Saturday, January 15, 2011

Death Threats

I have not paid any attention to this generally but this jumped out at me.

In the week since The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt of the new book by Amy Chua, a Yale law professor, under the headline “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” Ms. Chua has received death threats, she says, and “hundreds, hundreds” of e-mails. The excerpt generated more than 5,000 comments on the newspaper’s Web site, and countless blog entries referring in shorthand to “that Tiger Mother.” Some argued that the parents of all those Asians among Harvard’s chosen few must be doing something right; many called Ms. Chua a “monster” or “nuts” — and a very savvy provocateur.

Anything's possible - the best way to troll your own blog is to criticize parenting - but I do wish when people claim they have received death threats that journalists would ask for a) evidence, or at least b) details, and of course the follow up c) did you call law enforcement?

Once upon of time I received lots of nasty email, though not so much anymore. But I don't think I ever received anything resembling an actual death threat, because most people aren't that stupid. A death threat is something that gets you a nice visit from the FBI, at the very least. Sure I got a lot of "I hope you die" kind of things, but "hope you die," while a bit menacing perhaps, isn't close to being a death threat.

So often I read tales of people who step into the public sphere in a big way, lots of people are nasty to them, and suddenly they've "received death threats." I'm sure it happens, I just wish people who make such claims would be pressed a bit harder on the details.