Category Archives: Social Commentary

The Timothy Hunt Witch Hunt

I don’t think I’ve ever commented on this, but almost three months later, it’s pretty clear now what happened, and there’s a good description over at Commentary. His treatment was shameful:

Like most of the science journalists who covered Hunt’s solecism, Zadrozny and Ferguson were content to rely on a handful of tweets as the only evidence in an obviously controversial story. Sadly, the Hunt affair provides ample ammunition for those who believe Internet reporters are a tribe of third-raters with little or no ethical standards or training in Journalism 101.

But there’s another explanation for the fact that reporters such as Zadrozny and Ferguson felt no obligation to verify the facts of the case or do any old-fashioned reporting. In their cases, the temptation to cut journalistic corners may have been overwhelming. That’s because for anyone with an ax to grind about gender equality or sexism in science, this was one of those stories that the tabloids used to label (jestingly for the most part) “too good to check.”

Kudos to Louise Mensch on exposing this initially. I’d also note that my respect for Deborah Blum has plummeted.

[Update a few minutes later]

And then there’s this burn:

The most generous interpretation of Connie St. Louis’s bizarre behavior is that she was too intellectually limited to recognize irony that was somehow obvious to an audience composed mostly of people who spoke English as a second language. A leak of the unedited version of her “Stop Defending Tim Hunt” piece for the Guardian is so garbled and incoherent that this actually seems plausible, though it also makes you wonder how and why she came to be teaching journalism even at a third-rate institution like London’s City University.

The science journalism community has not covered themselves in glory here.

[Update a few minutes later]

Then there’s this:

One of the more depressing aspects of the affair has been the number of clever and influential people, not all of them women, who have stated that even if Hunt was joking, he still deserved to be punished. These people genuinely believe that jokes about alleged differences between the sexes are beyond the pale—the cause of anti-sexism, like that of anti-racism, being simply too important or too fragile to tolerate subversive humor.

This “even if they’re innocent they deserve to be punished attitude” is not a new one. Christina Hoff Sommers documented it in her book in the nineties, in which in 1991, Catherine Comins at Vassar (who, sadly, may be a childhood friend of mine, though I’ve never seen a bio) said: “Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.”

The Virginia Shootings

This is what I’ve been tweeting this morning.

[Afternoon update]

As usual, the White House lies about “gun violence.”

Punching Back Twice As Hard On Campus

Instapundit has some good advice for a fraternity under siege:

(1) Immediately complain to the Department of Education and the Department of Justice that you’re being targeted because of your race and sex, and denied your First Amendment rights. No, nothing will come of this, but that’s not the point. The process is the punishment. (2) Sue on the same grounds. (3) The real killer: Go to the Virginia Legislature and tell them they should cut Old Dominion’s budget. Come prepared with figures on the number of administrators on campus now, versus 10 and 20 years ago. File freedom of information requests and get the travel expense figures for the folks in the administration. Look over them for suspicious and large expenditures. (You’ll find them!) Make a big stink about those.

Administrative bloat leads to large numbers of “student life” educrats without enough to do, so they’ve created a quasi-police-state to fill the time. State legislators are looking for things to cut anyway, and higher ed doesn’t have the clout it used to have. This will hurt them more than anything else you can do.

I would love to see that happen.

Income Inequality And Poverty

No, they’re not the same thing. And Glenn makes a good point: “Notice how little we hear about ‘wealth inequality.’ There’s a lot of untaxed wealth in foundations, university endowments, family trusts, etc. A populist who wanted to put Democrats on the spot might propose taxing that. You know, for the common good. Only working stiffs have more income than wealth.”

[Update a few minutes later]

The plan to further enrich the wealthy left at the expense of the middle class.

And yes, there probably is nothing more corrupt, both in the US and internationally, than the environmental movement.

Silicon Valley

…is headed for disaster:

America will always plant crops and need chemicals to service those crops. And it will always need payment, delivery and data services. But will it always need Facebook and Twitter? Cisco runs a large proportion of the Internet; Facebook hosts your grandma’s pictures. You do the math.

There won’t be any suicides in Silicon Valley – the most dangerous thing to happen in northern California occurred last month when an angel investor’s Birkenstocks got caught in the BART elevator – but the whole edifice on which the delicate San Francisco ecosystem is based is about to come crashing down all over again.

If so, I won’t shed a tear, after all the damage those people have done to the state of California and the country.

The Hugos

Burning down the field in order to “save” it:

…while I am not upset at the results (except insofar as it proves a large number of my field is running the Marxist malware to such an extent that it will vote a slate to avoid an imaginary slate) I am upset at the display of infantility or senility or perhaps roboticity in my field yesterday (Though who would program robots that way?) No one watching that live stream — and there was a lot of it captured and it will be replayed — can imagine that those who proclaim themselves the “intellectuals” of our field have an IQ above room temperature. And certainly no one can imagine they have an emotional maturity above that of a toddler displaying to one and all the magnificence of the turd just deposited in the middle of the floor.

Related: And you cheered:

We saw those no-awards coming from a mile away. By voting no-award, you proved the Sad Puppies’s point. And most of you are too damn stupid to know it.
You’d rather no one win, than see someone you don’t agree with walk across that stage.

We only wanted a fair ballot; real diversity among the Hugos, books by authors who don’t all think the same way. Books that tell stories rather than try to force-feed us messages. But you couldn’t have that.

It was you, not us, who brought the Hugo Awards down last night.

And you cheered while you did it.

A lot of this is why I haven’t read much science fiction in the past couple decades.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Uh oh. Hitler found out what happened [language warning, but only in subtitles]

[Update a while later]

Larry Correia’s thoughts:

See? I told you so.

People have asked me if I’m disappointed in the results. Yes. But maybe not in the way you might expect. I’ll talk about the slap in the face to specific nominees in a minute, but I can’t say I’m surprised by what happened, when it was just an extreme example of what I predicted would happen three years ago when I started all this.

I said the Hugos no longer represented all of Fandom, instead they only represents tiny, insular, politically motivated cliques taking turns giving their friends awards. If you wanted to be considered, you needed to belong to, or suck up to those voting cliques. I was called a liar.

I said that most of the voters cared far more about the author’s identity and politics than they did the quality of the work, and in fact, the quality of the work would be completely ignored if the creator had the wrong politics. I was called a liar.

I said that if somebody with the wrong politics got a nomination, they would be actively campaigned against, slandered, and attacked, not for the quality of their work, but because of politics. I was called a liar.

That’s how the Sad Puppies campaign started. You can see the results. They freaked out and did what I said they would do. This year others took over, in the hopes of getting worthy, quality works nominated who would normally be ignored. It got worse. They freaked out so much that even I was surprised.

Each year it got a little bigger, and the resulting backlash got a little louder and nastier, culminating in this year’s continual international media slander campaign. Most of the media latched onto a narrative about the campaign being sexist white males trying to keep women and minorities out of publishing. That narrative is so ridiculous that a few minutes of cursory research shows that if that was our secret goal, then we must be really bad at it, considering not just who we nominated, but who our organizers and supporters are, but hey… Like I said, it is all about politics, and if it isn’t, they’re going to make it that way. You repeat a lie often enough, and people will believe it.

It isn’t about truth. It is about turf.

[Evening update]

Why the “war on nereds” is a war on art.

A Consensus Of Experts

The very notion is misguided:

While the author comes across as supporting the consensus, the paper presents some insightful perspective on the ‘consensus enforcement’ by the establishment and why a substantial portion of the public is not buying the expert consensus on climate change. It boils down to a lack of trust, and concerns about deceit, conspiracy and groupthink.

Where do these concerns come from? Climategate and explicit advocacy by scientists are two obvious sources. Disagreement portrayed in the media and distrust of the government’s politicization of the issue are others.

Yes, the lack of trust and concerns are well justified.

Civil Rights Progress

In Detroit (as contrasted with murderous Chicago), the citizenry is legally arming itself, with the blessing of the chief of police.

It’s nice to see my home state at the forefront of the restoration of our rights. It will be very interesting to compare crime and murder rates to “gun-controlled” (where almost all the guns are in fact completely out of control) cities.