Monday, January 26, 2009

The Gonzo of Coulter

From my latest essay at Splice Today:
Given the Newtonian opposition of their political loyalties, and their vastly different literary ouevres, the fans of Hunter S. Thompson and the fans of Ann Coulter are very near to being mutually exclusive sets. A Venn diagram would show an almost infinitesimal overlap between Set A (those who admire the drug-addled king of gonzo) and Set B (those who admire the acid-tongued right-wing blonde). Yet as one of the few occupants of Set AB, I find striking parallels between the two, and wonder why others don’t also see these parallels.


  1. I've learned to respect Ann Coulter...for her success, but not necessarily for her on-screen persona. She's a bit too shrill and "sound-biteish" for my tastes. Yet, beneath that facade, she's an insightful observer and commentator on the political scene.

    Similarly, although my professional career kept me carefully out of the drug culture, my inconoclastic social and political attitudes let me learn to appreciate Thompson. His perspectives, even when chemically enhanced, were often insightful and brutally truthful.

    Yet, if I were searching for that overlap on any Venn diagram of the two personalities, I'd have to suspect that someone was really stretching the paper a bit to get that lapping.

    You want to try Jefferson and Obama next?

  2. Great piece.
    I was looking for a bit of a deeper contrast. Maybe it was the drugs, a dedication to Hemingway, whatever, but Thompson ended it.
    Decades younger, female, ideologically opposing, I just wouldn't see Coulter doing the same, literally or literarily. Her "Gonzo" seems quite calculated. As if her lawyerly mind, like a Boston Legal episode, knows exactly where the line in the script is drawn, and she stays just inside.
    There was a story of her having jaw trouble a couple months back. Did you hear if that was real, or just a bit of pump-priming for "Guilty"?

  3. I liked Hunter Thompson even before I did drugs. Here's hoping Ann doesn't do the long slide from mediocrity to insane gibberish that marked Thompson's efforts in his final years, but considering that she doesn't party nearly as hard I'm thinking that's not too likely.

  4. I've said it for years: take a paragraph or two of Coulter, sign a man's name to it -- heck, sign it PJ O'Rourke -- and conservative Coulter haters will swoon.

    I'm sorry but: 90% of this is subconscious misogyny. Yeah, I went there...

  5. Good Point, McCain. Beneath and forming a foundation for the outrageousness and fireworks is a solid professional grounding established over years of experience if not formal training.