Oh, Henry

Henry Gee is an editor at Nature magazine. I’ve met him: he’s smart, he’s interesting, he’s extremely opinionated and often obnoxious, so we have at least one of those things in common. He and Dr Isis have a long-running feud — it may have begun with Gee publishing an awful piece of short fiction called Womanspace, or it may have been something to do with an argument at Science Online, but I don’t know and don’t care.

But now it has blown up in ways that are ultimately going to be damaging to Gee. Dr Isis is a pseudonymous blogger and scientist, and rather vindictively, Gee has outed her. Why? Because she was mean to him.

@nickwan I am a human being who has endured 3 years of unwarranted, undeserved unpleasantness from a pseudonymous blogger. That is all.

I have no sympathy at all. I’ve seen Dr Isis’ snipes at Gee — they’re cutting but sporadic, but she’s certainly not obsessed with him. Check her blog; there really isn’t that much about him there. I have people who haunt me every day; who have blogs dedicated to hating on me; they make photoshopped gifs and videos accusing me of the most outrageous things. And I’m not even a woman! I’ve got it easy compared to what many of the blogging women of my acquaintance have to face. Three years of unpleasantness? Compare that to ten years of getting photoshopped into gay porn and nonstop daily hate mail.

And so thin-skinned Gee, in multiple tweets, announced to the world the full name and professional affiliation of Dr Isis, also admitting that it was revenge for hurting him.

That’s enough background. Go read Dr Isis’s post explaining how an editor at Nature is trying to bully a pseudonymous blogger.

How does one make amends on the internet?

Bora Zivkovic is back, and he’s tweeting and blogging as if nothing happened…which rankles. I have to wonder what he has done or better yet, could do to make amends for the violations of trust, but a few months’ hiatus doesn’t quite seem adequate. I’m not a judge to levy a penalty, either, so I don’t know what to say, and it seems to me we lack any means of determining what is a sufficient price to pay.

Loss of widespread respect and of a good job does seem to be a substantial cost, but you’d think he’d come back with a little more humility

‘Twas the night before Christmas…around FtB

Look at all these people celebrating a secular Christmas, if they’re celebrating at all.

I’m hanging out with family. This is my kind of Christmas.

So what are you doing today and tomorrow?

Oh, no, I’ve been doing blogging wrong!

You know, Al Franken is my senator. I voted for him (and far more happily than I did voting for Obama), and I’ve said a few good words about him here. But does he invited me to dinner? Does he ask me to join him out on the shootin’ range? Does he call? Does one of his assistants ever call? No. No politician ever comes a-courtin’.

He does have a very nice beard.

He does have a very nice beard.

I wasn’t feeling snubbed until I heard about Robbie Cooper. Who? He’s a small-time blogger in Austin, and recently Texas Republicans Greg Abbott, Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, and Ken Paxton have invited him in for conversations. See? The Republicans know how to treat their people!

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “But, Myers, you’re a crappy blogger who alienates everyone, it’s no wonder you have no friends in high places.” And, well, that’s true, but that doesn’t stop the Republicans from befriending Robbie Cooper, who is a racist jerk.

Robbie Cooper is very concerned about “The Blacks”, or as he prefers to call them, “The Niggers”.

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Really? I checked out his awful blog, and you get the flavor pretty quickly. He’s obsessed with roving gangs of urban black teenagers running around beating up innocent white people — it seems to be his major theme, that The Blacks are out of control, and Good White People need to get a concealed handgun license so they can shoot them when they get too close. He favorably cites John Derbyshire’s racist advice and condemns places like Philadelphia as “shitholes” because they’re full of urban thugs running rampant and hunting white people. I lived in Philadelphia for many years; I worked in North Philadelphia and walked in black neighborhoods there; the only times I’ve ever been shot at were by a white prostitute in Seattle (I was an innocent bystander in the line of fire when when she opened fire on someone else), and by a good ol’ boy in the farm country east of the Cascades who decided it would be hilarious to open fire with a hunting rifle on some hikers. I’d feel safer in North Philly than I would in rural Texas…and admittedly, part of that is bias, from reading blustering, quick-on-the-trigger bully boys like Cooper.

His other topics seem to be how much he despises liberals, gays, liberals, illegal immigrants, liberals, public schools, liberals, feminists, liberals, and anyone who isn’t white. And that was from just scanning the front page, no need to dig into his archives.

And he’s still called in for chummy little gatherings with Texas Republicans.

So that’s the formula for becoming a politically influential blogger? Write more racist screeds, brag about my guns, become a Republican, and live in Texas? Dang. I can’t do any of those things.

And somehow, I don’t think Al Franken would want to be my friend if I were to do them.

Whoa, not keen on that reaction

You may recall my comments on that article about the sexism panel at NASW. It was an oddly glib summary of the panel that gave cursory attention to the women’s statements, and spent most of its time discussing the reactions of men in the audience — it was a sad example of how even women will prioritize men’s voices. Emily Willingham gave it an even more thorough and scathing review.

Tabitha Powledge and Beryl Benderly, the authors of the original review, then fired back at Willingham. It was a terrible angry reply: Powledge and Benderly basically belittled Willingham for being too young to understand, and ranted about having been Second Wave Feminists who created the environment that allowed Willingham to be employed…and they also literally called what Willingham had written to be a “cat fight”. It was ugly. Real ugly.

You can’t read it, though. The post was taken down by the PLoS Blogs community manager, although the comments are still left intact.

PLOS BLOGS has determined that the “On Science Blogs” post that had occupied this page violated one of the key principles we hold for our blog network, specifically, the following language which is included in our independent blogger contract: PLOS is interested in hosting civilized commentary and debate on matters of scientific interest. Blogger will refrain from name calling and engaging in inflammatory rhetoric.

Because, after careful review, we’ve determined that this post crossed the line delineated in this tenet, we’re taking the post down. We’ve left the comments intact.

We’re sorry for any distress that the content of this post caused to the target, Emily Willingham, and hope that discussion and debate can continue on the original and vitally important topic of sexual harassment without resorting to this level of exchange.

Yikes. While the post may have been hideous, I don’t like the idea that it could be deleted like that. Leave it up, close comments, make a statement that it was not acceptable, but erasing it is something I find even more offensive.

Willingham has updated her post with this comment:

The two people involved in the post I critique below, Tabitha Powledge and Beryl Benderly, NASW board members, have posted their comments about my critique here. I will let their two responses speak for themselves and just reassert that the original post was an example of the problem in having foregrounded men in every aspect, from text word counts to links included to who was named and quoted to art to tags to “the most powerful and significant statements came from men,” and that the tone of “back to our regular program” was inappropriate. Further, I add that because I was commenting on a high-profile summary of a very high-profile and edgy situation that is critical to our community, one written by a board member of NASW and featured on the site of another NASW board member, I also vetted my commentary with half a dozen relevant people before posting it. As for a formal post about the NASW panel from the panelists themselves, of which I was one, we await availability of the video recording of the proceedings so that the overview will be complete.

Right — it’s a “high-profile and edgy situation”, so I’d rather see that both sides of the argument were left visible.

I think his problem is principle

Chris Clarke has hit a rough patch, struggling to make ends meet and suffering with a sense of failure. I wouldn’t call him a failure at all; he’s a fabulous and provocative writer with an acute sense of the importance of the cause. I read his work every time I find it, and I look for it every day.

I think his problem is simple: he won’t sell out. But think of it! All he has to do is go to one of those corporations he keeps nagging and name his price, his price to shut up, his price to flog corporate PR. And then he could write pieces that, instead of talking about what people are destroying as they shred his beloved desert (downer, man!), he could write about their bright shining future of shiny technology and never-ending comfort (happy happy bliss!), and everybody will love being reassured.

There’s money in abandoning all your principles, you know.

Or readers could notice that big “DONATE” button at the bottom of his post, and click on it. Of course, that will only encourage him in his wayward course, and keep him poking at the powerful and comfortable.

Good luck, NSC

Nonstampcollector has made an update video to let us know what he’s been up to lately. Congratulations on the familial expansion!

He also talks a bit about his departure from FtB and the deranged haters out there. He references his final post, and links to a copy archived elsewhere. Don’t bother to go there — it’s hosted on one of the lunatic anti-FtB wacko’s sites. I’ve put a copy here below the fold.

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That taciturn fool sitting sullenly in the corner at the party is Lord of All

Niall Ferguson, that great gallumphing Harvard clod with delusions of superiority, has discovered a new way to put his critics in their place: he has invented a Blo(g)viation Index, which purports to provide a measure of one’s competence. It is — get ready for this — your number of twitter followers divided by your number of tweets. He has 60,000 followers and has made only 140 tweets, therefore his Index is very large. Of course. He wouldn’t have mentioned it or invented it otherwise.

The one virtue of it is that it will give him, and only him, incentive to shut up on twitter, since his index favors those who say little. And it allows him to disparage his critics who engage on twitter more.

(By the way, I looked, my Blo(g)viation Index is about 7, compared to his 400+. Does he realize that every time he snipes at Paul Krugman, his score goes down?)