This shit is OVER

Written by

…or is it? 

The last news van has left Broadway, and the time has come for the national media to postmortem fair Alma’s latest tryst with controversy. Predictably, the Weekly Standard has nothing but nice things to say about the outcome of today’s event. Meanwhile, Salon’s Michael Grieve predicts that PreazBo’s speech (relive the moment here) is “likely to go down in history as one of the most bold and critical set-ups in modern memory.”

Update: Despite the poor translation, behind this link is a, well, unique take on the whole thing, complete with photograph not from the event. (Though to be fair, a lot of journalists didn’t have cameras. Newsweek asked Bwog if we had some to share. As you can see, we didn’t.) 

At Slate, arch-liberal Anne Applebaum threw something of a curve ball by condemning today’s event, and argues that the university played right into Ahmadinejad’s hands (and the sights of erstwhile presidential candidate Duncan Hunter). Applebaum’s article was surprising, but TNR’s The Plank dug up what might be the shocker of the day: that Ahmadinejad and MEALAC professor Joseph Massad seem to agree on something. Here’s a book about it, kind of. 

Back in Iran, the writeup from the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency was about as enlightening as one would expect. Ditto the news from Israel, which, according to Haaretz American editor Shmuel Rosner, emerged as today’s clear loser.

And for if you’re not sick of Fox News (or MSNBC)…

…and for if you’re sick of hearing intelligent commentary.

..and for if you just feel like wasting a fuck ton of time.

And last: apologies for all the link-stacking, but this was just too rich not to post.




  1. massad

    has always supported the idea that being gay is just a western construct that has no applicability to the middle east.

  2. eh...  

    The Slate commentary is sort of silly, and seems to be written for the sole purpose of being "different." Ahmadinejad could not be perceived as "a real democrat" because his answers were so evasive and at times ludicrous. And if she thinks that there is a great victory in simply being on stage with American academics, then Ahmadinejad could simply have photoshopped himself in a picture with Bush and Blair/Brown and just called it a day.

  3. Akbar  

    "Columbia University School of Terrorism?"


  4. nick

    bollinger made a fool of himself with his unwarranted attack.

    he actually made ahmadinejad look cute and smart.

    way to go prez.

    • No he didn't.

      No he didn't.

      This actually feels like one of those watershed moments where everybody starts paying attention to the idea of political freedoms, to me. Despite all Ahmedinejad's sputtering about how offended he was, his bullshit was pretty transparent.

    • go back to your

      sipa dissertation on why america is the great satan noob

      • ...

        A name caller defending another name caller... like a fly attracted to horseshit...

        Though let's be honest. PrezBo's statement would have been stronger if he resisted from name calling at certain points and would have stuck to the facts and avoided a hypocritical diatribe.

        Not to defend Ahmedinejad but he denounced him as a dictator even though he was an elected official. And I remember, two years ago, when President/General Musharaff of Pakistan visited, PrezBo hailed him as a great world leader... Musharaff fits the definition of dictator much more fittingly...

        And I wonder how PrezBo would welcome the King of Saudi Arabia. Would he denounce their track record for women rights? Granted their is mandatory hijab in Iran but in Saudi Arabia the notion of women voting (actually the notion of voting) doesn't really exist...

        • he specifically said

          that he exhibits the signs of a dictator by his actions, not that he is one. Follow along friend, this was the quote:

          "Let's then, be clear at the beginning — Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator. "

          Secondly, it wasn't really a hysterical diatribe, it was a sourced statement of facts which was then used to characterize his behavior in a legitimate way.

          As for Musharaff and the Sauds, I'm sure Bollinger could have fcr criticized them but there is certainly a difference between ahmadinejad and those two. Pakistan already had nukes and the sauds aren't attempting to acquire them, thus not placing them at the center of IAEA troubles. Secondly, neither of those countries were so brazen in trying to kill American soldiers. Furthermore, both were allies of the US and didn't call the country 'the great satan' and currently the US has actually been able to get Pakistan and the Sauds to somewhat moderate (both govts have been under fire for cracking down on hardliners) while Ahmadinejad embraces them.

          The situations are clearly different and its a weak argument to claim that the parallels are tenuous at best.

  5. Any bets  

    on how long it will be before gets taken down? Columbia didn't even let Boredat network use those Columbia symbols, wouldn't let spiderman II even use its name--there's no way they'd let that site use it. I wonder if anyone has forwarded that link to public affairs or prezbo yet

  6. Shame on Bwog!  

    Don't click on the youtube link labeled "sick." It's worse than Tubgirl. Bwog, I expect a warning when you link to shit like that.

  7. bwog alum

    Since when is Anne Applebaum an "arch-liberal"? And what is remotely unusual about her taking a hard line on a dictator? This is pretty much the only kind of column she writes.

  8. Nick

    Bollinger, IMHO, delivered this scathing speech because he must have been forced to do so by the big guns, namely all the lobbies and/or congressional interests he so blatantly served with that unapologetically challenging for challenge's sake speech.

    again, not that ahm is a saint, but bollinger sounded the alarm and his guest delivered a performance in civil behavior.

  9. hey nick  

    You honestly think people looked at the video and thought Ahmadinejad looked "cute and smart"? In my honest opinion, you're an idiot and Bollinger intended to roast Ahmadinejad all along. What the hell did you think he was going to say? Let me introduce you to this really great guy, my friend the Holocaust-denier?

  10. Nick

    is this the only way one can introduce one's guest? either by roasting one or by siding with one's opinions? i thought disinterestedness was a virtue, not a forgotten idea.

  11. well  

    The best way to introduce a guest is with the truth, which is what Bollinger did. Unless you dispute the facts, his statement was an honest portrait of Ahmadinejad's abhorrent policies. There can't be a substantive debate or dialogue unless there is an honest clash on relevant issues.

  12. omg  

    that video under "sick" is AWESOME!!!!ONE@!111

  13. Agreed  

    but he could have left the speech the way it was, minus the ad hominem attacks. That's what was vaguely unsettling about it. The truth of what he was saying would have stood strong all by itself, or stood even stronger, minus the "uneducated" or "ridiculous" stuff. Getting personal, outside of the academic inquiry and scathing line of question, just wasn't necessary.

  14. Nick

    well said, well. but the issue at stake here is not bollinger's list of truths. it's his holier than thou tone. especially when he fired the inimitable:

    Fourth, to be clear on another matter - this event has nothing whatsoever to do with any “rights” of the speaker but only with our rights to listen and speak. We do it for ourselves.

    he was legitimazing a whole discourse of us vs them tactics. not only was he slyly stripping his guest of the right to speak but he was also privileging himself and the members of the audience as superior human beings.

    i'm interested to hear what people have to say about this specific quote.

    • Yeah  

      I agreed with the substance of the speech, the content. But the self-congratulatory crap? The tone of "you're only here because we deign to have you in our royal presence"? Coulda done without it. I think it undermined all the great content.

  15. the problem  

    is that if Bollinger had just done a ho-hum, here is what you did, how do you respond introduction, then the forum would really have become solely Ahmadinejad's platform for saying what he wanted. I think Bollinger represented what many people in the university and in the country think, not to mention what many Iranians feel but are unable to express for fear of persecution. If you deny the Holocaust occurred, then you truly are either uneducated, or you are "brazenly provocative". That's not a false dichotomy. Those are essentially the only two options. As he said, the entire civilized world is essentially feeling the same revulsion for the human rights abuses in Iran. To gloss over them without showing the outrage of millions of people would have been a tremendous waste of one of the only situations in which this leader can frankly be told just what people think of him.

    • Okay  

      But don't you think that set a precedent? Speakers we consider abhorrent will have to get the same introduction. And honestly, considering outlets like Fox are beating the war-with-Iran drums, it was a little disconcerting to have Bollinger parrot a lot of their tone. Fine, attack him using reason and history; but amidst all the personal attacks, it would do well to remember that he still represents/leads an entire country and many, many people outside of academia conflate him with the rest of Iran.

  16. i think  

    Bollinger was merely clarifying what the free speech situation was, and I think this was pretty smart consider the hodge podge of misrepresentations about free speech, both for this even and the Gilchrist event last year. Ahmadinejad does not have a "right" to speak per se; he doesn't have the right to speak at a university and have his words broadcast on TV. Rather, the principle of free speech is demonstrative of the value we associate with speech in general, and the idea that we cannot arrive at the truth unless we are willing to hear all sides and judge with complete information and considering all opinions (the competition in a free marketplace of ideas). Thus we have a right to hear all opinions, and it is proper that we hear all opinions, regardless of how we might disagree. Secondly, Bollinger asserted the academic freedom that universities should have in our society, countering the accusations of "treason" and the university being anti-American. If universities are not allowed to teach what they want and students are not allowed to learn about the complete picture, then our universities will be no different from the ones in Iran where speech and academic freedom are suppressed.

    Generally, I think the message was for the students that they should not be angry at the administration for inviting Ahmadinejad to campus, but that they should feel privileged to participate in such a rare opportunity.

  17. last one  

    So if the precedent is "roast abhorrent world leaders who violate the human rights of their citizens rather than let a unique opportunity for debate become a boring, lie-laden stump speech" then yea, I'm fine with that precedent. I hope to God that becomes precedent.

    I'm not sure where all the "he's an elected leader" comments stem from. First of all, we criticize our own leaders pretty harshly. Americans generally believe that the office should not protect someone from bad behavior, certainly not from criticism. If a president in the U.S. commits perjury or obstructs an investigation, then he should be vilified and impeached, regardless of his title. The fact that his guy is elected should not stop us from calling a spade a spade, and a petty dictator a petty dictator. If he doesn't like it, then he shouldn't have jailed journalists and executed juveniles.

    Lastly, there's all this fear of war-mongering. So, like, what's the alternative. Say nothing, and quietly let these atrocities continue in Iran? We shouldn't disallow or discourage speech because it might cause some unintended, unlikely, far removed danger. And personally, if we could conduct a war/reconstruction in the right way and successfully, then I think it would be fine and just to go to war to protect people who cannot protect themselves, to end genocides, and to stop human rights abuses.

  18. hmm  

    So there's only one of two choices on either extreme, then, right? A "boring, lie-laden stump speech" or getting downright personal? Nice try.

    And I would bet my ass that Bollinger would introduce Bush or Saudia Arabia's monarchs or Putin or any other abhorrent leader with personal insults.

  19. correction  

    would *not* introduce, correction

  20. no sir  

    Downright personal? He didn't insult the guy's haircut, he called him a petty dictator, and justified his statement. Unless you think that it was a false, baseless accusation, you need to stop whining about hurt feelings and personal insults.

    You're right. I doubt Bollinger would introduce Bush or Putin in such a manner. Bush and Putin, while not the best leaders, are probably deserving of more respect. But more importantly is the question of *should* Bollinger introduce Bush or Putin or some Saudi prince by direct and pointed questioning. If you think, as I suspect you do, he should not be afraid of making truthful statements, then I don't see your problem with the precedent he may be setting. I never said I thought it would become precedent; I just said I thought it was a good one.

  21. the Man ('07)

    CU Terror site info:

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  22. Silly PrezBo

    Thanks Prez! All this hoopla just so you could flame the guy. Next time just come on stage yelling, "p0wned! p0wned! p0wned!"

    • pwnererer  

      While it was sometimes thrilling and sometimes umcomfortable so to see such brazen pwnage, you reminded me of something I was annoyed ran kind of long and there were was only time for two or three questions from the audience. Oh well, it's over.

  23. Raya

    "Bush and Putin, while not the best leaders, are probably deserving of more respect."


    I mean....


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