Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thank you, Columbia

In 1990, I had the privilege of hearing a talk by Gorbachev's press spokesman (or whatever his title was) when I was at college. The Berlin wall had been down for just a few weeks, and there was struggle in Georgia and Lithuania over independence. Glasnost and Perestroika were just starting to become reality. It was a great learning experience for me, and this was not even the real world leader himself talking. At the end of his remarks, Gorbachev's spokesman expressed his genuine delight at what he called the American public's unbelievable capacity to forgive. How much more amazing would this encounter have been if the cold war had been ongoing! On another occasion in 2002, I got the chance to hear from the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, eager to westernize and willing to chide about Kosovo. He was assassinated a couple of years later.

It is hard to remember now with my 1990 encounter, but just two years before, this was the Evil Empire, and its spokesman would have been drowned by a sea of protest dwarfing that meted out to Ahmadinejad today. When I visited East Berlin in the summer of 1989, the end of the Cold War seemed impossible. A man had been shot just days before my visit trying to escape. A shame he didn't wait four more months.

I have no idea if or when rapprochement with Iran will ever come, but I think it is terrific that students at Columbia have had the opportunity to see what a world leader is like. Think of it as a zoo exhibit, if nothing else. Seriously. Congratulations to the faculty at Columbia for giving their students the chance to see a world leader up close. Up close, the media image goes away. The fangs recede. They get to see a liar and a clod with few PR skills. A man of very limited experience. A sleazy salesman who wants to put his finger on a nuclear trigger so he can feel like a big man. You know Ahmadinejad looked around New York City and realized, perhaps for the first time, how fourth-rate Tehran is.

The Columbia students also got to see a rather pathetic side of their own compatriots. The braying of politically correct protestors who obsess over what oozes out of Ahmadinejad's mouth.

But most of all, the Columbia students are going to get to learn over the coming days that the news coverage of the event and all the punditry won't match up at all with what they saw. Because it never does. What a great civics lesson. So thank you, Columbia.


Raised By Republicans said...

Pathetic is right. I heard a bit of his speech as I got ready to leave for work this morning.

His rambling nonsense about "science" and how the American "oppressors" abused it to make weapons was quickly followed up by his resentful description of American monopolization of that same technology.

So we are evil for developing this stuff and we're evil for not wanting him to do it too.

It's no wonder that he has to execute dissenters and imprison them.

This schmuck would never be able to win a free and competitive election. He makes Bush look smooth and thoughtful...and that's a hard thing to do.

Raised By Republicans said...

And thank you Dr. Bollinger!

"'I am only a professor who is also a university president, and today I feel the weight of all the civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for,' Bollinger told Ahmadinejad. 'I only wish I could do better.'"

Dr. Strangelove said...

I agree completely with RbR and LTG. My only question is: did the university invite Mr A. or did he ask to speak? If the latter, I am happy... but if they asked him to speak, I am less so.

Raised By Republicans said...

My impression is that Columbia asked him to speak with the intention all along of calling him out on what a monumental jerk he is.

The Law Talking Guy said...

For all the people holding up Ahmadinejad=Hitler signs, I wonder: wouldn't it have been terrific if, in 1934, shortly after taking office, Columbia students had had the opportunity to see Hitler speak first-hand? I wonder if it might have helped the US intervene earlier.

Raised By Republicans said...

My favorite part is when Ahmadinejad says, "we don't have homosexuals in Iran" and the crowd of Columbia students and faculty's spontaneous reaction was to burst out laughing for a full minute.

I can't think of anything that would put this shit head in his place more. I hope the UN delegates that will be applauding this guy will take the time to see the video of what a natural and unforced reaction to his bafoonery looks like.

USWest said...

I think it was great for Colombia to invite the man. I am not sure that slamming him was wise. It felt good. But I am not sure it was wise.

I think students would have seen him for what he was without having their president ridicule him.

Raised By Republicans said...

I disagree with US West. It is always good to call petty cruel dictators petty and cruel. The problem too often is that we think we can ignore these people and they'll go away. They don't.

As LTG is fond of saying, the proper reaction to offensive speach is...more speach countering it.

I'm sure many Iranians would "bash" their President if given the chance. Hurray for Bollinger!

USwest said...

The proper reaction to offensive speech is not more offensive speech, but reasoned arguement that forces he who was offensive in the first place to show his ignorance.

I don't object to the university inviting the man. But I don object to how they went about carrying out the invitation.

USWest said...

Let me just add:

What will play in Iran is not what the Univeristy president said, but the Iran President chiding him for mistreating a guest. No country, no matter how shitty their leader, likes to hear a foreigners critiquing their guy. His press will glorify his preformance and rally the troops. And that will play like that not just in Iran, but across the non-western world. "Look how he stood up to the Westenr elites!"

So while it is great to chide him and to see him squirm, it won't change a damn thing in practical terms.