Ann Coulter: Radical Punk Performance Artist

Ann Coulter is not a real conservative. She’s a one-woman stunt. In other words, Coulter is as Chris Sosa described quite convincingly in Salon as a “particularly unique brand of polemic performance artist, some would say satirist.” He further explained, "Alongside creatives like Ai Weiwei and Marina Abramović, Coulter — by creating a character so stupid that she can't be real — has become one of the greatest artists of our time."[1]

To begin to understand the basis of Coulter’s audacious performance, we can consider that in her own admission, she considers herself “Punk.”[2] Her entire persona and appearance flies against everything we associate with the Punk style. But, where Punk was once truly a bold rebellion against societal convention, it has since gone mainstream, and become a uniform of a new form of conformity.

While I wouldn’t agree with her approach, Coulter is right to point out that the rebellion of the sixties has now also gone mainstream. We don't recognize rebellion anymore—it’s considered an affront to “political correctness.” As Coulter explains:

The liberal kids are the brown-nosers. They're the ones who are the apple polishers for teachers," Coulter says. "The real radicals on college campuses these days--unless you're at Bob Jones University--are the college Republicans. They are the ones going against the establishment, challenging authority, and they don't care what people think about them.

Coulter’s understanding of Punk seems to be related to its association with Situationism, a countercultural movement of the Sixties which saw public antics as a form of provocation to shatter popular assumptions. Like much of modern art, Situationism has its origins in the occult-influenced anti-art tradition of Dada.

Dada evolved into Lettrism, which then resulted in Situationism. According to Stuart Home, a historian of the avant-garde, Lettrism is an advanced form of the Kabbalah, whose real purpose is hidden from the uninitiated under the guise of an “art” movement. Likewise, as explained Home, the Situationist International (SI) developed the deeply coded form of Qabalah and that the ‘secret chiefs’ who controlled the Situationist International were based in Tibet, as had also been the case with a British forerunner of the group, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.”[3]

Inspired by the new scene he had witnessed in New York, Situationist Malcolm McLaren, assembled and packaged the Sex Pistols, which brought Punk to worldwide attention. McLaren told Andrew Denton on Enough Rope, that his grandmother always said to him, “To be bad is good... to be good is simply boring.”[4] According to his friend and fellow art school student Fred Vermorel, “before he resigned himself to the fact that the music industry represented a fertile playground for subsidizing his mischief, McLaren was not the slightest bit interested in rock or any sort of popular music. Indeed we all had a disdain for such music and particularly for the culture surrounding it, which seemed obese and abject.”[5]

Punk was closely aligned with the tradition of chaos magic. Derived from Austin Osman Spare, a pupil of Aleister Crowley, chaos magic represents a revolution in the practice of magic, by rejecting the rigid ceremonialism of traditional forms of magic, in favor of adopting any methods and means that accomplished the same ends.

By merging with Situationism, Punk, and Timothy Leary’s theories of technology, chaos magic would produce the subculture of Cyberpunk, which shaped the development of subsequent hacker ethic and the emergence of transhumanism. The bridge between these worlds was the work of Robert Anton Wilson.

Wilson, a celebrity of the highly-influential Esalen Institute, helped develop the parody religion of Discordianism, as expounded in his famous work, the Illuminatus! trilogy. Discordianism, which worships the Greek goddess of chaos, was founded by Kerry Thornley, a friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, who was part of the bizarre occult-oriented network involved in the assassination of JFK. Jim Garrison suspected the Discordian Society of being a CIA front, and had Thornley brought to trial, due partly to the fact that he publicly celebrated JFK’s murder, and would introduce himself as follows: “I’m Kerry Thornley. I masterminded the assassination—how do you do?”[6]

Wilson and Thornley developed “Operation Mindfuck” (OM) in 1968, and deliberately issued statements during the investigation claiming Thornley was an agent of the Bavarian Illuminati, simply to “mindfuck” Garrison.[7]

According to Wilson, “Many people consider Discordianism a complicated joke disguised as a new religion. I prefer to consider it a new religion disguised as a complicated joke.”[8] An offshoot of Discordianism is the Church of the Subgenius, where Wilson was venerated as “Pope”.  As explained by Eric Davis, despite their “goofy devotion to flying saucers, thrift store kitsch,” the Church, “conceal rather profound explorations of America’s magical mind.” [9]

The Church of the SubGenius also has links to the Cacophony Society, who were responsible for founding the Burning Man festival, which was conceived of as a Dadaist temporary autonomous zone, with a sculpture to be burned—reminiscent of the Wicker Man of paganism—along with Situationist performance art.[10]

Notable associates of the Church of the SubGenius have included Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, Pee Wee Herman, David Byrne of the Talking Heads, and cartoonist R. Crumb. The Church’s culture of “Slack,” explains Kembrew McLeod in Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, “left traces on everything from the open-source operating system Slackware to Slacker, Richard Linklater’s zeitgeist-defining 1991 film.” [11]

According to Subgenii, Coulter posted regularly at alt.slack, a USENET newsgroup operated by the Church of the Subgenius, along with Britney Spears, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Cheech Marin, Ann Coulter, Martha Stewart, Courtney Love, The Pet Shop Boys, The Sultan of Brunei, Phil Collins. Ron Jeremy and Regis Philbin.[12] But Subgenii take nothing seriously, so they can’t be taken seriously.

But their antics are identical in intent and purpose to those of Coulter. According to Greg Sosa:

Imagine Stephen Colbert with a profound mean streak who doesn’t let anyone in on the fact it’s a charade. Coulter has managed to do this by playing it relatively straight as a bona fide conservative commentator who bolsters the image with numerous best-selling books.[13]

Sosa revealed several instances where Coulter showed no regard whatsoever for the quality of her sources. Because her intent is not to defend her case. Rather, Sosa described her as motivated by “gleeful malice” and noted, “she seemed less interested in her notion of justice but significantly more concerned with inflicting outrage on the American public. Society was stupid, and she was going to screw with it.” [14] Her aim is not only to ridicule liberals. Also according to Sosa:

Ann Coulter had found the perfect recipe: treating news spaces as comedy platforms where she could deliberately make ridiculous statements to infuriate liberals who would be too dense to notice what was going on. But her performance requires equal condescension to conservatives, without whom the Coulter brand would disappear. Coulter knows her performance hurts the right, and she clearly doesn’t care. [15]

Coulter also counts anti-conservative comedians Bill Maher and Joy Behar among her personal friends. By her own confession, comedians seem to gravitate to her, like Sherrod Small or former Good Times star Jimmy Walker. This caused the National White Alliance (NWA) to choose to rescing giving her an award because she had become "unclean". Coulter carries her absurdities so far as to claim that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote that she even came out against the growing interest in soccer, which in her own words, “can only be a sign of the nation's moral decay.”[16]

Despite her stance against gay marriage, since the 1990s Coulter has had many acquaintances in the LGBT community, and flaunts herself as “the Judy Garland of the Right."[17] In the last few years, Coulter has attracted many LGBT fans, namely gay men and drag queens. She insists that her opposition to same-sex marriage "wasn't an anti-gay thing" and that “It's genuinely a pro-marriage position to oppose gay marriage."[18]

Coulter told a group of gay friends she said that she knew they really did not want to get married and they were more interested in promiscuous sex than in traditional family structures. In a view very similar to radical queers' opposition to same-sex marriage, Coulter argued that same-sex marriage would ruin gay culture, because gays value promiscuity over monogamy. "That's the whole point of being gay, so stop the bullshit," and "I know at least half of you are totally against gay marriage." she said. By the end of the dinner, they agreed with her. [19]

Coulter was a member of the advisory council of GOProud, an advocacy group representing conservative gay men, lesbians, and their allies. She boasted how she talked GOProud into dropping its support for same-sex marriage in the party's platform and said that "The left is trying to co-opt gays, and I don't think we should let them. I think they should be on our side" and "Gays are natural conservatives.”[20]

According to Sosa, “Ann Coulter is among the best comedians working today.” He aptly concluded: “Some might call Coulter’s public game cynical, even malicious. But Coulter serves as a fantastic object lesson in media distortion and the ability to manufacture outrage. Perhaps if she does it long enough, people will actually start thinking.”[21]

 



[1] Madeleine Davies. “Genius Performance Artist Ann Coulter Is Now Pretending to Hate Soccer” Jezebel (June 26, 2014)

[2] Mitchell Sunderland, “Ann Coulter Is a Human Being.” Broadly (August 13 2015).

[4] Malcolm McLaren. Enough Rope (Transcript; Audio). Interview with Andrew Denton. ABC Television. Sydney (10 July 2006).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Adam Gorightly. The Prankster and the Conspiracy.

[7] Adam Gorightly. The Prankster and the Conspiracy. p. 136.

[8] Adam Gorightly. The Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley  and How he Met Oswald and Inspired the Counterculture.  (New York: ParaView Press, 2003) p. 136.

[9] Erik Davis. TechGnosis. p. 182.

[10] “Burning Man” Wikipedia (accessed June 14, 2015).

[11] Kembrew McLeod. Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World (New York University Press: 2014) p. 245.

[12] nu-monet v6.0. “Famous People on alt.slack

[13] Chris Sosa, “Let’s all laugh at Ann Coulter, right-wing performance artistSalon.com (October 24, 2013).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid..

[16] AIbid.

[17] Mitchell Sunderland, “Ann Coulter Is a Human Being.” Broadly (August 13 2015).

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[21] Chris Sosa, “Let’s all laugh at Ann Coulter, right-wing performance artist” Salon.com (October 24, 2013).

 

Comments

If she is anything, she is a Neocon....and with the Sabattean-Frankist influence with these people, indeed she is a created entity.

Total rubbish. Coulter's analysis of the immigration problem is excellent. As are her other investigations. 

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