Bedbugs are, according to the University of Kentucky, 'small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals.' The common bedbug has been known to bite 'warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents'. Now we can add 'professors who are mean to the bedbug on Twitter' to that list.

An internal memo was circulated around the New York Times yesterday regarding a bed bug infestation. Upon the news breaking, an associate professor at George Washington University called Dave Karpf tweeted the following joke about NYT columnist Bret Stephens:

https://twitter.com/davekarpf/status/1166094950024515584

Innocuous enough, right? WRONG.

A few hours later,...

Bedbugs are, according to the University of Kentucky, ‘small, brownish, flattened insects that feed solely on the blood of animals.’ The common bedbug has been known to bite ‘warm-blooded animals, including dogs, cats, birds and rodents’. Now we can add ‘professors who are mean to the bedbug on Twitter’ to that list.

An internal memo was circulated around the New York Times yesterday regarding a bed bug infestation. Upon the news breaking, an associate professor at George Washington University called Dave Karpf tweeted the following joke about NYT columnist Bret Stephens:

Innocuous enough, right? WRONG.

A few hours later, Karpf posted ‘This afternoon, I tweeted a brief joke about a well-known NYT op-Ed columnist. It got 9 likes and 0 retweets. I did not @ him. He does not follow me. He just emailed me, cc’ing my university provost. He is deeply offended that I called him a metaphorical bedbug.’

Karpf then posted the email below:

‘Dear Dr Karpf,

‘Someone just pointed out a tweet you wrote about me, calling me a “bedbug.” I’m often amazed about the things supposedly decent people are prepared to say about other people – people they’ve never met – on Twitter. I think you’ve set a new standard.

‘I would welcome the opportunity for you to come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a “bedbug” to my face. That would take some genuine courage and intellectual integrity on your part. I promise to be courteous no matter what you have to say.

‘Maybe it will make you feel better about yourself.

‘Please consider this a standing invitation. You are more than welcome to bring your significant other.

‘Cordially,

‘Bret Stephens’