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Coulter and the Camel

Did Ann Coulter have a point when she recommended camels over airplanes?

by
David Solway

Bio

March 27, 2010 - 12:02 am
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To vary the metaphor, how many straws will it take to break the poor camel’s back? How many more victims of their own credulity are needed before the alarm goes off? What are we waiting for? Another 9/11? Another Christmas bomber who this time manages to reduce hundreds of travelers to body parts? A second and successful plan to bring down a fleet of airliners over the Atlantic? Another shoe bomber with somewhat better dexterity? Another Egypt Air Flight 990 with its 217 dead? This is the grisly possibility, and indeed likelihood, that Ann Coulter is addressing and that Fatima Al-Dhaher, like her supporters in the legacy media, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge, let alone contemplate. Instead she is stabbed to the heart by a heuristic wisecrack about camels.

Francois Houle, provost of the University of Ottawa where Coulter was scheduled to speak on March 23, was no less affronted. Houle sent a letter admonishing his guest that inappropriate speech “could in fact lead to criminal charges.” He “encouraged” Coulter to “educate yourself … as to what is acceptable in Canada” and reminded her of the proud Canadian tradition “of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions.” Clearly exemplifying the provost’s celebration of Canadian values, a mob of student protestors went on a rampage and forced the cancellation of the event. (This is the same university that recently hosted Israel Apartheid Week, where hate speech comes as natural as breathing.) The only way these professional hypocrites, or those training to become such, will learn about the real world, I suppose, is when their disintegrated remains are wafting down the air currents. It might be preferable, however, to listen to Ann Coulter and at least recognize that we confront a veritable menace against our way of life, one that thrives upon our willed ignorance and canting sanctimoniousness.

I’m glad to report that Coulter had a more appreciative audience at the University of Calgary in Alberta on March 25. (Adopting American terminology, Alberta is what we might call a “red province” while Ontario is “blue”; in Canada, the colors are reversed, the Conservatives blue and the Liberals red, which makes greater symbolic sense.) The Calgary university provost, Alan Harrison, was demonstrably more urbane and mature than his Ottawa counterpart, stating that the university’s purpose “is to give [Coulter] the same respect that everybody else deserves.” But that did not prevent a clutch of protestors from bearing placards blazoning messages like “Go home u racist pig” and, according to news reports, nearly breaking down the door to the venue, chanting “Coulter go home.” Camel-back, no doubt.

Unfortunately, Coulter’s hectic lecture schedule compels her to spend an inordinate amount of time standing in airport security lines and increases the risk of a terrorist misadventure. For myself, I have decided not to fly anymore except on those rare occasions when it is absolutely necessary. I prefer to walk, drive or get on a train, and, if the opportunity presented, I would be more than disposed to take Mohammed’s advice and consider the glorious and much-abused creature to which Ms. Dhaher took exception. Certainly, I would have no objection to riding the camel.

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David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, was released by Mantua Books. His latest book is The Boxthorn Tree, published in December 2012.
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