved a deadly serious answer. Instead, what she got was ignorant, childish, content-free, racist snark ... which would have been minimally tolerable had Coulter continued on with, "But, seriously, blah blah blah ...".
Sadly, Al-Dhaher (who admits to being nervous as she was asking her question) didn't have the presence of mind to pull off the perfect comeback. She should have waited until the reported "cheers and jeers" after Coulter's answer died down, then calmly but firmly replied, "No, seriously, how do you propose Muslims travel if they're not allowed to fly?" That would have been the most awesome comeback, because it would have put Coulter entirely on the defensive. There would have been an increasingly awkward silence as it became obvious that Al-Dhaher wanted a real answer, and Coulter was utterly unable to provide one.
But, quibbles aside, that exchange is priceless simply for exposing Coulter for the intellectual empty vessel that she is. Coulter and her groupies love to portray her as a pundit, as a political commentator, and so on. She is none of that. She is a vacuous hatemonger. She contributes nothing of any value to intellectual discourse. Her entire presentation consists of simply shrieking about people and things that she hates, and insulting her critics. There is no content. There is no analysis. There is no thought-provoking punditry. There is no attempt at actually addressing the issues. Quite simply, there is no "there" there. And a CTV news piece managed to nail that beautifully (emphasis added):
Coulter said Tuesday that her comment about taking flying carpets was a joke that was made during an interview with The Guardian newspaper about racial profiling, and had been taken out of context.
"I can say it a lot quicker with a joke, and by the way, they wouldn't be bringing me in here for a speech if I never told a joke, if I never used satire," Coulter told CTV's Power Play Tuesday. "It's not so much a joke, it's satire because there's a political point behind my saying that they can take flying carpets."
Coulter did not elaborate on what her political point actually was.
That's because she didn't have one. She never does. She is, as I have described, the perfect intellectual empty vessel. No meaningful ideas, no serious proposals, no content. And, as I suggested, if Canada's conservatives had even the slightest sense of self-respect, they would be furious with Coulter for portraying them as similarly empty vessels, devoid of actual thought and incapable of anything resembling serious discourse.
But that's not going to happen, is it?