A Tale of Two Georges

I shouldn’t have to say it, but for the benefit of the cerebrally-deprived I will anyway:  I am not a fan of George W Bush — far from it.

But this is ridiculous:

Next week’s appearance by former U.S. president George W. Bush at an event hosted by a local evangelical Christian university has been cancelled.

The decision came Wednesday, the same day three former students launched a petition http://www.tyndale.co/petitionEND urging the university to cancel the speech. On Tuesday, a class valedictorian and professor publicly spoke out against the appearance following the resignation of another staff member.

Bush was scheduled to speak Sept. 20 to about 150 people at an invitation-only breakfast hosted by Tyndale University College and Seminary, home to about 1,400 students at two campuses in Toronto’s north end.

So, the school puts on a little shindig featuring the incoherent gibberish of George W Bush.  An exclusive event, meant for an invitation-only audience of about 150 people.  “Invitation-only” — meaning nobody will be forced to attend, no virgin ears will be irreparably damaged nor tender psyches shattered by the discordant sound of disagreeable views.  The speech will be attended only by those who want to hear Georgie speak, and those who despise the man don’t have to put up with him.  That’s what most people would call a win-win.  That’s what most people would call free speech.

But not everyone.  For a disgruntled few, opting out of the speech wasn’t enough — the choice to attend the speech had to be denied even to those who wanted went to the trouble of getting themselves on the Invite List.

So much for universities being bastions of free thought and free speech.  Imposing your choice on someone else, or taking their choice away, isn’t freedom:  it’s the ugly face of authoritarianism in all its censorious glory.   And in this case, probably hypocrisy of the highest order:  I wonder how the Self-Appointed Censors of Tynedale College reacted when it was this guy’s speech being censored.

That said, this engagement has only been public knowledge for a couple of days, so there’s a pretty good chance that the cancellation was just due to a scheduling conflict for The Georgie, not a victory for the Censors.  But that doesn’t make the intent any less, which is all that counts.

9 Responses to “A Tale of Two Georges”

  1. 1 Beijing York Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    If it was a scheduling issue, why not make it a key part of the cancellation message? If it wasn’t, then I want to know what he did to piss the evangelicals off.

  2. 2 Shlomit Auciello Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    On Oct. 2, I launched “Old Hippies – The Trip of a Generation,” a documentary book project, at Kickstarter.com

    I hope you can find time to look at the 4-minute video that I made with the help about 50 people, who let me stare them down with a lens, gave me the use of a song, offered hours of time in front of Final Cut Pro, and helped in so many other ways.

    Before you click on the link below, it’s good to be hooked up to speakers, or have headphones on, so you can clearly hear the narration. Once you get to my page, click on ‘Play Video.’ Search for ‘Old Hippies’ if you get lost.

    The rest of the page goes into various aspects of the details.

    If you’d like to help out there are two ways. One is the obvious financial backing. The other is to spread the word to other people who might find the project of interest.

    Here’s the link:

    Thank you,

    ~Shlomit Auciello

  3. 3 JJ Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    That seems to be what the cancellation message is alluding to with the term “scheduling change”. They probably just let the news out too quickly and got burned.

    Whatever the reason for the cancellation, lately it seems like there’s been a growing attitude in Canada that censorship is a valid response to things we disagree with. Its not. Better to let someone have their say, and show opposition by demonstrating.

  4. 5 Dan Friday, September 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I guess everyone has an opinion on everything… What I don’t understand is how you have compared the actions of a school and their faculty who are using free speech and non-violent resistance against a few who are connecting the school’s name to an unpopular president to the Federal Government of Canada’s decision to resist someone who violates one half of the criminal code (inciting hate) under cover of the other (free speech). You have compared the actions of conscientious students to the waffling actions of a federal government…and on what basis? It is pure ignorance. Would you have the same disdain…as an old hippie…for the students of a college resisting an appearance by Lynden Johnson during the days of the Vietnam war? It would be in service of free speech that some might applaud the visit and others reject and resist it. What Johnson @ the faculty would choose to do would be, in a free country, still a free choice.

    A few resisted tying their progressive Christian school to a regressive quasi-christian ex-president who has a stronger record of war and governing futility than testimony of true faith. It seems to be an exercise of free speech that has been attacked by you…very strange…

  5. 6 JJ Friday, September 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Would you have the same disdain…as an old hippie…for the students of a college resisting an appearance by Lynden Johnson during the days of the Vietnam war?

    That depends. If the students’ idea of “resisting” was to demand that Johnson not be allowed to speak, not even to those who wanted to hear him, I’d absolutely have the same disdain for them. But if they chose to express their opposition by demonstrating, I’d be 100% supportive.

    The Galloway analogy isn’t perfect, but close enough. There are a lot of people who think Galloway is, if not a criminal, at least a terrorist sympathizer, and they were delighted that he was kept from speaking in Canada. There are also a lot of people who think GWB is a criminal, and some of them seem equally enthralled with the concept of censoring whatever offends them.

    Georgie should be allowed to have his say to his 150-person by-invitation-only audience, and anyone who’s offended by him can, and I hope they would, register their disgust by demonstrating outside. But censorship is always wrong, no matter who does it.

  6. 7 Torontonian Friday, September 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    The words “invited” and “150” are quite telling in that
    it’s hard to imagine Bush speaking to so few people
    unless his “star” has fallen that greatly among conservatives.

    How could Tyndale afford Bush’s speaking fees or is
    Bush now going anywhere to speak? It’s a tad
    reminiscent of Pete Rose still showing up at sports
    fairs and still autographing and selling goods.


    You mention Galloway and his not being allowed into
    Canada and, on the other hand, Geert Wilders makes
    it into the country and gets major coverage in conservative
    and Christian media.

    Oh, and by the way, Johnson’s first name was Lyndon.

  7. 8 JJ Friday, September 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Torontonian!
    I thought that was a little weird too — 150 is really a small crowd in the context of an ex-President. But, if he gets a flat speaking fee, I don’t suppose it would matter to him if he speaks to 150 or 150,000.

    It’s a tad
    reminiscent of Pete Rose still showing up at sports
    fairs and still autographing and selling goods.

    😆 How the mighty have fallen.

    And what hypocrisy. Galloway was banned from coming in here, totally unjustly IMO, and this Wilders dude who by all appearances is a racist fuckwad, gets feted like a celebrity. Sickening!

  1. 1 Tyndale University College & Seminary gets it’s ‘profile raised’ | Bene Diction Blogs On Trackback on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm

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