Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Literal Smackdown

What a hoot last night attending the debate between George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens! Got there a bit late - with one line reaching the length of a NYC avenue block and the other line reaching around a city block and around the corner. As it was the thing was delayed 45 minutes, because the organizers - from the Governor Blanco school of Democratic administrators - had no idea how to handle the size of the crowds which they hadn't anticipated, even though they well knew the debate was sold out ahead of time. Since I was late, I didn't get a chance to meet up with Judith and the other NY liberal Hawks before the debate started. But I did talk myself into the main audience floor on the strength of the fact that my friends were holding me a seat, and then found one of the few remaining empty seats at the back of the room -- sitting next to a BBC radio guy.

My two favorites Hitchenisms from the night. He referred to the A.Q. Khan nuclear network as "a kind of Walmart for WMDs." And his reference to young Assad as the slobbering dauphin, son of his slobbering father.

Judith at Kesher Talk relates an amusing encouter of handing out anti-Galloway leaflets and running into Hitchens doing the same thing. Mary at Exit Zero has an interesting assessment of the leftist crowd dynamics. She was sitting in a livelier section than I was, apparently. She also confirms my point about the poor organization of the crowd, but says it in a nicer way. Pamela at Atlas Shrugs was lucky enough to snag pictures with Hitchens before the event and more pics of the NYLiberal Hawks drinking together after the event during our post-mortem.

At Harry's Place, Ben in NY gives a first hand account.
This realisation led me to conclude, as their bout hit the two-hour mark, that I was a) bored and b) nauseated. Bored, because if last night was anything to go by, there is little purpose in such arguments. Nauseated, because there is something gut-wrenchingly repulsive about a group of effete Manhattan leftists sitting in an air-conditioned lecture hall on Lexington Avenue cheering the brigands who, that very same morning, blew up more than hundred Iraqi labourers for the crime of trying to find a job.
I was neither bored nor nauseated. I quite enjoyed the event. But, still, the idea that happy New York leftist types, or deeply depressed ones as the case may be, would, with full-throated abandon, cheer Galloway the thug blaming 9/11 on the US and calling our country and Britain the worst offenders among the nations in sincere belief that this is the truth is both scary and revolting. Still, I take comfort from the fact that it's one of those things that will deeply repel less politically involved types who happen to catch the show on C-Span this weekend. The left has done an excellent job alienating the center, to their own disempowerment. And the more they alienate the center, the more disempowered they become and the more they hate Amerika. And on and on the cycle goes.

And Tiger Hawk provides another account with a lot of detail. But I must disagree with one of his opening statements:
Since the argument was between confirmed old leftists (in the sense that Henry Higgins was a “confirmed old bachelor”), the audience was manifestly, jeeringly and unreservedly anti-Bush. Based on the timing and intensity of the cheers and boos and the tenor of the catcalls, there were essentially no supporters of George Bush in the room, although I imagine that there were a few who, like myself, were operating under deep cover.
As Judith notes at Kesher Talk, after the debate, we estimated Hitchens support was running about 40/60. So there were a lot of pro-war Bush fans in the audience, and not at all under cover.

More to come this evening...


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