Ann Coulter’s Soccer-Immigrant Rant May Be Performance Art, But It’s Still Dangerous

3 years ago

My Facebook timeline was filled with posts about right-wing pundit Ann Coulter’s diatribe against soccer, immigrants, and moral decay. Yup. Soccer —the sport she describes as having “no heroes, no losers, no accountability, and no child's fragile self-esteem is bruised”—is not only the chosen pastime of Europe, Latin America and Africa; it's also a harbinger of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

While I’m used to my progressive friends reacting to the shenanigans of conservative pundits, this time, some of my more right-learning friends were posting about it, too. After all, they were children of the white-bread suburbs, and guess what? They also grew up playing AYSO, just like any other red-blooded American kid.

Feb. 10, 2012 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - ANN COULTER, best-selling author, makes remarks at the 2012 CPAC Conference, Credit Image: © Ron Sachs/DPA/

I was compelled to click on Coulter’s syndicated column (here’s a snack for you, trolls!) and I have to admit it was mildly amusing.

Coulter is no fool. She may be lacking in compassion and reason, but she knows her audience. Her anti-World Cup manifesto reads like a search engine optimized link farm stuffed with keywords designed to attract Tea Partiers with their love of football, Lady Thatcher, and personal accountability. At the same time, it plays on their suspicion of “HBO’s ‘Girls,’ light-rail, Beyonce, and Hillary Clinton.” Throw in some comparisons with “Chinese-style brainwashing in the public schools,, the French, and women’s sports, and the piece reads like it "runs up and down the field and, every once in a while, a ball accidentally goes in..." Sort of like how she describes willy-nilly game of soccer.

Her antics have been described by some as performance art, but whether Ann Coulter sincerely believes what she’s saying or if she’s just showboating for her base, it doesn’t matter. I’m not offended by Coulter, but I’m not going to dismiss her as a kooky satirist, either. Some people may think it’s funny to blame “the immigrants” for everything from participation trophies to the metric system, but it also stokes nativist fears that newcomers are a monolithic horde out to destroy America as we know it. Coulter’s brand of humor makes it easier for people who already suspicious of immigrants to not care about comprehensive immigration reform—which is stalled in House of Representatives—or even about the thousands of Central American children languishing in Arizona warehouses.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.

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