april 19th, 2016

i have a sexual crush on Ann Coulter. Before you judge me: don't judge me. We don't get to choose who we love.

i want to be super clear: this is not an ironic crush. This is an involuntary crush. It's also a safe crush, like fantasizing about moving to Mars. Plus i'm married —there's that — to a wonderful man, Vlad, here tonight. i'm a practicing heterosexual. Practicing like, it's just what i'm doing right now. Practicing like: i'm not always very good at it.

Politically, Ann and are about as different as they come. But this isn't a story about politics. This is about another hotly contested battleground: the human heart.

To the uninitiated, you've probably seen Ann Coulter on cable news talking very fast and very loud. In a forum where loudness is power, she is very powerful indeed. Her signature move is to interrupt, or unflatteringly quote the show's host out of context, or make an ethnic joke probably about the host, or say something so unexpected and, “WHOA!” that there's no ready response.

And if you get frustrated with that kind of frustrating bullticky, her signature move is to tell you to calm down. And i admire that rhetorical strategy. Troll hard, troll fast, then paint yourself as a placid princess. It's tight, in the sense that diabolical is tight.

One time i forgot her name, so i Googled “mean blonde Republican.” She was the first hit. i checked again today. She still is. And up until a few years ago, that's all i knew Ann Coulter as. The mean blonde Republican.

Then around the 2012 election,she was in the news for calling President Obama a word that i don't feel like repeating, but it sounds a lot like “petard” and it starts with an “r.” President Obama: former president of the Harvard Law Review, and the current President of the United States. An r‑petard. And i had a vision. It was unbidden without any conscious input, and it was Ann Coulter in front of a vanity mirror, brushing her long hair, leaking black and blue mascara tears, singing, “she's so lucky / she's a star / but she cries cries cries in her / lonely hea-a-art.” Then caressing her face in the mirror, and then making out with her own reflection.

i didn't know it then, but that was when the crush started.

From there it graduated to curiosity, to checking her Twitter feed, then reading the profile of her in Time magazine. Then listening to her podcast appearances. Then reading her columns. Somewhere along the way it became Googling pictures of her at the gun range. i don't even like guns. But seeing that pale willowy figure with a strong jaw, big cans to protect her ears, confident and capable with deadly force, steely gaze like twin blue suns wrapped in safety glasses, rail thin but with a butt that should be a crime on top of legs so skinny …

i'm not going to alienate myself from my own desire just because culture tells me to. My inner feminist screams! But my inner lesbian screams, “oh yah!”

She'll freely cite fake news in her columns. Not like The Onion fake news, but like ABC.go, which paints itself like and then you go and read it like, “oh my g0d, no this is FAKE news.” She'll cite the UK's Daily Mail to support her assertions about the state of European politics, which is like quoting Us Weekly to find out about US race relations.

But as soon as you stop thinking of her as a journalist and interpret her as a comedian, as an entertainer, as a performance artist, the whole thing shifts.

In the sense that American politics and the associated media that feeds off it are a circus, and here's Ann saying, “what? Were you taking this seriously? That was your second mistake. And your first mistake was thinking you could take me on!” Hmm!

Perhaps you've seen the cover of her book, How to Talk to a Liberal subtitle: if you must. Let's unpack that book jacket, shall we? There's a chalkboard, and the title written in chalk. That tells us school is in session. There's our teacher Ann, hands on her hips. But what's this teacher wearing? A tight black leather vest that would not be out of place in a San Francisco Porn Palace Sex Dungeon. And blonde hair that falls just above the nipple line. It is not the book cover of a good Christian girl.

Where the crush really took hold was when i discovered surprising deep-rooted real affinities between the two of us.

Sometimes i imagine her in the early '90s, slogging away in some corporate law firm, miserable. Making nasty jokes, and no one laughing. Just like when i was working in corporate marketing in the early 2000s, making jokes, and no one laughing. i imaging her writing balanced political prose at night that no one would buy. And then she came into this persona, this brittle acid pony, and unleashed the demon kept at bay.

On her Wikipedia, her origin story is that she was politically awakened by her time working on the Paula Jones case in the 1990s, hearing more and more evidence that Bill Clinton, sitting US President, was a sexual predator. But the response of the American Left was to shrug it off, cuz the economy was good, because he was the first two‑term Democrat elected President since FDR.

And that disconnect enraged her. And it enraged me, too. And it still does. Her conclusion was to turn to the American Right and mine was that i'm left of Left. But our conclusions come from the same truth.

We're both alienated by kneejerk Internet outrage culture.

e both value independence. She's said of her career, “no one can fire me or tell me what to do. I can wake up at noon and work from home in my underwear.” And i'm a freelance computer programmer. i've said those EXACT words about the way i work.

And then there are other surprises. She talks about USA family values but has no family of her own. She's been engaged several times, but never married. What's going on, Annie? Why couldn't you close? One of her fiances was Muslim. Many of her close friends are black. She makes a lot of friends at church. And she goes to black church.

What do you do when you see yourself in a very strange mirror?

What do you do when you're presented with data that contradicts your model? Do you reject the data? Or do you re'evaluate your model?

i imagine having her as a guest on my fantasy political comedy show. Today we have Ann Coulter, the best-selling conservative author in history.

And then i'd set up conversations that i have ready responses for. About global warming i'd say, “Ann, you reject the notion that human beings can, quote, change the weather.”

And she'd say, “yes, right now we're in a period of global cooling.” And i'd say, “yeah, Global Cooling was a scientific theory in with climate scientists in the '70s. Are there any other dumb fads of the '70s that you're into? Like pet rocks?”

And she'd go, “ohhhh!”

i'd say, “your candidate of choice is Donald Trump, son of an immigrant mother and a Klansman father.”

And she'd say, “Fred Trump was not a Klansman” and i'd say, “he was arrested at a Klan rally, with members of the Klan. So potato potahto.”

i'd say, “you're against gay marriage and claim that, quote, gays don't want to get married anyway; gays are just conservatives who like promiscuous butt sex. But what about lesbians, Annie? Are you sincerely claiming that lesbians don't want to get married?”

And i'd be watching how she reacted when i said the word “lesbians”. i'd repeat it. “Lesbians.”

And she'd say, “you really do your research.”

And i'd say, “well i had to — i knew i was going up against you.”

And then she'd reach out her hand to caress my face. And i'd gasp, “Annie!” And then we'd make out.

She's old enough to be my mother, but immature enough to be my teen daughter, and i think that means we meet right in the middle. i imagine folding her up like a pale slide ruler and rocking her in my arms.

For every area where we track 100% there are ten where i see nuance and she just averts her eyes. At the same time, it's not crazy to think we'd get along. She's close with liberal celebrity Bill Maher. He and all her friends say about her: “yah, there's who she is on camera. But if she's your friend, she's one of the best friends you'll ever have.”

And i dream of that, too. Not so much that i'd have a stage persona equally venomous and polarizing. i don't want to be Google's “mean silver‑haired poet.” But definitely intense, like a force of nature. And people would ask my friends, “whoa, what's it like being friends with her??” and my friends would say, “yah, there's who she is on stage, but if she's your friend, she's one of the best friends you'll ever have.”

Really i don't know if i want to be Ann Coulter, or be in her. No, that's a lie. i definitely don't want to be her.

March 2016 May 2016