Ann Coulter, pariah

What will it take to get mainstream media outlets to realize that Ann Coulter is just beyond the pale and has no place in our political discourse?  Any intelligent person (and that goes for intelligent conservatives) surely has to realize that she is essentially the political version of Howard Stern, drawing attention to herself by her increasingly outrageous statements.  She no more belongs on shows as a political analyst then Stern does. 

As if her comments about the 9/11 widows aren't enough, i.e., suggesting no group of women has ever enjoyed the deaths of their husbands so much, that being rich and featured in Vanity Fair is preferable to having their husbands alive, etc., she has now suggested that anti-war and Marine Veteran Congressman Jack Murtha should have been killed by his fellow troops back in Vietnam. 

Why would any self-respecting news organization let her on the air?  Seriously?  We all now the answer, of course, money.  Surely Coulter's self-aggrandizing slander and outrageousness must bring in good ratings.  Is there no point at which simply decency trumps the desire for ratings?  As Peter Daou writes in his excellent deconstruction of all this, if you substituted the word “Jew” or “Black” for “liberal” in Coulter's harangues, it would be a national scandal.  I guess that's what it will take for her to be banished from polite political discourse.  Of course, Coulter is too smart for that and so the media blithely lets her continue saying the most vile things about Americans with progressive political values.

My take, if you are conservative don't watch (or read) Ann Coulter because she is a shameful discredit to even half-intelligent conservatives everywhere.  If you are liberal, don't watch (or read Ann Coulter) because half her shtick is just predicated on creating liberal anger.  And lastly, regardless of your ideology, when somebody brings up Coulter don't just sit there, call her out for the buffoon and scourge to our democracy that she is.  In a better world, people would be embarrassed to make any reference to Ann Coulter's political views.

What’s in a name

Okay, so it seems about time to explain the name of my blog.  I, of course, felt plenty of self-induced pressure to come up with something memorable and unique that would, at least in some tangential way, relate to me.  One of my abiding interests is neurobiology and one of the findings from neurobiology that I have always found most fascinating is that the human brain literally matures from back to front.  This maturation is significantly a process of myelinization (or myelination), by which an insulating later of fat is laid down around our neurons, allowing them to operate much more efficiently.  As it turns out, this process roughly occurs from back to front in the human brain.  At the very front of your brain: the pre-frontal cortex which is essential to judgment.  This part of your brain does not become fully myelinized and thus fully mature until sometime in your early to mid twenties.  Of course, then, the interesting feature about adolescents and very young adults is that they have the cognitive abilities of “grown-ups” but lack the critical judgment capacity that only comes with a fully mature brain (at the ripe age of 34, I'll have to say experience as well).  So, as this is a factoid I inevitably end up sharing with most all my classes, I thought I'd have a little fun with the blog name by making reference to the structural maturity in my brain that remains lacking in those not yet in their mid-20's. 

On a related note, I tried fairly hard to find a good link that would explain all this in layman's terms, but could only find sources full of medical jargon, so no links.  I did discover, however, that while “myelinized” is apparently accepted medical terminology, “myelinated” appears to be overwhelmingly preferred.  Lest my numerous neurological researcher friends make fun of me, I decided that this blog was still young enough that it would be relatively harmless to change the name at this point.   So, you'll notice that this blog has been renamed Fully Myelinated to reflected the preferred usage. 

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