Bedbugs and ballyhoo
Ladies and gentlemen, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN!
But seriously. Noted free-speech maven Bret Stephens, conservative columnist for the New York Times, was called a metaphorical “bedbug” by David Karpf, a media professor at George Washington University. Bret decided, like all good white Republicans, to speak to Prof. Karpf’s manager, writing Karpf an email excoriating him for his comparison, and cc’ing his school’s director.
Now, mind you, Karpf’s original tweet received 9 likes and no retweets. Karpf hasn’t @’ed Stephens in his tweet. Someone brought the twee to Bret-man’s attention, at which point he exploded. One can argue, possibly, perhaps, that in his effort to defend his honor, Bret brought way more attention to the insult than if he had just let the matter lie.
Of course, Bret normally is a paragon of free speech. He defended Tucker Carlson calling Iraqis “monkeys.” He defended Charlie Hebdo and its Islamophobic covers. He, in fact, defends speech which actually harms others. But when its directed at him, he suddenly gets the vapors.
He challenged Karpf to meet him in Temecula and call him a bedbug to his face. If that’s a standing invitation, I fear for the traffic conditions in his tony neighborhood, as lines of cars converge on his brownstone to call him a few choice words. It’s not a standing invitation, because Bret Stephens is a coward, who can dish it out in the hallowed pages of the Paper of Record, but when confronted with his own medicine, quits Twitter in a fit of pique.
As of this writing, “Bret Stephens” is the top trend on Twitter. I imagine this isn’t how he envisioned things turning out. He’s a laughingstock, mocked by women and LGBTQ people and people of color, who get actual death threats on the regular on that cesspit. He was called a bedbug, and lost his shpadoinkle. Stephens is the kind of conservative Never Trumper with whom we can have no truck. He’s just upset that Trump is ruining his grift. He really, deep down, has no problem with Trump’s beliefs, just his loucheness. He should try living with the hate someone like Imani Gandy or Charlotte Clymer get daily to see what real abuse is like. They’d love “just” being called “bedbugs”.
Goodbye, Bret. Maybe you’re really not cut out for public life.
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