The Bitch Slap: Being Polite vs. Being Respectful

bitch slap polite respectful ann coulterI have a certain affinity for language that some might refer to as blue. Perhaps inappropriate. Definitely contentious at times.

My recent TEDx talk addressed a point that some have chosen to take issue with: my statement that I’m done being “polite” (which I’ll get to in a minute).

But I have never — ever — taken issue or chosen to make disparaging remarks about either my nation’s President or those who have special needs. It seems Ann Coulter did both during Monday night’s political debates. And that’s why it’s time for a long-overdue Bitch Slap.

To get up to speed, you can begin here with Coulter’s tweet in question.

To top it off, you can read the classiest response to a hateful remark ever on the Special Olympics blog. Oh, and he has Downs Syndrome.

And while I might be a day or so behind on the news, I thought this would be the ideal time to address the issue of respect — which is lacking (evidently) from the repertoire of certain folks and remains a behavior much confused with a distant relative (polite), which always shows up empty-handed to the potluck supper.

When I think about being polite, I envision someone saying something designed to placate the person in front of you that is contrary to how you truly feel. Call them white lies. Call the behavior what you will. But that behavior — masking how you truly feel to someone standing right in front of you because we don’t respect them enough to be direct and honest — that is what I’ve called for an end to. I’m through with the façades and the people who will say one thing to your face and mutter how they really feel under their breath once you’ve cleared the bus stop on the corner or gossip about you over drinks with the guys or gals. Take what you will from the dictionary. I see the act of being polite, however, as one that requires entirely too much effort to deliver an untrue and insincere sentiment.

The same amount of effort could be spent on being honest and respectful. Now that — that’s something I can get behind 24/7.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a career-related or personal situation — I’ll take respectful any day over polite. Our world is in need of more hard truths and frontstabbers — those who will stand before us and deliver honesty and in a most respectful fashion — instead of coating our inquiries, actions, and ideas with a cheap varnish of feigned approval or passive-aggressive dismissal.

Is it so much to ask to have the truth delivered to one’s face and with respect?

I’ve never had any affinity for Ann Coulter. I don’t agree with her views, tactics, or anything much that she stands behind. But who am I kidding? There are plenty of people who feel the same way about me. But one thing I believe in and will stand behind till my dying day: the President of my country is the President of my country. That means that he deserves to have his title capitalized and be addressed with every ounce of respect that is due our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. And I don’t care how you vote/voted/will vote nor whatever level of LIKE you have for whomever holds that office at any given time.

When you have earned the office of President of the United States, there’s a respect that goes with that title. Not blind faith, mind you, but respect. We have a political system, broken and flawed though it may be, that affords not just every candidate a voice, but every American eligible to vote a voice (current bullshit voter identification laws notwithstanding). So vote if you don’t like what you see. But here’s what I offer the next time that Ms. Coulter — or any of you, would like to call the President of the United States a “retard” (and perhaps even make repeated references using such demeaning language) or address those with special needs with anything less than respect:

First, think about my nephew, Aren. He is autistic. When you use that word, you are directly insulting my nephew, my sister, his father, his grandparents who adore him (one person of which is my mother), his sister, every child like him and his or her parents, and ME. Do you really want to fuck with me on this?

Next, watch this video. These athletes do more than you or I could ever dream of doing — and they do it before breakfast, with less, and better. These are the people who were formerly referred to as “lame,” “cripples,” or even “gimpy.” Unlike those who compete in the Special Olympics, many of these people weren’t even born with a deficiency. Rather, life handed them an event or situation that transformed them forever. How dare we ever think that they are less deserving of our respect than you or I, each blessed with limbs and brains such in “proper” working order (though my soon-to-be 40-year-old knees would beg to differ on that occasionally).

Meet the Superhumans from STITCH on Vimeo.

After that, think about the number 44. That’s how many people have served The United States of America as President in 223 years (since 1789). If your life had taken you on a path to hold the highest office of our country — to be one of 44 leaders who each hold the direction of our legislation, economy, and general welfare in his or her hands (which is tougher than any job you or I will ever have) — seems to me that you’d have lived a life worthy of respect and where the R-word could be left where it belongs: with other tiresome, pejorative, and demeaning words that are ripe with nothing but negative implication and crystal clear tones of disrespect.

Finally, take the words shared so often by my friend Merredith to heart. She talks often of  her mother, Bea, whom I never had the opportunity to meet. When Merredith would hear someone saying hateful words about someone else (or even her), Bea would simply say, “What Ms. Coulter says about those with special needs says more about Ms. Coulter than it does about those with special needs.” Indeed it does. And I know more and more every day that Bea and I would have gotten along like peach pie and Blue Bell vanilla bean ice cream. And I do hope that the Universe watches over Ms. Coulter’s family in a way that she never has to face someone she loves suffering a traumatic neurological or life- (and body-) changing physical injury.

If I were being polite, I would say that Ms. Coulter made a misstep. A faux pas. Whoopsie! *Giggle* *Gasp* And then I’d go back to vacuuming the living room.

If I were being honest and respectful, I would say that Ms. Coulter has shown us, without a doubt and repeatedly, who she is, what she values, and the tactics she’s willing to use to make her point. And they are all, collectively, classless. I would like to see the Republican party encourage Ms. Coulter to volunteer in a center that serves those with special needs. And I would like to see her take up John Franklin Stephens on his offer to join the athletes of the Special Olympics at the next Games. I would also tell her that I think her remarks are complete and total bullshit and are devoid of the respect that is due our nation’s President, regardless of her political inclinations and the liberties she feels those inclinations entitle her to.

If this blog post results in some supporters of Ann Coulter never buying my book, subscribing to my blog, calling me a cunt, leaving hateful remarks in the comments section, or otherwise calling me out as a loudmouth, idiot, miscreant, neanderthal, “hysterical”, author, twat, woman, and person in general with an opinion, I’m completely okay with that. Lay it on me down below. As I’ll stand behind my differentiation of polite and respectful and the value (or lack thereof) in each any day of the week and three times on December 10 (my goddamned 40th birthday). I will also remind myself to respond always with the grace shown by John Franklin Stephens from the Special Olympics — pissed though I might be — to those who don’t show due respect.

You’ve been slapped. And now, a word from Ms. Aretha Franklin.

131 comments
RebeccaWearRobinson
RebeccaWearRobinson

'Polite' is in short supply these days. 'Respect' seems to be in even shorter supply. 'The means justifies the end', with a good dose of fear mongering tossed in for good measure has been dominating our public discourse for far too long. Because, of course, it is easier to control people if they are afraid, so that change (or more frequently inertia) can be put in place 'for our own good'. Ann Coulter's comments were beyond the pale of decent and intelligent discourse. They were offensive and bullying and reflected her own fear of being anything less than her definition of a human of value. Why do we continue to tolerate these comments from commentators and political figures? As a mother, if my child does something wrong, 'sorry' is a necessary first step, but 'sorry' has no meaning unless it is followed up with understanding and changing action. I know who I would identify as a person of integrity, of value, and of an opinion worthy of respect after reading the opinions expressed by Ann Coulter and the Olympian, John Franklin Stephens.

Dawn Bailey Chellel
Dawn Bailey Chellel

WOW.... I will say it again.... WOW. Not only do I COMPLETELY agree with your article... I would like to add to the rant..... Behavior like Ann Coulter's should be addressed and frankly, should be punishable (Defamation of Character to both the President of the United States and to disabled humans). But this is actually bigger than Ann Coulter (who committed the ultimate disrespect).... it's what's wrong with our society today. America as a nation has lost respect for the foundation it was built on, with it's constant changing of what religion can be worshiped and how, holidays changing in celebration and name, suing each other for every little fault, and the "you owe me mentality". Business's no longer respect customers for their patronage (just try getting good customer service anywhere), workers no longer respect the chain of command in Corporate America, and just about everyone thinks (whether it's on the highway, the store, or sporting/social event) that they are above or more important than the person next to them. I remember the good 'ole days when you respected your boss or you got fired, you kept you tongue from spewing negative hateful words or you were jailed, and you treated people with kindness and respect or you didn't get the privilege of their business or company. It's about time returned to those values before we self destruct ourselves as a nation. Lastly, in reference to this ridiculous and exhausting political campaign (and basically everyday business and life)... it's funny how people only see 'fault' in other people - not all the good they have done. A person can do a unlimited supply of great acts or attempts of great acts, and society/individuals will persecute or judge that same person for the one or two mistakes they have made. It's a shame that there are not more people in the world that have the ability to 'see the big picture'. Ps: Mean People Suck. The End.

Catherine Ryan Hyde
Catherine Ryan Hyde

I agree with you wholeheartedly. And her argument that she wasn't referring to actual special needs citizens totally misses the point. It really underscores how much she doesn't get it. Reminds me of the people who say "That's so gay" to insult something. Right. I know. You weren't referring to an actual gay person. You were just helping along the equation that gay equals wrong and bad. And you don't see the harm there, Ann? Well, consider the source. Thanks for this thoughtfully written piece.

John Mc Nally
John Mc Nally

I agree with a lot of what you write here with a small but important quibble. The President is not commander-in-chief of the nation. He (and one day soon, Hil, she) is commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, which is itself subject to the government. And Coulter deserves the bitch-slap.

MichelleGillies
MichelleGillies

Erika, You do have a certain affinity for language that I do refer to as blue. However, I don't consider it inappropriate. Here is the thing. If someone talked to me like that I would probably walk away, as is my choice. When you talk it is a different story. When you talk it is with respect and intelligence and a clearly thought out message. You do not use the language because you think it is kool or our of disrespect. It is a natural part of you and I take it as such. As a result I have learned more from you over the past couple of years than any "polite" talker. I am not American but I agree that the President of the United States should be treated with respect under all circumstances whether you agree with him or not. Lastly, we have two autistic grandchildren (13 & 10) and they struggle every day. They are brilliant at so many things but struggle with social issues and so many things we take for granted. Until these two beautiful children came into my life I had no idea of exactly how rude, cruel and uneducated people could be. It is shocking to me that someone like Coulter (with all her prejudices) has been able to get to the position she is in and it is frightening to me that there are probably many more like her. I will take intelligent, respectful cussing and swearing over her sickening, deceitful politeness any day. I thank you.

BirdyD - Roving Robin Reporter
BirdyD - Roving Robin Reporter

The other distinction that I've learned is that polite changes so often: your culture, your background, etc., all those come together to define what you-as-an-individual will consider 'polite'. But 'respect'... that carries an intent to it that transcends all of those. You are making an attempt to honor another person, place, thing, etc., even if your methods are not shared by those around you. Sadly, from the bits I'm reading, both politeness and respect seem to be diminishing in the world of late. This is a sad, sad, thing. :> Thank you for the post! :> I love the words you've put around the distinction. In my line of work, both of these words are ones that are hugely important, so it is good to see this. :>

RebeccaWearRobinson
RebeccaWearRobinson

'Polite' and 'Respect' have never been more absent in our country than in recent years. Perpetuating a culture of fear is the name of the game, and in that game 'polite' and 'respect' have no place. Because perpetuating fear means disrespecting anyone who is different from ourselves and perpetuating fear means overlooking such niceties as 'the truth' on occasion, all in the name of 'the greater good'. Just who decides what 'the greater good' is baffles me. It certainly isn't anyone who abides by 'treat others the way you wanted to be treated', some variation of which I believe appears in all of the world's primary religions. Ann Coulter attacked something which she is afraid of, probably in a deeper way than she would acknowledge. But who is the winner in that case? Anyone who has found her offensive and stated that such fear and hatred is never appropriate.

Guest
Guest

'Polite' and 'Respect' have never been more absent in our country than in recent years. Perpetuating a culture of fear is the name of the game, and in that game 'polite' and 'respect' have no place. Because perpetuating fear means disrespecting anyone who is different from ourselves and perpetuating fear means overlooking such niceties as 'the truth' on occasion, all in the name of 'the greater good'. Just who decides what 'the greater good' is baffles me. It certainly isn't anyone who abides by 'treat others the way you wanted to be treated', some variation of which I believe appears in all of the world's primary religions. Ann Coulter attacked something which she is afraid of, probably in a deeper way than she would acknowledge. But who is the winner in that case? Anyone who has found her offensive and stated that such fear and hatred is never appropriate.

Shann Vander Leek
Shann Vander Leek

Bitch slap served! Thanks for sharing John's thoughtful and eloquent post. Well done.

David Kimbrough
David Kimbrough

I'm curious if you truly have never said anything disrespectful of the president. Do you mean Obama? Or, do you mean any president? I'm curious if you ever had a discussion with anyone about President Bush and called him an "idiot" or a liar? You paint yourself to be perfect and use that brush to paint Ann Coulter as being intolerant or hateful. I have two nephews with autism (FYI, you don't call a child "autistic"... which labels them just as much as "retard". They are a PERSON who HAS AUTISM) and I find no problem with the term "retard". Why? Look it up in the dictionary. I'll help you: Retard: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress. Is that hateful? No. Now, you may argue that what Coulter MEANT was hateful. Was it? Ask yourself, are you projecting what you want to read because you, yourself are filled with hate? The simple fact is that Obama seems to be... ahem... retarded when it comes to debating Romney on a score of issues (he shouldn't be considering he has been "leading" our country for the past four years). I guess Ann could have used the term "slowpoke" but I'm sure some slowpoke out there would have taken just as much an issue. The fact is, perhaps everyone who has limited intellectual or emotional development or academic progress should be happy that Ann compared them to the president :)

Clint Talbott
Clint Talbott

Respect. Decency. Humility. Honesty. They're in short supply. They need champions like you. Just my opinion. But maybe I'm an imbecile.

Killian
Killian

Hey Red - are we allowed to send cards and presents for your birthday? =)

Eugene Farber
Eugene Farber

I agree that people should be respectful. But this is her thing. This is how she stands out and makes sales. She's controversial. I don't necessarily think that she consciously made the connection between what she said and people that are challenged. It was probably just a word that popped out. Insensitive? Sure. You can certainly not agree with it. But you can also vote with your wallet. And if enough people ignore it, then she won't have the venue to be disrespectful any more. On a side note about respect for presidents. I do believe that you previously listed George W. Bush on a list of people that should shut up. :) ...Not that I'm equating that to this.

Rich Bonn
Rich Bonn

Where was this post when Bill Maher joked about conservative women being raped? The level of vitriol that both sides of the aisle have reached this election is disgusting to me as an American, and in a perverse way, inspiring, because we have the freedom. This morning, I was called a dirty liberal by one person and a brainless conservative thug by another. It makes me laugh. I don't know how I can be both. I also had a few really good conversations where we discussed issues, went back and forth, and had an intelligent conversation. Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, Donald Trump and even you, Erika, grow your business on word of mouth. Sometimes shocking people is a business model. Finally, lets all put our big boy and big girl shorts on. Lets not get bent every time someone says something that we find to be offensive.

SocialMedia DDS
SocialMedia DDS

I am beyond appalled that anyone with even a modicum of intelligence or integrity would choose to use such a disrespectful term at all...let alone on a public forum. I had the pleasure of listening to John Franklin Stephens interviewed on As It Happens on my drive home last night. ( http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/features/2012/10/25/john-franklin-stephens-open-letter-to-ann-coulter/ ) I was moved by his response to the derogatory remark and, I am inspired by his forgiving nature and absolute sense of the gift of life! @RedheadWriting:disqus, I am most often a silent "appreciator" of your awesomeness...but, today, I felt compelled to speak. Thank you!! xoxo Claudia

Cindy Foster Grace
Cindy Foster Grace

The slap that has earned hearty applause from this reader. In fact, reading your blog is the only remotely "business" related activity I've indulged in whilst on vacation and I must say it was worth logging on for. BTW, I have to tell you the "my, my, my" joke sometime. As a southern belle who was raised to be polite, "bless your heart" and "my, my, my" have been my passive aggressive life-saving phrases. With that in mind, "Bless Ann Coulter's heart."** **Ann Coulter, you are such an asshat.

Karen Jensen
Karen Jensen

That's one of the things I miss about when I was a teenager in the 1960's. Everyone was expected to treat everyone else with RESPECT! No one dared talk back to a teacher, administrator, bus driver, pastor, parent or school mates. To do so would immediately get you a trip to the principal's office or a stern scolding by parents. Yes, the President's name was always capitalized and even if you didn't like him he had the respect of everyone. I really try to bite my tongue if something hurtful or disrespectful tries to come out of my mouth. If I can't keep from saying something I shouldn't I save it for home when I am alone. Polite is an excuse to not be honest with someone - and sometimes you just HAVE to be polite - but RESPECT should be everyone's goal.

Mickey Gomez
Mickey Gomez

I read the letter from Mr. Stephens yesterday and came to the immediate conclusion that he is a far better person than I. At this point, AC has become irrelevant to me. She is unworthy of another second of airtime or consideration. While I certainly hope that she learns from this experience, her reaction so far suggests that she is a shallow, hollow, empty person desperately seeking her 15 minutes of fame at any cost. Those who prop up her empty sound bites would do well to stop offering her a stage from which to do so. In response to your suggestion that she serve as a volunteer in order to educate herself, all I can think is that whoever hosts her as a volunteer has to deal with her hatred and her vitriol. They would have to spend significant staff time and effort managing her and the media circus that would no doubt surround her. I'd like to think that such an opportunity would enrich her and open her eyes, but I suspect and fear that it would only be a burden to everyone involved. And your points about our President are so on the mark. When did some citizens decide that it was okay to acknowledge and respect the President of our country ONLY if you voted for him?! Even if you disagree with his policies and politics, respect the position and the one holding it. It's setting an ugly precedent that can lead to nothing good, and it baffles and saddens me.

jessicamalnik
jessicamalnik

You, my friend, are a class act. I couldn't agree with you anymore. It's about showing respect to every person you meet no matter who they are.

Joel MacCollam
Joel MacCollam

Some of my liberal/progressive friends have taken to calling Romney a "retard", and I have taken a similar approach to them as you have here. Politics aside, BRAVO, Erika! We're talking about human creation and value, not political policy.

Chuck
Chuck

My only fault with your thoughts is that I was writing an essay along the same lines, channeling my dad's words. Now, I have to start over because to publish it might look like plagiarism on my part. Seriously, I agree with your thoughts and conclusions regarding respect. I would disagree on the nature of politeness and etiquette, but I would also disagree with the utmost respect for your position. Let me add one thought that my dad also drilled into me: "As a person of thought and intelligence, you can always think of better words to get your ideas across." And that is where my disconnect comes with members of all sides of the political spectrum. We (collectively) have lost respect for each other. Lies are acceptable in political debate because the other person is not worthy of the truth. Without attribution, a casual acquaintance with the truth is justified by overthrowing those whom we hold in contempt. This is a sad commentary on our public dialog. Thank you for posting an insightful

MightyCasey
MightyCasey

Ann Coulter is one of the most loathsome people on the planet. Her entire schtick seems to be devoted to simultaneously making dimwitted right-thinking dudes want to f**k her and the rest of us want to take a 5-iron to her forehead. The response from John Franklin Stephens (Virginia! Represent!) is indeed one of the best responses to ugliness I've ever had the privilege of reading. 'Cause Ann Coulter, in spite of her attempt to sell herself as skinny-blonde hotness, is an ugly hot mess.

Joe_B
Joe_B

Actually I never feel like canceling my subscription or not buying your book after reading your bitch slaps. But this was one I felt like standing up and applauding, if I wouldn't look like an idiot applauding my laptop. And I have friends and family who'd tell me that I wouldn't need to do that to look like an idiot. The whole "I need to demean everyone I'm against" attitude is really getting on my nerves. It's become so much easier for politicians to sling crap like crazed monkeys and get elected doing it rather than actually state facts and build a platform that people can truly evaluate. Which says something about the state of politics. I find your honesty and clarity refreshing.

Ezz Wheadon
Ezz Wheadon

Leaving the first R word alone for a second, because my daughter has Autistic Spectrum Disorder too and is forever dealing with that word because she belongs to the Special Education Unit at school. It makes my blood boil when ANYONE uses it for whatever purpose. However in regards to the second R word: Respect - we have had a similar issue in Australia with our female Prime Minister - Julia Gillard. This woman has been physically and verbally attacked, and deals with hateful, disrespectful members of parliament, members of the public and even journalists. I don't agree with all of her policies, but to even fathom disrepecting someone publicly who leads our country is nothing short of childish and despicable. However - and I'm not sure if you saw this at all - it made worldwide news a few weeks back - she hit back in what is being termed as the biggest bitchslap in Australian parliamentary history. If you have a free moment - check this out: http://jezebel.com/rants/. I am not always a fan of our Prime Minister, but that day, I stood up and applauded.

Tracie Ewing
Tracie Ewing

As always, I love your blog posts. This one cuts to the heart of a conversation some friends and I were having just the other day over a nice bottle of Merlot. It's nice to know we're not the only folks out there who would rather dish up a nice plate of in-your-face honesty than trite platitudes.

shaneparker
shaneparker

To quote you: I’ve never had any affinity for Ann Coulter. I don’t agree with her views, tactics, or anything much that she stands behind. " I just wonder if you were so outraged because of what was said or who said it. Were you so outraged at Bill Mahr when he called President Bush a war criminal and a baby killer? When he called Sarah Palin a dumb c**t? Each side left or right seems to get all high and mighty when the other side inserts their foot in their mouth, but they never seem to go to bat for someone from the other side of the aisle so to speak. If Hillary Clinton were ever treated like Sarah Palin the women's groups would have had a filed day with it. Just curious. (and I'm no Sarah Palin fan myself) Pretty sure you and I would never see eye to eye on much politically, but I still read your stuff religiously, share it with my friends and coworkers and learn valuable things from you monthly. BestShane

Janine Smith
Janine Smith

You just keep on telling it like it is. Or should be. Thanks for that.

Juan Carlos Vara Perez
Juan Carlos Vara Perez

You, lady, have all my respect and utter admiration. I agree completely with your words. I just wish people everywhere did... It would be a better world, don't you think?

Courtney Johnston
Courtney Johnston

I just had a conversation about the difference between being polite and being respectful with a friend on Monday night! We decided that being polite = blindly following a set of "rules" whereas being respectful = removing your ego and using your god damn brain for a change. (My blog is called The Rule Breaker's Club, so this is clearly a pain point of mine!). Thanks for writing about this, Erika. The world could use more people like you.

Lori Estep
Lori Estep

Ann Coulter is such a vile human being for whom, in my opinion, this Bitch Slap was long overdue. Honestly, I'd LOVE to see you go a round or two with her, although it would be an instant knock-out for you, because frankly, she is obviously ill-equipped for such a battle of class and intelligence.

William
William

Well-said. Thank you Erika -- The scary thing about AC (and there are many scary things about her) is that she spews her vileness on purpose and with purpose. Like some flesh or brain-eating monster, she feeds on her hatred and the hatred she spreads. Thanks for slapping her - her career is worth loads more slaps.

Doyle Albee
Doyle Albee

Great points, Erika. I continue to be concerned with how "OK" it's become to call someone stupid or worse because they disagree with you. Obama is far from stupid, and so is Romney, yet the hate speech from supporters on both sides is downright scary. Unfortunately, when people like Ms. Coulter, a best-selling author and frequent media guest, choose to act this way, it sets a tone that makes it "OK" for the rank and file to do so. I can't think of a single problem in my life that was solved because I came up with the best foul name to call someone else, and we won't even begin to address the myriad of very serious problems we face as a nation by simply insulting one another. That's not thoughtful discourse looking for a solution, it's a rude and unproductive version of the Monty Python "Argument Clinic" sketch, and it needs to stop.

Carrie Borchers
Carrie Borchers

I think we are at an all time low in terms of both polite and respectful behavior. Live and in person and online. Everyday I'm assaulted with rude and disrespecful actions: from the Calvin and Hobbes sticker pissing on a Chevy/Ford/Ram logo on the truck in front of me to searching "Mitt Romney" on twitter and reading people's tweets (@WhoThaPrince What's a synonym for dumbass? Mitt Romney). Whether I agree or not with the sentiment behind the statement...unless you slammed your hand in the door, there's usually a better way to make your point, without vulgarity and disrespect. My mother always said, vulgarity is a sign of a limited vocabulary. I am not sure what we can do to change this direction we are headed, other than demonstrate polite truth and respect even in our disagreement. Happy 40th! I'm ushering in the new decade myself tomorrow!

KeAnne
KeAnne

Great post. While I agree 100% on your take on her shameful use of that word, I also appreciate you reminding us that the President of the United States - regardless of party - deserves respect. I am disgusted by what I see said about him and the office.

Joy Steele
Joy Steele

The dictionary defines the R word as, "being slow, or of mental handicap. Usually associated with an IQ of 70-85." And from this, mean little children who were often raised by mean little parents use this word derogatorily. It is telling that, Ms. Coulter chose this reference. It tells the reasonable human being that she suffers from a retardation of compassion. Her language of insult, disrespect and hatred comes from the deepest insecurities. The two things we can learn from this are: 1. Ann Coulter is a person who willingly uses meanness and disrespect to get attention. (Mission accomplished, btw) 2. We live in an AWESOMESAUCE country that not only Constitutionally protects her right to share her narrow minded and shallow opinion, but also protects Erika and our right to call her out on it. Thank you 1st Amendment! Suck it, Ann Coulter!!!

Michael Clark
Michael Clark

Coulter's a shrewd shark. Earns her bones in the best tradition of self-haters. The mileage she gets out of every vitriolic drop leads directly to her latest book or paid speaking gig. Prolly because her target audience doesn't realize they're being suckered and being a little slow on the uptake, they need a breadcrumb trail made of donuts in order to get to the "buy now" button. But enough about her. Let's talk about you: Thank you for the brilliant distinction between politeness and respectfulness. You possess a singular clarity, insight, and thoughtfulness - OK, that's three things, I know - that I for one am grateful that you share. Rockin' riffgasmic Bitchslap.

Megha Rodriguez
Megha Rodriguez

Very well spoken! And she really does not only degrade herself, but every person who dares to consider themselves a "fan" of hers. There is a different between having a platform and using platform boots to kick people with! No one should be called a retard regardless of the level of disrespect you want to blast at them. She needs a muzzle.

Aaron McClaugherty
Aaron McClaugherty

WOW! Erika I hope you had a good jolt of Java before you opened this "Pandors Box"! lol! I Love and appreciate your "Respectful" words and the work you do for "reality"! People like Ms. Coulter leave a BAD taste in my mouth that only a REDHEAD RANTING can remove. You are spot on and my own personal Social "Palate " cleanser. Ok enough sucking up, he,he! We as a people need to stop apologizing for the truth and playing the PC game. We know right from wrong, we just thinks it's "polite" not to metion it! Anyway just thought I'd chime in . I am at the Dr.s office waiting for a Colonoscopy I GOT BIGGER FISH TO FRY!!!!!!!! LMFAO!!!!

Killian
Killian

Well said. I do think that people tend to hide behind the Internet as some sort of shield from personal responsibility. For something like this to come from a semi-professional person is beyond reprehensible. While I simply write her off to being a pathetic twat, that young man with Downs took the time and showed a lot more class than Ann Coulter could ever possess in his letter.

Dan Waldschmidt
Dan Waldschmidt

I am always confused when I hear people say such "hateful" things. I immediately think: "What is going on in her life that allows her to publicly spew such venom?" A gladitorial penchant for hate-mongering from people who should know better (i.e. anyone with a mom) seems to be increasing at a alarming rate. If you look at Ann's follow-up message (hours later) you hear her broadcasting a message to buy her latest book. A complete lack of any emotional intelligence at all. What I appreciate most about this article is that it lays bear the different perspectives of an ordinary person (no insult intended, Erika) and it shows what courage is -- unpolitely standing up when bad people do bad things. This is on "us". If we won't stand up against stupid people, who will? Dan

William Murray
William Murray

Clearly, you have done what Ms. Coulter failed to do. That is to take some time and engage your smarts before your fingers. I agree fully with John Lynch's comment - AC is a savvy marketer who can get her face in front of people by feeding into extreme positions and using steroid-induced sound bites. Her success by any means necessary seems, sadly, to have found a spot in the polarized dichotomy of the US political landscape and allowed her to earn well. Thank you for demonstrating that respectful comments can still be honest, sharp and well crafted!

Greg
Greg

Erika, you don't know me ... but you managed to put to words all of my thoughts on this "issue" (and you managed to use "pejorative" ... c'mon get out of my head!) Thanks for the wonderful work. Keep on slappin (in your respectful way that you do). Cheers, Greg

Trackbacks

  1. […] post and what it says so much,  we have a post from Erika Napoletano about the difference between polite and respectful.     Leaving the actual event discussed in the post aside,  I think what resonates with me when […]

  2. […] term I discovered from the very awesome Erika Napoletano: “Our world is in need of more hard truths and frontstabbers — those who will stand before us […]

  3. […] my readers, are the pump cheese on my tater tots. I’ve taken a hard look at what you love (shit about Ann Coulter, when I get fed-up with leaning in, truths about leadership, slaying skeptcism, how we treat one […]