Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Larry Gelbart pens M*A*S*H note to Ann Coulter

By Aussiegirl

Larry Gelbart, writing in today's Huffington Post (we read it so you don't have to), has his knickers in a knot because he thinks Ann Coulter is mean and ugly, and not only that -- according to him she is the lowest form of anti-Semite.

Here's a quote from Mr. Gelbart's opening salvo:

"Politics is politics. Anything below the belt is still in the strike zone. But Anne "Fisheye" Coulter? And her stated opinion that the Jews owe their survival to their ability to pander? Is this politics? Or reportage? Or just the shit/hate - filled exhaust that is a natural byproduct of this unstoppable, unappetizing motor mouth?"

Now, if Ann had actually said that and meant it, I would agree with him, although I wouldn't use quite the same language.

Sadly, It has apparently escaped Mr. Gelbart that Ann Coulter, writing in the best traditions of the English language, has employed the literary figure of irony to make her point.

My Merriam Webster defines irony thusly:

"The use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning."

In another edition of Webster's it's defined this way:

"A sort of humor, ridicule, or light sarcasm, the intended implication of which is the opposite of the literal sense of the words."

In reality, Ann's column, which appeared in 2003, is a long disquisition on the various ploys used by a variety of recent Democrat candidates for the presidency, which ranged from an alarming epidemic of relatives with tragic stories, to the more recent phenomenon where a number of candidates, from Hillary Clinton to John Kerry, suddenly discovered long-lost Jewish ancestors.

It is clear that her intended meaning is exactly the opposite of her words. She is making the point that it is ridiculous and insulting to the heroic history of the Jews, who have withstood centuries of persecution and oppression, for a candidate to higher office to assume that a person of Jewish ancestry might be moved to cast their vote merely on the suggestion of a distant Jewish relation. In reality she is saying that it is the candidates who stoop to such nonsense, who are pandering in the cheapest way to a constituency which deserves more respect.

One would think that a professional writer of Mr. Gelbart's caliber would be familiar with the use of irony, particularly for one who has made his fame as a comedy writer.

Anyway -- he forgot to mention that her mother also wears combat boots.

Here's a bit more from the bitter pen of Mr. Gelbart:

If Ms. (short for misfit) Coulter's theory is valid, perhaps it's also true that blondes owe their survival (even those whose black roots are only wannabes) to their ability to be hurtful to those who have had their fill of being wounded and just can't die off fast enough to suit some people.

Perhaps Mr. Gelbart has been operating under a MISapprehension, and has made a wee bit of a MIStake. Or -- maybe he was practicing irony.


At 9:15 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

Good timing. I had earlier today tried to respond to the moronic or dishonest -- or both -- Gelbart diatribe but found, as did you, that one cannot comment on anything at The Huffington Post.
It suddenly reminds me of this old story: The editor of the New York Post, of many decades ago, had called the New York Sun (I believe) a "yellow dog."
The editor of the Sun replied his attitude was that of any dog toward any post.
Sorry specimens such as Gelbart will wallow in their safe positions, able to lie about their perceived enemies without fear of correction, and Arianna will have to be tarred with the same brush decent people will use against Gelbart and his ilk.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger JRob said...

It has been awhile since I've visited your comments section. It seems that Arianna wants to give every hack commentator a forum where nothing gets challenged. Mr. Gelbart is a case in point. Why let a little thing like context get in the way when you can score more points by one of the most dishonest means of smear (I know, all forms of smear are dishonest) the out-of-context quote.


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