Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Case You Wonder Where Conservatives Come From

Check out the geneology that Anne Coulter provides on her history as a conservative at the on-line publication Human Events: if you don't want to follow this link to her obituary for/memoir of her father, who passed away last Friday, absorb this final line: "Now Daddy is with Joe McCarthy and Ronald Reagan. I hope they stop laughing about the Reds long enough to talk to God about smiting some liberals for me."

OK, so this is a bunch who once sent me an email alert that warned "Are you ready for the return of the dark ages?" Which was about the supposed threat that "Islam" posed to "Western Civilization." But imagining your father in heaven with Joe McCarthy -- seriously, Ann? An alcoholic, anti-Communist extremist, and relentless self-promoter who recklessly ruined thousands of people's lives for no good reason at all except to get on television?

The Republican party cannot be defeated soon enough if you ask me.


Belle said...

I suspected they came from hell, but never thought they'd end in heaven. Sure don't want to go there if they are residents.

Just the thought of that gives me the creeps.

black sojourner said...

Please show respect for the dead. As a trained historian, you are no doubt aware that this is one of the hallmarks of civilized people and societies.

Tenured Radical said...

I think my disrespect is mostly reserved for Ann Coulter, who continues among the living. But should one demonstrate respect for *all* the dead? Even the dead who were bad in life? My training as a historian never mentioned this.


Paris said...

A "relentless self-promoter who [wishes to] recklessly ruin [MS:ruined] thousands of people's lives for no good reason at all except to get on television"

I'd say that describes Anne Coulter perfectly and why I don't believe a word that she says because it is pretty obvious she doesn't either.

And speaking the truth about the dead is not disrespectful.

Anonymous said...

Tenured Radical:

Ann Couter's father is no more responsible for her actions than your father is for yours.

To castigate the dead to promote one's political agenda is reprehensible.

If this is what you consider reasoned debate, you have my sympathies.


PMG said...

Have you ever read her book Treason? It's a book-length defense of McCarthy and his tactics. Totally fascinating, and totally creepy. I kind of want to assign it in a class someday.

Anonymous said...

i was worried about the dark ages, too, but not islam's "return." and, sadly, i was right. all the things i saw coming if GW got in came to pass: war, heightened surveillance of cits, secretive gov't, wider class gap, etc.

BTW, those castigating you for disrespecting the dead - ie coulter's father - need to read more carefully before attacking. you castigate coulter. things you said about the prominent dead they'd prob'ly be proud of. maybe black sojourner was being ironic?

Tenured Radical said...


My guess, upon re-reading, is that you are right -- black sojourner was being ironic. I am quite sure Ken Dallas isn't, since I think he is one of the Durham in Wonderland crew (a notoriously poor set of readers) who have been assigned by God as my personal thought police until the end of time.

But what Ken is saying is wrong: my father should be held fully responsible for my actions, since he invested heavily in me having a good education and then urged me to ask difficult questions, even if people gave me s***t for it. And I think anyone who reads the Coulter piece would also see that she is embracing her history of McCarthyism wholeheartedly. Yay fathers.

Re: respecting the dead, I am also reminded of an old playground song:

"Pray for the dead,
And the dead will pray for you.
Simply because
They have nothing else to do."


GayProf said...

The dead don't mind being disrespected. They're dead.

My theory about Coulter is that she suffers from undiagnosed Tourettes Syndrome. It explains a lot.

Mark in California said...


The website you asked about is


Let us know if that helps.

As for Coulter. Well, the sins of the father are visited until the third generation, and beyond.


Tenured Radical said...

Dear Mark:

Sorry I erased Debrah's remark, as it eviscerates the context for yours....for those who do not know the DiW character of Debrah (aka, the Diva) she occasionally visits here to leave venomous comments that are also about how much me being a lesbian grosses her out, so I delete them.

For those of you who do know her, follow Mark's link for a moment to -- as the Diva would say -- LOL!!!


Anonymous said...

Tenured Radical:

"And I think anyone who reads the Coulter piece would also see that she is embracing her history of McCarthyism wholeheartedly"


It's obvious she loved her father and provided a rather humorous and honest review of him and his lifestyle. As far as I can tell, she made no attempt to disparage you or your political philosophy.

Your ill-considered decision to attack both the deceased father and daughter is contemptible.


mark in california said...

It's OK, TR. I just think that it is wrong to take potshots from someone who gets the majority of her wardrobe tips from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

Stu Daddy said...

Tenured Radical, Stormdervish, Paris, Belle...

I assure you that Black Sojourner intended no irony.

Why would you be so quick to spin a perfectly straight statement?

I'm with Ken in Dallas on this one. The tenor of your comments here is cold and disheartening.

Tenured Radical said...

You know what, DiW thought police? I will grant you the three innocent lacrosse players: actually, I already did some time ago, but y'all are so absorbed in listening to yourselves talk, you never noticed or cared. Or learned to read a sentence as it was written rather than to conform to your own loony, judgmental world views. But:

Do not even imagine me backing down on Joe McCarthy or Ann Coulter. And if you don't like the blog: STOP READING IT!!!! But don't just visit here to bicker.


shorty said...

Re conservative thought police intervening on behalf of the delicate sensibilities of Ann Coulter and her departed father: sometimes all the vast reservoirs of irony in the known universe aren't sufficient.

Ann Coulter of attacks on the 911 widows, the Ann Coulter who said that Timothy McVeigh's only mistake was blowing up the wrong building, Ann Coulter ...

I have to stop. Feeling ill, sense of humor staggering to its knees ...

gebranntes kind said...

I'm on the left and can't stand Coulter but I have to say I found the comments made in the original about McCarthy et al distasteful, and I'll try to explain why, although I don't expect to be taken seriously because I think that many people on the Right are correct that the academic Left doesn't really understand the basis or content of their religious sentiment or take it very seriously. Here goes. And by the way, I am not attributing this position to Coulter, just attempting to explain why many people might have their hackles rasied by thise post. Many people who believe in the Christian heaven also believe that the vast majority of those who are there or will go there do not deserve to be there. They are there because G-d forgave them for their sins in life. And they hope that G-d will forgive them for their sins, too. It would be a demonstration of the vast power and mercy of G-d if G-d could take someone who had as made as many mistakes in life as Joseph McCarthy into G-d's bosom. And if G-d can do this for Joseph McCarthy, maybe G-d can do it for people like me, too.

I think the truly problematic part of Coulter's remark, FWIW, is that if there is a heaven and I get to go there, I sincerely hope that the battles we fought on earth have been forgotten or at least held in the appropriate perspective that the eternal has for the temporal. If JM is in that heaven, I hope he has been forgiven for his excesses and me for mine, too.

Tenured Radical said...


Very eloquent indeed, and I take your point. I guess what offended me about the Coulter piece was the idea that Joe McCarthy is in charge of heaven and can be called upon to pitch in to help her anti-liberal agenda on earth. If G-d forgives people for their sins on earth -- and we don't know that G-d has forgiven Joe McCarthy, since that would be a political and theological question in and of itself -- then do we think that *if* people go to heaven they then sit up there taking revenge on people that they couldn't get to while they were on earth, or who are being targeted by their descendants?

In that sense, I would say that my religious sensibilities were thoroughly offended by the essay.

Methinks if Coulter is going to write these pieces -- which are in a way old-fashioned conceits -- she is fair game. And if we can't speak ill of the dead how, pray tell, do we write history?


Anonymous said...

If the dead do not want to be judged harshly, they should have considered their actions before they died.

gebranntes kind said...

I assume that the "nil nisi bonum" statement and sentiment, which are quite ancient ideas in the West at least, refer to the fact that people who are not present cannot defend themselves any longer. I don't know that it has to apply to historians. However, there is a difference between tracing the historical record about someone and wishing that that person not be in heaven, which is what I was trying to point out. If G-d isn't big enough to forgive someone like McCarthy, will my transgressions be too big for G-d, too? If G-d is political, will I be "Left" or "Right" enough for G-d? I find both the idea that politics matter in heaven, and the idea that certain people don't belong there because from our perspective they have excluded themselves, highly problematic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving us the three innocent Duke Lacrosse kids. I sort of can read and write ,having a BS, an MA , an MBA and a CPA. However, this time you were as clear as clear can be and that was really great and I really appreciate it.
I want to put something to you personally that bothers me and see if it interests you. It may not.
Is it the duty of the "progressive" to communicate with the "not so progressive" in a way that is not alienating? Should Republicans be left to go to hell or should the positions of "racists" "sexists" or whatever be understood in an effort to move forward to reconciliation.
Is that a disreputable position in your trained mind?

Tenured Radical said...

Your mind seems just as trained as mine, and the answer is no, its not a disreputable position from my perspective -- just not the only one. I guess what I think is that different writing voices have different strengths and limitations. I don't think progressives have any more of a duty than conservatives have to write in persuasive ways, but I think that the segmentation of the blogosphere encourages different styles in different places. For example, Human Events from whence cometh the Coulter piece, is not written for me; it is written for an audience that does not find the idea of Heaven becoming another tool in the conservative arsenal ludicrous.

So, for example, the tone of my response to you, whoever you are, who asked a serious question and wants a serious answer, is going to be different than the tone of the original piece, which was intended to be just as pissy as the Coulter essay. And if, for example, I were writing for a professional publication, on the internet or otherwise, I would be likely to adopt a more consistently "professional" tone that would cause the greatest number of readers in a very diverse -- but simultaneously particular -- audience to listen and respond.


Anonymous said...

Oh. Thank-you.That was illuminating. hmmm.Thinking about it.Most appreciated. I just hate losing the rural poor and lower middle class to our own prejudices. Must try to lighten up....thanks again.

Anonymous said...

In response to Gebranntes Kind--

You said, "I find both the idea that politics matter in heaven, and the idea that certain people don't belong there because from our perspective they have excluded themselves, highly problematic."

I cannot pretend to know what your own personal religious beliefs are in terms of who is allowed to go to heaven-- but as someone who is not a Christian but who nevertheless would prefer to go somewhere pleasant after my death, I wonder if you extend this sentiment to those of us who have not accepted Jesus as our personal savior (which is a way that many Christians would say I have personally excluded myself.)

Anonymous said...

Interesting how Debrah makes comments like "You can say anything you wish to someone who is the direct subject of a debate, but when someone dies--even the parent of Mike Nifong--you don't bring a dead person into an argument in which they are not a player" which seem in such stark contrast to prior commentary

gebranntes kind said...

I am not a Christian, which an alert person would note from my typography. However, I spend a lot of time with them in various ways, both as a researcher and as an actually existing person. You shouldn't assume that because someone is a Christian, he or she would necessarily exclude a non-Christian heaven. Some would, some wouldn't. I know the religious Right has claimed the monopoly on defining what Christianity is, but Christianity is so much more than that. This is kind of what I meant when I said that I didn't expect that what I had to say would be taken seriously. My discouraging experience with most of the academic Left is that if something is labeled as "Christian," it's the kiss of death (unless it's some politically approved form of Christianity like singing spirituals or something). No more dialogue is desired.

Anonymous said...

As one of KC's "Sunshine Band", I have sharply criticized Prof. Potter both here and at DiW. I am even an admirer of Debrah the Diva, despite at times being on the receiving end of her barbs.(*) However, in this case I must defend Prof. Potter. Her original posting seems to criticize only Sen. McCarthy, though it mentions Ms. Coulter and her father (and Pres. Reagan). Unfortunately, in her response to "black sojourner's" plea to "respect the dead", Prof. Potter shifted the target a bit from Sen. McCarthy to Ms. Coulter. This seems to have paved the way for some of the DiWers to again shift Prof. Potter's target -- unfairly -- this time to Ms. Coulter's father. My reading of neither Prof. Potter's original post nor her subsequent comments reveals to me an attempt by her to be in any way disrespectful to Ms. Coulter's father.

(*) The Diva is a poor man's Ann Coulter, with a rapier wit. Some might wonder how a KC loyalist like me might run afoul of her. The reason is that while I have been a relentless critic of the 88 at Duke, I have not lumped in all leftist professors into that group. The Diva finds me "too soft" in this way. In my defense, I draw a line between thought and actions: In my view, the thoughts of the many leftwing professor-supporters of 88 are forgiveable in a way that the actions of the 88 are not. The Diva strenuously disagrees.

Anonymous said...

P.S. As the comments here began to resemble a fight among pre-schoolers, I began scrolling quickly to the bottom where I noticed the comments of "gebranntes". I scrolled back to read all of those. Very erudite.

P.S.S. Prof. Potter, in Diva's defense, the only comment that I can recall that she's made about your sexuality was one that said something like, "Prof. Potter hasn't been so happy since someone winked at her at a Melissa Etheridge concert." You have to admit, that was pretty funny. Btw, FWIW, I have at least two ME CDs.

Tenured Radical said...

No, anonymous, I don't have to admit that someone making fun of me in any way is funny. Perhaps it is to you, but not to me. And actually, the comments have been much more insinuating than that, much nastier, and much more frequent.


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