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Scientific Progress and the Culture Wars

On April 10, 2019, an international team of scientists from dozens of research institutions involved in the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration published the first direct image of a black hole. This groundbreaking achievement, representing tremendous progress in both fundamental astrophysics as well as the many technologies adopted and advanced for this work, received acclaim around the world and throughout the internet. Scientists had shed metaphorical light on the literal darkest objects in the universe, and they had done it by combining signals from radio telescopes at opposite ends of the globe, a technical achievement with far-reaching implications in many areas of science. (Indeed, I believe that my own research specialty, quite remote from astrophysics, will draw upon some of the fruits of this imaging technique.)

Of course, no good thing can last, and people soon found a way to turn this scientific accomplishment into a cultural flashpoint over the issue of gender equity in science. It began on the morning of the announcement, when Twitter activists chided news outlets for not paying attention to Dr. Katie Bouman, a woman who worked on some of the algorithms used in this research. Dr. Bouman, a recent PhD in engineering and computer science who will start a faculty position at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) this coming autumn, quickly attracted attention, being heralded on the internet as the public face and pivotal innovator of this project, and a beacon for women in STEM.

Someone promptly created a Wikipedia page for her, and it is already more extensive than the Wikipedia pages for many Caltech professors with far longer records of accomplishment. At least one politician made a point of publicly congratulating her. Inevitably, then, there was a backlash against singling out one member of a large collaboration and using the hoopla to scold the world about sexism. People on Reddit soon proclaimed that they had found the “real” hero of this scientific breakthrough, a graduate student whose activity on Github (a website that people use for sharing software in collaborative projects) apparently exceeds that of Dr. Bouman. (Never mind that productivity is about far more than just the size of the files one uploads, and most of his uploads were data rather than code.) Consequently, within 48 hours of a wondrous announcement, CNN was running articles about “trolls.” How did something so great become so terrible?

We certainly can’t blame Bouman or Andrew Chael (the graduate student). Neither of them asked to be drafted into someone else’s culture war, and Bouman quickly made a Facebook post reminding the world that this project was the work of a large team. Chael likewise took to social media, acknowledging the team effort and asking people to not use him as a cudgel with which to beat his accomplished colleague. A partisan might accuse either Chael or Bouman of false modesty, but there is no way of adjudicating that charge without detailed insider information.

Luckily for sane people everywhere, project insiders have so far refrained from going to the media and dishing on which team members did or didn’t pull their own weight. What we do know is that Bouman has an impressive CV that lists many articles in prestigious journals and conferences. (Note that in many engineering fields conference papers carry weight comparable to journal articles in other disciplines.) We also know that she is about to start a coveted tenure-track professorship at Caltech this fall. Likewise, Chael’s CV shows an impressive track record for his career stage, and he is on track to soon receive a PhD from Harvard. There’s no basis to judge either of them underperforming, nor to conclude that either of them needs attention to compensate for being unfairly held back in their careers thus far.

As to the people who actually stirred this up, much of the problem obviously lies with the temptations of the wider culture war. There are ample justifications for recognizing accomplished women scientists; one needn’t subscribe to every inaccurate narrative about gender gaps in STEM to think that it’s nice to highlight role models for young women. However, singling out one individual from a large team (which reportedly includes 40 other women) denies the other team members their deserved recognition, possibly arousing resentment from co-workers. Also, justifying this lopsided attention as a remedy for some sort of social ill makes it harder to highlight anyone else. Even deserved attention for someone like Andrew Chael can now be tarred as part of a backlash.

Likewise, there are good reasons to push back against inaccurate narratives about gender gaps in STEM—I have certainly done so! However, what is to be gained by picking one scientist and using a worthless metric (size of file uploads) to build him up at the expense of another good scientist? We can question bad narratives about gender and STEM careers without calling into doubt the good work of Bouman, and without drafting Chael into a fight that he sought no part of. Yes, Bouman did give a TED Talk about the work, making herself a face of the project, but she never sought to be the face of the project, and she should not be maligned as some sort of glory hog. Most importantly, the other 198 people on the project (including many women at all career stages) certainly don’t deserve to have their fine work turned into a culture war battlefield.

But there’s more to this row than just the bad temptations of culture war. There’s also a fundamental misunderstanding of how large research projects work. I freely acknowledge that some people really do have better ideas than others, really do have greater talent, and really do accomplish greater things. However, the most brilliant individual accomplishments still happen on an individual scale, and on timelines as variable as the individuals involved. Nobody gambles a project of this scope on individuals finding surprising insights. Combining data from multiple radio telescopes, processing the data appropriately, and interpreting it in light of the best possible astrophysical models requires expertise in numerous technologies and techniques, and people from each team and sub-team must make substantial progress within the time frame of the project.

The type of progress that you plan for is not a great “Eureka!” moment (no sane person gambles 200 careers on unpredictable events) but rather foreseeable improvements that might plausibly be made by a large number of talented and well-trained people who work very hard for several years. The outcomes are impressive, but they hardly depend on one person shining brighter than 199 others (especially if that one person is an early-career scientist who has not yet settled into a long-term position and might suddenly change jobs). It’s not about modesty or some ideological denial of brilliance and its significance. Rather, it’s about running a large project in a way that has a chance of succeeding.

The other great achievement on a project like this, beyond the technical accomplishments of each science and technology sub-team, is getting all of the pieces to work together. In an instrument with several hardware components, each must be compatible with the others. A team responsible for a piece of the data analysis must thoroughly understand the instrument producing the data, and must also know which aspects of the instrument’s performance are not well-understood or not optimized, so that their data analysis does not rely on that unknown variable.

A good analogy might be trying to get your laptop to communicate with a friend’s document scanner via Wi-Fi. Your friend has everything configured in a particular way, has spent a lot of time playing with security settings, and uses a different operating system than you. Can you make it work? Probably. Will it take some hard work? Quite possibly. A team like the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration has to work at least as hard on integrating many different instruments and algorithms as on developing and improving the instruments and algorithms. This makes it meaningless for an outsider to conclude which individual was or wasn’t pivotal on such a project. The greatest unsung heroes of this work are almost assuredly the people who coordinated between the many sub-teams.

An additional contributor to this mess is the poor quality of science journalism. I have first-hand experience of this, in a somewhat similar situation. Long ago, during my student days, I had a small part in a project that did something of minor note. My university’s press office decided to notify the hometown newspapers of everyone involved, and a reporter duly interviewed me. I was horrified by what they subsequently wrote—the project had some slight relevance to environmental issues, but the newspaper drastically exaggerated the environmental significance, fabricated quotes, and also exaggerated my role. Even worse, someone on my team had a friend who read the article and sent him a copy. Thankfully, they recognized that the reporter was at fault, but it still took some time for the teasing to subside in the lab. I’m just thankful that internet access was not yet ubiquitous in those days.

This case is not so different: Media outlets with little understanding of how large science projects work played up an individual’s role in a team effort, and worked to fit the story into a political narrative (women in science in the present case, environmental issues in my case). The biggest difference is that I just had to deal with a few jokes in the lab, rather than a barrage of fake social media accounts mocking me and pitting me against a colleague. Things are surely worse in this era of around-the-clock news cycles and social media outrage, leaving even conscientious journalists with too little time to delve carefully into a story and learn about the various contributors and their roles. After all, the furor began with activists upbraiding news outlets (by name) for not mentioning Bouman, and every second that they didn’t run a story about her was another second for the critical Tweet to get shared more widely.

The next time a large research team announces a great scientific advance, I hope that everyone, regardless of their stance on various social issues, will remember that large research teams rarely have a single pivotal individual. It would be sad if the pattern became that after each big announcement a single photogenic woman or minority is elevated in the name of equity and then torn down by an inevitable backlash. To quote an ancient text and modern song, to everything there is a time, including  a time for highlighting role models and questioning narratives about gender gaps. But when scientists are unveiling pictures of black holes, let’s just celebrate the science, and limit critical remarks to technical issues (as befits the process of science). We can fight a culture war some other time.

 

The author is a tenured professor in a STEM field. Sebastian Cesario is a pseudonym.

54 Comments

  1. Morgan Foster says

    “An additional contributor to this mess is the poor quality of science journalism.”

    All journalism. Most reporters have no training in the fields they cover.

    They find a friendly, reliable scientist who knows how to say things in a way an average reader or viewer can understand – and it doesn’t really matter if what the scientist says is correct or not, so long as it doesn’t offend the political sensibilities of the managing editor or producer.

    The reporter simply repeats what the tame scientist says and if anybody argues with the story, the reporter says “Well, the scientist I talked to is a tenured professor. Are you a tenured professor?”

    • S H Snelgrove says

      Most journalists – I dare speculate >90% – are innumerate and scientifically illiterate. At best they know something about simple proportions, e.g., women receive ~20% of the bachelor degrees in computer science awarded each year in the U.S. It is clear the concept of multiple working hypotheses is beyond most journalist because they offer only one main explanation – “the patriarchy” and variants derived from it – for this sex difference, and for similar sex difference in other science, engineering and math specialties. Journalists are also impervious to evidence and the concept of falsification: None seems to grasp that female dominance in the health sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and other fields of study suggests that something other than “the patriarchy” may be work. According to “the patriarchy” explanation, men would dominate in every field.

    • Cary Cotterman says

      I’ve had newspaper articles written about several projects and events I was involved in, and they were all inaccurate. Some of the “journalists” were just clueless and lazy, some spun the story to emphasize an ideological point of view they were enthusiastic about, some just plain lied, and all misquoted me. With these experiences in my background, I no longer read any report in a newspaper or news magazine without a large portion of skepticism.

  2. y81 says

    It’s sad but not surprising, given the current university climate, that a tenured professor is afraid to make such anodyne comments under his own name.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @y81

      I think we’ve known for a while, now, that even tenured professors are not safe in a liberal society unless they’re celebrities like Jordan Peterson with an outside source of income.

      • James Lee says

        @Morgan,

        To be fair, this society is not exactly “liberal”, it is increasingly authoritarian. After a brief respite, we are back in the days of blasphemy laws and heresy. The level of bad faith is what is truly astounding, the blatant lies which are used to destroy the enemy.

        Which was also a very prominent feature of the Communist era.

        Add that to the utter lack of privacy, the criminalization of speech which runs counter to the dominant ideology, the extorted confessions and public struggle sessions. The parallels are striking.

    • Paolo Scussolini says

      I don’t know the specifics of what this author fears, what it is and whether it is plausible or not. But until someone – at least those with a tenured job – doesn’t start to put their names and faces under their pieces, I don’t see a way out of the mire. Do they wait for someone else to fix it?

      • y81 says

        Academia generally does not attract courageous risk-takers. Any change would have to come from outside.

  3. James Lee says

    “At the peak of communist domination, when culture was in the grip of the doctrine called socialist realism, it was officially proclaimed that nothing in the human world would not have an ideological dimension; in other words, nothing could be neutral with respect to the conflict between communism and capitalism, between the working class and the bourgeoisie, the past and the future. Anything that existed, not only materially, but also as thought or a seemingly harmless folly of imagination, could be non-mistakenly identified as correct or incorrect, bourgeois or proletarian, revolutionary or counterrevolutionary, socialist or antisocialist, materialistic or idealistic, progressive or regressive. This practically put an end to any form of intellectual argumentation. No one argued, but either accused someone of ideological treason or defended himself against such a charge.”

    from Ryszard Legutko, The Demon in Democracy.

    I think we have seen this movie before…

    • SommeVerdun says

      That is a fantastic quote. I’ve been looking for analyses like this of Communism, on a “lower” level (for lack of a better word) — i.e. which looks at an issue like the all-pervasiveness of the ideology, and how the ideology influenced life on a day-to-day basis. I have seen a similar idea expressed by Milovan Djilas, how Marxism required that all fields of science and culture reinforce the dogmas of Marxism.

    • Barney Doran says

      That quote should appear in every college classroom in the country. On the first day of classes the first assignment should be for every student to write an essay on how that quote relates to themselves, the university, and the country.

  4. Andreas Kollias says

    While everyone else was gushing over the image, or else starting arguments about gender parity, I was the one who kept everything in perspective: If it doesn’t get us closer to star destroyers and lightsabers, then it doesn’t matter. 🙂

  5. E. Olson says

    A great scientific accomplishment gets sucked into the black hole of identity politics.

    • TarsTarkas says

      Because to the Social Justice Warriors heroes and accomplishments are something to be actively torn down, except in the service of a victim narrative.

    • Joseph Ratliff says

      @E. Olson … yep. Human society, the first of which walked out of a cave ~ 300,000 – 400,000 years ago … just took a picture of an until-now-unseen Universal feature for the first time in its history. And that same society is also worried about “which one gets credit.”

      Can’t we just take the win, together?

      • Bill Miller says

        Problem is, if you do not stand your ground the zealots ever more advance.
        So I personally have decided “¡No pasarán!” and when I have time to spare I challenge those worldviews. Politely of course.
        As this annoys them the most.

  6. Phranque says

    My only point to make is that the image is not a picture of a black hole. It is a picture of the area where a black hole exists. I believe there is not a single shred of data or photon from below the event horizon. By definition not possible. Both my parents were in STEM fields so I heard lots of these arguments growing up. It still sounds like an amazing achievement. BUT it is not a picture of a black hole. It’s a picture of the area where there is a black hole.

    • You are half right; it is a picture of where there is a black hole. BUT, data/radiation does “escape”; see Hawking radiation.

    • Louis LXIX says

      I’m reminded of the supposed photo of an atom, or whatever it was, a couple of years back.

  7. Johnny Sclerosis says

    The entire newsworthiness of the thing is scientists observing, recording, and freely sharing with the world a phenomenon that unites humanity in mutually puny insignificance.

    But that’s just a bit too much unity for some people. Better to prise open our own intellectual black holes down here on earth. We can suck harder than you Universe!

  8. S.Cheung says

    What a sane and level-headed piece of commentary. A group of brilliant minds doing ground-breaking work in radio-astronomy that probably few outside their working group even understand. And the entire group, no doubt with their various intersectional tribal identities, should be lauded for their accomplishment. It should be a celebration of common humanity in science. That there are decerebrates on several parts of the spectrum who want Bouman or Chael as some trophy for their intersectional cause is truly juvenile and pathetic. I think this article nicely casts a light on that type of stupidity, but already in fairly circumspect ways.

    On the other hand, that a tenured professor in the field needs to publish such a completely non-offensive commentary under a pseudonym is itself a very sad commentary on our times.

  9. Supernaut says

    The resulting image of the black hole at the heart of galaxy M87 was a great scientific/engineering achievement. Bouman and Chael were important, but they were cogwheels in a fairly large team. To their credit and AFAICT, they never inflated their individual contributions; on the contrary they both always stressed how this was a team effort. The fault lies entirely with social media activists pushing identity-politics to tar this otherwise wonderful human achievement.

    • Stephanie says

      The meme a few of my friends shared stated that the image was made “single-handedly” by Bouman and expressed disgust that she wasn’t getting more credit. How deeply ironic that the people who complain about female representation in science exhibit such breathtaking ignorance of how science works.

  10. dirk says

    Some 20 yrs ago, I visited an exposition of art in Kassel, Germany. There was a long qeue of people waiting for a special exposure. We also visited it, a black hole in the floor, pitch black, I couldn’t believe my eyes, and put my hands into it to try out whether it was a real black hole. There was dead silence of the people there, all admiring and stupefied. We left with unbelief, but satisfied. And all there in just fragments of lightyears. Just in front of you.

    • Eisso Post says

      ‘Eigengrau’ this most absolute black of blacks is called in German. Great word too.

    • dirk says

      It was on the Dokumenta IX, 1992, Kassel, artwork of Anish Kapoor. As on the picture above, the round centre pitch dark, but edges around, yes visible. Most people that visited that Dokumenta, after so many yrs, only remember that dark hole! Name of the art DESCENT INTO LIMBO. Boooooooooooh!!!

      • dirk says

        BTW, the black hole of Kapoor was much darker than the one on the picture above (everybody can check that on Youtube)

  11. bumble bee says

    Why are we even listening to these wack jobs? Why are we wasting out time discussing their abusive bullying? They should be treated like the social virus they are and just ignored. They are trolls who feed off of confrontations. Disengage and minimize their so call voice.

    • Eisso Post says

      SJW’s don’t get their power from the ones criticising them. If nobody does, they’ll only get more publicity and power than they already have.

  12. Phil says

    Feminist journalists are all but too trigger happy to try and build up people that fit within the allegedly-oppressed category. I understand that providing role models is a good thing, but this is a very bad idea to travel down this path when over 220 scientists were involved, especially when it was unclear how vital the work of this young scientist was. Price’s law suggests that the quare root of the people involved would have done 50% of the work. So if this law were to hold true in this particular case, 15 people would have been responsible for half the work. Could Bouman be one of the top 15 collaborators? Possibly, but between that are describing her as the face of the project will clearly cause resentment, both among the collaborators , but also among the very cynical public at large who are just fed up with bad journamlism, outrage culture, allegations of systematic oppression and identity politics. This entire phenomenon is clearly not Bouman’s fault. She was just made the poster girl for the movement, but it is probably fair to say that she should and could have taken a bit more control rather than simply “gone along with it” before picking up on what we really going on. But maybe she ran with it because her contribution was in fact monumental to the success of the project?
    At an extreme, if I were a junior member of a collaboration (and I am not implying that she was), and had been picked up as a poster-boy for such a project, I would have applied extreme caution and self-awareness vis-a-vis my peers (and possibly more experienced peers and superiors). The point being that if I had in fact taken more limelight, airspace and credit then was actually due, it would have been no surprise if I would have suffered the ire of my collleagues. We all need to be aware of the culture wars that are raging, and not to do anything that could help fuel their existence. Congratulations to Bouman and her 200+ plus colleagues. Keep doing the science and ignore (and avoid) the noise.

  13. I’m in awe of the knowledge of all the collaborators of this discovery and so grateful that we can see it, learn about it and ponder the wonder of it This comes after hundreds of years of human curiosity, testing, learning, building (telescopes), teaching and money spent…and it’s hijacked because of an ideology built from people who look at everything through the lens of resentment!

  14. Castro Simplex says

    It was another day on the internet. The left wingnuts piled into another false narrative, the cynics trolled them, the media gleefully participated in the click storm

    Luckily, thanks to the character of the actually involved, no one was hurt this time. For that, I’m thankful. K. Bouman’s brief and unwanted tenure as a lightning rod could have gone far worse.

  15. jimhaz says

    I automatically had suspicions that the importance of Bouman’s algorithm was being overstated – but now it is out there and forevermore she will be thought of as a critical component.

    Not that the image proves anything to me. I do not believe in singularities, so there is still the option of an actual hole rather than an object.

    She reminds me a bit of Bindi Irwin.

  16. Jean Levant says

    I’m not impressed by this so-called discovery. A bad “picture” of a black hole which can’t be seen by definition is not a discovery. We all knew before that black holes do exist, are black and circular. The new knowledge it brings to humanity amounts to zero. At best, it’s a great engineering achievement. I’m still waiting for a real breaking discovery in astrophysics fields (as opposed to molecular biology for instance). Number of decades went by without any.
    The disproportionate hype is not only about this young female doctor who draws all the light, it’s about the news itself.

    • Grant says

      Yeah they’ve had all sorts of evidence that black holes exist, and this adds to it. It’s not so much the picture, as I understand it, but the fact that the data collected confirms calculations based on the theory or relativity. It’s a remarkable achievement and the techniques to devise it are potential and exciting.

  17. The article does not place the blame where it should be placed. Journalists frequently get teh dteails of science wrong, journalists are generally looking for human interest and a story that catche steh attention but what made the reporting of a routinely overhyped press release about the output of a large science project into such an acrimonious mess was identity politics which can find injustice against women in any situation and to whom evidence and logical analysis are tools of patriarchal opression.

    The size of different team members is invidious and irrelevant. The output was the result of a team effort. The team included men and women but was predominantly male the result of natural differences in areas of interest between men and women.

    The constant search for ways in which women are oppressed even when they are advantaged is a problem that needs highlighting and fighting. A superficially ‘even handed’ treatment that simply beomoans inaccuracy is not good enough when there is a systematic problem of denigration of men and promotion of the idea that women are subjucated by men who are innately malign and oppressive.

    • Grant says

      I watched the press conference in its entirety and the lack of knowledge of some of the press was truly stunning. You’d think they spend an hour or two looking into the subject before showing up. They are either very lazy or are not interested in what happened, only the spin they’d like to put on it. Watch the press conference and kept it all in mind next time you read a news article about science.

  18. Cynical Old Biologist says

    The way most media handles science (the misunderstandings, false claims, etc.) is just appalling. But most scientists are used to it by now and if we hear that a colleague has cured cancer or solved climate change we blame the journalists not the researchers. The journalists want sensation to sell advertising. The scientists just want to keep the administrators happy by supporting the institution’s prestige in the eyes of the public. The media wants pictures of a pretty young woman and will justify it by saying that women need role models in STEM. My best advice would be simply not to use Twitter or Facebook. Then there is no social media problem! (Or, at least, none you need to worry about).

    • Jean Levant says

      Agree ut it’s not only the journalists’ fault or media’s. Scientists know what they do (or should). They purposefully politize their findings or studies to support their institution as you say but also for their own benefit. We all are in the same boat and that doesn’t look very good either way, to the stern or the bow, to the portside or starboard.

    • Jack B. Nimble says

      @C.O.B.

      ‘………..not to use Twitter or Facebook…..’

      There is another angle here, which is that grant funding agencies in the US [especially the NSF] look hard at the ‘outreach and broader impacts’ part of a grant proposal.

      No outreach = no funding.

      Some science departments even have staffers whose sole or main job is to help grant writers come up with exciting and innovative outreach programs, especially those involving under-represented groups. I’m just glad I’m retired.

  19. Grant says

    I feel sorry for Bouman. She’s just moving along doing what she loves to do, collaborating with her fellow travelers and the usual morons on social media make her into something they want her to be and don’t give a rats arse if it’s true or not.
    Is that the next step? Invalidate scientific results based on the particular biology of its participants?
    I would have thought that preposterous just a few years ago but now I could see it happening.

  20. Captain Cluck-Vers says

    I’m in the ballpark that everyone gets equal credit.

    Does that make me sexist? Probably.

    Because the way you slice it, the internet just lewded a Black Hole.

    Everyone had Black Hole jokes ready.

    And the fun police are usually blowhards looking for a face to blame. Having one lady take all the credit makes her a target for the overemotional.

    On the other hand if everyone gets credit. Than its a blip on the radar and the Black Hole jokes continue. With the sexist stuff nevet showing its face again.

    So kudos to everybody.

  21. David of Kirkland says

    Isn’t this just critical theory applied to news? Science isn’t about the facts and evidence found or not found, but about how it shows oppression.

  22. Louis LXIX says

    I’m curious as to how or why these feminist twitterers determined that this particular woman was the star of the project, rather than one of the 39 others.

    The conclusion I’m jumping to is that it was suggested to them, whether by the woman herself or a PR flunky.

    I’m basing that largely on this photo, which looks a bit like a professional headshot to me.

  23. Eisso Post says

    My God. Stupid feminism, thy name is Asha ten Broeke (infamous Dutch columnist).

    • dirk says

      Asha counts for at least two , maybe two-and-a-half women (as what her weight accounts, that is)

  24. Sander Malschaert says

    I read quite a lot of science journalism and am disappointed by the sensationalist nonsense it often is on an almost daily basis. I could not agree more with this article. Well done team EH! With 40 other women, some of who are probably just as brilliant as Bouman, working on this project it seems more than coinsidental that the young and pretty contributor got all the female in STEM attention. Dare I say pretty young woman ‘privilege’? Yes I dare and I put privilege in quotes because I really can’t imagine Ms Bouwman enjoying her involuntary draft into the culture war. I hope she can enjoy the glow of achievement she well deserves for participating in this momentous achievement nevertheless.

  25. V 2.0 says

    Good thing no one was wearing an inappropriate shirt like that comet guy or the whole project would have had to be denounced.

  26. Social Media Warriors, Please Get a Life says

    The phenomenon this article describes is both hilarious and pathetic. If anyone ever needed proof that there are a bunch of people out there intending to find and see injustice even where there is none, then self-righteously shame people on social media so that every event or article can be “re-written” to their tastes, this is it.

    Such an amazing discovery and effort on the part of that entire science team and all the social media idiots can think about is “hey why wasn’t a woman profiled first as part of this? There must be an injustice here somewhere. Let me see i I can find a woman who was involved, invoke her name as “the main scientist” (even if she herself is not complaining of being overlooked — hint, hint, I’m sure most female scientists are more than capable of discerning for themselves whether or not they’re being screwed by the press coverage related to their field or project, they don’t need SMW (Social Media Warriors) to do it for them) and then rail against “the man” for not covering this woman’s accomplishments adequately.

    Twitter has become a medium that is nothing but noise, driven by millions of fake accounts and millions of 40-and-under-something cry babies who think they’re entitled to have every story they read reported just as they would’ve written it, and think the purpose of Twitter is to shame people.

    Please get a life and grow up. You want to ferret out injustice and spread knowledge of same on Twitter? Great. Why not start looking into employers who abuse their workers (especially migrant workers), into pharmaceutical companies making billions off a system that amounts to little more than a legalized racket, or a 100 other things that materially harm (and sometimes kill) people every-single-day. And not your little “ooo this is so offensive to me as I sip my frapachino, I bet I’ll feel important if I shame this person” word games.

  27. Barney Doran says

    Seriously, does social media serve any societal purpose, or is it just communication porn?

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