Being painfully objective requires a healthy dose of introspection, and frequently, I read posters' comments pleasantly surprised that they've provided either an angle I hadn't remotely considered or unseen data from sources previously unknown. I keep an open mind on policy debates, as nobody can be an expert on so many issues.
BUT...when somebody says I'm wrong on the media and political marketing, whooo boy, that's like telling your grandmother her cooking is terrible. Don't expect it to be pretty.
In response to my Ann Coulter post, I received the following reply:
I think using the term "utterly stupid" to describe those student protesters applies your assumptions, issues, and hangups as an American to a bunch of people who don't share them. I think you're wrong to assume that *Canadian* students should or do care all that much about "amplifying" American right-wing ideologues within American media markets. Those protesters, right or wrong, wanted to deny Coulter a platform in their community and in their country and at that they succeeded. As a result, her platform in *our country* got bigger, yes, but that is *our problem* not theirs. You might reflect on that before you call them naive, misguided, and foolish.
Now, although this person posted anonymously, (s)he started with "Hey Chris" instead of "Hey, douchebag" or a comparable phrase that now passes for repartee in our dumbed-down culture. I'm going to assume, accordingly, that this person is a friend of mine and somebody who I really respect, so I'll tell him/her precisely what I would say were we meeting at Barcelona for beers:
ARE YOU INSANE?!?!?
After assessing whether my speculation was right that you're a student, a professor, or a Vietnam era student activist - as only somebody connected to a college campus and protest politics could so mythologize the virtue of a student protest gone so horribly awry - I would ask you rhetorically, "You think these students succeeded in denying Coulter a platform in their community and in their country by engaging in this ill-conceived exercise?!?"
Well, allow me to retort, my friend.
The ten most populous cities in Canada are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Galgary, Edmondton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Quebec City, and London.
Guess who had stories about Ann Coulter after the "Ottawa incident?"
The Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette, the Montreal Examiner, the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen, the Galgary Globe & Mail (headline: "Spurned in Ottawa, Ann Coulter Gets a Big Welcome in Galgary"), the Edmondton Sun, the Winnipeg Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Hamilton Spectator, the London Free Press, the National Post (which I guess is Canada's version of U.S.A. Today), and a slew of Quebec papers I am ashamed I couldn't read despite a lot of high school French, though I'm pretty sure it's the same, given that most of the story leads include the phrase "La militante de la droite americaine Ann Coulter."
And that's just the print media, which tends to be more measured in covering controversy than blogs, radio, and TV.
Did Ann Coulter, that ‘blonde she-devil' to the left, the "American Voltaire" to the right, execute a checkmate on the Canadian media and public worthy of Garry Kasparov?The story quotes Judy Rebick, a Ryerson social justice and democracy professor and prominent political commentator from the left, as saying that Coulter used the University's warning letter to "provoke a confrontation and it worked."' Rebick added that outspoken Canadian conservative political activits Ezra Levant and Coulter "set a trap and the University of Ottawa, its protesting students, and the media fell into it."
Whether on the television and talk radio airwaves, Twitter, or even on old-fashioned ink, it was impossible to avoid the firebrand conservative this week.
Levant admitted that the controversy caused by the letter raised their profile. "It proved our point, showing that censorship only draws more attention," the free speech advocate told CTV of the University of Ottawa's actions.
After bringing this information to your attention, I'd rebuke you for making me out to be some type of cultural imperialist when this has nothing to do with "my assumptions, issues, or hangups" and everything to do with the laws of media. I'd point out that the facts Canadians covered this more than America proves my point quite nicely, and then I'd lead you to the really messed up part.
Because the students vociferously protested, Coulter was able to pretend she was afraid and cancel. Had there been no student protest, Coulter would have had no choice but to bore the room and go home. One person who attended the Calgary event noted, "Her remarks were not intelligent enough to be offensive" - precisely the reaction you want).
Instead, Coulter is running wild in Canadian media (as well as U.S.) and even talking about filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.
I would go on, but I would recognize I'd be beating a decomposed horse. Instead I'd just order us another round while muttering, "Dans son visage!" (In your face!)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lest anyone think I'm saying all college students or professors have a squishy attitude about the frail ears of their students, see the comment from Professor Rosenberg in my original post. The consensus seems to be that we can all call Ann Coulter an intellectually vapid blatherer, but the best way to prove it to a third party is just to let them see her.
UPDATE: I've just been advised by Erin Rosenberg that she is not a professor. I guess that's the kind of assumption you make about people who get "deep" on you in a scholarly way.