Wrestlers fall in 2 general categories- Faces and Heels. Faces are the heroes, the wrestlers who the fans cheer for. Today's post will cover the personalities who the crowd boo against, the heel.
In wrestling being booed doesn't mean you're ineffective, in fact its the opposite. Being a convincing villain means you make a compelling entertainer. Heels feed of the crowd's hostile energy (heat), thrilling their small group of supporters and enraging the rest. An effective heel can be just as popular as a good face, they will sell tickets and command center stage. Most are compelled to watch just to see the heel get their comeuppance. There are many ways for a heel to antagonize or lose favor with the audience. They can attack symbols dear to the crowd (wipe their butts with the national flag, ridicule a local hero etc) and they can start a feud with a Face.
Punditry is no different, you will find provocative personalities who intentionally agitate audiences and create controversy. You will see them disavowed on national talk shows, then invited on them within the same week. The greatest heel in the APF and all of punditry without a doubt is Ann Coulter.
This week she caused her latest round of controversy, with her remarks at the CPAC conference- the largest national gathering of conservative thinkers attended this year by Vice President Cheney and all the Republican presidential hopefuls.
Ann Coulter at the CPAC conference 2007
Her full speech can be see here: Part 1, then Part 2.
Ann is known for and has made a career on her outrageous commentary. Naturally she is reviled on the left for her insensitivity, though they are hardly surprised. Denounced by some on the right for nullifying any of her good arguments by the use of unnecessary invective. As her outrageousness becomes more common, critics are directing their disgust at the media outlets who continue to invite and legitimize her on their show. She is undoubtedly a big draw, even bigger at times of controversy.
Some Ann Coulter media highlights: Ann being provocative on Bill Clinton, the 9/11 widows and Iraq. Moderate Ann on presidential nominations. The heel getting her comeuppance on Letterman, on a debate and an interview.
Ann Coulter being discussed on the O'Reilly Factor