Ahmadinemadness: Lamest headline ever

I'm allowed to criticize myself (or at least I'm making that okay), and I have to say that my Game Fuel-addled brain thought that "Nontraditional" was the right word to describe Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

Upon reflection, he technically is a traditional guy. After all, his faith hasn't changed in years. In his country, women still can't vote, the phenomenological gay doesn't exist, and "election" means "clerics select some candidates for the country to choose from" (which, as Stephen Colbert once said, is America's favorite kind of election in Iraq, but that's neither here nor there).

Columbia President Lee Bollinger was right in his introduction that whether or not Ahmadinejad directly answered the questions posed to him (which he didn't, just like he didn't in the "60 Minutes" interview), he would still represent his country. Evading or denying questions reflects precisely how dodgy the Iranian government has been when it interacts with many other countries, which is why it doesn't surprise me that Americans don't trust Ahmadinejad, even if he isn't the one in real power. Ahmadinejad said nothing new in his speech at Columbia (and I suspect nothing new at the UN General Assembly)- nothing that we didn't already know about his politics or that we might expect to see from him in the future- and yet Americans are still starkly upset by his unwillingness to provide real answers to honest academic queries.

Bollinger was wrong to call him "astonishingly uneducated" because I think it takes a good deal of skill to avoid revealing any useful information about one's opinions on anything. And sure, Columbia was probably setting the guy up (what did we expect, a totally uneventful and boring talk?), and Ahmadinejad accepted knowing he could spin the subject of free speech in Iran back to free speech in America, but in principle a university forum is an engaging way to fulfill Socrates' lifelong hippie love-fest dream of open dialogue resolving differences and gaining knowledge.

Of course, in practice, politics mucks everything up.

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