Apr 14 2006
03:02 pm

You've probably heard by now that Bill Hobbs is leaving his job at Belmont University. He hasn't said one way or another, but speculation on the internets is that it has something to do with an article in the Nashville alt-weekly about a "cartoon" he posted on some shadow blog of his. Michael Silence has the complete blog roundup.

Having also been the victim of stalking and threats by an alt-weekly, which led to an unfortunate chain of events that ended in me shutting down my previous blog after being "outed" in the mainstream daily paper (which ironically has much larger circulation than the alt-weekly that made threats but never actually carried through on them) I guess I'm obligated to have an opinion. After the jump...

It sucks.

Is Bill Hobbs an opinionated, egotistical jerk? Mostly. Is he a partisan right-wing hack who doesn't cut anybody any slack? You bet. Was his "cartoon" distasteful and borderline racist? Probably. Was posting his "cartoon" stupid and ill-advised in light of how it might reflect on his employer and the political campaign he was advocating? Most likely. Did he deserve to lose his job over it (if that is in fact what happened)? No.

I'd venture to guess that Hobbs just said what lots of Tennessee conservatives, including some folks at Belmont, were thinking but were too politically correct to say themselves. That doesn't seem fair, does it? It seems like a fellow ought to be able to have and express his own opinions outside the workplace without fear of retribution or media witch hunts and hit-pieces.

But that's not how it works in real life. Trust me on that one.

Anyway, Hobbs is probably better off. He'll find another job somewhere with an organization that respects free speech. Like maybe a less conservative, more progressive outfit. Anyway, I hope Bill Hobbs and his family will be OK. It's just blogging, folks. Pixels arranged on a screen. People take this shit way too seriously.

OK, then.

UPDATE: Lots more roundup at Nashville is Talking. Start at the top and scroll down.

volvosnlattes's picture

As one who was familiar with

As one who was familiar with so many of his posts over much time at the old SKB, though NOT a reader of his blog (masochism's not my thing), I'd say Mr. Neal's comments were spot on and covered the matter as well as is warranted.

volvosnlattes's picture

P.S. edit

"his" being Hobbs's, of course.

Jeanne's picture

What Would Conservatives Do?

Hobbs is fortunate to have the support and sympathy of the entire blogging community. Imagine the situation with a progressive losing a job over, say, a Bush/Hitler cartoon. Would there be unanimous support from the right? References to First Amendment rights no matter how “wrong” the opinion?
We would hear about personal responsibility and irrational hatred of Bush and America. We would hear about that American taliban, the ACLU, no doubt poised to come to the defense of the terrorist supporting, freedom hating, morally bankrupt lefty communist.
Does knowing this affect liberals’ support for Hobbs?
Does Hobbs understand this and will it make him a better person, better writer, better American?
Sadly, no.

Bill Hobbs's picture

Thanks, Randy

Randy, Thanks for your post. I did a stupid thing and am paying a price for it. I'm also learning from it. I know you and I have different views on lots of issues, but I have always appreciated your willingness to engage in debate with civility.

Bill Hobbs's picture

Alt-Weeklies and Bloggers

Randy, given your collision with the Metro Pulse and mine with the Nashville Scene, I wonder if alt-weeklies feel more threatened by bloggers and related online interactive media than do the big dailies. Alt-weeklies are supposed to be fearless and willing to tackle uncomfortable subjects and challenge the establishment, but increasingly they are owned by moneyed chains that are part of the establishment, and increasingly less likely to challenge that establishment.

Grassroots-run blogs and related types of online interactive media, especially forums like the old SKB and mine, have more freedom to do the jobs the alt-weeklies claim to be doing. Perhaps they fear that.

Number9's picture

owned by people that are part of the establishment

Alt-weeklies are supposed to be fearless and willing to tackle uncomfortable subjects and challenge the establishment, but increasingly they are owned by moneyed chains that are part of the establishment, and increasingly less likely to challenge that establishment.

Here is an example of what you just wrote about Bill. It doesn't matter who wrote it what matters is that it was published. It advocates voter disenfranchisement. But the Metro Pulse did have a article on bondage last week so I guess it is okay. According to the Metro Pulse we are supposed to bow down before the Republican/Democrat Party. They, and only they, have the wisdom and in this case the authority, to select our candidates.


9th District, Seat A — Larry Clark is out, thankfully, and we hope the Republicans come up with a good candidate, since there is no Democrat on the August ballot.

5th District, Seat C — A vote for John Griess wisely sends the decision to the Republican Party.

4th District, Seat A — A vote for term-limited John Schmid will put the decision for an August candidate in the hands of the GOP, where it belongs in this instance.

3rd District, Seat A — Wanda Moody is term-limited out, but a vote for her in the GOP primary insures the best bet for a good August candidate.

2nd District, Seat B — Billy Tindell, who can’t succeed himself, deserves your vote, so the Democrats can pick an eligible candidate to stave off any write-ins.

Eleanor A's picture

So, does anyone else

picture R. Neal sitting around smoking a stogie through a long holder, a la Hunter Thompson?

I get the feeling that, were the mainstream media not so corrupt and venal, Neal woulda made a hell of a muckraker.

JustJohnny's picture

this stinks....

I haven't spoken with Bill Hobbs about his post-Belmont career plans, but I'll venture one prediction. If this really was an effort by Democrats and liberal bloggers to "silence" Hobbs, as some on the right have claimed, it will backfire. via InstaPundit

He is remarking on this post:

"Hobbs had a vulnerability, however. He was prominently involved in supporting Republican State Senator Jim Bryson’s gubernatorial capaign, and had created a Bryson for Governor blog. Democrat blogger Mike Kopp saw a way to bash Bryson by going after Hobbs, so last Wednesday, he posted this:..." insert long quote here. via You Never Melted

I think, from the very level blog coverage of Mr. Hobbs, it is fair to say there was no effort by the Democrats or liberal bloggers to silence Mr. Hobbs. InstaPundit has InstaFlipped and InstaSpinned this issue into one of left v. right, when in fact it was a Liberal blogger going after "Republican State Senator Jim Bryson’s gubernatorial capaign" and not Hobbs. And all this time I thought InstaHeh was an example of how one should go after politicians. I'm guessing things change.

InstaP did say "if", so that does help his end of the argument a little.

If Instapundit was a liberal left leaning loony, and some wonder if he really is, would we all read his blog? --more bad Monday humor.

Andy Axel's picture

Hobbs' Stigmata

Hobbs and his role in the "insurgent" campaign of Bryson would have gone completely unnoticed short of this action. It's not exactly something that you could conceivably call high profile even before the kerfuffle erupted (onto a sidebar on a local indie alt-weekly -- talk about your tempest in a teapot). Raising a big stink about his getting the pole-axe might have been the only way to raise his profile in that campaign, since he'd already gone into hiatus from his eponymous blog.

But, by impugning the motives of his perceived "persecutors," he gets to claim martyrdom. I guess that amounts to political capital in some circles. To me, it's shrug-worthy.

On paper, I guess I'm sorry Hobbs lost his job in this vortex, but you know, this doesn't amount to a molehill in the politics of personal destruction. It's not like he was framed or stung, dragged into court, bankrupted, jailed, etc. I mean, for chrissakes. Hobbs will land on his feet; he wasn't articulating anything which isn't in the mainstream of GOP thought.


Wasabi peas are people! They're people!

gttim's picture

Getting into this late.

I distinctly remember Hobbs going on and on and on and on about the Dixie Chicks, and how free speech was not free, and how they deserved what they were getting- which wasn't nearly what Hobbs said they were. What comes around goes around I suspect. I always think about karma in my daily dealings. Perhaps Hobbs should have been as well. Perhaps a little more compassion in his conservatism- which isn't really conservatism?

Eleanor A's picture

What Axel said

Raising a big stink about his getting the pole-axe might have been the only way to raise his profile in that campaign, since he'd already gone into hiatus from his eponymous blog.

Amen, brother.

Was just talking to someone about how Republicans can't really call themselves conservatives by any stretch, since they seem hell-bent on sinking the U.S. dollar and the economy along with it.

Wow. Wonder how their heads aren't exploding from all the hypocrisy.

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