Sunday, April 16, 2006

Some Bill Hobbs Related Notes

As many of you may know, Bill Hobbs has resigned from Belmont University, something that has dismayed many. It looks to me like he made a silly cartoon that was best ignored, and the Nashville Scene did not. And then you see the typical stuff, where lefties cry out racism, and the righties cry free speech, and no one comes out looking good in the end. As a Belmont alum and weekly Nashville Scene reader, I feel the need to say a couple of things that are being ignored here.

1. Belmont is a very religious institution, so much so that many of my non-religious friends would never applying. The faculty isn't exactly right-wing, but I never had politics rammed down my throat in four years. I almost universally liked my professors, which is why I stayed four years. I'd say most of the students are, and were, Republicans.

2. Tennessee is a right to work state, meaning you can fire anyone you'd like for any reason. That doesn't mean it's right. One thing many people don't get is that something can be wrong but still be legal. In this case, you can make a case that firing him (or forcing him to resign) was wrong, but certainly legal.

3. The Nashville Scene is one of the best alt-weeklies around; much better than what I've seen in many cities, especially Louisville where I once lived. They do lean left, but not so much that anyone feels offended. Their movie and food reviews are generally spot on, and their music reviews are worth listening to. I hope they come our looking okay in this, and am very interested to see what they say in the next issue. It's no small thing to cost a man his job.

4. Be careful, everybody. Blogging can officially cost you your job.


At 4/16/2006 09:47:00 PM, Blogger Amy said...


Jump over to, tons of comments on the Hobbs situation. I missed the cartoon but having worked for a nonprofit in a small town I have to add my two cents to this discussion. While working for the Chamber of Commerce, I had to be "on" at all times. I was no longer "Just Amy" I was "Amy from the Chamber." One instance that I remember very well is St. Patrick's Day 1999. I went out to O'Charley's (my hometown does not have much of a selection) to celebrate. I had a couple of beers (we were a dry county at the time) and hung out with my friends. I was acting like I normally would while spending time with friends. The next day I was called into my boss's office to discuss the previous night. Some members happened to see me there and were appalled by my behavior. I was not dancing on the bar but merely cutting up with my friends and enjoying the holiday. BUT I was "Amy from the Chamber" that caused the unwanted attention. Did I think it was right for anyone to discuss how I spend my time outside of the office? No but I also knew that no matter where I went I would always bump into members and needed to remember this. It eventually harmed my chances of getting a promotion because my boss felt like I was not mature enough for a VP position. Looking back, I am happy with the way it turned out though.

There is another instance of a woman losing her job due to her blogging. Jolie in the City was working for a fashion magazine and blogging about the perks of it. She was in line for a new job at another magazine, lost the offer and her current job within the space of a couple of days. She is now writting a book on her experiences.

Time also did a story on this and I was shocked that there have been several firings due to blogging.

Anyway, I digress, blogging is a great way to get your thoughts out there and heard. It is also a double edge sword. I have always lived by the rule "if I am talking about something that has happened to me but I do not have the express permission of those involved, I keep it generic." I do not name names. It is not my place to write about others and give out details of their lives. I have read too many blogs and message boards that go into great detail about their love lives, getting married, trying to get pregnant, going through a nasty divorce. . .and they even post pictures. The Internet is public not private and from what I have read, some of writings have been used in court during the nasty divorce.

It is a shame that a man lost his job due to blogging his thoughts on his own time but as you state, TN is a right to work state and he worked at an institution that is religious and conservative.


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