Ann Coulter and Michael Moore

by Michael Potemra

Sometimes a concept takes hold, culturally, and deserves a little attention. As literary edtor of National Review, I get huge stacks of review copies every day from publishers. Today I got a copy of a Voice of Reason, by radio host Ronn Owens. The flap copy says: “If you’re sick of the hyperactive bleating of the Ann Coulters and Michael Moores, and you’re ready for a straightforward and faur discussion” etc. I also got the galley of a new book from C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb, the introduction of which begins as follows: “A book on ‘American character’ that begins with chapters from Ann Coulter and Michael Moore? Absolutely!” There are two ways of looking at this pairing, as to what it tells us about the national character. The first is the conventional red-state-versus-blue-state analysis: We are a nation divided into two hostile camps. The second, to which I am admittedly partial, is Walt Whitman’s conception of a single nation that, nonetheless, contains multitudes and revels in doing so. (I think Coulter and Moore would both reject this vision as sentimental pap; and that, too, is part of their charm.)

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