The opener from my column today:
Ever hear the joke about the guy who couldn’t afford a personalized license plate for his car so he changed his name to XJR-321?
Weirdly, I kept thinking of that joke this week as the entire brainiac world debated the half-pint whack-job Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia University. Defenders of A’Jad’s address insisted that “such core American principles as academic freedom and freedom of speech” were being shown “disrespect” by critics, in the words of a Los Angeles Times editorial.
But here’s the thing, whether you favored or opposed the teeny dictator’s lecture: Free speech had nothing to do with it.
You have to stay on your toes, like Ahmadinejad at a urinal, to grasp this point since it’s so often confused in our public discourse….