RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Too much free speech for Ari Kohen

Yesterday, UNL Poli. Sci. professor Ari Kohen wrote a paean to freedom of speech, in defense of the site UNL haters, which collects what they have deemed are offensive tweets by UNL students. And many of these tweets are undoubtedly prejudiced and small minded.

Great. Unfortnately, Professor Kohen decided to mention that one UNL faculty member (moi) was featured, and that I should be embarrassed for myself. he also nicely grouped me with the rest of the tweets, stating ('their' refers to the students and myself)

The government isn’t legislating their ability to post hateful things about Asians on Twitter because, as private citizens, they can say whatever inane things they want to say. That’s free speech right there.
Well it is, and Kohen is also comparatively free to publish libels like the above, since it's very hard to sue for libel. So, since I'm a big free speech maven myself, I confronted Professor Kohen, as you can see from the comments of the article. I pointed out that, while I had been accused of sexism, I had in fact been defending Deb Fischer, a woman running for the Nebraska Senate seat, against a man who had adopeted a pardody version of the female candidate, using a name derivative of a porn movie, and had proceeded to post a series of crude and misgynistic posts supposedly in the name of Senator Fischer. Kohen, as you can see, tried to defend the accusation of sexism, but eventually gave up. He tried to claim he hadn't attacked me, only to snidely continue to link me to various racist student posts about Asians:
I recognize that, like many of the students featured there, you feel that your comment was entirely appropriate.
...and then finally, even though he posted the original smear, asked me why I was reading his posts. Apparently 'free speech' doesn't include the freedom to object when Kohen trashes one's good name. His last pathetic plea, after an exchange of maybe a dozen tweets and and equal number of blog posts, was to whine plaintively
Leave me alone, for God's sake.
It appears free speech is fine when Kohen smearing someone, but not fine when the recipient of his smears refuse to lie down and instead fight back.

Running chicken, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. So typical of Kohen. Your comments ring with truth in the context of my experience with this self-absorbed, egocentric, intellectual conman. He peddles his poisonous bitterness toward America and its traditions as cosmopolitan, urban, egalitarian humanism. Take off his mask and you have a rabid, quasi-Marxist hater. Students should beware.