Exercising the editorial license

A fairly typical Ann Coulter paragraph, as such things go, found at Townhall.com:

[Sen. John] McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John Warner — or, as the Times now calls him, the “courtly Virginian” (“fag-hag by proxy to Elizabeth Taylor” being beneath his dignity these days) — want terrorists treated like Americans accused of crimes, with full access to classified information against them and a list of the undercover agents involved in their capture. Liberals’ interest in protecting classified information started and ended with Valerie Plame.

Human Events Online ran the same Coulter column, with one notable excision. Here’s the same paragraph:

McCain, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John Warner — or, as the Times now calls him, the “courtly Virginian” — want terrorists treated like Americans accused of crimes, with full access to classified information against them and a list of the undercover agents involved in their capture. Liberals’ interest in protecting classified information started and ended with Valerie Plame.

Coulter’s copy at her own site reads like the Townhall.com version, so it’s probably safe to assume that Human Events Online excised the “fag-hag” reference. Not that the deletion bothers me particularly — I suspect most people who know John Warner know about Liz and don’t really give a flip — but it is an indication that, to some editorial eyes anyway, some cheap shots might be too cheap after all.

A commenter named “carlitos” reported this discrepancy in a thread at Patterico’s this morning.







10 comments

  1. Sean Gleeson »

    21 September 2006 · 8:52 pm

    I don’t get it. Why is calling John Warner a “fag-hag by proxy to Elizabeth Taylor” supposed to be funny? I don’t know enough about Miss taylor or Sen. Warner to understand what that reference even means, or why it is a cheap shot. Could someone explain it? (I hate being the guy who doesn’t get it, is all.)

  2. CGHill »

    21 September 2006 · 9:17 pm

    Well, it’s not especially funny. Nor is it particularly insulting, really; “fag hag” by now has become essentially innocuous. (Liz, with zillions of friends in the largely-gay fashion industry, and who enjoys some stature as a gay icon, comes by it naturally.) The only reason I can think of for including it in the first place is to get in a thinly-veiled sneer at Hollywood — and since when does Coulter bother with veils?

  3. patty »

    21 September 2006 · 9:25 pm

    Thats interesting. I don’t follow either very well. I am too lazy I guess.

  4. Dan »

    22 September 2006 · 12:30 am

    Ugh. Coulter’s such a harpy – no filter, whatsoever. I ignore her, as I do Dowd and Madonna. My life’s just better that way.

  5. Sean Gleeson »

    22 September 2006 · 2:08 pm

    I still don’t get it, but I think I’m getting closer. For instance, I just learned that Sen. Warner was married to Liz Taylor from 1976 to 1982. (One of y’all could have told me, you know, so I wouldn’t have to pick up this stuff in the streets.) But even if you grant arguendo the premise that Taylor is a “fag-hag,” I still don’t know what Coulter meant by calling Warner a “fag-hag by proxy to Elizabeth Taylor.” It doesn’t really work as a zing at Warner’s “pro-gay” voting record, mostly because he doesn’t have such a record. (He voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and he’s got an 83% rating from the Christian Coalition.)

    Maybe there’s really nothing to get here? Was this just a way to work in a nonsequitur gay reference for no other reason than his ex-wife’s popularity among gays? ‘Cuz if that’s all there is to it, I’ll stop trying to get the joke.

  6. CGHill »

    22 September 2006 · 2:42 pm

    Was this just a way to work in a nonsequitur gay reference for no other reason than his ex-wife’s popularity among gays?

    I think that’s what it was, yes. Then again, I am not privy to the workings of Coulter’s brain. (There are times when this could be considered a blessing.)

  7. Andrea Harris »

    24 September 2006 · 10:09 am

    I think she just couldn’t resist slinging an insult from any source, and maybe she couldn’t think of anything else about John Warner. (Neither can I. He’s just a man-shaped vacancy in my consciousness.) The joke is beyond tired, though, and sticks out like… some sort of sticking-out thing that doesn’t match anything (hey, I haven’t had my coffee) – the Human Events version reads much better without it.

  8. Shouting Thomas »

    25 September 2006 · 6:08 am

    Well, CG, I thought it was funny.

    Then again, I suspect that in your locale you don’t actually run into that many fag hags.

    Jesus, they are awful!

    And doesn’t the description do some justice to Liz, who seems to be mostly known these days for her affiliation with Michael Jackson, the weirdest of gay pedophiles.

    If you lived and worked in New York City, as I do, you’d get a belly full of fag hags. My gay friends (and I admit they are an odd lot, because they are almost uniformly conservative by New York standards and Republican) share my distaste for fag hags. My closest friends calls their companionship the “kiss of death.”

    Sorry to spoil the indignation party, but I think that Coulter really hit the nail on the head. What better way to describe the douche bag status the Liz has descended to, and how better to describe any man who would degrade himself by associating with her.

    Some things are so awful that they should not be tolerated. A full essay on the horrors of fag hags would take weeks to write… and I would only further disgust myself in the process.

  9. Shouting Thomas »

    25 September 2006 · 6:17 am

    It’s in very bad form, I know, to leave two consecutive comments, but I must…

    The gay sensitivity about purported insults to the gay lifestyle always perplex me.

    Are you aware, CG, that the gay entertainment biz, at least in New York City, has almost no other purpose than to ridicule and lampoon straights? Vicious sniping at traditional hetero roles is what dressing in drag is all about. I mean, why does the sensitivity go ballistic when straights dare to use the language that gays consider daring, hip and clever?

    How in the world did gays become holy icon before whom we must all genuflect? Dishing, bitching and ridiculing straights is the common day to day reality of gay life. I know. I live around it. Talk about a vicious double standard.

  10. CGHill »

    25 September 2006 · 7:16 am

    I’ve always prided myself on my insensitivity, but whatever objections I may have had to the “fag hag” line were based, not on anyone’s actual feelings — most people I know who fit the description actually seem to embrace the term (caution: small sample) — but on its general irrelevancy. I have no use for Warner, and not much for Taylor; the fact that she’s a friend of Wacko Jacko is of little interest unless you’re prepared to argue that Michael would have some influence on Warner himself, which seems a tad unlikely. (Jackson of late has rushed into insignificance at warp speed.)

    As for the general gays-mocking-straights scenario, well, yes, it exists, but it’s never occurred to me to take it personally.

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