I Quit

Factors

Mindset

Age / pedigree / temperament

Circumstance

Moving

Money

Resistance / lack of options for the work I want to do

The Plague

Conclusion:

  • The allegedly left wing excesses and ‘vicious environment of political correctness’ in academia. This is popular to talk about, but to me is coded language for one of three things:

    [a]‘I am incapable of navigating difficult conversations about sensitive topics without annoying people, due to either the imprecision of my language and/or my latent ignorance’,
    [b] ‘I require an opposition to set my ideas against, and vicious PC culture actually perversely supports my perpetual quest for attention’, or
    [c] ‘I am a big fat racist, and I wish it was more convenient to be a racist’.

    I find people who continually prosecute this argument extremely boring. I would also note here that while being very fucking un-PC I have somehow managed to navigate this allegedly sensitive environment through the simple process of people knowing what I’m about.

    Oh, and if you write to me to express how wrong I am about this, I won’t read it and you don’t matter.
  • Personal attacks / ‘chilling’ environments of hyper-critical internet naughtiness in science. This idea was, and has always been, facile crap. The academic slappyfights of the past, in the Time Before HR, far exceed anything that happens on Twitter in their viciousness and persistence. It used to be a lot more common for people to try to destroy each other. The ‘chilling’ environment is a dumb trope that lazy senior academics love because it absolves them the responsibility of understanding and responding to criticism. It does this by painting critics as acting mindlessly or in bad faith. This is both untrue and tiresome.

    As above, don’t write me. I’m not interested in your gatekeeping masquerading as sensitivity. Clutch your pearls elsewhere, but before you go, please know the world that science will eventually have to build — maybe not soon, but hopefully in our lifetimes — will run over your empty values. You are a confused faun on the busy motorway of empirical progress, and you’re going to be badly organised pâté soon enough. Sleep well.

I write about science. We can probably be friends.

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James Heathers

James Heathers

I write about science. We can probably be friends.

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