Posted by: Dan | November 18, 2006

Radical Right-wing Ideologues at Cornell

The offensive and extremist student newspaper, The Cornell American has an article by Rachel Brenc (a daft and naïve freshman engineer at Cornell) that Bora, John, Janet and Zuska are talking about. Zuska has the goods:

Over at the Cornell American Online, Rachel Brenc, a first-year student in engineering – oops, I mean, freshman – has written a little piece that ought to be titled Why There’s Nothing Wrong With White Male Domination Of Every Institution In Our Society As Long As I, Personally, Have Never Experienced Any Discrimination Of Which I Am Cognizant Because I’m Just Going To Quit Working As Soon As I Get Pregnant Even Though I Love My Engineering Classes And I Will Just Cross My Fingers And Trust God That My Husband Doesn’t Leave Me Or Die Or Get Disabled Or Laid Off Because I Think There Is No Discrimination Against Women And Those Ladies Who Wrote That NSF Report Are Just Whiners, Not Hard Workers (Who Know Their Place, In the Kitchen With The Babies) Like Me

Ewwww… the Ann-Coulter-worshipers are multiplying. Then again, I’ve come to expect this sort of “determined ignorance” from the Cornell American.


Responses

  1. Is she…really a person, or at least, who she says she is? I really hope not. I just went to her site and saw the it was down – I read Zuska though and agree wholeheartedly. Painful!

  2. Based on my experiences with my former housemate (as I note in a comment on A Blog Around the Clock), who was every bit as radical (he praises the memory of the late Sen. McCarthy in one Cornell American article)…

    I’d say, yes, she’s very likely exactly what she says she is.

  3. There really is a Rachel Brenc listed as being a student of engineering at Cornell. I cannot say for certain that she is the author of the piece that appeared in the Cornell American.

  4. I remember the Review from my days on the hill — half of the articles were clever (even if you disagreed with them) and the other half were just stupid.

    How does the American compare with the Review?

  5. Comparing the American to the Review is kinda like comparing Ann Coulter to John Derbyshire – the latter is a conservative pundit, but the former takes that punditry and makes it beligerent, brain-dead and authoritarian.

  6. The Cornell American is back online.

    And, since I mentioned it, my former housemate’s contributions to the American (recent first):

    The Illusion of Being a Centrist – he argues that moderation in conservativeness is a subversive fallacy.

    Not Your Average Joe – he idolizes the late Senator Joe McCarthy, and criticizes leftist mudslingers for sullying his name.

    The Truth About Liberalism – “A glaring example of positioning falsehood as truth can be illustrated by the love affair between liberals and murderous, genocidal Communist regimes masquerading as just and equitable societies.”

    Unintelligent, Resign – CU’s Evolutionist Inquisition – it’s pagan scientists versus the faithful.

    The Straight Facts: GAYpril Mythbusters – “Homosexuality is a mental health disorder.”

    The Horror of Abortion Exposed – “Answering the illogical claims of radical feminazis.” According to him, abortion equals genocide.

    As you may note if you read the articles, his buzzword is “absolute truth,” and his cruscade is against “moral relativism.” He sees the world in terms of black and white, and regularly reads screed from the likes of Limbaugh, Malkin, Coulter, Dobson, and others. Yes, he has a doctorate – a DVM, and is working on his PhD – and criticizes former Cornell President Hunter Rawlings for his stand against intelligent design, but I don’t think that he really has a clue what the intelligent design rhetoric is. For instance, when he wrote that particular article, he had no idea what the term “theistic evolution” suggested, and he accepts concepts such as common descent – so I think that he thinks that opponents of ID are amoral atheists and ID advocates the moral culture warriors…

    Thank goodness we had a policy of not discussing politics in each othes’ presence…

  7. Mars rover site at Cornell. Just for pride.

  8. How judgemental of you all!

    Wow, the woman writes an article poking fun at neofeminism and the general response appears to be “I hope she reall doesn’t exist”. !

    I love the ridiculous postition that several of you have taken that she doesn’t believe there is discrimination “just because she hasn’t experienced it.” Wow. Talk about existentialism run amok.

    I never experienced apartheid, but I was pretty sure it existed.

    And the thing that I’ve noted about every – I mean every – post that attacks this woman is – not one of you has had anything to say about the article that prompted all of this. That is, you assume the truth of your conclusion – that discrimination exists and is significant. She offered two examples of how the original article was flat out deceptive. Deceptive in such a way that the veracity of the whole article is questionable.

    The article has logic such as this – which I will present in a format that you can understand – “there is no problem with black poverty – more white people, in fact, are on welfare than black people.” The same faulty logic of that last syllogism are found throughout the original NSF paper. But you all have no comment about that.

    How sad.

    The shrill left hasn’t changed in the 30 years I’ve been watching them – assume a conclusion, name call and attack anybody who disagrees with it, and ignore at all costs any data that disagrees with the conclusion.

    By the way, the article was poorly written and the woman who wrote it did seem to be sort of a stuck up brat, but that doesn’t change the merits, or lack thereof, of her conclusion – that the days of blatant, systemic, and significant sexism in corporate America have passed.

  9. By the way, the article was poorly written and the woman who wrote it did seem to be sort of a stuck up brat, but that doesn’t change the merits, or lack thereof, of her conclusion – that the days of blatant, systemic, and significant sexism in corporate America have passed.

    While things may be better than they used to be, I think that the study that Rachel is casually dismissing found that such days have, in fact, not passed. And to my knowledge, that seems to be the general conclusion of just about every other study done on the topic in recent years as well…

    The same faulty logic of that last syllogism are found throughout the original NSF paper. But you all have no comment about that.

    Rachel didn’t have much of a comment on that either, if you’ll note, other than to say “I haven’t witnessed it, so it must not be true.” She’s a college freshman, for crying out loud – of course she hasn’t witnessed discrimination first-hand.

    Basically, it seems that Rachel and many other conservatives simply have a problem with a sense of “political correctness,” and either question the existence of social inequality or argue that inequality is the fault of the downtrodden. Why is the alternative – that inequal treatment is a sad fact of our society, and that perhaps we should at least make an effort to address problems relating to inequality – unacceptable to conservatives? Is it not the American Dream that success be dictated by merit, and not by gender, race, ethicity, or other inheritable privilege?

  10. Joe,
    In the comments under Rachel’s original post, you also say:

    What she has so maturely, so providently grasped already – Lo! at such young age! – is that the concept of “PhD scientist” and “mom” are mutually exclusive. She has already come to understand that working 60 hours a week and properly raising children are incompatible.

    Yes, how silly of “Phoms” to think that their husbands would want to share in raising the children, or that they would have the luxury of not having to work (I, as a scientist, will probably never be able to support an enitre family on my own as a father – they simply don’t pay scientists enough).

    It’s a tough world – and telling women to “give up their families or their incomes” doesn’t cut it.

  11. Zuska has more on Rachel Brenc’s article.

  12. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist.

    Only in the fevered imaginations of wacko feminists could full professors in science be “the downtrodden”.

    And telling people that real life involves making choices, some that aren’t easy, is doing them a favor. Then again, you can lead a horse to water . . .

  13. Roger,

    Only in the fevered imaginations of wacko feminists could full professors in science be “the downtrodden”.

    Huh? Who claimed that the women who have made it to full professorship are downtrodden? I must’ve missed that quote, because I thought we were talking about bias against the women who didn’t make such career plateaus…

    Also, you don’t have to be a “wacko feminist” to recognize that the viewpoints expressed by contributors to the Cornell American are extremist in the opposite direction! Why does the discussion have to be a right/wrong topic – why can’t it be that the NAS study (which sparked Ms. Brenc’s tirade) has some truth to it, yet, other aspects of the study should be taken with a grain of salt?!

    Exactly who is being “wacko,” anyway???

  14. Dan, you are a neverending source of amusement. I believe you inserted the term “downtrodden” into a discussion about the travails of the academic elite. And no, the discussion didn’t focus on those who didn’t make it, but how long it took those who did. Look at Rachel’s article again and the labeling on the various sections. And the debate about 17.1 years vs 17.9.

    You seem shocked by the term “wacko”, but look how you entitled your blog posting. Rachel doesn’t say anything that wasn’t out of mainstream liberalism in the late 60’s early 70’s during the “feminist” movement for equality of opportunity. That isn’t what feminism is about today.

    It is funny to see that your evaluation criteria for a supposedly scientific study is that it “has some truth to it”. I’m not at all sure that what we commonly call “merit” does not involve “inheritable” characteristics, or a family history of privilege, but even if we grant that, for the sake of argument, “merit” in the work world involves “doing”, not just being capable of “doing” in theory. Zuska, who you describe as “having the goods” doesn’t want to work the 60 hours/week that others are willing to. That is a component of merit in the real world. She argues for an alternate work world for science that would be better for women and men. They may or may not be true, but it certainly undercuts an argument for gender bias.

    Of course, we aren’t “telling women to “give up their families or their incomes””. That puts me in mind of the apocryphal headline in the NY Times:

    World to end tomorrow; Women and Minorities hardest hit

    What we are, or should be, telling adults is that life involves tradeoffs. Choices have consequences. You don’t have a right to “have it all”. If you can pull it off, bully for you. If not, you are in the company of 99.99999…% of humanity.

    There certainly are instances of social injustice in this country, but this discussion doesn’t cover them. The Zuska’s of the world are part of the “let them eat cake” crowd.

  15. Roger,
    Essentially, yes, I’m shocked at your use of the term “wacko” to describe the writers of a scientific study, while defending members of the far Right who criticize it.

    It is funny to see that your evaluation criteria for a supposedly scientific study is that it “has some truth to it”.

    Yes, as I’m familiar with reading scientific papers (albeit not it this field), I’m well aware that individual conclusions can well be disputed, but rarely is the entire paper fraudulent – it happens, but far less often than you’d like to have people believe.

    I’m not at all sure that what we commonly call “merit” does not involve “inheritable” characteristics, or a family history of privilege, but even if we grant that, for the sake of argument, “merit” in the work world involves “doing”, not just being capable of “doing” in theory.

    Indeed, merit involves doing or having done something. It also involves the critiquing of something that was done by a person, independent of the person itself, does it not? You just suggested that a deed or accomplishment is in practice not merely a critique of what was done, but who it was done by – and this may be true, in practice, but it is exactly the sort of bias that I and others would like to see done away with.

    Zuska, who you describe as “having the goods” doesn’t want to work the 60 hours/week that others are willing to

    If you think that the biases against women in the sciences ends with how long a work-week individuals are willing to make, than we’ve met another area of strong disagreement.

    What we are, or should be, telling adults is that life involves tradeoffs… There certainly are instances of social injustice in this country, but this discussion doesn’t cover them.

    Those are reasonable points – to the point of being truisms. As such, I’ve bolded those two sentences, and add that one can make the argument that there are worse social injustices in this country to be sure. I do think that this was a minor one, as a matter of fact, albeit an interesting one. If you, or Rachel, had made those points from the beginning, you’d find significantly less disagreement with people.

  16. Yes, as I’m familiar with reading scientific papers (albeit not it this field), I’m well aware that individual conclusions can well be disputed, but rarely is the entire paper fraudulent – it happens, but far less often than you’d like to have people believe.

    I said nothing about “fraudulent”, nor about what I’d like other folks to believe. Yet you apparently think you saw it. It’s not surprising that you would then say:

    If you, or Rachel, had made those points from the beginning, you’d find significantly less disagreement with people.

    I think that is what Rachel did. That you didn’t see it when JoeMamma and I both did, says something about your bias. After Joe explains the reality of the real world to you, you suggest he lose the mysogyny. This is after he defends a woman, Rachel.

    Indeed, merit involves doing or having done something. It also involves the critiquing of something that was done by a person, independent of the person itself, does it not? You just suggested that a deed or accomplishment is in practice not merely a critique of what was done, but who it was done by – and this may be true, in practice, but it is exactly the sort of bias that I and others would like to see done away with.

    I have no idea what that means. If you could translate that into English, maybe we could discuss it.

    If you think that the biases against women in the sciences ends with how long a work-week individuals are willing to make, than we’ve met another area of strong disagreement.

    This dialogue only has a chance to be productive if you drop the attempts to create positions for me. This was Zuska’s issue, not mine. Not only didn’t I make any claims about bias “ending” at some point, I don’t think I agree that we are talking about bias here.

    Don’t we have to decide what is bias, and what is not, before we can tally the total count?

  17. No, Rachel concluded with this:

    I have many female friends and even male friends that were horrified when I told them that I’d leave Chemical Engineering as a career to have children. “You’d give up your entire college education for that???!” Yes, I’d like to have four kids. I’d also like to cook, iron, and be a stay-at-home mom. I better be careful saying that, though, because the feminists might come to snatch my bra out from underneath my apron and burn it for me. Hey, I’d like to keep those bras. They’re expensive.

    Through this, she is criticizing women who want to have a career AND a family. Unfortunately, many women don’t have a choice – most families can’t afford to live on a single income, and for those women, Rachel (and you, apparently) are saying that they should give up the family. This is unrealistic.

    Yes, life is full of tradeoffs. But it goes both ways – women balancing a career and a family should expect to have to work harder. And I work with two who work 3 times as hard as I do, yet go home and take care of one or two infant children. As is the way of things, they take most of the burden at home also, with their husbands helping out in small ways – but nothing major – and I never see them complain. Never. Goodness knows how they ever find time to get some sleep.

    Now, maybe they’re the cream of the crop, few that are willing to work that hard, and they’re to be commendend. But in general, I would think that in a compassionate working environment, women who continue to produce fine work despite these stresses of motherhood should be acknowledged and shown a little leniency when they can’t ignore their family lives like men can. As a man, I think that men should help out more at home to balance the responsibilities, and that employers of women should recongize effort when it is made, and allow discretion when situations arise that are beyond the control of the employee.

    On the other hand, if you’re for a society (and think it realistic) where child-rearing is the exclusive domain of the wife, and the husband is capable of being the sole-provider, then by all means criticize the goal of reducing gender bias.

    Also, for my girlfriend and I – we’re not married yet and don’t have kids yet, but I imagine that we might in the coming years. She’s brilliant and hard-working, and as an academic, I might never make ~80K/yr to support a family. So she’d have to work, and I hope that she only have to work 40-hr work weeks, but be rewarded when she can manage 60-hrs. If she doesn’t waste time on blogs and chatrooms like you and I, and gets an equal amount of work done or more, what does it matter?

    I have no idea what that means. If you could translate that into English, maybe we could discuss it.

    If you can’t read, that’s not my problem. And it’s true, I don’t like you. But I’m trying to have a civil discussion here – if you’re not interested in that, and just interested in snide remarks (which I suspect is the case), then I’ll permenantly block you.

    This dialogue only has a chance to be productive if you drop the attempts to create positions for me.

    Likewise – let’s face it, we don’t like each other.

    And no one is forcing you to leave comments here.


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