Monday, March 05, 2007

Political Commentators I Have Known

I think it’s probably true of most of us that we often don’t recognize the talents of those around us. We see them every day, so it’s only when we’re granted some distance that we begin to see how talented and perceptive they actually were.

My mind started traveling in this direction when I heard about political commentator Ann Coulter’s latest quote.

Standing before an audience that consisted of the best and brightest of today’s Republican Party, she characterized Presidential candidate John Edwards as a “faggot.” To enthusiastic applause, in fact.

At first I was confused. Surely the standard bearer of the party’s Family-Value-Christian-Soldier wing didn’t mean to use a bigoted slur while discussing the opposition.

Why, it’s just not the sort of thing you expect from them.

With the exception, perhaps, of the time she called Al Gore “a total fag.”

Other than that, though, it just doesn’t fit the profile.

So I remained perplexed until someone took me aside and explained that Coulter is what they call a “political commentator.”

Once I wrapped my mind around that, I realized I’d seen political commentators at work for years without realizing it.

There was this one fellow in the mail room at Endless Bore and Tedium when I started there 20 years ago who had this political commentary thing all sewn up.

For 8 hours a day, he kept up an endless monologue that revolved around the word “fag.”

Everyone, apparently, was a “fag” or, as he liked to draw the term out to squeeze the last bit of pleasure from it, “a faaaaaaag.”

His routine never varied. So-and-so was “a fag,” his friends were “fags,” and everything he did was “faggy.”

It was truly astonishing how he managed to twist and turn the word, stretch it and shape it, to create a myriad of forms.

At the time, I thought he was a small-minded bigot with a limited cranial capacity. Now I realize, of course, he was just a political commentator.

He eventually left EB&T for a lucrative career in show business, strangely enough, where vocabulary is not necessarily the first thing looked for on the resume.

I’ve had political commentators yell at me on the road, from time to time, not to mention the savage Swiftian satirists who’ve cut ahead of me in line at the local supermarket.

In fact, in retrospect, I’m astonished at the number of political commentators I’ve had the pleasure to become acquainted with over the years.

So I’m making a silent promise to myself not to have a knee-jerk reaction of disgust the next time I hear someone use the term and instead, pause for a moment and take pleasure in the subtle wit and incisive understanding that’s part and parcel of political commentary.

I mean, I don’t want to be a fag.

Get it?


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