[Rushtalk] Oh, Boy!

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Wed Dec 19 20:22:13 MST 2012

Professors decry ‘witch hunt,’ rally around Erik 
Loomis in name of ‘academic freedom’

Posted at 9:46 pm on December 19, 2012 by Twitchy 
Staff | 

-- Profs defending private tweets of 
@<https://twitter.com/ErikLoomis>ErikLoomis won't 
say what the "academic freedom" interest is. 
Badger Pundit (@thebadger14) 
19, 2012

Eight professors have joined together to issue a 
statement in support of University of Rhode 
Island assistant professor Erik Loomis, who last 
week tweeted that he 
NRA executive vice president ”Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick.”

The authors of the statement, 
on the blog Crooked Timber, defend Loomis’ tweet 
as an example of metaphor and say their defense 
was “pulled together on an emergency basis” ­ 
perhaps explaining why distinguished academics 
would cite the Urban Dictionary as their source 
in explaining what “head on a stick” means, as 
well as their omission of his retweets of other 
violent metaphors wishing for those who support 
arming teachers to be “beaten to death” and Dick 
Morris to be 
down and skinned for breakfast.

Nevertheless, Loomis has found defenders in 
academia, who worry that “his lack of tenure 
makes him vulnerable,” a state of affairs the 
rest of us who don’t enjoy the defense of 
“academic freedom” ­ that is, ”scholars’ freedom 
independently to express views (even intemperate 
ones) on topics of public importance” ­ face 
every day while arguing our beliefs in the public 
sphere. The fact that Loomis’ tweets seemingly 
had nothing to do with his teaching or his field 
of study further stretches the idea that 
academics should enjoy special protection from 
criticism. Meanwhile, the authors of Loomis’ 
defense call on university administrators to 
 the protections of the First Amendment” 
while overlooking a call for the head of a proponent of the Second Amendment.

We at Twitchy wish harm on no one, but Loomis’ 
public tweets and retweets were enough to 
a statement from the University of Rhode Island 
distancing the school from them. Supporters who 
made no mention of the ugliness of Loomis’ 
Twitter activity were quick to call the criticism 
of Loomis an “ugly, vindictive witch hunt.”

I'm the opposite of an Erik Loomis fan, but I 
endorse every word of this: about the ugly, 
vindictive witch hunt at him <http://is.gd/WVoDzC>is.gd/WVoDzC­
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) 
<http://twitter.com/#%21/ggreenwald/status/281531446542344192>December 19, 2012
I stand with Erik Loomis. 
<http://bit.ly/12qb6zB>bit.ly/12qb6zB Malkin & 
her goons once tried to get me fired, which failed miserably.­
Matt Browner Hamlin (@mbrownerhamlin) 
19, 2012
The fact that the first urge Michelle Malkin had 
upon hearing about 20 dead kids was to find 
someone to try to get fired says it all.­
Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) 
19, 2012

Try to get fired? Is that a metaphor for reposting someone’s own words?

So I see the RWNJs are ginning up a fake outrage 
campaign against a college professor who used a 
metaphor. <http://po.st/oAKctG>po.st/oAKctG­
Tom Tomorrow (@tomtomorrow) 
19, 2012
stood up for Sarah Palin when people excoriated 
her for using a metaphor, didn't he?­
Jim Treacher (@jtLOL) 
<http://twitter.com/#%21/jtLOL/status/281549104721575937>December 19, 2012

No, but you see, there’s an important 
rhetoric ­ um, metaphor ­ wasn’t acceptable when 
Sarah Palin now-famously used an image of 
crosshairs on an election map. But as 
defense of Loomis on the blog Lawyers, Guns & 
Money informs us, “Rhetoric is only ‘violent’ 
when its intent is encourage violent acts to a receptive audience.”

So while Palin’s map stands as an example of 
violent rhetoric, the statement that declares 
Loomis to be in the “the crosshairs of the state 
and his employer” is not. As long as we’re having 
fun with metaphor now, let’s all call for heads on sticks.

I’d like to see the University of Rhode Island’s 
president’s head on a (metaphorical) stick: 

Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) 
19, 2012
I want Glenn Reynolds' head on a stick­
Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) 
<http://twitter.com/#%21/DanaHoule/status/281517005847281664>December 19, 2012
I want Michelle Malkin's head on a stick­
Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) 
<http://twitter.com/#%21/DanaHoule/status/281517059404353536>December 19, 2012

Is that what Loomis’ defenders meant when they 
called for supporters to “Be polite, be civil, be 
firm”? We’d prefer to call for cooler heads to 
prevail, and we’ll assume our “metaphor 
illiterate” readers know we don’t mean that literally.

Metaphor illiterate get Rhode Island prof in 
cross hairs (not literally! we hope!) over 

Duncan Murrell (@dvmurrell) 
<http://twitter.com/#%21/dvmurrell/status/281563801529249793>December 20, 2012
Let's call it what it is: an attempt to silence a 
blogger critic of the NRA. <http://is.gd/WVoDzC>is.gd/WVoDzC­
Leo Casey (@LeoECasey) 
<http://twitter.com/#%21/LeoECasey/status/281548840404934656>December 19, 2012

Again, we see no attempt to silence; in fact, the 
“right-wing witch hunt” arose from little more 
than (metaphorically) holding up a megaphone to 
Loomis’ existing speech. Was Loomis “forced” to 
delete his Twitter account, 
another blog asserts, or to remove his university 
affiliation from his profile? Twitchy and other 
bloggers have no such power, and we wouldn’t use 
it if we could. In the meantime, a vigorous debate over guns continues.

But if we as a nation are truly going to have a 
“conversation” about guns in the wake of the 
unspeakable Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, let’s 
say what we mean, and stand by it.


journo Mike Elk sad about death threats to death threat connoisseur Erik Loomis

Erik Loomis criticized Sarah Palin for ‘violent rhetoric’

retweet by disgraced Rhode Island prof Erik 
Loomis: ‘Hunt down Dick Morris like a pig’

Island professor Erik Loomis deletes his Twitter 
account; Update: What is he hiding?

of Rhode Island professor’s retweet: Murder 
anyone who thinks teachers should be armed; 
Update: Police met with prof; Update: University issues statement

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