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A Barrel of Monkeys


   "Hitler Lives."  "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Unreality
   Show." 
"Iranian Madman Walks Among Us."  "[A]
   grave threat to the United States and its allies in
   the Middle East, Europe, and globally."  "What Can
   We Learn from a Monster?"  "His ideology of hatred
   and Iran’s building of a nuclear weapon to implement that ideology are the greatest threats to civilization as we know it."  "[B]razenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."  "[F]anatics and tyrants." "President of a country that is probably the greatest sponsor of state terrorism."  "[V]ows regularly to destroy the country [of Israel]." "Normal craziness." 
"[A] petty and cruel dictator."  "[L]ittle weasel."  You get the picture.

How’s this for evidence of the bandwagon-character of demonization campaigns within closed societies such as ours, where the nexus of tightly integrated institutions — capital, state, media, and educative — operate in a univocal fashion?  Between the day last week when the President of Iran’s request to lay a wreath at the former site of the World Trade Center was rejected (officially by the New York City Police Department, though other hands surely were involved), and today, as the inaugural plenaries of the United Nations’ 62nd Session wound down,  the personal smears directed singularly at the President of Iran, and the much more sweeping disinformation about Iran already placed into circulation in the States and elsewhere, must have reached an all-time high.  (For Iran, at least.)  It shows us how profoundly disenlightened are the people who serve these institutions, and how like-minded.  Repeatedly, they displayed their ignorance, their crassness, and their vulgarity, but also their ignorance of their ignorance, their crassness, and their vulgarity.  They may have told us next-to-nothing about their referent.  But they betrayed everything about themselves as well as the historical regime where shit like this smells like oil of lavender at $2000 per ounce. 

The low point, of course, occurred last Monday on the campus of Columbia University in New York City. There, Lee C. Bollinger, the president of the university, introduced its guest speaker with a tone usually reserved for a master addressing one of his slaves, or a prosecutor summing up his case against a defendant at trial — one presumed to be guilty of all counts as charged.  Since the university’s invitation to the President of Iran to participate in its inaugural School of International and Public Affairs – World Leaders Forum for the 2007-2008 academic year was seized upon by Bollinger to direct negative disinformation about Iran to the U.S. audience, and was thus exploited toward this end, it is important to recognize how thoroughly the assertions made and questions raised by Bollinger and by SIPA Dean John H. Coatsworth carried out this task. – Under the covers of free inquiry and challenging the views of the President of Iran, critical elements of the Washington regime’s disinformation against Iran were assumed to be true, with the President of Iran expected either to confirm their truth or to confess his sins. 

For the record, I’m simply going to post a lot of this material here.  In case anybody’s interested, we can examine it in the comments section which follows at bottom.

I.  The Set-up

Excerpted from: "Statement Regarding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Talk at Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum," News Release, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.

President [Lee] Bollinger emphasized that such World Leaders Forum events must allow ample time for students and faculty to pose questions that challenge the views expressed by the speakers.  John H. Coatsworth, Dean of the School of International and Public Affairs, confirmed that the Iranian president had agreed to this format. Dean Coatsworth will moderate the question and answer period following Ahmadinejad’s speech.

President Bollinger will introduce the event by challenging President Ahmadinejad on a number of his controversial statements and his government’s policies, including hisdenial of the Holocaust and his call for the destruction of the State of Israel. The US government has accused Ahmadinejad’s government of supporting terrorism and developing nuclear weapons capacity. Human rights groups have charged Iran with suppressing dissent and women’s rights. Columbia students and faculty will themselves have an opportunity to question Iran’s leader on these and other issues.

II. The Coup de grâce 

Excerpted from Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger‘s introductory remarks on Monday, September 24.  The printed text provides six organizational subheadings, which I am observing below.  Under each of them, Bollinger directed one or more rhetorical questions at his audience.  (For my source, see "President Lee C. Bollinger’s Introductory Remarks at SIPA-World Leaders Forum with President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," Columbia News, September 24, 2007. —