THE IVORY TOWER

After two weeks of spastic protesting and near-aneurysms from the right, Iranian president Ahmadinejad finally spoke at Columbia University earlier this week. Just as right-wing talk radio listeners and idiots everywhere (pardon my redundancy) predicted, the leftist ivory tower of cloistered academic socialism coddled the controversial Arab leader.

Among Columbia University President Lee Bollinger's fawning, obsequious remarks were:

For the illiterate and ignorant, (Holocaust denial) is dangerous propaganda. When you come to a place like this, this makes you, quite simply, ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.

According to reports by the Council on Foreign Relations, it's well documented that Iran is a state sponsor of terror that funds such violent group as the Lebanese Hezbollah, which Iran helped organize in the 1980s, the Palestinian Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shi'a militia targeting and killing U.S. troops?

A year ago, I am reliably told, your preposterous and belligerent statements in this country (as in your meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations) so embarrassed sensible Iranian citizens that this led to your party's defeat in the December mayoral elections. May this do that and more.

I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions…I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for.

It's sad, unfortunate, and pathetic that Professor Bollinger had to go so completely over the top and spiteful with his remarks to fend off the landslide of criticism from the talk radio crowd. I assume they're happy with the extent to which the event turned into a burning-in-effigy of Ahmadinejad. But imagine Bush going to another country and being greeted with an event like this. O'Reilly would be screaming for cruise missiles before the speech even conclused. Ahmadinejad wanted to turn this into a circus, and he succeeded. It was a sad day for academia, this country, and the reality-based community as a whole.

I'm really just starting to pity the kind of people who eagerly await being told what to think by Hannity and Limbaugh like the pack of slobbering dogs that they are. When a person – scratch that, an adult – in a country that claims to educate its population well can't tell the difference between supporting a person's right to speak and endorsing his or her ideas, I don't think there's much left to say. I start to feel like mocking such people is the same as mocking retarded people, which I have been taught repeatedly is wrong.

Ah, fuck it. Retards are hilarious, and I have no sympathy for people who are led around by blatant appeals to their prejudices and ignorance. Pick up a goddamn book. Maybe even read it. Repeat until radio call-in shows no longer seem appealing.

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5 Responses to “THE IVORY TOWER”

  1. -h Says:

    At the risk of sounding like a dick bringing up a technical detail:

    He's not an Arab leader. Iran is predominantly non-Arab: we're mostly Persian and Azeri.

    The groups that became known as the Iranians originally moved south from the steppes of Asia to settle the Iranian Plateau – they didn't originate from the Arabian Peninsula. And the Persian language ('Farsi' or more correctly 'Parsi'), is Indo-European and shares its structure and roots with many European tongues. It is completely different from Arabic, which is Semitic.

    Anyway, enough of that… One of my favorite quotes this week came from Duncan Hunter:

    "… I will move in Congress to cut off every single type of Federal Funding to Columbia University. If the left-wing leaders of academia will not support our troops, they, in the very least, should not support our adversaries…".

    http://www.gohunter08.com/shownews.asp?artid=73

    Here's the sad part: Ahmadinejad is thought of as a Joke in Iran. He is regarded as an unqualified, under-educated, religous nut-job who stole the presidency through a bogus election. He is a national embarassment and a failure. He is like Bush in so many f'in ways, EXCEPT that he has no real power: in the Iranian system, the president is 'third tier', has no control over the armed-forces, and has no final say on foreign policy… the only thing this guy has is a loud mouth.

    He's used to noise and insults – he gets it all the time from students at Tehran universities.

    This 3-minute cell-phone video of one of his university visits will probably surprise you, but it's the real picture: the students are in his face (literally), debating him, laughing at him, mocking him, yelling slurs at him, chanting insults (yes, actual freedom of speech in Iran, despite CNN/FOX's version of the world):

    What went down at Columbia only pumped him up.

  2. JDryden Says:

    Oh, but they *do* read books: TREASON, GODLESS, SLANDER, CULTURE WARRIOR, LET FREEDOM RING, and even the old classics like THE WAY THINGS OUGHT TO BE. You know: the literature of the people.

  3. Dave Says:

    Being an overqualified and shiftless individual, I work in a bookstore. One of my favourite things to do to pass the time is to put books by shrieking right-wing pundits in our spiritualist section. Imagine a huge display of Ann Coulter, mingled with books with titles like 'Who Built The Moon?'.

    It warms my heart, it really does.

  4. Brandon Says:

    -H, the incident you relate indicates that there is a lot of opposition to Ahmadinejad in Iran, esp. among Teheran elites/students. I know this Iranian girl here, she can't speak of the guy without bursting into obscenities and she tells me her family in Teheran feels the same way. I disagree with your argument that this refutes the "CNN" view of Iran, though. From what I remember, this incident occurred early in his presidency. Since that has happened, there has been a harsh clampdown on dissent, increasingly coercive enforcement of social regulations (wearing the hijab, holding hands in public, women smoking, etc.), as well as the imprisonment of foreign scholars attending non-political conferences in Iran.

    My main problem with the Bollinger tirade is that it seemed so unnecessary. What did it add to the debate? Just let Ahmadinejad's idiotic words and ideology speak for themselves. Let him be laughed at when he asserts that there aren't any gays in Iran or that the jury is still out on the Holocaust. I think you're right, Ed, that it seems like he was purposely taking a hard line to deflect criticism from the right-wing nutjobs.

    The Hitler comparisons are so fucking ignorant. You are absolutely right, -h, that Ahmadinejad is not even the most powerful figure in Iran. Ironically, all of the attention that Western media is lavishing on him is probably just giving him more political capital at home.

  5. Chris Says:

    Thank you, Ed. People who can't reason, recognize fact, and need an asshole like Limbaugh to tell them what their beliefs and "reality" are are complete idiots. It's sad, really. There is no point in even having a conversation with one of these people because they are so lost.