As an alumnus of the College, I value the College’s role as a forum for the presentation and debate of ideas. A college should be the place for exploration of even radical concepts. Free speech and artistic expression should be encouraged in every way. It is not required of us to respect opposing views, but we must respect the right of their advocates to express those views.
Although I loathe Ann Coulter with a passionate intensity, I will defend her right to speak as I would defend my own. As a life-long activist for gay liberation, there was a time when my views were popularly considered as unpalatable as Coulter’s. Hence, I learned the value of free speech in a hard school. However, no one ever paid me for it. Like Oscar Wilde, I believed “Everyone has a right to my point of view.”
It is difficult to take Coulter seriously when she has clearly made her expressions into a highly profitable enterprise, concerned more for gain than for advocacy. In fact, Coulter is not a presenter of serious socio-economic concepts. She is a mere entertainer. Her form of stage show is to make outrageous statements the pyrotechnics consequent to which shock and entertain her audience. It is a cheap form of amusement perfected by yellow journalists long ago.
The question of value for dollar arises. For more than $20,000, it would seem the College could do better – either for entertainment or for intellectual and verbal gymnastics. Coulter is welcome to speak on a soapbox in any public park for free, and if she is sincere in her views, she would do so with no thought of compensation. I did so, along with many other advocates for gay rights, and we changed the world. Coulter is merely changing her bank balance, and the College is her dupe in this regard.
Tobias Grace, Class of 1968