Saturday, September 29, 2007

Columbia University's international awareness?

One's own country looks a lot different when you live overseas, or at least have lived overseas. You get to see how other people view it and that view generally has nothing to do with the myths you are fed in school or by the media.

Apparently, the president of Columbia university has never lived anywhere else except for the US, or if he did, he lived in some sort of "gaijin ghetto"(apologies for the use of this bigoted term, but as I mentioned, I gave up on trying to discourage it) where he was given the special treatment that real people don't get.

After inviting the president of Iran to visit---knowing fully well what he believed and what he stood for---Lee Bollinger (Columbia president) decided to use the occasion to insult him to his face. What exactly did the fool hope to gain? No matter how dangerous one believes Ahmadinejad to be, Bollinger's remarks and ad hominim attacks came across as extremely rude. Perhaps Bollinger is extremely rude anyway, but in this case, he makes the US look bad while doing nothing to damage Ahmadinejad's reputation. In fact, he likely made him look good by comparison.

But frankly, one can't expect much from a university president as they all seem to live in a fantasy world. I remember ours, something "Smith" at WSU in Washington, seemed to be in orbit around Mars, but who really gives a flying f**k what a university president says in normal situations?

Anyway, has an article commenting on space cadet Bollinger's public rant: Bollinger's denunciation was icing on the cake, because the constituency the Iranian leader cares about is scattered across an Islamic world that values hospitality and its courtesies as core social virtues. To that audience, Bollinger looked stunningly ill-mannered; Ahmadinejad dignified and restrained.

Bollinger however, showing his razor sharp awareness of how his actions look outside of the US, thinks it was a wonderful idea and apparently remains very proud of himself as he continues to circle around Mars. From an AP article:

Bollinger doesn't see these disputes as anything unusual for an intellectually robust college campus....."All we can do is say, 'We are committed to a principle of wide open discussion about issues," he said. (As long as he can personally insult folks to their face first as a way of encouraging wide open discussion.)

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