Now THIS is interesting...has Coulter HELPED the gay acceptance movement?
Very interesting. Not only could this very well be true, this could also be the best excuse ever from Ann. As her empire continues to fall and her bank accounts run dry, she is going to have to do something. Well, now she can come out in a month and say that she planned the entire charade in order to spread the word that homosexual intolerance is unnacceptable.
When conservative commentator Ann Coulter called former Vice President Al Gore a "total fag" on national television nearly a year ago, it barely caused a stir.There are some excellent points made in that article. It'll be very interesting to see what happens, because this scandal isn't over by a longshot.
Coulter's recent labeling of presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot," however, has triggered a huge response, including a campaign initiated today by a gay rights group and media watchdog to persuade mainstream media outlets to dump her for good.
At least four newspapers have dropped Coulter's syndicated column, and 40,000 people signed an online petition to Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes her column, demanding that it release her. Three corporations, including Verizon, stopped advertising on Coulter's Web site after she made the comment.
This follows recent controversies over the use of the new "f-word" -- as some call it -- by actor Isaiah Washington and an antigay rant by NBA player Tim Hardaway. Washington apologized and announced he would go to "rehab," and Hardaway lost endorsements and was penalized by the league.
Coulter wondered on the "Hannity & Colmes" show on the Fox News Channel on Monday about the difference between the reactions this year and last.
Dan Savage, editor of the Stranger, a Seattle alternative news weekly, and author of several books on his life as a gay man, said the reaction to Coulter could indicate a change in how people view gays.
"I always thought we would be reaching a tipping point with anti-gay hate where it will no longer be acceptable, and maybe we are reaching that tipping point now," said Savage.
Neil Giuliano, the president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the rights group starting a campaign to get Coulter's voice out of mainstream media, said public opinion about anti-gay slurs is changing because gay and lesbian people are more visible than ever.
"As this happens, those in the overall culture who don't like that are going to raise their voices and become even louder, and that's why I think a lot of this is going on," Giuliano said.
Ronald Butters, a Duke University professor who studies the changing meaning of taboo words in American English, said he doesn't think "faggot" has become more or less offensive.
"Words mean what the public takes them to mean," he said. "The very reason that there is a furor is a pretty good indication of how insulting that term was."
Leaders in the gay community said the Coulter fallout could become the prototype for how the public will respond to the use of the term "faggot."
"People are actually realizing this word hurts and defames an entire group of people, and having people other than ourselves standing with us is very significant," said Giuliano, whose organization is known as GLAAD.
GLAAD is issuing a "call to action" today to its 40,000 constituents, asking them to contact the heads of cable news organizations and NBC and "call on them publicly to state that they will no longer feature Ann Coulter as an on-air commentator."
The Human Rights Campaign, another gay and lesbian civil rights organization, started a campaign earlier this week to pressure the Universal Press Syndicate and newspapers that publish Coulter's words to drop her. So far, people have sent about 40,000 e-mails through the organization's Web site.
"It just seems to me the conventional wisdom around Ann Coulter till now has been that the most important thing for anyone to do is ignore her, but I think we have a more serious problem here that we are addressing," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. "This word ought to be seen as offensive and dangerous as any hate-based word."
Conservative gay scholar Andrew Sullivan, who heard Coulter's comments live, said she uttered it with "malice aforethought." But equating it to other slurs is a difficult comparison, Sullivan said.
"Nothing has the power of the n-word," he said.
Coulter made the offending utterance last Friday at a major gathering of conservatives, where she shared the stage with several Republican candidates for president.
During her speech, a series of jokes about Democrats, Coulter said, "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' So ... I can't really talk about Edwards."
Coulter has defended her use of the term as a "schoolyard taunt."
"The word I used has nothing to do with sexual preference ... and unless you're going to announce here on national TV that John Edwards, married father of many children, is gay, it clearly had nothing to do with that," Coulter said in an interview this week on "Hannity & Colmes."
The explanation has not satisfied her critics, including three Republican presidential candidates, Rudolph Giuliani of New York, John McCain of Arizona and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Edwards and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean also criticized Coulter.
And the Shreveport (La.) Times on Thursday became at least the fourth newspaper to drop her column out of 35 publications that carried it.
"Today, we move past the rhetoric and unproductive dialogue offered by Ann Coulter," the newspaper's executive editor, Alan English, wrote in an announcement on the newspaper's Web site.
Butters, the Duke professor, called Coulter's explanation of her use of the word "simply ridiculous and untrue."
"It is always intended, I think, as a derogatory term of one of the most pernicious sorts," he said.
Thom Lynch, who leads San Francisco's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, said he does not hear the word used often among gay men.
"It's not a word people have reclaimed in any sense. If straight people use it in the same way Ann Coulter did, people will get really angry about it," he said.
Still, some gay people are skeptical of the condemnation of Coulter.
"I don't have a problem with people using the word 'faggot.' I use the word 'faggot' all the time," said Seattle's Savage. He started a public humiliation campaign against former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, after Santorum made derogatory statements about gay men. But he does not think there should be a campaign to silence Coulter.
"When we start acting like the thought police, it plays into the right-wing paranoia that we are going to force them all to say only nice things about us in public," Savage said. "I think we would gain ground faster in the gay and lesbian civil rights movement if we drop the Sally Field act of, 'You like me! You really like me!' "