Suck it up, cupcake

Rex Huppke has your number, fragile little men. What’s with all the bold brave conservative guys rushing to demand satisfaction for being called mean names?

…following news there was an outbreak of bedbugs in the New York Times newsroom, David Karpf, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University, jokingly tweeted: “The bedbugs are a metaphor. The bedbugs are Bret Stephens.”

Hardly anyone saw the tweet, as the professor at that point had few Twitter followers. But Stephens saw it — and it hurt his feelings. So much so that he sent an email to Karpf and the university’s provost, writing: “I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face.”

Stephens was clearly trying to leverage his status as a Times columnist to get Karpf in trouble, all because he was mad the professor called him a bedbug. So much for Stephens’ worries about “the job security of professors.”

Jesus. Stephens writes opinions on one of the most prominent media platforms out there, and further, he’s one of the most despised conservative extremists at the NYT, and he lashes out at a mild insult? Try being a woman expressing a preference for a movie to her few followers on Twitter. She’ll get a thousand times the rage that Stephens gets, and she’ll deserve it far less. She’ll probably deal with it with far more equanimity than Bretbug. (He really is verminous pest who ought to be steamed out of the press, anyway.)

I’m humblingly low on any kind of media ranking, but I get constant, substantial harassment. The biggest noise was when Stuart Pivar tried to sue me for $15 million, or Michael Shermer blustering and threatening and sending me cease & desist letters, but I also get constant attempts to get me fired — remember Comma, the Sovereign Citizen who was dunning the board of regents with conspiracy theories? There are lots more examples of that kind of thing that I haven’t even bothered to mention. Another thing I don’t mention: over the years, there have been multiple instances of people setting up Pharyngula parody blogs, or even more petty, blogs that no one reads that attempt to rebut every post I put up. These are usually created by disgruntled ex-commenters who got banned, and have to express their resentment. Yeah, I get called worse than “bedbug”. I don’t care. I know these things will fade away in time.

And, of course, I’m getting sued by Richard Carrier for daring to investigate accusations of sexual harassment against him. You’d think, if he were confident that the accusations were false, that the appropriate reaction would be to welcome an investigation, but no — he lashed out with a set of absurd lawsuits against multiple people.

I know from experience. It turns out that poking your head up and criticizing the status quo will draw out swarms of delicate little flowers (strangely, all men so far) who will try to destroy you, often while piously declaiming the importance of Free Speech out of the other side of their mouth. Bret Stephens is just the latest, most prominent example of white male fragility. Would you believe he’s even comparing himself to persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany because a college professor called him a bedbug?

Maybe I’ve been underestimating my power. They wouldn’t be trying to suppress me if I were harmless, after all.

P.S. I may be an immensely dangerous college professor, but I still need help. There is a group of us being currently sued, and we need donations to cover the legal costs. If you can help out, we’d appreciate it!

P.P.S. The next big event in that case is September 24th, in a Minneapolis court. I’m not sure where or what time yet, but I’ll let you know when it gets closer, in case anyone wants to show up and listen to our lawyer orate eloquently.

P.P.P.S. Will no one think of the bedbugs?


  1. raven says

    There is a group of us being currently sued, and we need donations to cover the legal costs. If you can help out, we’d appreciate it!

    Hopefully, it gets classified as a SLAPP suit, so you can recover your legal and attorney fees from Carrier.
    I would in any case, counter sue to try to get that money back.

    I’m in for a few more bucks. Again.
    This seems to be an annual recurring expense.

  2. raven says

    I’d never even heard of Bret Stephens.
    For good reasons, from Google search, he is a nonentity, a substandard mind who has nothing worthwhile to say.
    Which isn’t to say he isn’t completely uninteresting.
    He is not too bright in an amusing clown sort of way.

    He believes human caused global warming is happening but it isn’t going to be a problem.
    Meanwhile, we deal with the impacts of global warming nearly every day.
    The latest are the huge fires in the Amazon, (there goes part of our oxygen supply i.e. 6%) and the category 4 hurricane, Dorian, heading towards Florida.
    (While not every climate event can be blamed on global warming, longer droughts and stronger hurricanes are a prediction of our climate models.)

    He also advocated and defended the Bush II Iraq war.
    A war that killed two of my friends for no good reason along with a few hundred thousand other people.
    It’s too bad hell doesn’t exist for people like Bret Stephens.

  3. Rieux says


    According to the public filings on the Minnesota federal district court’s PACER site, the hearing on your motion to dismiss Carrier’s lawsuit is scheduled for 1:30 P.M. on September 24 in the Devitt Courtroom in the federal court building in downtown St. Paul. I’ve argued cases in that building, but I confess I don’t remember which floor the Devitt Courtroom is on. (It’s not a huge building, FWIW.)

    It appears that the hearing was originally scheduled for mid-August in the Fergus Falls federal courthouse (which, just to be confusing, is also named after Mr. Devitt), but it got moved.

    Presuming I don’t get kidnapped by my own legal work, I very much intend to be in attendance for the hearing. Give ’im hell!

    Rieux, Twin Cities attorney and former frequent Pharyngula commenter

  4. Stuart Smith says

    “Will no one think of the bedbugs?”

    Honestly, ever since I made the mistake of learning about their reproduction, I try not to think about them at all.

  5. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Bedbugs should also be very unhappy with the comparison with a RWNJ opinion writer.

    Fortunately, they haven’t figured out how to send tweets to Provosts & file bogus lawsuits.

  6. wzrd1 says

    That the individual reacted so and that the caller also used bedbug suggests one thing in common.
    Both are suffering from a bedbug infestation.
    It’s cheaper, both in effort and experienced itching, paranoia over dots moving about that are merely motes of the eye, to simply end the infestation, rather than using demeaning and linked to one’s pain epithets that are ever so revealing.

    Full disclosure, I’m in a very similar situation, but the bedbugs infesting our home have a severe problem with a pathogen I introduced, plus a nerve agent that they’re sensitive to.

    Now, whatever happened to simply calling out defective political stances, rather than project one’s own infestation(s) upon one’s adversary?

  7. gijoel says

    I’m amazed at how thin skinned the ‘right to offend ‘ crowd are. Take this for example.

  8. maeve57 says

    Here’s another delicate little flower. I saw him barking on Twitter.

    [link removed]

    Won’t be long before that broflake decides to sue you for some made-up reason.

  9. ck, the Irate Lump says

    wzrd1 wrote:

    That the individual reacted so and that the caller also used bedbug suggests one thing in common.
    Both are suffering from a bedbug infestation.

    Apparently some context is required. There was recently a story that revealed that the NYT headquarters may currently be suffering from a bedbug infestation. So, the obvious joke was to point to a person you dislike at the institution, and claim that the article was talking about them, which is exactly what this professor did. Bret was one of the many “#NeverTrump” hires at the so-called “Liberal Media” institutions in the wake of the Trump election, and this opposition to Trump (his rhetoric, not his policies) seems to be his only real qualification for the job.

    He also wrote, Free Speech and the Necessity of Discomfort, because of course he did.