Scott Aaronson is a computer scientist at MIT, who also blogs. Ellen Pao just lost a lawsuit against a venture-capital firm alleging sexual discrimination. I have no idea if the two have ever met, but I’ll try to tie them together here.
Some weeks ago, Aaronson made quite a splash with his now famous “comment 171”. It’s tearjerker of a story, in which reading too much radfem literature convinced young Scott that he’s a potential rapist (in a suitably wide sense), causing him to go so far as to seek chemical castration. Though Aaronson established his feminist bona fides beyond any doubt, scores of even more righteous commentators rushed to heap scorn and derision on poor Scott. One might feel sorry for the guy, except that he responded with this. Money quote:
I believe there still exist men who think women are inferior, that they have no business in science, that they’re good only for sandwich-making and sex. Though I don’t consider it legally practicable, as a moral matter I’d be fine if every such man were thrown in prison for life.
Several of the commentators called him out on this, yet he’s made no motions to walk it back (it’s been 3 months). For the record, I don’t think Aaronson should be imprisoned for life for his totalitarian thoughts, or lose his job, or suffer any other consequence besides the honor of having that passage associated with his name. Side note 1: He’s happy with men being thrown in prison for mere thoughts. What would he have done to them for saying the wrong words? Side note 2: Can you see him rejecting a paper if the author holds the wrong opinions? or denying a grant proposal for the same reasons? [Good thing this blog is anonymous!]
As for the connection to Ellen Pao, there isn’t one, other than that article that prompted me to unbosom myself of the above. The title of that piece includes “Sexism You Can’t Quite Prove”. It opens with the author being irked by men at a cocktail party asking her husband about work, yet her about dogs. Another frequent complaint of this crowd is being interrupted by men (as if men never interrupt each other). As real sexual discrimination (of the you’re-a-woman-you-can’t-do-science kind) is thoroughly eradicated, righteous Social Justice Warriors will be outraged by micro- (and then pico- and then femto-) aggressions. Can’t resist:
Microaggressions have nanoaggressions
To marginalize and slight ’em;
And nanoaggressions have picoaggressions,
And so ad infinitum.
How long before they subject white men to brain scans to sniff out traces of racism and sexism?