During his lecture on Friday afternoon, filmmaker and author Michael Moore demonstrated an acute sense of his audience and location. Not only did he acknowledge that Georgetown has been or will be host to such conservative figureheads as Karl Rove and Ann Coulter, but he drew a political parallel that would make Hoyas from any corner of the political spectrum crack a smile. When discussing the voting patterns of young people, he explained why so few 18- to 25-year-olds bothered to vote in the 2010 midterm elections.
“[Obama]’s been playing it like Georgetown football,” he said. The crowd erupted with laughter, whoops, and applause.
That kind of situational awareness was a big part of what made Moore’s presentation, entitled “Here Comes Trouble: An Evening with Michael Moore,” so engaging. During the lecture, which was sponsored with its share of public chagrin by the Georgetown Lecture Fund, Georgetown Program Board, and the Student Activities Commission, Moore was equal parts cynically joking and unsettling serious as he discussed public policy, Christian values, and America’s financial and social woes. He structured the entire evening with such a smooth narrative arc and call to action for young people to repair the nation that it reminded the crowd why he has an Oscar lying around somewhere in his house.
Since he is, of course, the maker of such politically-minded, left-bent films as Farenheit 9/11 and Sicko, Moore spent a good deal of the speech addressing the what he believed to be the flaws and hypocrisies inherent in America’s version of “21st Century capitalism.” He launched into this by bringing up the recent Occupy Wall Street campaign, and expanded into the mortgage crisis, job crisis, and other financial woes by summing up the problem with a single, unifying source.
Tuesday night in White-Gravenor, LGBTQ rights advocate Ryan Conrad shared his unconventional opinions about the futility of marriage rights.
“Is [marriage] the battle worth fighting for?” he asked. “I think not.”
As the author and founder of Against Equality, an online critique of “mainstream gay and lesbian politics,” Conrad was invited to campus by GU Pride, the Lecture Fund, the LGBTQ Resource Center, and the Women’s Center as a part of Gender Liberation Week.
“What does marriage do for us?” Conrad said, explaining that marriage would do nothing to help the queer community in terms of health care benefits or monogamy. Marriage, he claimed, is an arbitrary, social institution that is coveted beyond its usefulness.
“The conservative Christian Right and the gay liberal [political] narrative look exactly the same,” he argued.
After 47 years, members of the Secret Service detail tasked with protecting President John F. Kennedy broke their silence in Gaston Hall last night.
At the Georgetown University Library and Lecture Fund co-sponsored event, former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine shared his memories of the Kennedy security detail.
Blaine, along with journalist Lisa McCubbin, wroteThe Kennedy Detail to provide the agents’ story of the Kennedy administration and of the assassination. The Discovery Channel plans to air a special—produced by Kenneth Atchity (COL ’65)—based on the book.
McCubbin moderated a panel discussion of Kennedy Secret Service agents that featured Blaine, Ron Pontius, Win Lawson, Tom Wells, and Clint Hill, who is known for jumping onto the back of Kennedy’s limousine after he was shot in Dallas.
Between clips from the upcoming special, the agents offered their insight about the Secret Service, the Kennedy family, and the assassination of the president. Blaine said that none of the agents ever talked to each other about the assassination during their time with the Secret Service.
“We had a responsibility to go to work. We had to work twice as hard because we had a new president and we had just lost a president,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Lecture Fund and Georgetown College Republicans hosted a book panel to discuss columnist Jonah Goldberg‘s Proud to be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation, a collection of political essays. Todd Seavey and Helen Rittelmeyer, who appeared on the panel and contributed to the book, had a bit more to debate than politics.
We’ll save ourselves the embarrassment of summarizing the former couple’s awkward back-and-forth. (After all, we consider ourselves a seriousnewsorganization.) If you can bear the uncomfortable tension, however, the YouTube video is above for your pleasure.
Last night, animal rights welfare and autism awareness advocate Temple Grandin spoke to a standing-room only crowd McShain Lounge.
Grandin, a high-functioning autistic, shared her experiences with autism and how it led her to study animal science and animal rights.
Her message focused on autism’s effect on brain function. With autism, she explained, there is a connection to specific details rather than to general images and ideas. Animals, too, focus on those specifics.
“To understand animals you need to train yourself to attend to the details,” she said.
After working as a consultant in the livestock industry, Grandin began to use her parallel thinking patterns to better control cattle. She knew, for example, that cows would not move toward a moving flag because of its bright colors, rapid movement, and the loud noise it creates in windy conditions.
On Wednesday night, the Lohrfink Auditorium was packed with people who had come to see Karl Rove, the Former Deputy Chief of Staff under the Bush Administration. Rove, who has just published a book called Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight, spoke about domestic and foreign policy from the Bush Era through the Obama Administration in a lecture followed by a question and answer session.
Although some had worried there would be disruptions like the protest that broke out at the General David Petraeus event earlier this year, things were calm save for one shout from the audience. The Lecture Fund, which hosted Rove, controlled the questions he was asked, which were collected from their website before the event, and written on index cards from the audience.
Rove began by discussing his predictions for the upcoming election cycle. He viewed the position that the Congressional Democrats were in as similar to the one they were in during the years 1993 and 1994 when Clinton attempted to pass a national healthcare bill. He believed that the public’s expectations had gone unfulfilled, and that those who had elected Barack Obama did not think he was qualified when they voted for him.
He then addressed the recent rise of the Tea Party movement. He described Tea Party members as people who had never paid attention to politics before, and did not know much about it, but really loved the country. He said that one woman who had inspired him told him that she rarely voted, and yet she was a part of the tea party movement because she was angry about what was going on in Washington.
Because the event with General Petraeus went so well, this April, Georgetown will play host to two big-name conservatives: Karl Rove, brought to you by Lecture Fund, and Newt Gingrich, who is coming to campus as part of his premier tour for his new movie, Nine Days that Changed the World.
These Republican heavy-hitters will visit Georgetown within just two days of each other. Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House, will be here on Monday, April 19, and Rove, who was former President George W. Bush’s adviser, is coming on April 21.
According to Student Activities Commission minutes, Rove’s typical speaking fee is $35,000, but Lecture Fund bargained him down to $8,000. SAC allocated them $8,500 for fees, security, and additional costs in a 5-3-3 vote in early February.
Alicia Melvin, an event coordinator for the April 19 movie screening, confirmed that Gingrich would be present at the screening, which is being sponsored by the Catholic Students Association and co-sponsored by the Georgetown College Republicans.
The screening will take place at at 7 p.m. in the ICC Auditorium. Rove will speak at an unknown time in the Lohrfink Auditorium in the Hariri Building.