You have a pool of, say, 500 professionally trained specialty chemists—which is to say, chemists who specialize in a certain branch of chemistry that has suddenly gained popularity.
I’m making the “500” up; I don’t know what the real figure is. And it’s not important. All that matters to us is that it is finite, and small relative to the population of chemists at large.
Anyway, there they are, the 500 credentialed specialty chemists. Given the new interest in the specialty, universities want to hire them. Get more grants that way.
Specialists thus begin to be hired with enthusiasm. The pool of 500 heretofore unemployed specialty chemists shrinks. It is supplemented to small degree by fresh graduates, but at a rate slower than they are being hired. Not that many specialty chemists who want to be professors graduate annually.
Eventually, the rate at which the specialty chemists can be hired at universities, rapid at first, must necessarily slow. It will level out and bounce around some small number, reflecting the retirement rate, government funding for chemists, and those sort of things.
What a dull story. You have to work very hard indeed to find a joke in that setup.
Fortunately, the labor has been done for us, in the peer-reviewed lament “Words Matter: On the Debate over Free Speech, Inclusivity, and Academic Excellence“, in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters by John M. Herbert and a slew of other weeping chemists.
Here’s their punchline: “We note with dismay that hiring of Black faculty at colleges and universities in the United States has actually decreased in recent years.”
Hilarious! It has all the subtlety of a Norm Macdonald anecdote, with the idiotic NPC spelling of black.
The subtlety comes in having the reader figure the setup, as we did above. The joke is thus intellectual, and can be laughed at at Upper West Side cocktail parties.
The bulk of specialty chemists, which is to say desirable blacks—and there is no more desirable hire than a black PhD—are already snapped up. There aren’t enough left to supply to huge demand for Diversity. So hiring rates necessarily go down.
It’s worrisome a profession whose main purpose is to calculate rates could not have figured this out for themselves. Such is DIE mania.
That’s what this paper is. A demand to DIE harder, in chemistry and in all of academia. They also worked in the word “Nazi” three times. Not a record, but impressive for a chemical journal.
Their first demand is to remove scientists’ names from their discoveries, and from buildings and statues, if those scientists’ historical behavior does not accord with devolving woke standards.
Soon we shall name all scientific discoveries after George Floyd.
One should not take their demands as demands, they say: “we suggest”—suggest!—“that the aforementioned [DIE] efforts by universities and scientific journals, which are aimed at promoting inclusivity, are nothing at all like the actions of a totalitarian government, as some have suggested.” They just insist DIE efforts must “part of a path toward excellence at our universities and within our scientific community.”
There follows the tale of an old school prof named Hudlicky who wrote a paper criticizing
diversity efforts in academia, expressing concern about fraudulent scientific publishing in a manner that was mostly aimed at scientists in China, and expressing the author’s exasperation that modern organic chemistry graduate students are no longer willing to “submit” to the hard work demanded by their faculty “masters”.
The board at the journal which Hudlicky published his paper resigned, the paper was retracted, his university publicly denounced him, but he had tenure so they haven’t been able to fire him—yet.
These hissy fits by grown adults against Hudlicky do not, say our authors, represent “cancel culture”. “We suggest that this incident is better framed as a manifestation of consequences culture.” Their emphasis.
Even stronger: “The term ‘cancel culture’ has lately been twisted into an epithet that is used to discredit progressive policies.”
Ackshually, they say, “the practice of creating social distance from controversial or objectionable statements and actions is as old as society itself.”
And so our authors run left as fast as their spindly wee legs will take them, the dark force drawing them inexorably to the Woke Singularity, where they believe true power resides.
You shall have no other god before DIE. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images of scientists who would not DIE. Thou shalt not take the name of DIE in vain. Remember Juneteenth and keep it Holy. Honor your parent 1 and parent 2 and any other parental authority figures of integer values greater than 2.
And so on.
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