Sunday, April 04, 2010

Robert Fisk on Free Speech and Canada

Robert Fisk was rightly the source of the neologoism 'to fisk' but he has a delightfully entertaining way with words as he describes the Ann Coulter fiasco at the University of Ottawa.
After rightly eviscerating that execrable provost and his witless letter, he turns to the man's minions:
Worse was to come. While the abominable Coulter grabbed the headlines by saying nothing – how Canada's political ragbag would love to do that – a second-year sociology and women's studies student, Rita Valerino, was widely – and rightly – quoted for the following jargon-based nonsense. "I was just worried that things were going to be said about certain groups of people that were going to make them feel very unsafe and very uncomfortable and we promise our students here at the University of Ottawa a safe, positive space."
Aaaaagh! Talk about an anthropological pit, this was as twee as you could get. "Certain groups", eh? Muslims, perhaps? So why not say so? "Unsafe"? "Uncomfortable"? You mean that Muslims can't stand up for themselves? And then there is the clincher: "a safe, positive space". Yes, we all want to live in a "positive space", don't we? Time and space. Private space. Political space. I read this twaddle over and over again. And when I hear the word '"space", I put my medium bomber squadron on alert to defend the English language – just as I do when academics "posit" ideas.
Well, glory be! The man makes complete sense. I love that he notes that the student is effectively in a content-free 'educational' program, training no doubt to be a community organizer and live off public funding.
He goes on, in Robert Fisk style, to describe some minor contretemps accompanying a speaking engagement of his at Concordia some time ago (with no screaming raving students threatening his safety, in the end). Still it is interesting to me that the two universities here are Ottawa and Concordia, hardly top universities in Canada.
h/t Mark Steyn, who adds:
When even Robert Fisk thinks you're a joke, maybe it's time to wise up. But the Canadian left still doesn't get it. The same day Mister Robert opens up on M Houle's nancy-boy totalitarianism, Haroon Siddiqui in The Toronto Star flies into a lather about the Quebec government's hostility to the niqab, even if it is "a symbol of oppression" forced on Muslim women by their menfolk:
Let's assume that it is. Whose business is it to end the practice – that of the state?
Not surprisingly, Scaramouche fell around laughing at this point. This is the same Haroon Siddiqui who's spent the last two years arguing that it's certainly the business of the state to end the practice of Maclean's carrying Mark Steyn columns. Even by the standards of Toronto Star columnists, Siddiqui seems particularly obtuse as to where the logic of his entire oeuvre leads: If the state has the right to tell you what you can write and say and think, it certainly has the right to tell you what you can wear.
And even Robert Fisk recognizes that a land designed by the likes of Mr Siddiqui, M Houle, Chief Commissar Jennifer Lynch, QC, Commissar Barbara Hall and Commissar Heather MacNaughton is not one any sentient being could stomach f


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