Bolt of the Coult: The Ann Coulter Freedom Machine
Shit is getting out of control, man. Yesterday, Ann ‘Thrax’ Coulter cancelled her #hyped speech at UC Berkeley after already being cancelled and re-invited, being the first to pull the rare double-Maher – Maher was notably dis-invited and then re-invited to speak at a Berkeley commencement ceremony. In a conscious effort to overreact, both sides have drawn their pitchforks: we already have lawsuits and retorts. We’re looking at planned riots and army invasions. But let’s not let the hysteria and hyperbole distract us from the fact that this is literally the worst thing to ever happen to Berkeley. To figure out why, we can look at it from three angles – intent, execution, and resolution. (I know I paid Berkeley $100k to turn me into an Antifa domestic terrorist, but they taught me how to write a mean thesis sentence too)
Before we start – no, I don’t condone violence or close-mindedness or not dating someone because they’re alt-right or watching Bill O’Reilly for more than 30 minutes straight blah blah blah. Oh, wait. By the way, you’d think Ann should be used to cancellation since she’s such pals with old Bill. But yeah, the administration probably handled this in a shitty way. So did the protestors. Whatever. We’ll find out in court. This isn’t an allocation of blame – this is an examination of the inner workings of the Coulter machine.
Intent is a slightly weird thing to gauge, but we have an ignominious track record to go by. Following the cancellation of events centered around provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and author David Horowitz, the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) invited someone more controversial than both of them combined – Ann Coulter. Coulter is mainly known for being a dick, but it’s okay because Bill Clinton spoke just last year, and he’s known as a dick for a completely different reason. If you’re BCR, what’s your endgame? Do you want to invite someone that will solidify your echo chamber? Or do you want to invite someone that’s actually going to be productive, someone that the other side will attend and listen to, someone that will challenge people’s thoughts in an effort to pool the best ideas? And don’t give me the ‘well who could possibly be acceptable’ rhetoric – look at pretty much anyone in YAF’s OWN INVITE LIST.
Execution has now been fixed in the timeline. Coulter herself chose to withdraw after she was abandoned by both BCR and YAF – Young Antagonizing Fucks, er, Young America’s Foundation – when they pulled their support of the event (CENSORSHIP!). This is not a free speech issue. Let me type that again – this is NOT a free speech issue. And not because of the bullshit ‘hate speech is not free speech’ sentiment, because it is. You can say literally anything you want and not face *legal* consequences, short of making a threat or committing slander. Hate speech is, quite plainly, free speech. But UC Berkeley is as obligated to accommodate her for a speaking engagement as they are to accommodate me. Where’s my fucking platform? Why’s everyone trying to shut me up?
Free speech is the ability to say something without fear of retaliation from the government because, you know, it’s in the constitution. This applies even though UC Berkeley is a publicly funded institution – a fact that doesn’t matter – and an institution which attempted to accommodate her, despite the rigorous safety assessment by UCPD.
You know what’s free speech? Standing on Lower Sproul with a vuvuzela and yell out what you think. Take cues from the ‘Yahweh’ guy who’s there literally every day.
Let’s follow her train of logic:
(1) The Coultergeist gets pissy because her speech got postponed because the university wanted to prep due to security concerns. She threatens to swallow an administrator whole by flexing her prominent Adam’s apple.
(2) Coulter demands an alternative date because May 2 was during dead week, claiming that no students are on campus. Besides the fact that students are definitely on campus, is she afraid that her magnetic personality (and probably magnetic skin from the lead poisoning in her brain) won’t attract enough people by itself? She might as well demand that the university provide her an audience, in addition to a date. No participation trophies here – Ann wouldn’t want to just show up without having first place handed to her.
(3) BCR and YAF withdraw, leading to this Coulter byte: “All of the people who should be standing up for the First Amendment here all ran away with their tails between their legs.” Which is weird because they filed a joint lawsuit against the university. They even asked their daddies for money to get a lawyer and make the suit look pretty! The lawsuit includes a part where they complain about having to “pay a security fee in the amount of $5,788,” which is weird, because it sounds like they’re looking for a handout.
(4) She pulls out, saying “I’m so sorry for free speech [being] crushed by thugs,” directly citing the security concerns that she was dismissive of in point #1. She gets mad about how she didn’t have a building, which kind of sounds like a safe space.
(5) Good buddy Milo chimes in, ““My proposed Free Speech Week will proceed as planned later this year. I WILL BRING AN ARMY IF I HAVE TO.” Classy as always – I almost called this piece ‘revolt of the coult’ because of it. Milo’s familiar with *actually* being cancelled… he was disinvited from being the keynote speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) – a place that banned Steve Bannon until this year – and his book was cancelled too.
Resolution isn’t far off. Isn’t she a fan of free-market economics? The market had no demand for her, and market forces pushed her away. That’s not stopping her from showing up, at the cost of being in the red (the financial sense, not the morbid one). So why won’t she? Because she’s already gotten the greatest return – publicity – without doing a single thing. You might even call that ‘free.’
She controlled her own narrative, demonizing the university as she had likely set out to do, proving the point that Milo had started. Through all of this, we’ve heard a lot from her, which makes you think why she’s still searching for free speech, when it’s still apparently in abundance. Perhaps it’s not the only free thing she’s looking for.
But it’s not about freedom. It never was. If you want to make this about free speech, I have one question for you: Is that a constitution in your pocket, or are you just excited to see Ann?