Monday, January 31, 2005

Just how stupid is Ann Coulter?

Pretty much this stupid.

ADDENDUM: It's worth pointing out the embarrassing dishonesty of some of the commenters on that site rushing to Coulter's defense. One of them, "BC BUD", quotes from the Canadian Encyclopedia: "Ten thousand young Canadian men fought in the US armed forces in the Vietnam war," cleverly ignoring the reality that all of these people voluntarily joined the U.S. Armed Forces and went to Vietnam as part of the American military.

To suggest that this implied official Canadian government involvement in Vietnam is as jaw-droppingly stupid as suggesting that, because American John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan voluntarily fighting on the side of the Taliban, the United States officially sent troops to support that same Taliban.

I trust you can see the idiocy in that point of view.


Anonymous said...

The sad thing about this is that it's probably unthinkable to Coulter's right-wing groupies in the U.S. that she could have been wrong. They're probably consoling her, saying something, "Geez, Ann, how dumb can that guy be, not knowing that his own country sent troops to Vietnam?"

It would never occur to them that she really is that stupid.

Anonymous said...

Um, I'm assuming you saw your buddy Jinx McHue's comment in the comments section of that article, and that's why you posted an article on it, right? You really have to learn to just let that go, you know.

CC said...

From CC:

Bloody hell! It's like you can't go anywhere on the Internet these days without stepping in a fresh, steaming pile of Jinx McHue.

For the record (and I'm going to be annoyingly clear about this), my linking to that article and commenting on it had nothing to do with McHue. As you can see from the timestamps, I posted my original link at 7:45 pm on Monday, while McHue's comment didn't even appear until almost two hours later. And I added my addendum some time thereafter after having read the first couple of comments dishonestly equating Canadian soldiers in Vietnam with Canada sending troops to Vietnam.

(It is, of course, hard to accept as coincidence that both McHue and I, with the countless blogs out there, would end up interacting with the same one in the space of two hours. The more likely scenario is that he's tracking what I'm writing about, which kind of creeps me out. I mean, having my own right-wing nutbar stalker is sort of flattering, but also kind of disturbing.)

What is somewhat amusing is McHue's comment itself. Even after several commenters before him clearly explain the difference in the two situations, McHue remains either unwilling or unable to understand it.

He first suggests that, since these soldiers went voluntarily, "Canada sent troops to Vietnam by proxy." It's hard to imagine a stupider statement, unless someone doesn't have a clue what the word "proxy" means. Here,
let me help
. Note the overwhelming and unmistakable references to "authority" and "authorization". How stupid do you have to be to not understand that? Well, pretty much this stupid.

But what's really galling is McHue's snarky, sarcastic tone. The general rule is, you can do snarky if you're right. If you're wrong, then snarky just makes you look like an asshole. So it's not particularly becoming to see McHue write, "Unless, of course, you think that Canadians were too stupid to realize that's what would happen. Anyone want to argue that? No? Didn't think so."

In McHue's right-wing echo chamber world, the fact that many people might not want to argue with him somehow means he has dazzled them into immobility with his superior intellect. But what would it mean to "argue" this point? What could you possibly say beyond, "Um, you're wrong." Where could you take the argument from there? What is there left to debate?

If, during a social gathering involving reasonably well-educated people, you suggested that Canada sent soldiers to Vietnam, there would almost certainly be an awkward silence, not because those in attendance were smitten with your overwhelming, intellectual prowess, but because they were wondering how anyone could be that unspeakably fucking stupid. Many of them would probably not bother trying to correct you. Instead, they'd just back away slowly, wondering who invited the idiot and hoping the host hadn't run out of liquor yet.

That blog's host, Norm Jenson, supplies what is perhaps the best summary, when he comments:

"I know it's a subtle distinction but there is a difference between Canadians fighting in Vietnam and the Canadian government sending troops to Vietnam. Ann Coulter claimed that Canada sent troops, she was wrong. So please no more comments about how Canadians fought in Vietnam. We already knew that. No one has claimed they didn't. It is simply not relevant to the conversation."

I think Jenson is being too low-key. It's not a "subtle" distinction -- it is the distinction that annihilates the argument entirely. Now, it remains to be seen whether his was the final word, or whether even more right-wing wankers will persist in making fools of themselves.

Place your bets.