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Jan 19 2014

What the heck is wrong with Caleb Hannan?

Hannan is a sports writer who was writing a story about the design of a golf putter. Not my cup of tea, but OK, there are interesting physics and ergonomic issues there. Unfortunately, his story got side-tracked from the relevant and interesting and into the destructively personal by his bigotry.

The designer of the golf club was a Dr V. It was clear from their communications that Dr V was rather pretentious and committed to maintaining her privacy, insisting that any story be about the product not the developer, but she was also extremely helpful, making a custom club for Hannan and giving him help in using it. The club is apparently very good*, so it’s quality wasn’t misrepresented…but Hannan does some background work and discovers that Dr V had lied about her qualifications.

That’s legitimate for a journalist to do. A story about a mysterious designer who isn’t everything she claims to be, but has designed some great sports equipment? Sure. That’s a reasonable story.

But, sad to say, the story he wrote is centered rather differently, and reveals a great deal about Hannan’s biases and preconceptions. In an interview with another source, he learns something he considers horrible.

He was clearly trying to tell me something, which is why he began emphasizing certain words. Every time he said “she” or “her” I could practically see him making air quotes. Finally it hit me. Cliché or not, a chill actually ran up my spine.

“Are you trying to tell me that Essay Anne Vanderbilt was once a man?”

It took a moment for him to respond.

A couple of guys making air quotes about personal pronouns, and a “chill” running down his spine at the discovery that Dr V was a trans woman? I wonder if Caleb Hannan has figured out yet why Dr V was so insistent on keeping her self out of the story. Could it be because that’s how so many people react to her identity?

But no, Hannan just discovered that he now had a great hook for his story.

What began as a story about a brilliant woman with a new invention had turned into the tale of a troubled man who had invented a new life for himself.

Hannan told Dr V what he was going to publish. She was rightfully furious. If the science behind this putter was bogus, that would be reason for her to be angry at being exposed, but I’d support Hannan’s decision to publish it — using false credentials is news. But instead what was going to be a key point in this story was the unwilling outing of a trans woman, and especially given Hannan’s attitude that this was something “weird”, that should have been off-limits. Yes, tell me if someone is faking a degree from MIT. But a trans woman is not faking being a woman; she’s also not doing that for personal profit, but is instead entering a life of peril and contempt, as Hannan’s reaction shows.

Before the story was published, Dr V, Essay Anne Vanderbilt, committed suicide.

Caleb Hannan went ahead and published the story, complete with personal information about the woman, using masculine pronouns, referring to her by her previous name, and with the appalling gall of closing the story by calling it a “eulogy”. You would think having your subject kill herself over what you were doing would make you rethink; maybe go back and remove the sensationalism out of respect for the dead, and maybe recognize the magnitude of your bigotry and realize that you were letting that all hang out in the story, too. But no; he just went ahead and outed a dead trans woman against her will, and his editors also didn’t see a problem with printing it.

Oh, I know what’s wrong with Caleb Hannan. He doesn’t have a speck of conscience or empathy.

Melissa McEwan has an excellent summary of the unconscionable Mr Hannan’s actions. It was just a “strange” story to him, but it was Dr V’s life.


Here’s another good piece on this story: Dr. V Is Dead, Caleb Hannan Is Celebrated: Why We Can’t Accept Lazy, Transmisogynistic Journalism. A bit at the beginning really captures the depth of Hannan’s thinking.

A few hours later, when Wire editor Bill Wasik suggested on Twitter that Hannan’s investigation of Dr. V’s work and life contributed to her death, he replied “ouch.”

“Ouch.” A woman driven to suicide by Hannan’s article, and he says, “ouch.”


*The quality of the club is complicated. He raves about it at first, but then later says that maybe it was psychological — he thought it was great when he thought the designer was a physicist, but now it’s just gathering dust in his garage. He doesn’t consider the other side of the psychology: that maybe he’s avoiding using it since discovering that the designer was trans, and he clearly finds that creepy.

222 comments

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  1. 1
    Al Dente

    Someone needs to ask Hannan: What difference does the designer’s gender identity have to do with the efficacy of a golf club?

  2. 2
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Hannan found a way to make his article about a golf club stand out.

    Unfortunately, it stands out as a wonderful example of the casual cruelty of cis-gendered male privilege.

    Bravo.

    Asshole.

  3. 3
    LykeX

    His twitter is getting some blowback. No sign of contrition, though.

  4. 4
    Inaji

    I…I am horrified. Crying. I don’t grok this level of fear and hatred. How is the world a better place for losing Ms. Vanderbilt and keeping Mr. Hannan? I would hope this haunts Mr. Hannan for the rest of his life, but I doubt it will. Here is a fine example of someone who had the freedom to hate and used it.

  5. 5
    colnago80

    Clearly Hannan is a pompous asshole. However, a search scan of the article doesn’t mention whether the PGA has approved the putter for use on the PGA golf tour, or is considering such approval, which would be of far more interest to his readers then Dr. V’s gender.

  6. 6
    Sili

    Someone needs to ask Hannan: What difference does the designer’s gender identity have to do with the efficacy of a golf club?

    Cooties.

    Sheesh. Don’t you know your science? Trans* is transferred by cooties on golfclubs.

  7. 7
    HappyNat

    I read about this the other day and felt sick. In the original article the suicide is little more than an after thought. At first when the article hit it got a lot of praise for it’s investigative journalism aspect. I mean what the fuck, you found out the focus of your piece used to be a man, it “chilled” you (gag) and she killed herself and that’s good journalism? At least now there is some blow back so hopefully some people will learn something, although I doubt it will be Hannan. Still just a tragedy and an asshole, like it is way too often.

  8. 8
    Charly

    I am at loss of words. Terrible, terrible story. I never heard the name Caleb Hannan before, but he is horrible human being. He should have some serious negative repercussions on his career. What an asshole.

  9. 9
    Inaji

    HappyNat:

    Still just a tragedy

    I am unable to view this as a tragedy. To me, this is too deliberate to qualify. Mr. Hannan, had he been a decent human being, would have at least taken a few moments out to think, and perhaps, being a journalist, to research a bit on the devastating bigotry trans*people face every day, and then made the decision to write about the putter only. Even after the suicide, he chose to smear Ms. Vanderbilt in swathes of fear and hate, apparently content in doing so because the mere idea of a trans*woman gave him chills up his spine. Mr. Hannan had the ability to damage her career, by exposing the false credentials, but that wasn’t the point for him, and it wasn’t enough. He chose to give weight to his bigotry, and destroyed a life in the process, which he seems to feel is just fine, after all, it’s one less icky trans*woman in the world.

  10. 10
    Artor

    Wow. I wish there was some way Hannan could be prosecuted for Dr. V’s death. I know it would be trivially easy for a defense lawyer to deflect culpability, but damn! Can his publisher at least drop him like a bag of flaming dog turds?

  11. 11
    Quodlibet

    Agreed that the “journalist” behaved reprehensibly and is deserving of scorn and, one hopes, firing and shaming. But there are two other entities that should be held responsible. First, the editorial staff. Who was responsible for managing the Grantland site, and specifically for approving the story, and (presumably) working with the “journalist” as the story was prepared for publication? Clearly this story was OK with the editorial staff. The “journalist” was wrong, but the editorial staff, in allowing publication, are just as wrong, in fact they are more *responsible.*

    And who is the publisher? I took a quick look at the site linked in the OP; am I correct that Grantland is owned by ESPN? Surely ESPN as the controlling enterprise has some liability here, and should at the very least fire the “journalist” and issue a sincere apology to Dr V’s family and to the readership and the world.

    So, there is a whole chain of shameful behavior here, starting with the “journalist” and his twisted idea of what makes a good story, and extending through the irresponsible editors and the oblivious (or complicit) publisher.

  12. 12
    LykeX

    Agreed that the “journalist” behaved reprehensibly and is deserving of scorn and, one hopes, firing and shaming. But there are two other entities that should be held responsible. First, the editorial staff.

    Exactly what I was thinking. Somebody had to read this article and go “yep, looks good to me.” That person certainly needs to review their priorities as well.

    There’s no way any criminal prosecution will come of this, but what about a civil suit?

  13. 13
    Inaji

    Quodlibet @ 11, agreed. It’s a stark illustration of how normalized transphobia is in our culture.

  14. 14
    left0ver1under

    Artor (#10) –

    Wow. I wish there was some way Hannan could be prosecuted for Dr. V’s death. I know it would be trivially easy for a defense lawyer to deflect culpability, but damn! Can his publisher at least drop him like a bag of flaming dog turds?

    Unfortunately, US courts would likely rule the same as the Rutgers case, that the person whose actions caused the suicide “wasn’t at fault”.

    Blathering liars…I mean, lawyers and judges try to blame video games and music for suicides and murders, despite there being no connection whatsoever. And yet, abuse and violation of a person and person’s privacy doesn’t make Hannan and others like him accountable for a suicide?

    “Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury / Raise the double standard”
    - Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

  15. 15
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Well said, Quodlibet.

  16. 16
    PZ Myers

    As mentioned in #11, the editors would have been collaborators in this bit of hackwork, and probably saw nothing wrong with being chilled at the thought of a trans woman.

  17. 17
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Still just a tragedy

    No, a tragedy is when somebody dies in a car crash because a deer ran in front of their vehicle.
    This was cruel, uncaring cis-bigotry, a story being worth more than the life of a trans woman

  18. 18
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Well, the editor posted on Twitter about how “proud” he was of Hannan…

  19. 19
    Inaji

    Esteleth:

    Well, the editor posted on Twitter about how “proud” he was of Hannan…

    This is one of those times I’m extra glad I don’t tweet. Proud that Hannan drove a woman to her death? Is this an extension of the toxicity involved in sports? Because even given the pervasiveness of transphobia, I am having a hell of a lot of trouble with the utter callousness here.

  20. 20
    David Marjanović

    Christ, what an asshole.

    A chill down his spine?

    Is there some kind of therapy? I mean, what’s up with him – Primordial Fear of Castration™ or some such thing? It must be horrible to go through life like this. I’m reminded of Lovecraft’s fear of miscegenation.

    Exactly what I was thinking. Somebody had to read this article and go “yep, looks good to me.” That person certainly needs to review their priorities as well.

    There’s no way any criminal prosecution will come of this, but what about a civil suit?

    I hope so.

  21. 21
    David Marjanović

    Well, the editor posted on Twitter about how “proud” he was of Hannan…

    Wow. I’m out of words.

  22. 22
    samihawkins

    Stories like this show just how far behind the T is from the other letters of LGBT. Nowadays a mainstream journalist would never out somebody as gay just to make a story juicier, and they definitely wouldn’t show blatant disgust about that fact. If they did their’d be a massive uproar and everyone involved with publishing the article would be out of a job.

    It’s still considered perfectly okay to do the same to us though. This story will be talked about for a week or two among a handful of left-wing websites before disappearing altogether, Caleb Asshat Hannan will not be punished in any way for driving a woman to suicide, and instead of living a long happy life Essay Anne Vanderbilt will rot in the ground. Her name might be read next November 20th, but other than that she’ll be dead, buried, and forgotten while the man who destroyed her life continues with his cushy writing job.

  23. 23
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Yep! Here is the Tweet in question.

    For those of you who don’t want to click, @fierman (Dan Fierman, editorial director of Grantland) says, “Incredibly proud of this strange, truly sad piece by @calebhannan and edited by @Rafeboogs [hyperlink].”

    @calebhannan, of course, is Caleb Hannan. @Rafeboogs is Rafe Bartholomew, an editor at Grantland.

    The link (which I’ve redacted) goes to the piece about Dr. V.

  24. 24
    RFW

    What is wrong with people like this?

    Answer: they have significant sexual maladjustments and need to see a good psych, -ologist or -iatrist, to resolve those. At the very least they need to remember their manners and simply bite their lips if and when they discover someone has a sexuality that differs from their own, no matter how much it disturbs them.

    On a larger scale, this is another example of journalism having been turned into a branch of the entertainment media, so shock and surprise is a good thing because it sells. Even the august NYT isn’t free of this crap; they had an article within the last few years by a gal going through medical school, about her human anatomy course and the dissection that is part of that course. The article was rather puerile, about eleventh grade level I’d say, and instead of making at least a few semi-penetrating insights, went for shock and awe by mentioning that she’d circumcised the cadaver — without offering any insight into why this (presumably necessary) action led to better knowledge on her part. Absolute bullshit, in my opinion, but typical of today’s “news” media.

    There’s an easy way to evaluate the seriousness of any “news” media: the more puffery it prints about celebrities, the more emphasis given to sports, cooking, gardening, interior decorating, luxury houses for sale, and similar not-really-informative topics, the lower it scores. The only news medium that comes up to any reasonable standard is Al-Jazeera, which completely ignores these non-news topics.

    Note that while I say this, I do read the Telegraph daily, largely because it often has good articles on baking. But for serious news about what’s going on in the world that really counts, it’s no better than all the rest.

  25. 25
    Inaji

    RFW:

    What is wrong with people like this?

    Answer: they have significant sexual maladjustments and need to see a good psych, -ologist or -iatrist, to resolve those.

    No. This is you, playing asshole again, attempting to other bigotry.

  26. 26
    The Mellow Monkey

    I feel physically ill. That poor woman, chased by bigotry even beyond the grave. Her poor partner and kids and everyone else who loved her and every other trans* person who is terrorized by proxy by these events.

    Caleb Hannan is a hateful piece of shit and so is everyone who signed off on this story. Knowing she had attempted suicide before, he did this anyway. As the Autostraddle piece points out, with all the coverage on Chelsea Manning while this was going on there’s no excuse for any journalist to not have the vaguest inkling of the kind of damage this could do. And his article was outrageously dehumanizing on top of it all.

  27. 27
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Trans hatred is so complete, so pervasive, and so horrible it’s almost impossible for me to believe. It’s *worse* than most of what I’ve experienced as a gay man. It has to stop.

    Corporate Gay (GLAAD, HRC) are LGB”T” in name only. They don’t need any more money. They’ve got us white cis people covered.

    The National Center for Trans Equality, however, DOES need our help. If you’re looking for a worthy cause I recommend them; I give a monthly gift. I hope some of you will help them, too:

    transequality.org

  28. 28
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Stories like this show just how far behind the T is from the other letters of LGBT. Nowadays a mainstream journalist would never out somebody as gay just to make a story juicier, and they definitely wouldn’t show blatant disgust about that fact. If they did their’d be a massive uproar and everyone involved with publishing the article would be out of a job.

    It’s still considered perfectly okay to do the same to us though. This story will be talked about for a week or two among a handful of left-wing websites before disappearing altogether, Caleb Asshat Hannan will not be punished in any way for driving a woman to suicide, and instead of living a long happy life Essay Anne Vanderbilt will rot in the ground. Her name might be read next November 20th, but other than that she’ll be dead, buried, and forgotten while the man who destroyed her life continues with his cushy writing job.

    Read this and comprehend it. The dehumanization of trans people is so complete it didn’t occur to a single person in the editorial chain that Dr.V was a human being. Not a single person.

  29. 29
    alexanderz

    Caleb Hannan wrote the story. His editor, Rafe Bartholomew (according to Connelly), approved the story and his colleague‏‏‏‏, Chris Connelly was proud of the piece.

    How come this people still have a job?! Have they no shame? They don’t even feel the need to lay low for awhile. They obviously can’t see the harm that they’ve done.

    Is there anything that can be done? Is there at least a petition to sign? I want their names to be tarred forever.

  30. 30
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I will quibble somewhat with you there, Josh.

    GLAAD and HRC are great for cis white gay men with money.

    They’re less good for PoC, for women, for people who aren’t wealthy, and for cis people aren’t gender-conforming.

    They rather suck for trans* people. And for people who are more than one of the list I enumerated above.

  31. 31
    The Mellow Monkey

    RFW @ 24

    At the very least they need to remember their manners and simply bite their lips if and when they discover someone has a sexuality that differs from their own, no matter how much it disturbs them.

    A fine sentiment regarding sexual orientation, but being a trans woman is not a sexuality. She was a woman. That was her identity.

  32. 32
    NelC

    A lot of journalists, like a lot of storytellers, spend their careers just repeating the stories that society has told them. Hannan has been told by his society that transwomen are just pretending to be women, therefore the link between Vanderbilt’s made-up qualifications and her trans* condition is so obvious that he probably couldn’t contemplate writing it any other way.

    If only he’d taken a moment to consider the option of writing the story of a woman who had spent a large portion of her life pretending to be a man. That might have been a story that wouldn’t have cost a woman’s life.

  33. 33
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Esteleth—I don’t understand your quibble. You seem to be repeating exactly what I was saying: That HRC is good for white cis people, but that they’re bad for trans people. Where is the disagreement?

  34. 34
    alexanderz

    @Josh
    Thanks for the link!

  35. 35
    Rey Fox

    Someone needs to ask Hannan: What difference does the designer’s gender identity have to do with the efficacy of a golf club?

    Well, it’s a hot scoop, yowza! Stop the presses! Seriously, this guy couldn’t have played more into the worst stereotypes of journalists if he tried.

    No. This is you, playing asshole again, attempting to other bigotry.

    Absolutely. It’s normal.

  36. 36
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Josh, you said “white cis people,” I said “white cis men with money.”

    The HRC’s failures are broader than them just being bad for trans* people.

  37. 37
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    On Twitter, there is a hashtag titled #JusticeforDrV. And guess who is trolling the hashtag?

    Seriously, guess.

    He is a familiar name.

    EG.

    In recent months, he has been using his Storify account to capture the conversation of trans people.

    And in #JusticeforDrV, he has been linking to his own Storifying efforts as well as these statements.

    It is arguably journalism and skepticism.

    trans* people are sacred

    Still a fraud – 60k, niggas

    Did she bring it on herself?

    And, yes, some of the usual suspects have also have shown up.

    And they are pushing the idea that because Dr V lied, everything about her is open season. And also, one must be skeptical of claims of being trans.

    Never mind that once Caleb Hannon makes his Crying Game like reveal of Dr V being a trans woman and every about the putter drops away and the essay becomes just Dr V’s status, Never mind that what is implied is that because Dr V is really a man with problems, she was really lying about herself, therefore everything, including the putter, is a lie.

    Just like a couple of years ago, the paragon of skepticism, EG is on the job; defending gender roles.

    Didn’t the suicide happened before the outing?

    She lied.

  38. 38
    magistramarla

    I don’t know much about golf, but is there any way for a company that manufactures these clubs to partner with her estate to market them and send some of the profits to The National Center for Trans Equality in her honor? It seems like the right thing to do and might help other trans folks.

  39. 39
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    I will point out that Hannan, at one point in the article, says that Dr. V contacted him about the allegations re: the MIT degree and the military background, offering to show him proof of her credentials.

    Now, I suppose it is possible that she was bluffing. But it’s a pretty dangerous bluff, all told.

  40. 40
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Esteleth (#39),

    On the condition that he sign a non-disclosure agreement concerning her past. She was desperate, and he didn’t even hesitate to destroy her.

    He as good as murdered her.

  41. 41
    samihawkins

    And they are pushing the idea that because Dr V lied, everything about her is open season.

    I’ll admit to having not read the article, I’m already in a bad enough mood today, but what exactly did she lie about besides a bunch of fake credentials? Unethical? Yes. But she was selling golf clubs, it’s not like she was faking her credentials to sell cancer medication. You can’t walk in to a sporting goods section without being bombarded with BS ‘scietific’ claims that their product is the best. Hell the pair of sneakers I bought yesterday had a bunch of ‘scientific’ claims on the box which I’m certain no actual scientist was involved with. Her thinking a made-up degree might help sell more units hardly seems like a huge moral lapse, if anything it’s just business as usual in our free market.

  42. 42
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I have no idea why those two sentences appeared at the end of the last post.

    Just want to add, it may be true that DR V was committing fraud. But her status as a trans woman had nothing to do with it. This story could have been done without any mention that status.

    Except Caleb Hannan had to imply that because Dr V was “lying” about her gender, everything else about her and her design were also lies.

    Just a continuation of the idea that trans women are inherently deceptive.

  43. 43
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    On the condition that he sign a non-disclosure agreement concerning her past. She was desperate, and he didn’t even hesitate to destroy her.

    :screams in desperation: This *should* be front page news, everywhere. The condemnation should be coming from everywhere. Three men should be in court, facing charges. This is evil, silently condoned and assented to by the majority.

    Josh, see me in thunderdome in about 5 minutes, please.

  44. 44
    raven

    What the heck is wrong with Caleb Hannan?

    It’s simple.

    Caleb Hannan is a monster!!!

    Humans produce occasional monsters. Way it is. You just have to identify them (its not hard) and avoid them if you can.

  45. 45
    nich

    I didn’t read to the bottom of PZ’s post before switching over to Grantland to read the article. Given the title of the article and everything that lead up to it, I was totally shocked by the ending. One might say “this seemed like an especially cruel way to tell me that Dr. V had died.” Maybe the irony meter is located in the heart because if he had one then writing that would have made it explode.

  46. 46
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    NO RAVEN. This is not about an aberrant monster. NO. This is NORMAL shit that NORMAL PEOPLE DO. That’s what makes it horrible.

  47. 47
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Here’s a plausible thing:

    Hannan was correct about Dr. V’s trans status. But when he dug into her past, he settled upon the wrong deadname, which led him on a wild goose chase and him concluding that she was a fraud.

    I mean, if she was a PhD from MIT and did have a military background, that does rather change things, doesn’t it?

    Well, I mean, she’s still dead and Hannan is still transphobic, but…

  48. 48
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I disagree, raven. Hannan is not a monster. He is a rather typical US man. Bigoted, selfish, and unfeeling. What he, and his editors, did was monstrous, but he is not a monster. Just normal (for a really cynical and depressing reading of normal). Twenty years ago, though, he would have gotten no pushback at all. In another twenty years, maybe it would never have been written. Many are becoming less tolerant, less accepting, of monstrous behaviour. And that number is growing. \

    I hop.

  49. 49
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Er, I hope.

    Sorry.

    I’m gonna give up.

  50. 50
    Inaji

    Raven:

    Caleb Hannan is a monster!!!

    Jesus Fucking Christ, no, he’s not. For the nth godsdamned time, get it through that thicker than concrete skull of yours that othering does not help. All it does is make you comfortably removed from the every day people who do this sort of shit, who think this sort of shit, and feel this sort of shit. It’s the No True Human fallacy, and you bought into it, lock, stock, and barrel. Contrary to the rest of your idiocy, it’s not an easy matter to identify those you call monsters. I know that one up close and personal.

    Now, no one can force you to face reality, but I will thank you to keep your fucking mouth shut. You ain’t helping.

  51. 51
    The Mellow Monkey

    raven @ 44

    Caleb Hannan is a monster!!!

    Humans produce occasional monsters. Way it is. You just have to identify them (its not hard) and avoid them if you can.

    No. If it were only monsters who did things like this, then the human race would be nothing but monsters. All of us have internalized bigotry in one form or another.

    Caleb Hannan is a cis man in a transmisogynistic world. He did what many people would do. He should have been better informed on the topic. He should have done research. He should have been paying attention to all of the other stories going on while he was working on this one that would have better educated him on the topic of trans* people. But that’s ignorance and bad journalism: his bigotry and acting upon it are perfectly run-of-the-mill.

    We live in a cis-sexist world. We’re drowning in transphobia and transmisogyny. What is monstrous in Caleb Hannan is what is monstrous in our society. Blame monsters and you’re letting everyone else–including yourself–off the hook from deep introspection and caution.

  52. 52
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    If Caleb Hannan is a monster, what does that make the editors and all the others who approved of this story, who to this moment make excuses for Hannan?

  53. 53
    nich

    Go here to submit feedback to Grantland’s EIC: http://grantland.com/e-mail-the-sports-guy/

  54. 54
    LykeX

    I will point out that Hannan, at one point in the article, says that Dr. V contacted him about the allegations re: the MIT degree and the military background, offering to show him proof of her credentials.

    And the only thing she wanted in return was an NDA to the effect that he wouldn’t disclose the information about her gender identity.

    He refused.

    I disagree, raven. Hannan is not a monster. He is a rather typical US man.

    That’s the really sad thing. This guy isn’t special. There are millions like him. What’s wrong with Caleb Hannan? Nothing at all. He’s perfectly normal.

    What’s wrong is the planet he grew up on.

  55. 55
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I googled this story a bit, and read more articles. I’ve read that mentioning Dr. V’s name change was fair game because it made verifying her educational and work background difficult.

    I disagree. In a different world, where trans folks were treated differently, it would be. But with what we’ve got now, he chose a “good” story over being a decent person. The fact that even death of his victim didn’t stop him makes it all the more deplorable.

  56. 56
    Inaji

    LykeX:

    That’s the really sad thing. This guy isn’t special. There are millions like him. What’s wrong with Caleb Hannan? Nothing at all. He’s perfectly normal.

    It’s a societal obsession with binary gender, and it’s not enough to jump through the thousand billion obstacle course for someone to physically match their gender, nope, doesn’t matter. Whatever genitals you were born with, well, that’s what you are, by god!

    I’m still in shock over a supposed journalist’s inability to do a bit of research,* or as MM stated, at least pay attention to current news stories.
     
    *I know, I know, I shouldn’t be.

  57. 57
    Inaji

    Beatrice:

    I’ve read that mentioning Dr. V’s name change was fair game because it made verifying her educational and work background difficult.

    Oh bullshit! FFS, a journalist, supposed to be able to do background work.

  58. 58
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    A good article about this: http://www.vice.com/read/the-mysterious-case-of-curious-caleb-hannan-and-elusive-dr-v

    The ending:

    For now though he [Caleb Hannan] doesn’t want to talk to reporters. He values his privacy. Mysteriously, strangely, oddly, he just wants to be left alone.

  59. 59
    Inaji

    For now though he [Caleb Hannan] doesn’t want to talk to reporters. He values his privacy. Mysteriously, strangely, oddly, he just wants to be left alone.

    Now I want to hurt someone.

  60. 60
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I have no words.

  61. 61
    Gregory Greenwood

    What the heck is wrong with Caleb Hannan?

    I am going to go with him being a conceited, arrogant, grotesquely transphobic arsehat who is unwilling or incapable of stopping for ten seconds to think of the impact his decision to publish this poisonous tripe would have on the subject of the story – no, that is wrong; the effect it would have on his victim, because that is what we are talking about here. He drove an innocent woman to suicide, and he either didn’t bother to do the minimal research required to make himself aware of that risk, or more disturbingly he just didn’t care about what it might do to Dr Essay Anne Vanderbilt because his bigotry runs so deep that he is entirely disinterested in whether or not his actions lead directly to the deaths of trans* people.

    All of which, sadly, makes him a fairly representative example of an altogether too large constituency of our society. As commenters like Ogvorbis observes above @ 48, his attitudes are still so common as to be all but ubiquitous

    He was clearly trying to tell me something, which is why he began emphasizing certain words. Every time he said “she” or “her” I could practically see him making air quotes. Finally it hit me. Cliché or not, a chill actually ran up my spine.

    A chill ran up his spine? So the gender identity of another person that in no way, shape or form impacts his life or his own gender identity is that terrifying to him? And why? I think the answer amounts to little more than ‘because reasons’ – privileged arseholes like Caleb Hannan rarely need much reason to hate those who are different.

    What began as a story about a brilliant woman with a new invention had turned into the tale of a troubled man who had invented a new life for himself.

    He really doesn’t begin to get it, does he? Leaving aside the grossly insulting (and arguably unprofessional for a journalist) nature of refusing to refer to a person by their chosen gender identity signifiers, the point remains that, while Dr Essay Anne Vanderbilt may have been born with male sex organs that does not automatically make her a man. She was a woman, and had always been a woman, no matter what uriono-genital configuration she was born with.

    Physical birth sex is not gender identity destiny, as any but the most wilfully ignorant or bigoted could readily discover in this day and age. The information is easily accessible, if only people have the will to find it and are prepared to look at it reasonably, objectively and without prejudiced preconceptions, things that Hannan seems entirely incapable of, which is to put it mildly a bad sign in a professional journalist.

    I want to believe that the social tide is beginning to turn against transphobic bigoits like Hannan, but I am wary of such claims – until pretty recently people were hailing the victory of progressive values, and saying that the old battles were won, and we now lived in a post-misogynist, post-racist and post-homophobic society that made equality campaigns in those areas obsolete. Such claims were, to say the very least, premature.

    Bigotry, like any expression of unearned privilege, dies hard. And in the meantime ever more innocent people like Dr V are destroyed by callous, all too common jerks like Hannan, and also like him, most of them don’t even express any remorse for the lives they ruin.

  62. 62
    Inaji

    Gregory:

    all too common jerks like Hannan, and also like him, most of them don’t even express any remorse for the lives they ruin.

    Well, Hannan certainly doesn’t want his life ruined, or even impacted. See Beatrice’s post @ 58.

  63. 63
    rq

    *distressed aghast*
    That’s all I have right now.

  64. 64
    Gregory Greenwood

    Caine, Fleur du mal @ 62;

    Well, Hannan certainly doesn’t want his life ruined, or even impacted. See Beatrice’s post @ 58.

    So he doesn’t want to take any responsibility at all? No exactly a huge surprise, but disgusting behaviour all the same. He doesn’t think that the loss of a human life even warrents the disruption oif his schedule, at least not if the deceased fails to conform to the strict gender binary fondly imagined to be an expression of the notionally immutable ‘law of nature’ by transphobic nitwits.

    For now though he [Caleb Hannan] doesn’t want to talk to reporters. He values his privacy. Mysteriously, strangely, oddly, he just wants to be left alone.

    This reminds me of that Steubenville rapist who got off with a laughably light punishment for a truly heinous crime, and whose lawyer then released a press statement that expressed his desire to just be a teenager again or some such, as if his victim didn’t even exist at all, and what he did to her was meaningless. Just like him, Hannan just wants to brush the whole thing under the carpet, and clearly expects everyone to agree with what he seems to think – that it just one less trans* person in the world (he would probably use the offensively bigoted term ‘deeply troubled man’, not being brazen enough to use a term like ‘freak’, even though you get the sense that this is what he is probably thinking), and that it is really no big deal.

    He is beneath contempt.

  65. 65
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    For now though he [Caleb Hannan] doesn’t want to talk to reporters. He values his privacy. Mysteriously, strangely, oddly, he just wants to be left alone.

    Hulk smash!

    What the holy host of heavenly fuck? I am, I think, not entirely ineloquent. Yet I don’t even. Not one little bit, do I even.

  66. 66
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    ESPN has issued a nonapology.

    We understand and appreciate the wide range of thoughtful reaction this story has generated and to the family and friends of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, we express our deepest condolences. We will use the constructive feedback to continue our ongoing dialogue on these important and sensitive topics. Ours is a company that values the LGBT community internally and in our storytelling, and we will all learn from this.

    Wide! Range! Of! Thoughtful! Reaction! This! Story! Has! Generated!

    So! What the fuck is ESPN going to do about this shit!

  67. 67
    Inaji

    Janine:

    Just want to add, it may be true that DR V was committing fraud. But her status as a trans woman had nothing to do with it. This story could have been done without any mention that status.

    Of course it could, and that’s what a decent person would have done. It seems now, though, that Dr. Vanderbilt was not lying about her credentials. Hannan refused to verify them because he didn’t want to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which tells you his transphobia was the only important thing to him.

    Except Caleb Hannan had to imply that because Dr V was “lying” about her gender, everything else about her and her design were also lies.

    Just a continuation of the idea that trans women are inherently deceptive.

    Which is a continuation of the idea that women are inherently deceptive. Seems to me that Hannan went into this story just utterly amazed that a woman could invent a putter, why, it’s unthinkable! After all, sports, well, it’s a man thing, and what do you know…and went from there, unleashing every bit of toxic bigotry and sexism in his pea brain.

  68. 68
    Inaji

    to continue our ongoing dialogue on these important and sensitive topics.

    What fucking dialogue? “Hey man, you drove a woman to kill herself, I’m proud of ya!” That’s not dialogue. *fumes incoherently*

    Avo:

    Hulk smash!

    What the holy host of heavenly fuck? I am, I think, not entirely ineloquent. Yet I don’t even. Not one little bit, do I even.

    Yeah, this. Very much this.

  69. 69
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    We understand and appreciate the wide range of thoughtful reaction this story has generated and to the family and friends of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, we express our deepest condolences. We will use the constructive feedback to continue our ongoing dialogue on these important and sensitive topics. Ours is a company that values the LGBT community internally and in our storytelling, and we will all learn from this.

    No, I really don’t think you understand. At all.
    There may exist some ongoing dialogue, but this article certainly wasn’t part of it. Or at least not a constructive part of it. More like a part where you start beating yourself on the chest while yelling slurs and farting in the other side’s general direction.

    This particular story was far from valuing the LGBT community. Own it. Apologize. Fire a couple of people (no, not some random sacrificial lamb, but the people who were responsible for writing and publishing the story).

  70. 70
    Doubting Thomas

    I’m not sure if it was a ‘chill’ of revulsion or disgust so much as the tingle of a gotcha! He realized the thrill of having found out a secret bit of knowledge he knew he could hang his story on. One that would transcend it from a ho hum thing about a putter (as in who really cares about a goddamn putter) to a real newz story about something even non golfers would pay attention to. Maybe even get a mention on Fox.

    He’s still an asshole.

  71. 71
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Fire a couple of people (no, not some random sacrificial lamb, but the people who were responsible for writing and publishing the story).

    They could start with @fierman, the editor who tweeted about how proud he was about the story, and @calebhannan, the author who thinks that Dr V trans status had anything to do with the putter she designed.

  72. 72
    burgundy

    We understand and appreciate the wide range of thoughtful reaction this story has generated and to the family and friends of Essay Anne Vanderbilt, we express our deepest condolences. We will use the constructive feedback to continue our ongoing dialogue on these important and sensitive topics. Ours is a company that values the LGBT community internally and in our storytelling, and we will all learn from this.

    Oh how nice. I’m glad that a woman’s death provided them with a learning opportunity. Fuck. Is there one single word in that statement that actually has any meaning or backbone? Oh also, nice use of “storytelling.” It’s not journalism, it’s not reporting, it’s “storytelling,” so it doesn’t have to be responsible, or have any integrity, we want a story, man. And this one has a twist! And a tragic ending! It’s like M Night Shyamalan does The Crying Game! We can’t lose!

    *pukes*cries*pukes*

  73. 73
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Janine,

    I’m just afraid they’ll solve the problem with a standard “oupsy-doo, an intern accidentally published an unfinished story, we’ll make sure he never works again”.

  74. 74
    unclefrogy

    that the journalist is a monster is a fact that he is “a typical american” is also a true one is a statistical fact the other is reality. it is not “othereing ” that he has “psychological issues” is not making excuses or giving anyone a free pass. He is a human being the same as all the rest of us. He is an ignorant fearful, resentful person who shows signs of cruelty or at least self-absorption and indifference to the suffering of some..
    He is responsible for his actions and his words as we all are. we are not some different thing from those who suffer with their bigotry
    uncle frogy

  75. 75
    Jafafa Hots

    Just thought I’d mention for the sake of it that grantland/ESPN is majority owned by Disney.
    (Speaking of news being entertainment now)

    Disney owns 80%, Hearst 20%

  76. 76
    Inaji

    unclefrogy:

    it is not “othereing ”

    Yes, it is. A handful of us here spend way too much time fighting against it, too. Stop engaging in the No True Human fallacy.

  77. 77
    Inaji

    Jafafa Hots:

    Disney owns 80%, Hearst 20%

    That’s interesting. Now I’m wondering where that notpology came from, and whether or not Disney is going to speak from on high.

  78. 78
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    unclefrogy,

    Except that you don’t know that he has psychological issues, you’re just extrapolating that from the fact that he did something thoughtless that possibly pushed another person into killing herself.

    I suggest we don’t do this again, not in this thread. Nearly every time something like this is written about, someone starts an argument about whether they must be mentally ill follows from person did something bad. It’s been done. There’s archives for that, or Thunderom if we want to rehash the conversation in real time.

    not this thread, please

  79. 79
    Goblinman

    You know, I’m pretty sure that, if I were a journalist and I wrote an article which caused the subject of the article to goddamn kill themselves–even if it was someone I legitimately disliked, for whatever reason–that would probably be enough for me to never want to do journalism again.

  80. 80
    dravid

    Do you really think that Dr V committed suicide for being outed as a Transgender. Dr V was outed as a liar and a fraud who used false qualifications for commercial gain. Yes, some parts of the article can be deservedly criticized but to say that the Transgender outing is the cause of the suicide seems to be a long stretch.

  81. 81
    Goblinman

    Also, @44: “Monsters”:

    Hannan clearly thought Dr. V. was something monstrous.

    And the nice thing about monsters is that you can do whatever you want to them, because they’ve stopped being people.

  82. 82
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    dravid,

    She may have committed suicide for being outed as a fraud. She may have committed suicide for being outed as trans. I don’t see why the second thing is any longer stretch than the first.

    (if he had decided against publishing the article, she may still have committed suicide. but we’ll never know)

  83. 83
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    dravid, please explain why Caleb Hannan felt a chill go down his spine when he found out that Dr V was a trans woman. Please explain why every other detail in the article dropped away at that point. Hell, Caleb Hannon never bothered to prove if Dr V actually engaged in fraud at all.

    I guess it was because in Caleb Hannan’s eyes, the fact that Dr V was actually a “troubled man” was proof enough of fraud.

    Do tell, what do you think was the point of the story?

  84. 84
    jefrir

    Do you really think that Dr V committed suicide for being outed as a Transgender.

    Yes, that seems the most likely explanation, especially as it does not appear to be certain that her qualifications were fake. Also “transgender” is an adjective, not a noun.

  85. 85
    Inaji

    dravid:

    Yes, some parts of the article can be deservedly criticized but to say that the Transgender outing is the cause of the suicide seems to be a long stretch.

    Really? You’re completely unaware of rampant transphobia, the high murder and suicide rates? The constant stress of intense bigotry? If this is a case of ignorance, please go and educate yourself, because there are a good number of trans*people who are regular members of the commentariat who do not need or deserve to read this kind of idiocy.

    Dr V was outed as a liar and a fraud who used false qualifications for commercial gain.

    No, that’s not clear at all, and it isn’t very nice of you to be spreading thoughtless lies, now is it? Mr. Hannan seems to seriously suck at journalism, and didn’t do his research. Dr. Vanderbilt offered to provide proof of her credentials, along with the signing of a non-disclosure agreement.* Hannan refused to sign, and went merrily on his way to write his bigotry in full.
     
    *You would know this if you had read the fucking thread.

  86. 86
    ChasCPeterson

    It seems now, though, that Dr. Vanderbilt was not lying about her credentials.

    Having read the original piece, that seems unlikely. Hannan’s still a narcissistic scumhole, but it seems pretty clear that she was a habitual liar, and I do not refer to her gender identity.

  87. 87
    Inaji

    Goblinman:

    Hannan clearly thought Dr. V. was something monstrous.

    Yep. Othering, it never, ever helps.

  88. 88
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    dravid
    If you’d read the thread, you might have noticed that she didn’t commit fraud, or at any rate that there is no evidence of her having done so. Rather, it would appear likely that she changed her name when she transistioned, a legal process which is perfectly ordinary and available to any citizen for any reason for the price of a small administrative fee, while having attended classes under a previous name. There is nothing fraudulent about filing a change of name request, and it is perfectly reasonable that someone would not want the connection between previous legal names and current ones being publicized. (There are a multitude of reasons why this might be the case, depending on what motivated someone to change their name in the first place).

  89. 89
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Oh, and one more thing dravid; transgender is NOT a noun.

    Yes, I do think that this is a tell. It is letting know exactly where you are coming from.

  90. 90
    Inaji

    Chas:

    Having read the original piece, that seems unlikely.

    It has nothing to do with that. Hannan couldn’t be bothered to do his research, and couldn’t come up with the correct name prior to the name change. Dr. Valentine offered proof of credentials, with a NDA signature. Hannan wouldn’t do it. The best anyone can say right now is that whether or not she had the credentials is unclear.

  91. 91
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The best anyone can say right now is that whether or not she had the credentials is unclear.

    And that is because everything else became unimportant in the light of Caleb Hannan “knowing” that Dr V was a “troubled man”. Nothing else needed to be answered. That was enough to condemn her.

  92. 92
    ChasCPeterson

    Please explain why every other detail in the article dropped away at that point.

    To be fair, it didn’t. Did you read the piece? I don’t think PZ did.

    Dr. Vanderbilt offered to provide proof of her credentials, along with the signing of a non-disclosure agreement.

    It was an attempt to get Hannan to show up in her lawyer’s office. The NDA was to cover everything, not just her being a transwoman, but also the lies about her past and credentials, which were apparently many.

    Just trying to keep the facts, as known, straight.

  93. 93
    unclefrogy

    yes all I have to go on as anyone else has is ” he did something thoughtless that possibly pushed another person into killing herself.”
    if that is not a sign of a possible mental or psychological issue then what would be such a sign?

    I am of the distinct impression from my time on earth here living in the U,S. that psychological issues are the norm I do not see how anyone can escape from it. The society is so cut off from nature and themselves I would say that it is psychologically ill.
    Does that give anyone a free pass on their actions? Absolutely not!
    If judging others as simply evil or simply bigots is not othering what is it?
    I do not want to play good guys vs. bad guys anymore when both sides see nothing wrong with the destruction of the other side, when the biggest difference from my perspective is who you are against not how the game is played.

    uncle frogy

  94. 94
    Inaji

    Janine:

    That was enough to condemn her.

    Yeah, I know. Between the flaming stupid of dravid and Chas’s fact straightening, I’m gonna have to get out of here now. I’m not in a state to handle this shit. Sorry.

  95. 95
    ChasCPeterson

    Hannan couldn’t be bothered to do his research, and couldn’t come up with the correct name prior to the name change.

    Not true. He clearly did a lot of research, including the paperwork on the name change, which was from her original birth name to Essay Vanderbilt.
    Really, PZ has not provided all the details here, only the ones from the other blogposts he read.

  96. 96
    Inaji

    Adding:

    Yeah, I know. Between the flaming stupid of dravid and Chas’s fact straightening, and the idiots defending othering, I’m gonna have to get out of here now. I’m not in a state to handle this shit. Sorry.

  97. 97
    samihawkins

    Do you really think that Dr V committed suicide for being outed as a Transgender.

    Yes. As someone who actually has to live with being trans and therefore actually has the slightest inkling of what she was going through I think it’s rather likely that being outed is what pushed her over the edge.

    Dr V was outed as a liar and a fraud who used false qualifications for commercial gain. Yes, some parts of the article can be deservedly criticized but to say that the Transgender outing is the cause of the suicide seems to be a long stretch.

    It’s a ‘long stretch’ to think that her darkest, most shameful secret being revealed to everyone she knows and thousands more by a bigoted jerk is more likely to be the cause of her death than people finding out she made up bunch of degrees to help sell golf clubs?

    I can’t stand this defense that sprouts up every time there’s a story like this. Pretending that it’s ‘logical’ to assume every single possible cause has equal chance of being right and claiming we’re being ‘irrational’ when we point out the obvious reason.

    Putting all that aside however let’s address the obvious problem with this article:

    IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH HER BEING TRANS!

    Her lying about her credentials is completely unrelated to what genital configuration she had at birth. He could have easily written this article without ever mentioning her trans status. He chose to focus the article on that because he’s a bigoted shitwipe who clearly considers us nothing more than freaks to gawk at. Even if his victim were still alive he’d still be a bigoted shitwipe who acted completely unethically and deserves to lose his job.

  98. 98
    aaronpound

    Dr V was outed as a liar and a fraud who used false qualifications for commercial gain.

    No, she wasn’t. Absolutely none of Hannan’s claims about Dr. V’s credentials are substantiated. His article is completely devoid of supporting evidence on that score.

  99. 99
    aaronpound

    He clearly did a lot of research, including the paperwork on the name change, which was from her original birth name to Essay Vanderbilt.

    And he found exactly zero actual evidence to support his contentions. Gee, when most people come up empty on their research, they don’t go making claims as if they had found something. But that is probably a hard concept for someone with his head as far up his ass as yours is to grasp.

  100. 100
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, Chas, I did fucking read that article, thankyouverymuch.

  101. 101
    jefrir

    unclefrogy

    yes all I have to go on as anyone else has is ” he did something thoughtless that possibly pushed another person into killing herself.”
    if that is not a sign of a possible mental or psychological issue then what would be such a sign?

    Once again, “being an arsehole” is not a mental illness. There are a wide variety of things that are signs of mental health issues, which differ depending on the issue. If you are genuinely interested, a glance at a textbook on clinical psychology or similar may prove instructive. I promise, being a thoughtless bigot is not one of them. All that is a sign of is being an unpleasant human being living in a transphobic society.

  102. 102
    Bernard Bumner

    I’m at a loss to write anything constructive.

    This is yet another illustration for my benefit of how lucky I am to have the security of never needing to fear this type of assault on my being, and I am frustrated to the point of anger that I’m not sure why everyone can’t feel safe, and why I can’t do very much about it happening to anyone else. I’m sorry for all of you who do have to deal with this sort of damaging bigotry.

    Even if Dr. V’s bona fides were utterly bogus, the duty to protect her should have been so obvious that the story was never written, or else pulled.

  103. 103
    Quodlibet

    Slightly OT, but related to some of the cluelessness staining this thread:

    Caine, Ogvorbis, Josh, and many others – you are relentless in the best way. Thank you for saying, over and over again, what needs to be said. There are so many lurkers here who read and think and, we hope, go away with better thoughts and a resolution to be kinder and fairer to all people. I comment rarely, but I read every day, and in the process, my eyes and my heart have been opened.

    When I first peeped into Pharynglua several years ago (via Cuttlefish via GrrlScientist), I was lugging a whole sack of ignorant bigotry. I say “ignorant” bigotry because though I meant well, I was ignorant about the issues that affect people who were (at that time) outside my little world, including and especially trans* people, and in my ignorance, I was not ready to stand up to people who are maliciously and purposefully bigoted.

    I have read much, and thought about things a whole lot, and I keep working at empyting my sack and, eventually, discarding it. As Mellow Monkey said @51, “All of us have internalized bigotry in one form or another.” That’s true, and each of us has the individual responsibility as a compassionate human being to be aware that we carry that sack around, and to work relentlessly to empty it altogether. We can make the choice to fight agains our internalized bigotry. It is a choice. We can choose to be kind or unkind.

    So thank you, again, for teaching me (and how many others?). You are teachers, you know. Josh, you are often angry, but I need to be angry, too, so you inspire me. Caine, you are patient and relentless, and I need to be patient and relentless too, and you inspire me. Ogvorbis, my heart aches for you– and my heart needs to ache for you and for others whose pain has been ignored. You inspire me to be a better listener and to seek out those who need comfort.

    There are probably thousands like me who come here to read, and think, and learn, and be inspired.

    xo (I offer that very gently, and leave it off on the side for anyone who wants it)

  104. 104
    PZ Myers

    Yes, I read Hannan’s article. As I pointed out, there were legitimate issues relevant to the marketing of this golf club: did she have a doctorate, as claimed? Was she a physicist, as claimed? I also think the email was relevant: she sounded awfully pretentious in her writing. There was an element of the con in puffing up this sports equipment — I’m beginning to think sports writers and athletes are awfully gullible.

    But the fact that she was a trans woman was not a symptom of chicanery, nor was trying to maintain her privacy about that a sign that she was a “fake” — but Hannan clearly thought that lying about a degree and “lying” about her gender were equivalent.

  105. 105
    samihawkins

    To address the other discussion in this thread: What did the mentally ill ever do to deserve having every single asshole grouped in with them? Why is it so hard for some to accept that a person can be absolutely terrible to their fellow human beings while still being completely sane and rational? What’s their explanation for when entire nations carry out acts of evil like slavery or genocide? Mass hysteria?

  106. 106
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Chas,

    I read the article. It was about a journalist slowly destroying a woman, not stopping even after her suicide.

    I don’t give a fuck about her credentials at this point. She could have regularly told stories about her work for FBI and successful experiments with cold fusion. He should have stopped.

  107. 107
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    But the fact that she was a trans woman was not a symptom of chicanery, nor was trying to maintain her privacy about that a sign that she was a “fake” — but Hannan clearly thought that lying about a degree and “lying” about her gender were equivalent.

    This and the fact that Hannan never bothered to prove if Dr V actually was committing fraud. Quoting a former brother-in-law does not prove a thing.

  108. 108
    ChasCPeterson

    And he found exactly zero actual evidence to support his contentions.

    What? He found zero evidence to support her contentions.

    Gee, when most people come up empty on their research, they don’t go making claims as if they had found something. But that is probably a hard concept for someone with his head as far up his ass as yours is to grasp.

    Excuse me? Reading for comprehension = head up the ass to you?
    What he claims is exactly what he found: nothing. Despite trying, nothing to support any of her claims about attending Penn or MIT, nothing about having lived in Boston or DC (for an alleged decade). And no evidence of ever having used a name other than S. Krol and E.A. Vanderbilt. And no evidence of her being a Vanderbilt Vanderbilt, no evidence of her employment by DoD, etc. Instead there was evidence found of her having worked at a Bucks Co. Sunoco and an Arizona town office while allegedly engineering the B-2 bomber instead.

    from Hannan’s article:

    I contacted the registrar’s office at MIT. It had no record of anyone named Essay Anne Vanderbilt attending. The registrar at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed the same thing. Whatever Dr. V’s actual credentials, they didn’t include a business degree from Wharton, where she had supposedly gotten her MBA….[When born, s]he was given the name Stephen Krol, a person who has not received degrees from MIT or the University of Pennsylvania.

    We can still regard her suicide as a terible and unnecessary transphobia-caused tragedy without pretending she was a saint.

  109. 109
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Fuck, I’m just too angry at this point.

    Read this: http://bigthink.com/against-the-new-taboo/on-the-ethics-of-targeting-others

    Here again is another example of a harmless woman being targeted by a major platform, for a writer to publish a story. Indeed, she was targeted because she appeared to have done something extraordinary, but a little nudge sent Hannan down the rabbit hole of public assassination through disclosing information and details that would hurt. This wasn’t some criminal, some famous celebrity beating up his wife: it was a harmless person, who wanted privacy, who had a history of trauma and had pleaded with Hannan not to write.

  110. 110
    Inaji

    Quodlibet @ 103, you made me cry, for a good reason this time. Thank you so much, I really needed that pat on the head.

    unclefrogy, if you want to educate yourself, just a little bit, leave this thread and go read this one: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/12/14/before-you-reach-for-the-its-not-guns-its-the-cray-cray-argument/#comments – read every single comment, and try to understand the depth of how wrong you are, and how your insistence is making everything worse. Do you even realize the amount of people who think trans*people are mentally ill, and use that stupid thinking to justify all manner of bigotry? Stop what you are doing, read, learn, and think. I will also request, along with Beatrice, that you stop this line of commentary in this thread. You are actively causing hurt and harm to people. If you must carry on, please do it in thunderdome.

    With that, I bid you all g’night.

  111. 111
    ChasCPeterson

    But the fact that she was a trans woman was not a symptom of chicanery, nor was trying to maintain her privacy about that a sign that she was a “fake”

    Agreed.
    Sorry for the incorrect inference–on re-reading there are indeed details in the OP that show you read it. My bad.

    I don’t give a fuck about her credentials at this point.

    OK, you don’t care. I was addressing specific misstatements of others. Never asked you to care.

    He should have stopped.

    Agreed.

  112. 112
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    We can still regard her suicide as a terible and unnecessary transphobia-caused tragedy without pretending she was a saint.

    I’m not pretending she was a saint. I just don’t think even non-saints deserve to be relentlessly pursued for the sake of a “good story”.

    Read the link in 109, or at least the quoted bit.

  113. 113
    ChasCPeterson

    Yes, Chas, I did fucking read that article, thankyouverymuch.

    So then what does it mean that you said something verifiably untrue about it then, Janine?

  114. 114
    Inaji

    One more thing. Chas, please. Please, just fucking stop. Your defense of Hannan is like saying, “hey, the poison is okay, really, I sprinkled some sugar on it!” Just stop.

  115. 115
    ChasCPeterson

    Beatrice, why do you seem to assume that everything I say is directly at just you?
    (this one’s an exceptiuon–it is.)

  116. 116
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    1. Evidence seems to suggest Dr V was a fraud
    2. I somewhat doubt the evidence, since it’s presented by someone being extremely hostile to Dr V
    3. I find the fraudulent claims nearly irrelevant, considering the slant of the article and all-around assholishness of the author (see 2 again)

  117. 117
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Yes, Chas, I did fucking read of of that. That is why I said; repeated here and on twitter, a story could have been written, one that did not target her being a trans woman.

    Please fucking remember, Chas, that a chill went down his spine when he found out that Dr V was a trans woman.

    And after the chill, the article was only about Dr V being a “troubled man”.

    Fucking tell me again I am lying about this.

    I fucking dare you!

  118. 118
    Zee Low Brown

    Good lord, I read it… He calls that a eulogy? It’s a slander piece. What a scumbag. He was offered proof that she was appropriately credentialed, but was more interested in mud slinging than the truth.

  119. 119
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    unclefrogy @74:

    that the journalist is a monster is a fact . . . . He is a human being the same as all the rest of us.

    The journalist is a monster. He is human like the rest of us.

    So I’m a monster? Caine is a monster? Janine, Chas, PZed, all of us are monsters? Some might be monsters in the estimation of certain people. Many would think I am a monster and for good reason. And I have no idea where to go with this now.

    He is human. He is a typical American male. He is an uncaring asshole. But he is human, not a monster.

    And I am failing miserably at making my point. I hope you understand.

    There are no monsters. There are men and women who have failed in their duty as human beings but they are still people. Not monsters.

    Good bye.

  120. 120
    David Marjanović

    A chill ran up his spine? So the gender identity of another person that in no way, shape or form impacts his life or his own gender identity is that terrifying to him?

    Phobia. Literal transphobia.

    Unless comment 70 is correct, in which case Hannan is merely a colossal asshole and not a deeply troubled asshole.

    Oh also, nice use of “storytelling.” It’s not journalism, it’s not reporting, it’s “storytelling,” so it doesn’t have to be responsible, or have any integrity, we want a story, man.

    RAAAAARGH

    Least charitable interpretation: this is an allusion to Faux Noise suing for its right to lie and winning.
    Most charitable interpretation: *crickets chirping*

    One more thing. Chas, please. Please, just fucking stop. Your defense of Hannan

    I can’t see any attempt at such a defense here.

  121. 121
    nich

    I just noticed the cute little illustrations of a stealth bomber bombarding a golf course with golf balls and a a bag full of clubs next to a trash can with her putter in it. She’s dead. What more does this motherfucker want?

  122. 122
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    I’d only like to rewrite the first sentence way up there:

    “Hannan is a GAMES writer who was writing a story about the design of a TOY.”

    There’s a loss of all perspective when people pretend that a guy who writes about game/toy trivia gets a pass because he’s a “journalist”… like he was writing about national security or social justice issues. He might as well have been writing about new dice for tabletop RPGs or the latest version of Monopoly. His entire career to this point seems to be writing about hobby-shop stuff.

    Why the hell did someone have to die over a toy?

  123. 123
    Rob Grigjanis

    Josh Levin’s take;

    Hannan makes no claim that her identity as a trans woman has any bearing on the golf club she invented or the scientific background she inflated. And yet it sent a chill up his spine. It’s this line that feels particularly inhumane. Dr. V is a con artist and a trans woman. Hannan, though, conflates those two facts, acting as though the latter has some relation to the former. It seems that, in his view, they both represent a form of deceit.

  124. 124
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Unless comment 70 is correct

    (Recap: comment #70.)

    I’m not sure if it was a ‘chill’ of revulsion or disgust so much as the tingle of a gotcha!

    (Recap: the original post.)

    [Leland Frische] was clearly trying to tell me something, which is why he began emphasizing certain words. Every time he said “she” or “her” I could practically see him making air quotes. Finally it hit me. Cliché or not, a chill actually ran up my spine.

    That’s it. You can think that’s transphobia. You can think it’s revulsion or disgust.

    It’s pretty clear to me it’s realisation.

  125. 125
    carlie

    It seems that, in his view, they both represent a form of deceit.

    As does coloring one’s hair. Or putting on makeup. Or wearing Spanx. Or not immediately disclosing, upon meeting someone, every secret you have ever had in your entire life. That man made himself judge, jury, and, as it turned out, executioner.

  126. 126
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    #124, and solution to a mystery. Goddammit, I am way too cryptic sometimes. Sorry.

  127. 127
    carlie

    You don’t get a cliched chill running up your spine unless you’re having a very strong reaction. Nobody ever describes a neutral realization that way.

  128. 128
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    A “chill in his spine” because he made a realization?

    Seriously?

    How does that explain how Dr V being a “troubled man” becomes the only issue after that point.

    Yes, that is transphobia.

  129. 129
    Great American Satan

    It’s hard to see a story like this and not resort to the language of extreme violence in response. This dude is a world class piece of shit and everyone at his publication should lose their jobs over being a party to this. If there was any question about the source of the chill, the article proves it was transphobia quite clearly. I just can’t finish my thoughts on this without using violent language. Someone died because of this shit, and he said “Ouch” and collected his blood money. Fuck this goddamn motherfucker.
    -

  130. 130
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    A couple of neo-cons are planning on shitting on the JusticeForDrV tag after the 49ers-Seahawks game is over. One of those assclams called one of my twitter friends a “she-male” in one of his blog posts. After she called him on it, he wrote an other post claiming he has every right to use that slur.

    It might get ugly.

  131. 131
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Anyone wants to know why I’m so, so careful about my online life, the life where I get to be open about who I am? Because of this possibility.

    Not because I’ve lied; I’m really the professional I say I am, and I can show a degree to anyone who wants to see one.

    But because the idea of having my past splattered all over the Internet because some asshole thinks he’s found proof of my having been a con artist? Would also have me thinking suicide. Because my clientele – by the nature of my job – tend to come from much more conservative countries than the one I live in. Countries where people like me are routinely killed, professionally or by amateurs, for the sole crime of Existing While Trans. Or imprisoned with men, and then killed by amateur professionals.

    KILLED. Dead. Dead like Ms. Vanderbilt.

    Because she changed her name, and tried to live as herself. Or is there an epidemic of fraud-committers’ suicides I’m unaware of?

    Want a Republican argument for leaving us the fuck alone? When visible, we’re often highly intelligent, creative, and educated people (selection bias: being able to transition is a privilege, and the more privileged you are, the easier it is). Having us unable to live, unable to create, because we’re afraid of exactly this kind of reaction, is grabbing our society’s entrepreneurialism in a sensitive place and squeezing hard, for no fucking gain at all. None.

    When I got my first passport in my true gender, just before I travelled for surgery that I wanted (and no, I’m detailing shit about that, until you start providing pictures of all your genitals before the conversation starts – and if you start doing that, I’m getting the fuck out of here, because who wants to share that?), my government made me sign a waiver, recognizing that in giving me a temporary passport with a gender marker that was incongruent with the usual understanding of my body, I was risking imprisonment and other bad results from visiting any other country.

    These are the realities of day to day life for us. We die, especially my sisters of colour, in greater numbers than ANYONE else from violence, and most of the time our murderers are free from any justice, sometimes lauded for their urban renewal efforts. Fucking terrorists have a better life expectancy.

    And this, this is why. This kind of sensationalist toilet-scum “reportage”, treating us as circus freaks who are inherently deceptive because we don’t get branded with giant T on our faces. This KILLS us.

    People like me, and samihawkins, and other trans people you know.

    When you wake up and read this happened to me one day, that someone has killed me or hounded me to death for being trans, will you just shake your head and say, “What a monster,” and comfort yourself that you had nothing to do with it?

    You’ve never told a transphobic joke? Never laughed when we’re used as a joke in pretty much every sitcom EVER? Never rolled your eyes after meeting some visibly trans person, assuming the person you just rolled your eyes at wasn’t one of “them” (hint: I’ve had this happen to me, repeatedly, where people will out someone to me as trans, not knowing that I am myself)? Never got curious about someone’s “real” name, or their history, and asked other people, rather than the person directly (and if you ask me, prepare for a veritable torrent of toxic obscenity)?

    These are all things that lead to the culture Hannan was operating in.

    These are the things that make people like me disposable. Throwaway lives, sacrificable for a few extra hits on an ESPN blog. After all, come on! It’s not like she was human.

    I’m gonna fuck off and kill some pixelated things now.

  132. 132
    ibyea

    He murdered her, it is as simple as that.

  133. 133
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    CaitieCat, just to add to your rant. The TERFS who claim that be a trans woman is an appropriation and a rape of a woman’s body. And repeated claiming that trans women are trying to force lesbians to have sex.

  134. 134
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    A “chill in his spine” because he made a realization?

    Seriously?

    Yes.

    A “chill in his spine” because he had a revulsion?

    Seriously?

    It’s a metaphor. Go on Twitter and ask him if you really need to know. I don’t tweet. :-/

  135. 135
    Inaji

    Janine:

    It might get ugly.

    It already is, Janine. It will get worse, to be sure, as every transphobic ass on the ‘net will feel this great and vast need to justify their bigotry.

  136. 136
    Inaji

    Adding again:

    It will get worse, to be sure, as every transphobic ass on the ‘net will feel this great and vast need to justify their bigotry.

    And I dearly wish said asses would stop trying to do that in this thread.

  137. 137
    Inaji

    CaitieCat, all the hugs. Thank you for a much needed rant.

  138. 138
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    It’s a metaphor. Go on Twitter and ask him if you really need to know. I don’t tweet. :-/

    Since the shit has hit the fan, he has gotten thousands of tweets directed at him. He is not answering.

    And, yes, he fucking felt the need to point out that “chill in his spine”.

    And, yes, the focus of the article changed at that point.

    Care to try some more hand waving, CM?

  139. 139
    Inaji

    cm:

    It’s a metaphor.

    No. It was a descriptor explaining a visceral feeling on his part. As it seems you can’t stop being an obtuse fuckwit who can’t see past their own nose, you could leave this thread, it would be the decent thing to do.

  140. 140
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Oh, and one more thing. I said this on Twitter months ago. Not sure if word made it over here.

    I am a trans woman.

    I was in stealth mode for years here. Why? Because I could. It is a nice relief to be able to do so.

    But I met a lot of trans women on Twitter and wanted to be able to talk about issue without sound creepy.

  141. 141
    Inaji

    Janine:

    I was in stealth mode for years here. Why? Because I could. It is a nice relief to be able to do so.

    Which illustrates the point. You shouldn’t have to be in stealth mode to have that relief.

  142. 142
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    cm
    What the fuck is your actual goal here? Do you feel that reparsing Hannan’s words makes them (or his actions) any less reprehensible somehow? Or are you just here to be an ass?

  143. 143
    chigau (違う)

    Janine #140
    Well. My eyebrows went up.
    I asked myself why my eyebrows did that but I don’t have a good answer.
    So, thank you for another lesson in not making assumptions.
    Want some rum?

  144. 144
    chrisv

    Seems to fit the definition of sociopath.

  145. 145
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Janine, no. It’s 3am and I need to sleep … except yes; let me say a few things …

    Suicide is a tragic event. It is one of my triggers, for deeply personal reasons. Trust me, I hate to hear that someone has taken their own life.

    That said, it is not clear to me that Dr V’s suicide was due to the reporting. It is not at all clear to me (pace #132) that Hannan is a murderer.

    It seems to me that Hannan’s reporting was–ultimately–sympathetic to Dr V. We could argue the “chill in my spine” for ever, but ultimately, it’s an unknowable. The internet, blog comments, and especially Twitter, are not great venues for resolving these debates. :-/

    So I won’t try.

  146. 146
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    FFS, not every asshole is a sociopath. Sometimes an asshole is just an asshole, and there’s a whole lot of assholes around; the U.S. has more than our share. Hannan isn’t an aberration. His behaviour is a perfectly fucking predictable from a member of a society that worships and enshrines an infinite variety of assholery, and the only way to change it is to stop standing for that kind of assholery, and say “Hey, asshole, you can do better; stop being such a fucking asshole’ It often doesn’t work, but if enough people do it, sometimes some asshole will think “Hey, I’m being an asshole” and stop. And that’s all, really.

  147. 147
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    That’s it. You can think that’s transphobia. You can think it’s revulsion or disgust.

    It’s pretty clear to me it’s realisation.

    Imagine for a moment that she had changed her name from Smith to Vanderbilt because she got married. Or because she started acting in movies. Would Hannan have even bothered to mentioned that she changed her name? And if he had, would he have said that it brought “a chill in his spine”? Would he have implied that the name change was evidence of her dishonesty, or “his [sic]” troubled past? And yet because her reason for changing her name was that she wanted one that fit her gender, suddenly that’s the focus of the story and an implied explanation for her (alleged) dishonesty.

    There’s your transphobia right there.

  148. 148
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    [hush]​[hide comment]

    19 January 2014 at 8:58 pm (UTC -6)

    cm
    What the fuck is your actual goal here?

    Explain how I’m feeling and how it relates to the OP? Answer direct questions from other commenters? Try to provide other perspectives that have not been previously supplied?

    No, wait, I’m here to give you target practice. Yeah, that’s it. *sigh*

  149. 149
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Chigau, you might have raised your eyebrows. But I doubt that you are going to blame any bad behavior on my part on my status of being a trans woman nor use that as proof that I am a bad person. And I doubt you are going to follow the trope that I am deceitful because I am trans.

    If there is anything else, please, take it to Thunderdome.

    I am afraid I had to explain why I got so pissed at Chas and cm.

  150. 150
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    cm

    It seems to me that Hannan’s reporting was–ultimately–sympathetic to Dr V

    Fucking seriously? Fuck you altogether. Leaving aside everything else that’s wrong with that statement, I’ll jsut stick with the fucking obvious: If the article had been sympathetic, he’d have used the right fucking gender. That would be the absolute bare fucking minimum. What the entire fuck is your problem?

  151. 151
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    cm, I am not one of those who is calling Caleb Hannan a murderer. But, dammit, I can understand why a trans woman would want to keep that status to herself.

    And Hannan, by not keeping to that agreement, violated that trust.

    And I repeat myself here. The “chill in the spine” and change of focus onto her status is transphobia.

    You have not justified shit.

  152. 152
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Also, cm, please fucking tell me how referring to Dr V as a “troubled man” in any way sympathetic?

    If you actually think so, feel fucking free to call me a man. Oh, and come up with theories about how troubled I am and why.

    And fuck you!

    (Yeah, damn straight I am angry.)

  153. 153
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Janine, you are right to be angry. Rest assured, I have never thought to call you anything other than “possessed of an extremely esoteric music collection”.

    Apologies. I mean it. I’m sorry, and I should probably shut up now.

  154. 154
    Inaji

    Chrisv:

    Seems to fit the definition of sociopath.

    Yeahno. Fuck no. Did you not read the thread? Try it sometime, it helps to prevent foot in mouth. What you are doing is othering, indulging in the No True Human fallacy. You do this because it comforts you to think that no normal person could do such a thing. You’re wrong in that comfort, and you’re sure as hell wrong in that assumption. Please try to think before blithely tossing out such a line. It’s not only wrong, it’s harmful.

  155. 155
    Inaji

    cm! You continue to prove that you are not a decent human being. Fuck off someplace where you can chat with other obtuse, indecent bigots. Thanks to your indecency, I’ll proffer an apology to Chas, who listened, and even though he felt he was providing clarification, realized people were upset and angry, with good reason, and stopped. Thank you for that, Chas.

    As for you, cm, I’d be pleased if you managed to fuck yourself off Pharyngula altogether. As that probably won’t happen, leave this thread, if you have a tiny shred of decency buried in there somewhere.

  156. 156
    andrewglasgow

    For what it’s worth, the article seems to have been edited; it now correctly genders Essay Vanderbilt in all instances of referring to her, except when directly quoting someone who misgenders her.

    That doesn’t really make up for it, of course.

    Without the information she tried to provide to the reporter, we can’t really know whether there’s a reason why neither of her known names have records of attending the schools she claimed. It’s possible she had a different name at that time.

  157. 157
    Inaji

    andrewglasgow:

    For what it’s worth, the article seems to have been edited; it now correctly genders Essay Vanderbilt in all instances of referring to her, except when directly quoting someone who misgenders her.

    Aaaw, how sweet. That must be part of the notpology, and what do you want to bet they think that will address the problem?

  158. 158
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    That you for that news about polishing a pile of shit.

  159. 159
    draconius

    Oh, they changed the pronouns. Mission accomplished!

    More like they took a pillar of shit and carved a statue, one dedicated to transphobia, out of it. Then they chipped a small chunk of the statue off and now probably want everyone to cheer over it.

    Hooray! They are fighting against the transphobia!! that they created.

  160. 160
    Anri

    cm @ 124:

    That’s it. You can think that’s transphobia. You can think it’s revulsion or disgust.

    It’s pretty clear to me it’s realisation.

    So, if a “chill had gone up” Hannan’s spine upon finding out someone he was dealing with over the internet wasn’t while, but actually black, let’s say, or Muslim as opposed to Christian, that would have just been ‘realization’?
    Really?
    Does a chill go up your spine when you realize you’re talking to a person of color (DUN DUN DUN!)?

  161. 161
    LykeX

    Seems to fit the definition of sociopath.

    Wrong. A sociopath has a general lack of empathy. This is a lack of empathy with a specific minority group. That’s called bigotry and it’s much more common.

  162. 162
    aaronpound

    What he claims is exactly what he found: nothing.

    And yet he reported as if he had found some sort of fraud. And you, with your head rammed so far up your ass that you haven’t seen daylight in years, think that isn’t jumping to conclusions. He didn’t find a transwoman’s name in a registrar. He didn’t find what he assumed to be her birth name there either. And based on that you think he found some kind of fraud. Did it not perhaps occur to you that she might have used other names? A lot of trans people do. And when she offered to prove her credentials, he brushed it off, and you have spun a paranoid conspiracy story around that.

    There is no evidence to support any of the claims Hannum made. And your defense of him shows just how pathetic your critical thinking skills are.

  163. 163
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Fuck.

    I’mma second Caine’s posts on the matter at hand.

    =====
    And RE: “monsters” — I’ve discovered that the worst monsters are all too entirely human. In short, we are the monsters that we fear the most.

    I suspect the tendency or urge to “other” those we consider “monsters” comes from the need to deny one’s own “monstrous” nature and/or urges.

    =====
    These three men — the writer, the editor, and the publisher — should be held accountable. I’m not sure if a criminal case could be made, but maybe a civil suit?

  164. 164
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    CaitieCat

    When I got my first passport in my true gender, just before I travelled for surgery that I wanted (and no, I’m detailing shit about that, until you start providing pictures of all your genitals before the conversation starts – and if you start doing that, I’m getting the fuck out of here, because who wants to share that?)

    *nodnod*

    Gory details should only be shared to willing listeners, at the your discretion.

  165. 165
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Shit. Make that “at your”, not “at the your”.

  166. 166
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    What, just edited the article without a note saying “sorry, we fucked up there and now we’re changing the text to use correct pronouns”?
    Sloppy.
    Misleading.

  167. 167
    ck

    @Beatrice,
    Well, this way it lets them make their critics look unhinged, complaining about something that (no longer)
    exists in the original article. But, perhaps I’m being too cynical and it’s only a slightly less severe variety of dishonesty.

  168. 168
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Fuck the gender “fix” they did to the article. I mean, yes, accurate pronouns are important, but at this point, after fucking killing a person with hack journalism, all the swap serves to do is hide the sheer level of bigotry used in service to murdering a person.

    It’s a way for ESPN to cover their ass so that from now on when people check out the story they see a “respectful” piece that “gets the pronouns right” (or at least that’s the probable thought process among the beancounters) or at least “isn’t as bad” as the trans* community is saying so that it seems like the trans* community is blowing up a minor issue into a major one.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, you’ve already championed bigotry and killed a woman while patting yourselves on the back about being super-journalists, at least have the gonads to stand behind it rather than trying to belatedly bury the bodies and make yourself look “presentable” for the cameras.

    Fuck.

  169. 169
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    yes all I have to go on as anyone else has is ” he did something thoughtless that possibly pushed another person into killing herself.”
    if that is not a sign of a possible mental or psychological issue then what would be such a sign?

    In 1933, something happened to German tap water and suddenly they all suffered from mental illness. They were ultimately able to fix the problem in 45.
    For most of the history of the USA, the white majority suffered from mental illness. It has become better over time, probably something to do with changing from open fireplaces to central heating or something like that.

    Janine
    Thank you for your trust. I mean it.

    +++
    FFS, lets just switch scenarios for a while to see for “sympathetic” and “realization”

    He was clearly trying to tell me something, which is why he began emphasizing certain words. Every time he said “partner” I could practically see him making air quotes. Finally it hit me. Cliché or not, a chill actually ran up my spine.

    “Are you trying to tell me that this person is gay?”

    It took a moment for him to respond.

    No, the only decent realization at that point is that you’re talking to a fucking bigot and want to get out of the conversation ASAP

  170. 170
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    One other thing that resonated with me about her story was just how much outing is a weapon even if you try to eliminate the concern. I mean, there are plenty of trans* people who would love to be out as themselves as much as they can, but because of scars of discrimination, know they can’t. For someone like Vanderbilt who was working in an industry entirely built around the environment-killing hobby of rich conservative assholes, being out would have been impossible and come with a nasty set of consequences financially, socially, and in the form of threats of violence to her and her partner.

    Those who were trying to deny that that was the reason she killed herself are fucking idiots. I mean, for fuck’s sake, this is rich conservative asshole land, a lie about credentials (if she even did that and didn’t just use a name that Mr. GIRAT (h/t to slacktivist) couldn’t be arsed to find when he was busy missing everything else related to being transgendered) wasn’t going to do shit to her career or her sense of safety.

    And another resonating point? This serves as yet another bitter twist of the fucking “proper trans* path” trans* people are encouraged to take. Over and over again, through all the hoops we’re supposed to jump through, we’re expected to follow a path of “transitioning” and then fading off to a “new cis life” instead of building solidarity. And when someone does all that, then it just means that some asshole who thinks he iz journalist can just wander by and fuck it all up and feel free holding it over the person as if it’s a criminal act.

    Which isn’t at all to blame her for following the path that the steps proscribe, but more noting just how much of a fucking lie that “path” is and how it is more about hiding the reality of trans* people in order to perpetuate bigotry than it is to protect trans* people (as is claimed).

    Overall, the whole thing just pisses me off to hell.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, can the world stop killing trans* people for like five fucking seconds?

  171. 171
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Clarification, there doesn’t just need to be a journalist for that shit. In fact, that “reveal” bullshit is all over media and is used in the justifications of a lot of murders of trans* people for “deceiving people” because they “passed” and then were “discovered” and it’s a lot of why this fuck was able to assume that he had caught out some grand deception on the world by “finding out” her reality.

    This expectation is used to prop up a fiction that has killed a shit-ton of trans* people and killed another one here and the worst part of it is even if you resist, that same threat of violence and assumption of deception or other ill intent means that you’ll be shunted onto the path even if you resist and be heavily tempted to go “stealth” for basic survival or emotional or mental health only to have some fuck thinking you are “deceiving them” and the cycle continues.

    It’s like, fucking Machine of Pigs level is what it is.

  172. 172
    ekwhite

    Janine@130

    They are there, unfortunately. I got a response to my tweet that the article was disgusting that my face is disgusting.

  173. 173
    stripeycat

    Rage-flail. Suicide is a hot-button topic of mine, and any decent person would be appalled by the trans*-hate on display.

    And some of the commenters aren’t helping. Chas seems to have actually got the point, but cm and unclefroggy seem to have just snuck off because they were getting flak. If it doesn’t seem creepy, I’ll offer tele-hugs to people: doG knows I need a hug right now. (Also, coming to the conclusion that Pharyngula + insomnia is a bad combination.)

    I’m admiring the courage of Janine and Catiecat, and I really hope they can trust everyone who links ‘nym and real life. This is really scary stuff.

  174. 174
    Inaji

    ekwhite:

    I got a response to my tweet that the article was disgusting that my face is disgusting.

    How nice. I keep thinking I can’t be more disgusted. If there’s one thing this shows, all too clearly, it’s that no, Hannan and his editors aren’t monsters, they’re the majority. Plain, regular people. That ought to scare the hell out of everyone else, and wake them up to the stench of bigotry surrounding us.

  175. 175
    Inaji

    stripeycat, have a hug.

  176. 176
    unclefrogy

    I seem to have failed to communicate clearly again and I am not very sure that this “reply” is a good idea or not. It is not going to make any difference any way and I do not want to make it about me.
    I was reacting to the hostility the expression of hate. mostly. I was not about to read the whole story that caused to death of dr V the little bit that PZ posted here was too much for me.
    This kind of stuff makes me depressed or better said I get depressed when I read this kind of thing.
    The “journalist” was wrong and there is no excuse at all for his behavior.
    I did not mean to sound as if I was in any way making a defense for what he did.
    As I understand it mental illness is a long continuum it is not a black and white either or thing going from hallucinating voices and complete life threatening behavior to completely integrated emotionally and rationally. Yes I have heard a case put forward that whole nations can become act completely irrational and respond to delusional paranoid thinking.
    We all can lose sight of reality and react on our fears our resentments and note act completely sane I sure can. All the bullies and bigots I have had the misfortune to interact with have been just like that. I react in a very negative way when I come across behavior that sounds like that because I have learned that when they finish with who ever it is that has got their attention just now they will come for me later.
    who cares
    uncle frogy

  177. 177
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Jesus, this is so fucked up I don’t even… Hannen knew she wouldn’t want her identity outed, and did it anyway, and it caused her death, and will probably cause her invention to be an absolute flop. He only outed her because she was a trans person, too. If he’d done some digging and found out this physics professor had been fired from their university job for having an affair, he would of respected their wishes. If it had turned out they were a paranoid Prepper with a phobia of Obama, he would of respected their wishes. But a tranny!? Oh no, everyone needs to know this. *spits* Arsehole.

  178. 178
    Jennifer Rudd

    As a Trans* woman who has been literally beaten back into the closet, I am highly in tune to stories like this. It happens all too often.

    We would not be forced to lie about who we are on a daily basis if we could just live our lives with a little less violence and perhaps a fair shot at reasonable employment.

    I know nothing of this woman but I can easily imagine her story, The hatred, bullying, loss of friends and family to be able to transition, then when all is going (relatively) well after forging a new life, someone threatens to make her start all over again.

  179. 179
    ledasmom

    Ugh. I would wish I had not read the article, except that it is good to be reminded that yes, people do think like that. This Caleb Hannan thought he had a right to the most private details of a woman’s life without regard to the consequences for her and has apparently not managed to express remorse even after her suicide, and writes as if his personal inability to see Essay Anne Vanderbilt as a person somehow constituted a valid public interest.
    As if that weren’t enough he also treats her possible (I do not take what he writes about her background as gospel, given the issues with the rest of the article) obfuscation regarding her degrees or credentials as if there were absolutely no precedent for personal puffery in the field of advertising, and then also writes as if her being a trans woman is somehow the same thing, as if it were part of her promotion of her product. And he persists in thinking all this is justified. He refuses any culpability in her death. No, he is not a monster. He has deliberately chosen to be careless with the life of another person because he doesn’t consider that life to be worthy of consideration. You do not have to be a monster nor have mental issues to do that; people do it every single day.

  180. 180
    awakeinmo

    This made me so sad.
    And y’know what? Even if she did lie about her credentials, it was over designing a fucking golf club. Who gives a shit what the credentials of a golf club designer are?
    Even if he gave a shit about the credentials of a golf club designer, who on earth would give a rat’s ass (sorry, Caine) about her gender identity?
    Is this what sports journalism is usually about? Are you QUALIFIED to design a golf club? Were you BORN that gender? My god, sports writers must be the most boring, awful people.

  181. 181
    andrewglasgow

    Yeah, I certainly wasn’t saying, “Hey, they fixed the pronouns, problem solved,” in case anyone read that into what I was saying. I was just giving folks a heads-up so they could be aware of the stealth-edit.

    Fuckheads.

  182. 182
    vairitas

    i havent read all the comments, but does any one else remember elizabeth carmichael, and the twentieth century motor car company?

  183. 183
    ivarhusa

    Our task, we dear readers, is to find ways to make our communities fully welcoming to the trans community. We need to discourage and eliminate (aspirationally) the cretinous behavior that hurts our LGBT (inclusive of trans, certainly) family members. How? Good question. Many ways must be tried, but we have to take away the stigma that causes so much pain. Support your local LGBT community with supportive letters to the editor. Be vocal about standing up for equality. Stand up to churches that promote homophobia and hate. Be counted. Be there for your LGBT friends, even those you haven’t met yet.

    We have work to do, all of us. Don’t just read sad stories and sympathize or analyze. Act.

  184. 184
  185. 185
    burgundy

    @ ivarhusa 183 – I appreciate the sentiment, and you’re right that action trumps emotional response. But please review the language you are using. You keep saying “we.” Why do you assume that your readers are a part of the group you place yourself in? I don’t need to write “supportive letters to the editor” to support my local LGBT community; I’m part of my local LGBT community. By including me in your first-person-plural statements and directing your second-person comments at me, you are erasing the actual social space that I occupy. And that feels insulting and condescending to me, as though you’re so caught up in your nobility that you ignore the fact that the people you’re talking about are among the people you’re talking to. And to do that after a number of people have written comments about how they, as trans women, are affected by the behaviors and attitudes discussed in the original post…

    How about, instead of someone outside the group in question telling “us” what “we” should do, you instead listen to the people whose lives are at stake, and take your cue from that?

  186. 186
    carlie

    thumper – I really like that piece. It highlights that the story didn’t know who its audience was, or what its point was, or have any particular coherency. It was a horribly written piece even apart from the larger problems.

  187. 187
    ChasCPeterson

    Janine, in general: nothing personal, honestly. I really try hard to address statements, not people.

    Caine @#155: thank you.
    (As always, my concern was for facts and data. Well-intentioned emotional confirmation bias bothers me as much s any other kind. I don’t know what to say to those of you who think this makes me an asshole; it’s just how my brain thinks. I swear I usually keep it to myself these days.)

    andrewglasgow @#156, and all those who believed it: Nothing has been edited, stealth or otherwise. The only paragraph that ever used masculine pronouns in reference to “Dr.” V., presumably the part to which McEwan took exception, remains as it was. Conclusions have been jumped to.

    aaronpound @#162:

    And your defense of him shows just how pathetic your critical thinking skills are.

    You are projecting, but you are free to continue believing what you clearly want so badly to believe. *shrug*

    awakeinmo @#180:

    Who gives a shit what the credentials of a golf club designer are?

    a. investors in the company who were lied to in the pitch (one was interviewed for the article). (This is the reason people (though not, afaict, Hannan) are using the legal term ‘fraud’.)
    b. people who paid several hundred dollars apiece for another fucking putter, in part because they were told it was designed by a Real Physicist.
    c. golf nuts in general, who are legion.
    d. people who actually worked hard for a legitimate doctoral degree instead of just blithely prepending the honorific.

    Thumper @#184: Thanks you for that link. Those are all excellent questions indeed.
    It links, in turn, this reasoned treatment.

  188. 188
    Inaji

    Chas:

    Caine @#155: thank you.
    (As always, my concern was for facts and data. Well-intentioned emotional confirmation bias bothers me as much s any other kind. I don’t know what to say to those of you who think this makes me an asshole; it’s just how my brain thinks. I swear I usually keep it to myself these days.)

    I don’t think it makes you an asshole, and I wish others wouldn’t be so quick to that judgement. It’s just part of who you are and how you think, and if anything, this thread should remind us all to have empathy and concern for others. I really appreciate that you took a break from the thread, my thanks.

  189. 189
    Nepenthe

    When I am this angry, I resort to violent fantasies which I will not share here. What I will say is that I hope that someday Caleb Hannan et al. realize exactly what they’ve done (ala a Total Perspective Vortex or Point of View gun).

  190. 190
    opposablethumbs

    My respects and thanks to Caine, Janine, CaitieCat, to Dalillama and Cerberus and many more. Thank you for speaking up, thank you for saying what you do.

    The rest is just anger and tears.

  191. 191
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Chas @187

    Christ, what an asshole.

    Fuck, Chas, your problem is not that your defending logical accuracy against positive emotional responses, it is that you respond with a specifically privileged perspective and think that that makes you more “objective” simply because the experiences a) don’t resonate with you on a personal level and b) because all of society is structured to tell white cis men that their viewpoints are, in general, more valid than anyone else’s.

    And the thing of it is, a white cis man actually is at a severe disadvantage to understand issues affecting minority populations, simply because they are raised in a society where minority populations are expected to know dominant culture, but dominant people are not expected to know or listen to minority perspectives.

    So, something that blares out for trans* people (for example) because we’ve seen it a hundred thousand times before and know what it means and how it is used against us is easy for you to just gloss over simply because you do not have the background and knowledge base to recognize and process information.

    And it is infuriating to say the least to see you repeatedly pull this fucking dance of pretending that your ignorant, blind traipsing through stories about bigotry are some grand logical deconstruction when you demonstrate again and again an inability to grasp even basic notions and data (for minority group members).

    You are not a brave defender of intellectual honesty, you’re an asshole. And the irony is that you could not be if you actually cared enough about intellectual honesty to educate your damn self and listen to the life experiences and knowledge bases of those you deem your intellectual lessers.

    Fuck, I’m sorry for being aggressive here, but much like Jennifer @178, I’m coming from the perspective of a trans* person bullied back into a closet and face the same threats of potential death from people who assume that I’m therefore being “deceptive”. And furthermore, I’m coming from the perspective of someone who very recently found themselves in a similar position to Vanderbilt, facing transphobic bullying and attempting suicide over it (the only difference being I luckily fucked it up). So yeah, some asshole deciding to write an article way more about “hey, shouldn’t everyone know what a freak this person is” than anything else, and with a complete lack of journalistic standards at any level kinda fucking resonates and seeing you do the same ignorant privileged passive-aggressive self-promotion you pull out in every thread about minority life experiences (because it hurts your pride in your intelligence too much to actually take the time to learn about something, unlike many things in your life, you do not understand with ease) kinda feels like the last straw on my patience.

    Sorry, but ugh, just ugh.

  192. 192
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Oh, by the way, Chas?

    I know personally a trans* person who changes their name pretty frequently as they’re young and still trying to find the name that theirs. They published a memoir recently. It was not under their birth name nor the name they are currently going by. When they graduate from college, there’s no telling what the name they’ll use will be, but it probably won’t be their birth name or the name they might go by in X years in the future.

    I, myself, have gone by at least 3 names, not including online psuedonyms and use a fourth as a pen name when I write porn so that I can protect a lifestyle where at least online I am out and myself without fucking myself over for future employment.

    I’ve known genderqueer poets who make their name changes part of a game. One person actually crowdsourced one of their names and actually stuck with it for a month.

    It’s not critical to trans* experiences to change one’s name frequently or multiple times (some know from the beginning), but it’s not uncommon for multiple changes to occur especially early on in awareness as they try and find the right “fit”.

    Seeing as how the author’s awareness of trans* issues and people is about zero and his journalistic investigation mostly consisted of going to people she knew and outing her rather than focusing on anything related to either his supposed topic, I’m not entirely sure why we are supposed to assume an unbiased reporter who did full due diligence. I mean, it’d be like if some Christian preacher wandered into a damaged nuclear power plant and like waved his arm and said “nope, not green, therefore it’s safe”, we might just want some extra information before taking his word that he did all the proper scienamatific tests. Incompetence in one sphere of journalism does not breed confidence, especially with the level of antipathy towards the subject.

    And that’s all a massive distraction from the fact that there’s no reason she should have been the subject in the first place and definitely no reason why her trans-ness should have been allowed to be treated as proof of her deception and be the main focus of his fucking article’s narrative hook.

    Especially not when the “deceptiveness” and “fictionality” of trans* people is used as the number one justification of their murders, which occur at a greater rate per population size then most populations minus maybe prostitutes.

    And the sick thing is that you are so wrapped up in your self-image, you can’t even notice that your assumptions and arguments privilege the tainted journalism of a demonstrable hack and unethical piece of shit as 100% accurate based on nothing else but his own testimony (a testimony wherein he reveals a strong dislike of the subject and a willingness to abuse journalistic ethics to abuse her).

    Despite your claims to the contrary, you are privileging his story as accurate and him as a good researcher in contrary to the evidence demonstrated by his own testimony.

    And I bet you don’t even notice you did it or that you automatically assume the man is telling the truth and the trans* woman is the liar based only on the man’s testimony after he has assured the other side can’t respond, because she’s dead.

    And fuck.

  193. 193
    carlie

    a. investors in the company who were lied to in the pitch (one was interviewed for the article). (This is the reason people (though not, afaict, Hannan) are using the legal term ‘fraud’.)

    Then the article should criticize the person who made the pitches and promoted it, Gary McCord. The story should be why he didn’t vet his pitch properly.

    b. people who paid several hundred dollars apiece for another fucking putter, in part because they were told it was designed by a Real Physicist.
    c. golf nuts in general, who are legion.
    d. people who actually worked hard for a legitimate doctoral degree instead of just blithely prepending the honorific.

    These are where the privilege aspect comes in. Yes, those are things that happened. But is the money spent by those people on Yet Anther Putter by being convinced by the equivalent of a late-night infomercial worth enough to engage in a behavior that will ruin someone’s life? Do golf nuts and their putters have a higher priority than a transgender person? Do we, as people with legitimate doctoral degrees, have such a large amount of currency wrapped up in getting to put those letters behind our names that we’re willing to kill people over it?

    I, for one, don’t. Yes, it infuriates me when people fake degrees, because I went through what, for me, was a lot of hell to earn mine. But there’s a limit – if we set up a matrix with various consequences for people who fake degrees and what damage they do because of wielding it, I’m not comfortable with the entire matrix. Yes, someone who fakes a degree while peddling homeopathic water to sick people ought to lose their job and spend time in jail over it. But someone who uses a fake degree to sell a fucking golf club should, at most, end up losing that sponsorship. They should not have their entire life and all of their secrets exposed to the entire gawking public as a consequence. Especially not if that makes them a target of prejudice and violence.

    And all of that, even if you don’t agree with that, even if you think yes, she should have been exposed as a fraud, that doesn’t have any thing at all to do with her gender. The entire thing could have been stated as “she has legally changed her name at least once, but no degrees were found under her previous names either”. There was simply no reason to out her in that article, except for the page clicks. None.

  194. 194
    Inaji

    I do think that Hannan had an obligation, as a journalist, to follow up on the offer to provide proof of credentials. The serious sticking point for me was his refusal to do so, because he did not want to sign an NDA regarding Dr. Valentine’s personal life. What that tells me is that outing her became his primary objective, over and above everything else. If this really was about a golf club and possible fraud, Hannan wrote the worst possible article on those specific subjects.

  195. 195
    jefrir

    The entire thing could have been stated as “she has legally changed her name at least once, but no degrees were found under her previous names either”. There was simply no reason to out her in that article, except for the page clicks. None.

    Especially as it’s not exactly unusual for a woman to change her name.

  196. 196
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    [Not sure if this contravenes my commitment, but just to tidy up loose ends.]

    Dalillama @#150, Anri @#160, and stripeycat @#173, I was asked to leave this thread.

    I think I’ve probably done enough damage and will do so (now).

  197. 197
  198. 198
    dravid

    i must apologise for my inglish in futur i wil tri too do much beter like.

  199. 199
    samihawkins

    Uh, sharkjack, did you mean for your whole post after the link to be blue? Because it is.

    For those that don’t feel like subjecting themselves to the notpology here’s my summary:

    Caleb Hannon, a transphobic piece of **** who hounded a transwoman to death. will not be punished in any way.

    They’re not removing the article.

    Bill lies through his teeth and claims the ‘chill down my spine’ line had nothing to do with her being trans. He doesn’t even acknowledge the ‘troubled’ man’ line, probably because he couldn’t think of a BS denial.

    He whines about how unfair it is that people are saying mean things to the murderer he employs.

  200. 200
    LykeX

    That editorial seems very up and down. There are some good bits, but there are certainly also points where they seem to be neatly washing their hands. E.g.

    We will learn from what happened. We will remember what Wooden said — “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not doing anything” — and we’re going to keep trying to get better.

    Well, that’s alright then. Never mind that a person is dead and that your incompetence contributed to that. You’ve learned a valuable lesson. Now, let’s all move on.

    But that speaks to our collective ignorance about the issues facing the transgender community in general, as well as our biggest mistake: not educating ourselves on that front before seriously considering whether to run the piece.

    Goddamn right. That is a big fucking mistake, isn’t it. Especially since you’re reporters. Your whole job is to find information. This isn’t just a mistake in the general sense, this is professional incompetence. You’re expected to know this shit.
    It’s similar to a doctor who, when faced with a disease he’s not familiar with, proceeds to just treat the patient with a few aspirin without reading up on the facts of the condition. If the patient dies as a result of such malpractice, the doctor doesn’t just get to say oops.

    Finally:

    [Hannan] never, at any time, threatened to out her on Grantland.

    Well, that’s what they call a truth with modifications, isn’t it? I’m sure he never directly threatened her, a la “I’m going to out you. [insert evil laugh]” However, he was probing into her gender identity, talking to people about it and the final article told the whole story to the public, indicating that he clearly didn’t view this as too private to report.

    He might not have threatened her, i.e. deliberately made a verbal threat, but he was threatening her, i.e. doing something that constituted a danger to her. The fact that he wasn’t doing so intentionally, but through a profound ignorance of the situation is not exactly a perfect defense, especially given the point above.

    I think this goes back to their continuing ignorance of transgender issues. They don’t seem to understand that the mere fact that he dug up this information, coupled with his obvious lack of concern with her privacy did in fact constitute a credible threat to her physical safety, career and general well-being.

  201. 201
    LykeX

    To be clear, that wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. I meant “finally” in the context of what I could be bothered to write about right now.

  202. 202
    samihawkins

    To: [email protected]

    Subject: May their be a Hell for you. A Tartarus. A bleak unending.

    Body: You’re a murderer who drove Essay Anne Vanderbilt to suicide.

    I realize it’s a pointless gesture, but I’m too pissed off right now to care. It was either find a way to vent my fury at the man responsible, or spend the entire night awake because I’m too angry to fall asleep.

  203. 203
    Danger Nut

    If Hannan was smart, the gender issue would never have been mentioned. There is still a fascinating story of a women lying about her education, a history of outlandish behavior, and what appears to be a multiple participant scam on people everyone loves to hate…rich golfers.

  204. 204
    David Marjanović

    and seeing you do the same ignorant privileged passive-aggressive self-promotion you pull out in every thread about minority life experiences

    Please explain where Chas is promoting himself. I can’t see it.

    I’m not entirely sure why we are supposed to assume an unbiased reporter who did full due diligence.

    Unbiased!?!

    Where do you get that from? In his very first comment here (86), Chas called Hannan “a narcissistic scumhole”, and in comment 108 he attributed Dr V’s suicide to “transphobia” that pretty much has to be Hannan’s from context. I can’t find anything else Chas has said or implied about Hannan’s character. Can you?

    I, for one, don’t. Yes, it infuriates me when people fake degrees, because I went through what, for me, was a lot of hell to earn mine.

    This is getting really far off topic… but… I can’t even empathize with this train of thought. :-| Fake degrees infuriate me for a completely different reason: now we have people running around who claim to know stuff and understand stuff about a certain topic, and get important jobs for this very reason, but in reality almost certainly have next to no idea. To jump right to the extreme examples, I’m sure part of the reason why Theodor zu Guttenberg was chosen as minister of defense and Anette Schavan as minister of education of Germany was that they had authored doctoral theses about topics that were more or less relevant to what became their jobs – and then it turned out their theses were plagiates.

    I do think that Hannan had an obligation, as a journalist, to follow up on the offer to provide proof of credentials. The serious sticking point for me was his refusal to do so, because he did not want to sign an NDA regarding Dr. Valentine’s personal life. What that tells me is that outing her became his primary objective, over and above everything else. If this really was about a golf club and possible fraud, Hannan wrote the worst possible article on those specific subjects.

    All seconded.

    Goddamn right. That is a big fucking mistake, isn’t it. Especially since you’re reporters. Your whole job is to find information. This isn’t just a mistake in the general sense, this is professional incompetence. You’re expected to know this shit.
    It’s similar to a doctor who, when faced with a disease he’s not familiar with, proceeds to just treat the patient with a few aspirin without reading up on the facts of the condition. If the patient dies as a result of such malpractice, the doctor doesn’t just get to say oops.

    This too.

  205. 205
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    David @204

    Responded to your response in the Dome here.

  206. 206
    patrickspens

    Caine @194

    I do think that Hannan had an obligation, as a journalist, to follow up on the offer to provide proof of credentials. The serious sticking point for me was his refusal to do so, because he did not want to sign an NDA regarding Dr. Valentine’s personal life. What that tells me is that outing her became his primary objective, over and above everything else. If this really was about a golf club and possible fraud, Hannan wrote the worst possible article on those specific subjects.

    I don’t think you’re reading that part of the article correctly. the NDA she wanted him to sign was related to her past, not just her personal life. It wouldn’t be a part of her personal life that she was working as an auto mechanic at the same time as when she claimed to be designing the B-2, but it would be part of her past.

    That said, while we don’t know why Dr. V killed herself, it seems likely the article had a lot to do with it. And there was defiantly no reason to out her posthumously.

  207. 207
    ChasCPeterson

    Thank you, David.

    I am sincerely uninterested in arguing about this. I am sorry to have pissed people off. It’s not the first time, of course, but I can’t help thinking for myself and calling shit as I see it. I stand by everything I’ve said about the case and article. Nothing specific I’ve said can be generalized to things I didn’t specifically say, as always, but, as usual, such unfair and unwarranted generalizations have been made. It’s damn tiresome but I can’t change others so whatever.

    I’ll just make a couple of general points without responding to individuals. It is not any investigative journalists’s “professional responsilility” to sign a non-disclosure agreement. It’s ridiculous to think that any serious professional journalist ever would; it’s antithetical to the entire point. It’s also ignorant to think that a professional journalist would publish stuff like this –or that an editor or publisher would let them–without copious notes and documentation, enough to be damn sure about it. Hannan did a lot of things stupidly and wrong, as has been my explicit opinion from the first, but refusing to sign a legally binding NDA wasn’t one of them. Otherwise, he seems to me to have done due diligence in tracking down all the information he could.

    If information surfaces that Vanderbilt did in fact obtain advanced degrees from MIT and Penn under some third name, I’ll have been wrong, I’ll own it, and I’ll feel bad about suggesting otherwise. But the evidence available to me right now suggests that that’s highly unlikely, and empathetic special pleading to the contrary just isn’t compelling to me. I don’t think that makes me an asshole; ymmv I guess.

    My last comment on the subject (so go ahead and get your last licks in): I’ve been pretty impressed with the way the editors at Grantland have handled the well-deserved criticism. Personally, I thought this letter from the editor said pretty much everything it should have, in a classy and suitably humbled way.
    And they also published, and presumably solicited, this highly critical piece by a transwoman.
    None of that, of course, makes up for the unneessary death of Ms. Vanderbilt.

  208. 208
    chigau (違う)

    dravid
    I suggest that you go away.
    Your shovel is too blunt.

  209. 209
    dravid

    chigau

    An ad hominem, anger and no sense of humour. Are you sure that you are the best person you can be?

  210. 210
    Badland

    dravid

    Jesus fuck. Read and learn. Maybe you’ll display a bit less stupidity when you post

  211. 211
    Inaji

    dravid:

    An ad hominem, anger and no sense of humour.

    There was no Ad hominem fallacy, and no anger. This being the internet, please learn to at least search and find out what things mean before you display your stupidity for all to see. What makes you think this thread, which is about the death of a woman, is an appropriate place for humor? (Please, don’t answer that. Just go away.)

  212. 212
    dravid

    Caine, flower of evil (pretentious)

    Read your wiki, so you are a professional rude person, well done, nothing better to do?.

    I’ll take it all as a compliment. Signing off as ordered

  213. 213
    opposablethumbs

    ffs, dravid, this thread is about a woman driven to suicide – and you are droning on about how some fwightfuwwy WUDE people were a wee bit mean to poor (effectively anonymous and 100% unthreatened) you on this blogsite? Take your “(pretentious)” and piss right off, tosser.

    No-one is under any obligation to smile sweetly at you and meet your obnoxious drivel with “humour”. And frankly, Caine was extremely calm and courteous in #211 – a damn sight more than you deserve. Hint: it’s not your oh-so-humorous “inglish” to which people are objecting. Try engaging your brain and considering how people’s comments relate to your actual message.

  214. 214
    dravid

    Another angry person. Welcome aboard, as we say in Australia “Come in spinner”.

  215. 215
    echidna

    “Come in spinner” is still in current use? Really? Pull the other one.

  216. 216
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Carlie #186 and ChasCPetersen #187

    Firstly, apologies for the long wait; I logged off not long after posting the link.

    I’m glad you both found it interesting, and Chas, thank you for your link. I particularly liked this sentence:

    This was a reporter entering a story with fundamentally flawed, not to mention bigoted, premises and letting those premises guide his reporting and his writing—a problem magnified since Hannan and his reporting are an essential part of the story.

    I think it’s revealing that the story was terrible in and of itself, even leaving aside the terrible transphobia. It seems to me that Hannan had a good sports story of a new-ish piece of sporting equipment apparently quite widely acclaimed due to the inventor’s scientific credentials, which turned out to be false. That’s a good and meaningful story. But Hannan was so sidetracked by the “OMG, she’s a tranny!” that the story lost all coherency and meaning. He made several journalistic errors, and the editorial staff made several editorial errors, and then it was published anyway. There are certainly many questions which need to be answered.

  217. 217
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @ dravid

    I’ve read three of your comments, and have learned that you don’t understand what an ad hominem is, mistake metaphors for anger, think a thread about a trans woman being bullied into committing suicide is an appropriate place for humour, and respond badly to deserved criticism. I already don’t like you.

  218. 218
    ledasmom

    Thumper @ 216:

    That is very much what struck me: on top of the wanton cruelty towards his subject, there was a complete inability to recognize that he could have written about golf equipment and whether it is the equipment or the golfer’s confidence in it that matters; the whole mental aspect of putting, which I gather is considerable; the question of how the credentials of the maker might contribute to confidence in the putter. There was a delicate philosophical point to be made, and instead he produced this nasty little bit of work.
    And I do not understand how, if he saw his subject as a human being, he could not express remorse at the possibility that he might have contributed to her death. When one finds oneself making excuses for not behaving decently, one might consider whether it would not be better simply to behave decently.

  219. 219
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @ledasmom

    There was a delicate philosophical point to be made, and instead he produced this nasty little bit of work

    My thoughts exactly. He ignored a potentially interesting piece to pursue his own prejudices and communicate his “shock” at the existence of trans people to the rest of the world.

    And I do not understand how, if he saw his subject as a human being, he could not express remorse at the possibility that he might have contributed to her death.

    Which leads me to believe he did not see her as a human being.

  220. 220
    gwangung

    Another angry person.

    Well, generally, bigotry and callousness often generate anger in moral people. I don’t think it’s a sign of superiority to look down upon it.

  221. 221
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    dravid-

    Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Let me just take a seat on the dead body of yet another trans woman and…

    All right, let’s talk about your feelings.

    Seeing as how there is literally nothing in the world more important that cis white male fee-fees about being looked askance by minority group members. Please dravid, are you okay? Did the mean old minority group members make you feel like an asshole? Oh noes, that’s so horrible. I couldn’t possibly imagine anything so terrible in all my life.

    No, don’t go, this is the real important topic and I think I speak for all transwomen when I say I absolutely love how every callous murder of one of my sisters needs to be interrupted for various cis white dudes to whine about not getting enough attention and kudos for their various psychodramas. So please, continue, tell us about your day. Did Susie ever call back about asking her out to prom? Uh huh. Yeah. I see.

  222. 222
    David Marjanović

    Another angry person.

    If you’re not angry, you haven’t been paying attention.

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