Who’s the Audience for Tierney’s Shtick?
Over at Boing Boing, Maggie Koerth-Baker says “I wanted to know what actual female scientists thought” about the boring blah blah John Tierney barfed up this week in the NYT. And then gives links to four different responses, included the fabulous Isis’s awesome take on why she is bored to tears with this topic.
Personally I would rather be forced to watch the second Transformers movie on constant repeat for the next 10 years than continue to have this discussion, but since the New York Time’s John Tierney seems to have his head shoved so far up his own ass that his can lick his own tonsils, I suppose we must. But, just know that I am doing it for the people. Not at all for my own amusement.
Isis makes the case in her inimitable and infinitely hilarious manner, but it is, as she states, tedious and boring beyond belief to have to go over this ground again and again. The only point in doing so is for the people – to equip any readers in need with useful talking points, jabby little things they can poke at clueless douchebags who are likely to come up to them and say “But I read in the NYT that ‘Physics needs genius men or western civilization will CRUMBLE! 7th grade SAT scores CLEARLY show gender differences! Innate! Biology!’ ”
Because what Tierney’s saying isn’t new. He isn’t making any new arguments, covering any new ground, he certainly isn’t being “daring”, he hasn’t put forth anything that wasn’t mocked, rebutted, deconstructed, and debunked a hundred different ways to death before this.
So why is he saying it? Is he really just that stupid that he is completely unaware of all the arguments against his points that have gone before him? Is he really that incapable of interpreting data, or of using google, or of researching a topic thoroughly to find out ZOMFG! There really ARE valid arguments against this stupid steaming pile of horseshit I’ve just typed!
No, of course he’s not stupid, and he’s not incapable of doing the research. He’s not talking to us, either. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass what Zuska or Isis or any of the readers of our blogs or any other women scientists think about his steaming pile of misogynist horsecrap.
He is talking to those people who aren’t sure. Who maybe never thought too much about this topic before. Who can be stirred to unease with visions of peoples’ free speech being stifled with turns of phrase like this:
I’m all in favor of women fulfilling their potential in science, but I feel compelled, at the risk of being shipped off to one of these workshops, to ask a couple of questions:
See, I like the little ladies, I do! Let ’em go into science, if any of them actually want to, and “fulfill” themselves, till they get distracted with a pilates class, or a baby. But Jesus God, they are going to ship real manly men off to the gulags, and no one is going to dare to say what they really think anymore! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR FREEDOMZ, PEOPLE???!!!?!??!
Dr. Summers was pilloried for even suggesting the idea…
They came for Larry, and I did not speak up. Now they are coming for all of the manly man scientists. Will you speak up? Because when they come for you, there will be no one left to speak up. They will all be zombies in state-run feminist workshops.
Would it be safe during the “interactive discussions” for someone to mention the new evidence…How could these workshops reconcile the “existence of gender bias” with careful studies…
Manly man scientists will be FORCED to do touchy-feely shit about gender that has NOTHING to do with evidence or careful studies!!!!!!! Science will be killed!!!!!!
Some have claimed he was proved wrong by recent reports of girls closing the gender gap on math scores in the United States and other countries. But even if those reports (which have been disputed) are accurate, they involve closing the gap only for average math scores — not for the extreme scores that Dr. Summers was discussing.
“Some” = those angry activist women who are trying to take away your freedom of speech. Can you trust them? Would you give as much weight to the “claims” and “reports” of “some” as you would to a manly man like Dr. Summers and his X-treme scores? I think not.
But before we accept Congress’s proclamation of bias, before we start re-educating scientists at workshops, it’s worth taking a hard look at the evidence of bias against female scientists.
I’ve just given you a lot of blah blah with numbers and percents and right tale of the distribution, and I know you, John Q. Public, are mostly math illiterate and don’t like to be made to think too hard. What you do understand, however, is Congress taking away your freedomz!!!! And the freedomz of other manly men! Are you going to let Congress send manly men scientists off to the gulag to be re-educated Soviet style? Let’s take a hard manly look at this so-called evidence for the so-called bias against female scientists. Puh-leeze.
Tierney’s column isn’t written to be accurate, or survey the literature, or communicate with women scientists. It’s written to get across a subtextual message to an audience of the general public, who doesn’t want Congress taking away their freedomz, and conservative male scientists, who by god do not want to be forced to sit in one more goddamn workshop just because some stupid women still have their panties in a twist over Larry Summers, let it GO already, ladies, will ya? I’m tryna get some science done over here!
The legislation Tierney’s disingenuously writing about still has to pass the Senate. He’s writing to rally the troops. He only sounds stupid when you aren’t in his target audience.