Once More, with Feeling

This was a blog centered around my book, Galileo’s Middle Finger. The posts in this blog are shown in order of latest to earliest.

  • That Weird, Calm Feeling: “Tonight, I have this weird, calm feeling that sometimes descends on me when a colleague is suddenly caught in a shitstorm.”
  • Last Week at Wellesley: What are you supposed to do when a hundred students show up to protest someone you’re pretty sure isn’t you?
  • Talks I’ll Be Giving This Academic Year: As I’m on the plane headed to give my first talk of the academic year, I’m looking at my speaking schedule delighted at the variety.
  • Hiding Locally: The Chief of Police, a lovely fellow named Jeff, sometimes sits next to me at Council. He overlooks that I’ve brought a mason jar of red wine to go with my warmed-up dinner of leftover pasta. He’s packing, but he’s not packing because of anything I have said or written (or been said to have said or written).
  • On the Birth of My Grandbook: Holding your grandbook is like holding your grandbaby. You don’t worry so much anymore about your own mortality.
  • Chalking Back: When I arrived Augustana College, in Rock Island, Illinois, on Tuesday to speak on academic freedom, the campus was a bit abuzz because of some controversial “chalking.” Overnight, someone had written pro-Trump slogans on many of the campus sidewalks.
  • Reporters Need to Avoid Experts with Vaccine Industry Funding; Here’s Why, and Here’s Help: Not long ago, I wrote about how we should try hard to avoid real or perceived financial conflicts of interest where vaccinations concerned.
  • Talking Free Speech on Campus: I spoke with FIRE’s Nico Perrino on the So to Speak podcast about free speech on campus.
  • Beyond Vaccine Exceptionalism: It’s time we do something not only about Andrew Wakefield, but about the system of medical “science” that is causing the suspicion perpetuating his lies.
  • It Isn’t Just the Trolls: The problems with Twitter are the problems of the human condition, including my own.
  • GMF on FiveThirtyEight’s New Science Podcast: FiveThirtyEight has launched a new science podcast called Sparks, and they had me on as the inaugural guest to talk about Galileo’s Middle Finger. My son, who is a huge FiveThirtyEight fan, was more impressed than when I was on Oprah. Listen here.
  • My Keynote for The FIRE Student Network Conference: I was honored to give the keynote for the Student Network Conference of FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). You can watch it through this link from the Heterodox Academy.
  • The Day My Water Broke: A week ago I gave the keynote at the Student Network Conference of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
  • Zero Tolerance: Censored by the Left: This “zero tolerance” approach on the left is like some kind of Monty Python satire of activism. It would be funny if it did not lead to the right pointing out how the left isn’t actually thinking, it’s just playing a game of identity politics go fish. Who has the most oppression cards? They win!
  • Coming In from the Cold: “It was only when Galileo’s Middle Finger came out that the mix of the two lives was revealed, and so the gig was up. The nice lady at the drycleaners no longer wondered if the fancy clothes I was bringing in belonged to another woman who just happened to be my size.” Some thoughts in conjunction with Galileo’s Middle Finger receiving the 2016 Adult Non-Fiction Book Award from the Society for Midland Authors.
  • Subtitles: Why did the cover and subtitle of Galileo’s Middle Finger change from hardback to paperback? And why did this make me think a lot about Hope Jahren’s magnificent Lab Girl?
  • Interview with The 21st on Free Speech on Campus: I talked with Niala Boodhoo, host of The 21st, on Illinois Public Media on May 3, 2016, about free speech on campus. We covered my resignation from Northwestern University, which is explained in a new afterword in the paperback edition of Galileo’s Middle Finger.
  • My Plenary Address to SSTAR: In April 2016, I was honored to give a plenary address to the Society for Sex Research and Therapy (SSTAR) at their annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois. My friend and colleague James Cantor recorded the talk so that I could share it. You can listen to it by clicking here.
  • My Interview with New Hampshire Public Radio’s 10-Minute Writers’ Workshop: When Galileo’s Middle Finger came out in paperback, New Hampshire Public Radio had me on for their 10-Minute Writers’ Workshopto talk about writing the book and about being a writer. We went where I didn’t expect; it was a bit like psychotherapy.
  • Bruce Henderson to the Lambda Literary Foundation on GMF: Prof. Bruce Henderson of Ithaca College shared with me the letter he sent on March 25, 2016, to Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director of the Lambda Literary Foundation about my book.
  • An Open Letter to the Lambda Literary Foundation: about the withdrawal of my book from finalist status for a Lambda Literary Award.
  • My Constance Holden Address: In September 2015, I was honored to give the Constance Holden Memorial Address for Distinguished Science Journalism at the annual meeting of the International Society for Intelligence Research in New Mexico. I spoke to the group about how to protect yourself if you do research in politically dangerous areas.
  • Gender Mad: The transgender activists who demanded and ultimately achieved the shut-down of Zucker’s CAMH clinic said that Zucker’s approach was full of stigma. That’s because he didn’t simply “gender affirm” every child that came by.
  • Trumping the Academy: I often wonder, today, if I were still teaching undergraduates and teaching in the same way, would I be getting teaching awards, or have my ass hauled down to the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, told I’m not allowed to make students uncomfortable?
  • Terrorism: When the Second Amendment Kills the First: This is surely what terrorists have in common: using guns to blow out the brains of people whose ideas they don’t want around. When will we stop letting the Second Amendment terrorize the First?
  • Rewarding Money-In Instead of Knowledge-Out: At what point do we acknowledge that universities—even public universities—are becoming scientific temp agencies for industry?
  • Talking to the Wall: The five stages of a “brave” women’s grief process: indignation; resignation; alienation; self-loathing; dependence.
  • Rejecting the Tranquilizing Drug of Gradualism in Intersex Care: I can’t continue to help develop “conversations” around “shared decision making” that allow decisions to be made that I believe violate the most basic rights of children born with intersex. Working from within was a major goal of our early intersex work—to get in the halls of medicine and change it from within. But the truth is that medicine has not really let in our most basic criticism, our most basic insight, and it looks as if it will not do so anytime soon.
  • The Cutting and the Vibrators Continue: “For his part, Eric characterized the story as a nuclear bomb.”
  • My GMF Interview on Chicago Tonight: Just after Galileo’s Middle Finger came out, Chicago Tonight (WTTW) had me on to talk about the book. This was a live, nine-minute live interview with Eddie Arruza. He was a great interviewer–I didn’t realize just how great until I watched it later.
  • Toxic in Small Doses: Only in Shakespeare does someone rouse you with poetry when you’re in battle.
  • Opioids: an “n of 1” reflection: Once I sobered up, the mate (an internist) and I had an interesting philosophical discussion on pain.
  • How to Be An Ally to Cis-Women: My turn to provide transwomen some advice about how to be an ally to cis-women, particularly those of us who are feminist.
  • Saint Frances, Walking to Her Car: I’ve been thinking a lot about Frances Oldham Kelsey, who died a few weeks ago. She was the scientist at the FDA who stopped thalidomide. She was also my patron saint.
  • FAQ on my resignation from Northwestern University: Write a book encouraging others to defend their academic freedom, get censored by your own dean, fight it but lose . . . what can you do?
  • Pinker Said What Now about Research Ethics? Today, my colleague Carl Elliott posted a short note at his blog that surprised me. It was about a new op-ed from Steve Pinker, who has supported my work.
  • My Dream Date with Donald Trump: Last night I dreamed I had a date with Donald Trump. We were in the Trump International Hotel and Tower® in Chicago, in a ballroom that looks out over the river. . . .
  • Twitter Is Now My Rolodex, and Other Things I Learned from Hope Amantine: What yesterday’s take-down of Amantine’s KevinMD post taught me was that Twitter is my new rolodex—it is a place where I can quickly call on a large number of smart, thoughtful, and often-influential people. And that feels comforting and maybe a little hopeful.
  • Even I Make Mistakes: A reader has written to correct my representation of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in my book, Galileo’s Middle Finger. She’s right.
  • Answers to Some Questions about Autogynephilia: Readers of Galileo’s Middle Finger have been asking me some questions about autogynephilia, particularly since Vanity Fair’s coverage of Caitlyn Jenner. I encouraged one reader who contacted me by Twitter today to send her questions by email, and she was kind enough to do so. Here I provide answers to her questions.
  • Wondering If I’m the Next Tim Hunt: In the last twenty-four hours, I’ve been asking myself an interesting question: What if Hunt’s remarks, rather than being purely glib sexist stupidity, actually did represent an ideology he held? What if he genuinely believed that females are bad for science? Would we then worry a little more about academic freedom—about his right to hold an unpopular view and still be a member of the academic community?
  • “A Rowdy, Harrowing, Vital Book”: About a week ago, I got to see an early copy of the New York Times review of Galileo’s Middle Finger, and so naturally I thought that its appearance this weekend was going to be the big event of my life this week. Uh. No.
  • And the Dead Claims Shall Rise: I was more than a bit incredulous yesterday when a stranger on Twitter sent me news that anti-vaxxers are passing around a particular Guardian article from 14 years ago as if it contains fresh and accurate “vaccine harm” news. Having that error-prone article come back the same week my book comes out seemed almost impossible to believe.
  • Who Are Medical IRBs Really Protecting? The way “retrospective chart review” works out in practice, patients get used for research they were never asked to be part of, and perhaps more importantly, no one is ever asked to make sure they are notified that their medical records have been used for a published study. They never know they became subjects of research.
  • Once More, with Feeling: What’s a woman allowed to say?