I don’t think that S.E. Cupp is the dumbest pundit working, even though she has produced some of the stupidest punditry to assault the airwaves and t00bz. Cupp is actually pretty canny, having crafted a pretty sophisticated media image. Cupp’s M.O. largely consists of titillation, her “naughty librarian” image, much like that of Sarah Palin, appeals to a conservative male fan base… she’s basically a pinup for pinheads. I guess you can’t spell fanservice without “S.E.”
On a deeper (though certainly still shallow) level, Cupp’s schtick is trollery. Almost inevitably, a male reader will make a sexist comment on a post. In the linked “Pandagon” post, a commenter left this charming little nugget:
She is exactly the sort of person about whom it could reasonably be said that the smartest thing to ever come out of her mouth was probably someone’s cock. And by “someone,” I mean literally anyone capable of fogging a mirror. Wearing sexy librarian glasses may get a few tongues wagging among the aging Fox News demographic, but it obviously does nothing for her reasoning skills.
I, of course, referred the commenter to Dr Noisewater’s post on the Hustler flap. Cupp sets a trap, and those who take the bait enable her to spin a “both sides are equally bad” narrative, while excoriating Women’s Rights Groups, who are too busy fighting to preserve women’s freedoms to scan porn mags and the internet for sexist depictions of S.E. Cupp, for not coming to her defense. Sometimes it’s hard not to fall into the trap- her act is deliberately provocative. Hell, I myself have to shamefully confess that, if I delivered a pizza to her house and she asked me if I had her “large pepperoni”, I’d be hoping for the bass to kick in.
After the big Hustler flap, it has to be noted that S.E. Cupp, who didn’t thank Sandra Fluke for standing up for her, thanked Larry Flynt instead for the free publicity. If that’s not a supreme act of trollery, I don’t know what is. In the course of the controversy, Cupp made a false equivalence between “liberal” (yeah, right) Larry Flynt and Rush Limbaugh, she lambasted women’s groups, and she claimed to have scored a public relations coup. She’s awful, but she’s certainly more clever than the typical right-wing bloviator.
Though she may have produced some of the dumbest punditry, Cupp is not the dumbest pundit. It’s a subtle distinction, but one that I feel must be made. Cupp is a crafty performance artist, playing her multifarious roles, sex kitten, aggrieved victim, corporatist shill, libertarianesque hipster, with a facility that would make Lon Chaney, Jr blush under his monster makeup.
As a postscript, I have to confess that the real purpose of this post is to throw up some weapons-grade snark…
I believe that S.E. Cupp’s public persona was crafted after watching post shark-jumping Scooby Doo. S.E. Cupp is pretty much Daphne, wearing Velma’s glasses, after having had Scrappy Doo’s hyperactive, abrasive brain transplanted into her body. Given her track record of wrecking cable shows she’s cast in, there’s another point of comparison between S.E. and Scrappy.
Cross posted at my eponymous blog.