How to Talk to a Liberal

September 17, 2009

how-to-talk-to-a-liberal Summary: My first exposure to Ann Coulter’s writing was just a little while ago when I checked out If Democrats Had Any Brains…They’d Be Republicans from the library. I really enjoyed her style, and had quite a few laughs at the jabs she took at liberal politicians. Of course, I didn’t agree with everything she said, as she’s pretty extreme, but her opinions are definitely entertaining. So I was hoping for more of the same from How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must). This is an earlier work, and maybe because of that, it didn’t feel as relevant or compelling to me.

Again, the book is mostly a collection of Coulter’s past articles, both published and unpublished. The unpublished ones are ones that various editors rejected for being too wordy or off-topic — and I found myself agreeing what those assessments more often than not. I wonder why Coulter thought they would be suitable for a book?

Anyway, because of the date of publication, a lot of the issues are old: Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky, uproar over George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, and the 2000 Florida recount fiasco. There’s even an extended section about Elian Gonzalez, which practically brought the flow of the book to a halt. Yawn.

The book is rather long, too. The hardcover edition is listed at 368 pages (I read the Kindle edition), but it felt much, much longer. It took me several weeks to get through this tome, as opposed to the few days I spent on If Democrats Had Any Brains….

Liked:

  • As usual, I found myself having to go to the dictionary a lot while reading Coulter. I love it when authors can make me do this! For instance, one word I had to look up was “miscegenation”, which I’d never even heard of before. I discovered that it means “reproduction by parents of different races (especially by white and non-white persons)”. Well, that explains why Coulter used it when talking about Thomas Jefferson’s alleged affair with slave Sally Hemings!
  • Coulter can be damn funny at times. The book is full of lots of great quotes that I couldn’t possibly reproduce here. But one that stuck out was the following, which she wrote while talking about how Democrats can’t seem to get a foothold in the talk radio arena: “To be sure, conservative radio talk-show hosts have a built-in audience unavailable to liberals: people driving cars to some sort of job.” Ha!
  • I loved how Coulter exposed Greg Packer as being quoted more than a hundred times as a “man on the street” at newsworthy events for NY Times and other media. How come nobody ever noticed that before Coulter did? Wikipedia’s entry on Packer makes it clear that Coulter was the one who brought this to everyone’s attention. Interesting.

Disliked:

  • Well, this isn’t really any fault of Coulter’s, but this book was hard to read because, as I said above, the events didn’t seem all that relevant anymore. Obviously when she published the book, this wasn’t the case. But this kind of work just doesn’t stand the test of time very well.
  • It was far too long. Coulter included numerous columns on each topic, which, in the end, made it seem like she belabored each and every point. It was tiresome and exhausting at times. I admit that I skimmed. A lot.

My Rating:
I have a strong inclination to give How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) just 2 stars. But again, the problem with timeliness isn’t Ann Coulter’s fault, and who’s to say that someone else reading the book today wouldn’t find it interesting for its perspective on past issues? Still, I think this is a volume that only Ann’s die-hard fans would truly enjoy from cover to cover. I give it 3 stars out of 5.

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