Thursday, October 11, 2007

This article is worth a read. Plenty of chuckles.

Rude to Mahmoud?

by Michael Kinsley

Here is a short selection:

-Bollinger is a lawyer and a scholar of the First Amendment. To the vexing problem of free speech for people you really wish would shut up, he has found a novel and unique solution: Let them speak, but be extremely rude. In the technical parlance of academia, Bollinger "drilled him a new one."

-All this was no news to Ahmadinejad, nor did it require any particular courage for Bollinger to say it. There is no more captive audience than a speaker listening to his introduction. Ahmadinejad is proud of the record Bollinger outlined. Bollinger's only truly wounding remark was when he accused Ahmadinejad of being a "petty and cruel dictator." Petty? Petty?? What does it take to qualify as a real dictator in Bollinger's book? Throwing down this particular gauntlet may have been no favor to the world.

-But we do all have our faults. Will future Columbia speakers be introduced as "one of the phoniest pseudo-intellectuals of our day?" Or, "A man who has spilled soup on his tie in every major restaurant in New York, and is renowned for his small tips"?

-The result, especially at graduation ceremonies, has been a tradition of boring, bromidic, and vain speakers whose subtext generally is, "You should try to be as wonderful as I am. But you can't." Perhaps it's time for a new approach. Some wealthy Columbia graduate could endow a speaker series: "Jerks, Lame-brains, and Moral Degenerates." The idea would be to expose Columbia students to the kinds of bad influences they should not use as role models. With the death of Saddam Hussein, there is currently a shortage of high-wattage bad guys in the heads-of-state category. Oh, there are plenty of bad governments. But there is an opening for a charismatic evil dictator type at the moment. Many feel that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, or Fidel Castro (who needs no introduction), or Russia's Vladimir Putin or others might qualify. But each of them has fans as well. The great catch would be Osama bin Laden, of course. I wonder who his agent is.

So, what do you think? Is Michael Kinsley roasting Bollinger or admiring him? Hard to tell, isn't it? I think it's neither. He is just enjoying the comical aspects of that rather surreal event, which he ferrets and trots out for our entertainment as he luxuriates in his own brilliant observational skills.

And somewhat related in a bizarro world sort of way:

Anne Coulter does an Ahmadinejad (H/T: Roger L. Simon)

DEUTSCH: Why don't I put you with the head of Iran? I mean, come on. You can't believe that.
COULTER: The head of Iran is not a Christian.
DEUTSCH: No, but in fact, "Let's wipe Israel" -
COULTER: I don't know if you've been paying attention.
DEUTSCH: "Let's wipe Israel off the earth." I mean, what, no Jews?
COULTER: No, we think - we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.

Forget separation of church and state, we are now in the land of Sharia here. Coulter is a cross between some nutcase passing out Jews for Jesus literature on Hollywood Boulevard and the Islamists she says she hates. (Another example of projection?) What's particularly disconcerting is that she is apparently going to be speaking on the University of Southern California and Tulane campuses for Islamofascist Awareness Week later this month. What a horrible choice under the circumstances. I would recommend the organizers reconsider.

Should she be dis-invited from USC&T?

I just thought of something: Is there a humorous, comical aspect to Surrealism which I've never been aware of? Is it, ultimately, a sub-genre of comedy?

John Podhoretz: ā€œSpeaking for all Jews, I would be delighted to be perfected, and Iā€™m intrigued by the suggestion that it might be possible.ā€

NOTE (By Robert j. Elisberg): "Just because you don't know you're being hateful and anti-Semitic, doesn't mean you're not. It's like an ostrich sticking its head in its butt and thinking it's safe, as a caravan of steamrollers rumbles towards it."

Transmontanus of Totskyite Popinjays blogs here on the subject. I left a comment there.


At 1:20 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noga, you are missing a bit on the Ann Coulter remark.

Here are some hints.


At 6:51 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't care less about Coulter's opinions or sentiments.

I'm not terribly impressed by Media pundits naming Coulter antisemitic. They do so because it helps undermine conservative ethos, not because they care that she may actually be an antisemite. The very same people will go out of their way to exonerate Mearsheimer&Walt or Jimmy Carter of being even slightly tainted by the virus, even though their positions are potentially much more harmful to Jewish well-being than Coulter's more straightforward religious antisemitic dogma. She is a safe lion, being so visible and voluble. The real danger of modern antisemitism is in the hungry lions which you don't see because they are crouching, concealed in the tall grass of the language of human rights and universal justice.

Somehow I can't see a mass movement headed by Coulter designed to convert Jews. Nevertheless, it is quite surrealistic and comic, the way these things get played out. Tutu compares Jews to Hitler and to Pinochet, and the entire Far left goes in crazy convolutions trying to exonerate the holy man, Ahmadinejad calls for wiping out Israel and same people will rush to explain that no, really, he doesn't mean it and even if he does, what of it. No big deal. Coulter suggests Jews should convert, a proposition which has been on the table for the last two millenia, and they get into sanctimonious mode. What a bunch of loonies. The lot.


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