If you believe the Columbia Spectator, everyone’s had a change of heart and the calls of support for having hosted Ahmadinejad are flooding in to the university switchboard. Whether that’s because Bollinger seized the opportunity to humiliate him a bit or whether it’s just alumni groovin’ on Mahdi’s good vibes, no one can say. The students sure seemed to like him, didn’t they?
CJ e-mails to ask if I’m really “surprised” at Bollinger going after him. I guess not — like I said, he had to do it to save face — but based on what I’m hearing about the moderator of the National Press Club event this morning chuckling his way through Ahmadinejad’s speech, he surely could have gotten away with going a bit easier on him.
Think of this as the right-wing version of Colbert’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last year. And for the record, the money line is wrong: Ahmadinejad may be many things but a dictator he isn’t. That honor falls to Khamenei; this turd is just the mouthpiece.
Update: Here’s the transcript of Ahmadinejad’s speech and the Q&A. The response at the beginning to Bollinger:
I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here. In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all.
Certainly he took more than all the time I was allocated to speak, and that’s fine with me. We’ll just leave that to add up with the claims of respect for freedom and the freedom of speech that’s given to us in this country.
Many parts of his speech, there were many insults and claims that were incorrect, regretfully.
Update: Here’s Ahmadinejad taking the mic after Bollinger and reminding the useful idiots assembled how superior non-western cultures treat their invited guests. Big cheers. Click the image to watch.