Ann Coulter and student reactionaries - Macleans.ca
 

Ann Coulter and student reactionaries

She’s relevant because we are making her relevant


 

Until this week I knew very little about Ann Coulter and I liked it that way. I was vaguely aware of her as a deliberately provocative, talking-head right-winger. I had the sense that she was good at antagonizing people. That was about it. I had about as much interest in following her “work” as I do in Rush Limbauch’s oeuvre.

This week I can’t hide from her. She’s everywhere. Elections just ended at U of T with the usual accusations and counter-accusations, students at UTSC just approved an unprecedented and massive levy to fund a world-class athletics facility for use in the 2015 Pan-Am Games, wrestling continues unabated over the fate and status of First Nations University of Canada, and all I can bloody well hear about is this screwball American provocateur who has just about nothing relevant to say to Canadians and nothing informed to say to anyone. Someone please tell me why I’m supposed to care?

The freedom of expression angle I get. It’s important to pause once in a while to reflect on the importance of free speech and also on the occasional limits necessarily imposed on it. But honestly, can’t we have that debate in context of someone who is at least relevant? Ezra Levant is a home-grown topic of debate, speaking to and about Canadian issues. Ann Coulter is just a traveling gong show promoting nothing other than her own celebrity. And we let her! We even help her! Every line I’m writing this very moment gives her more of the commodity she’s so successfully selling — her own profile. She doesn’t care if we like her or what we say about her just as long as we keep listening and paying attention. And we sure are doing that.

The fact that this is playing out on our university campuses is no coincidence. Students make fantastic reactionaries. There’s a whole lot of good intentions there but not a lot of direction. So with very little of their own to say, student activists simply argue about what someone else is saying. Coulter opens her mouth and gets the whole thing rolling for us. She says something outrageous, some students argue she shouldn’t be allowed to say it, others defend her right to say it, and all of a sudden that’s the whole debate. Students aren’t saying anything at all–or at least nothing of their own. They’re just arguing over what Coulter said. And that’s just sad.

Maybe I’m bitter because the spat of Ann Coulter articles here are the biggest thing for On Campus in ages. Even the strike at York didn’t attract this much attention or this many comments. Students do have a lot of power and can set the agenda for discussion of post-secondary issues if they want to. But taking on real and complex topics is difficult. Getting all outraged about Coulter–or alternatively, getting all outraged over the suppression of Coulter–is easy. And as long as we keep getting distracted by every circus sideshow that comes to campus, it’s going to remain that much harder to bring attention to the real issues affecting post-secondary students in Canada today.

But hey, in the spirit of giving everyone what they want, here’s a video of Coulter saying outrageous things. Enjoy.

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Questions are welcome at jeff.rybak@utoronto.ca. You can also follow me on Twitter.


 

Ann Coulter and student reactionaries

  1. Ann Coulter is a screwball, a self promoting wack-job that spouts incendiary garbage in order to further her own cause. That doesn’t mean students that are lucky enough to attend a publicly funded university get to decide who and who not to censor/intimidate. I am delighted to have this all over the news, for the plain reason that this continues to bring up the debate over the HRCs at the Fed and provincial level, which need to be severely reined in or abolished altogether. They are Kangaroo courts of the highest order, and ann Coulter lodging an HRC Complaint, turning the tables on the Censors, might just be the flashpoint this debate needed to fully get into the focus of the public at large.

  2. Reactionary: an extreme conservative; an opponent of progress or liberalism.

    The students you write about in this piece may or may not be reactionaries, but Ann Coulter certainly is. I think the word you want is “reactive”.

  3. Sure, I am in no ways defending her and her thoughts. But rights were violated. The University was playing host to a function that was open to all. The Uni was not the host. It was put on by the IFPS-Canada and the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute. The rights violated were:
    1. The Uni Provost accusing Coulter of “Precrime” in his leaked email to her.
    2. Coulter was denied an opportunity to speak, she was censored via thuggish tactics
    3. The students (pro-Coulter or otherwise) that wanted to hear her speak, or to debate her, or to cheer her on, were robbed of that by a few dozen to a couple hundred at most protesters.

    I wonder if anytime a left leaning controversial figure will be held to the same standard by the same students? Probably not. It was the flavour of the day.
    “One of the loudest protestors outside was Sameena Topan, the young woman holding the “safe place” sign. Sameena told me she brought that sign because, “This is a space for all students from all backgrounds to come and feel welcome.” Sameena went on to say that no student should feel threatened or marginalized. Asked if she had protested, complained or tried to shut down Israeli Apartheid week, Sameena first seemed shocked at the question, then answered no. ”
    Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-22884-Canada-Politics-Examiner~y2010m3d23-Ann-Coulter-speech-shut-down-at-University-of-Ottawa

  4. “But honestly, can’t we have that debate in context of someone who is at least relevant? Ezra Levant is a home-grown topic of debate, speaking to and about Canadian issues. Ann Coulter is just a traveling gong show promoting nothing other than her own celebrity.”

    I suggest you ask Ezra this question in between his appearances as a defendant in front of Rights Tribunals. While you’re speaking with him, could you ask:

    – what his next procedural step will be now that he has been hired as Ms. Coulters lawyer (representing her supposed rights claim)?

    – what, exactly, is Ezra’s official title/capacity within the organization that planned and is paying for this PR tour?

    – why none of the claims made by himself or Ms. Coulter have been independently verified by investigative journalists that are now, well, investigating?

    – why the police account, and count, differs greatly from Ms. Coulters and his?

    – why conservatives in Canada must be continually insulted by being associated with this circus?

    Thank you.

  5. Ms. Coulter seems to be a creep. By trying to ‘protect’ students at U of Ottawa, Canada has given her the chance to be a megacreep. Dearies, it pays to advertise and we seem to have provided her with a lot of free commericials. Just let her blather and go. She is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  6. “The freedom of expression angle I get. It’s important to pause once in a while to reflect on the importance of free speech and also on the occasional limits necessarily imposed on it.”

    Oh, maybe you get it. It was, after all, the subject of the “debate.”

    “She says something outrageous, some students argue she shouldn’t be allowed to say it, others defend her right to say it, and all of a sudden that’s the whole debate. Students aren’t saying anything at all–or at least nothing of their own. They’re just arguing over what Coulter said.”

    That’s the only positive to come from this PR stunt directed by Ezra and efficiently executed by Ann.

    “And that’s just sad.”

    Oh. You don’t get it after all. Continue with the RickRoll.

  7. On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to apologize to Ann Coulter for the fiasco that became of her speaking visit at the University of Ottawa yesterday. We are a strong and proud country, and not one to bend to the threats of violent fascists. But yesterday, the University of Ottawa caved in to the threats of violence uttered by a small group of fascist pig thugs, and cancelled your show. This could have been handled in such a better way. Please do not let this one incident cloud your view of our wonderful country. We do believe in free speech. We do not as a rule cave in to violent threats. Yesterday was not our finest day. We are sorry.

  8. “But yesterday, the University of Ottawa caved in to the threats of violence uttered by a small group of fascist pig thugs, and cancelled your show.”

    Who says? You? Ann? Ezra?

    The police dispute what you’ve said. The reporters who were there dispute what you’ve said. The University disputes what you’ve said.

    You’re only allies are the lying twits themselves: Ann and Ezra. Guess who cancelled the gong show. Yep, Ann and Ezra.

  9. Strat, you should be ashamed to call yourself a Canadian. You deny that the Ottawa police stated that they would be unable to protect Ms. Coulter or the students given the volatility of the protesters? Are you saying there were no threats of violence? Give your head a shake and seek help. Then post again.

  10. Nice. First you claim to speak on my behalf, now you’re rating my citizenship based on your personal, distorted views.

    “You deny that the Ottawa police stated that they would be unable to protect Ms. Coulter or the students given the volatility of the protesters?”

    Yes, I do. I base my denial on statements made by the police force and corroborating statements from reporters and university officials at the event. I stated this in my last comment.

  11. And I deny that there was any violence or a threat of violence. And I say that as someone who was in attendance. You can’t believe everything you read on Ann Coulter’s blog.

  12. Ann Coulter must be loving this!!! She will probably write a new book denouncing Fascist Canada and sell a million copies.

    (Oh, the book will be banned in Canada as hate speech.)

  13. Years pass, and the pigs learn to walk upright, carry whips, and wear clothes. The Seven Commandments are reduced to a single phrase: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell

    I am so glad that I live in a society , a country , where there are others who without thought of self have decided that they, and they alone know what is appropriate for me to hear.