The Wall Street Journal's editorial page is no fan of fags, women, and ethnic minorities unless, of course, some goofy foreign potentate begins harrassing them, at which point the Journal rises up in righteous indignation not only at the persecution thereof, but of the mean-spirited and hypocritical refusal on the part of this or that liberal icon to sufficiently denounce said horrors.
As you are probably aware, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad claimed that there are no gays in Iran. Well, doesn't the Southern Baptist Convention make strinkingly similar claims about its own ranks? Ahmedinejad also claims to be something more or less like a head of state, which is as true of him as it is of Queen Elizabeth. True, in other words, but not true.
Here is the Journal:
So when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the startling claim at Columbia University last week that "we do not have homosexuals in Iran like you do in your country," it offered what could have been a learning opportunity to those who think Iran is just another misunderstood regime with an equally misunderstood president.Is the Iranian régime misunderstood? Not by me. Personally, I don't plan to vacation there anytime soon, but neither do I intend to carpet bomb the place. Into my worldview I admit the possibility of a territory between those extremes. I could say the same about Chad or Estonia. Such are the wages of reason. It is true that Iran has as a figurehead a demagogic weirdo, but no nation escapes such fates entirely. Does Iran repress its gays? Oui, bien sûr. But an invasion seems unlikely to rectify that particular problem. Iraq, one notes, looks nothing like the West Village, nor yet Chelsea, although across sects and social divides, its men do engage a charming affinity for the Tom-of-Finland look.
The Journal heaves up some British liberal who noted that Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia, is preening, vainglorious, and altogether second-rate; that he chose to harp on free speech and to establish his jingo bona fides in the same speech, excoriating a man in a forum that dictated an unequal response. Had Ahmedinejad gone to the mic and called Bollinger a prancing ninny who thinks haranguing a captive audience is an example of moral cojones, he'd have been roundly called hysterical by everyone up to and including the Wall Street Journal. In truth, the Columbia forum proved regrettable for everyone involved. It was impossible to be in or near the lecture hall without being sullied by the floating detritus of someone else's asbestos ego.
If I were the sort of person who respected our institutions of higher education, the whole episode might trouble me. Fortunately there was only ever one kind of higher that went with my education. The rest I recognized as an expensive fraud, a long vacation. Everything about Bollinger's intro and Ahmedinejad's speech was a fraud. It was a simulated encounter--two callow propagandists obliging each other's need for a foil, and every word written about it, including all of these, further the tawdry spectacle.