Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's the Dennis Miller ratio

He creatively abets Coulter

I heard a few minutes of the short-lived (trust me) Dennis Miller radio show today. He was playing host to Ann Coulter, the acid-tongued and -penned pundit who was promoting her latest book (little more than a collection of old columns this time). Miller introduced his guest by telling Coulter he wanted her reaction to a curious phenomenon he had noticed.

Miller pointed out that many environmentalists are deeply dedicated activists, devoting their lives to the pursuit of their cause. He thought it was an obsession akin to religious devotion—environmentalism as acts of faith rather than reason. If environmentalists insist on regarding the world with a kind of religious fervor, why then do they distance themselves so resolutely from creationists, who also consider the world divine? Miller offered this to Coulter as a serious question.

Coulter treated Miller's query as a perfectly sensible one. Whatever intelligence she may possess, Coulter has long since dedicated it to the service of her personal advancement, so it was the work of but a moment to snatch the ball from Miller and run with it.

“It really is incredible,” said Coulter, because environmentalists are completely irrational, thinking that changing light bulbs could actually influence the earth's climate. While many environmentalists may have scientific credentials, Coulter dismissed them as having subordinated their expertise to their superstitious earth worship. (Coulter is either blithely unaware of the phenomenon of “projection,” or simply secure in the knowledge that her sycophantic devotees will never recognize it themselves.)

Eager to hawk her wares and promote her book, Coulter declined to point out that Miller was implicitly insulting creationists by comparing them to the environmentalists on whom he was heaping scorn. She had taken up the creationist cause herself (in its intelligent design incarnation) in her previous book, but her current priorities permit her to neglect her erstwhile allies while scoring points during her promotional tour.

I found the banter between Miller and Coulter to be oddly entertaining. It was absurdist talk radio, a surreal sequence of sentences that contained the structure of antecedents and consequences, just as if a rational discussion were occurring, yet it was all stuff and nonsense. We do well to remember the rule from propositional logic that implications with false premises are always vacuously true. If we gloss over the imbecility with which Miller and Coulter began their chat, we can sit back with their admirers and revel in the brilliance of two performance artists. Perhaps they should put in for an NEA grant.

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