A more-conservative-than-Redstar reader emails to ask why I’m not covering Ahmadinejad’s visit to NYC.  My only guilt over ignoring this story is if by doing so I’m not living up to my legacy as a scholar trained by the American Jewish community (i.e., a Brandeis grad). 

As I wrote to her – and as regular readers can probably gather – foreign relations, foreign policy, and diplomacy are not issues I spend much time on here.  I simply cannot take the macho-heads-of-state-chest-bumping requirement of national politics, particularly as its come to pass under post-9/11 Bush in our so-called “War on Terror.” Indeed, the reason I don’t read the mainstream “progressive” (also, alleged, as far as I’m concerned) blogosphere more often, is because the predominantly male white authors expend an awful lot of hot air on the diplomatic disaster that passes for our foreign policy these days (though I was totally into Yglesias’s post on Olive Garden – who wasn’t, it turns out). 

I tried tonight to read the NYT coverage of Ahmedinejad’s talk at Columbia, but ended up closing the webpage in dismissal.  I remember at Deis when The Justice student newspaper sold ad space to Holocaust deniers, and the backlash that followed.  I just can’t take such charlatans seriously, even though I know that their statements cause very real pain for people.  And though I’m a card carrying member of the intelligentsia, I find obnoxious and smug the empty provocation of a cocooned place like Columbia allowing that guy to come and speak, which does little more than piss people off without providing much legitimate space for productive debate – not least because his sensationalist rhetoric and comparatively weak political power doesn’t give those of us looking to confront the “enemy” much to work with.  (Although, Andrew Sullivan – among others – takes on his denial of persecuting gay Iranians while scoffing at Columbia’s set up.)

Truth be told, if you want to hear me talk about Iran, you’d suffer a conversational mix of its politics from five to ten years ago and my desire to visit it because of its amazing art, history and hot men – all based on my dating an Iranian-American* in NYC on and off for a few months – before I moved into ranting about Bush and our current “mode” of international relations.  To save myself at this bedtime hour the ire that immediately flares up when I think about (or see or hear) Bush, I’ll let Ezra do the talking for me now:

“From [CBS’s Scott] Pelley’s interview with Ahmadinejad:

PELLEY: I asked President Bush what he would say to you if he were sitting in this chair. And he told me, quote, speaking to you, that you’ve made terrible choices for your people. You’ve isolated your nation. You’ve taken a nation of proud and honorable people and made your country the pariah of the world. These are President Bush’s words to you. What’s your reply to the president?

Wow. Pot, meet kettle.”

Now, if we want to talk about keeping alive the history and lessons from the Holocaust, or protecting human rights and preventing hate crimes, I’m your woman.


*Based on these credentials, I’m actually an expert on international and cultural relations.


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