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Flashback: Erik Loomis criticized Sarah Palin for 'violent rhetoric'

University of Rhode Island professor Erik Loomis is defending his angry, violent tweets on the grounds that they were metaphorical.

So to clarify, I want to make it blindingly clear that I did not call for the assassination of Wayne LaPierre. In my world, calling for someone’s head on a stick is a metaphor to hold them responsible for their actions. I think the last time “head on a stick” actually meant murder was sometime around 1450. That anyone would take this seriously as a murder threat is completely absurd. What stinks about it is that it has now involved my family, colleagues, and university. So I’ll apologize to them and to anyone legitimately offended by my metaphor.

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Or, as he put it so eloquently yesterday,

We suppose he’ll soon be telling us that “Let’s hunt down Dick Morris like a pig and skin him for breakfast” is a metaphor for “Let’s invite Dick Morris over for some bacon and eggs.”

But as Jim Treacher points out, Professor Metaphor wasn’t always such a big fan of symbolism. Writing about political fallout from the Gabrielle Giffords shooting nearly two years ago, Loomis was singing a rather different tune:

From a political perspective, the big loser is Sarah Palin. Truthfully, the whole Tea Party movement loses here because a lot of Americans are flinching in the face of the violent rhetoric that propelled them to power. Many Republicans are defending themselves vociferously. Some, such as Rush Limbaugh, claim that Loughner was a liberal and a Democrat, but this just alienates most people at this time. But no one lost more than Palin.

Perhaps she was right to be irritated that people connected her with the shooting, but then again, she’s the one who had a target over Giffords’ district. Her aide claiming that it was actually surveyor symbols just insulted our intelligence.

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Someone’s insulting our intelligence, but it’s not a Sarah Palin aide.

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