Andrew, Ann, Adorno

Andrew Sullivan's assessment of the cartoon character bka Ann Coulter is spot-on:

…the problem with Coulter is that she is a form of camp, is she not? The minute you take her seriously, you lose grip on her reality. She's not a social or political commentator. She's a drag queen impersonating a fascist. I don't even begin to believe she actually believes this stuff. It's post-modern performance-art. I think of Coulter in that sense as more at home on the pomo-left than the Christianist right (which is why the joke, ultimately, is on the Republicans who like her). Devoid of sincerity, detached from any value but performance, juggling rhetoric for its own sake, she is Stanley Fish's model student.

There are certainly lefties and academics who will take umbrage at this, if for no other reason, that Sullivan wrote it. And in doing so, he begs an interesting question; if Coulter is indeed "Stanley Fish's model student," who are Sully's academic cagehandlers?

But I think if anyone of reasonable intelligence and honesty takes a careful look at Coulter, Sullivan's on to something here. I certainly disagree with his inference that performance art is "devoid of sincerity" and "detached from any value but performance" (just take a look-listen to anything Laurie Anderson has done over the past 20 years and try to say that), but I do agree with the basic premise that Coulter is a construct.

In fact, I'd take this a step further and probably argue that Coulter is an in-the-flesh cultural by-product, quite possibly the logical extension of what human beings can become when they give themselves up entirely to the bottom line of moving product and compounding capital.

In other words: what would Adorno say?


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