Saturday, January 25, 2014

O/T: "Dr. Isis" may have been "naked for a day" -- but Henry Gee ought to be "naked for eternity. Let us all eviscerate him -- in prose."

"Every pimple; every wart, every flaw -- eviscerate him in prose. . . ."

Yes, let his physical and emotional shortcomings be preserved in the 'sphere -- for eternity.1 In November, IsisTheScientist -- with grace, wit and aplomb -- took Nature to task for what may fairly be called a sexism-themed piece of attempted humor. A senior editor of that journal -- Dr. Henry Gee -- chose to respond by attempting to intimidate her -- and "outing" her identity.

Here's a bit of Isis -- in a grace-filled reply to Gee's troll-craft:

. . . .A couple days ago Henry Gee tweeted what he believes to be my real life identity. To address the elephant in the room, if such things are important to you, he was correct in his identification of me. . . .

Henry Gee’s actions were meant to intimidate me into silence. . . .

To think that the editor of a journal would respond to criticism of his professional conduct regarding the fair treatment of women by attempting to personally injure and damage. . . .

I speak only for myself and I have no personal feelings about Henry. My only concern has been in his conduct as an editor of a journal that very publicly represents my profession. When Henry Gee said, in reference to my self-professed boycott of Nature (until they get their act together regarding the treatment of women), “Nature boycotted by [an] inconsequential sports physio… Nature quakes in its boots”, he spoke as a high level representative of that publication, making a statement as to how that publication regards me.

That someone would engage a personal vendetta and conflate it with how I should expect to be treated by an allegedly peer-reviewed publication gives me more pause than having my name displayed publicly. And, it should serve as a gentle reminder of the possible outcome women face when they speak up about misogyny and sexism in their field. Retaliation can be a real bitch. . . .

[And here's a bit of another similarly-offensive incident, in scientific circles -- just to give you the sense that the Isis incident is no outlier.]

UPDATED: 9 AM EST -- I am given to understand that Dr. Gee has apologized engaged in victim blaming. A good start -- as has Nature itself. The blogger(s) at NicoleandMaggie -- Grumpy Rumblings of the (Formerly!) Untenured point out that I have misspoken. They are right. I relied on reports of others (my bad!), about the apologies. My (entirely honest) mistake.

In Gee's case, his apology consists largely of "she had it comin'" rhetoric. In Nature's case, Gee's anonymity is preserved -- just dripping with irony -- and his actions are characterized as a personal dispute. He very publicly (used to) tweet from his perch at Nature. I say used to, because he has -- as all cowardly trolls might -- deleted his twitter account.

For my laziness in the wee hours this morning, I apologize. I'll also link to Grumpy's recommended reading, on the topic. That letter is wise, measured and rings true. And so now -- have at him, one and all.

I now strongly feel commentary about his lack of appeal to the eye may be a fair bit of Chaucerian justice. So -- do feel free, in comments -- or shucks, just email him directly, at his desk -- at Nature.


1. A probably apocryphal Geoffrey Caucer nod -- from very near the opening of a fun movie -- "A Knight's Tale".

"wachemshe hao hao kwangu mtapoa. . ."


Anonymous said...

If by apology you mean victim blaming...

-- NicoleandMaggie

Condor said...

You are right.

Revising my concluding copy.

Thank you.

Please do stop back by.