May

4

LectureHop: Ann Coulter On Airplane Food, Fisting Kindergartners

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Never shying away from a potential stage storming, the Bwog staff attended last night’s speech by Ann Coulter.

As the crowd shuffled in through the long security lines for Ann Coulter‘s visit to Columbia, the same  question was on everyone’s mind–would it get crazy in Altschul? Outside the event someone had dropped leaflets instructing the audience to start singing a new version of “We Shall Overcome” (no joke), and inside students chattered excitedly. The event organizers were apprehensive as well, urging students to “keep an open mind and show her the respect she deserves.”

Well, no pies were thrown, and, aside from a few shushed heckles from the back, the audience didn’t lose its mind too much.“I never expected a welcome as warm as Ahmadinejad got at this University!” she said after striding on stage. But the “radical” denizens of Columbia appear to have learned their lesson from two years ago. Rather than drown out Coulter, students went so far as to shush hecklers, leading to a surprisingly entertaining evening of sharp exchanges.

Rather than the traditional harangue typical of controversial speakers, Coulter took a different approach, delivering one snappy anti-liberal witticism after the other. After chiding Obama for his Special Olympics joke, she followed with, “you think he’d be more sensitive…with Joe Biden as his Vice President.” And calling out liberals for taking offense at any mention of Obama’s middle name while mocking Dan Quayle for the middle name Danforth, she finished with, “Clinton’s name was Jefferson, so he should have had a black mistress.”

She continued with lines about media adoration of Obama, the liberalness of MSNBC and Guantanamo, which she called “the tropical resort Bush built while they waited for a Democratic President.” She noted that the average Guantanamo detainee has gained 20 pounds, adding, “This is a brutal POW camp? This is more like a freshman dorm” (Bwog assumes that, in this metaphor, JJ’s is the torture…the delicious, fried torture).

Her lecture was so much like a comedy act that she even had airplane food and mother-in-law jokes. “They don’t even feed us on airplanes anymore, you have to go Guantanamo to get that,” she said, followed by calling Guantanamo “Obama’s biggest problem…after his mother-in-law.” Unfortunately, Altschul did not have a drum kit for a “ba-dum-cha!”

She finished with her thoughts on waterboarding, the stale nature of ‘Hope and Change’ rhetoric and the future prospects of the GOP. Citing a poll that found most Germans have a favorable opinion of Obama, she noted that “we all know how good the Germans are at picking a great leader.”

The evening then transitioned into the question and answer period, which went on far longer than her speech. And, though a good number of the questions were confrontational, the crowd kept relatively calm. Coulter, veteran of thousands of talks around the country, dealt with most of the questions confidently, if rarely to the satisfaction of the audience.

In  response to a question on gay marriage, she asserted, “I’m against gay marriage…It’s solely, exclusively to create an environment to bring children into the world and make them civilized human beings.” Adding that the whole marriage debate didn’t matter anyway since “most of my [Coulter’s] gay friends” are against it and “most heterosexual men will tell you you want to be out of this one.”

Next came a question on social issues and what Republican can do to reclaim the Reagan big tent, to which she said, “we win on the social issues…[like] not having…kindergartners being taught fisting.” Suspicious that the audience did not get the message, she repeated the phrase several answers later, prompting more howls of laughter from the audience.

The Cornell graduate, successful businesswoman, and #1 fan of Sarah Palin went on to complain (sort of) facetiously that the “rash experimentation with women’s suffrage has gone too far” since “whenever women get the right to vote, government spending goes through the roof,” and she would “give it [the right to vote] up if the rest of you do, but not my education or my guns.” Take that, Spar.

It was pretty inevitable that ROTC was going to come up, but when it did, Coulter redirected the question to allow for maximum Columbia-hating, changing the subject to the missile defense system, saying “it should protect the whole country with pockets for Columbia and Hanover, New Hampshire” before the rest of her response was drowned out by laughter.

Though the questioners acquitted themselves well, none had managed to fit in any good jabs at Coulter until the last questioner finished with, “at the request of the gentlemen behind me, could you explain your fascination with fisting?” Coulter replied, “it’s the schools that are obsessed with it. They’re teaching it!” Another question handled, another questioner left unconvinced, and with a speaker whose idea of unity is “come over to my side,” it was remarkable that the evening went off as smoothly, and as entertainingly, as it did.

– DJB, JCD, ARK, and ECS; photo by Michael Hannon

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41 Comments

  1. hah

    Ann Coulter is schtick. Well marketed, profitable schtick.

    If Columbia students handled themselves as well as this article makes out, then Bravo for not taking the bait and letting her get a rise out of us. That's her raison d'etre. Bait her opponents, then poo poo their over-reactive response. The best way to get under a demagogue's skin is to laugh at and dismiss them.

  2. MOMMY! MOMMY!  

    "Ann Coulter accused me of fisting today."

  3. Wow  

    She was INCREDIBLE. In all seriousness, thank you to everyone who respectfully attended the event. I know most people on this campus don't agree with her, but what was great about tonight was that people actually engaged her in intellectual discussion and debate, instead of just resorting to name calling.

    Tonight's presentation was great, because it addresses what I find the most aggravating thing about Columbia; namely, that 95% of the liberal student body has NO idea why they're liberal. They are not presented with the other side's point of view expect when it's being mocked, so instead of intellectual discourse, we often end up just name calling.

    Thank you Ann, for bringing this opportunity for growth to our campus. It was much needed!

    • My thoughts  

      With all due respect, as someone who identifies as liberal on some issues and conservative on others, I highly doubt she brought the opportunity for 'growth' to the campus. I found most of the event to be devoted to her ridiculing her opponents as opposed to engaging in serious intellectual discussion. It's hilarious that she was introduced as a scholar.

      I did found it annoying that there were students heckling her in the back and was one of those students who tried to shut them up. Ann Coulter may be a crazy arrogant woman with racist, xenophobic views but as ivy league students, we should have some self-respect not to prevent those who came there to listen to her speak in person.

      That said, she provided much comic relief in these dark finals times so on the whole it was enjoyable on the whole.

    • JollyRoger  

      With all due respect (which in your case is zero),

      You are really, really stupid.

      Ann Coulter as an antidote to name-calling? Most of her notoriety over the past few years came from calling John Edwards a fag and calling Arabs ragheads. Name one thing Ann Coulter is famous for other than name-calling. Coulter (like Hannity, Savage and all the other conservative flavors of the month) is an epic troll who has managed to make absolute bank by trolling liberals around the world ... and for that she merits props ... but if you actually think she represents any kind of intellectual growth then you're just pathetically deluded.

      And yeah, 95% of CU liberals don't know why they're liberals. That, however, reflects the type of student body Columbia attracts (read: tools) more than it says anything about the real world.

    • thoughts...

      I wasn't there, and I don't at all identify myself as a liberal, nor as a true conservative for that matter, but Ann Coulter isn't at all an intellectual, nor for that matter an ideal spokeswoman for the GOP- although I'm sure she'll immediately disavow any association with the Republican party and uncritically describe herself simply as a "conservative," implying that one should feel less shame at the idea of being associated with the more extreme elements than heaven forbid the mainstream. To that point, it's funny that you said "we often end up in name-calling," because name-calling is precisely her profession. I say this not to suggest that people opposed to the overriding consensus on this campus should not be invited to speak. It is great to invite conservatives, and even to invite those that are not so polite and those who are willing to unreservedly criticize the president and even make fun of him. But we should recognize Ann Coulter for what she is.

    • ...  

      c'mon, think about it. she's almost 50, lives in new york city, is single...

      she does not live the lifestyle that she espouses. no matter how much her carefully cultivated public persona may run counter, the reality is that she has waaaaaaaaaaaaay more in common with susan sontag than sarah palin.

      it's all a schtick, a carefully constructed one and one she clearly has a lot of fun with. if you're too stupid to see that, then you're a deluded fool.

    • look, lauren salz,  

      for all the time you spend praising columbia students for being respectful, you also blatantly mischaracterize the event.

      she was not "incredible." on the contrary:

      a. she lied about democratic presidents getting less popular with time. look it up, seriously.

      b. she likened waterboarding to putting a caterpillar in the cell of a detainee, with a straight fucking face. it thus came as no surprise when she pushed jeff sessions (r-al) for president, even though he is probably the most vocal advocate of expanded torture in the senate, having called for the cia to be exempted from oversight on interrogation methods.

      c. even from an objective point of view, her jokes bombed.

      d. she didn't answer about half of the questions.

      e. she sure spent a lot of time ragging on obama for only winning the popular vote by 7+%, which is a minor blowout in a presidential election. let's not forget that bush lost the popular vote once and won 50.7% of it in 2004.

      and, lest we forget, i don't think plagiarists ever bring "the opportunity for growth" anywhere. and, of course, ann coulter is a noted plagiarist: http://www.coulterwatch.com/files/BW2-009-Plagiarism_Trap.pdf

      also, pray tell what is your evidence for your assertion that "that 95% of the liberal student body has NO idea why they're liberal"? look, there is a reason that one of the most liberal sectors of the electorate is persons holding graduate and post-graduate degrees. it's the same reason that most students at all ivy league colleges are liberal.

  4. bravo  

    bravo Columbia, we did good tonight.

  5. this is  

    a fantastic article.

    also, post #4 makes me laugh -- what a ridiculous statement to make...

  6. Anyway,

    I find it ironic that she mocked Obama for the misfired "Special Olympics" line by ridiculing the very group of people that he presumably offended, albeit with an utterly ridiculous analogy in itself. She's so patently vapid that it's actually funny.

  7. Sprinkles

    Wow, she really is the least intelligent person to ever get a college degree.

    if she was a comedy act she would be pretty good. Actually, she already is - I don't believe anyone with half a brain really takes her seriously.

    • lol  

      And no one with half a brain would spend more than 2 seconds wondering whether or not shes "authentic" or putting on a shtick. Conservatives don't listen to her or buy her books to get some nuanced view of the world or some bullshit like that. They love her because she pisses off liberals and rallies the base.

      Unfortunately, CU students have swallowed so much of the "what really matters is listening to one another"/"lets foster DISCOURSE and not be judgmental" kool-aid that we thus have individuals like #4 who are taking someone who is essentially a fictional character or public persona and taking them seriously/looking for substance in them.

  8. well  

    I hope Coulter was intelligent enough to realize that people were laughing at her, not with her.

  9. good event  

    students were very calm, and despite some randos in the back (a lot of students were shushing them), almost every question was reasoned, even when people disagreed. she brushed off questions like "which of your comments is most offensive," but i thought she'd be much meaner to CU students.

    a lot of questions were downright respectful, and she was nice to those students. like the kid who asked about DADT and ROTC, she gave a flip answer about dadt working and then felt bad and retracted it. but her answer to ROTC was so funny lmao

  10. ...  

    Yeah, it sounds as though she delivered basically a comedy routine. That's fine, especially the jokes don't sound half-bad, but let's stop pretending that she's some bold voice for conservatism.

  11. who's mischaracterizing?  

    a. lincoln, eisenhower, reagan, nixon-- tons of u.s. presidents have become more respected after leaving office. that was her main point w/r/t bush

    b. people have also been complaining about the caterpillars on people's necks, she wasn't conflating the caterpillar with waterboarding, she was talking about the debate on torture as a whole

    c. people were laughing throughout, sorry. i guess you were one of the ones who was hyperventilating and chattering angrily throughout?

    plagiariasm thing: i don't know about it, but it's something published on "coulterwatch" that immediately spit pop-up ads all over my screen, so i clicked out.

    95% of the liberal student body doesn't hold graduate and post-graduate degrees

    • uh...  

      a. you're mischaracterizing. she wasn't speaking "w/r/t bush," she was talking about "democratic presidents." her main point was that democratic presidents, and she said this, "always become less popular with time." that's why people were screaming "FDR!" and "Truman!"


      b. you're mischaracterizing. she wasn't talking about "caterpillars on people's necks," she said "having a caterpillar in the room." and she was conflating the two, she said (and i quote) that one was "like the other." that's conflating.

      c. you're mischaracterizing. no one except you and your lackeys was laughing, and most of the time there was laughter it was at her nearly-unbelievably stupidity, not at her joke. and even then, most of her jokes were met with silence.

      d. i notice you completely ignored this point. you're an aspiring ann coulter!!

      plagiariasm thing: i dont care if you "know about it," its true. it's been published everywhere, i just linked to that pdf because its easiest. her first book includes three word-for-word passages lifted from another text. really bringing that "opportunity for growth," huh?

      you also mischaracterize my point about graduate degree holders, which was that education correlates closely with liberalism. while i am aware that "95% of the liberal student body doesn't hold graduate and post-graduate degrees," and i am also keenly aware that both our student body and graduate-degree holders are a cut above par in the education department, and both are pretty liberal.

      to review: in a post designed to show me how i has mischaracterized an event, you mischaracterized three of my points, ignored one, and conceded to another.

      good work.

  12. Fair and Balanced

    Both sides of this debate ought to thoroughly review the following two articles:
    http://tinyurl.com/c7vtww
    and
    http://tinyurl.com/7uz98

  13. Tweeat

    Most people at cute who don't know why they're liberal are liberal because of Anne coulter

  14. 1331  

    Funny, if she has been treated worse at a Holiday Inn Express, why doesn't she consent to being waterboarded a few times?

  15. it's not  

    really necessary to use tinyurl, etc when there's no overly stringent character limit...in fact it's pretty annoying.

  16. The Best Way  

    ...To argue against something, is to argue for it poorly. Coulter is a good as a solid Liberal, she probably drove moderate republicans away from her views, kudos.

  17. lololol  

    lolololol ann coulter lmfaooooooo

    can we get a lecturehop on the kate bornstein event now?

  18. female  

    ann coulter is a crazy bitch! she doesn't understand my idea of freedom. i want to vote, get married to a chick if i want to, get an abortion if need be, and smoke some pot! bitches like coulter make me want states rights so that the evangelical right can be happy praising jesus and enjoying the sanctity of marriage in their states and i can have liberal gay drug orgies in the fun states. i'm never going to that skinny robot cunt's side!

  19. no one  

    in their right mind would protest coulter... i was on the stage at the minutemen protest.. coulter is a crazy insignificant bitch ... she's hateful and disgusting, but let's be serious republicans can't even take hr seriously. Why waste our time!?

  20. agreed  

    i went, laughed a bit, and caught up on sleep afterwards.

    it really doesn't matter what she says, because she's just not important. she was funny at times (mainly because her statements were so outlandish) but she spent more of her time actually trying to be funny (too many ahmadinejad and fisting jokes).

    she did alright for someone from cornell.

  21. Brenden Cline  

    was the final questioner, and he is my hero.

  22. Ann...  

    is sexyyyyyyyyyyy

  23. seriously?  

    sounds like an absolute joke...

  24. By the way...  

    I heard that ann coulter was a caterpillar in another life. Any truth to this claim?

  25. ...  

    I expected to hate her an I was actually really impressed. I'm moderate, so I disagreed with most of her views, but she just seemed really intelligent. There were some ridiculous statements- like fisting- but for the most part I was impressed. And amused.

    She's SCARY skinny, though. I could see her hipbones through her skirt. Ick.

  26. I love how

    there is a huge sigh of relief from everyone who thinks her views deserve to be respected. She makes fantastical remarks with no regard for their veracity and brings nothing new to any intellectual debate on any issue. Honestly what has she done to afford the little respect that she receives from the far right

  27. Blackminorcapullets

    How predictable.

    Keep chirping leftists at the home of the Duranty Pulitzer.

    That was in 1933 when other conservatives like Coulter
    argued against leftist genocide .

    Unfortunately the Columbia newspeak prevailed then too and the left went on to kill 100 million in Ukraine, Poland,the Baltic states,and Asia.

    Not much of a compassion cheeseshop, is it?

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