In recent days, there have been two resignations that caught my eye:
The first was from Professor Sir Tim Hunt, FRS. He's a Nobel Laureate - a genuine one, not a pretend one like Michael E Mann, who is the Rachel Dolezal of Nobel Laureates. But this bloke Hunt is the real deal - He won the Nobel in 2001 and the Royal Society's almost as prestigious Royal Medal for his discoveries on cell-cycle control. He is a brilliant man.
Six days ago, Sir Tim was in Seoul for some science conference and was required to make a few remarks, among which was a septuagenarian scientist's ill advised attempt at humor:
Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.
Not the funniest joke in the world, but the genius of a scientist is often inversely proportional to his social ease. So he did not anticipate that a throwaway line about how girls are so emotional about these things would result in the girls getting so emotional about these things.
While he was on the flight back to London, University College told his wife, Professor Mary Collins (herself a prominent immunologist), that he could quit or be sacked. So he was forced to resign - from University College, and then from the Royal Society's Biological Sciences Awards Committee, and then from the European Research Council. There's not a lot left for him to resign from, although the Armies of the Outraged are optimistic they can get the Royal Society to expel him entirely.
So now the man who made the girls cry is blubbing himself:
"Tim sat on the sofa and started crying," says Collins. "Then I started crying. We just held on to each other..."
Hunt is under no illusions about the consequences. "I am finished," he says. "I had hoped to do a lot more to help promote science in this country and in Europe, but I cannot see how that can happen. I have become toxic. I have been hung to dry by academic institutes who have not even bothered to ask me for my side of affairs."
The Royal Society, the oldest learned society in the world but these days as modish as any social-justice Tweeter, is said to be irked that Sir Tim did not offer a more fulsome apology. Personally, I can't see why he should apologize at all. If you don't like his remarks, have at it. But, if you ask me which is worse - a society where old men make harmless démodé semi-jokes that no-one laughs at; or a society that utterly destroys a man for one such irrelevant aside - I know which I prefer: the latter is a profoundly evil place. University College and the Royal Society should be ashamed.
~Meanwhile, in Spokane County, Washington, the aforementioned Rachel Dolezal has resigned as President of the local NAACP, the black civil rights group, because she is, in fact, white. Spokane County is less than two per cent black, and would seem to have no very pressing need for a local NAACP chapter. But, if you build it, they will come, even if a remarkable number come with the faint whiff of burnt cork and singing "De Camptown Races". "NAACP" stands for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Ms Dolezal is a very literally colored person: she tans her skin and applies contouring make-up in order to "pass" for black. Sure, the Twitpic she posted of a random African-American as her dad shows attention to detail and her propensity for reporting fake hate crimes was a nice touch (she's of German descent, so she drew a swastika), but if you're serious about "transitioning" eventually you need the full "negroplasty", as "South Park" called it all those years ago.
Incidentally, is this a great country or what? Once upon a time you had to be a real black to call in a fake hate crime, but now fake blacks can do it, too. At long last, the transracials - the chemically colored people - are demanding their right to sit at the back of the bus, with all the cool identity groups. #ColoredLivesMatter!
There's a lot of it about: Jeb Bush checked the Hispanic box on his voter registration form. And in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn (personally autographed copies of which, etc, etc) I quote this remarkable line from The Fordham Law Review:
Harvard Law School hired its first woman of color, Elizabeth Warren, in 1995.
Senator Warren walks like a white, quacks like a white, looks whiter than white. As I like to say, she's the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of White-Out. And yet The Fordham Law Review hailed her as Harvard Law School's "first woman of color", and good for them. Why do we impose outmoded stereotypes and demand that black women be black? Why can't a woman of color retain her pallor? After all, as The New York Post informed us, "Caitlyn Jenner Still Has Her Penis".
Is that the first American newspaper headline to use the phrase "her penis"? If so, it won't be the last. Caitlyn Jenner still has her penis, Elizabeth Warren still has her pallor, Jeb Bush still has his pad at Kennebunkport, Rashaqua'nishia Brunnhilde von Dolezal still has her swastika. But all of them have recognized that it's last orders at the White Privilege saloon. So too have all those so-called "allies" of the LGBTQWERTY crowd, the straight end of the high-school "gay-straight alliance" groups. Is there anything more totally fagulous than being an "ally"? It's way gayer than gay: You go along to the meetings with all the gays, but you don't get any of that great anal sex, you just get to take the minutes. Even in the Republic of Paperwork, you'd have thought that would be a tough sell. But no: all the cool heteros - okay, not cool, but the least uncool - are lining up to take it.
But that's the left's genius. If the personal is political, why can't it still be political even when it's not personal? In contemporary America, race and sexuality are no longer confined to personal identity but to professional status markers - so why not be professionally black, professionally gay, professionally Cherokee?
That's why you have to feel a wee bit sorry for chaps like young Thomas Evans of Buckinghamshire, killed this week fighting for al-Shabaab. He had the same issues as so many of the above, but, instead of just checking the Muslim box on the grant-application form, or submitting the Duchess of Windsor's favorite crab dish to a Muslim cookbook (as Elizabeth Warren did to a Cherokee cookbook), or getting Annie Leibowitz to photograph you in a really hot shalwar kameez, or becoming an "ally" and joining the high-school terrorist-infidel alliance, or getting appointed chief imam at the Finsbury mosque and then getting exposed as an Anglican verger... instead of that, poor old Thomas took his socio-cultural self-loathing seriously and wound up dead.
We have raised two generations in the west who want to be ...something else. After three years of being sued by insecure, litigious Nobel Fauxreate Michael E Mann, I've come to see the climate cult as a mass version of Rachel Dolezal minstrelsy. It's about the wish of First World advanced societies to enjoy the cleansing moral frisson of an idealized pre-industrial Third World aesthetic. Well, without the disease and diminished life expectancy... But, if they ever did get their way, I'd bet it would work out as well for them, and us, as it did for Thomas Evans.
~As I've said, sometimes a society becomes too stupid to survive. What I found interesting was the instant demand for Tim Hunt's resignation, but the comparative ease with Rachel Dolezal's years of deception - not to say the vigorous pushback by the expert that she's more black than Clarence Thomas. Ms Dolezal may be white, but Sir Tim is beyond the pale.