I went to see Bill Ayers and Ward Churchill speak last night. I was going to bring my digital camera to take pictures, but the security was so extreme that I wasn't even sure they would let me bring it in. The security caused the start of the event to be delayed by about one hour, which was ridiculous. I sat toward the front, and was mere yards away from these two media giants.
Unfortunately, I could not stay until the very end, even though I badly wanted to. I had no idea how long the Q&A session (which I've often found one of the most entertaining parts of such presentations) was going to last, and didn't feel like staying to the very end. I was lethargic, dying of thirst, had other work I needed to do, and was also planning to wake up early the next morning to go rock climbing with a friend (she ended up not being able to go, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway).
Still, I was there for the bulk of the presentation, and even a fair chunk of the Q&A at the end. Wish I had been there for the entire thing. Looking back, I should have just stayed instead of leaving.
Overall, I was very impressed--especially with Bill Ayers, who spoke out against the growing prison population, Japanese internment, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, US hegemony, absurd obesity controls by certain public schools, and many other things. He even spoke favorably of Henry David Thoreau! The event reminded me just how much libertarians and radical leftists sometimes have in common.
Ayers came across as a very intelligent, witty, and down-to-earth guy. The statist media condemns him for helping bomb the Pentagon, which is hysterical considering the massive number of atrocities (that actually kill people) the Pentagon facilitates on a day to day basis. As Ayers once put it, "The Pentagon was ground zero for war and conquest, organizing headquarters of a gang of murdering thieves, a colossal stain on the planet, a hated symbol everywhere around the world." Touche!
Ward Churchill didn't speak for that long, but made most of the usual points. The original essay that got him in so much trouble is available online if you wish to read it.
The 911 Truth people were there giving out free DVDs. I think their theories are kind of nutty and lacking evidence, but what the hell? I took one anyway. Who's going to turn down a free DVD?
Fun night. I'm glad I went.