Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why Is This Man Holding Onto This Other Man?

[David Horowitz accompanied by security guards at U.C. Berkeley]

One aspect of David Horowitz’s appearance at Duke University I didn’t mention in my earlier post was the looming presence of a much-taller security guard who followed Horowitz to the podium and remained just behind him throughout his talk. Since there was no explanation of the security presence on stage, I didn’t give it a thought. I have seen speakers with guards before; Rushdie comes to mind. One year at the MLA, Edward Said’s panel was watched over by guards after a bomb threat had been called in to the hotel. Neither Said’s supporters nor his vocal detractors seemed much concerned on that occasion; it was clear that Said was accustomed to such episodes, and nobody was ushered from the meeting by guards. (As so often happens, though, the first anti-Saidian to get the mic promptly walked out without waiting for Said to respond to his "question.") Some years later his MLA presidential address was delivered without visible security and without incident.

So I didn’t think that much of it as I watched the C-Span broadcast of the damp squib Horowitz dropped at Duke. But then I came across this line in the Quid Nimis blog report on Horowitz’s appearance under the auspices of the University of Texas Federalist Society:

"Mr. Horowitz delivered, despite interruptions, despite the passivity of the security guards and despite the disorganization of the Federalist Society."

Only a few lines later we read of the anti-Horowitz attendees that:

"At various times some were hustled out by campus security, some left noisily of their own accord and some put up a fuss so that they had to be handcuffed, which is the pseudo-revolutionary's martyrdom."

Now, I’m not sure what the authors of this report were hoping the security guards would do beyond hustling noise-makers out of the room, some of them in handcuffs, but I think I know something about pseudo-revolutionary martyrdom after watching Horowitz for years. I’d be curious to learn how much he will be paid this year to appear on campuses to argue that a left wing blacklist is suppressing the speech of conservatives on campuses. The security presence is just icing on his mostly trans-fat cake.

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