Subscribe via RSS Feed

Thank You

[ 191 ] December 19, 2012 |

Thanks to Crooked Timber for this, and to Duck of Minerva for this.


Comments (191)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Red Wood says:

    “Gifted young scholarly”? His “contribution” to academia is a screed about homosexual Marxist lumberjacks.

    Erik “Towering with Rage” Loomis must be in full on panic mode, fearing for his career right now.

  2. DrDick says:

    There is also this on Facebook.

  3. srm says:

    It will be a sad day for this nation if Erik is silenced because of a metaphor.

  4. Scott Lemieux says:

    Even to suggest that Loomis’s tweet constitutes a “threat of violence” is an offense against the English language. We are dismayed that the university president completely fails to acknowledge the importance of academic freedom and of scholars’ freedom independently to express views (even intemperate ones) on topics of public importance. This statement—unless it is swiftly corrected— should give alarm to scholars at the University of Rhode Island, to scholars who might one day consider associating themselves with this institution, and to academic and professional associations that value academic freedom.

    Brilliantly put, and unanswerable.

  5. olexicon says:

    Thank you for your diagnosis…may we see your credentials and your dildo expert papers?

  6. Andrew says:

    For what it’s worth, none of these conservatives had any problem with the John and Ken Show’s “Head on a Stick” campaign against allegedly liberal Republicans in California:

    See here and a tasteful visualization here.

    Looks like Patty Cakes defended it at the time.

  7. Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    FWIW I just wrote to URI:

    Dear President Dooley,

    I am just writing to express my disappointment in the way that URI has handled the faux-controversy that right-wing bloggers have created around Erik Loomis’ completely harmless and obvious hyperbolic tweet that said he wanted “Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick”; claiming that it is anything other than the fairly obvious use of a colloquial phrase commonly interpreted as a call for responsibility.

    After 20 children were ruthlessly shot down last week, it is time for the gun lobby and more specifically the NRA to be held accountable for the America they have created. Erik’s tweet made an important point that needs to be shouted from the rooftops of our country. THE NRA NEVER PAYS!! The families hurt, the community suffers, the rest of the country empathizes and we all have to go about being a lot less safe, both physically and psychologically. Aside from the victims, their families, and the first-responders, you know who gets hit the worst? The entire public education system. Teacher’s and parents living in fear, administrations faced with security concerns and an overall environment that is not conducive to learning.

    As a key member of the educational system, URI should be standing with their professor’s right to free speech, rather than cow-towing to obvious attempts by right-wing hysterics to continue to feed the Greedy-Liberal-Ivory-Tower-Academics myth that they have been using for decades to attack teachers, their unions, and the very concept of fact-based education for all.

    I hope the University will change their tune and show some respect to their staff, and the parents and students of America, rather than the screaming lunatics who are just trying to smear Professor Loomis and further their stereotype of Academia.

    I was tempted to end by opining that every complaining gun-nut can “go eat a bag of salty dicks” or something, but given how literal everyone is being recently I didn’t want to cause the artificial inflation of salt prices on the global market.

  8. Warren Terra says:

    Is anyone else unable to reach Weird confluence of events.

  9. John says:

    What an utterly chickenshit response from URI. Unbelievable.

  10. Matthew Giglia says:

    You know what, maybe this is self-aggrandizing of me, but fuck it, I don’t care.

    I’m Murc. Many of you know me from my proud history of ill-thought-out comments. I post using a nym because that nym or some variation of it has been my online name for over a decade now and I have history with it.

    And I’ll continue to do so, but my real name is Matthew Adam Giglia. And I support Erik Loomis, and I don’t care who knows it, and I am proud to have my full legal name associated with him and his blog.

    I’m not anyone important or anything, for all the good it’ll do him, but still.

  11. cpinva says:

    oh.our.god! i just the URI president’s statement. has someone checked, to be sure he hasn’t been replaced by a “pod person”? does this man not realize he’s just put himself, and URI, in the position of possibly being sued for libel & defamation of character, a much more expensive proposition than the costs of tenure?

    mr. loomis, if you have not done so already, i urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to secure the services of competent legal counsel, and start filing civil suits. in consultation with said counsel, prepare a target list, prioritizing them. the president of your university, and the university itself should be on that list.

    your counsel should be in direct contact with their legal counsel, advising them of what’s coming, unless certain, minimum conditions are met. your immediate tenure is the first condition. as i said, cheaper than a lawsuit.

    your legal counsel should also issue subpoenas to the RI state police, requesting all, unredacted records of this incident, to find out who authorized those two troopers to come calling on you, which they had no legitimate business doing.

    this is nothing more than an out of court SLAPP suit, whose purpose is to get you to shut up. their are federal laws against this, use them to your advantage.

    • Warren Terra says:

      I think my favorite part (noted at the Duck Of Minerva) is that not only does the statement make no concession to the intent of Loomis (let alone a defense), it also refers to him as “Erik Loomis” while being signed by “Dr. David Dooley”. One gets their honorific, the other does not. (I was trying to visit URI’s web site to find out what Dooley’s PhD was in, but they’re down).

      PS Has anyone seen input from, say, Dan Drezner or Juan Cole? I seem to recall both had high-profile tenure/recruitment controversies arising from their blogging.

    • actor212 says:

      Given that he was asked to meet the troopers at a gas station (his own description), I’d have to think that was a voluntary appearance, and informal.

      On Facebook this morning, he made it clear the cops thought it was all bullshit anyway.

      • Brandon says:

        It’s still quite a bit of hassle.

        Hopefully they’re following up on whoever filed the false reports.

        • Richard says:

          Waste of time. The jerks who made the reports to state police and the FBI probably said that a URI prof is making death threats and here’s the proof – providing a print out of Erik’s head on a pike comment. That’s not actionable conduct especially when, as here, it didn’t lead to any arrest. That is simply not a false police report.

          Erik knew he didn’t have to meet with the cops but, making the right decision, did so anyway. The cops asked a few questions and that was it. They had every right to ask Erik to answer a few questions and seemed to have done it, according to Erik’s account, in a professional manner.

          The real problem is the lily livered response of the URI president and what it may imply about Erik’s long term prospects at that institution (or other academic institutions). I’m sure Erik is talking to the right people (union reps, other profs, possibly an attorney with a background in dealing with university administrations,etc.

          Talk about lawsuits, subpoenas, defamation, etc is more than a little silly. Erik is a smart guy and seems to be handling this matter as well as possible given the circumstances.

          • Richard says:

            Oh, I sent an email to the Dean in support of Erik and requesting that the school stand up to the principals of academic freedom and free speech instead of caving to these morons.

    • John says:

      Demanding tenure from the university administration as a condition for not filing a lawsuit is a pretty enormous violation of academic self-governance itself. It should be primarily up to Loomis’s colleagues to determine if he should get tenure, and that should be based on the quality of his scholarly work, teaching, and service to the department, not a bribe he gets not to sue the university for defamation.

  12. Leeds man says:

    Probably stupid question: Should the statements of support be made with our real names?

  13. SEK says:

    I take it this means the War With Crooked Timber is officially over?

  14. xxy says:

    I dunno if anyone caught this, my apologies if it already has. But I just have to point it out.

    Yesterday Ann Althouse writes an article defending Scalia’s remarks at Princeton. The title? Why are people having so much trouble understanding rhetorical devices?

    Glenn Reynolds posts it. Headline: Because it’s easier to fake outrage if you play dumb. At 6:25pm.

    Are you kidding me?

  15. Paula says:

    Well, I don’t know you all very well. I don’t come here every day, and when I do I mostly lurk. (I am but lowly clerical worker at a UC and I don’t mingle with professors.) But I blog, I have probably threatened worse to various people/institutions, and I’m sorry that they decided to pick on Loomis. Just sent an e-mail of support for EL to the URI administration.

  16. Uncle Kvetch says:

    The CT thread is at 188 and counting — I’m drawing some much-needed reassurance from that. And following on Murc’s lead, I re-endorsed the CT statement with my full name in addition to my usual handle.

    • Barry Freed says:

      Ditto for me.

    • elm says:

      I endorsed the statement with my real name, but did not attach my nym to it. I’m happy to publicly stand up for academic freedom and metaphors, but I’d rather not have everything I say on line be so quickly traced back to my real identity.

    • gmack says:

      Nearly 500 now, which is gratifying.

      My disgust with this incident is growing the more I think on it. Having followed the smear campaign on Frances Fox Piven, and since I write on welfare rights issues and democratic theory (indeed, I have a discussion of Malkin and others in the introduction to my book that is coming out soon), it’s all too easy for me to see similar things happen to me. It’s not likely, of course. I don’t blog and tend not to be terribly provocative. But as Farley pointed out in his earlier post on this, it’s essential for every academic and every citizen to express solidarity with Professor Loomis and push back: This can happen to anyone who engages in politics and says things that some right winger has decided s/he doesn’t like.

      Glenn Mackin

  17. Leeds man says:

    I just want to give a shout out to Chris Bray. He butted heads with a few of us yesterday, but added his name to the CT statement. Good for you, Chris.

  18. Daniel Nexon says:

    FWIW, Erik, you are very, very welcome. Now off to sign the CT petition.

  19. poco says:

    Well, I delurked at CT to write a supportive statement and have emailed the president of URI with my outrage, appending all the correct designations of title and university.

    Proud of the Eric Loomis Statement Committee at CT.

  20. Joe says:

    I wondered in a comment how important a few trolls were and see that quite sadly they caused a lot of problems. It is pretty sad that the police etc. got involved because of this sick campaign of theirs. But, mea culpa for not taking it as seriously as I should have.

  21. Anna in PDX says:

    Crooked Timber piece is very very well-written. The URI president is an idiot. And the right wingers are impossibly stupid and hypocritical. I am but a lowly bureaucrat so don’t see what good it will do Dr. Loomis but I will try to post a letter direct to URI when their website is back up.

  22. Murc says:

    I hope Erik’s department has a Christmas party, because he is totally going to have the best story there this year. He can totally milk it for free drinks if he plays his cards right.

  23. Kurzleg says:

    Well, I did my best to present an eloquent case via e-mail on behalf of Erik. That I had to do so pisses me off, but at the same time, I’m happy to do it.

  24. bystander says:

    Support to Crooked Timber’s statement affirmed with full “real name” and letter sent to the three administrators in support of Erik Loomis. I don’t have to like Erik Loomis’ position on a *lot* of things to recognize a witch hunt when I see one. Good luck, Dr. Loomis. May you prevail.

  25. Ruby says:

    I fired off a, not violent(!), but not exactly polite email to the addresses listed in the Crooked Timbers post.

  26. JazzBumpa says:

    I sent an email to the URI prez. His email was listed at CT. I signed my real name, etc.

    If interested, you can see it on my blog.


  27. pfc says:

    I just sent the following email to URI:

    Dean Brownell, Provost DeHays, and President Dooley,

    I write to you as a proud alumnus of the University of Rhode Island (class of 1980), in regards to the statement the President Dooley has issues regarding the Erik Loomis’ tweet regarding Wayne LaPierre.

    Frankly, I expected more of the institution where I received such a fine education. After the horrific massacre in Newton CT, Erik Loomis said that he wanted “…LaPierre’s head on a stick.”. And then to distract the country from the real tragedy of people, especially school children, dying in a school setting, which is something I think should be of especial significance to the three of you, the pro-gun lobby began to make noise about Professor Loomis’ words. In order to take the focus away from where it should be, they tried to make us all talk about someone supposedly calling for LaPierre’s assassination.

    I took many classes at URI where we learned the use of metaphor in literature, philosophical discussions, and rhetoric. It was clear that this was intended as a metaphor for holding Mr. LaPierre responsible for his actions.

    To issue the statement that URI issued, shows only cowardice on the part of your administration. There was nothing about Professors Loomis’s tweet that the University needed to get into in any way.

    I am no less proud today of the education that I received at the University of Rhode Island. I am however, not proud at all of the actions of the school’s current administration. You expect better of your students sirs and ma’am (or at least your predecessors did). I expect better of you.

    Thank you for your time,
    Peter Caswell, B.S.C.S. 1980.

  28. I have written a letter in support of Erik and posted it here:

    Dean Winnie Brownell, Provost Donald DeHays, President David Dooley,

    I write in support of Prof. Erik Loomis. Prof. Loomis is a brilliant, insightful, and talented writer and thinker whose extra-academic pursuits have contributed to the greater flourishing of knowledge in our society. Over the last few days he has been targeted by a purely political smear campaign because he is an easy target for an extremist political movement raging against a moment of helplessness. I strongly encourage you, as leaders among the guardians of the flame of the academy and caretakers of a venerable institution of public learning, to support Prof. Loomis in this hour. While Loomis’ extra-academic activities are not technically within the bounds of his duties as a professor, the erudition and incisiveness of his writings, his broad audience, and his critical acclaim bring credit upon the University of Rhode Island, and are precisely the emerging forms of increased engagement with a broader audience that the academy, especially the public academy, should be encouraging. Academic freedom is not a laissez-faire institution; it requires those charged with ensuring it to wield their shield proactively, to not merely acknowledge the security of intellectuals to pursue ideas but to vigorously affirm them, including and especially at difficult hours. I hope you will use this opportunity to do so.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.