Professor Suspended for Photo of Daughter’s T-Shirt


This is a very different kind of Game of Thrones spoiler. Francis Schmidt, associate professor of art and animation at Bergen Community College in New Jersey, was suspended without pay for a photo he shared on Google+, where it was seen by several colleagues. The photo? A picture of his daughter wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt with the words “I will take what is mine with fire & blood” written on it. The quote is from Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons, rightful heir to the blah blah blah… in other words, a character on the show.  The dean of the college took the posting of the photo as a threat, and according to Inside Higher Ed, a security official at the school “said that ‘fire’ could be kind of a proxy for ‘AK-47s.'”

Are you familiar with Hanlon’s Razor? One version is this: never assume malice when incompetence will do. This is generally a good heuristic, I’ve found.

This case sounds like incompetence, right? Except for: “Schmidt believes he was targeted in part because he filed a grievance against the college a week before the post for being passed up for a sabbatical.” Hmmm.

There are other reports of the story at TechDirt and Gawker. (via Michaela McSweeney)

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