On Sacked Nobel Tim Hunt: The Trouble with Being PC

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Want to know when political correctness crosses the line from noble social justice war to unfair censorship? When someone gets fired for saying something unrelated to their job.

That is clearly the case with Tim Hunt, a 72-year-old Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who was forced to resign from his post as an honorary professor at University College London after he brainfarted some sexist comments at a scientific conference in South Korea.

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” Hunt said.

“Three things happen when they are in the lab: You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them they cry.”

Social media went crazy, and that’s fine: a Two Minutes Hate is exactly what Twitter is for.

And, to be charitable, what Hunt said was stupid. You don’t have to fall in love with your female colleagues. It is, or it should be possible, to note silently and with a pokerface said colleague’s hotness, and then get back to work. But, really. Can’t we open our minds a little?

tim hunt nobel photo wiki ted rall opinionWhat Tim Hunt said isn’t that terrible: After all, people do hook up at work, and you’d have to be an idiot to argue that women don’t cry more than men. Plus, Tim Hunt is 72. Not old old, but old enough not to know the finer points of political correctness.

In context, Hunt’s words, though archaic, are harmless. And Hunt was an honorary professor. He didn’t run a lab. And he was in no position to hire or fire anyone — specifically, he wasn’t in a position to hire or fire any women.

If free speech means anything, it guarantees the right to mouth off about whatever, without having to worry about having your career trashed — especially when what you mouthed off about isn’t even related to the job you stand to lose.

I feel this stuff personally. After 9/11, when my political cartoons were controversial because they opposed Bush and his wars, I didn’t fault the newspapers, like The Washington Post and New York Times, that dropped me. The editors were cowards, yes, but they had that right.

But when Men’s Health, which didn’t run my political work, got rid of my cartoons about men, sex and relationships, now that pissed me off.

On the other side of the coin from the Tim Hunt case are those of former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and ex-Harvard president Lawrence Summers.

don sterling la clippers owner former ownerSterling and Summers’ remarks were far more offensive than Hunt’s comments.

Summers, the ex Harvard honcho, said women don’t have the “intrinsic aptitude” for science and engineering.

And former LA Clippers owner Sterling told his girlfriend that her other (black) boyfriends weren’t welcome at his (supposedly public) games: “You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want …the little I ask you is … not to bring them to my games.”

lawrence summers harvard ex harvard presidentSummers was forced down and Sterling was pushed out, and that’s fine. As president of the most prestigious university in the United States, Summers held power over thousands of women faculty, staff and students. How could they work for him, knowing that he thought they were stupid?

And, more importantly, how can Summers, the now-former president of Harvard, be so stupid as to think that women are dumb at math? On the grounds of low intellect alone, he deserved to get canned.

As for Sterling, he owned a professional NBA team. Many professional basketball players are black, as are many of its fans. It would have been an abomination to continue to allow a racist to own a team whose stars included many African-Americans — all of whom would have to wonder if they were being discriminated against by their boss.

This is neither the first time nor the last time we will see this, but it must be said: The sacking of Tim Hunt is something that politically correct Internet “warriors” ought to be ashamed of.

43 thoughts on “On Sacked Nobel Tim Hunt: The Trouble with Being PC

  1. IOW, being PC is good except when it’s not? The entire aim behind PC is to make some topics and beliefs off limits. I suppose I should just be happy anyone on the Left would speak up for freedom of speech in general and Tim Hunt in particular. And if anyone would do it, it would be Ted.

    It is worth adding that it seems in context Hunt was joking. Even so, we live in dark times when men cannot say in public what so many of us observe and believe in private. Many women cannot take criticism without taking it personally. It often makes working with them very difficult. I can say that because I’ve got no prestige to lose.

    As far as romantic problems in the workplace, I can’t help but think of the conservatives who warned that more women in the military would mean more rape, but rape is a small price to pay for ‘progress,’ right?

    In resignation, I dutifully await my deportation to the PC re-education gulag.

    • Nice how you conflated rape and romance there. You do realize they are two different things, right?

      Teaching young men to objectivise and dehumanize others (“boot camp”) leads to more rape, as well – but I notice you didn’t bring that up.

      Nor did you bring up how misogynistic attitudes here at home contribute to rape as well. :: glancing upwards ::

      No, no, it’s all the victims’ fault for having vaginas in the first place. They should know better than to go out in public without their burqa and a male relative for escort.

      OTOH, we could start enforcing the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which defines rape as a capital offence. Anyone who attacks a member of their own squad has weakened that squad while giving aid to the enemy.

      I call that treason.

    • If you read the NYT article- first link in Ted’s piece- the guy kind of doubles down and I can see why it would have caused his U embarrassment.

      “I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me…”

      Seems like a guy with issues separating his work and personal lives. At a minimum, a guy who really needs to learn to STFU.

    • I didn’t realize you were pro-rape, CrazyH. I, for one, believe we should prevent rape.

      • @Jack

        What the FUCK are you blathering about now? I TEACH self defense to women, including techniques specifically targeted at rapists. Above, I proposed capital punishment for rapists while you were busy blaming the victim. I’ve taken both you and exkwtf to task for being rape apologists on several occasions, yet through some twisted-ass logic you conclude I’m IN FAVOR? Be glad you’re on the other side of the internet – you wouldn’t want to try saying that shit to my face.

        You want to stop rape? Step one, lose the misogynistic attitude. Step two, stop blaming the victim. Step three: blame the PERPETRATOR.

      • @ Jack Heart –

        I follow this thread very closely, and I am at a loss to determine from where you are able to judge that CrazyH is “pro-rape”: can you enlighten me?

      • Wow! CrazyH is one serious internet tough guy!

        derlehrer,

        I was just trolling him. Seeing how he raged so hard I’d say it was a glowing success! What can I say? When I saw his reply, there was no seriously answering such inanity. I could only do my best to match it.

        CrazyH is hugely ego-invested in equalism. Probably the worst case I’ve come across. I’d wager no woman has ever truly let him in. This is because they know he would judge them. He doesn’t get it. But they know what he expects from them so they have never shown him what they are really like. Girls know I get it. I let them be their natural submissive selves. And there is no greater pleasure in the world than a devoted, submissive woman. Alas, there can be no true equality when one sex is compelled by nature to follow the other.

        Incidentally, if all one has to do is point out the fact that men as a group outperform women as a group in mathematics in order to be labeled a misogynist, I’d say it broadens misogyny to a point of meaninglessness. Misogyny is a serious and ugly charge, and it does no favors to women to use the term lightly when there is real misogyny out there.

      • @jack

        Real men don’t feel threatened by strong women.

        I’ve been married for over a quarter of a century to a strong, intelligent and distinctively non-submissive woman.

        All the women you’ve ever dated have the same last name, “.jpg”

      • @ Jack Heart –

        Your post does more to substantiate the claims of CrazyH than to discredit them:

        1) “But they know what he expects from them so they have never shown him what they are really like.”

        [How can you possibly make such a statement without first-hand knowledge? This is dragging an otherwise possibly-edifying discussion into the gutter.]

        2) “Girls know I get it. I let them be their natural submissive selves. And there is no greater pleasure in the world than a devoted, submissive woman.”

        [A statement such as that merely proves the point that CrazyH is attempting to make. Not every man gets his jollies from submissive women; sometimes, we like to have an aggressive woman to show us the way to THEIR pleasure. 🙂 ]

      • @ CrazyH –

        I’ve been married to one woman for 47 years — and she is definitely NOT “submissive” — I would take no pleasure in her company if she were. We have shared (and continue to share) our lives together on equal footing.

        🙂

      • “Real men don’t feel threatened by strong women.”

        That’s quite the trite sound bite. The day I’m “threatened” by a “strong” woman…is complete disinterest really the same as fear in your book? Incidentally, I’m still waiting to meet one of these fabled “strong” women. It’s always a facade. OTOH, truly strong women used to live in this country, but we decided they were ‘oppressed.’ For the most part, one must travel outside the West to witness women in the glory of their traditional feminine strength. Their unwavering support of their husbands and self-sacrifice for their families.

        If you’ve never had a submissive woman, you wouldn’t know you wouldn’t like it. I have a feeling that the problem lies in semantics. Submission does not necessarily entail the utter lack of thought and opinion on her part…

        Submission is not just for my benefit. They do it because they enjoy it.

        Derlehrer,

        Women have the desire to submit hardwired into them by nature. For a particular woman, it may be overt but more likely is bubbling beneath the surface or buried deep. If a man has not witnessed this it simply means he does not bring it out of her. A woman won’t submit to just anybody. This is a primal drive and now that women no longer need consider anything other than sexual attraction in a partner…well young women today are with the men they enjoy, cads and jerks. They just don’t have the same visceral enjoyment for those equal minded guys.

        The generational divide is too great to bridge here. I’ll just say that feminism has been wildly successful in raising the last few generations of men to be equal partners, and yet, what is the divorce rate?

        I can only imagine what it must have been like as a parent or boy in the 50s or 60s to witness for the first time girls screaming at rock stars. Seeing that raw sexuality on display that certainly was not for their dutiful male peers. They were not throwing themselves at equal-minded or commitment-minded boys. does,this really tell you nothing? Alas, no amount of evidence will ever be enough for some.

        This is the actual case:

        Real men don’t enjoy masculine women.

      • @Jack

        I’ve dated submissive women. They make me sick to my stomach.

        You claim to have dated strong women, and couldn’t handle it. You whine incessantly about how women’s rights threaten the family, and the economy and who knows what else.

        Just looking at those facts alone makes it quite obvious. You’re a pantywaist, a wus, a silly little mamma’s boy who’s scared of girls and thinks that making macho noises will hide it from the world.

        It doesn’t work that way. If you’d only been smart enough to keep your mouth shut there may have been some doubt.

        Bayl n cnagljnvfg jbhyq gel gb fcyvg unvef ba gur jbeq “guerngra.”

      • @ Jack Heart –

        1) “I’ll just say that feminism has been wildly successful in raising the last few generations of men to be equal partners, and yet, what is the divorce rate?”

        [I guess you missed the part where I said that I’ve been married to the same woman for 47 years. How would THAT fit into your analysis? Speaking for myself, I don’t need a sex-slave to validate my masculinity or my self-worth. I honor my wife as a human being, not as an object for self-gratification.]

        2) “Real men don’t enjoy masculine women.”

        [Note: Equality does not relegate the female to “masculine” — each has a place in a unique and honorable relationship.]

        3) ” …well young women today are with the men they enjoy, cads and jerks.”

        [Your generalization is an insult to women in general and reinforces the judgment that you are misogynistic. Further, with that self-description (BTW, you left out the word “pig”), you have eliminated yourself as someone worthy of further discourse. I shall make certain that I will no longer try to address you as if you were someone worthy of further discourse — otherwise known as — a TROLL.]

      • @ CrazyH

        Bayl n cnagljnvfg jbhyq gel gb fcyvg unvef ba gur jbeq “guerngra.”
        ***
        WTH does THAT mean????

        😀

      • @ CrazyH –

        Never mind.

        In the interim, I’ve found the cypher:

        *Only a pantywaist would try to split hairs on the word “threaten.”*

        Good job!

        😀

      • ROT13 went right over Mr. Ass’s head the last three times, but you got it in eight minutes.

        Good Job!

      • Well, if its head weren’t up its @$$ it might be worth my time.

        But I fear it’s a lost cause.

        I’ve added it to my list of TROLLs so that I waste no more time with it.

        What’s the use???

        🙁

      • I thought i might mention that I’m 72 years old. Do I get any extra points?
        🙂

    • Jack, you are certainly fond of generalization, but on the topic of submissive women I’d again like to point out bell curves, peaks, and tails. Certainly the average woman is not as assertive as the average guy, but knowing that tells you little about the next woman you meet.

      Personally, bright eyes hanging on my every word don’t do as much for me as women with compelling interests of their own. To each their own, but don’t be so quick to denigrate other people’s choices.

  2. > And, more importantly, how can Summers, the now-former president of Harvard, be so stupid as to think that women are dumb at math?

    Marilyn vos Savant, Guiness World Record holder for “Highest IQ” is a mathematician.

    • Only when it comes to gender equality do Leftists do what they so often decry–attempt to refute a generalization with an exceptional case.

      • “Only when it comes to gender equality do leftists do …” is, of course, a generalization.

        I only have to provide one example to refute that generalization. Like when you came off with something to the effect of, “if they want to embrace thug culture” I only have to provide one example of a non-thug black to refute it.

        Or of a women’s rights advocate who isn’t a man-hater.

        Or of a well-adjusted child raised by a gay couple.

        Etc.

        Etc.

        Etc.

      • Nearly every generalization has exceptions or outliers. But you already knew that generalizations are not hard and fast rules. And once again your dishonesty shines through.

        Smoking tobacco causes cancer! But my grandma smoked her whole life and never got it!

        Drunk driving kills people! Well I know a guy who drinks and drives and has never killed anybody.

        Millennials love Facebook! But I don’t have one.

        Etc. Etc. Etc.

        Wow I’m so good at refuting generalizations!

      • I gotta admit you still surprise me CrazyH. I didn’t see that doubling down coming. I mean you never admit I’m right about anything because such a terrible person such as myself MUST always be wrong, but still I didn’t see how you would dodge this one.

        I’m sure you’ve never EVER made a generalization that had a single exception though. I know this because you’re just so darn consistent.

      • @jack – oh, but I do admit you’re right (every single time you’re right. )

        😀

    • Women score, on average, a bit below men on tests of certain sort of intelligence relating to math and spatial relationships. Similarly, east Asians have a slightly higher average IQ than whites.

      In both cases, those averages are the high points on the bell curves of each group’s test result.

      Genius, however, is out on the right tail of each curve, and those converge, a tiny fraction of each group.

      So, for any given individual you may meet, the chance that they are brilliant is small, but largely indeterminate of race or gender. This alone is enough to require that everyone be given a fair chance to prove themselves.

      • Bingo. Women tend to score better in language and memorization – but again, that’s the *average* and cannot be applied to individuals.

  3. PC = The right not to be offended.

    Where did I read it: no one has the right not to be offended? (Didn’t Eleanor Roosevelt say something like “No one can insult you without your permission”? [paraphrased])

    • Depends on who’s saying it. When Rich Limpbone uses the term he actually means, “Being polite and respectful towards others”

      But it’s real hard to build a rant against civility and respect, so he hides behind the code phrase. This in turn lets him frame the argument around PC-ness rather than discrimination.

      • I guess I’ve had too much Scotch tonight, because what you posted seems circular to me. Limbaugh uses “PC” to mean “Being polite and respectful towards others” but it is used to “… frame the argument around PC-ness rather than discrimination.” I can’t make the connection.

        Bear with me and do me the favor of explaining further.

      • Into the bourbon myself, but when I’m sipping it’s a nice scotch. If someone else is buying, it’s a nice single malt scotch. Anyway…

        Say some cops shoot a unarmed black kid. What’s the conversation about? Prejudice and police brutality. Limpbone will start out making some generalization about ‘thug culture’ … when someone complains he says, “Oh, you’re just being PC”

        Argument successfully derailed. It’s not about my being polite – it’s about his (and the cops’) prejudice.

    • I believe you are thinking of this E. Roosevelt quotation:

      No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

      Salman Rushdie said, “Nobody has the right not to be offended.”

      In a sane age, it should go without saying both are excellent quotes. In our age if you commit thought crime you should lose your job.

    • And derlehrer, the way proponents use PC is to say it means being “polite and respectful,” but what they mean is “think and talk like me or else.”

  4. “Political correctness” and “social justice warrior” are both nothing but slur terms that reactionaries use to label people and events they disapprove of. This is not the kind of allegiance you wanna pledge with your vocabulary, or the company you wanna keep. It’s kinda like hanging a Confederate flag on your wall.

    • With the ways things have been going, I’m about to buy a Confederate Flag just to make a point to the thought police.

  5. Lawrence Summers isn’t very good on the math of money, so he denigrates all women when making an assault on Brooksley Born, who showed him to be the idiot he is in exempting derivatives from regulation, which Brooksley brought to his attention prior to the Great Market Collapse in 2007 and 2008.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/04/1228755/-Brooksley-Born-One-Reason-Larry-Summers-Shouldn-t-Be-Federal-Reserve-Chair

    The derivative problem is still festering and will come under scrutiny again after the next collapse creates the next batch of paupers and billionaires.

    Brooksley could have saved the life’s earnings of many if ideologue Summers hadn’t dismissed her concerns as too “womanish” to take seriously.

  6. If you are going to make the issue, should it not be “the trouble with demanding someone else be PC”?

    Now I don’t agree with what you’ve written, especially when you give an example of someone who should have suffered for not being PC, in an equivalently voluntary act(s) of total stupidity.

    My point is, I guess we can at least assume that University College London does not want to lose the income it gets from female students.