Here’s an intriguing SAT-style question.

Ann Coulter is to Christianity as …

(A) Dr. James Dobson is to Sponge Bob Square Pants
(B) The new thought movement is to common sense
(C) Marilyn Manson is to Satanism
(D) Dick Cheney is to gun control
(E) Richard Dawkins is to reasoned debate

The correct answer is C. Both Ann and Marilyn found a profitable way to utilize religion as a provocative tool to feed their cash cow. Ann appeals to the base instincts of her rabid followers that right makes (Christian) might. Conversely, Marilyn attracts the kids of control freak parents who want to rebel from what can best be described as a rigid and repressive regime. I’ll let the Satanists deal with Marilyn Manson, but please, do not interpret Coulter’s trademark viciousness and venom as viable Christian virtues.

I thought when I reported on Coulter’s “faggot” comment that this political pundit committed career suicide. But I was wrong. But given that even Fox News condemned the latest Coulter snafu blasting the Jews, one can hope that she will be off the airways for good.

This is not to say there isn’t a place for insult humor. While covering The New York Film Festival, I had the opportunity to catch John Landis’ new documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project. Landis took me on a journey that enabled me to sample the depth of this fearless comic and actor. In particular, I was impressed by the plethora of comedians including George Wallace, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman who praised him for his “take no prisoners” attack dog approach. Throughout the movie, I was reminded that to be insulted by Rickles was indeed the highest compliment. Also, Landis showed us Rickles’ softer side by illuminating the kindness he shows towards his family, friends, staff, waiters, and even strangers that he encountered offstage.

Watch this documentary and you’ll see how people double up with laughter whenever Rickles reams them. In fact, they jockey for position just so they can be part of the act. Coulter proclaims in her latest book, If Democrats Had Brains, They’d be Republicans, ” I am the illegal alien of commentary. I will do the jokes that no one else will do.” She might think she’s funny, but her targets aren’t amused one bit.

For Rickles, hurling insults is an act. In Coulter’s case, spewing venom appears to be a lifestyle choice.

Becky Garrison’s further critiques of Ann Coulter can be found in her Amazon short, Contemplating Coulter Christianity, as well as her forthcoming book, The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail: Their Misguided Quest to Destroy Your Faith (Thomas Nelson, January 2008).

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