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Certainly, most of us are tired of the Ward Churchill fiasco. It is mostly a whole lot twaddle perpetrated by the corporate media, hungry for sensational headlines, a tawdry attempt to further cash in on September 11, 2001. It is, as well, a blessing for far right field and swamp gas radio talk show hosts and columnists who never rest in their search to scrounge up dirt, no matter how infinitesimal or insignificant, on their ideological enemies.
For instance, Ann Coulter.
Coulter is a bit late cashing in on the much to do about Churchill. In an article posted February 9, with a predictably loutish title, "The little Injun that could," Coulter rehashes the charges, most quite absurd, against Churchill. One has to wonder where Coulter has been for the last week or so. Maybe she was too busy making appearances on ABC, NBC, CNBC, CNN, and, of course, Fox News, as she is wont to do, and was unable to write. Or maybe she suffered from writer’s block (we can only hope).
Regardless of her dawdling on this topic — an issue custom-tailored for the Queen of Hate, and thus you’d think she would have been all over it like white on rice days ago — the problem here is not her chiming in far too late, probably to the disappointment of her insatiable readers, but rather her obvious racism.
It is the word she decided, obviously with premeditated viciousness, to include in the title of her op/ed piece: Injun.
At first, since I found Coulter’s piece on David Horowitz’s site, I figured this was the work of some reprehensible headline slinger. So I did a Google News Search and discovered the title appears on all instances of Coulter’s article. She used the offensive word deliberately and — since overt racism and intolerance are right up her alley — why not?
For some reason Yahoo News, the Jewish World Review, WorldNetDaily, and, as previously noted, FrontPageMag had no problem running the offensive title. Is it possible, if Coulter wrote an article with the "N" word in the tile, these same publications would post it?
Front Page may, since Horowitz — editor, publisher, and chief neocon ideologue — seems to have a problem with African Americans, especially African Americans who have the nerve to say the government owes them money due to the slave labor and bondage endured by their ancestors. On second thought, since David Horowitz, above all else, wants to rake in the money like Scrooge McDuck, he probably wouldn’t post it with the offending word. If he did, there is a good chance he would be hounded and sued and portrayed as a detestable racist. It wouldn’t be a good business decision, regardless of what Horowitz really thinks of African-Americans, especially African-Americans who, in a distant past David cannot seem to forget, were Black Panthers.
As for the Jewish Review, is it possible they’d run a headline with the phrase, made infamous by Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, that Palestinians are "beasts walking on two legs"? Or would they use the word "crocodiles," as evoked by another Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, when talking about Palestinians? Certainly the Jewish Review wouldn’t use the word "cockroaches," as did Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces, as quoted in the New York Times. No, they probably wouldn’t because the use of such words would reveal at least two prime ministers of the "only democracy in the Middle East" for what they obviously are: Arab-hating racists.
On the other hand, the word "Injun" is apparently considered useable because … well, because the American Natives — who once numbered in the millions inside the borders of what eventually became known as the United States and were methodically decimated and reduced to less than 250,000 by the end of the 19th century, thanks to white people with about as much sensitivity and compassion as Ann Coulter — are essentially invisible. The likelihood an "injun" will sue Coulter for racist defamation is probably fairly low.
Native Americans are fair game, indicated by the fact there are about 2,000 schools using Indian names for sports teams, to say nothing of more than a few professional teams, such as the Washington Red Skins. It wasn’t so long ago Red Skins fans chanted, "Scalp ‘em!" (Incidentally, scalping was introduced to the "New World" by the Dutch, who learned the grisly practice from the Earl of Wessex.)
Coulter picks her targets carefully. For instance, since September 11 is still relatively fresh in the minds of many Americans, especially the sort who read Ann, she can say whatever she likes about Arabs and Muslims. In fact, she can call for their mass murder and forced conversion to Christianity and hardly anybody gives a hoot. She can also get away with saying Asians, North Koreans in particular, should be "nuked for fun."
And yet Ward Churchill is roasted alive in the media for something he wrote three years ago — an essay almost completely lost to obscurity until some right-wing zealot dredged it up from the murky depths of the internet and fed it to Bill "phone sex" O’Reilly — an essay taken out of context and wielded like a club studded with nails to attack a nearly irrelevant academe, accused routinely of espousing Marxism and "anti-Americanism," or at least not demonstrating the requisite degree of enthusiasm for invasion, mass murder, and occupation of foreign lands.
In a perfect word, not Bushzarro world, Ann Coulter would be transported to New Mexico, where I live, and forced to read her little essay to the Navajo and Apaches tribes. I can only imagine the reaction.
Instead of scorn, Ann Coulter receives royalties. Instead of being written off and ignored as racist, essentially no different than a Knight of the Ku Klux Klan, she appears on the idiot tube, making repulsive comments about Muslims, Arabs, Asians, liberals, and now Native Americans.
Coulter, of course, thinks she is funny, since the title is a sarcastic take-off on Watty Piper’s classic "The Little Engine That Could," a popular children’s book. Instead, this is a double-whammy, since not only is Coulter expressing racism, something that apparently comes easy to her, but is also engaging in a condescending attitude toward American Indians, a habit with a long and injurious history. For Ann Coulter, racism and hatred are simply the best way to make a buck.
A few months ago I received an email claiming Ann Coulter is in fact a man, a former drag queen from Key West named Jeremy Levinsohn, aka Pudenda Shenanigans. Interesting, I wrote back, but I don’t care if Coulter-Levinsohn is a man, woman, or a Martian — I am far more concerned about what she/he writes, and the damage it inflicts, the hatred it spreads. Gender is irrelevant, I replied. But then I guess such a response is to be expected from a "bleeding heart" liberal, although I do not consider myself a liberal. John Kerry and Al Franken are liberals. I wouldn’t be caught in the same room with them.
Finally, it is not surprising WorldNetDaily and Horowitz’s FrontPageMag would allow Coulter’s racism to pass unchallenged, since they more or less agree with her, at least in regard to Muslims, but it really says something when Yahoo News lets it slide. But then maybe it shouldn’t be surprising considering Yahoo rubs elbows with big telecommunications corporations, is traded on the stock market, and "acquires" other companies, such as Inktomi and Overture Services, and spends its time gobbling up the competition, for instance AltaVista and AlltheWeb. In other words, it is simply another faceless corporation interested in the bottom line and will do whatever it takes to get there.
In such an environment, racism is not an issue, especially if it racks up page hits and thus levitates stock prices.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org