It must have been a slow news day in Canada, at least, seeing the front page of the National Post leads me to that impression. Of the three front page stories, one is news and two are comment pieces, but all three are about Americans: Ann Coulter, Tiger Woods and the Republican Party. The tawdry Tiger Woods infidelity story you’d think had run its course, but apparently not by the standards of the Post. I’ll never fathom why the Canadian media find tacky bedroom dramas of American celebrities so fascinating.
As to David Frum’s opinion piece about the Republican Party, I liked the piece, but is this sort of thing worth two columns on the front page of our national conservative newspaper? With all their fine columnists and reporters, couldn’t anyone at the paper come up with a Canadian story instead of this American writing about American politics. Sad that they could not.
I left the best for last: Ann Coulter and her silly, if predictable, claim she’s the victim of a hate crime. The real news story, of course, was on the weekend when reports surfaced about how the vice-president academic and provost of the University of Ottawa, François Houle, made veiled threats of “criminal charges” should Ms. Coulter promote “hatred against any identifiable group” during her upcoming speech at the university. François Houle’s attempt at chilling her free speech was, according to Ms. Coulter, akin to a hate crime and worthy of formal complaint to a human rights commission.
Ann Coulter’s not likely to lay the complaint, but the mere mention of one is good enough for front page coverage. By the way, the central part of the story is much better covered in Mark Steyn’s opinion piece on page 12 where such things belong. As to the side story—the right-wing pundit’s speech at the University of Western Ontario last night—this is hardly the stuff of which front page news is made. But this just goes to show what persistent self-promotion and a reputation for over-heated rhetoric can get you.
Here’s some of the banal banter that occurred at London last night, as reported by the Toronto Sun:
Fatima Al-Dhaher, a political science student from London, rose and spoke about comments Coulter made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The firebrand Republican had suggested Muslim countries be invaded, their leaders killed and all Muslims converted to Christianity. She later suggested Muslims denied air travel take “flying carpets” instead.
“As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest,” Al-Dhaher said to loud and sustained applause.
“I thought it was just American public schools that produced ignorant people,” Coulter replied, prompting her own round of applause.
Coulter then noted many Japanese were converted to Christianity after the Second World War and “we haven’t heard a peep out of them.”
To shouts of “Answer the question,” Coulter finally replied “What mode of transportation? Take a camel.”
“Are you going to convert her now?” another student shouted out.
“No, there are some people I just as soon not convert,” Coulter retorted.
Ms. Coulter’s responses to the student were about as witless one would have expected at a grade six or seven debate. But perhaps we should not expect more given the content of her comment that prompted the student’s question.
If Ann Coulter is the best our side can produce, the conservative cause is already lost. Let’s hope Michael Coren can coax a bit more substance from Ms. Coulter tonight on his Michael Coren Show on CTS television. Perhaps she’ll rise above mere liberal bashing, but somehow I doubt she will.
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© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
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