How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Body Language: Ann Coulter on Religion
Analysis > Body Language: Ann Coulter on Religion
Here's an analysis of US commentator Ann Coulter's body language in an interview with Donny Deutsch entitled 'Being Extreme Makes Millions'.
She is an attractive woman in the classical blonde, well-proportioned style -- and she knows it. This gets her significant initial attention from which she can launch her views. She also uses occasional smiles and head tosses to flirt with interviewers (and show that she can), but not as much as many other people, thus showing that she is in control.
She does not show a great deal of emotion in her face, perhaps because of avoiding wrinkles, perhaps because she seeks to be objective, and perhaps because she is seeking control by limiting the signals she sends. The danger for her is that this also signals that she does not care.
When asked the initial question, about 'if you had your way...what would this country look like?' she looks upwards, indicating visual thinking (00:25), and then says 'It would look like...'. There's a little smug expression (00:29) which says 'So there' and indicates pleasure at solving a problem. Following this she nods (telling the other person to agree) and smiles (being likable so they will like her and conform). Note here that her mouth smiles, but her eyes do not, indicating a false smile not real happiness (00:32).
She then folds her arms and leans back slightly with a slight shrug when talking about 'happy, joyful Republicans', showing some defensiveness and 'isn't it obvious' contempt.
The interviewer asks about 'what would the fabric of this country look like'. She repeatedly looks to the side and back at him as she lists her views. Looking away can be just thinking and it can be controlling, saying 'I don't need to pay attention to you all the time'. As she looks at the interviewer, she nods to indicate what she says is true and encourage agreement.
The interviewer probes again, seeking to get away from political answers. He asks 'would we be..' questions, one of which is 'would we be safer?', at which she interjects with 'We'd be a lot safer!', said with another 'it's obvious' smile and short laugh.
When he continues with his list of questions, she adopts a listening pose, tilting her head to the side (1:04). He is now in control, having rejected her previous digressions. He is also waving a piece of paper at her, effectively threatening her. She swings uncomfortably in her chair whilst trying to show she is actually relaxed, then does a hair toss, stops and stares back at him (a method she regularly uses).
(1:28) She returns to a Republican theme, shrugging again in contempt at the interviewer, talking about how wonderful they are, including saying they are Christian. The interviewer asks if we would be better if we are all Christian, painting her into a religious corner. He is Jewish and says so. She laughs, nervously, and talks about being harangued (an emotive word) by liberals and gets back onto her comfortable high horse.
He ties her up more and she becomes more agitated (2:25), waving her arms sideways, trying to bat away what he has said. She tries to destabilise him in return, openly accusing him of lying then looking away so she cannot see the signals he might send about wanting to respond.
He picks up the question about everyone having to be Christian and says she can't possibly believe it (2:55). She laughs nervously again, caught in a deceit and crosses her legs defensively. She talks about 'your religion' that 'you have to obey', pointing to her left with both hands (2:58), then talks about 'our fast-track program' whilst pointing to the right, showing a wide gulf between them.
He attacks again and she does a hair stroke. Touching yourself is a form of comfort, although the hair stroke is also preening to make oneself beautiful. In this form, putting it behind her ear, may well be pulling away from the interviewer.
She frames Jews as being under-developed saying they 'need to be perfected' and have to obey and follow the old testament, whilst 'ours is more like Federal Express', using a modern metaphor to imply superiority (3:25). Again, there is pointing to the left for 'them' and to the right for 'us'. She then holds her crossed legs for comfort and defense.
She opens her arms, perhaps trying to be inclusive, but it is too late: the interviewer then turns to camera and summarises, including saying he is personally insulted.
After the break, she has had time to think and says that Christians consider themselves as 'perfected Jews', again, using the left-right pointing to show the difference she perceives. Her hair by now is also back down from around her ears where she perhaps defensively put it before the break. Hanging down is often considered as more attractive so maybe she is trying to use this to connect with him.
Her responses (4:10) are still left and right, but notice in the middle her palms facing up in supplication. She is now begging to be let out of the corner she feels she is in, but still attacks by telling the interviewer 'You don't believe our testament' whilst nodding vigorously.
He just reads back her words to her. She laughs nervously and uses more palms-up supplication. By the end, she is shaking her head in defeat. The interviewer smiles as he know he won the duel.