08 Aug 2020

Unusual Atrocities and Insanities of the Left: 3. “Stop Marginalizing Roundworms!”

, , , , ,


Caenorhabditis elegans.

The Daily Beast reports on academic activists rallying to the defense of the latest recognized marginalized minority.

Michael Eisen, editor of eLife—a well-regarded open access scientific journal for the biomedical and life sciences—made a joke about a humble roundworm, thereby cracking open the seventh seal and ushering forth… wormageddon. …

Most people took the joke in stride, or used it as an opportunity to spread the good word about nematodes. But the worm gang runs deep. Multiple researchers were not amused by Dr. Eisen’s joke, and their responses spiraled off in increasingly disproportionate directions. Some of these were scoldings about the propriety of using the word “fuck” in a public context, and whether “Academic Twitter” upholds appropriate levels of professionalism by accepting “frat boy” humor. One team went so far as to publicly reconsider submitting a paper to eLife. Others complained that the editor of a journal was publicly disparaging a study species. …

[A] day after Eisen had opened the can of titular worms, and amid the flood of C. elegans jokes washing around Twitter—things had escalated in a bizarre direction. As mystified observers raised the question over whether C. elegans researchers were taking the whole thing a bit seriously, a small handful of researchers responded by arguing that jokes about worms were in some way equivalent to jokes about women and people of color. …

By far the most prolific poster in this vein was Ahna Skop, associate professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and previous recipient of a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion-based award in 2018. Dr. Skop—who did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Beast—argued extensively that making jokes about worms was merely the tip of the iceberg when it came to making jokes about marginalized identities, or an example of a ‘bystander effect’, a psychological theory arguing that individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim in a crowd. (For is it not said: First they came for the worm people, and I said nothing, as I was not a worm person?)

In the resulting threads, Dr. Skop—who identifies as “part Eastern Band Cherokee” and “disabled with EDS”—and others consistently failed to publicly respond to Black scientists like herpetologist Chelsea Connor, who tried to point out that this was a ridiculous conflation. In a private communication Connor shared with The Daily Beast, Skop doubled down, arguing that as she had previously been harmed by entrenched sexism, her concerns regarding the worm joke were justified.

RTWT

StumbleUpon.com
2 Feedbacks on "Unusual Atrocities and Insanities of the Left: 3. “Stop Marginalizing Roundworms!”"

Firecapt

When are they coming for Gary Larson?



Strange Daze

[…] Never Yet Melted » Unusual Atrocities and Insanities of the Left: 3. “Stop Marginalizing Round… […]



Comments

Please Leave a Comment!




Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.













Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark