A reader emails in with some comments about Tim Hunt, the British scientist who won a 2001 Nobel Prize in physiology for discoveries about the biochemistry of cell division.
Hunt is now being Watsoned for some remarks he made at the World Conference of Science Journalists last week. Women cause trouble in science labs, said Hunt, because "you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry."
Hunt is now being given the Danny Deever:
For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,
The regiment's in 'ollow square — they're hangin' him to-day;
They've taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes away,
An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.
I note that among the stripes cut away in Hunt's case has been his Honorary Professorship in Life Sciences at my own alma mater, University College, London.
In my time there UCL was proud, but not obnoxiously so, of its heritage of 19th-century nonconformism. It was the first entirely secular university in England — the first to break the dominance of the Church of England over higher education. ("Founded by Jews and Welshmen," was the catchphrase were were taught, with "Welshmen" a synecdoche for Methodists. In fact the moving spirits were mostly Scottish.) Nowadays the place is a hotbed of Social Justice Cultural Marxism.
My reader (an academic):
First the DNA guy [i.e. Watson, I presume], now this one. His students, including female students, have said that he has never discriminated against or been abusive to anyone.
So he has limited tact and diplomacy; is that unheard-of in science majors?
Eventually, all the competent but socially awkward people will be replaced by Nice people who don't know what they're doing.
That last sentence should be printed up on cards to be handed round at academic cocktail parties.