The poster child for the invulnerability of white men


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.

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.

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.

Comments

  1. says

    When I attended summer math camp at Hampshire College, over forty years ago, I was the target of an organized bullying campaign. Eric Lander stopped it by standing up for me. I was grateful for his kind and principled deed, and I remain so to this day. Call this email a personal testimonial.

  2. says

    Nathaniel Hellerstein:

    Call this email a personal testimonial.

    That’s nice. It doesn’t have jack shit to do with this latest cock up though, does it? Especially if you bother to click a link and go read – Lander said he’s been a first hand recipient of Watson’s bigoted bullshit, and he still went ahead and toasted the asshole. He knew it was the wrong thing to do, and did it anyway.

    Any dents this may put in his reputation are his own fault.

  3. thirdmill301 says

    I’m reluctant to say that horrible human beings can’t still be honored when they do good things. That Watson is a racist no more cancels out the good science work that he’s done, than the good science work that he’s done cancels out the fact that he’s a racist. Since most people are neither all good nor all bad, what’s wrong with acknowledging both: He’s a brilliant scientist whose work in science deserves praise, with odious personal views.

    If Donald Trump discovered the cure for cancer, I would be fine with BOTH giving him the Nobel Prize in medicine AND ALSO sending him to jail for corruption. The two positions are not mutually exclusive.

  4. says

    Nathaniel Hellerstein, when you copy and paste what may have originally been an e-mail into a comments section, you should change the wording somewhat because a comments section isn’t an e-mail.

    As for the copy and paste, well, I read the comments in the links to the story about Landers’ apology.

  5. monad says

    He’s a brilliant scientist whose work in science deserves praise

    This is the trick: the work deserves praise. I doubt anyone complains about books that mention the importance of what he did for his field, so long of course as others are acknowledged. But in the linked twitter thread, Karen James points out that this is a celebration of him rather than his contributions, on the occasion of his birthday. Which means treating him as laudable in full.

  6. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Thirdmill031:

    what’s wrong with acknowledging both

    Is that how you imagined this went:

    My dear, white guests. Today, on this very special day, we’d like to celebrate the birth of this inveterate racist who did some truly exceptional science. Let’s raise a glass and remember the pigheaded, obstinate refusal to reexamine racism and the brilliant, strategic data collection followed by insightful, well-founded and yet truly groundbreaking analysis for which this man is so justly famous.

    Because I’d have loved to be there to see that.

    On the other hand if they weren’t acknowledging both, how is your idea relevant to the criticism of Lander?

  7. petesh says

    I chatted with Lander once, at a social event connected to a major conference at which he had given a superb speech; he was funny, smart, and charming. Being kind, I’d guess he was too polite to decline, though he should have.

    Watson, however, is not just a multi-faceted bigot, he’s always been an appalling self-promoter, and I would have been oh so happy had the Nobel gone to Crick, Franklin and Wilkins.

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    It really is too bad that Franklin died early. As I understand it from being previously educated here on Pharyngula, Franklin was the second acknowledgement on a paper with two authors that subsequently justified the Nobel in Physiology or Medicine. The Nobel goes to a max of 3 people, Watson and Crick acknowledged two people for doing work on which their paper was based. That would have created difficulties for the Nobel committee, save for the fact that Franklin was dead before Watson & Crick were nominated.

    But again, we can easily concede that the process that the Nobel committee followed fairly considered eligible nominees while also being certain that sexism screwed Franklin in many ways. It’s also not up for serious debate whether Watson has personally devalued Franklin’s work.

    But right now, the criticism isn’t of Watson personally, the point of this current thread is to critique the willingness of so many white people to ignore Watson’s racism in order to paint a one-dimensional picture of him as a Great Man of Science.

  9. thirdmill301 says

    Crip Dyke, there are very few human beings who have no flaws, and I doubt very much that if your life were put under a microscope, that there wouldn’t be something that would disqualify you from being considered a decent human being. Maybe it’s just that as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more patient with the flaws in other people because I have so much experience with my own. And if you look at the people who have made the most spectacular accomplishments and are responsible for the most groundbreaking achievements, as a group they seem disproportionately flawed. That’s life. Maybe greatness and not-being-a-decent-human-being are somehow connected.

    And my comments are relevant to the criticism of Lander because I’m not convinced he deserves the criticism he’s getting, for the reasons I’ve given. He chose to look at the best in Watson and honor it. Doesn’t mean the bad stuff doesn’t exist.

  10. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @thirdmill301:

    My point was that if you’re advocating for a balanced view, then Lander did not create that balance. Thus, even accepting your argument, Lander does deserve the criticism. Is there anything wrong with criticizing him? Nothing of which I’m aware. Is some specific criticism over-the-top? Has anyone called for Lander to be fired from whatever job he has? Did anyone wish on him some terrible fate, like being appointed Trump’s science advisor? No? Then what would be the problem with a critique of some definitely critique-able behavior?

    It’s also not **just** about Lander. This is about a scientific community that celebrates scientists who do good work as if that makes them good people. This has dramatic effects on real lives. Did you read the recent expose in Science magazine about the Jonas Salk Institute? They refused to discipline their top researcher (or one of the top researchers) because he’d done some good science ***even though they knew it was costing them the chance to hire other good scientists***.

    I find it bizarre that you argue on the one hand for balance and on the other hand for hiding the bad a person does if the good is sufficiently SCiENCE-BALLZ™. Lander is celebrating Watson as a good person because he did good science. That is not balanced.

    And **of course** I’ve done bad things in my life. As someone with ruminative depression, I’m acutely aware of my faults and past and current bad acts. But no one is celebrating me ***knowing*** that I’ve done little to nothing to actually change the unjust power dynamics that oppress the peoples indigenous to the areas where I work study and play, ***knowing*** that I do whatever the fuck I do that’s equivalent to using my position as a Nobel laureate to endorse racism, and celebrating me as a person anyway.

    I fully endorse celebrating good work as good work. As part of that, feel free to call up the people who did the work and say how that work reflects well on them. But when you start saying that someone is a good person, then you better be able to actually justify that.

    And when you say you want a balance between celebrating someone for their public accomplishments and criticizing them for their public failures, why is it always the public failures that can’t be mentioned in the name of balance?

    While writing this comment I started off feeling considerably more generous than I feel right now. I don’t want to attack you, thirdmill, but sexism and racism have been used repeatedly to ruin the careers of good scientists. If you do the work of 10 good PhD scientists, well, you’ve done more than your share and you get credit for that. If you discourage 100 science majors from getting their PhDs because of your sexism and racism, YES THAT DOES WEIGH AGAINST YOUR PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS, POSSIBLY MAKING YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENCE NEGATIVE.

    I’m all for a balanced perspective on our scientific heroes. But we’ll never get a balanced perspective if we refuse to criticize (hell, advocate for people to stop criticizing!) those who celebrate the one-dimensional perspective.

  11. consciousness razor says

    I’m reluctant to say that horrible human beings can’t still be honored when they do good things.

    Oh… so when was that? Did he do something good recently, for which he should be honored? Or if not all that recently, were these “good things” some time since he got the Nobel or various other honors? No?

    Presumably, having another birthday shouldn’t count. I mean, I’m pretty sure Hitler managing to make another trip around the Sun was never an honorable deed that would qualify…. Did Watson somehow do his b-day in some particularly honorable way this year? Or is it more like this is an absurd way to talk about what actually happened?

    I’m also wondering…. When would be the appropriate time to give a shit about the not-good things he’s done? Later? Not at all? If the good things can’t be emphasized and celebrated often enough, do the not-good ones work the same way? Why weren’t these people doing that instead? Not the right time for it or what?

  12. krsone says

    I disagree with Watson passionately, and he is completely wrong in his opinions about Africa and women and who knows what else…but he has the right to say it, just as we have the right to disagree vehemently and volubly with him.

  13. Meyer Pilzy says

    I disagree with Watson passionately, and he is completely wrong in his opinions about Africa and women and who knows what else…but he has the right to say it, just as we have the right to disagree vehemently and volubly with him.

  14. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Meyer Pilzy,

    until you have a point, would you kindly, please, consider fucking off?

  15. says

    “Meyer Pilzy”:

    but he has the right to say it,

    No one said otherwise. There’s zero need to celebrate such a fucking bigot, either, and no one should feel obligated to do so because he managed one major thing in his life.

  16. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @consciousness razor:

    When would be the appropriate time to give a shit about the not-good things he’s done? Later? Not at all?

    I’m sure the appropriate time would be after all the deaths of all the women and people of color discouraged from entering science at least in part due to his actions. Until then, we can’t really have a rational, unemotional debate that fairly considers all the factors that my add to or subtract from his legacy.

    Let’s not be hasty, hoom-hom.

  17. consciousness razor says

    Meyer Pilzy:
    You must be lost. The thread in which the topic is “the first amendment doesn’t apply to James Watson” is on some other blog, where they say silly crap like that.

  18. Meyer Pilzy says

    I know, his personal opinions were repellent. But what concerns me is that future leaders of the institution will also not be able to be forceful and loud and aggressive, as Watson has always been, in favor of causes I care about. You have to be able to tolerate the tenure of assholes in order to have the possibility of heroes.

  19. consciousness razor says

    But what concerns me is that future leaders of the institution will also not be able to be forceful and loud and aggressive, as Watson has always been, in favor of causes I care about. You have to be able to tolerate the tenure of assholes in order to have the possibility of heroes.

    Still irrelevant, since we are still not saying anything about Freeze Peach.

    But you’re in luck! I found it at this address: https://strawmen.r.us.com/whatever-concerns-Meyer-Pilzy.html

    Please do come back and let us know how that goes. Or have a conversation with real people here, after having listened to what we really said.

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @microraptor:

    That means that a few sexual assaults is a small price to pay for competent investigation of retroviruses.

    We just have to tolerate them. Especially the men. And the women who work in HR who never have to be alone with a sexist asshole in his office. They’re just so much more tolerant than the rest of us.

    Also, microraptor, might I remind you that despite appearances to the contrary, whether Watson can have tenure anywhere was totally the topic of this thread. Your vicious assault on the tenure system is inappropriate here, and it is only through the heroic efforts of Meyer Pilzy that universities have a chance at continuing to courageously defend that system against the gravest threat to tenure today.

  21. unclefrogy says

    I am sorry, Meyer Pilzy I am unable to tolerate assholes I know it is a weakness of mine for which I have had little success in over coming. It has been a long and futile struggle on my part but I do apologize .

    if not now when?
    uncle frogy

  22. says

    @ 20:

    You have to be able to tolerate the tenure of assholes in order to have the possibility of heroes.

    Oh gods, please, go fuck yourself off a cliff somewhere.

    No, you do not need tolerate assholes of any kind. Refusing to tolerate bigoted, evil assholes is how you open the door to people who want to do good and great things, to teach, to discover, to learn, to research, and so on. Opening the door to all the people that assholes like Watson insists on slamming in their faces.

    At best, you’re a fuckwit, “Meyer”. Go away.

  23. chris61 says

    @17 Caine

    There’s zero need to celebrate such a fucking bigot, either, and no one should feel obligated to do so because he managed one major thing in his life.

    No one should feel obligated but those who feel that he personally inspired them to do better science shouldn’t have to apologize for it either.

  24. consciousness razor says

    I can see the motivational poster now: “Hate-filled assholes can do better science, and so can you” with a little cat hanging onto a tree limb. Very moving.

  25. says

    CR:

    I can see the motivational poster now: “Hate-filled assholes can do better science, and so can you” with a little cat hanging onto a tree limb. Very moving.

    :Snort: Oh yes, very moving, just in a bad way.

  26. thirdmill301 says

    Crip Dyke, I would have zero objections to someone giving a speech, or writing an article, and saying that Watson is a vile racist whose political and social views are contemptible. And I hope that nothing I said even hinted to the contrary or suggested that I think his racism should be shielded from criticism. Good scientist or not, I would also have zero objections to him getting fired from any position he holds if he is found to be engaging in racism or misogyny at work. When I said that it is possible to both honor people for the good things they do while at the same time criticizing them for the bad things they do, I meant it; I’m not trying to put my thumb on one side of the scale or the other.

    And I’m also not arguing that Lander should be immune from criticism. I respectfully disagree with your assessment of him, but I think reasonable minds can differ over the facts of a case, so no, I don’t see anything wrong with you criticizing him either. I simply disagree with you on that point.

    And of course you’re right that racism and sexism do a huge amount of damage, and that not all viewpoints are of equal merit. I think there need to be strong protections in place so that the Watsons of the world are limited in their ability to harm other people. I’m absolutely not defending his views. I’m just saying he does get credit for the positive stuff he did contribute.

  27. says

    chris the fuckwit:

    those who feel that he personally inspired them to do better science shouldn’t have to apologize for it either.

    Yes, they should. They should apologize for it constantly, then figure out why in the fuck they play apologetics for fucking hate-filled assholes. Not one person should ever make any excuse for an evil ass like Watson. If you find yourself inspired by such a person, then chances are excellent that you’re a hate-filled, evil asshole yourself.

    People who are not hate-filled assholes have always come away repulsed from spending time in a chat with Watson.

  28. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I’m trying to understand this. Watson won a Nobel, he is probably the most famous living molecular biologist, his name will long be associated with the discovery of the structure of DNA, and yet he needs more honors?

  29. Saad says

    Meyer Pilzy, #20

    But what concerns me is that future leaders of the institution will also not be able to be forceful and loud and aggressive, as Watson has always been, in favor of causes I care about.

    I don’t get it. It’s not his forcefulness, loudness or aggression that’s being criticized. Why wouldn’t future people be able to be loud and aggressive in favor of good causes?

    You have to be able to tolerate the tenure of assholes in order to have the possibility of heroes

    Why? What’s so difficult about tolerating the tenure of someone pushing for human rights while not tolerating the tenure of someone pushing for white supremacy? Or is it just difficult for you?

  30. Meyer Pilzy says

    I had dinner with Watson at a small restaurant in New York several years ago. It was the most uncomfortable two hours of my life. All he wanted to talk about was race, and the conversation was all about our geneaology. He asked what my ancestry was, and when I told him half Scandinavian, half Scot/English/Irish he immediately judged me acceptable company, and started explaining my personality to me.

  31. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    All,
    Meyer Pilzy is just mining old quotes from PZ.

  32. says

    Tabby, #6: Thank you, I should indeed have written ‘comment’ rather than ’email’. But alas, this thread does not have an edit feature.

    My personal testimonial for Eric Lander stands. He’s a mensch, whose fault here was that he was too kind to Watson, a bigoted old fool.

    Sure, Watson’s a Nobelist, but I say that the Nobel Prize is tainted. Note Watson, Kissinger, Mother Theresa; and above all, Nobel himself, who invented TNT ‘to make war too terrible to wage”; a plan that backfired. Out of guilt, he funded his blood-money prize.

  33. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @thirdmill301:

    I’m absolutely not defending his views. I’m just saying he does get credit for the positive stuff he did contribute.

    And we’re in agreement there.

    But do you understand that when an Inder Verma harasses women out of prestigious jobs and sometimes out of entire careers, it’s not just the fault of the Verma-esque person in question, but the fault of all the people who excuse and minimize the bad behavior because the person did some good science?

    If we don’t criticize the people who take the science out of the context of a person’s life, then we will continue to have administrators and HR officers like those of the Jonas Salk Institute.

    Read those tweets again in the OP: Watson is being given credit for, and I quote:

    how he built the global community of genomics

    Now… if that’s not (at least substantially) true, then that’s a huge problem that he’s being given that praise. But here’s the thing. If that is true, then the problem is even bigger. A known, inveterate racist was given the power to craft today’s global community of genomics research?

    Why the fuck would anyone trust an entire research community that was brought into being through the leadership of a renowned racist? How many great scientists were excluded because of Watson’s racism? How many mediocre scientists who just happened to have the right background and the right mind to make a crucial observation at a crucial moment were also excluded? Because remember, you don’t have to be the most brilliant person ever to be responsible for a huge breakthrough: you just have to have the right observation at the right time.

    How can his racism (and his sexism, but racism is the topic for this thread) be separated from the way he influenced the development of entire institutions, entire branches of research? You can’t seriously argue that his racist beliefs never affected which persons he thought willing to endorse for a job.

    The simple fact is that allowing Lander to ignore the history of racism is part and parcel of allowing entire institutions to avoid looking at the current state of racism in their policies, their priorities, and their staffing.

    We have to criticize Lander if we care about science at all.

  34. Meyer Pilzy says

    Has PZ Myers ever apologized for being a Freeze Peacher for James Watson?

    Or does Myers have the special privilege of changing his mind without apologizing, just like in the case of his old comments of his old comments on islam, which were deemed “islamophobic” by the people who regularly comment on his blog (including some who have posted comments on this post), and for which he never apologized?

    Aren’t people concerned about an “ally” which seems to never acknowledge his own checkered past, while he pontificates about the sins of others?

  35. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I didn’t recognize that first PZ quote displayed here by Meyers Pilzy, though I did recognize the second.

    I appreciate the links, Pilzy, and though I don’t know what your point is, I strongly disagree with the statement made about tolerating assholes whatever the source.

    As for copying the other quote, that was just weird. It had no bearing on the discussion at all.

  36. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Meyers Pilzy:

    oh, do fuck off.

    Yes, the first comment was wrong. It was also 11 years ago and few of today’s readers were heare then. And if any of us did read those words then, we’d likely forgotten them. People are allowed to grow, and I hope that PZ wouldn’t stand by those old comments if they again became relevant in any way, but you can’t play gotcha with people for not memorizing every decade-old comment PZ ever made. Your behavior here is just childish trolling.

  37. Meyer Pilzy says

    My point is that Myers is also another poster child for the invulnerability of white men, even within allegedly progressive communities.

    Or, alternatively, that there are two sets of standards, one for the in-group, whose people are allowed to change their minds, make “faux pas”, etc., without having to publicly grovel, and one for the out-group, whose people are hounded for every thing they say, and they have to apologize, apologize, and then apologize even more, even if their “crime” is only to praise an elderly scientist for his accomplishments and old age, with no reference to said elderly scientist’ racist or sexist positions.

  38. says

    Mr Pilzy seems to be another of those obsessive trolls who memorizes the whole Myers corpus while hating me.

    Bye!

  39. chigau (違う) says

    So who was Meyer Pilzy?
    That business about in-group and out-group is vaguely familiar.
    And the groveling.

  40. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Caine@35, yeah, that was the one that tipped me off.

  41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chigau#44, remember a troll who always had a pseudonym with PZ in it someplace. Sounded an awful lot like them. Definitely tingled my troll alarm.

  42. consciousness razor says

    Has PZ Myers ever apologized for being a Freeze Peacher for James Watson?

    Should he? You still seem to think that somebody believes he shouldn’t have freedom of speech like every other person. Is it you? Is it somebody else? Was it just a bad dream? What the fuck are you going on about?

    Aren’t people concerned about an “ally” which seems to never acknowledge his own checkered past, while he pontificates about the sins of others?

    Since you did present evidence of commenters here criticizing him rather harshly, being concerned with what he’s said, and so forth, then I guess your question doesn’t really need an answer. Maybe you just needed somebody to point out that it shows the opposite of what you thought it did, dumbass.

    But let’s keep adding more evidence to your pile. It’s not just one random thread about Islamophobia where we don’t act like a hivemind, unconcerned about problematic things he writes, or what have you. I criticize PZ all the time, for example, although it hasn’t been for anything that compares to Watson’s lifelong commitment to pure and unhinged assholery. I’m not very unusual in that respect.

    Anyway, I haven’t seen you criticize Watson yet, nor have you exhibited any of the behavior of an ally here. I doubt you’d even want to attempt it, since if you had any sincere motivations like that they should have been apparent at least by now. So you could take your advice and remove that plank from your own eye. You’re probably capable of that. Or you could fuck off with your incoherent bullshitting. That you could certainly do.

  43. says

    PZ, I suspect that you will agree, as a scientist and a rationalist, that H. Sapiens is not entirely rational. We have an evolutionary heritage, which includes tribalism. One curious feature of the tribalist mind is that what looks like wise compromise from inside the tribe, looks like hypocrisy from outside the tribe. It’s refreshing to laugh at this double standard, but pointless to rail against it, for it serves its evolved purpose.

    Therefore Pilzy quotes you against you in vain. Your online friends will passionately defend you, against you; for you’re only human. Give you some slack! You have the right to change your mind; you have the right to reform, even after serious social error. One must tolerate the tenure of assholes in order to have the possibility of heroes; so your online friends will argue.

    I entirely agree. So I say, give my friend-in-need Eric Lander the same slack. He said oops, so move on.

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @nathaniel Hellerstein:

    So I say, give my friend-in-need Eric Lander the same slack. He said oops, so move on.

    Yeah, we have moved on, in case you didn’t notice. The original post was made, then people came along and suggested in various ways the we were wrong to criticize Lander.

    That suggestion is now getting criticism, just as we have criticized many people including PZ and including myself. Do try to keep up.

  45. consciousness razor says

    It’s refreshing to laugh at this double standard, but pointless to rail against it, for it serves its evolved purpose.

    It’s refreshing to laugh at this double standard, but pointless to serve its evolved purpose, for it rails against us.
    It’s refreshing to rail against this double standard, but pointless to laugh at it, for it serves its evolved purpose.
    It’s refreshing to rail against this double standard, but pointless to serve its evolved purpose, for it laughs at us.
    It’s refreshing to serve the evolved purpose of this double standard, but pointless to laugh at it, for it rails against us.
    It’s refreshing to serve the evolved purpose of this double standard, but pointless to rail against it, for it laughs at us.

    All perfectly cromulent arguments.

  46. says

    Crip Dyke: Thanks for the links. Oh my that went terribly wrong. I like how the thread was declared derailed by #49 and went on to #341. The wrong battle indeed. Is there intelligent life on planet Earth?

  47. says

    Consciousness razor:
    “It’s refreshing to serve the evolved purpose of this double standard, but pointless to rail against it, for it laughs at us.”
    Now you’ve got it!
    Or it, you…

  48. chigau (違う) says

    consciousness razor #22
    I actually clicked that link.
    *gives own head a shake*

  49. chigau (違う) says

    Nathaniel Hellerstein #37
    This “thread” does actually have an “edit feature”.
    It is called “Preview”.

  50. rietpluim says

    Nathaniel Hellerstein
    Oh puhleaze. Fighting tribalism is a core feature of our community. We don’t defend each other because we happen to be in the same demographic group. We simply agree about many issues so we appear as a unity to those who come here to debate us, but in reality, we have very little in common but our ideals. For example I, as a white cishet male with no significant impairments, am a minority here.

  51. says

    rietpluim @ 58:

    We don’t defend each other because we happen to be in the same demographic group. We simply agree about many issues so we appear as a unity to those who come here to debate us, but in reality, we have very little in common but our ideals. For example I, as a white cishet male with no significant impairments, am a minority here.

    Yes, yes, and yes. Even within those shared ideals, there’s much argumentation. Thunderdome, anyone? TET, too. Years worth of argumentation. Me, 60 year old mixed race, bisexual woman, childfree.

  52. petesh says

    Following up on my own @10, politeness is important in some ways but truth is more so. In Lander’s case here, he should have politely declined, and I really wouldn’t mind if he had invented a prior engagement, as a tactful lie. However, showing up and being deferential to the point of obsequiousness is not really polite at all, it’s cowardly. I did not mean to imply anything else.

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