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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ann Coulter really is a cunt, people

posted by bitchphd
Okay, look. As I said in the comment thread, I knew that folks wouldn't like the Coulter joke. And yes, I posted the thing anyway because (1) I thought it was an amusing piece of satire, although yes, the Coulter joke is not the most original thing in the world; (2) the teabagging parties--and the right-wing dumbasses that support them--are, in fact, really weirdly blind about things like, oh, what "teabagging" means and the whole queer culture thing.

I'm perfectly aware that everyone has decided that calling Coulter a cunt--or saying she looks mannish--is terribly sexist. I don't buy it. As I said in the thread, her shtick is *founded* on the whole "I'm so feminine and pretty" crap. She makes comments about how democrats and lefties generally are ugly. Her self-presentation is high-femme. Underlying the "she's a maaaaan, baby" reactions, I think, is a critique of her invocation of rigid gender norms to market herself. Is it the most sophisticated critique? Not usually. Is it often a critique that's completely uncritical of those gender norms? Yes, but not always: context matters, and I think that the "this is a feminist blog"/"so-and-so isn't usually like that" comments that are being so dismissed in the comment thread below function occasionally (as in this case) as reminders of that. In the context of someone who is usually right-on about feminist issues (if not always; even Homer nods, people), one might extend the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe what's going on isn't just a "haha she looks like a man and is therefore irrelevant" comment. (Especially when that's not, actually, what anyone has said.)

That said, I do in fact get that the "tranny" thing (as opposed to "mannish" or "cunt") bothers people, and I do in fact get why. And I agree that that it's not a particularly funny joke. Then again, the whole piece is queerphobic, not just that bit, and it's that way on purpose. I'm not going to speak for or apologize for my boyfriend, so if you want me to agree with you all that he's a frat boy who hates women, well, fuck off. (I will agree that he can be an asshole, though. Just like I'm a bitch.) And I'm not going to get into what he "really meant" because, well, screw that on a number of levels. I will, however, explain how I read it.

I hoped that, once the un-pc-ness of the trans joke had been noted and admitted, that the actual focus of the satire, which isn't AC, would be appreciated. As I read it, the joke is that the Uber-Heteronormative Right is having freaking teabagging parties. The speaker, in the post, is an uber-heteronormative dude who's all, ooh, I took out an ad trying to get a hottt Republican chick to let me teabag her! IOW, the speaker is a jerk who doesn't get it. In keeping with Proper Conservative Values he's gentlemanly and polite about it (George Will would be proud), but therein lies a big part of his cluelessness: the teabagging parties are not "civil" disobedience at all, they're completely at odds with traditional umc Republicanism (before the libertarian freaks and the Norquisties took over), and traditional umc Republicanism is unequipped to deal with them.

In other words, *I* don't think the joke, in the context of either the post itself or the blog as a whole, is doing what people seem to be thinking it's doing (i.e., reifying rigid gender dichotomies, excluding queers, etc.), any more than saying that Newt Gingrich, say, sounds like a total closet case whenever he gets all hot and bothered over Our Boys in Uniform and those icky girl "infections" that should keep women out of the military. I think it's working in the way that, say, a persona saying "while Mr. Gingrich was, perhaps, a little . . . graphic in his language, I think it is undeniable that the cleanliness and decorum that ladies cherish is in short supply in military operations. Or so I have heard; while I, like the ladies, appreciate the virility and masculine virtue of soldiers (and how!), I have never myself been afforded the opportunity to enjoy their company in a professional capacity." Speaker: closet case. Implication: chickenhawks are closet cases. Homophobic: not really, no.

So, them's the ways *I* read the piece, and I had hoped that, after acknowledging that yes, trans jokes are generally uncool, readers might get that. Clearly, transgenderism isn't yet "mainstream" enough for folks (at least straight cis people like yours truly) to get away with that. Lesson learned. I apologize for posting the thing.

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