Until June 2009, when Iranians took to the streets to protest corrupt elections, I had not heard of Juan Cole, blogger and Professor of History. But for those weeks, Juan Cole was all that, bringing his expertise and connections to bear better than most bloggers.
But times have changed, and Juan Cole has faded, until now. How better to get attention than with a post at Salon.com titled Sarah Palin, meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with the sub-title: “You two right-wing populists have a surprising amount in common.” Now that got attention.
There’s one other piece of Juan Cole history I wish had received more attention. His appearance last March on the The Colbert Report in which Juan Cole argued that people who chant “Death to America” were misunderstood, and that the misunderstanding was our fault (video below, at 3:08):
Cole: Even the ones who are chanting “Death to America,” if you get them to the side, they say well you know “could you get me a visa. I’d really like to visit Disneyland.”
Colbert: So you say, they’re chanting “Death to America” in the streets, but we’re being hasty in our judgment of them.
Cole: Yes were are.
Colbert: It’s really our fault here.
So Mahmoud Ahmadinejad marches in the streets chanting Death to America. Juan Cole says we misunderstand him and it’s all our fault. Now remind me, what does Sarah Palin have to do with this?
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