The company you keep, the digital candidate, the conservative Bruce, Empty America, and the Mississippi River's houseboat life.
Is there any level to which a partisan will sink that prompts her political colleagues to take a stand against her? Or is politics so important that decency is a weakness?
Ann Coulter, the Republican commentator, tweeted this after Monday's presidential debate.
I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) October 23, 2012
It's inviting to turn such a comment into a political debate between Republicans and Democrats, but it's not that at all. It's a debate between the media-made personalities of today's political coverage and people and families who did nothing to deserve such a horrible insult.
Meet John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics athlete from Virginia, who penned an open letter to Ms. Coulter:
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
"I get the joke -- the irony -- that only dumb and shallow people are using a term that means dumb and shallow," he wrote in a previous column. "The problem is, it is only funny if you think a 'retard' is someone dumb and shallow. I am not those things, but every time the term is used it tells young people that it is OK to think of me that way and to keep me on the outside."
Of course it's a legitimate point, but there's another one. Where is the line between making an appropriate stand on behalf of a sense of decency, and when does it merely feed a troll?
Rose Woodhouse, a parent of a special needs son, says "just let it go."
As I've written before, my feelings about the R-word are complicated. I wish it were not the only issue that brings disability into the mainstream eye. I have noted before, too, just how many insults are derived from what were once legitimate terms for disability: idiot, moron, imbecile, dumb, spaz, lame, stupid, etc. Just last night, Kyle Cupp discussed "crippling" sanctions. Interestingly, people don't seem to know where the word "idiot" comes from. Several Facebook friends were calling Ann Coulter an idiot for using the word retard. Yet we reflexively use adjectives like "dribbling idiot" or "slack-jawed idiot," so I'm guessing the real meaning is buried in our minds somewhere.
Demanding an apology makes sense in the case of Obama making his comment about his bowling being like the Special Olympics. His apology is likely to be more or less on the sincere-ish side of things, and might make him a little more aware of what he's saying.
But Ann Coulter? Hundreds of demands for apologies, with bunches of accompanying news articles, is exactly what she wants. So let's end it here. Let's agree never to demand an apology from Ann Coulter again. Let's let this particularly odious incarnation of Gloria Swanson totter down the stairs for her grand finale with the lights turned off.
When should people speak up when a line is crossed? And when should we just "let it go?"
More political science: God Intended' A Pregnancy Caused By Rape, Indiana Candidate Says (NPR)
What happens to all the digital breadcrumbs you leave around during your daily trip around the Internet? They all get swept up and are made into a presidential candidate you might like.
Shot in the Dark's Mitch Berg takes MPR and The Current up on its offer to consider what song best describes the state of the union. Mitch, a conservative, picks Springsteen, who's not a conservative. Or is he?
Every generation dreams of leaving a better world to their kids, and my new granddaughter. We have a distinct chance, as things go, of leaving them a world that my ancestors in the Dust Bowl would look at and whisper "there but for the grace of God...". And unlike the the Okies, our immigrant forefathers and protagonist in "This Hard Land", this time there's noplace to ride away to to start over. We're stuck with this hard land.
For me, the song also is further evidence that Springsteen - my favorite American R&R songwriter since Johnny Cash - is America's best conservative songwriter. Looking at his prime output from the height of his muse, there's a case to be made that once you peel off the rhetoric and the Hollywood and the dross of the past decade, his music was fundamentally conservative. And I'll make the case, since American conservatism's most important non-electoral mission is to engage in this nation's larger non-political culture.
Take the time. It's worth the read.
America is all in how you look at it. Thrash Lab continues its series, Empty America, this week with a portrait of Seattle as empty and desolate. We're looking forward to when it's the Twin Cities' turn. Insert the obvious downtown Saint Paul joke here.
Photographically related: What if you took the images from World War II and placed them on the same location as it looks today?
Latsch Island, near Winona, has dozens of boathouses tethered to its shores.
Bonus I: This gets funnier the third or fourth time you watch it.
Bonus II: iPad owners, does it bother you that the reason you're actually spending money on an iPad every year is because you can't stand the idea that you don't have the newest and coolest? Who's fault is that?
Related: Yeah, OK, new Apple Stuff (Wirecutter)
Voters in several states are considering ballot initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this year. In at least one state, Washington, the effort is considered likely to pass. Today's Question: Should Minnesota voters have a chance to decide whether to legalize marijuana?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Advice for college grads entering the job market.
Second hour: The U.N. report on aging in the 21st century.
Third hour: Canadian radio host Buzz Bishop created a stir when he admitted to having a favorite child on his blog. Should he be criticized for voicing his favoritism? Is it possible for any parent to be completely impartial? And what's the science behind favoritism?
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Gary Eichten and Cokie Roberts on "The Political Condition."
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The Political Junkie.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Forget medical marijuana. This year, three states are asking voters if they want to legalize pot for recreational use. The measures have surprising supporters, including some in law enforcement and a Republican Senate candidate. NPR will report on changing marijuana laws.
I agree with Rose Woodhouse re Ms. Coulter. Her "Sunset Blvd" analogy is a gem.
Sorry, Mitch, but I'm not buying it. What you think you hear in Springsteen's songs are just some common threads and themes all Americans recognize, not just conservatives.
I would honestly say that with Ann Coulter, you always just let it go. That woman operates on an entirely different level than the rest of us and will say whatever she wants. No matter how hard it is, I agree that we all just let her go. It may take some time, but eventually she will fade away.
Agree with Rose Woodhouse.
Ann Coulter should be treated like Illinois Nazis either run them off a bridge into a creek with the blues-mobile, or ignore them until they go away or do something illegal and can be dealt with by the justice system for their actions. Same can be said for the KKK the westbro protesters "church" and all of the other hate groups out there. If we ignore them one of two things will happen 1) they will increase their efforts to get attention and eventually escalate to violating the law, where no jury will take pity on the poor fools. Or 2) they will eventually just fade from out collective consciousness the members of their organization will eventually die off, and sooner or later a proper civilization will from.
Springsteen is the best conservative songwriter? He is campaigning for Obama. He gave a free concert in Virginia and showed a bit of his creative process: Springsteen Performs Obama Campaign Song in Virginia
Bonus 2 - Love the cult of Apple. My 2 year old Android still has more features than the newest I phone. Wait a year for some thing that is already out dated.
I'll admit that the I-phone I-pad presents a superior user experience. But I want powerful tools, not slick interface (both would be great but hasn't really come around yet).
Who is Christina Warren (the Burned by Apple author) kidding. In line as soon as she can for the new one.
One problem with #3 is that conservative does not mean what republicans think it means. What about the conserve part of conservative. Undoing 60 years of law regarding torture is radical, invading Iraq was extremely radical. Many republicans want to ban abortion with no exceptions = an extremely radical change. A 20% tax cut across the board with no way to pay for it and a huge promise of increased military spending is not conservative.
Springsteen and yes, maybe Obama, actually might be conservative in the sense that they lament the loss of and want to preserve a way of life and decent standard of living for the vast swath of middle class who are caught in a squeeze by the 1%ers.
// Springsteen is the best conservative songwriter?
Read the piece.
Oh, Ann Coulter. Every time I hear about the new blather she's spreading around, my knee-jerk reaction is to become infuriated, but I agree with all the other commentators in that the best way to shut her down is to ignore her. I actually feel sorry for her, in a way. I hope someday she regrets that she spent the better part of her just making inflammatory remarks.
4b. Wow, those WWII vs. now images gave me chills. It's interesting to think about how history was made on nearly every street in some European countries, but we can't really say that to the same extent in the USA. We really are a very young country compared to many other nations in the world.
Where's Sarah Palin when you need her?
#1 - that word is the only one I've had to ask colleagues to not use around me. They've been honestly surprised that anyone would find it offensive, so I choose to think I'm educating them.
Bonus 2 - I'm still using my original ipad, and about to switch from a Samsung Galaxy to iphone 5. I'm tired of zero OS support from the carrier and increasing malware risk in the app store. I know I could jailbreak my phone, but it's not worth the effort. It's not about new and fancy for me - I'll get a new ipad for the same reason as a new laptop. It'll be when it becomes frustratingly slow or drivers don't exist, and not before.
The Ann Coulter story is not about Ann Coulter or the Special Olympics or any of that crap.
It's about the media. Coulter is almost as good as Donald Trump at working the media into a frenzy. "OMG! LOOK WHAT ANN COULTER SAID NOW!!!"
Well, it obviously worked. Here we are, discussing Ann Coulter.
When will the media learn? My guess is, never.
// Here we are, discussing Ann Coulter. When will the media learn? My guess is, never.
Yeah, sure, I expected that ; it's a pretty easy shot to take. But the issue is actually deeper than Ann Coulter. That's why the questions asked aren't about Ann Coulter; it's about when people choose to say nothing, and when they choose speak up.
There is no shortage of individuals we encounter who foster an incorrect stereotype, so the question is how and when do people take a stand against that, if at all?
Don't mention anything Ann Coulter says? Sure, got it. If only the underlying issue were as simplistic as that.
The underlying issue is not stereotypes. People misuse that word and many other words all the time (and mean no harm in doing so). I do realize there has been a movement over the last decade to curtail use of the R word. Fine.
But the issue is THE MEDIA. My point is, people need to ignore her. Completely and utterly ignore every word that falls out of her filthy sewer. Only then will she finally go away. And the media can help by straight-up refusing to cover anything and everything related to her, including when a sad boy writes a letter to her for god only knows what reason. Did he think she would reply? Did he think it would make any difference to Ann Coulter? (Wait...I don't read much about Ann Coulter. DID she reply?)
Furthermore, the media should not attempt to employ her latest foul-mouthed comment to raise awareness of some pressing social issue. That never works.
Rose Woodhouse is absolutely right.
// The underlying issue is not stereotypes. People misuse that word and many other words all the time (and mean no harm in doing so).
For you, perhaps. Not for me. I wrote the piece. I'm explaining why.
// , the media should not attempt to employ her latest foul-mouthed comment to raise awareness of some pressing social issue. That never works.
I don't know that there's any science behind that. But it's an interesting assertion. Did "legitimate rape" lead to any sort of significant discussion about social issues? Or the more recent "if a woman is raped, God is at work" comment?
It would an interesting piece of research, indeed.
It's also interesting to note that much of the reaction came from parents of special needs kids. I'd like to hear more from them analyzing this issue.
"Springsteen is the best conservative songwriter? "
What Bob said. Read it.
Bruce *is* a liberal. Stipulated!
But remember, art is in the eye and ear of the beholder. And much of his music, especially music from his most creative years, resonates with conservatives (which is why Bruce has so many high-profile conservative fans while, say, Public Enemy doesn't) in a way that I had a really fun time trying to explain, both on my blog and in Molly's show last night.
Which was, by the way, a great program. Kudos!