Ann Coulter Wins the World Cup, Iron Sheik Style
Ann Coulter bets on premeditated controversy and manufactured outrage. And she wins.
Today's news media is Wrestlemania with no start and no finish.
In the early 1980s, the WWE (NYSE:WWE) (then, the WWF) needed the right bad guy to match the blonde, buff Hulk Hogan.
Now if you weren't around in those days, you have to understand Hulk Hogan was more American than apple pie, a '65 Mustang, and the Dallas Cowboys put together.
His walkout song was "Real American" by the great Rick Derringer.
Art is supposed to hold up a mirror to society.
So if I'm WWE head Vince McMahon and I'm looking for a decidedly un-American opponent to put Hulk Hogan over the top with the crowd, what geopolitical mess could I capitalize on?
There's only one logical choice: the Iran hostage crisis, which means it's time to call on the mighty Iron Sheik. And while we're at it, let's give him a Russian friend, because the Cold War was raging.
Of course, this was before Rocky Balboa ended the Cold War by knocking out Ivan Drago.
Let me break it down.
In the 1980s, we didn't know that wrestling was fake, and absurd xenophobic storylines sold a lot of tickets.
Premeditated Controversy + Manufactured Outrage = $$$
I am declaring Ann Coulter the 2014 World Cup Champion.
Ann is in the news today because she wrote a hilarious essay entitled AMERICA'S FAVORITE NATIONAL PASTIME: HATING SOCCER.
We know she means business because she put the title in caps.
And why do Americans hate soccer?
Because soccer is a game for wimpy liberals and therefore evil and indicative of Americans' moral decay.
I haven't read Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America, but I assume soccer is a key liberal mob activity, like driving hybrid cars and eating kale.
Of her talking points, here are my three favorites:
The Huffington Post actually went through the trouble of 'debunking' Ms. Coulter's article:
1. Individual achievement is not a big factor in soccer. In a real sport, players fumble passes, throw bricks and drop fly balls -- all in front of a crowd.
2. Liberal moms like soccer because it's a sport in which athletic talent finds so little expression that girls can play with boys. No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.
3. It's foreign. In fact, that's the precise reason the Times is constantly hectoring Americans to love soccer. One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not "catching on" at all is African-Americans. They remain distinctly unimpressed by the fact that the French like it.
I'd give them an F- for this conclusion, but I can't tell if it's smarmy or snarky:
In the U.S. World Cup game against Portugal, defender Geoff Cameron had a crucial miscue, which led to an early gift of goal. And how about U.S. player Jermaine Jones' rocket of a goal to tie it up -- was that not a heroic display of individual skill? And ask Argentinians if Lionel Messi isn't a national hero.
Other outlets like Bustle.com and RantSports.com correctly pointed out that Ms. Coulter's essay was a big troll job, but inadvertently, they too became part of the Ann Coulter marketing machine.
Don't get us wrong, Coulter -- you should feel free to hate soccer. But before you go writing a column about how doing so is "America's Favorite National Pastime," try formulating an argument that doesn't end up proving just how idiotic that "pastime" is.
Her job is to sell books and she's not afraid to do it. Just because an idea is crazy to you doesn't mean someone else won't buy it.
If Ann Coulter's goal is to sell 1 million books this year, it doesn't matter how many people hate her; it only matters that she hits that 1 million mark. And she can do that by getting her name out there.
It reminds me of the state of financial media.
Look at this Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) chart:
Ask yourself: why do gold bugs predicting the end of civilization still get on financial TV?
Why are they not out of business?
Because the attention is the business. The goal is to capture the minority to whom the unconventional appeals.
Tension Is a Drug
Say something off-the-wall to appeal to those on your side and nag the opposition, and people will pay attention. We can't help it.
Funny. Ann Coulter is still trending on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB):
Yet no other World Cup story is.
Well, the whole story is so silly that we can't help but share it. Meanwhile, the links in inevitable reaction pieces provide Ms. Coulter with SEO juice via Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), not to mention enormous traffic
Now let's go back to that Huffington Post article, and examine the top comments:
1. To play soccer well one has to have skill. To be a conservative commentator in America one has to have low intelligence, hatred of everything they don't understand, and low-information voters to hang on your every word as gospel.
2. I love it when the right wing goes out of their way to alienate young people and Latinos! It's like they can't help themselves. Then in two years they will try to win them back with a spray tanned appearance on Univision.
3. The comment about everyone just running up and down the field confirms that Ann has the cognitive, reasoning and logical abilities of a fourth grader.
Ann Coulter's article should be completely ridiculous to anyone with a functioning brain.
So why is anyone debating it as if it's serious sports and political commentary? The Iron Sheik never appeared on 60 Minutes as an expert in US-Iranian relations. Why? Because he's a silly character and we treated him as such.
I guess media outlets are all to happy to generate attention for Ann Coulter because Ann Coulter generates attention for them.
Heck, you're reading this, right?
Ann Coulter wins.
And so does Miley.
I give up.
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