Anyway, his column this week. He's writing about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who is, let's face it, a kook. J-Kel calls him a "diminutive despot with the big smirk." On a "writerly" note, I am proud of Jack for resisting the siren call of the double alliteration: "a diminutive despot with the smarmy smile" He just went for a sort of cross-relation [a "diminutive" something contrasting a "big" something else].
Good for him.
Now the curious part. He writes at the end of the column (one hopes he wasn't merely padding it out to the finish):
See, what he's doing here is trying to paint all liberals with this brush. The paragraph immediately preceding this one discusses how the "academic left" and its attraction to "charismatic Communists" (another alliteration) while macabre, is understandable. Here's his plan: Sally Kohn posts at the dailykos, so therefore everyone at the dailykos agrees with her (and presumably has a crush on the diminutive despot) and as the dailykos goes, so goes the American left: The American Left Hearts Ahmadinejad, it says so at the dailykos!
So how to explain people like Sally Kohn, who wrote on the Daily Kos Web site why she has a "little crush" on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
"I know I'm a Jewish lesbian and he'd probably have me killed. But still, the guy speaks some blunt truths about the Bush administration that make me swoon."
This could only have been written by someone who doesn't think anything bad could ever happen to her, and who doesn't care that other people are being persecuted.
That's what he's trying to do. But the first question is, did our good friend J-Kel accurately quote Ms Kohn? Not by a long shot. She DID write that line about the crush - that much is true. But our Jack followed it with this:
This could only have been written by someone who doesn't think anything bad could ever happen to her, and who doesn't care that other people are being persecuted.What did Sally follow the crush line with? Here is her dailykos posting. After continuing in the crush groove and saying Ahmadinejad reminds her of Kermit the Frog (huh??) she writes:
I want to be very clear. There are certainly many things about Ahmadinejad that I abhor — locking up dissidents, executing of gay folks, denying the fact of the Holocaust, potentially adding another dangerous nuclear power to the world and, in general, stifling democracy.But didn't Jack Kelly just say that she didn't care about people being presecuted? Her "crush" seems to be based on the charges he's made against the Bush Administration. Charges she agrees with. For instance (this is from Ahmadinejad's letter to Bush in May):
There are prisoners in Guantanamo Bay that have not been tried, have no legal representation, their families cannot see them and are obviously kept in a strange land outside their own country. There is no international monitoring of their conditions and fate. No one knows whether they are prisoners, POWs, accused or criminals.
European investigators have confirmed the existence of secret prisons in Europe too. I could not correlate the abduction of a person, and him or her being kept in secret prisons, with the provisions of any judicial system. For that matter, I fail to understand how such actions correspond to the values outlined in the beginning of this letter, i.e. the teachings of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him), human rights and liberal values.
She even points out the disconnect between Ahmadinejad's "flagrantly" (yes, she uses that word) trouncing the rule of law in Iran while criticizing Bush for doing the same.
Something Jack didn't tell you.I'm not defending sallykohn's blog post, just pointing out how Jack Kelly misrepresented it. In fact I think the silly parts of her blog post, for instance that Ahmadinejad is cuddly like Kermit, are silly enough to sully (see I can do it too!) the rest of the piece.
I'm also not going to defend Ahmadinejad himself. I think he's a kook and a very dangerous kook indeed. But I'd also have to agree with Bill Richardson on this. Ahmadinejad is not the guy in control over there. Richardson also said that while he wouldn't have invited Ahmadinejad, it's a question of academic freedom - and Columbia is free to invite whomever it wants to speak.
Just like Bill O'Reilly.