How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)

Ben Shapiro

11/1/2004 12:00:00 AM - Ben Shapiro
 There?s nothing more fun than shocking a liberal. Try it sometime. Tell a classroom full of Marxists that you support abolishing minimum wage and watch the reactions. Explain to affirmative action protestors that getting a combined 700 on your SATs doesn?t qualify you for a slot in the higher education system, and photograph their faces. Inform a Lyndon LaRouche campaign moron that you love war, and watch him blanch.

Or give a liberal a copy of Ann Coulter?s newest book, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter. Ticking off leftists has never been such fun. Coulter is brutally sarcastic, bone-crunchingly vitriolic and unbelievably funny. Reading this collection of columns, you?ll review the last few years of American liberal craziness: from Clinton to Kerry, from Monica?s thong to Ted Kennedy?s swimming ability, from protecting terrorists to killing fetuses. Just remember not to read this while eating, because you might spit out your food. This applies to everyone except Michael Moore, who never spits out his food.

Fittingly, Coulter begins with a few tips on arguing with leftists. She reminds conservatives that arguing with liberals isn?t likely to end with a handshake: ?Liberals traffic in shouting and demagogy. In a public setting, they will work themselves into a dervish-like trance and start incanting inanities: ?BUSH LIED, KIDS DIED!? ?RACIST!? ?FASCIST!? ?FIRE RUMSFELD!? ?HALLIBURTON!? Fortunately, the street performers usually punch themselves out eventually and are taken back their parents? house.?

Coulter?s strategy: fight fire with fire. Except make your fire intelligible and well-reasoned. Make sure to anger liberals, because watching them explode is fun: ?If the liberal you?re arguing with doesn?t become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage, you?re not doing it right. People don?t get angry when lies are told about them; they get angry when the truth is told about them.? Her strategy is working; on Amazon.com, liberal reviewers have swarmed like lice from the head of Al Franken. Virtually none of them have read her book, but that?s probably because few of them can actually read. Those who can read should email me to receive an explanation of the difference between the words ?their? and ?they?re.?

Once you hit the columns, the real fun begins. Even regular column-readers will be surprised and pleased to see these ?director?s cut? pieces. If you thought Coulter was great at packing laugh lines into her columns, watch what she can do with a higher word count.

Coulter begins with some highly serious writing on the September 11 attacks: a run-down of American presidential action against terrorism since the Carter Administration, and a tribute to murdered writer Barbara Olson. Of course, her Olson column, a passionate cry for justice against Islamic terrorists, is more famous for Coulter?s pronouncement: ?We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.?(24) It wasn?t politically correct, but then, PC responses to terrorism only work for Parisians.

And Coulter hilariously deconstructs all those who think anti-terrorism should be put through sensitivity training:

Coulter?s take on racial profiling composes a chapter all its own. Apparently, Ann has been closely wanded, her luggage rifled through, and some of it stolen: ?I?m now carrying gift certificates from Zales in my carry-on bag just to save the guards time during the busy holiday season.? But at least the airport measures are keeping us safe. As Ann points out, ?The FAA?s new hijacker repellant is this: Passengers will now have to show boarding passes to get to the gates. This wily stratagem will stop cold any hijackers on suicide missions who forgot to buy airline tickets!? But racial profiling is still off limits. Wouldn?t want to offend the PC police, now would we?

Honestly, after being pulled out of line five out of the last seven times I?ve flown due to my suspicious-looking yarmulke while watching young Arab/Muslim males skipping through security unexamined, I can?t imagine what in the world Ann is complaining about. One thing is for sure, though ? I hold by Ann?s rule of thumb: ?I carefully reviewed the lawsuits against the airlines in order to determine which airlines had engaged in the most egregious discrimination, so I could fly only those airlines.? One tip: don?t read this part of the book on a plane. Either you?ll giggle so hard you?ll be rolling in the aisles, or you?ll be so depressed you?ll want to walk off the plane in mid-flight. Probably both.

And then Coulter gets to the Democratic presidential candidates. By this point in the campaign, I know that I miss Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, and the rest of the escapees from Pescadero Mental Institution ? or, as Coulter calls them, ?the party of ideas.? Hearing about them is somewhat like hearing about that crazy uncle you used to have who brought you candy before he went to prison.

By the end of the primaries, all of the candidates were virtually indistinguishable anyway, notes Coulter. That?s aside from Dennis Kucinich, who, Coulter points out, ?held up a pie chart during a Democratic debate that was broadcast only on radio. (Even more embarrassing: Al Sharpton asked the moderator what kind of pie it was.)?

But at least we still have ?gigolo? John Kerry to kick around, at least for the next few days. You?ve got to love a guy who describes his wife as ?very earthy, sexy, European? ? which, as Coulter points out, ?sound like euphemisms for hairy armpits and body odor.? You?ve got to admire a fellow who ?sees a room full of wealthy widows as ?a target-rich environment.??

Hollywood doesn?t get off the hook, either. One of my personal favorites is the March 28, 2002 classic, ?I Like Black People Too, Julia!? Discussing Halle Berry?s Oscar win and subsequent crying episode about the victory for ?every nameless, faceless woman of color,? Coulter points out: ?Yes, at long last, the ?glass ceiling? has been broken. Large-breasted, slightly cocoa women with idealized Caucasian features will finally have a chance in Hollywood!? Coulter?s other targets include that TV symptom of our sick society, "Sex and the City": ?This is not girls talking like girls, it?s not even girls talking like guys exactly, but girls talking like gay men.?

But Coulter?s favorite target is yet to come: the New York Times. Coulter wrote the book about mainstream media bias, and her commentary here is caustically fascinating. Hypocrisy is the byword for the New York Times. They despise ?rich yuppies,? but cry for them when Enron goes down in flames. They claim not to practice affirmative action in the newsroom, but explain that they accepted the underqualified Jayson Blair because he was black. They cry about President Clinton stealing White House furniture, but decry persecution of Clinton during the impeachment investigation.

Not that they aren?t consistent on some issues. The Second Amendment means no guns at any time, according to the Newspaper of Record. ?[The] New York Times has been viciously denouncing Attorney General John Ashcroft for having the temerity to suggest that the Second Amendment protects the ?right of the people to keep and bear arms? ?. In an eerie coincidence, the Second Amendment actually says, ?the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.?? The Times is set on defending the Central Park rapists. And the Times is vehemently opposed to talk radio. But Coulter?s willing to give them that point ? after all, ?conservative talk-show hosts have a built-in audience unavailable to liberals: people driving cars to some sort of job.?

Coulter is so side-splitting, it?s easy to forget she?s a razor-sharp legal mind as well. She proves it in her commentary on Elian Gonzalez (one of her extra essays ? a real gem) and the 2000 election. As a Harvard Law student, I can say that law and its ?interpreters? are too funny not to be sniggered at, though. And Ann doesn?t let her readers down. On the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court gay marriage decision: ?If they can find a right to gay marriage in the Massachusetts Constitution ? never before detected by any human being ? we need to get them looking for Osama bin Laden. These guys can find anything!?

This is barely the tip of the iceberg. Coulter tells the full story about the Max Cleland controversy. She takes on her Slander opponents. The ACLU, the ABA, gay marriage and forced busing come under Coulter?s withering fire. So do Bible-holding political panderers, liars, and Oval Office cigar-users ? Oh, wait, those are all one guy.

How to Talk to a Liberal is Ann Coulter at her best. So make sure to buy two copies, one for you, and one for a lefty friend. Will liberals hate this book? You betcha. But that?s the point. You aren?t winning the argument unless you can see the steam spurting from their ears.