A raucous red glare, bombast bursting in air...that's the face and sound of media conservatism these days, as celebrated on best-seller lists, top-rated talk shows and books like Brian Anderson's "South Park Conservatives" (Regnery, 2005). His title comes from the cable cartoon program known for its helpful ripping of political correctness, but also its harmful endorsement of rage and sarcasm.
Sarcasm=harmful. Got that? It's helpful to rip politicial correctness, but not if you have to stoop to the level of employing something as awful as sarcasm.
These days, being a "South Park" conservative is in, and the working definition seems to be: Hit hard, and don't worry about hitting below the belt, because there is no belt. If you counter the left's sputum with your own, talk show appearances and book contracts will follow.
I guess I should be supporting Marvin here, since he's calling for more civility and less bile on the part of conservatives, but he kinda comes across as a scold. Also, he doesn't make any goddamn sense:
Anderson quotes one undergraduate talking about himself and cohort members who "get drunk on weekends, have sex before marriage ... cuss like sailors -- and also happen to be conservative." What big-shots endorse, little shots snort.
Wh...wha...what? "What big-shots endorse, little shots snort"? What in the name of criminy does that mean?
Now we get to the meat of why Olasky's column today is so great, even beating out entries like Oliver North's exhortation to invade Venezuela and take out Hugo "Hitler" Chavez, Mona Charen's doom-peal about "Londonistan" becoming infested with zero-values darkies, and Tony Snow's elegant solution for how we can have an intelligent debate on intelligent design if only we answer the essential question of whether or not there is a God: ANN COULTER IS AWESOME BECAUSE SHE LOVES JESUS.
If we understand how Christ combined justice and judgment with forgiveness and hope, our earnestness can be seasoned with grace. But show business pulls us in the opposite direction: Fighting words sell. Ann Coulter, for example, says people don't respond to subtle reasoning and need to be bopped on the head.
This explains why she so often comes across as a life-hating, awful crone who wants to destroy all that is good and decent about the human mind. But wait, it's okay, because secretly, deep down, she loves Jesus:
She's probably right: Rapid-fire attacks keep people awake. But the columnist has another side that a former student of mine, Amy McCullough, caught in describing a Coulter appearance at the University of Texas: "When a young, conservative woman asked how she could stand the awful things people said about her because of her stand on abortion, she hesitated, messed with her hair, and said: 'Well, it's the same way I don't care about anything else: Christ died for my sins, and nothing else matters.'"
Yes, even though she makes a living writing books and appearing on TV shows to say that anyone who voted Democrat in the last 40 years is a subhuman vermin who will fry in hell for all eternity because they are monstrous proto-fascist scum-filth who might as well have personally cut the throats of all the babies who died in Oklahoma City, she really doesn't care about anything, because she knows that Christ died for her sins.
That gutsy comment suggests two big differences between "South Park" conservatives and those who profess Christianity not because of tradition but out of an awareness of God's grace. First, an overwhelming sense of His mercy makes all other considerations minor in comparison. That sense leads people such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to offer good advice: "Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world."
It's neat that Marvin calls her comment "gutsy". There's nothing braver than pandering to Christian conservatives.
Second, Christian conservatives press toward earnest grace -- that combination of passionate conviction and profound compassion -- because those who reject Christ should do so because of the content of His message and not the style of a speaker. The apostles did not rant, they argued logically.
The New Testament is just FULL of logical arguments.
In today's media culture, conservatives need to bop people on the head sometimes, but also need to display compassion, not contempt, toward the sheep of the left.
And, you know, what better way to show people you don't hold them in contempt than by comparing them to sheep?
Amy's conclusion regarding Ann Coulter was: "I enjoyed a lot of what she had to say. It'd be nice if she was nicer." Acquaintances say Coulter is personally nice, so some of her stage persona is an act -- and probably one that is needed to break through the propaganda that suffuses so many college courses.
How come Marvin doesn't assume that the whole Jesus-jumper humility is an act, and that her fiery harridan routine is the real Ann Coulter? There's no evidence either way, and she's publically unpleasant a lot more than she's publically devout, so why not just assume that the devoutness thing is the routine and not the conserva-bitch routine? After all, Ann happily admits to being a drinker, a smoker, a serial pre-marital fucker and general hedonist. How Christly can she be, really?
How would the apostles act in today's culture? How, for that matter, would 18th century members of the religious right like Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry? Coulter can join that distinguished host as she finds more ways to rout liberal stereotypes without fulfilling others. Her acknowledgment of the centrality of Christ is terrific. She's too good to be "South Park."
Marvin, Marvin, Marvin. You forget why Ann's in the game! There's no MONEY in acknowledging the centrality of Christ!