Ann Coulter, symptom

Ann Coulter, symptom
: The Guardian goes into the lion’s cage with Ann Coulter, “columnist, TV star, bestselling author, heroine for the ultra-right and hate figure for what remains of liberal America.” Ouch.

They make the mistake of trying to see her as emblematic or symptomatic of the deeper American psyche. No. She’s a sideshow: Morton Downey on good legs. She’s entertainment.

I found one surprising observation in the story. It’s accepted wisdom here that Europeans — and, for that matter, much of the rest of the world — cares about, talks about, and thinks about politics more than we do.

The Guardian says the opposite, using Coulter as its evidence:

Coulter’s success represents a feature of US life that separates it starkly from most countries, including Britain. She benefits from, and is now a star player in, a polemical culture that has made political argument a mass activity. Scan the top-selling books in Britain and it’s all gardening and cookery. Look at what America’s buying and it’s non-fiction books of argument. Every new Bob Woodward tome on the US government becomes a smash hit, while slash-and-burn polemic – whether it’s Coulter on the right or Michael Moore on the left – sells by the crateload. Maybe it’s to compensate for the cautious style of US newspapers or the bland, neutered language of mainstream US politicians. A gap has opened in American political culture and motor-mouths like Ann Coulter are filling it.

Maybe so.