It’s James Watson. He’s got a Nobel prize, which means he gets to lecture incompetently about black people and women, write a bestseller full of sexist garbage about Rosalind Franklin, and basically push all the boundaries in a regressive direction, and what happens? He gets publicly shamed one week, but the next week everyone invites him back to praise him. It’s kind of amazing. You would think some of this stuff would stick, but no. He was just recently lauded in a meeting at Cold Spring Harbor.
ICYMI @eric_lander & other genomics bigwigs – all white – toasted James Watson, whose seething, unrepentant racism, antisemitism, & sexism are well-known to all, to the applause of an audience of genomics researchers. This took place at @CSHL’s Biology of Genomes meeting #BoG18. pic.twitter.com/ZpdP630N4K
— Karen James (@kejames) May 13, 2018
No, really, look at all the white people joining him on stage and applauding! I guess he did contribute to a global community, of sorts, mainly by driving a lot of people away.
And just in case the person who posted this takes down the video, I have downloaded it and am posting it here because I think it is an important record of a horrific action by Eric Lander #BOG18 pic.twitter.com/QBvdPKrwx4
— Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) May 13, 2018
You will be pleased to know that the circle of life continues unending, because after that bit of public shaming, Eric Lander has apologized, predictably. I further predict, though, that we only have to wait a few weeks, possibly a few months, and there will be another event at which Watson will be fulsomely praised by a group of oblivious white guys, to begin the cycle anew.
Maybe it’ll be his funeral, who knows? I’m pretty sure that event will not be the quiet, dignified interment attended by a few loving and bereaved family members, but an opportunity yet again for distinguished white men to ignore all the careers he’s stunted, institutions he’s poisoned, and racist garbage he’s peddled with the authority of his Nobel. I am not looking forward to that at all, and rather hope he lives forever with his reputation.