Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Irony so thick, it's clogging my lungs...

I guess I'm a bit late to this one (since it's almost 90 comments strong now), but how do you respond with a straight face to a post entitled "Your Women Are Ugly!" is not a political argument" with comments that can roughly be summed up with "yeah, especially when they're ugly!"?

I know I'm a broken record on this, but it just keeps coming up. A person's perceived attractiveness isn't a valid basis for political criticism. It doesn't matter how attractive you think Ann Coulter is. Whether she's hot or not doesn't change the message she's spewing, and it doesn't validate or invalidate the hatred in her message. When you attack her appearence you're not criticizing her message, you're actually, in some way validating part of it.

Yes, Coulter repeatedly tries to sell or is sold as this attractive conservative voice. She does try to invalidate liberal opinions by suggesting that they're unattractive, as though a person's beauty is a valid basis for criticizing arguments. When you say "but you're not hot, Coulter!" you're not countering her argument. In fact, what you're really doing is validating it in some way. The implication is that her argument is wrong, not because looks don't matter, but because she's not hot. In other words, her premise is fine, just her conclusion is wrong.

So, I'm just going to go ahead and keep on saying it:
If your response to that post was to point out how you think that conservatives are ugly or that liberals are attractive, you didn't help. You reinforced the problem. What you're saying is "they're wrong because we're hot or they're ugly" when you ought to have been saying "they're wrong, it doesn't matter how attractive you are, but, rather, what your socio-political acheivements are." When you focus on people's looks instead of their contributions, you're just reinforcing the notion that the most important thing a person can be is pretty.

5 comments:

assembling words to armory, she waits... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
assembling words to armory, she waits... said...

(sorry about the above deleted comment ~ stupid computer!)

amen, roy.

i mean, coulter is abhorrent. but she's a monster because of the fountain of hate she spews and the tantrum-esque way she constantly demands (and is given) attention from the media, not because of the way she looks. how ugly she is or isn't on the outside has nothing to do with her internal character. fighting sexism with sexism does nothing but perpetuate the fire.


reading jill's post the other day, i was particularly struck by the amount of 'who cares, it's maxim' sentiments. as if we should just let them slide because the sexism was printed in a largely sexist men's mag!


sexism is sexism, even if the victim is sexist, and even if the incident generates from a sexist source. it's inexcusable from whereever the origin lies and to whomever the target may be. why is that so hard to understand? *scoff*

assembling words to armory, she waits... said...

guess i should clarify ~ i was commenting specifically on jill's maxim mag feministe 'defending ann coulter post' (http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/10/17/it-truly-pains-me-to-defend-ann-coulter-but/)


not that i didn't see the feministing rep/dem ad and wretch as well. it just proves the point that this issue keeps popping up like so many tacky dandelions.

brandann said...

thanks roy, b/c when i see articles about how "looks aren't a political argument" i get excited, as if someone finally got the memo...but then when i read the comments, i cringe...how are we any better if that is the best criticism we can come up w/?

*beats head against computer desk*

EG said...

You're absolutely right, but I think there is an important distinction to be made between saying "No, your women are ugly," and pointing out the chicanery in that poster, i.e. posed glamor shots vs. unflattering candids, etc, because that's not about the looks of the women per se, but about the intellectual dishonesty of an argument that's morally bankrupt anyway.