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Lonely Street (A Metaphorical Lonely Street. Not an Actual Street With No One On It. Or a Street With Just Me Walking Alone)

[ 376 ] December 20, 2012 |

Well, it seems that we have passed peak wingnut (warning: Reynolds link ahead) and I can peek my head above the metaphorical bunker again.

I’m at the point where I’m pretty bloody angry with myself for using language intemperate enough to open the door to these people to try and change the narrative. It seems they failed, precisely because of the push back they received over freedom of speech. For this, I can’t thank the good people at Crooked Timber enough, not to mention so many other people. I never wanted to be the subject of a free speech campaign. Usually those are reserved for people who really said something offensive where one has to stand in principle. I still don’t see what I said as offensive, and certainly not as offensive as supporting policies that allow crazy people to have access to high-powered weapons. But while I generally use relatively measured language here, I was using Twitter as the site to express my true unabashed outrage about the world. I guess I have to be more careful on that going forward. Lesson learned.

That said, what really bugs me is that because of my intemperate language, we are talking about me and what others said about me instead of the policies of unrestricted ownership of killing machines that led to the death of 26 people in Connecticut last week and thousands around the United States and Mexico every year. I look forward to moving the conversation back to what really matters–regulations on guns.

Things were pretty lonely for me for awhile there. But thanks to everyone, and of course the Ray Price I was relying on to help me get through, there was indeed no Lonely Street for me. Except the song.

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  1. Vance Maverick says:

    Streets don’t have feelings, Erik. They’re inanimate assemblages of stone and tar.

    More seriously, I’m glad to see you’re not backing down about what matters.

  2. rea says:

    Well, well, Prof. Reynolds wisely takes the position that decapitation metaphors are not firing offenes for academics. Very prudent.

  3. charles pierce says:

    Erik — They don’t need a reason to have their tantrums. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

  4. somethingblue says:

    One could hardly defend Loomis and his record on the merits.

    Loomis is one thing, but when you start insulting Ray Price …

  5. actor212 says:

    You were never alone, buddy.

  6. DrDick says:

    Hang in there, Erik. As Pierce says, the wingnuts (especially the deranged mouth breathers at Twitchy) do not really need an excuse for their tantrums. The world is leaving them behind and they are in a perpetual rage against it. They are protofascist brown shirts on a jihad to destroy the 20th century.

  7. Walt says:

    Now that this is blowing over, now we can get back to what’s important. The campaign to get Erik fired over his opinion of Janis Joplin.

  8. LoriK says:

    First and most important, I’m so glad that the nutters have now decided that Eric doesn’t need to be fired from his job for saying something they don’t like.

    That said, gawd, why can’t I learn not to get out of the boat? That link made my brain hurt. The update highlighting Badger Pundit’s complete lack of logic skills was especially painful.

  9. I have never been in your situation. And as someone who comments and blogs pseudonymously and who has in the past said things that went over the line, I should be wary of casting stones. In fact, it might be inconsiderate of me to even lodge this comment.

    However, I suggest it might be helpful to introspect and acknowledge how some of your language comes across. I think you’re trying to do that in this post, and good for you. Still, saying “I still don’t see what I said as offensive, and certainly not as offensive as supporting policies that allow crazy people to have access to high-powered weapons” is the type of comment that is more likely to create noise than advance your cause, although it probably has the virtue of being honest. (Who is “crazy”? How can we know? What process is due in the determination of who’s “crazy”? What are the chances that the only regulation that comes out of this will be a weak bill that in practice does nothing other than make politicians feel good? Does indulging in hyperbole make one outcome more or less likely?) I didn’t read all your comments, and I’m sure the one’s I saw were cherry-picked to put you in the poorest light possible. (I’ve mostly quit reading your blog quite a long time ago, based largely on how I and others were being treated when we raise qualifications to some of the views advanced here.)

    But again, I have never been in your situation, where something I’ve said–perhaps in a moment of passion, perhaps after some deliberation–is examined hypercritically by those who oppose what I say. So I am not really trying to judge. And you’ve probably had enough of “helpful” comments like mine to suit you.

    • Vance Maverick says:

      Wait, are you seriously refusing to accept that any of the shooters in the recent string of massacres was crazy?

      • What I’m trying to say is how do we know prospectively that someone is crazy? We all (or most of us) know after the fact. It’s how do we know before the fact?

        • To clarify:

          It’s quite plausible that an all out ban on assault weapons is the right way to go, and I endorse it, provided it’s not so weak as to be ineffective and serve as fodder for those who oppose such bans.

          If, however, we’re talking about identifying who is “crazy” ahead of time and restricting some of the legal prerogatives that are available to “non-crazy” people, then it’s a difficult call, at least sometimes. I actually saw David Kopel (a pro-gun person) on the NewsHour make a claim that seemed to endorse robust civil commitment procedures. If I interpreted the spirit of his comment correctly (and he didn’t have a lot of time to explain himself on the show, I admit) that approach strikes me as potentially a way to open the door to criminalizing mental illness. That’s part of my concern. (In fact, I note a disturbing trend among the pro-gun people to scapegoat mental illness in a way that seems, to me, to deny or forestall effective regulations. Disclosure: I’m not anti-gun and I believe self-defense is a constitutional right, so that obviously colors my position. However, I believe in very strict licensing requirements and limits on the number of guns one may own or purchase.)

          • Vance Maverick says:

            You wrote

            Still, saying “I still don’t see what I said as offensive, and certainly not as offensive as supporting policies that allow crazy people to have access to high-powered weapons” is the type of comment that is more likely to create noise than advance your cause, although it probably has the virtue of being honest.

            In the sentence you quoted, Erik said nothing about prospectively identifying crazy people. Think about it. I trust you agree that crazy people committing mass murder is a problem. Consider the possibility that we might address it with policies not aimed at the craziness per se.

            Or are you offended because Erik didn’t see what he wrote as offensive?

            • That’s a fair question.

              I was unclear and tried to have it both ways.

              First, I interpreted his comment as being at least partially directed at aimed at prospectively identifying mentally unstable people, but as you point out, that’s not the necessary takeaway.

              Second, I suppose I am offended that he didn’t see what he wrote as offensive. Maybe “offended” is too strong, especially since I saw only the tweets that were cherry picked by people who probably disagree with him in the first place.

              Your (and others’) mileage obviously varies, and who knows, at the end of the day, maybe you’re more right than I am on that score. I sometimes take offense quite easily at things that most people don’t.

              • rea says:

                I actually saw David Kopel (a pro-gun person) on the NewsHour make a claim that seemed to endorse robust civil commitment procedures. If I interpreted the spirit of his comment correctly (and he didn’t have a lot of time to explain himself on the show, I admit) that approach strikes me as potentially a way to open the door to criminalizing mental illness.

                Well, no–the point is not to criminalize mental illness–the point is to have some means of ensuring that mentally ill people who pose a danger to themselves or others get treatment before they commit crimes. Right now, just about the only available solution for dealing with the dangerously mentally ill is to wait until they commit a crime, and then imprison them.

                • I do understand that’s the point. But I think a word of caution is in order. When we get into the thickets of how to do it, it is at least possible that the process will be abused.

                  Maybe the (what I see as) inevitable abuses are a price worth paying for safety, especially if the treatment offered is real treatment, with appropriate safeguards, and not just incarceration in a hospital.

                • rea says:

                  it is at least possible that the process will be abused

                  Well, of course. There were lots of instances of abuse in the old system–but the old system was abandoned more to save tax dollars than because of abuses.

                  Any functioning legal system is going to require constant vigilance to avoid abuses–just like your car need ongoing preventative maintenance.

                • DrDick says:

                  it is at least possible that the process will be abused

                  Please name one actual policy of which that is not true. Sorry, but this is quite simply inane concern trolling. To quote the esteemed Thers, Fuck civility. Give me the truth.

                • DrDick says:

                  I would also add that more robust civil commitment procedures by themselves are insufficient without stronger laws controlling access to fire arms. I mentioned this earlier in another thread, but I had a friend who was the patient advocate (lawyer) at a state mental hospital. He was shot and killed by an inmate who walked off campus, got a gun, returned to campus, entered my friend’s office and shot him. This was after background checks were instituted. Clearly the current laws are inadequate and need to be strengthend.

                • Please name one actual policy of which that is not true. Sorry, but this is quite simply inane concern trolling.

                  Doesn’t “concern trolling” imply that the troll doesn’t care about the object he/she is expressing concern for? If so, I’ll suggest that you don’t know me well enough to make that accusation.

                  And no, I can’t name one policy that can’t be abused. I don’t think that’s a reason not to worry about abuses that may be attendant to a policy.

                  As for what happened to your friend, I am very sorry it happened. Maybe a more robust system of background checks would have helped prevent that. Even if it wouldn’t have, I still support them, in conjunction with additional regulations.

                • DrDick says:

                  Concern trolling means expressing greater concern about the style of the debate than the substance, which is exactly what you are doing here. We should not use harsh or forceful language because it might offend somebody’s delicate sensibilities. Sorry, but if somebody is more upset about the fact that, in a fit of moral outrage, Erik called for LaPierre’s head on a pike than the fact that the organization he leads makes sure we cannot pass laws to prevent slaughters of innocent children, they can simply fuck off and die.

              • STH says:

                You might consider whether it’s a good idea to take the word of a “pro-gun person” on the position of gun control advocates as gospel. And it sounds like you’re forming your ideas of Dr. Loomis’ words based on what you read on other sides; also not such a good idea.

                • You’re right on both counts, which is why I acknowledged the biases of my sources. (Which, I’ll admit, doesn’t free me from the claim that I ought to take them into account.)

                  My jibe, when I talked about “pro-gun person,” was about hisapparent willingness to support to civil commitments, not about the support for civil commitment offered by those offered among those who support gun control.

            • Eli Rabett says:

              We know damn well from experience that easier civil commitment will be abused. It sure as hell was.

              We also know damn well from experience that opening the gates of the asylums leads to crazy people walking the street and screwing their lives and the lives of others up.

              It ain’t pretty.

    • Bijan Parsia says:

      However, I suggest it might be helpful to introspect and acknowledge how some of your language comes across.

      Sigh.

      While recognising that there’ve been a flurry of posts, it’s not hard to find precisely some of the introspection you covet:

      The fact that my intemperate language helped give them a lever to try and turn that narrative is unfortunate and I apologize for it. But of course they would have found any number of other people or situations where they would have done the same thing.

      And look, if I used violent metaphors, that’s a bad thing. I will admit that at certain moments such language might become part of my vocabulary. But then I’m a product of the same violent culture that makes real discussion about guns virtually impossible in this country. Scholars such as Richard Slotkin and Richard Maxwell Brown have spent whole careers exploring the theme of violence in American history. Others have noted the massive violent underpinnings of the United States ranging from antebellum mobs to lynchings to violence in the popular media. I probably shouldn’t use that language and certainly will be a lot more conscious going forward of not using it again, particularly since it doesn’t help in the battle against actual violence. Violence is a huge societal problem that influences all of us in various ways. Some may use violent metaphors to express their frustrations. Others join organizations that support assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons being in the hands of anyone without any sort of background check or regulation. I’ll leave it to you to decide who is the bigger problem.

      Personally, I think the use of a common idiom as an idiom should be fine regardless of who uses it. Intemperate language is, of course, risky in a variety of ways. Erik is well aware of this.

      • I do think think I acknowledged in my comment that Mr. Loomis was trying to do spect intro at least a little. I admit I didn’t point out the specific ways in which he was doing so. You pointed out the exact passages from his post, and you are correct.

        Again, it’s not my place to judge or cast stones (although I’ll admit that what I’ve written so far might sincerely be seen as stone-casting).

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          I really don’t understand the goal of your comment. It only makes sense if Erik has been inadequate in his reflection. It seems to me that he’s done enough reflection (e.g., discussing it in more than one post, substantively), and I think the outcome is more or less sensible.

          Your comment close to states that Erik (probably) hasn’t done enough reflection, perhaps because you think his conclusions are wrong.

          But even if one disagrees with Erik’s conclusions, it’s evidently not because of insufficiency of reflection.

      • As to this,

        Personally, I think the use of a common idiom as an idiom should be fine regardless of who uses it. Intemperate language is, of course, risky in a variety of ways. Erik is well aware of this.

        Point well taken.

    • I have to go to work and can’t respond to any more comments. Thanks for those who have engaged me. I’ve in the past (elsewhere) made a lot of snide comments about this blog, but I appreciate the thoughtful comments I’ve been receiving to my own comment.

  10. J.W. Hamner says:

    I post under my real name to help remind myself that anything I say online can come back to haunt me and am very careful to moderate my tone, but it’s important to note what Farley said a few days ago… being careful of your language is sufficient protection against these guys. Many want the scalps (NOTE: For conservative readers, this turn of phrase is known as a “metaphor” and is not meant to imply literal scalping) of their ideological opponents and will clearly use the flimsiest of excuses to come after it.

    Glad you made it through only chagrined.

  11. Bruce Baugh says:

    Erik, in all seriousness, I genuinely think you shouldn’t kick yourself very hard. Let’s start with the basic reality: they lie all the time, and they fabricate charges out of whole cloth, including asserting the direct opposite of the facts of a case, as well as accusing others of doing something awful because of complying with orders the liars themselves put in place. It literally doesn’t matter that you said anything that can be twisted around to be useful. If you hadn’t, they’d have gone ahead and peddled an invention, or hit the next one in line.

    There’s no defense to be had in good behavior, because reality is irrelevant to their hateful fears. Remember Shirley Sherrod.

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with it. What a damn waste of time, energy, and emotion.

    • Tybalt says:

      Remember Shirley Sherrod.

      Indeed, that is one we all should not soon forget.

      Much as I viscerally dislike Erik’s penchant for hair-trigger intemperance, he can’t be angry at himself for this. Erik, you can’t. This wasn’t even a molehill. It was a mountain made our of a pebble. A mountain made out of a melody. They will always invent excuses to try to destroy someone who hits the target.

  12. RedWood says:

    So when do get back to the extremely important work of writing dissertations on homosexual Marxist lumberjacks and their furry forest friends? Surely the world would collapse without such impotant, vital work.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    May peace be upon thee.

  14. bradP says:

    Might not be something you want to get into here, but maybe a post about why you believe LaPierre should be in prison for his advocacy?

    • bradP says:

      Focus on this:

      Calling for someone to be jailed for political advocacy: OK

      Calling for someone to be fired for political advocacy: Not OK

      • Steve LaBonne says:

        Why should he explain anything to somebody as fucking stupid as you? Calling for someone to be fired can quite possibly get them fired. Calling for someone to be jailed is most unlikely to get them jailed.

        • bradP says:

          Haha. Good one.

          • Malaclypse says:

            Why don’t you elaborate on how, as a result of Erik’s undeniable perfidy, LaPierre now has a plausible chance of prison. Focus on “plausible.”

            • bradP says:

              That’s irrelevant.

              Are you saying that I am right in arguing that anything should happen to anyone as long as its implausible?

              Are you also saying that it was plausible to expect a bunch of rightwing dipshits would be able to get Loomis fired over that “head on a stick” comment?

              • Steve LaBonne says:

                It’s irrelevant just because you say so? Guess again, ace.

              • Steve LaBonne says:

                If you don’t know that such things have indeed happened to untenured faculty members, you’re as ignorant as you are stupid.

              • Malaclypse says:

                That’s irrelevant.

                No, Brad, in the real world, plausibility matters.

                Are you saying that I am right in arguing that anything should happen to anyone as long as its implausible?

                I am saying that, when I say “well fuck me like a walrus” that I do not, in fact, wish to be copulated with in a matter more common with sea mammals.

                Really, after several fucking thousand comments, do you still wish to pretend not to understand how language works? Because Christ Fucking Almighty (note: Yeshua bin Joseph had no Greek titles, was not Almighty, and may or may not have fucked), I don’t think anyone here today has the energy for that particular game.

                And while you are not a troll, I’m done feeding you on this topic.

                • John Protevi says:

                  I’m waiting for his answer to my point below before I pass judgement on his troll or non-troll behavior today.

                • mark f says:

                  It’s sort of a weird coincidence that Robert Bork just died, because the first time I took notice of Brad was when he argued that Ted Kennedy’s “forced to have back-alley abortions” line was malicious because Hypothetical Dictator Bork wasn’t going to drag pregnant women into alleys for unwanted abortions.

                  Maybe Brad is a non-native English speaker. Or maybe he’s a robot whose programmers forgot to give him knowledge of common idioms.

                • bradP says:

                  And while you are not a troll, I’m done feeding you on this topic.

                  You aren’t feeding me anything because it doesn’t seem you want to discuss this with me. There is a huge difference between “he should be in jail” and “well, fuck me like a walrus”. So much so that I don’t even know why you would use it.

                  Do you agree or disagree with Erik that LaPierre should be in prison? If Mal was given control of the world, would he imprison NRA members and officials?

                • DrDick says:

                  Well, he is a libertarian and we all no how hard it is for them to grapple with reality.

                • DrDick says:

                  John -
                  I think on this issue, and a few others, he is indeed a troll, though he is not all the time.

              • mark f says:

                Are you also saying that it was plausible to expect a bunch of rightwing dipshits would be able to get Loomis fired over that “head on a stick” comment?

                Let me introduce you to Rachel Ray and her keffiyeh.

              • spencer says:

                Are you also saying that it was plausible to expect a bunch of rightwing dipshits would be able to get Loomis fired over that “head on a stick” comment?

                Yes. It’s highly plausible.

        • bradP says:

          Wait were you trying to be ironic?

          • John Protevi says:

            *You’re* asking this? In a week devoted to malicious disingenuousness about metaphor, you’re thinking Loomis didn’t use “LaPierre should be in jail” as the very common shorthand for “I hope a good DA finds something to charge LaPierre with, gets a grand jury to indict him, brings him to court, and convinces a jury of his peers beyond a reasonable doubt that LaPierre is guilty of the charges brought, and then is thrown in jail”?

            IOW, do you mean if I say “GW Bush ought to be in jail” you think I mean to skip all the pesky legal system stuff and just have Obama throw him directly in jail? Is that what you’re seriously trying to say? Because if it is, that’s really poor work, even for you.

            • bradP says:

              IOW, do you mean if I say “GW Bush ought to be in jail” you think I mean to skip all the pesky legal system stuff and just have Obama throw him directly in jail?

              I think if you say “GWBush ought to be in jail” I think you mean “GWBush deserves to be in jail”.

              I’m assuming that Erik, per his comments, believes that LaPierre deserves be in jail for his political advocacy.

              I would like to hear his argument for why Lapierre deserves to be in jail.

              • Malaclypse says:

                Well fuck me like a walrus.

              • John Protevi says:

                Fuck off, troll.

              • rea says:

                brad, you’re not always a troll, but you’ve gone far over the line today. Dawn take you and be stone to you.

                • rea says:

                  And note–I’m not actually hoping that the rising sun catches brad and that he turns into stone.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I’d like to ask for further clarification, as it appears you have advocated a geocentric view of the solar system.

                • Rhino says:

                  Are you guys sure this is the real brad? Doesn’t feel right to me somehow.

                • DrDick says:

                  Rhino -

                  This is Brad. While he is not always like this, there are a few issues where he goes full on troll. This appears to be one of those. I think is an inherent problem with putting property rights ahead of human rights.

                • bradP says:

                  This is Brad. While he is not always like this, there are a few issues where he goes full on troll. This appears to be one of those. I think is an inherent problem with putting property rights ahead of human rights.

                  This is a problem of perspective. I would like for you to recommend a conservative blog with similar traffic to this one that I’ll regularly visit so you can get a frame for reference. Is there any you would nominate?

              • salacious says:

                For what it’s worth, I don’t think BradP is trolling here. The wingnuts can fuck off, but I would actually be interested in hearing Erik’s answer to the question of whether he thinks LaPierre should actually be imprisoned.

                Of course, if Erik wants to keep his head down given the recent horseshit, that is understandable as well…

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        Did Erik call, in any meaningful way, for anyone to be jailed for political advocacy? Are a few tweets sufficient? What actions were the tweets either intended or likely to trigger?

        Contrariwise, people didn’t just tweet back: “I hope you get fired.” Or “I think you should be fired”. Or “You don’t deserve to be a professor.” They did things like call the FBI and the University (indeed, they called Erik’s ultimate boss). There were people calling for that as well (e.g., in this comment).

        I don’t know that there were any direct calls for Erik’s firing from blog proprietors and there were a round of posts (e.g., Instapundit’s) saying that Erik wasn’t making threats, etc.

        Given e.g., Malkin’s history, I’m not so convinced that the intended effect of all this wasn’t exactly what happened.

        Now, with the possible exception of the call to the FBI (really?!) and some arguably defamatory statements, none of this is illegal. Nor, I think, should it be. There are circumstances in which I think I’d advocate for someone’s firing, even for things they said. I want those to be relatively rare, of course. Probably even exceedingly rare. I prefer them to be cases where there is a direct job connection.

        An interesting case is Brad Delong’s explorations as to whether John Yoo’s tenure should be revoked.

        (Personally, I think even if the case is reasonable, it wouldn’t be worth pursuing because of the potential backlash and precedent.)

    • John Protevi says:

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

    • Murc says:

      Far be it for me to agree with brad, but I kind of agree with brad.

      LaPierre is a scumbag but arguing that he ought to be in prison just seems wrong-headed to me, as does describing the NRA as a terrorist organization. It seems problematic both on technical grounds (it really doesn’t seem like either LaPierre or his merry band of crazies have done anything actionable) and on practical grounds (throwing people in prison for radical beliefs is almost always going to wind up being a tool deployed against reformers, rather than entrenched power interests.)

      • Steve LaBonne says:

        True, it doesn’t make much sense except as a kind of contentless rant, precisely because there’s no plausible mechanism for it happening. Which is not the case with getting somebody fired. Which is precisely why Brad is engaging in a disingenuous false equivalence. So I’m having trouble seeing your point.

        • Murc says:

          Well, I don’t think brad is engaging in bullshit false equivalence, is my point.

          When I say that I want someone in jail or to be fired, it means that I think those things are good ideas, that they’d be desirable, sound outcomes. The validity of those statements is thus dependent on whether or not I’m correct in my assessment.

          The likelihood of either actually happening is irrelevant. I could argue that we ought to pile all the nukes in the world in one place and light them all off at once because it would be awesome. That’s completely unlikely to actually happen, but its likelihood or unlikelihood have no bearing or not on whether it is a good idea. (It is not. It is a stupid one.)

      • John Protevi says:

        Murc, I address this point above. “X ought to be in jail” is common shorthand, innit?

        • Murc says:

          I have always understood “X ought to be in jail” as common shorthand for “I really, truly do believe X ought to be in jail.”

          I mean… is it used differently? I’ve used the term myself; I’ve said things along the lines of “The banksters ought to be in jail” and I absolutely do not mean it as some sort of metaphor; I use it to mean ‘these people have committed actual crimes and should be prosecuted for them and thrown in jail.’

          • John Protevi says:

            yes, that’s what it means, and that’s why Brad is full of shit. You mean that they should be brought into the 21st century American legal system. Brad thinks you mean Obama can just throw them directly in jail. Which he can, unfortunately, but that’s not what you or I or anyone means by the “X ought to be in jail” trope. it means “X ought to be brought to trial and I hope he’s found guilty.”

            • Malaclypse says:

              There was somewhere in the other thread where he said that arguing something should be illegal was exactly the same as engaging in vigilante justice.

              • bradP says:

                There was somewhere in the other thread where he said that arguing something should be illegal was exactly the same as engaging in vigilante justice.

                I didn’t say they were exactly the same.

                And yes, I have been trying to turn this asinine discussion into something productive.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I didn’t say they were exactly the same.

                  You just said you did not understand the difference.

                  And yes, I have been trying to turn this asinine discussion into something productive.

                  You have failed, abysmally, and should now perhaps be remembering rules about holes.

                • bradp says:

                  I said:

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

                  And I thought we had reached a resolution when I pointed out that supporters of anti-sodomy laws are little different from people who actually assualt homosexuals.

                • DrDick says:

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

                  A better example of Libertarian Derangement Syndrome would be hard to even imagine. If you cannot see the difference, then you are totally hopeless.

            • bradP says:

              yes, that’s what it means, and that’s why Brad is full of shit. You mean that they should be brought into the 21st century American legal system

              I’M WONDERING WHY THE FUCK LOOMIS THINKS LAPIERRE SHOULD BE BROUGHT INTO THE GODDAMNED AMERICAN LEGAL SYSTEM

              • John Protevi says:

                Fuck you, troll. Or if you want all-caps, FUCK YOU, TROLL. WHY THE FUCK DO YOU THINK HE THINKS THAT, THE WEEK AFTER THE NEWTOWN MASSACRE?

                • bradP says:

                  So political advocacy that leads to bad/harmful government policy should be a criminal offense?

                • Murc says:

                  WHY THE FUCK DO YOU THINK HE THINKS THAT, THE WEEK AFTER THE NEWTOWN MASSACRE?

                  … what does the timing have to do with the existence, or lack thereof, of LaPierre’s legal culpability?

                • John Protevi says:

                  So political advocacy that leads to bad/harmful government policy should be a criminal offense?

                  Brad Potts, voice of reason, ever vigilant against the gummit. I will type this very slowly so you will understand: “LaPierre ought to be in jail” means “I hope there is a law already on the books that a good DA can spot and bring LaPierre up on charges for, and win at trial.”

                  Now if someone can come up with a legal theory that would lead to passing legislation that passes constitutional muster and that puts LaPierre in jail and the NRA out of business, then I wouldn’t shed a tear, though I have no idea what that theory or that legislation would look like.

                  But seriously, Brad, have you no sense of the LGM community that you would pursue this today? Is your puffed up self-image as Brad Potts, fearless libertarian, really worth that? I guess you really are a selfish little shit.

                • Murc says:

                  “LaPierre ought to be in jail” means “I hope there is a law already on the books that a good DA can spot and bring LaPierre up on charges for, and win at trial.”

                  No offense, John, but saying this without having a clear idea of what, precisely, LaPierre has done that’s illegal seems to violate common usage, and if it doesn’t it should.

                  I mean, maybe I’m wrong about this, but when I say someone should be in prison, I usually have a pretty good idea of why. I don’t mean “a DA should go fishing and I hope they come up with something.” I mean “I am pretty sure in my own mind this dude has committed a crime.”

                • John Protevi says:

                  Well, I think LaPierre ought to be in jail because he’s like a drug pusher, but his particular drug isn’t yet, though it should be, illegal. So I hope we pass laws that make the sale and possession of assault weapons illegal, and that in the meantime, some DA is clever enough to have found LaPierre slipping up somewhere.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  This is fundamentally my view of the matter.

                • bradp says:

                  But seriously, Brad, have you no sense of the LGM community that you would pursue this today? Is your puffed up self-image as Brad Potts, fearless libertarian, really worth that? I guess you really are a selfish little shit.

                  I’m commenting on a blog post, John, and I’m not sure what you are going on about.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I’m commenting on a blog post, John, and I’m not sure what you are going on about.

                  Brad, what do you think will happen to Erik, should he choose to answer your question with the nitpicking level of detail you will demand? Will that help his current problems? You might notice that wingnut track-backs have not, in actual fact, stopped. And we’ve already established that you will do nothing to have Erik’s back should the flying monkeys return.

                  I’m hoping you are just being completely obtuse about this, rather than deliberately malicious.

                • John Protevi says:

                  I’m commenting on a blog post, John, and I’m not sure what you are going on about.

                  Shorter Brad 1: “context, schmontext.”

                  Shorter Brad 2: “fuck all y’all and your ‘community’ stuff. I’m here to get my rocks off about how brave and tough I am to talk reason to the emotional libtards.”

                • bradp says:

                  I acknowledged that Erik may not want to answer, and my question did not obligate him to answer. I have said nothing about Erik not answering me.

                  And I’m not the obtuse one if you think that me throwing my hat into the ring at Crooked Timber would have helped Loomis at all.

                • John Protevi says:

                  If this horse isn’t dead, this is an excellent comment by “Both Sides Do It” over at CT:

                  http://crookedtimber.org/2012/12/20/academic-and-workplace-freedom-open-thread/comment-page-3/#comment-439820

                  So Jonathan Adler wants to claim that Loomis’ statements show he’s in favor of jailing his political opponents for petitioning the government in favor of policies Loomis doesn’t like.

                  ‘Sfunny, because I thought Loomis’ statements show he’s in favor of things like returning the ability for people to sue guns manufacturers by holding them liable for negligence when their products are used in crimes. Which was taken away in a 2005 law. Or allowing RICO prosecutions for violations of federal firearms laws, which has been kicking around Washington since at least 1968. Y’know, measures “that would mean real accountability for causing immeasurable harm,” in Loomis’ words, for both gun manufacturers and the NRA. Measures that have been bog-standard policy components of gun control debates. That’s what I thought Loomis was talking about. And not jailing people for disagreeing with him. ‘Sfunny.

                • bradP says:

                  I’m loathe to engage you on this because I don’t want this to get uncivil again, but Wayne LaPierre isn’t a gun manufacturer, he’s a lobbyist.

                • John Protevi says:

                  Lobbyist, ha. He’s a bag man for a cabal of drug pushers gun manufacturers. At best, he’s a mafia consigliere. I hope they RICO his ass right quick.

                  Yes, I know, I know. RICO has been used against the left and there are lots of dangers in DA fishing expeditions. Still, fuck LaPierre, the NRA, and the gun manufacturers he fronts for.

              • Malaclypse says:

                I’m wondering why you seem to think Erik’s interests will be helped by further poking a wasps’ next, on today of all fucking days. And while I’m at it, I’m wondering why you couldn’t be bothered to sign on and defend Erik over at CT. I guess Principled Libertarianism doesn’t require defending people from actual mobs.

                • bradP says:

                  CT

                  Why would I sign into Crooked Timber and defend Loomis?

                • Malaclypse says:

                  No reason at all, apparently.

                • Sherm says:

                  Why would I sign into Crooked Timber and defend Loomis?

                  Why not? Seriously Brad, why the fuck not?

                • bradp says:

                  Why not? Seriously Brad, why the fuck not?

                  1) Loomis definitely shouldn’t be fired (I do guess I was wrong to think this absurdity might get him fired), but I also don’t think he was right.

                  2) I’m still not sure what the point of going to Crooked Timber and defending him. I was under the impression that Crooked Timber was already a bastion of pro-Loomis talk.

                • Murc says:

                  Why would I sign into Crooked Timber and defend Loomis?

                  .. Jesus Christ, Brad, the one day I think you’ve said something worth defending and you make me look like a tool.

                  Apparently you’re totally fine with the shit-storm unleashed on Loomis, one of our hosts, who has treated you better than you deserve over the years, because he used a commonly-understood metaphor.

                  Or at least, you’re fine enough with it you can’t take literally a minute of your time to register your disapproval over on the big-ass place created to do that.

                  God dammit. I need a drink.

                • Sherm says:

                  God dammit. I need a drink.

                  I might suggest that line to my wife for a my headstone when the day comes.

                • John Protevi says:

                  Well said, Murc.

                • J. Otto Pohl says:

                  I actually would sign on to the letter except that I am permanently banned from CT by Farrell and Quiggin.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  I’m still not sure what the point of going to Crooked Timber and defending him.

                  Why libertarianism is useless, in fifteen short words.

                  The point is to have someone’s back, and if you don’t see the value of that, you have excellently illustrated the self-defeating selfishness at the core of your alleged philosophy.

                  I was under the impression that Crooked Timber was already a bastion of pro-Loomis talk.

                  Not before yesterday. Holy hell, not before yesterday. But they, not being short-sighted libertarians, understood that defending Erik was actually pretty fucking important. And the fact you still don’t see that is really kind of disappointing. I thought better of you.

                • bradP says:

                  .. Jesus Christ, Brad, the one day I think you’ve said something worth defending and you make me look like a tool.

                  I wasn’t aware that the link went to a statement that people were putting their names to. My name and a brief statement are awaiting moderation.

                  I also want to apologize to Erik for being flippant about what he is going through.

                • Murc says:

                  I actually would sign on to the letter except that I am permanently banned from CT by Farrell and Quiggin.

                  The awesomeness of your comment over at RSC’s house of pain is sufficiently high I’d argue you should get a do-over, Otto.

                  The point is to have someone’s back,

                  Exactly.

                  I’m a giant nobody, but I had Loomis back, because that’s the way it works, and that’s the only way it’ll ever work.

                • bradP says:

                  Not before yesterday. Holy hell, not before yesterday. But they, not being short-sighted libertarians, understood that defending Erik was actually pretty fucking important. And the fact you still don’t see that is really kind of disappointing. I thought better of you.

                  My cynicism and “pox-on-both-houses” attitude doesn’t always bring out the best in me.

                  And I was also dense enough to think you were asking why I wasn’t over on CT arguing in defense of Erik.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  And it was not just Crooked Timber. It was Crooked Timber, and all the people sent there from here, from making Light, from Duck of Minerva, from literally dozens of smaller blogs, all of whom realized that it could just as easily have been them that got singled out and made an example of. Anybody could have been the target of that hate-fest. Nearly a thousand people, many of whom probably never heard of Erik before yesterday, understood what was going on. The fact that you apparently don’t might be food for some thought.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  And now that I’ve seen your re-thinking, I take back what I said. I had hoped you had this in you, and I’m glad to see you are the person I hoped you were.

                • bradP says:

                  And now that I’ve seen your re-thinking, I take back what I said. I had hoped you had this in you, and I’m glad to see you are the person I hoped you were.

                  Considering my own tendencies and opinions, I would be exceedingly stupid not to lend my name to a statement like that.

                • Bijan Parsia says:

                  I’m glad that this thread was the result of misunderstanding rather than anything else. I’m glad once the situation clarified for you, Brad, you joined in solidarity.

                • John Protevi says:

                  Oh, God, I guess now I’m going to have to apologize to Brad too. Damn you, Brad, for displaying your mensch-hood like that. Now who am I going to hate on, now that you’re back to your normal (merely exasperating but not hate-worthy) self? So, okay, I’m sorry about the all-caps and the “troll” and all of it.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Now who am I going to hate on,

                  We’ll always have JenBob. And I do mean always.

                • Hogan says:

                  J. Otto: When I signed on to the statement, I mentioned your support as well. We’ll see what happens.

              • DrDick says:

                I’m commenting on a blog post, John, and I’m not sure what you are going on about.

                John -

                You have your answer to your questions.

              • Eli Rabett says:

                RIGHT NOW HE IS RUNNING IT OR HAVE YOU NOT NOTICED?

            • Murc says:

              Brad thinks you mean Obama can just throw them directly in jail.

              … I don’t think he does.

              I mean, I’m not brad, I can’t read his mind.

              But it seems like brad is saying “Loomis is made an argument that Wayne LaPierre deserves to be in prison. Many people have argued that Loomis deserves to be fired because he has committed actions unbecoming of an employee of a respected public institutions. Both of these things are wrong, but the latter is more wrong than the former.”

              I don’t see how this is a bullshit false equivalency.

              • Malaclypse says:

                If LaPierre was selling Laetrile, he could, in fact, be imprisoned. And if someone wishes to argue that the legal system reflect the idea that grounds are more dangerous than Laetrile, that is not inherently an unreasonable discussion.

                • Murc says:

                  Indeed, it is not, but I’m not sure that’s the topic at hand.

                  “Wayne LaPierre has committed his life to pimping dangerous tools of violence that ought not to be legal for civilians” is different from “Wayne LaPierre has already committed crimes and should be in prison.” They required different justifications.

              • Pseudonym says:

                “Wayne LaPierre [morally] deserves to be in prison.” He is a bad person doing bad things that cause harm to innocent children.

                “Wayne LaPierre [legally] deserves to be in prison.” He has committed crimes that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

                Is it that hard to understand that these are both plausible interpretations? I think Dick Cheney deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his life, but I’m not sure there is a valid legal process that would result in that, and I’m hesitant to insist that there should be.

                Loomis, on the other hand, has done absolutely nothing wrong. He is not abetting the murder of schoolchildren. He is not trying to get Wayne LaPierre murdered, imprisoned, or fired for views expressed that are unrelated to job performance.

                In conclusion, bradP can shove his concern up his possibly metaphorical cloaca.

      • Vance Maverick says:

        I am deeply offended that you referred to the NRA as “crazies”.

        Turning to your main point, yes, it’s possible to discuss whether any crimes have been committed, and I’m disposed to agree with you that none have. But that’s not to agree with the rhetoric of Brad’s “hypocrisy!” cheap shot. Erik was working to bring opprobrium on a public figure for his public advocacy as the head of a major advocacy organization. The wingnuts in this episode have been trying to get Erik fired for his independent personal expression.

        • bradP says:

          Turning to your main point, yes, it’s possible to discuss whether any crimes have been committed, and I’m disposed to agree with you that none have. But that’s not to agree with the rhetoric of Brad’s “hypocrisy!” cheap shot. Erik was working to bring opprobrium on a public figure for his public advocacy as the head of a major advocacy organization. The wingnuts in this episode have been trying to get Erik fired for his independent personal expression.

          Would it be ok for anti-choice individuals to start a political movement to shut down and/or imprison pro-choice advocates?

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        (I know I’m late to the party, but…)

        With no access to the interior of Erik’s mind and acknowledging that a lot of distortionary events have occurred, I interpreted those comments as primarily expressions of grief and rage, and the particular content as an expression about moral culpability rather than technical legal culpability.

        Perhaps Erik would argue via some complex mechanism for a legal regime wherein the NRA would be designated a terrorist organization and having an organization role in it be, itself, jail worthy. I would argue against that.

        • Erik Loomis says:

          “With no access to the interior of Erik’s mind and acknowledging that a lot of distortionary events have occurred, I interpreted those comments as primarily expressions of grief and rage, and the particular content as an expression about moral culpability rather than technical legal culpability.”

          One thing that seems to have been forgotten in all of this by a lot of people–I was literally sitting in front of my computer reading the news on the verge of tears. I mean, maybe the lesson is to stay off the writing until calmness has prevailed, but for christ’s sake 26 people had just been slaughtered. If there’s a time for a slightly unreasonable reaction and hyperbolic language, that was it.

          In other words, there’s a huge difference if I had said those things in an article versus a series of tweets as the news is developing. Even as an article it wouldn’t have been that bad, but given the context the response was even more absurd.

          • Bijan Parsia says:

            I mean, maybe the lesson is to stay off the writing until calmness has prevailed, but for christ’s sake 26 people had just been slaughtered. If there’s a time for a slightly unreasonable reaction and hyperbolic language, that was it.

            Yep. As I wrote elsewhere, a relative of mine posted a very uncharacteristic bit of invective about the shooting on Facebook (they deleted it later, at their spouse’s prompting). Yours was not an uncommon reaction.

            Like privacy, intimacy and ephemera are changing as more of our social lives are online. I imagine that it will eventually sort itself out.

  15. RedWood says:

    Remember, kids: “towering with rage” is a perfectly, appropriate, adult response to the horrible earth-shattering injustice of being told “no” to using a laptop at a bar.

    Loomis has issues.

  16. Bill says:

    As someone who has been here from the beginning of the blog but generally only comments on the Night Life-related posts, I’m grateful for another opportunity to register my support for Erik… and to claim credit for anticipating the theme of today’s offering. I guess I’ll be back when we get around to discussing Buddy Emmons’ playing on “The Twenty-Fourth Hour” :)

  17. jhe says:

    I’m pretty bloody angry with myself for using language intemperate enough to open the door to these people to try and change the narrative

    a) It wasn’t that intemperate. Really, it just wasn’t.

    b) The outrage was 100% manufactured with the intent (whether conscious or not) to distract from the real issue.

    Once one of the big dogs decides “that’s the one we’re going to use” the rest of the a-holes follow along. It’s distraction and misdirection and most of all intimidation. I think the NRA stayed out of it knowing that the distraction storm would come at some point. (I’m not paranoid enough to believe it was planned – maybe I should be more paranoid.)

    The intimidation is all part of the package. As another commenter reminded us, many of the Obamacare protests from the Summer of Hate had a “bring your gun” component. The guns, the packing the town hall meetings and the shouting down people were all part of the plan.

    The real lesson to be learned is that the right-wing response to being completely and tragically wrong is to attack, misdirect and if they can personalize and intimidate.

    Banking crisis? It’s really community reinvestment act and Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac (you know, ‘those people’).

    Twenty people gunned down? Video games (interestingly, GTA – no one mentions Call of Duty), mental health (ok, stigmatizing mental health, not, you know, doing anything about it), not enough guns and (bonus) something to grab onto and make a big deal of while intimidating a critic.

    Whether it’s CHIP program poster kid who had Malkin’s flying monkeys peering into his kitchen or Sandra Fluke getting savaged by Rush, it’s the same strategy. We’ve got to stop falling for it and make it really clear what’s happening to people who aren’t paying attention.

    I know you’re feeling beat up, but everyone else needs to look at this and realize that nothing was said that requires apology. There’s no need even to say “well look what they’re saying.” There was no incitement to violence and no threat. None. Obviously, unambiguously none. Anyone who reacted to this like it was a real issue / problem got played. Big time. And the net effect beyond the anguish caused for Prof. Loomis was to distract for several days from the real issue – too many guns and an unaccountable gun industry.

  18. Sargon says:

    Hey, is there anywhere I can find Erik’s dissertation without giving pageviews to R. S. McCain? All these glowing reviews from our troll friend here have actually made me curious about it.

  19. Rich Puchalsky says:

    “I still don’t see what I said as offensive, and certainly not as offensive as supporting policies that allow crazy people to have access to high-powered weapons.”

    You still don’t see? Let’s take all the right-wing nutbaggery and Two Minute Hate as read and agree that you didn’t mean anything that you wrote literally. But when people have to say “No, he wasn’t literally advocating violence against someone” and then later “No, he wasn’t literally clarifying that he wanted someone arrested. He doesn’t have the power to jail anyone” then maybe you should start thinking about what you’re writing. It is, actually, offensive to write that lobbyists should be jailed, if you actually believe what people on the left claim to believe in. Not because people think that you have the power to do it, but because it’s an offensive sentiment.

    I don’t think that you should beat yourself up about it. As people say, the right will seize on anything, real or imagined, and it’s impossible to make it so that the entire Internet does not provide them with something to seize on. But you still don’t seem to understand that yes, it was offensive.

    • Steve LaBonne says:

      And what if I find tone trolling offensive?

      • Rich Puchalsky says:

        Here’s one of Eric’s tweets:

        “Dear rightwingers, to be clear, I don’t want to see Wayne LaPierre dead. I want to see him in prison for the rest of his life. #nraterrorism— ”

        Is that just tone, there? I’m starting to lose track of what’s supposed to be just a figure of speech and what isn’t. Everyone knows that Eric Loomis does not run a private jail. But it’s not offensive that he seems to really want the guy in prison?

        It’s one thing to say “I don’t care that people found my remarks offensive.” In that case, fine. If you don’t care about being offensive, then you don’t care about tone. But it’s not tone trolling to point out that someone really was, when they say that they don’t understand how they were.

        • Steve LaBonne says:

          Offense is in the eyes and ears of the beholder. In the context of the threats made against Erik, I find your repeated tone trolling (you did it on CT as well) far more offensive than anything Erik tweeted. And since you have not been elected sole arbiter of what is offensive, your point of view does not somehow have more weight than mine. Clutch your pearls somewhere else.

        • drkrick says:

          Is that just tone, there? I’m starting to lose track of what’s supposed to be just a figure of speech and what isn’t.

          There’s your problem there. Most of us dealing in good faith don’t find it that difficult

        • Rhino says:

          Worry too much about tone and not enough about reality and eventually you’re admitting that form is more important than substance.

          Maybe it is when listening to French minuets or dining at la bernardin, but not when coping with fucking piles of dead children.

          That is why your trolling is so offensive: because there is a time to worry about table manners and this is not it.

          Please go away unless you have more substantive things to do than shrink on your fainting couch and declare “I never!!”.

      • DrDick says:

        I emphatically find it offensive. Fuck civility and the civility trolls! Give me the truth or shut the fuck up.

    • Leeds man says:

      “yes, it was offensive.”

      I want your magic book which defines what is and isn’t offensive.

    • commie atheist says:

      Wow, this is really dumb.

      In my long life, I’ve wanted to see many people in jail, probably starting with Nixon and Kissinger, and continuing on through the banksters who precipitated the Great Recession. Did someone, somewhere find that offensive? Who gives a flying fuck?

      • Rich Puchalsky says:

        Did Nixon and Kissinger commit war crimes? Did the banksters commit financial crimes? The answer seems to be yes in both cases.

        If the NRA committed actual crimes through its stupid and disgraceful advocacy for gun manufacturers, then you’d have a point. If Eric Loomis had said “Who gives a fuck whether someone thinks what I wrote was offensive” then you’d also have a point. But you can’t be the focus of what Eric Loomis says is a free speech campaign and not believe in freedom of speech. Or rather, you can, but it’s offensive, and you should at least understand why it is.

    • SEK says:

      Rich! I think we all take your point, but I’m not sure this is the time and place.

      (And for the record, Rich is no troll. He’s my oldest commenter, and a pain in the ass, but he’s not arguing disingenuously.)

      • Bijan Parsia says:

        Do we?

        It’s clear that the tweets were intemperate.

        It’s also clear that they were ill-advised (subsequent shitstorm foreseen).

        I find it terribly annoying to have to explain them, whether I’m explaining why idioms with violent imagery do not entail that the rhetoric is eliminativist (while explaining why the category is useful) or explaining why expressing one’s anger and grief in a nominally illiberal way isn’t a big deal (intrinsically). (See below.)

        I feel pretty confident that many similar expressions against guns or the NRA or gun culture or pro-gun control would meet with similar offendedness by people who claimed that Erik was calling for assassinations or jailings.

        Rich wrote:

        But you can’t be the focus of what Eric Loomis says is a free speech campaign and not believe in freedom of speech. Or rather, you can, but it’s offensive, and you should at least understand why it is.

        But it seems rather clear that Erik does believe in freedom of speech, in spite of the tweets intemperate. Part of the evidence from that is the rest of his life. Do we find Erik advocating for government surpression of certain lobbying groups?

        Erik wrote:

        I never wanted to be the subject of a free speech campaign. Usually those are reserved for people who really said something offensive where one has to stand in principle. I still don’t see what I said as offensive, and certainly not as offensive as supporting policies that allow crazy people to have access to high-powered weapons.

        Rich might disagree that equating advocacy for policies which (most of us here believe) result in terrible outcomes with criminal culpability for those terrible outcomes is inoffensive, but I’d guess he’d agree that it’s relatively inoffensive?

        And Rich originally wrote:

        It is, actually, offensive to write that lobbyists should be jailed, if you actually believe what people on the left claim to believe in. Not because people think that you have the power to do it, but because it’s an offensive sentiment.

        And I’m back to “eh”. A lot of people were upset in a lot of different ways. When people are upset they say thing and express themselves strongly. We tend to be and should be more tolerant in those cases.

        Which is compatible with those things being offensive. People venting tend not to offend me. YMMV.

        But I do find Rich’s pushback wrongheaded. I would oppose an attempt to jail someone for (legal) lobbying (e.g., no corruption). But I’m not going to be bothered by someone wishing e.g., that LePierre was jailed. Wishes are free. Enjoy them, even if they’re mean.

        Or to put it another way: I think that a robust commitment to freedom of speech recognises that people have expressive needs and to embrace letting them meet those needs. We should separate venting from speech that proposes or defends offensive sentiments.

        I don’t find Rich’s comments offensive, though, merely wrong headed.

        • Bijan Parsia says:

          And, obviously, as I like Erik, I’m at risk for motivated reasoning. I don’t think I’m special pleading too much. I’m not convinced I would spend a lot of time making arguments in support of someone I loathed, but I believe I’d endorse their application to people I loath.

          I think venting tends to work better and be less risky when done more privately, but I’m also willing to avert my eyes.

    • Tybalt says:

      “It is, actually, offensive to write that lobbyists should be jailed, if you actually believe what people on the left claim to believe in.”

      No it isn’t, because Wayne LaPierre is engaged in a conspiracy to put guns in the hands of murderers and frequently commits fraud to that end. But that’s a disagreement we can have rationally, as you point out, and perhaps another time.

  20. Murc says:

    I guess I have to be more careful on that going forward. Lesson learned.

    … no! Wrong lesson.

    The lesson here is “there are crazy people in the world, and they need to be pushed back again.”

    Second-guessing your language and scrubbing it of anything that might be “offensive” or “misinterpreted” is precisely what the assholes coming at you WANT you to do. They want you to water down your language. They want you to hesitate before you say anything out of fear of the shitstorm they unleash, and they want to neuter you as a writer.

    This is part of the reason our political rhetoric has become so dumbed down in recent decades, why brilliant political minds and people who ought to be great orators write speeches filled with meaningless, bland aphorisms designed not to give offense and written using sixth-grade or lower vocabularies. Why reading press releases and statements from our public institutions and leaders is like reading something produced by an inhuman robot.

    If anything, you should resolve to be MORE intemperate in the future, rather than LESS. Because fuck these people.

  21. arguingwithsignposts says:

    As an untenured faculty person who comments pseudonymously for precisely this sort of reason, I am happy this seems to be subsiding, and glad that some sort of pushback was given against stupid fucks like Malkin, McCain, Reynolds, et. al. And I admire your courage in sticking your name and reputation out there where the jackasses can take a whack at it.

    If anything, this episode shows the need for a robust tenure for academic freedom.

  22. [...] back to Commissar Farley and the LG&M politburo.“Intimidation,” anyone?UPDATE: From comments on Dr. Loomis’s latest opus:RedWood says: December 20, 2012 at 10:42 am Again LOOMIS was the one going on and on (and on) [...]

  23. terry says:

    LGM has the best/worst? trolls on the inter tubes!

  24. uncle rameau says:

    am I tainted by being in a fantasy league with Loomis now?

  25. [...] in the wake of an outcry about his anti-gun tweets (he still can’t see why anyone was offended), he is talking about dildos again. “To be clear, these are historical dildos we talked [...]

    • mds says:

      So they’re still babbling incontinently, like the morally-bankrupt dumbshit jackholes they are, about the sex stuff? I guess they were really, truly outraged about Professor Loomis’ eliminationist rhetoric. Sheesh, you’d think someone had just murdered twenty elementary school students with a dildo instead of the American Right’s favorite sex surrogate.

    • sharculese says:

      Nothing makes the holidays brighter than a news story with the word “dildo” in it.

      Thanks, progressives! Go find something else to ruin.

      He made them obsess about a random twitter comment from whenever ago. Liberal fascism.

      Also, dude in the comments is talking about a plan for all of the to mail Erik dildos in order to prove… something.

  26. Malaclypse says:

    I can’t imagine why White Nationalist McCain keeps thinking about all those dildos.

  27. Sherm says:

    America’s nuttiest professor, Erik Loomis, loves teaching about the history of sexuality…

    That’s quiet a title. Wear it proudly.

  28. rea says:

    Not to beat a (metaphorical, no, really) dead horse, but earlier today I came across this:

    Chris Patten, chairman of the trust, told a BBC interviewer that he saw no reason for taking an ax to the broadcaster’s top management. “The management problems,” he said, “have to be addressed. But I don’t think you necessarily address them by just putting heads on spikes.”

  29. melior says:

    So anyway then… we can haz more This Day in Labor History now?

  30. Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    It’s funny how the right-wingers who are always whining about how PC culture has ruined America because they can’t say the N-word or call people fags and they are such champions of free speech etc., are always the people leading the charge of these witch-hunts.

    • Linnaeus says:

      I mentioned this very thing in another thread. We’ve had “political correctness” of the right-wing variety in this country for a very long time. It was just never called that.

  31. max says:

    320 comments… ah. There is trolling and gay-baiting.

    I still don’t see what I said as offensive,

    It wasn’t illegal, improper or wrong. It was probably offensive for the sort of people who make it their pro-am job to be offended by that sort of thing. Luckily, we have a first amendment, and what you said was just fine under that. Calling in the cops and then going with the death threats was not only wrong and improper (and likely illegal depending on the threat) but also was chickenshit and lame beyond belief. Whether or not our little friends there are gay or not, they are certainly flaming drama queens.

    and certainly not as offensive as supporting policies that allow crazy people to have access to high-powered weapons.

    De gustibus, dude. You were fully entitled to say what you said, and they can say whatever they want to say (excluding death threats, mind), and leave it at that.

    Hang in there, and don’t forget to say again some other time, after you have tenure.

    max
    ['Fuck 'em.']

  32. Grant says:

    Loomis is a pussy.

  33. Fen says:

    Libtard: “I still don’t see what I said as offensive”

    You called for the death of those who don’t share your political values. Spin and whitewash it all you want, we know what you are.

    Thanks for displaying your true colors, and also for outing those associated with you.

  34. Gus says:

    what really bugs me is that because of my intemperate language, we are talking about me and what others said about me instead of the policies of unrestricted ownership of killing machines that led to the death of 26 people in Connecticut last week and thousands around the United States and Mexico every year.

    Well, duh. You don’t think any of the wing nuts who expressed such outrage over your intemperate language really believed what they were saying, do you?

  35. Fen says:

    Sure thing Gus. Because when I say I’m going to put Loomis down, it *really* means I’m going to tuck him into bed. Idiot.

  36. Fen says:

    So who else do you guys want killed? Don’t be shy, you’re already all in. Show us your little list of people you want “beaten to death” because they disagree with you.

  37. Fen says:

    Come on Loomis. I’m sure there will be more dead children for you to abuse as a prop for your gun control rants, but why wait? Tell us who else you want dead.

  38. Jamie Mayerfeld says:

    Erik Loomis, I’m a huge fan of your blogposts. Thanks for your knowledge and insight. I think you’re great.

  39. [...] was in no way an incitement to violence, I’m not a great fan of violent rhetoric like this.  Loomis himself has expressed regret about employing it, if only because it (pretty predictably) became a distraction from the real issues raised by the [...]

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