I have to admit that when I made my post about Bollinger I had little context. I really didn’t realize this had been such a big deal in the U.S, and received so much coverage. I had not read anything about the appearance, or how it was being perceived. A few of you wrote and agreed with what I said. A few others did not/
I’ll post some of those below. I have to say that after reading about it more, I’m a bit on the fence. I think it is sort of out of line to invite someone somewhere and then be so incredibly confrontational and rude. On the other hand, I really do think what Bollinger said was spot on and I think there is a certain power to ding it the way he did, theoretically showing A how we do things here, both in terms of his tough talk and the mere act of giving him a platform.
Like I said, I’m on the fence, but leaning towards thinking the whole appearance as a bad idea and a bit of a farce.
It’s also an interesting contrast to the lack of accountability we hold our own leaders up to. And the lack of accountability the current crew allow themselves to be held to, by appearing only in front of prescreened audiences, etc.
I do think he should have been allowed to visit Ground Zero.
The letters to the NY Times on this topic are really interesting.
An old friend from Ann Arbor writes:
I have agreed with most of the stuff you have written. I think you are wrong about Bollinger. Even though he ripped Achmedenijain(sic) and was accurate, he should have not given the dramatic intro. First, he just made A* look stronger and more sympathetic to the extreme anti-war pro-Iranian lefties as well as the Arabs. Second, Bollinger invites an asshole, who among other things, denies he has gays in his country onto campus, and turns around and does not allow the ROTC on campus as well as not saying anything about the students not letting the Minutemen speak during their campus visit. The ROTC was denied because of their “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy”.
He was one of a group of our great liberal US professors who condemned the Duke lacrosse players when they were initially accused of raping the black prostitute. Of course, this intellectual group never issued an apology after it was found that the DA falsely prosecuted the players.
Bollinger is weak and had to make his statement since he was in a position to loose a lot of funding from Jewish groups if he said nothing significant during the introduction. Most of his alumni supporters opposed the invite. That is not a very stoic thing.
He is a coward and his hypocrisy is consistent with his past events. A sad fact is that A* had more courage to show up and take it than Bollinger did by ripping him a new one on national TV. It is an embarrassment to UM just like loosing to the ASU Mountaineers.
Also, UM took a dive in the academic school rankings when he ran the show. UM was not even in the top 5 public universities when he left.
Take care and keep up the blogging.
Is there really such a thing as “pro Iranian lefty”? That’s sort of hard for me to believe, but then again we had self-described Maoists on the staff of the Michigan Daily and that was of course well after the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward and all sorts of other absurd atrocities.
I think Bollinger was dead right in the affirmative action issue and became a national leader on that, while president of U-M. I don’t know if it’s true that UM took a dive in the academic rankings during his tenure but I’m not sure how important that is anyhow. Public institutions should have higher callings in my opinion than clawing over anything and everything to have big numbers.
The Duke case is an embarrassment from top to bottom. I don’t know anything about Bollinger’s involvement and so can’t comment. It was certainly not the best of days for the NY Times or most of the press.