I’ve said for years that if you took Coulter’s books and columns and stuck a man’s name on them (preferably P.J. O’Rourke’s), at least half of the auto-Ann-haters (right and left) would pronounce them well-researched, soundly argued, and entertaining.
So, yes, I think she gets picked on for being female.
(And no, outraged commenters: That’s not “liberal identity politics” or “feminism” talking. That’s human nature. Something conservatives are supposed to be realistic about.)
The fact is, O’Rourke has been as searingly cruel as Coulter.
For instance, see if you can track down — then dare to read — his illustrated National Lampoon-era guide to “Foreigners Around The World” (or, as I like to call it, “How Normal People Used to Talk About Each Other”).
And his “Thoughts on the Prospect of a Sixties Revival” was one of my early writing models:
People Who Died During the 1960s: 4 students at Kent State.
People Who Were Allowed to Live: All the other students at Kent State.
So why doesn’t O’Rourke get picketed or pied in the face? Well, he gets away with a great deal because he often mocks his younger, dumber self and the bewildered aging hipster he’s become.
Coulter, however, has never to my knowledge shed a tear in public, or joked about having a bad hair day or craving a cheeseburger. She was apparently born without the self-deprecation gene. This blunts her appeal in our Oprah-ized society.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the quality of O’Rourke’s writing has declined as he’s gotten older, probably due to a drop in testosterone and draining distractions like cancer and children. (One exception: His diabolical “obit” for arch-liberal courtier-hack Arthur Schlesinger is another one for the time capsules.)
Worst of all, O’Rourke tends to chicken out and turn liberal just as things are getting exciting, like a boyfriend who suddenly blurts out his old girlfriend’s name at the worst possible time.
Coulter, on the other hand, untouched by toddlers and tumors, rarely resorts to the modern conservative’s abiding flaw: that desperate need to be liked which inspires otherwise intelligent right wingers to heap unadulterated (pun intended) praise on Martin Luther King Jr. or “hard-working Mexicans” or “moderate Muslims” or whoever this week’s liberal-approved human unicorn happens to be, in the middle of an otherwise laudable, cliche-free column.
I said “rarely.”