Our weird local paper

I mentioned a while back, when Bill Nye visited Morris to speak to a sold-out crowd, that I’d be looking in our local weekly paper, the Morris Sun Tribune, to get a sense of the community response to the appearance of such a prominent advocate for science, who promotes evolution and the importance of responding to climate change.

I’ve been looking.

And looking.

It’s not quite what I expected.

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We all have an obligation to publicize bad behavior

Last year, Carla Ciccone went on a bad date, a really bad date, and she wrote about it, while protecting the obnoxious handsy fellow’s identity with a pseudonym. Apparently, there were enough clues at the time — “Canadian radio celebrity”, how many of those can there be? — and people figured out who she was talking about. That’s where it got weird.

The guy she described got uncomfortably physical with her on a concert date, and later pursued her with text messages that assumed a degree of interest that she plainly disavowed, asking him to leave her alone. This is creepy behavior. It’s patently rude, inconsiderate, and possessive, and you’d think everyone would agree that this is stuff guys shouldn’t do.

But that’s not the response she got.

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There is a perfectly respectable tradition of including a photo of your experimental animal in a science poster

I’ve done it. Usually, though, it’s done to illustrate, for instance, normal morphology, for contrast with your experimental results. Or as a key for the anatomy. Or even sometimes as a small, tasteful bit of decoration, as long as it doesn’t detract or distract from the data. In this poster, Use of yeast lysate in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis by Vrzal et al., presented at the 8th Vaccine & ISV Congress in Philadelphia, I’m rather at a loss to figure out the purpose of these illustrations.

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Michael Luciano makes me laugh

I normally don’t read or watch blogs or youtube videos with titles along the lines of “PZ Myers is a …”; there are so many of them! And they’re so boring and repetitive and vacuous! But I was stranded in an airport all day yesterday, I was boreed, so I did read Luciano’s “P.Z. Myers Is a Dishonest Social Justice Warrior Who Doesn’t Know What ‘Atheism’ Means”. One small part was so funny it inspired me to create art.

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A good lesson in intersectionality

Apparently, the Morehouse football team needs to be sidelined and given some lessons on homophobia. It’s pretty screwed up when a group of black men cheer on a white racist beating up a black guy because he is gay.

I don’t know if Morehouse College offers LGBT sensitivity training, but it should have someone come speak to the football team. Even if you don’t approve of homosexuality, to come to a city as a football team, representing your college and your hometown, and to spit hate and vitriol in a room that includes other people, including LGBT people — it is not OK. What kind of school sends out ambassadors of hate? Can it be the same one that sent out Dr. King? Hewing to the stereotype of black homophobia makes Morehouse and the black community weaker, and there are real victims. Lionel may be fictional, but his treatment was not. It’s a shame that “Dear White People”’s message of acceptance didn’t reach everyone in the room.