December 19, 2012

I KNOW I HAVEN’T: Don’t get too excited about Professor Loomis. “Professor Loomis’ vivid tweets are not actionable threats. That is to say, they aren’t ‘true threats’ outside the protection of the First Amendment.”

That’s right. They’re just hate-filled “eliminationist rhetoric” of the sort that lefties are always accusing people on the right of, but seem to engage in rather a lot themselves. Not a firing offense, but certainly worthy of widespread mockery.

Related thoughts from Joshua Trevino: “One could hardly defend Loomis and his record on the merits. Nevertheless, one can note that this might not be, well, justice. My only interactions with the man revealed him to be offensive and somewhat dim: he loathes Texas, is a rather pedestrian academic-left radical, and seems to have problems moderating his tone online. These are bad things. (And, reversing the ideological direction, it is not wholly unlike myself.) But they are not the whole man: and they don’t rise to the level, in my book, of wanting to render him bereft and ruined. . . .He earned his opprobrium, but not his destruction.”

UPDATE: Badger Pundit writes: “Nice post on Loomis. Especially classy after the Crooked Timber profs accused you of being the ‘witch hunt’ ringleader. The Crooked Timber profs aren’t exactly open to explaining what the heck is the ACADEMIC FREEDOM interest they’re defending (as Loomis’s tweets were part of his private life, i.e., not related to his academic field.)”

Ringleader? I never even mentioned his name, and I came to the story after lots of other people. But I’m used to bogus charges from the Crooked Timber gang. Which is why I hadn’t seen that, since I no longer read them.

But hey, if you want to argue that “head on a stick” isn’t any sort of eliminationist rhetoric, well, duly noted. (But if it was just a metaphor, what about the subsequent reference to settling for imprisonment for life? Is that some colorful metaphor that I’ve somehow missed?) Anyway, I’m sure that if someone makes a similar statement about Barack Obama, the Crooked Timber folks will rush to defend the colorful metaphor involved. Though certainly Sarah Palin was pilloried for metaphors that were far less colorful.

UPDATE: Free speech academics rally around academic who wanted to shut down NRA free speech. “I don’t think Loomis should be fired, but that doesn’t mean he should be free from criticism. And he certainly is not a hero of anything. He’s just a guy who wanted to deprive others of the rights he claims for himself.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: “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.”

Plus, how Crooked Timber sanitized Loomis. “It turns out, by the way, that Crooked Timber also misled by omission. Everyone knows that the expression ‘head on a stick’ is a metaphor, and that is how Crooked Timber defended Loomis. But see here for some of his truly vile comments. Crooked Timber quoted none of these.”"