Homo homini rodentius est

Hurricane Destroys Property, Penis

An AP wire story has been picked up by [ABC News], among others, claiming that over $1B in fraud was perpetrated against FEMA by bogus claims for disaster relief following Katrina — including federal taxpayer funds used to pay for some guy’s sex change. His manhood now lies somewhere over the rainbow (ewww!). Those FEMA guys can’t catch a break — damned if they don’t, damned if they do.

The last on Ann

I don’t want to give her any more play than she deserves, but wanted to comment on the fallout of her PR blitz last week. Encouraging and discouraging:

The majority of media outlets that have addressed her are negative, from, of course, the [New York Times], to the [Philly Inquirer], to [Margaret Carlson] on Bloomberg (no raving liberal outlet). You can find many more on Google News. Very encouragingly, even [The Conservative Voice] chides her for going too far. That is significant. It signals wariness on the right of her brand of hyperbole.

Alas, her book remains #1 at Amazon.

Enough is enough

Ann Coulter close upOh there she goes again! We’ve all gotten used to Ann Coulter promoting her silly career as professional shit-stirrer by saying the most outrageous things (un-)imaginable. [Sullivan] sees her as a pathetic hollow figure, simply driven by hunger for notoriety. But motivations are unknowable, actions are what count. And this time is different. Her comments in her new book and on television that the widows of men who died in the World Trade Center are exploiting the deaths of their husbands and reveling in financial gain from the catastrophe go far beyond mere controversy-mongering. It’s worse than “mean spirited”. It’s immoral. It slanders innocent people and lowers the level of discussion of public matters below the gutter. Enough is enough.

Any money she makes through this scurrilous hate mongering comes at the cost of people’s reputations and all of our sensibilities. Any money that her publisher makes from her is damned. The book, Godless, is published by the Crown Forum imprint of Random House. Random House, the venerable house built by Bennett Cerf and once the publisher of writers like William Faulkner, Eugene O’Neill and James Joyce, now peddles this trash purely for profit. Certainly not because it benefits society in any way. Cerf must be spinning in his grave seeing what has become of his company, now part of the giant Bertelsmann conglomerate.

“Bertelsmann’s corporate culture is based on the belief that ownership, economic success and the nature of the media business bring with them a special responsibility to society.”

So states the Bertelsmann corporate website. There seems to be a cognitive disconnect between their corporate philosophy and the product they sell. Perhaps we need to let Jasmin Borhan, Executive Vice-President of Corporate Communications for Bertelsmann, know that they need to try a little harder. Their corporate mission can’t possibly involve making money off slanderous attacks on the families of people lost on 9/11.

She can be reached at [removed, for the reasons stated at the end of this post…] UPDATE 6/10: There is [evidence] that bookstores are getting cold feet about having her promote this book. That will get the attention of her corporate enablers more than any amount of public denunciation…UPDATE 6/16: More on corporate responsibility and the promotion of hate speech, after the jump.

UPDATE 6/19: Thoughts on the call to action and the risk of censorship. Toward the end after the jump.

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Everything old is new again

I scurried out of my burrow the other night to attend a talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan entitled “Love, Sex, Politics & Relationships”. This is the kind of provocative subject that brings liberal New Yorkers out in droves sniffing for controversy and more than a little titillation. The roster of speakers seemed to promise at the very least a serving of sparks: gay sex columnist Dan Savage, best-selling author and serial bride Erica Jong and the ubiquitous Andrew Sullivan.

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ET phone home

Liz TaylorScreen legend Elizabeth Taylor has broken her seclusion to publicly combat recent claims that she is suffering from senile dementia. Asked to comment on rampant rumors that she’s losing her marbles, the still elegant 74-year-old Academy Award winner responded indignantly, “Hi.”

Follow up questions were met with giggles.

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