Sunday, June 11, 2006

"Sweetness and Light" Falsely Claims Democrats Endorse Ban of Coulter's Book


Two New Jersey Congresswomen issued a press release in response to Coulter's claims that 9-11 widows who speak out politically in ways of which she does not approve were enjoying their husbands deaths. Contrary to the claim of "Sweetness and Light," they did not advocate a ban of the book. Here's the relevant part of the press release:

"No one in New Jersey should buy this book and allow Ann Coulter to profit from her hate-mongering. We are asking New Jersey retailers statewide to stand with us and express their outrage by refusing to carry or sell copies of Coulter’s book. Her hate-filled attacks on our 9-11 widows has no place on New Jersey bookshelves."

They're right about that. Coulter is a psycho, and I'll bet her book has no more place on respectable bookshelves than, say, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Noting this, however, does not amount to advocating banning the book. That would be a clear violation of the First Amendment. (Question: would we really die for Ann Coulter's right to spout her ignorant, hate-filled cant? Oh, jeez... Let's let ourselves not think about that one...)

If this constitutes advocating a bad then the right has advocated many such bans...including, e.g., of Dixie Chicks CDs. But of course it isn't a ban. It's just more conservative hysteria.

See, brutally attacking 9-11 widows is o.k.; however pointing out that someone has brutally attacked them is not. And pointing out that people shouldn't buy her books constitutes book banning. The folks at Sweetness and Light apparently need to go back to seventh-grade civics class. Well, the really just need to reflect on the obvious and important difference between (a) saying "you shouldn't read that BS" and (b) making it illegal to read said BS.

Remind me about this crap next time I start complaining about liberals, o.k.?


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

"We are asking New Jersey retailers statewide to stand with us and express their outrage by refusing to carry or sell copies of Coulter’s book. Her hate-filled attacks on our 9-11 widows has no place on New Jersey bookshelves."

I dunno. That's pretty close. The headline isn't quite accurate, but it's just a blog (which I never heard of). It contains more truth than non-truth.

It's definitely an attempt at suppression, and that it was congresswomen who issued the statement, well, would you be good with it if Tom DeLay did that to Bill Maher? Mebbe tried to get local cable systems to refuse to air Maher's talk show?

I mean, I wouldn't, altho I find him as putrid as you do Missy Ann.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Don't see it, Tom. It's not a ban. It's a recommendation/request...and a good one.

Yes, I'd say the same thing about the DeLay/Maher case: not a bad, not a violation of free speech.

The asymmetry would be that there's no good grounds for recommending that people not watch Maher, so it would be a dumb recommendation.

But in either case: it's radically inaccurate to call it a ban.

The blog's unknown to me, too, but it's linked to by Instapundit in another context, which is what took me there.

Actually, the other story's good and I intend to link to it, too, despite the blog's overall frothiness.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Dumb in your eyes, no doubt. But offense is in the eye of the offended these days, and I assure you Maher offends me equally.

You would be OK with GOP elected officials getting Maher being taken off every cable provider in Alabama?

To me there's a substantive difference between a boycott and prior restraint.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Look, there is simply no comparison between Maher and Coulter. To strain for some equivalence there is just silly.

And dumbness isn't, so far as I can tell, in the eye of the beholder...though comparisons are sometimes difficult...and sometimes not.

I don't get "offended," so you'll have to cut me some slack on that one. I didn't get that gene or something. That's one reason the grad school lefties thought I was a conservative.

Now, I do get *pissed* sometimes, but, as I understand it, that's quite a different thing.

If Maher said anything as vicious as what Coulter has said, and if stations elected to drop the episode of his show as a result--even at the urging of the GOP--I would never suggest that this constituted a BAN. Again: it is in no way a ban, it is not close to being a ban.

Note also that saying "you shouldn't read/view this particular thing they did" is different than saying "you should never read/view anything they do ever again." So what's the analog of saying "you shouldn't read Coulter's book"? It probably takes her ghost ranter about a month to whip off one of those things, so I guess its equivalent to saying "I suggest you not watch Maher's show for the next four weeks."

If Maher'd said what Coulter said, I'd be inclined to agree with that. In fact, I'd be inclined to say "Screw him, I wouldn't watch him anymore if I were you."

What Coulter said strikes me as being even a tad more viciously stupid than what that sh*tbag Ward Churchill said about "little Eichmans." And I don't think anyone should take that guy's classes. In fact, I hereby explicitly suggest that no student take his classes. Am I advocating some kind of "ban" on his thoughts?

Maher got kicked off the air--lost his whole show--for saying something far, far, FAR less f*cked-up, vicious and crazy than what Coulter has just said, incidentally. Not long, come to think of it, after Ari Fleisher warned that people should watch what they said...directing that comment explicitly at Maher...

5:24 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Obviously we'll never agree on standards. Coulter said these women enjoyed their husbands' deaths. Churchill said they deserved to die.

And the congresswomen didn't urge a reader boycott; they urged the sellers to keep it off the shelves.

2:34 PM  

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