Subscribe via RSS Feed

Intimidation

[ 416 ] December 18, 2012 |

The worst mistake to make with regards to Erik’s battle with accumulated wingnuttery is this: If I’m careful, it won’t happen to me. Erik employed an emotional-but-common metaphor to describe his feelings about a major public figure in the wake of a tragedy; the response has amounted to a Two Minutes Hate. The first purpose of this Hate is to intimidate Erik and people like Erik into never again speaking forthrightly about American politics. The second purpose is to distract from the fact that twenty children were massacred with weapons that no civilian should be allowed to possess.

Let’s be clear: If you are a progressive interested in writing about politics, this will happen to you. The only question is how you deal with it.

[SL] This disgraceful campaign of intimidation speaks for itself, but I would like to note that Malkin’s flying monkeys consider it self-evidently problematic that Erik got angry about miners unnecessarily contracting deadly diseases. I’m not sure what more one needs to say about the people doing the intimidating here.

[SL] Thanks to Thers for pointing this out.

Comments (416)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. DrDick says:

    Absolutely and it is a big part of why I use a nym and not my real name. I really do not need the grief.

    • Khiimori says:

      Here’s the tale of one of my very first forays into the world of blogs, back when I was wet behind the ears and knew little about internet culture:

      It was 2003 and I was researching the Iraq War and came across a post on a blog which, in retrospect, turned out to be a authored by a woman who was a conservative crank and whose readership was mainly her neighbors in their retirement neighborhood in Florida, a sort of proto- Tea Party group. She’d posted some jingoistic peice about how evil Saddam Hussein was and some remarks from Rumsfeld excoriating him. I tried to comment but the comments section was closed and not knowing what else to do I dropped her a wry email noting that not only were Saddam and Rumsfeld old buddies, the photo she’d used was taken during the very time when Saddam was an ally and he and Rummy had supped together. It truly was a wry note, just a few sentences and nothing nasty whatsoever.

      I was foolish enough to use an email which contained my real name. Within an hour she’d googled my identity, written a long rant about my email, and posted my name, phone number and address online, a la Malkin. She then urged her readers to call me and show up at my house, to “let him know how you feel about his views.”
       
      I shit you not.

      That was my realization that conservatives will respond to ideas they don’t like with violence, and the importance of anonymity in the online community. 

    • That’s exactly why I’ve always used my real name, despite people (although of a different sort than the people doing this) coming after me in my day-to-day life: because fuck them.

      • Johnny Sack says:

        Better than your own family. I was just asked if I’m a commie pinko fag the other day. I do hurl insults, but…they’re LIBERAL insults! Which means they’re offensive . . . because they are PC yet brilliantly and mercilessly cut through the other person! Liberals! muahaha.

        I used to feel bad laughing in people’s faces and calling them stupid to their face when they called me a communist. Now, I really don’t care anymore. I really, really don’t.

        • MAJeff says:

          I AM a commie pinko fag. And proud of it.

          • rea says:

            Well, me too, although in my case “commie” isn’t really correct.
            But I get enough grief for practicing law while openly gay without having to deal with referrals to the AGC for strong language in blog comments.

            • rea says:

              Although pseudonyms are thin tissue–a few years ago (and in a completely nonthreatening way) I made a comment on Making Light about a fire at a house next door, and the blogger (drawing inferences from a detail I’d mentioned) linked to a news media photo showing me looking at the damage . . .

              • rea says:

                I garbled this a bit–what I meant to say was that the blogger who linked my picture was acting in a completely nonthreatening way . . .

            • Speak Truth says:

              I AM a commie pinko fag.

              …I get enough grief for practicing law while openly gay…

              Who knew?

              Oh, yeah….everybody.

              Cartoons are funny

          • Manta says:

            I thought that “pinko” was a reference to skin colour (the white equivalent of nigger); but Wikipedia says it’s something like “lighter form of communism”: but then why adding “pinko” after “communist”? It seems redundant.

          • Uncle Kvetch says:

            I AM a commie pinko fag. And proud of it.

            No, I’M Spartacus!

          • expatchad says:

            Sort of lavender and economically ecumenical myself. It confuses the hostile breeders….
            But I live in SE Asia now, so NO hassles.

          • Johnny Sack says:

            Hey props to you for being proud (not sarcastic). There are two things wrong with this-one the criticism is not self-evident (in your case, it’s just a simple statement of fact). But really, I’m a communist because I voted for Obama? If they only knew how much shit I take from some of my really far left friends for voting Obama (twice). That deserves ridicule. It begs for ridicule. Demands it.

      • Joseph Slater says:

        That’s pretty much the way I feel, although I understand how others might feel differently.

      • Njorl says:

        Despite the persecution of the well-connected North Malden land developers and abusive bobbies, I’m not afraid to use my real name.

        Well, maybe.

  2. wengler says:

    The right wing keyboard kommandos have to strike out at someone. The NRA has pulled a Bush on 9/11 and disappeared. Their blog kommanders are pushing out articles about how we need to train our first graders to rush into bullets en masse. They are flailing, lashing out in every direction like a cornered animal.

    Yet I haven’t seen Loomis decapitated on FOX NEWS. Something is very wrong. It’s almost as if they don’t have the power they used to.

  3. John Protevi says:

    Well said.

  4. Linnaeus says:

    Let’s be clear: If you are a progressive interested in writing about politics, this will happen to you. The only question is how you deal with it.

    And from what I’ve observed and been told by women I know who are politically active, it’s even worse if you’re a woman who dares to be progressive in public.

    • Scott S. says:

      Yeah, and you don’t even have to be a progressive. You don’t even have to be political. If you’re a woman writing about comics, the lunatics will declare war on you. If you’re a woman writing about volunteerism, the lunatics will declare war on you. If you’re a woman writing about technology, the lunatics will declare war on you.

      The Malkinites will forget Erik by the end of the week. If Erik had been born Erika, there would be dead cats getting mailed to him for the next decade… :(

      • Linnaeus says:

        True, that.

      • Timb says:

        You know, Scott, that white nationalist Stacy McCain did an entire paragraph on you and how evil you are

        • Scott S. says:

          Did he? Do I wanna look it up? Or will it just depress me that he completely failed to recognize the depths of my true evil?

          • Scott S. says:

            Just checked my analytics stats for my blog — I got more hits from LGM than I did McCain’s site. I got as many hits in the past three days from a comment someone made on another comic book site almost a week ago.

            (A) McCain is feeble.

            (B) But to bring it on-topic, if I was a woman, I would’ve gotten a few million hits and the most spectacularly violent emails possible.

      • Lyanna says:

        Not to mention rape threats, speculations about his sex life or lack thereof, etc.

    • Joey Maloney says:

      it’s even worse if you’re a woman who dares to be progressive in public.

    • rea says:

      Just ask Amanda Marcotte, who seems to go through this shit every day.

  5. Brenda Johnson says:

    Mostly a lurker, and I’ve posted here and in other places under the nom de comment “nolo,” but in honor and support of Erik, I will always and everywhere now post under my real name, because fuck these people.

  6. Vance Maverick says:

    Hang in there, all. I’m sorry Erik was forced to apologize as much as he did.

    The ads on this site have been something else. Guns, to begin with (though not at the moment); and the T-shirt on one of those women on the upper right with derpy expressions and exaggerated figures read “Misuse of ‘literally’ makes me figuratively insane.”

  7. Linnaeus says:

    Treviño gloating in the first link. That’s lovely.

    • commie atheist says:

      Erik’s displays of anger over standardized testing and black lung are definitely deal-breakers for me. The nerve! And Trevino advising anyone else “to seek help from a mental health professional” is priceless.

  8. Sammy says:

    I think it’s hilarious* that all these idiots are getting about twenty times more bent out of shape about a metaphor than they are about a class of dead kindergarteners.

    Especially when, (1) the phrase is commonly used, commonly understood and perfectly appropriate in a non-violent, non-literal context,

    (2) even the literal interpretation of the metaphor is wrong – calling for someone’s head on a stick implies state-sponsored murder (i.e. execution), not assassination – I assume all these people don’t have a problem with Texas executing the retarded; and

    (3) there’s actually a legitimate moral argument to be made that even the totally-wrong, wildly-inappropriate understanding of the metaphor is ethically correct. If Wayne LaPierre is supposedly responsible for the deaths of thousands upon of people, isn’t his death the morally correct choice? Doesn’t his death save lives?

    So yes, fuck these people.

    *Actually no, I think it’s pretty fucked up

  9. donna says:

    Hey, I was told today on Facebook that my comments were “completely uncalled for” for pointing out that certain people cared more about gun rights than the rights of children to be safe in school and that they were trying to justify their deaths since unlimited gun rights are more important.

    How was my comment “uncalled for”?

  10. parsimon says:

    I’m sorry in the extreme that Erik is going through this: sorry, man.

  11. Scott Lemieux says:

    What a surprise to see Josh Trev*no engaging in a campaign of intimidation. Nobody could have seen that coming!

  12. Timb says:

    Up thread, Vance has a point: with all the Malkin-ite, McCain crackers wondering by, page views have hit the roof. Sure, Erik is going through some stuff now, but just wait for the cash from the google ads.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Actually, it’s really only been a good day. An Yglesias reference would basically do the same. By the way, have all the big liberal bloggers been silent on this?

      • Timb says:

        Every damn one. That’s because it’s so stupid.

        I would blame you for this, Erik, but it’s not your fault, but, because of you that college reform place banned me. That’s what I get for defending you, kicked out of Oliver Darcy’s playpen

      • Murc says:

        Something I don’t think the swarm really grasps, unsurprisingly:

        Loomis is a labor historian. And the history of the labor movement is, basically, a long history of people being literally attacked and intimidated in ways that go beyond rhetoric. Erik has read countless accounts of people who gave far less offense than he did who were singled out to be beaten by thugs with baseball bats, who had their small children targeted at school, who had their homes burned down, who were shot.

        These penny-ante lightweights have nothing on the Pinkertons.

        It’s kind of amusing to watch, really. If this is the worst thing Erik ever has thrown at him for giving a hearty ‘fuck you’ to the powers that be, he’s getting off lightly, and he knows that. I somehow doubt he’s at all scared or concerned.

        • Timb says:

          Yeah, I read some right-winger mouth-breathers talking about what pacifist Erik should be ….

          And all I could think was “not as such…”

        • Lee Rudolph says:

          Loomis is a labor historian. And the history of the labor movement is, basically, a long history of people being literally attacked and intimidated in ways that go beyond rhetoric.

          He’s a labor historian working in a state where the state airport is named for a Governor who oversaw lethal official strikebreaking. But, hey.

          • BigHank53 says:

            Do you really want to get into the list of scumbaggery committed by people who had airports named after them? Start with John Foster Dulles…

          • Murc says:

            Indeed, the history of labor rights in America, even in states where you’d think they would have respect for them, is filled with many such travesties.

            I am glad to see you’ve been paying attention to the thrust of Erik’s scholarship.

          • Nigel says:

            GUILT BY ASSOCIATION WITH THE NAME OF THE AIRPORT IN THE STATE WHERE HE WORKS? HOLY CRAP.

      • HP says:

        Thers posting at Eschaton weighs in, at 12:21.

        That showed up in my feed reader prior to this thread. Atrios, presumably, is in bed.

      • Linnaeus says:

        Actually, it’s really only been a good day.

        Here I might jokingly make use of lyrics from a certain Ice Cube rap, but I don’t want to contribute to more fake outrage (“Erik Loomis could have used an AK!!”)

        • Colin says:

          But then it wouldn’t have been a good day. (Thought it’s not like these mouthbreathers would have understood the reference or the metaphor anyways.)

  13. witless chum says:

    Up with Loomis, down with the keyboard kommando’s First Whining and Crying Rifle Brigade and hooray for this Ray Price guy. And battleships.

  14. SatanicPanic says:

    Calling the cops like little babies? What a bunch of chickenshits.

  15. Joe says:

    Some trolls doesn’t quite amount to the officials in 1984 (the “Two Minute Hate” reference) and how “intimidating” are these people?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Um, this wouldn’t concern you?

      http://www.uri.edu/news/memo/president/statement12182012.html

      Personally, having a job helps me pay food and rent.

      • Barry Freed says:

        Holy shit, now this really sucks.

      • tonycpsu says:

        Wow, no effort to back up his employee at all. Something like this would have been nice:

        “While the language in question was clearly intended as a metaphor, we understand how some readers, especially butthurt wingnuts, may have misunderstood Mr. Loomis’ intent.”

        • Manta says:

          I don’t think it would have been appropriate for the university to back up one of his employers.

          On the other hand, the first sentence “The University of Rhode Island does not condone acts or threats of violence”, implying that Erik did make a threat of violence, was completely uncalled for.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            While it’s definitely not a good sign, it also looks like hastily thrown together boilerplate. Each sentence is true and appropriate. Erik has suffered, as I understand it, threats of violence.

            The sort of backing that would have been appropriate would have been some noise about vigorous debate and academic freedom.

          • actor212 says:

            It’s also possible that the university was warning any student so minded as to retaliate against Loomis that it would prosecute fully.

            It’s a clumsy construct, at best, at worst it leaves Loomis out to dry.

      • Bill Murray says:

        The President saying you don’t represent the University is what halfway to you don’t work at the University?

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          No.

          That part is definitely boilerplate. To speak on behalf of the university (at the prof level) requires authorization and vetting by the university. Erik wasn’t, in fact, speaking on behalf of the University and it’s standard procedure to point that out.

          The letter contains nothing promising for Erik, but I’d be wary about reading to much between the lines without specific knowledge.

          • Manta says:

            I agree with this part: Erik was speaking on his own behalf, and the University is right to point that out.

            However, as you noticed, what is missing (and should be in any boilerplate prepackaged defence) are mentions to “academic freedom” and “debate”.

            What instead is present is “The University is committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and equitable culture that aspires to promote positive change”, which I would interpret as “we will censor our faculty and students for any controversial statement they may utter”.

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              I wouldn’t do that without more specific knowledge of the administration.

              I’m not sanguine, but, for example, my forthcoming letter will stress the positive interpretation. I would encourage presuming the positive in communication until the negative becomes more determined.

            • J. Otto Pohl says:

              I am so glad I work in Africa. Especially since our Union just got us another boatload of money.

              • John Protevi says:

                Shorter J Otto Pohl: fuck you, I got mine.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  Very funny, I would try and come up with some snarky response, but I am in too much of a good mood right now. It is Christmas break, the Union got us a bunch of money, and the History Student Association is getting us a new library. In short life here is good.

                • John Protevi says:

                  Shorter J Otto Pohl, take 2: resentment is a helluva drug.

              • spencer says:

                I am so glad I work in Africa.

                Really? Because it seems like every third day or so you make a passive-aggressive remark about not being able to get a tenure-track job in the US.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  I am not unhappy about working in Africa. I feel that I should have at least gotten one interview in the US from 2004-2007 out of the 300 applications I sent given that I had a substantial publishing record. Instead I got no interviews and they almost always gave the job to somebody with fewer publications. But, my publications and degree from SOAS both of which greatly hindered me in the US greatly helped me here.

                • Murc says:

                  I feel that I should have at least gotten one interview in the US from 2004-2007 out of the 300 applications I sent given that I had a substantial publishing record.

                  For god’s sake. As has been pointed out NUMEROUS times, Otto, you didn’t get any interviews because you were applying for positions that required you to teach as well as research and you had zero teaching experience.

                  But, my publications and degree from SOAS both of which greatly hindered me in the US

                  Neither your publications nor your degree hindered you, at all, in finding employment in the US. What they didn’t do was guarantee you’d land positions that better-qualified people were available for.

                • Kate M. says:

                  Maybe he can’t get a TT job in the US because he wants a white supremeist site like “The Other McCain” to review his dissertation.
                  j.ottopohl•18 hours

                  I am not a leftist and I did my PhD in the UK and now work in Africa. But, even so I was wondering if this blog could read and review my dissertation. The title is Shallow Roots: The Exile Experiences of Russian-Germans, Crimean Tatars, and Meskhetian Turks in Comparative Perspective and I completed it at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2004. You can find an abstract to the dissertation at the url below.

                  http://www.iccrimea.org/scholarly/poh...

              • MPAVictoria says:

                God damn it man. Not everything is about you.

                • spencer says:

                  +1000000000

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  No, it is not. We should be happy that all of the faculty at University of Ghana got a bunch of money recently due to the union.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  We should be happy that all of the faculty at University of Ghana got a bunch of money recently due to the union.

                  We are happy. We are also aware that one of our friends is going through a Very Bad Thing, and so we are wondering why you feel the need to endlessly discuss your good thing in a thread about his Very Bad Thing. And we are thinking that unbridled narcissism is the most likely reason.

      • mtraven says:

        I sent a letter of support to the President of URI, and I suggest everyone else do the same. Be polite.

        davedooley@uri.edu
        Dear Dr. Dooley,

        You recently issued a statement in regards to the social media statement by Professor Erik Loomis. I’m disappointed that you did not use this opportunity to stand behind your faculty member. It is completely obvious to any honest observer that his statement did not constitute a threat of violence, an incitement to violence, or anything remotely violent. He employed a perfectly standard metaphor that has been deliberately misconstrued by his political opponents. By failing to stand behind him, you aid and abet their campaign of intimidation against free and open discourse.

        Yours,

        • pete says:

          Good idea. I objected politely to the implication that Erik threatened violence, and offered the hope that Dooley would “at least privately offer Loomis the support he deserves.” Signed with my last as well as first name.

        • GFW says:

          I cribbed from you, but made some changes that I wanted – here’s mine.

          Dear Dr. Dooley,

          With regard to the statement you recently issued about the social media statement by Professor Erik Loomis:

          While it is certainly true that Prof. Loomis was not speaking for the University, I am disappointed that you did not use this opportunity to stand behind your faculty member. It is completely obvious to any sane and honest observer that his statement did not constitute a threat of violence, an incitement to violence, or anything similar. He employed a common metaphor that has been deliberately misconstrued by his political opponents. By disavowing him (one might even say you “threw him under the bus” without literally implying that you committed vehicular homicide – see the point I’m making here?) you aid and abet their campaign of intimidation against free and open discourse.

          Sincerely,
          (my true first and last names, plus University grad year (not URI unfortunately))

          • mark f says:

            I copied this one, but took out the bus line and added this before “by disavowing him . . . “:

            Erik’s contributions to the Lawyers, Guns and Money blog and to his own Alterdestiny blog before that have provided valuable insight into topics too rarely covered by the news media and general history texts. His knowledge and expertise have been an asset to the online community and, I would think, to your university.

        • Pestilence says:

          thank you, copied, modified & sent

        • Jordan says:

          Here is mine:

          “Dr. Dooley,

          I am sure you have received many emails over the fact that Erik Loomis used a common expression to express his anger towards people who help perpetuate our sick gun culture. Your response, at http://www.uri.edu/news/memo/president/statement12182012.html is unacceptable. Unless your position is changed, I will not apply for a job at your university next year when I go on the market, nor will I do so for any year after. I will also strongly urge my graduate student colleagues at Princeton – and at other comparable universities – to avoid your university as well. This may not matter a great deal to you, but it could easily be a cost. There is also an easy way to avoid it.

          Jordan DeLange”

          Of course, “not applying for your job” – assuming it exists – in this market isn’t exactly the boldest claim to make. But … you do what you can.

          • MAJeff says:

            I mentioned that I am pleased to have no affiliation with an institution that has such cowardly leadership and is so easily swayed by an organized campaign of lies by the right wing “outrage industry.”

          • Barry Freed says:

            Here’s mine, just now sent under my real name:

            Dear Dr. Dooley,

            I am very concerned about the chilling effect of the campaign to silence and intimidate one of your faculty members, Erik Loomis, for making what was clearly a metaphorical call for political action against the NRA and not a call for violence as you seem to have misconstrued it in your recent statement. I hope you will make clear that you and the university for which you work stand behind the intellectual and academic freedom of your faculty members to participate in robust political discourse in our society, the furtherance of which it seems to me is one of the most important missions of our universities.

          • spencer says:

            Of course, “not applying for your job” – assuming it exists – in this market isn’t exactly the boldest claim to make. But … you do what you can.

            You go to war with the leverage you have, not the leverage you wish you had.

        • Malaclypse says:

          Thanks. Cribbed and sent.

          • John Protevi says:

            Dear President Dooley,

            I write to convey my disappointment in your statement of 12/18/12. While it is commendable that “the University of Rhode Island does not condone acts or threats of violence,” following that phrase with “these remarks do not reflect the views of the institution and Erik Loomis does not speak on behalf of the University” gives the false impression that Professor Loomis committed an act or threat of violence. But surely “head on a stick” is not a threat but a widely used metaphor. It is no more a threat than one saying “heads will roll” or “batten down the hatches” or “don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” and so on and so forth.

            Furthermore, by omitting the customary “we do not agree with Professor Loomis’s viewpoint, but we support his right of free expression” you give the unfortunate impression of folding under an orchestrated campaign to distract from LaPierre’s and the NRA’s role in the Newtown massacre.

            Yours sincerely,

            John Protevi
            Phyllis M Taylor Professor of French Studies
            Professor of Philosophy
            Louisiana State University
            Baton Rouge LA 70803 USA

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              This is a really nice one, as one might expect from you, John!

              • Bijan Parsia says:

                Ok, here’s mine:

                Dear President Dooley,

                I’m writing in support of Dr. Erik Loomis, a member of your faculty who, as you well know, has been the subject of an intimidation campaign for some tweets he recently made. I’m sorry that your University, your office, and a member of your faculty has been subject to such nonsense, but I would like to encourage you to take a rather stronger line than was expressed in your message:

                http://www.uri.edu/news/memo/president/statement12182012.html

                In particular, to my knowledge, only Dr. Loomis has been subject to threats and has been severely harassed for the “crime” of using a common idiom to express a political opinion. Furthermore, your statement is being touted as a repudiation of Dr. Loomis and an endorsement of the transparently erroneous interpretation of his comments, e.g.,:

                http://theothermccain.com/2012/12/19/university-president-repudiates-professors-violent-anti-nra-messages/

                While Dr. Loomis’ situation exemplifies the fact that one cannot control how one’s statements will be used, I do think it’s possible for you to more clearly stand against the intimidators and I strongly encourage you to do so. I appreciate the need to cope with the current onslaught, but the worthy goal of “fostering a safe, inclusive and equitable culture that aspires to promote positive change” requires creativity. It is Dr. Loomis who is under threat at the moment both in his livelihood and his person. I trust that your efforts will be appropriate.

                Thank you for your time and I wish for a speedy and satisfactory resolution to this kerfluffle.

                I would be more than happy to discuss the situation by telephone.

                Sincerely,
                Dr. Bijan Parsia.
                Senior Lecturer
                School of Computer Science
                University of Manchester, UK

            • Sherm says:

              Here’s mine. Hope you don’t mind that I borrowed from you without citation:

              Dear President Dooley,

              I write to express my disappointment with your statement of 12/18/12 regarding Professor Loomis. While I agree that the University of Rhode Island should not condone threats of violence, your statement ignored the obvious fact that Professor Loomis made no such threat. “Head on a stick” is neither a threat nor an attempt to incite violence. It is a widely-used metaphor which was appropriately employed by Professor Loomis to express his outrage concerning the NRA’s role in the Newtown massacre. The attacks on Professor Loomis have been carefully orchestrated by people with a political agenda who are seeking to avoid a fair discussion concerning the NRA’s complicity in the massacre, and it appears that you have succumbed to their tactics by failing to defend Professor Loomis’ right of free expression.

              As a father of school-aged children and a reader of Professor Loomis’ on-line writings, I would like to assure the University that I would be proud to have my children taught by a professor of his intellect and integrity. Professor Loomis’ knowledge, expertise, and passion are an asset to his on-line community, and I can only imagine that they are an asset to your University as well. I respectfully urge you to re-consider your position and to issue a strong statement of support for Professor Loomis and his right of free expression.

              Sincerely yours,

              Real Name

          • spencer says:

            Dear Dr. Dooley -

            Yesterday, you issued a statement in regards to a metaphor used by Professor Erik Loomis in a social media posting, regarding last week’s mass murder in Connecticut. As a writer and an academic myself, I found your response to be disappointing.

            As you are no doubt aware, calling for someone’s “head on a stick” does not generally invite a literal interpretation. It is a figure of speech, a metaphor that is by now bog-standard in the American vernacular. Only an intentionally dishonest reading of Dr. Loomis’ words could parse an actual threat out of them; indeed, intentional dishonesty is the modus operandi of Loomis’ harassers, and they are employing it to full effect in their own harassment campaign.

            By seeking to distance the university from Dr. Loomis, you give aid and comfort to those who would use intimidation tactics to silence their political opponents. These people – stirred up by the likes of Glenn Reynolds, Michelle Malkin and Robert Stacy McCain, whose own work I invite you to Google sometime – care nothing for free and open discourse, and are only interested in claiming yet another liberal scalp. Sadly, by refusing to support your own faculty (while still making clear that his statements were his own, of course), you have abetted them in their work.

            Sincerely,

            Spencer xxxxx, Ph.D.

          • wengler says:

            I would write a letter but ‘spineless’ and ‘administrative asshole’ would be repeated quite a few times. And since that link is down now, I have no idea what he said.

        • Speak Truth says:

          Thanks for the email address.

          I will express my opinion to the president of the university.

          • Malaclypse says:

            Which fake name will you use?

            • Speak Truth says:

              Which fake name will you use?

              It won’t be your fake name.

              • olexicon says:

                I should hope not because that would be as dumb as everything else you have ever done or posted on the internet

                • Speak Truth says:

                  This is not the first controversial hate post Erik has made. It’s just the only one that Dr. Dooley is aware of.

                  Everything Erik does and says at a public university reflects upon that school. If it didn’t, Dr. Dooley wouldn’t have have to try to distance the school from Erik.

                  I wonder if Dr. Dooley is aware of all of the other bat-shit crazy stuff Loomis has posted?

                  Hmmmmm…..

                  Erik has freedom os speech, but not freedom from consequences.

                • JohnR says:

                  Please – let’s not set the bar _too_ high.

                • JohnR says:

                  oops, I see I was _too late_! Also, perhaps I should have written, __too low_ instead.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  If Cthulhu loves me, that really is the letter Jennie sent to Dooley.

        • Kiwanda says:

          Yet another, cribbing heavily:

          Dear Dr. Dooley,

          I write regarding your disappointing statement regarding Professor Erik Loomis.

          Your statement implicitly suggests that Professor Loomis uttered threats of violence on Twitter; any reasonable reader understands that his remarks, while strongly stated, do not advocate violence. To the contrary, he is passionately concerned with reducing violence.

          Your statement fails to explicitly support the right of Professor Loomis to engage in spirited discussion; indeed, such discussion is vital to intellectual inquiry and academic freedom. (I have found Professor Loomis’s on-line writings to be well-informed, measured, thoughtful, and often, given the informal context, scholarly. His on-line presence enhances the reputation of URI.)

          These aspects of your statement give the unfortunate impression that you may not have investigated the situation carefully, and are willing to promptly appease a campaign of intimidation and distraction rather than appropriately support your faculty. Please re-consider your position.

          Sincerely,

          My Name Here, PhD

      • dl says:

        This guy is no better at being a university president than he was at coaching Tennessee football.

        But seriously, the last sentence is almost Orwellian, given who Erik was speaking up against.

        • cer says:

          A few years ago at my university FIRE descended on a diversity program being used in residence life. Malkin wrote about it, it went through the right wing blogosphere. The admin here immediately yanked it, blamed the students implementing the program and apologized profusely. Never underestimate the risk aversion and spinelessness of administration.

          Thank goodness for unions.

          • Western Dave says:

            I added “I will have to reconsider recommending URI to my students.”

            • JohnR says:

              URI used to have quite a decent little geography department, if I remember correctly. Otherwise, much what you’d expect from south county in RI. Still, deans are deans the whole world over, it’s the staff what gets the blame. It’s the deans what gets the money; ain’t it all a [cryin'] shame?

      • Scott S. says:

        Wow, David M. Dooley is a fucking prick.

        Has anyone informed the English Department that they’re one thin simile away from getting unpersoned by the university?

        • Barry Freed says:

          Calling the president of the university where Erik works a prick isn’t really helping. Writing polite but forceful email like one of the above is.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            I’ll go further. Dooley is clearly under a lot of pressure. I don’t think the memo was brilliant (cf John’s point about other boilerplate that should have been included), but until there are further actions from Dooley which are clearly negative, it’s probably not helpful to get overoutraged about the memo.

            (The Duck of Minerva post is good on the ways the memo fails, fwiw.)

            (Hmm. URI’s site seems down…yeek. Not good.)

      • Eli Rabett says:

        It might also help to write to the President of the University Senate

        Peter Larsen
        plarsen@uri.edu

        and the President of the URI AAUP

        Louis Kirschenbaum
        LKIRSCH@CHM.URI.EDU

  16. Fighting Words says:

    Hey, we all know there is nobody more courageous than a conservative on the internet.

  17. The Tragically Flip says:

    They’re calling him a “pervert” for mentioning that he discussed dildos as part of the curriculum in a university class.

    They really are far more angry that a liberal used a violent metaphor and is comfortable discussing sex toys than that 20 children were murdered by someone using one of their precious precious guns.

    I really think we underestimate the proportion of functional sociopaths hiding in society. It’s supposed to be 1% but I don’t know how to describe what I read in wingnut sites any other way. They demonstrate not just a lack of empathy but an antipathy toward it.

  18. srm says:

    Fuck these right wing mouth breathers. It’s a sad day when Erik has to apologize for using a metaphor that anybody with more than 2 brain cells instantly understood.

    • bradP says:

      In the context of calling him the head of a terrorist organization who is complicit in one of the most outrageous crimes in recent memory, and following a rather long crusade to paint Palin’s gun sites as a cause of the Gifford’s shooting, I would think Loomis would be aware of the way the metaphor would have been interpreted.

      Plus, and I wasn’t aware of this before the click, he was retweeting stuff about how some gun proponents should be beaten to death.

      In the end, although I know Loomis wouldn’t do anything like it, and I know he would be opposed to such things in abstract, but…

      I think the initial tweet is closer to Erik’s thinking than all this metaphor talk. “Head on a stick” is about suffering the consequences, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the time, Loomis thought violent retribution was his proper comeuppance.

      I might be projecting, because I have felt that way.

      • Speak Truth says:

        Brad,

        He’s supposed to be educated and know better.

        You expect this kind of HATE from the shut-ins. This whole episode undermines Mr. Loomis credibility in so many ways.

        • bradP says:

          You expect this kind of HATE from the shut-ins. This whole episode undermines Mr. Loomis credibility in so many ways.

          This is an outright lie. His credibility isn’t effected in any manner. His “head on a stick” was exceptional for the violent metaphor, but is hardly out of the ordinary when it comes to showing Loomis’s affinities.

          In short: I am quite sure you discredited Loomis in your own mind a long time ago.

          And let me ask you about “2nd Amendment Remedies”. How do you feel about those?

          • Speak Truth says:

            And let me ask you about “2nd Amendment Remedies”.

            A remedy is to fix something that is wrong. The second amendment as recently affirmed, is an individual’s right to guns.

            Is that what you believe needs a remedy?

            • Malaclypse says:

              How will the Second Amendment help with unpleasant election outcomes? Please be specific and use examples.

            • bradP says:

              I don’t mean remedy the 2nd Amendment, I mean the 2nd Amendment as a remedy for bad government.

              Many people believe that the 2nd Amendment entitles them to keep guns in order to keep government at bay. This is advocating extragovernmental violence according to one’s own sense of right and wrong.

              Do you agree, and if you do, what is your problem with what Erik said?

              • Speak Truth says:

                This is advocating extragovernmental violence according to one’s own sense of right and wrong.

                Nope, it’s insurance. I hope never to use my health insurance. I hope I’ve wasted my money. But just in case…

                That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

                How is this possible if the people are disarmed?

                Do you agree, and if you do, what is your problem with what Erik said?

                None of what Erik said has anything to do with government and whether it’s destructive or not.
                Erik’s comments were those of a thug.

                • John Protevi says:

                  How is this possible if the people are disarmed?

                  How well I remember the pitched battles of 1989 when Berlin went up in flames and the people won their freedom using their guns.

                • Anonymous says:

                  None of what Erik said has anything to do with government and whether it’s destructive or not.
                  Erik’s comments were those of a thug.

                  I am 100% sure that Erik believes that LaPierre advocacy has contributed to government policy that has allowed the deaths of many.

                • Speak Truth says:

                  The National Rifle Association is the oldest civil rights organization. It’s mission is to defend an explicit constitutional civil right.

                  It ain’t government.

                  And you don’t speak for Erik. He seems to have no trouble speaking for himself.

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        rather long crusade to paint Palin’s gun sites as a cause of the Gifford’s shooting

        Hmm. Well, first, Erik wasn’t a participant in that campaign, afaict. The Alterdestiny post thrown about certainly doesn’t make any such claims.

        I would think Loomis would be aware of the way the metaphor would have been interpreted.

        It’s an idiom. And a fairly common one. It’s a bit different than the output of a professional advertising agency/campaign.

        Plus, and I wasn’t aware of this before the click, he was retweeting stuff about how some gun proponents should be beaten to death.

        I think that’s harder to defend. It was a tweet by the Rude Pundit, so there is a clear schtick/performance art aspect to those tweets. (Similarly to Feminist HULK saying “FEMINIST HULK SMASH PEOPLE WHO ADVOCATE KIDDIE BUM RUSHES OF SHOOTERS!”)

        Obviously, context is a bit more difficult there.

        In the end, although I know Loomis wouldn’t do anything like it, and I know he would be opposed to such things in abstract, but…

        Erik’s views on political violence are interesting but somewhat inchoate. He’s advocated not lionizing John Brown, for example, for fear that it would embolden domestic terrorists. On the flip side, in the discussions of deep green theorists, he was more open to environmental solutions that included violence.

        I think the initial tweet is closer to Erik’s thinking than all this metaphor talk. “Head on a stick” is about suffering the consequences, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the time, Loomis thought violent retribution was his proper comeuppance.

        I think this is projection. If you look at the set of tweets, I think it’s pretty clear that Erik wants the NRA destroyed as a political force and held accountable for gun violence. I.e., for them to be handled as a criminal organization. That doesn’t preclude violence, of course, but it’s a bit different than supporting extra-judicial or para-military violence.

        • bradP says:

          I agree with all of this Bijan.

          Government law has put heads on sticks before, and that the question of whether LaPierre’s head should be on a stick, and whether that should be done by vigilantes are very different questions.

          • rea says:

            Government law

            Well, shit, is there any other kind of law? “Keep your government hands off my law”?

            • bradP says:

              There are many sorts of laws.

              • Malaclypse says:

                Yep, that’s why they still stone people for wearing mixed fibers.

              • DrDick says:

                While you are technically correct that it is possible to have laws without an actual government, all laws are embedded in sociopolitical systems and derive from the same kinds of collective approval and action as those enacted by governments. Indeed, the emergence of law is a step toward the development of formal government.

      • spencer says:

        “Head on a stick” is about suffering the consequences,

        You should have just stopped there, because this bit:

        and I wouldn’t be surprised if, at the time, Loomis thought violent retribution was his proper comeuppance

        is just speculation and, as you suggested it might be, projection.

        I think the initial tweet is closer to Erik’s thinking than all this metaphor talk.

        Does Glenn Reynolds also not get to enjoy the benefit of the doubt with his similar use of metaphors (“I hope heads will roll over the Benghazi incident”), or is it just Erik who benefits from your selective hyperliteralism?

        • bradP says:

          The “I wouldn’t be surprised if” was a bit of an acknowledgment that I was just speculating.

          And context is important. I don’t know the context of Reynolds comments, but the context of Erik’s statements doesn’t allow me to rule out that Erik did feel justice was some sort of violent punishment.

          And that’s not necessarily bad, and its certainly nuanced. The moral difference between advocating that the government punish someone as a criminal organization and actual vigilantism is not clear, and for someone as politically radical and social invested as Loomis, it can be very muddled.

          There is probably a pretty good discussion to be had over what Loomis actually meant that this vague metaphor dismissal isn’t allowing.

          • John Protevi says:

            The moral difference between advocating that the government punish someone as a criminal organization and actual vigilantism is not clear

            WTF?

            • bradP says:

              It isn’t. Morality isn’t generated through political campaigns or consensus.

              • Malaclypse says:

                Yes, clearly saying that I believe that Whitey Bulger should be locked up is the moral equivalent of just going out and shooting him.

                • John Protevi says:

                  Well, lawfare is asymmetric war by the weak, after all. Nice to know Brad’s coming out of the closet on this one.

                • bradP says:

                  Lay out the difference between successfully petitioning the government to execute Whitey Bulger and going out to do it yourself.

                  Is it made right simply by convincing the appointed authorities?

                • John Protevi says:

                  Lay out the difference between successfully petitioning the government to execute Whitey Bulger and going out to do it yourself.

                  Is it made right simply by convincing the appointed authorities?

                  Ah yes, the little noticed 18th clause of the First Amendment: “the right of the people to petition the government to execute someone unpopular shall not be infringed.”

                  I say again, WTF?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Lay out the difference between successfully petitioning the government to execute Whitey Bulger and going out to do it yourself.

                  Well, I didn’t say I wanted Whitey executed, but granting this for the sake of reasonable discussion, if you don’t see the difference between a legal system and random vigilante executions, you are fucking insane.

                • John Protevi says:

                  Shorter Brad: “Fucking Fifth Amendment, how does it work?”

                • bradP says:

                  Well, lawfare is asymmetric war by the weak, after all. Nice to know Brad’s coming out of the closet on this one.

                  C’mon John, I’m not sure that could be any farther from what I believe.

                  The law is often a manner by which the powerful can restrain the weak in order to more fully exploit their powerful position.

                  If anything, the “weak” should engage in more non-legal assymetrical warfare.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  If anything, the “weak” should engage in more non-legal assymetrical warfare.

                  That happened last Friday.

                • bradP says:

                  Well, I didn’t say I wanted Whitey executed, but granting this for the sake of reasonable discussion, if you don’t see the difference between a legal system and random vigilante executions, you are fucking insane.

                  That’s not reasonable discussion.

                  Here:

                  Slave rebellions where the where legal slavemaster’s were killed. Justified?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Slave rebellions where the where legal slavemaster’s were killed. Justified?

                  Relevant to 21st-century America?

                • bradP says:

                  Well, I didn’t say I wanted Whitey executed, but granting this for the sake of reasonable discussion, if you don’t see the difference between a legal system and random vigilante executions, you are fucking insane.

                  Also note that I said the difference is not clear. I believe I used the word “nuanced”.

                  There is a difference, but it isn’t some clearly delineated line.

                  You aren’t proving otherwise.

                • bradP says:

                  Relevant to 21st-century America?

                  The State of Mississippi kidnapping homosexuals at gunpoint for engaging in “sodomy”?

                  More moral than someone assaulting a homosexual in what way?

                • Speak Truth says:

                  That’s not reasonable discussion.

                  Oh, for fuck’s sake, Brad. Why are you so surprised?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  The State of Mississippi kidnapping homosexuals at gunpoint for engaging in “sodomy”?

                  The semblance between that and Loomis’ statement seems rather tenuous, shall we say.

                • bradP says:

                  The semblance between that and Loomis’ statement seems rather tenuous, shall we say.

                  What I’m saying is, if the political advocacy is bad enough, then the advocates might merit having their heads on a stick.

                  I don’t agree with Erik much on the issue of gun control. If I felt as he did, though, I wouldn’t consider those comments out of line.

                  I’m not concerned with Loomis’s comments taken at their worst.

            • DrDick says:

              He is a libertarian, coherence and logic are not his strong points.

              • JohnR says:

                Now, now – to a True Libertarian, each of us is entitled to our own specific sets of logic and coherence. We’ll have none of this government-enforced tyranny of the dictionary here!

  19. The Tragically Flip says:

    Nutpicking but:

    Loomis can contact me, his real enemy, and I’ll let him have the first shot in his attempt to rid the world of me. 25 yards. At dawn.

    How fucking stupid would you have to be to give someone the first shot in a duel?

    • Timb says:

      They did it all the time when a pistol wasnt accurate past 20 feet (ie, 200 years ago), but with today’s weapons that’s probably a bad idea

      • The Tragically Flip says:

        Erik should challenge that guy to a game of Roshambo, that idiot is dumb enough to let Erik kick first.

      • Murc says:

        I will also note that offering someone the first shot was actually the weak option.

        Duels were commonly resolved by both sides firing a single round and then declaring honor to be satisfied. Offering your opponent the first shot was a coded way of signaling that you didn’t really want to die or to kill; it was understood, in most cases, that it was an invitation to shoot wide, and then you’d do the same. It was even considered bad form to shoot to kill if you accepted; if you really wanted to have a death duel, you declined the offer. It was an elaborate dance.

        Offering Loomis the first round, in it’s proper historical context, is a way of saying asshole doesn’t actually want to put his money where his mouth is.

        • Jeremy says:

          That’s a great bit of trivia.

          • rea says:

            This is part of why Aaron Burr caught so much grief for killing Alexander Hamilton–Hamilton fired first, deliberately wide, and Burr then shot him.

            • Anonymous says:

              It’s actually more complicated than that, rea – Hamilton shot wide but high and in Burr’s direction, rather than following the generally accepted practice of firing into the ground, and Burr returned fire. It’s not entirely clear what Hamilton meant to do; he was using a gun he was unfamiliar with but with a hair trigger (which was a no-no, since it would have given him an advantage if he were actually trying to kill Burr).

              • rea says:

                And it’s all complicated by the fact that all the witnesses, to defend themselves against possible criminal charges, had deliberately turned their backs so as to be able to say truthfully that they did not see the duel.

          • Murc says:

            That’s a great bit of trivia.

            Dueling culture is very fascinating. You would be amazed how much of it revolved around figuring out a way to NOT kill the other guy. There was this enormous edifice of coded language and unspoken norms that existed to ensure both parties could back out without one of them being dead.

            Short version is that there was a long period of time in which it was simultaneously true that you had to demonstrate you were willing to die and to kill to prove your honor and your manhood, but also that ACTUALLY killing someone would land your ass in prison and provoke massive retaliation.

    • JohnR says:

      How fucking stupid would you have to be to give someone the first shot in a duel?

      Beside the point – as is traditional, he has absolutely no intention of backing up those “fine words”.
      There’s always a good reason why something can’t actually be done. The dog ate his duelling pistol. His trigger finger developed palsy. In fighting off a Grizzly Bear by hand from assaulting a 2-year-old, his eyelids got scratched slightly, but the swelling prevents him from aiming accurately.

  20. Roger says:

    I wonder if violent threats are against the student and faculty code of conduct at Rhode Island U? Could this be a fireable offense?

    • The Tragically Flip says:

      I’m sure real violent threats are. Imaginary fake threats that exist only in the deluded minds of trolls don’t count though.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I wonder if violent threats are against the student and faculty code of conduct at Rhode Island U?

      It’s possible, but I’m not sure what this has to do with Erik.

      • Roger says:

        Let’s say a URI student tweeted that she’d like to see Obama “swinging from a rope.” Would that cause any issues with the school, or would it be a metaphor just like the “head on a stick” comment?

        • DrDick says:

          I see that you are no more familiar with the concept of metaphor than the average rightard.

        • Thers says:

          That would bring to mind lynching, which has occurred in living memory.

          • Pinko Punko says:

            This is true, but I do kind of wish Erik had just said that he wished that there was a time machine to take Wayne LaPee into the distant future where he might witness from a close vantage point the sun going nova, or perhaps become obsessed with My Little Ponies to the exclusion of participation of any and all public debate. It’s clearly a load of BS, but this is why you skip the violent imagery no matter how metaphorical. My colleague once in a contentious meeting regarding how to draw a line in the sand between scientific projects went on a hyperbolic rant about how if this guy screwed us on our agreement he would hunt the guy to the ends of the earth with an eternal vengeance. Now, I was in the room for that, and it was clearly over the top in the extreme, but the other guy didn’t take it that way, and my friend really couldn’t defend his statements in any way. Moral of the story, call for resignations and public shunning of odious characters, not a cataloging of their interior body parts for the mother of all fondue parties. Swim in the river of the people, true guerrillas.

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              Speaking as someone who is prone to and really sorta enjoys over the top venting: This.

              Campus and employee codes of conduct are often quite broad. Plus, tenure decision have more leeway.

            • actor212 says:

              Yea, my first tweet about La Pierre was wishing he’d spend eternity in his own special hell, apologizing to the bullet-riddled corpses he’s responsible for. Not wishing him dead, even metaphorically, but wishing wherever he’s headed be a just punishment.

        • Michelle says:

          The difference is always the part that is most difficult. Tell me, what metaphor is represented by “swinging from a rope” in your mind? Or in common discourse?

          • Roger says:

            Tell Daniel Pearl that beheading isn’t in living memory.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Tell Michelle she lives on the frontier of Pakistan.

            • spencer says:

              I suppose if Wayne LaPierre was making regular – or even occasional – trips to Pakistan, then the context would be different.

              But he’s not.

              See how that works? That context thingy? You righttards should really learn how to recognize it when you see it.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Well, that comment (unlike Erik’s) would be a highly offensive, racist comment. But barring further context it would be foolish to interpret it as an actual threat of violence.

          • Manta says:

            It’s easy to see that Scott is right by comparing “swinging from a rope” to “shot at dawn” or “first against the wall”: the latter convey the same disapproving opinion of Obama, without the added racism.

          • gmack says:

            Yes, this is exactly right. If a student at my university were to state in, say, a letter to the editor that Obama is a communist and a terrible threat to the American way of life, and that the student would like to see Obama’s head on a stick, I think there would likely be significant criticism. Moreover, the pushback would not just concern the substance of the claim (such as it is) but also the “violent rhetoric” associated with it. However, I would consider it highly unlikely that there would be a national and concerted effort to get the student kicked out of school, or to call the police, etc. More to the point, neither I nor most of the folks defending Erik here would condone such actions.

            It is useful here to remember J.S. Mill’s distinction between arguing with someone and organizing modes of social power to sanction or punish unpopular opinion. The latter is clearly what is going on in Erik’s case, and it does in fact threaten to undermine principles of free speech, even if this threat isn’t coming from the government as such.So had the right wingers criticized Erik or even condemned his rhetoric as contributing to an “atmosphere of violence,” I would disagree but not be disgusted by it. But that’s clearly not what happened here.

            I would also add, briefly, that as it happens I didn’t much like Erik’s statements on these issues. I thought his statements were a bit over the top and tactically wrong (given the current structure of power, my intuition tells me that the best tactic for those looking to create more regulations on guns in the U.S. would be to try to separate hunters/gun owners from “gun nuts”–or to try to separate those who use guns for things like hunting from those who treat guns as a penis substitute. Given this, I think Erik’s comments are counter-productive). However, this disagreement has now become wholly irrelevant. Anyone who thinks freedom of speech is important cannot support what the right wingers have been doing in this case.

        • Speak Truth says:

          Let’s say a URI student tweeted that she’d like to see Obama “swinging from a rope.” Would that cause any issues with the school, or would it be a metaphor just like the “head on a stick” comment?

          Good question, Roger.

          And now we see the apology machine go into overdrive trying to nuance between the two.
          Both are violent.
          Both cause death.
          Both are hateful.

          And yet you see ‘Well, one is racist’which is the nuanced apology used in almost every post regardless of what you’re discussing.

          Doesn’t matter. Mr. Loomis has very little defense and that’s why he’s catching so much grief.

          But, for the sake of argument, let’s take this away from Loomis’ minions for a moment and forget the “rope” part.

          Imagine, instead, Loomis was asking for Obama’s “head on a stick” or that he be beaten to death.

          What defense would he have then? Please put excuse du jour here______________.

        • rea says:

          As I’ve pointed out several times in thee threads, Prof. Loomis’ comments would be a lot less defensible if there were a recent history of angry mobs beating gunnuts to death and displaying their heads on pikes.

        • JohnR says:

          Of course not. (A), this is Rhode Island, and (b) the tweet is clearly expressing a desire to see the President, who grows daily more oppressed by the burdens of his high office, losing his cares and worries for a time by playing a simple, childish game such as we all have done. If the referenced rope was overhanging a crystal-clear river, or popular “swimmin’ hole” as painted by Norman Rockwell, so much the better!

    • Joey Maloney says:

      I wonder if attempting to be arch and clever but only succeeding at being a douchebag is part of any internet traditions of which you might be aware?

      • JohnR says:

        Only all of them. But then of course, yours was a purely rhetorical question. I wonder if that’s part of any Internet traditions?

    • Rarely Posts says:

      I wonder if calling the cops and lying that you’ve heard about a violent threat is a crime? Because, that’s what happened here. Wanting to see someone’s “head on a stick,” is not a threat of violence. You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it.

  21. tonycpsu says:

    The wingers never met a violent metaphor they didn’t like. Remember Bachmann’s advice that her followers be “armed and dangerous?” Remember Gabby Giffords’ opponent cutting an ad in which e was brandishing an assault rifle? I’m sure we could cite dozens more just in the realm of GOP politicians, before we even include pundits and bloggers.

  22. laura says:

    Hang in there Erik. Don’t worry about the morons at Twitchy — it’s good to have the right intellectual enemies. But do take care of yourself personally for the next few days.

    • laura says:

      Also, remember they’re doing this because they’re losing. They’re losing the culture war, they’re losing at politics, and their base is aging and they’re not convincing the younger generation. Even on guns: sales skyrocketing but fewer homes with guns; gun control about to seriously re-enter the political discussion again for the first time in a decade.

      • GFW says:

        Assuming you’re right about fewer homes with guns (and I know you’re right about high sales) this implies that as these nuts age out to retirement homes, etc., there’s going to be a lot of gun inheritance going on. And so, likely, a lot of people selling off such collections … so a crash in the price. It will be interesting to see if this takes place. (I’m assuming the guns are properly stored so they are still in good working order.)

  23. GregB says:

    I remember reading an M. Scott Peck book called People of the Lie. About how people can be bad.

    He recounts the story of a family with two children. The older brother used a gun to commit suicide before Christmas.

    That Christmas the parents gave the surviving brother THAT gun for a Christmas gift.

    I can’t stop thinking that this mother got the outcome she was planning for.

    • expatchad says:

      My unlamented gun-nut stepfather left a loaded pistol on the nightstand of my suicidal mother, and was amazed when she killed herself. It was for protection, dontcha know.

      The added tragedy is that I believe that he WAS truly surprised.

    • spencer says:

      That Christmas the parents gave the surviving brother THAT gun for a Christmas gift.

      What in Vishnu’s name could possibly have been the rationale behind that gift?

      • Woodrowfan says:

        They argued that they didn’t have much money to buy a new gun, or fancy book-learning, so how could they know how the 2d son would interpret it! There was a happy ending. The kid went to live with an aunt and uncle who were, apparently, much nicer people.

        Peck’s book is very good. It helped me understand one of my grandparents…

  24. montag2 says:

    I think it’s worth mentioning, in context, that these people are, for the most part, stooooopid.

    They have decidedly passive-aggressive tendencies, but, that’s all. Well, except, maybe, for Jeff Godlstein, who probably needs intensive therapy and a blankie.

    No need to apologize, expand one’s arguments or any of that. They’re assholes, and they’re stoooopid.

    Run fuckin’ rings around `em and have fun doing it. When they try to claim, as is their wont, that their right to military-grade weapons trumps the lives of little children, they’ve proven beyond a doubt that they’re paranoid, delusional dipshits who belong in a rubber room. Treat `em as such.

  25. Brutusettu says:

    Funny thing is, old Joshua Trevino used to run the predecessor to theforvm.org (tacitus dot org which is NSFW now) Trevino scrubbed that latter site and went on to bigger and better things.

    What is/was Joshua Trevino hiding?

  26. Scanner says:

    Something that struck me from the Twitchy comments was how commenters kept referring to “children”, as in, “his behavior demonstrates he’s incapable of being entrusted with our children”.

    Revealingly infantilizing, there, when we’re talking about an associate professor at the University of Rhode Island. Maybe by age 30 they’ll let their kids move out of the house.

    • Darkrose says:

      No, that just explains the mindset of the modern helicopter parent. These are the same people who get upset when I won’t tell them how to reset their kids account password. “Well, I’m paying for it!” is the usual response.

      • Murc says:

        It’s like people have never heard of FERPA.

        I’ve done university support on and off for years, and something that always baffles me is the way parents can simultaneously be sure their kid is flunking his way through college but is also smart enough to, I dunno, hack our servers if they think someone is on to them to cover their tracks.

        There wasn’t a single piece of student information we couldn’t hand out if the parents conferenced the student in and the student spent under a minute ID’ing themselves and never speaking again. But we’d explain that and the parents would say “But then they’d know we were checking up on them!”

        • JohnR says:

          You’re overthinking this. Odds are that none of these excitable persons have children, or are likely to (outside of artificial insemination or advances in interspecies hybridization). It’s the vast amorphous mob of “our children” that they refer to.

          • STH says:

            Yes, it’s like “our troops”–they don’t give a damn about any actual person in the military, but they’re so very, very concerned about “our troops” (as long as it doesn’t cost them anything).

  27. Ahmad says:

    I think that URI should fire his president for not standing by his Faculty. Erik’s use of metaphor has obviously been twisted by the morons.

  28. grouchomarxist says:

    The worst mistake to make with regards to Erik’s battle with accumulated wingnuttery is this: If I’m careful, it won’t happen to me.

    A point which can’t be repeated often enough. The immediate objective is to make an example of Erik, but it also serves the long-term Right Wing project of asserting control of language. Spook your opponent into policing everything they write for any possible opening it might give your flying monkeys, and you’ve effectively neutered them. Hey, if you’re lucky, you might even completely silence them.

    I know it’s easy for someone using a nom de web to say this, but I appreciate what you’re doing, Erik. Your outrage was completely justified. And these people have no decency.

  29. Roger says:

    Getting fired right before the holidays will be rough. Universities tend not to like violent threats from students or faculty. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

    http://www.uri.edu/news/memo/president/statement12182012.html

  30. Jason says:

    Don’t let the bastards get you down.

    Jason

  31. bradP says:

    Has Donald or Glenn ever had a similar statement issued by their employers?

  32. MAJeff says:

    Headline in today’s paper: NRA promises to help prevent school shootings Wow. Funniest (not) thing I’ve ever read.

  33. Steve LaBonne says:

    WTF? I haven’t been around here a lot and had no idea this had gone so far. Hang in there, Erik! I, under my real name, will go on the record that I would cheerfully have every goddamn wingnut in the country hanging from lampposts if I had the power to bring about such a highly desirable state of affairs. Suck on that, loons.

    • bradP says:

      Lynchin’ Steve LaBonne

    • N__B says:

      The double helix gravitar shows that you believe in EVILUTION! That’s the only thing worse than metaphors.

    • Bijan Parsia says:

      While I understand the impulse to cast your defiance in their teeth, I don’t think this particular version helps. For one, it makes you a potential nutpicking target.

      • Steve LaBonne says:

        Unlike some of the academic (especially non-TT) types around here, I have no real reason to worry about that. I welcome their hatred.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          While I am concerned about the consequences for you, I was referring to the consequences for Erik.

          • Steve LaBonne says:

            Erik won’t let these idiots intimidate him, either. As for me, as a forensic scientist, I regularly have violent defendants looking right at me in court as I give testimony that will help put them away. So the keyboard kommmandoes merely inspire mockery.

            • Bijan Parsia says:

              I was referring more to the point that they might well get him fired (or his tenure denied) and make it difficult for him to get another job.

              • Steve LaBonne says:

                I understand that of course, which is why I understand why some commenters here who are in similar situations use nyms. I’d do it too if I were in their shoes. And that, of course, is why the rest of us who are less vulnerable need to have their backs by doing things like writing in their defense to university presidents (and publicly shaming the ones who don’t actually support the academic freedom to which they give lip service.)

    • Jerry Vinokurov says:

      I am intrigued by your views and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      By which I mean, “Right on.”

  34. Steve LaBonne says:

    P.S. And yes, as what I like to call a “recovering academic” I can say that university administrators clearly are born from the unlikely coupling of jellyfish and whores, and inherit all the defining characteristics of both parents.

  35. Ronan says:

    All seems like a good bit of banter. Good on you Loomis

  36. Barry Freed says:

    In order to counteract the intended effect of this intimidation campaign may I suggest that gun control be made a regular beat on this blog? It is in the title after all. I think it’d be great especially for Scott to include it on a regular basis in some of his court watching type posts. In fact what is the gun lobby and the NRA but Lawyers, Guns & Money. Only this time the shit has really hit the fan.

  37. Lyanna says:

    My sympathies, Erik, and I will be sending a supportive (of you!) email to the university under my real name.

  38. actor212 says:

    When I first heard about this whole mess, I wondered why Loomis would inflame an already inflammatory situation.

    In other words, it was a bad metaphor at a moment when we should be ratcheting down the dialogue a little. Nonetheless, it was a metaphor and should have been read as such by anyone with any scrimp of rationality (Maybe calling for his head on a “metaphorical pike” would have been more sufficient).

    This is a little like shouting “Kill the umpire” when a bench clearing brawl has just taken place. Someone might be crazed enough to do just that.

    I’m glad Erik realized this and offered both an explanation and an appropriate recanting.

    The nut cases on the right are terrified, and with good reason: they have seen their entire ideology systematically destroyed over the past year, right down to the psychological defense of “we have the facts on our side” (cf Unskewed Polls)

    Obama’s been re-elected, and the world is moving away from their brand of fear-mongering and hate. Here is yet another act that exposes the moral weakness of their stances, and look at how they are being abandoned by people whom they’ve been able to count on for decades (Manchin, Scarborough)

    They’re being called to account for four decades of misanthropy and both the secular and spiritual worlds are asking to see the ledger.

  39. Fats Durston says:

    A family friend of ours, a poli-sci prof, included in her syllabus a boilerplate suggestion that the students not assume that a white, male, or American perspective was necessarily the norm, and to write and speak carefully for the class with that in mind. A rightwing student–ironically a journalism major–read the syllabus, took offense, dropped the class, and published his misunderstanding of the passage in a right wing anti-collegiate online rag. (It doesn’t sound like his misreading is as disingenuous as Erik’s tormenters, he just seems dim.) The NRO picked up the story, and since the event she’s gotten hundreds of nasty emails and enough death threats that they beefed up campus security in her building.

    At least her president stood up for her, though.

  40. Western Dave says:

    I just the twitter saying I stand with Erik and asking for Wayne LaPierre to resign. #stopintimidation.

  41. bradP says:

    I don’t know where to put this, but you guys (where are the ladies, fellas?) need to get a handle on these advertisements.

    You need to find an advertiser who isn’t going to put trash all over your website.

  42. Woodrowfan says:

    As a non-TT prof I don’t even dare put a bumper sticker on my car given the little fascist thugs I can run into on campus… I justify it as “discussing politics is unprofessional at work” (for a political historian????!!!??) but in reality I know that if I piss somebody off it’s easier to dispose of me and hire another than it would be to defend me…

    • DrDick says:

      Pretty much my position as well, though I park off campus and am notorious for my political bumper stickers. I do not make a secret of my political views (I am a political anthropologist), but I also do not express them in classes or other inappropriate contexts. I am pretty certain that the administration knows I am a socialist, but I am reasonably discrete in that regard.

      • JohnR says:

        ..I am reasonably discrete..

        snork. So, sometimes you merge with others of a like mind?

        • DrDick says:

          I do not talk about it in front of any of my lower division classes and only in some upper division classes, and only then because it is relevant to my theoretical position which is pertinent to the material covered. I also do not advocate for my politics to any students. I do have political conversations with some of my colleagues at work.

          • JohnR says:

            Nothing personal, Doc! A lot of us have trouble with those pesky homophones. (I’ll be discreet about it, I promise!)
            Please don’t take it the wrong way; I only do it to annoy because I know it teases. Wah, wah, wah.

  43. MPAVictoria says:

    Not much I can do to help Erik. I just sent a polite email of support to Dr. Dooley.

    I want to let you know that I appreciate the work you do here a great deal. No one else that I know of bothers to focus on labour issues the way you do and it is something we need in these dark times.

    Good luck and keep your head up.

  44. Speak Truth says:

    I want to let you know that I appreciate the work you do here a great deal. No one else that I know of bothers to focus on labour issues the way you do and it is something we need in these dark times.

    Let’s say I agree with this political position. Is it really the university’s place to take a political position? It is, after all, a publicly supported and subsidized school.

    I can see Dr. Dooley’s point. Erik is simply dragging the school into controversy.

    Also, there is no doubt that Mr. Loomis has apologized and groveled to the higher ups. This will not be made public, but you can bet he was confronted and he certainly didn’t tell Dr. Do0oley to stick it up his ass, now did he? He’s still working there isn’t he?

    • Malaclypse says:

      Erik is simply dragging the school into controversy.

      And they looked at the Vision more closely, and because they could see into the future and were all (like every intelligent entity) rabid Laurel and Hardy fans and because they were zonked on the weed, they saw that Yahweh bore the face of Oliver Hardy. All around him, below the mountain on which he lived (his world was fiat), the waters rose and rose. They saw drowning men, drowning women, innocent babes sinking beneath the waves. They were ready to vomit. And then Another came and stood beside Yahweh, looking at the panorama of horrors below, and he was Yahweh’s Adversary, and, stoned as they were, he looked like Stanley Laurel to them. And then Yahweh spoke, in the eternal words of Oliver Hardy: “Now look what you made me do,” he said.

      And that was the first Vision.

    • DrDick says:

      No, a bunch of rightwing vigilantes on a jihad have generated a faux controversy where none exists over a completely reasonable, if emotional, statement by Erik made on his own time. It is you who have drug the university into a swamp of your own making. Now fuck off and die, pond scum.

    • spencer says:

      It is, after all, a publicly supported and subsidized school.

      Not nearly to the extent that you might think – thanks largely to assholes like you, come to think of it.

  45. chris y says:

    I’m sorry Erik didn’t have this to hand a few days ago.

    “I’m going to hit you so hard we both get knighthoods.”

    • JohnR says:

      Indeed – I can attest to the value of indiscriminate harassment. So far (touch wood) it’s worked for me. Incoherence is also a big plus.

  46. Speak Truth says:

    Loomis’ tweets and personal account were deleted some time after URI issued their statement.

    So, if Erik stands by his statments and hasn’t groveled and apologized all over the place…..

    Then why are his tweets and personal account now deleted?

    It’s OK to do so. What makes Erik a pussy is he bloviates and blathers on about how he won’t back down and then we see what he actually does.

    • spencer says:

      It’s entirely possible that he:

      a) prefers not to be a distraction for his employers; or
      b) prefers that the Malkin Monkey Squad not be freely provided with more ammunition to use against him in their smear campaign.

      These are things that reasonable human beings do when they are harassed by drooling lunatics like yourself. Which you’d know, if you knew any reasonable human beings.

      • DrDick says:

        True. People have been known to change their telephone numbers or even move to avoid this kind of concerted harassment. If it is just one identifiable person, you can get a restraining order, but that is difficult when you are dealing with an amorphous and anonymous horde of flying monkeys and TwitchyRats.

    • Tybalt says:

      Good question! I find these ones are amazingly light and fluffy. A favorite of our family especially our youngest son.

      2 eggs
      1 1/2 c. whole wheat Flour
      1 tb baking powder
      3 tb brown sugar
      1 1/2 c. milk
      3 tb oil

      Separate the egg whites from the yolks and beat until firm. Reserve.

      Combine all the other ingredients and mix well. Fold in the beaten egg whites, don’t overmix at this stage.

      Lightly oil a griddle or skillet and pour or ladle in the batter. I usually make them about 5-6 inches in diameter. Cook them on lowish medium because they take a little while, they rise quite high and thick.

      • JohnR says:

        Excellent point! Personally, I find that a dash of cinnameg (some years back I accidentally added the nutmeg to the cinnamon in a careless attempt to combine opened containers) adds a certain honi soi qui mal y pense to the outcome, or alternatively any sort of dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, mangos, whole pineapples, etc. I have a large griddle for family occasions, or for more intimate moments (ever tried the Aunt Jemima treatment?) I have a fine 8″D deep cast-iron skillet I got at a farm auction some years back. Nothing beats a fluffy 2″ thick pancake to a kid.

    • wengler says:

      Or your delightful band of ingrates were direct messaging him death threats at an incredible pace.

      Why don’t you fuck off and go find some way to burn electronic books.

  47. Malaclypse says:

    I just got the following;

    Many thanks for your message. The AAUP has already expressed our disappointment in the President’s statement. We have asked for a second statement of the University’s commitment to free speech.

    Louie Kirschenbaum

    Prof. Louis J. Kirschenbaum
    Department of Chemistry
    University of Rhode Island
    Kingston, RI 02881
    ACS Career Consultant
    President uri AAUP

  48. Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Yikes, I get on a plane for one day and miss all the fun.

    Erik, sorry about this silliness. It is truly amazing how the “free speech” crowd becomes so eager to punish people who say things they dislike, especially when it comes to guns.

    I think you should maybe get together with John Cole. A couple days ago he wrote a post about how even in the military (when he was serving in Kuwait) there were very sensible restrictions on guns/ammo imposed on all soldiers, and has been getting a flood of shit from the gun nuts.

  49. Joe Regular says:

    At least we on the left never destroy our enemies public ally.

  50. Joel says:

    The wingnuts are going to take their pound of flesh. This is how they operate. My sympathies to Eric, I wouldn’t wish their pathetic, leprosy-infested wrath on anyone.

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

  • Switch to our mobile site