Monday, December 03, 2007

Godless - Ann Coulter

This is the first book that Im writing something about even before i've finished reading it.
To put it quite bluntly , it is painful reading this book. Have you ever read the comments section in Rediff ? Or the comments say in slashdot on a controversial topic (or anything involving microsoft). Well the quality of this book is lower than the lowest rated slashdot comments and the rants and abuse are on par with it. I mean honestly , this is what the book comes across as - A lot of poorly written rants , interspersed with insults. The insults are what Ms Coulter believes are the humor part of the book which will only be funny , i guess , if you truly hate the people she is insulting.
I'm probably more liberal , than I am conservative but I call myself neither so I guess this book was not for me.
Right so where to begin. according to Ms coulter , the republicans have all enacted successful policies, the democrats have screwed up everything, and where they havent its because they inherited the good work of the republicans and where the republicans screwed up is because of democratic policies previously enacted(e.g. 9/11 happened because Bill Clinton didnt act on the evidence he had). Umm ok. I guess coming from India , Im more likely to believe that all politicians uniformly screw up what they can and their successes can be attributed to law of averages. That very few(ok none) of them have the people's welfare in mind
Then Ms Coulter who evidently is a good devout christian advocates the death penalty to major crimes (actually anyone who doesnt agree with her). Ok. if questioned about this her answer usually runs something like "Ah but you godless liberals, you'll support abortion. You dont mind killing a hamless innocent baby but you want to protect a multiple murderer rapist!!you $#%$#^%$^%$" Actually no I dont support the death penalty and I dont support abortion either. But i guess Ms coulter is from the Bush school of your either with us or against us.
Then there's a chapter that is so rich in irony. Ms coulter goes after the people the democrats put up to state their case who cant be touched or criticized. e.g. The widows of the people who died in 9/11. The widows / mothers of soldiers who have died in the war. She then proceeds to accuse these women of all sorts of things(like they did it for the publicity, they did it for the money, they took so much pleasure grieving for their husbands deaths) while repeating that nobody is allowed to criticise them. Leading to the obvious inference Ann Coulter = nobody.
And onwards to teachers who according to her are above criticism and nobody is allowed to criticise them or public schools either. So nobody i.e. Ms Coulter, than proceeds to do exactly that criticise public schools, bring out statistics to number of children abused by school teachers v/s number of children abused by priests. Im not sure what she wanted to prove there.
And this is where I have reached and I had to stop because it is truly painful reading this book. Its not even like its well written. I can normally read with viewpoints i disagree with , but this? this is just a hysterical woman ranting. There are very few facts (yes yes I know there are endnotes - Read Al Franken on this), there is lots of opinion, and there is very little by way of solution (or atleast feasible ones).
The sad bit is , these books are bestsellers. And again I cant get over how poorly written this book is. I mean do people buy books just because they agree with someones views and arent really concerned with how good the book is?
Ms coulter evidently knows how to appeal to her audience. Take the school topic for example. Assuming that American kids don't get a good education in a public school, whose fault is it?
The school and the education policies - definitely. The teachers - definitely. The parents - definitely. The American society itself which doesnt put much of an emphasis on education , but more of an emphasis on making it big getting rich - somewhat. The heroes that are worshipped here - Rich billionaires , Rich empty headed blondes, talented actors, talented sportsmen but note the lack of educated folks(you have to be really really rich). All of this ? undoubtedly these and a lot more factors. But Ms coulter knows her audience. The parents and society members who wont take any responsibility - Its easier blaming the public schools is it not?
Abortion / Stem Cell research arent easy topics. The answers are not black and white. In the end all people have are their beliefs. People like Ms Coulter however dont believe that , only their way is right (pun intended) , they are certain everyone else is wrong. To quote Scott Adams - only an idiot can be certain about anything.
I had to balance this by immediately reading Al franken's Lies and the Lying Liars who tell them where he does a far more effective job of demolishing Ann Coulter than I could ever do. And he's funny too. Yep insults sure are funny when you dont like the person they are made against.
One hilarious youtube video (Ann Coulter says Bill Clinton is Gay - this is satire I think) explains why Bill Clinton told Ann he was gay. it seems he needed an explanation as to why he wasnt hitting on her. too funny!
To conclude , shamelessly plagiarising another youtube quote from a law student graduating from university of michigan , referring to ann coulter
"had I known just how lucrative being a bitter and hateful circus freak with a law degree could be , I .. God is my witness I would have come to law school 10 years ago"
Oh and the 4 chapters of evolution. Ms Coulter attacks evolution and brings up fact after fact that evolution cant explain. Even assuming she is accurate, umm thats how science works no theory is perfect and we must always try to improve it. She repeats her contradictory statement that Darwin made that shows that evolution can never be disapproved and how theories that cant be disapproved aren't science and then proceeds to write four chapters trying to disprove evolution. Which is it Ms Coulter? She evidently is of the school of thought that believes that attacking Evolution proves that Intelligent design or Creationism must be correct(a false dichotomy). She repeats Ad Nauseaum how the eye is a piece of wonderful design (it is) and how evolution cant explain it. And I with my minus seven thick glasses think, heck God couldnt you have made a better design? I mean you dont see these people crib about the dual nature of light (waves and particles) and say they want it taught in school's as only a theory and want equal time with the theory of intelligent design of light which was created by a God who said 'Let there be light!' do they?
This book is too shallow and has been written with a set audience in mind. If you believe in truth , fairness, balance, objectivity , theres nothing here for you. If you hate extremist liberals or if you hate extremist right winger's then yes this book's for you.

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