Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Salute to the Captain

I have been reading a bunch of posts at right-wing blogs about Deb Frisch, until today a psychology professor at the University of Arizona, and a (supposedly) liberal blogger.

Frisch got into a flame war at Protein Wisdom, Jeff Goldstein's blog, and apparently wrote some very vile comments, threatening Goldstein's two-year-old son among other equally repellent sentiments. I use the word "apparently," because Goldstein's site is down as the result of a Denial of Service attack, and it's all too easy to distort and misrepresent what others have said when you take snips of quotes out of context.

However, in this case, Frisch herself has acknowledged that her comments were "nasty" and "over the line" in a semi-apologetic post she put on her blog. Here is the bulk of what she wrote:

I wrote some inflammatory comments at a blog by a guy named Jeff Goldstein called protein wisdom that infuriated many bloggers and commenters. Many of these bloggers emailed my boss at the University of Arizona to tell on me.

In hindsight, the things I wrote were over the line of nastiness. I apologize to Mr. Goldstein.

I have resigned from the University of Arizona so there is no need for other enraged people to write to administrators there. I am a temporary worker there and I am in Oregon for the summer.

Some blogs have posted comments that I perceive to be physically threatening. I have contacted the FBI and the Pajamas Media staff to determine how to proceed with this aspect of this unbelievable experience.

My intention in this post is to de-escalate the situation. The comments that started this all were nasty, not threatening. But I feel very threatened by the response.

Jeff - I lost my job. You won. Could you call off the troops?

UPDATE: I have been receiving emails alluding to the fact that I got fired. I was not fired. I resigned. I was not pressured to resign. I just sent my boss an email explaining what was happening and told him I thought it was best for all involved if I resigned.

Protein Wisdom has been down since this all started so it is not possible to see all the comments and everything that led up to this. People are posting snippets of what I posted that have been embellished with references to french kissing and other things I didn't say.

When and if protein wisdom comes on line again, it will be hard to tell what Jeff added or deleted to the transcript.

Another reason I'm posting on this (and actually, this is the primary reason I'm posting on this) is to highlight Ed Morrissey's response to the Frisch fracas. Morrissey is the blogger behind Captain's Quarters; and although I almost always disagree with his opinions, I have noticed that he is consistently fair and measured in the way he expresses his opinions. Specifically, he is the only one of all the right-wing bloggers whose posts are linked from Memeorandum who does not make Frisch a spokesperson for the entire left blogosphere. Indeed, he goes one step further and actually points out that Frisch's hateful writings have nothing to do with her political orientation -- plus, he refuses to use the fact that Frisch wrote her comments from her University of Arizona e-mail account as an opportunity to jump to the conclusion that the University has sloppy hiring policies:

... [R]egardless of whether you agree with Jeff's politics or not, we should all join in condemning this kind of attack on anyone. I'd condemn this kind of sick, perverted threat if it was aimed at anyone in the blogosphere. Nor do I think this is indicative of anyone's politics; I've had plenty of debate even with hard-Left bloggers and commenters without ever encountering anything like this. Namecalling is petty and childish, but it goes with the territory and immature people across the political spectrum engage in it. These threats have nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with intimidation, a kind of terrorism, in its way.

The Univeristy of Arizona is a fine institution -- in fact, the Admiral Emeritus is an alumnus of the school. We root for them every year when they play ASU and USC. One hopes that the adults in charge will investigate this immediately to determine whether Frisch sent these e-mails herself (they came from her university e-mail account, apparently), and if so, that they kick her out ASAP. The FBI should also investigate what Frisch intended by her reference to Jon Benet Ramsey, if she was the one who wrote it.

In the meantime, bloggers across the spectrum should denounce these threats as the sick, perverted, and unacceptable rantings they are, regardless of their author and their intended target.

So thank you, Ed. I agree with you that there is no room and no excuse for threats, personal attacks, and vicious rhetoric in the blogosphere -- or anywhere -- regardless of what political philosophies we come from.

UPDATE: Ace was also fair enough to note that threatening Frisch in return is "definitely not cool."

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