Stephen W. Browne Rants and Raves

November 19, 2014

Earth shattering news of the world!

Filed under: Op-eds — Stephen W. Browne @ 7:07 am

Well the mid-term elections are over and the news media can go back to covering other stuff.

Some of that other stuff is about naked ladies.

Actress Keira Knightley went topless to protest sexist photoshopping. Evening show host Chelsea Handler went topless to mock Vladimir Putin for being a sexist. Reality star Kim Kardashian went full-frontal and rear for reasons best known to herself.

Other stuff is about ladies protesting guys who wear shirts showing shapely ladies.

Matt Taylor, Rosetta Project Scientist at the European Space Agency, announced to everybody in the world who cares about science that ESA had landed a probe on a comet. That probe was launched about 10 years ago and performed flawlessly after the long journey to match the comet’s trajectory.

Rose Eveleth of The Atlantic however, was more concerned about his shirt. Taylor wore a shirt, reportedly made for him by a lady friend, which featured hand-painted lingerie-clad ladies.

“No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt,” Eveleth said.

Astrophysicist Katie Mack thought the sight of the sexist shirt would cause female students to shun STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math).

“I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in science.”

So they hauled Taylor before the Inquisition – I mean the media, and made him cry real tears of apology.

A quick Google search resulted in reactions about half-and-half condemning Taylor for tastelessness or condemning the outraged ladies, both accusing the other of “ruining” a really cool
event.

Oh puh-lease, this event is so momentous nothing is going to “ruin” it. Except maybe the maddening happenstance that the probe landed on a part of the comet that is shaded by the surrounding heights for all but about three-and-a-half hours a day, limiting the probe’s ability to recharge its batteries from the solar panels.

I don’t know about the scientists at ESA but I’ll cry bitter tears if the probe has to shut down at the end of that inspiring effort.

Folks, Dr. Matt Taylor is a science geek. Which means the chances are great that he is socially inept and has no fashion sense. It might be that a mind that can contain the knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish this kind of thing doesn’t have a lot of room left in it for trivialities.

The fact that nobody at the facility thought to say, “Gee Matt, you’re going to do a media interview, perhaps you should change your shirt,” likely means he’s not the only one there.

The hi-tech industry has hired lots of these kind of people for years and knows enough to, 1) humor their eccentricities, and 2) keep them in the back room where they can think deep thoughts away from contact with the public.

I do not for one minute believe Taylor or anybody there meant to be offensive. If I had to guess, by wearing a hand-painted shirt made by a lady friend he might have been trying to say, “Hey look, this geek’s got game!”

But some people just love to be offended whether the intent was there or not, and it’s quite plain a number of them enjoyed Taylor’s public and unmanly humiliation.

Nor can I take seriously the claim this is going to discourage young women from the STEM fields. May I suggest that if a shirt decorated like a Victoria’s Secret catalog causes someone to give up a dream, one might suspect their commitment is somewhat lacking.

Oh and by the way, in case you missed it while some are agonizing over a shirt, Vladimir Putin is pouring men and heavy equipment into Ukraine, making bomber sorties into the Gulf of Mexico, and openly defying the President of the United States to do something about it.

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