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Friday, May 23, 2008

Ann Coulter at UCI


Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an appearance by Ann Coulter at UC-Irvine. Of course, I wanted to observe and document any disruption that might have occurred at this "bastion of free speech" called UCI Irvine. The event was sponsored by the Young College Republicans and Young America's Foundation.(I would like to comment here briefly that the best thing the Republican Party has going for it at this moment in time is the Young College Republicans. They are still driven by conservative principles-unlike so many of the politicians that have been corrupted by power- and they are willing to put up with the grief they get on university campuses.) All in all, there were no real fireworks to report.

As we filed into the hall, a small group of students silently held crude (as in amateurishly drawn) posters criticizing Ann's previous comments about.....I actually forget what they said. Not important.

At any rate, the talk was supposed to begin at 7, but, as happens in our neck of the woods, Ann was caught in traffic coming down from LA. About 7:30, it was announced that Ann had arrived, and the moderators went through the preliminaries. As is their custom, one student read the California state law regarding disruption of our first amendment rights to hear the speaker. (Translation: We are not going to tolerate any disruption.) Another speaker thanked the administration and deans for their assistance in putting on the event-though they may not agree with the content. (chuckles from the audience). Then we had a short prayer and stood for the Pledge of Allegiance-all while I imagined the deans squirming uncomfortably in the back of the room.

At this point, the moderator asked all to give a big welcome to Ann Coulter! We stood and applauded...... but no Ann Coulter. What happened? Where was she? Had she been intercepted by protesters? By a gang of politically-correct deans? Finally, 2-3 minutes later, Ann entered the room in her signature mini-skirt, came onto the stage to rousing applause. (I should note here that the overwhelming majority of the audience was pro-Coulter, many of whom were adults.)

Without going into detail, Ann gave her customary talk humorously mocking liberals, Democrats, Obama (Baruch Hussein Obama), "my girl, Hillary", the news media, Islamic fanatics ("head-chopping savages"), all to laughs and applause- while the deans sat sullenly in the back of the room. She drew occasional gasps from liberal students when she spoke nonchalantly about nuking our enemies and waterboarding terrorists-all while the deans sat sullenly in the back of the room.

The line of the night? Ann referring to Obama being interviewed by a semen-splattered MSNBC commentator named Chris Matthews.

Then Ann opened it up for questions, and about 20 or so people, mostly students, lined up. Most of the questions were serious and well-thought out. Of course, a few students were critical, mostly concentrating on Ann's support for the Iraq war-innocent civilian dead etc. With all due respect to the poor students trying to nail Ann, they simply were not ready for Prime Time. Ann deftly and humorously tore them to pieces. One poor student awkwardly tried to ask about the damage President George Bush's"pro-Americanism" was doing to our relations with the rest of the world. Once the laughter died down, unflappable Ann basically told the audience that she didn't care about what the rest of the world thinks. She also stated that America owes a debt of gratitude to President Bush for responding to 9-11 with a war on terror and mocked Democrats and liberals for their opposition to wiretaps, Gitmo etc-while the deans sat sullenly in the back of the room.

I would guess that Ann probably got one of her easiest appearances at a college campus. In my view, it all came down to the fact that whatever our problems with Muslim students and administration indifference to that problem, we don't have the same kind of student body as say, Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard and.... well, I could go on and on.

No question, Ann is a tough cookie. She has taken all the shots and never gets unnerved or loses her sense of humor. A couple of times she admonished hostile questioners who tried to nail her on her statements that they must have walked in on the wrong lecture. Finally, a young gal asked her about her reported "friendship" with some liberal Democrat. Ann's response: "You gotta stop reading those supermarket tabloids, Missie"- or something like that.

All in all, it was a refreshing experience to see a sensible conservative speaker come to UCI and get an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience...except for you know who.

13 comments:

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Sensible conservative? Really? Seriously? Honestly? Have I just stepped into the Twilight Zone?

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

"We just want Jews to be perfected, as they say."

"If I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee. That's just a joke, for you in the media."

"There are a lot of bad republicans; there are no good democrats."

"We need to execute people like (John Walker Lindh) in order to physically intimidate liberals."

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

"The swing voters -- I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don't have set philosophical principles. You're either a liberal or you're a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster."

Or is today Opposite Day and I didn't get the memo?

And please, don't give me that "satire" argument. I teach the concept of satire, and the only way she's satirical is if she's actually a liberal.

Gary Fouse said...

C'mon, Lance, lighten up! If you teach satire, I would suggest you use her as a model. Those statements are used to get a rise of out liberals-and they do. She is pushing their buttons and laughing at their outraged responses.

A friend told me once that the secret of success for people like Rush Limbaugh and Dr Laura is not that everybody loves them, rather that half the people love them and half the people hate them. It sure works for Ann.

But give her credit for one thing. She goes from university to university, gets shouted down, has pies thrown at her, takes all questions and refutes them. Her enemies cannot debate with her-she destroys them. So they try to shut her down. That is the tactic of the left. Fortunately, unlike a lot of other universiies, UCI doesn't have enough radical students to do that.

PS: None of the professors or deans tried to challenge her either. Compared to her, they are lightweights.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I don't completely disagree with what you're saying, as many liberals do indeed fall right into her trap and get all upset with her.

Personally, I think that debating her is like debating a creationist - it only gives the pretense that she actually has a point. I mean, what exactly is her point supposed to be, anyway? There's nowhere to even begin getting in an actual debate with her, as all she does is make ad hominems and completely groundless assertions.

I don't really give her that much credit for going to the universities. It all feeds into her whole martyr complex (which is the tactic of conservatives, if we want to play that game. "Oh, I haven't actually researched this issue nor do I have any facts to support it, but my opinions should be considered!" You know, ala Ben Stein. Or better yet - Ann Coulter - a little bit of further research shows that she thinks she can disprove evolution in her book, yet she clearly demonstrates that she doesn't know the first thing about it. Facts, shmacts, huh?)

As for satire, I suppose that I could show a clip of her and a clip of Colbert and have them guess which one is for real and which one is just kidding.

So, I don't hate her. I honestly have a hard time believing that even she believes half the crap that comes out of her mouth. I just find it really strange that anybody could take her seriously - or use the word "sensible" to describe her. It reminds me of a quote from The Princess Bride when Enigo Montoya says, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Gary Fouse said...

Enigo Montoya- where does he tnd bar?

Ann is not playing the role of a martyr. She is a winner. She wins over the liberals who cannot debate her.

Evolution vs Creationism-Do any of us really know the truth? Do any of us know 100% if there is or isn't a God?

Actually, based on my experience last night, if you ask her a serious question-you get a serious answer that expresses her true beliefs.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Of course they can't debate her! How do you debate an ad hominem? Now, if you want to find out about how she gets her facts wrong, there are plenty of places online where you can find out about that (like how she thought that Canada fought in Vietnam).

As for evolution vs. creationism, I take it that you haven't been reading my blogs on this subject. I hate to break it to you, Gary, but you've fallen for the propaganda. Why do I say that? Because you think it's about whether there is a God or not.

Yeah, that's how people like Ann Coulter want to frame the debate, but how do you account for the fact that majority of scientists who accept evolution believe in God? Look into Ken Miller, one of the chief witnesses in the Dover trial - a practicing Catholic. Also, one of the teachers who quit his job over having to teach Intelligent Design was a regular church goer. (And let's not forget the fact that the judge who ruled that teaching ID was unconstitutional was a Bush-appointed, church-going Republican.)

What's so frustrating about this is that it's not a liberal versus conservative issue, nor is it an atheist versus Christian one. It's an argument about simple reality. And when people like Coulter, Stein, etc. talk about evolution, they reveal that they don't even seem to have the basic facts of the theory down. (And realize, evolution is a "theory" in the same sense that "gravity" is one - scientists mean something different when they use that word.) Of course, it's possible that they do know and are just liars, but that's not such a great option either.

The thing is, Gary, I'll give it to you that you probably know a lot more about political issues than I do. However, this is a topic that I know quite a bit about. Not only that, but evolution is accepted by 95% of scientists in general and 99.85% of those who work in the life sciences. But yeah, I'm sure Ann Coulter knows more than them...

My point is, if people like her can be so spectacularly wrong on this topic, why should I trust them on anything? (I realize I've written a lot - if you'll respond, can you at least answer this?)Forget the War on Christmas - this is a War on Reality, and people like Coulter, Limbaugh, etc. are on the front lines (of the wrong side).

The thing is, I respect you, Gary, as you seem to be a pretty well-informed guy. I also think that I have something to learn from you when I read your criticisms of the Democrats. But this...wow...it really sends my mind reeling how you can see through so much BS but then step right into such an obvious pile of it.

Remember that old anti-littering commercial with the Indian who turns to the camera and there's a tear in his eye? That's me right now, man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4ozVMxzNAA - in case you don't remember it.

Gary Fouse said...

Lance,

When it comes to creationism vs intelligent design, I haven't fallen for anything. I don't know. I just choose to believe-or hope if you prefer that there is a God. As I get older and closer to death, I wonder about it more and more.

Ann Coulter did not even talk about this issue last night. I don't even know what she believes about this. To be honest, I don't recall her talking about religious issues. The closest I remember approaching that issue is her anti-abortion stance. But it's not like I follow her that closely.

If Ann has gotten it wrong about whether Canada sent troops to Viet Nam, is that important? To me, her arguments about liberals, Democrats, and pacifists are quite convincing.

Yeah, I remember that silly commercial about the Indian crying over the pollution of the land. Others have made the argument that Indians have also done their share of polluting- but I am no expert on that.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Well, I was just trying to create an overly-dramatic image in your mind - no real point regarding Indians or pollution.

A little research shows that Coulter has a whole chapter in her Godless book about evolution, where she refers to it as a "Creation Myth".

Again, you seem to be missing the point regarding the evolution thing though. Evolution has nothing to say about God one way or another. Yeah, I know, I'm an atheist, but evolution doesn't prove that there is no God. I'd be an idiot if I said it did. And again, this is why so many scientists have no problem reconciling their faith with the science - and still oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design. The extremist religious-types have done a great job of framing this debate, but they've made it into something that it's not even about.

The only thing that evolution disproves is a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. But the fact that the Earth goes around the sun does the same thing - and we're not going to teach both sides of that issue in science classes, are we?

So please realize that I'm not attacking your (or anybody's) belief in God.

When people like Coulter, Stein, Limbaugh, etc. criticize evolution and make it seem like there's some genuine scientific debate about it, they are damaging scientific education in this country. This country is lagging behind as it is when it comes to science education - and whether they like it or not, evolution is the backbone of the biological sciences. What they are doing is flat-out immoral and offensive.

Perhaps I'm making too much of this, but when a person decides to write a chapter of a book (or make a movie) about a subject, and then it's clear that they haven't even learned the basics of that subject, then I am forced to believe that person is an idiot - either that, or a liar. So, until somebody can explain their way around that, I can't take anything that they say seriously.

I mean, imagine if I wrote a biography of Ronald Reagan, and I had a whole chapter about his failures during the Spanish American War. What would you be forced to conclude about me?

Gary Fouse said...

I have not read Coulter's book. I generally stay away from those kinds of books since it would be preaching to the choir. Do we agree that Evolutionism doesn't prove there is no God, and Intelligent Design leaves room for evolution-according to Gods' master plan? Imean, I just don't know what the truth is? Doews that make me an agnostic? Maybe, but I would like to believe that there is a God as an article of faith-That's why we call it faith.

Is it really so offensive to believe there is something greater than us humans- or are we really the epitome of existance?

You refer to religious extremeists framing the debate, but what about all these professional atheists going around trying to strike down every reference to God in the courts? I don't want any religious figure or church dictating to me how I must live with the force of law behind it-that's why we have to oppose this crazy Islamic Shariah movement. But by the same token, I don't want atheists going to the courts to infringe on religion either.

When you get right down to it, the US has gotten it pretty right about religion in our history.

But what does this all have to do with our goddess, Ann Coulter?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Gary, I'm starting to feel like my points aren't quite sinking through here.

Let me take it a point at a time:

Do we agree that Evolutionism doesn't prove there is no God,

Yes.

and Intelligent Design leaves room for evolution-according to Gods' master plan?

Okay, what exactly are we talking about here? Are you talking about a philosophical view of the universe? If so, then I have no problem with this.

Are you talking about teaching that in a science classroom? Because that's what people like Stein, Coulter, Limbaugh, etc. are talking about. If that's the case, then I vehemently disapprove for the simple fact that it's not a scientific proposition. (And there are plenty of Christians who agree with me!)

Imean, I just don't know what the truth is? Doews that make me an agnostic?

By definition, yes, but I'll let you decide what you are.

Maybe, but I would like to believe that there is a God as an article of faith-That's why we call it faith.

Fine. While that's not the way I see it, I wouldn't argue this with you. (After all, what is there really to argue? That's the way you see it.)

Is it really so offensive to believe there is something greater than us humans- or are we really the epitome of existance?

Not at all.

Again, my only problem is teaching that in a science class. Science has certain rules, and those who want ID taught in science classes aren't willing to play by the rules.

You refer to religious extremeists framing the debate, but what about all these professional atheists going around trying to strike down every reference to God in the courts?

Last I checked, "In God We Trust" was still on my money, and Presidents still say "God bless America."

With this issue, we must look at the Constitution and the fact that it creates a separation of church and state (and yes, I'm aware that exact phrase isn't in there - but that is the meaning.) If something is unconstitutional then that's all there is to it - unless you want to change the Constitution.

Personally, I agree that our government shouldn't be in the business of endorsing religion, which is exactly what some politicians do when they post things like the 10 Commandments. But for the most part, I think that there are bigger problems than whether my money has God on it or not - just so long as I can buy beer with it, I'm good.

I don't want any religious figure or church dictating to me how I must live with the force of law behind it-that's why we have to oppose this crazy Islamic Shariah movement.

Agreed, but if certain fundamentalist Christians would have their way, it would be pretty indistinguishable from Shariah.

But by the same token, I don't want atheists going to the courts to infringe on religion either.

Good thing that we have that Constitution, eh? I believe in following that - so I would be very vocally against religious expression being infringed upon.

Still, I have to say that some Christians feel like they're being oppressed when people speak up about them oppressing others! They seem to think that they have the right to impose their will, and when anybody calls them on it, then they're the ones being oppressed!

When you get right down to it, the US has gotten it pretty right about religion in our history.

Agreed. But isn't it funny that we're more religious than Europe but less religiously literate? I did a simple religious literacy quiz with my freshmen (and this was my pre-honors class!) and they barely knew anything! What might seem ironic is that religious literacy is something that I emphasize in my class - and I plan on doing even more next year.

But what does this all have to do with our goddess, Ann Coulter?

Because she's one more person who's trying to impose her religious view (Intelligent Design/creationism) on others (by putting it in a science classroom) and then she cries foul when she's called on it!

Back to what I was saying, she wrote an entire chapter on the subject in her book, yet she gets the basic facts of the subject wrong. For me, this makes me think that she's the sort of person who'll shoot her mouth off without actually having any facts to support her. So, I dismiss her as being a fool.

But hey, if you want to learn a bit more about evolution in general and the creationism/Intelligent Design debate, there's a guy who has a series of videos about it on Youtube. He's very knowledgable about evolution and he's extremely critical of creationists. But get this - he's a Christian. As I said before, this is not a Christian versus atheist issue. Check out his page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/DonExodus2

Oh, and as far as goddesses go, I prefer Pallas Athena.

Gary Fouse said...

Well, I agree that in a secular, public school, teachers should not be teaching religion as a fact since there are other religions in the classroom. I think, however, that they can teach scientific facts without telling students that this or that scientific fact means there is no God and your religion is false.

"In God we trust, God bless America" etc. I think the reason we still see these things is because, like it or not, Christianity is a part of our historical heritage, for lack of a better phrase. That's why we still have these.

Fundamentalist preachers- Well, I can't go down the list and defend each and every one-some of whom are really more interested in making fortunes, -but I don't know of any who would defend honor killings, forced conversion to Christianity upon pain of death, etc. I don't know of many who call for a theocracy in this country. True Christianity means converting people by persuasion not force because that would not be a true conversion.

At any rate, I believe that God has no need for man to defend Him. I wish some of these Muslims would wake up to that. They are the ones we need to worry about- not Jerry Falwell or Ann Coulter. (I know, Falwell's dead.)

Lance Christian Johnson said...

One last thing:

I think, however, that they can teach scientific facts without telling students that this or that scientific fact means there is no God and your religion is false.

Considering that it's safe to say that most science teachers are Christians (or believe in God, anyway), it's probably pretty safe to say that this doesn't happen very often.

But if they did do that, I would be just as opposed to it as you would.

Gary Fouse said...

Fair enough.

Anonymous said...

an atheist who teaches satire...and he's upset with Coulter? debating with a conservative, former DEA agent who teaches at UCI - this is really fascinating...combine that with cops and administrators who stand by and do nothing or even protect Muslims who intimidate and assault Christians and Jews on campus - it really is like the Twilight Zone

Creeping Sharia for more on this trend