Sunday, February 20, 2005


Feeling Better After my "Meltdown and Release"

On Friday Malkin noted that Lawrence Summers released a transcript of his controversial remarks. Naturally, she doesn't comment on the content of those remarks, but ties it back to - surprise! - Eason Jordan.
The campaign to get Jordan to do the same goes on here.
I'm still waiting for evidence that Jordan has any control over said transcripts, but hey. My point goes back to Lawrence Summers. She made a pretty big deal out of this the first time.
Summers made clear that he was simply throwing out theories, summarizing scholarly research, and not himself endorsing any particular hypothesis. So, how did women academics respond to a challenging intellectual discussion? By having a collective emotional snit fit unbecoming of any self-respecting representative of the ivory tower. From the Globe:
Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers' talk, saying later that if she hadn't left, ''I would've either blacked out or thrown up."
If that is how Professor Hopkins is training her female students to respond to rigorous academic debate, the fewer of them the better.
Strong words. Now that the transcript is out, you'd think Malkin would want to find out if he was "simply throwing out theories, summarizing scholarly research", etc.

Strange, then, that she doesn't quote his remarks. Courtesy Bitch Ph.D. (emphasis hers):
It is after all not the case that the role of women in science is the only example of a group that is significantly underrepresented in an important activity and whose underrepresentation contributes to a shortage of role models for others who are considering being in that group. To take a set of diverse examples, the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture.
These are not neutral remarks. Allow me to strip this crap of the semi-respectable academic phrasing. Summers is saying, "investment bankers are WASPs, Negroes play basketball, and Jews don't farm." The historic and social reasons why this is the case are very well-established: Protestants were socially dominant in America for many years, so "old money" tended to be Protestant, not Catholic; Christians in Europe didn't want to be "usurers," so they did not lend money--though they needed to borrow it, and a lot of Jews who immigrated to America from Europe (where a great many Jews did, in fact, farm) were, by definition, mobile and tended to congregate in cities, where--like many immigrants--they tended to live near one another in part for protection; Black children are, to this day, encouraged to go into sports and music rather than, say, medicine or banking; not too long ago, Blacks were actually denied higher education except at a very few Black colleges. Ask any parent of a Black child how many times their kid has been asked if they like Basketball.
Go read Dr. B's entire analysis for response to his gender-specific comments, but I think it's clear that Dr. Summers is not an innocent lamb beset upon by mean ol' feminists, but rather guilty of making shit up ("the data will, I am confident"? Nice scientific method, Larry).