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      So, May has a Brexit deal. It’s a terrible deal, which makes the UK subject to many EU laws, and which doesn’t allow Britain to withdraw from the deal if the EU doesn’t want it to. This has caused ministerial resignations, and Corbyn has come out against it. But the interesting part is what the […]
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Taking down Cilizza for crimes against women

Chris Cilizza. You can’t live with him, you can’t feed him poison mushrooms.

As long as we’re taking down men in the entertainment industry and state legislatures, can we please get rid of this major proponent of implicit bias?

He really is more loathsome than Bill O’Reilly. At least with BillO, most of us knew what he was up to. He appealed to men and women who were very comfortable with women being traditional and subordinate. You knew he was a pompous creep but if that’s what turns you on, knock yourself out.

But Cilizza worked for the Washington Post and now for CNN. He’s supposed to be reality based. But his coverage of Hillary Clinton last year was a textbook case of implicit bias.

Let me count the ways. Actually, not necessary. Here’s a parody of Cilizza’s coverage of Clinton on Mashable about how she is covering up the shortage of McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. Hilarious but just substitute “email” for “Szechuan Sauce” and it’s a perfect match for Cilizza’s relentless pursuit of Clinton over what turned out to be nothing while barely mentioning Trump’s glaring flaws.

She’s unlikeable. She has something to hide. She’s responsible for everything that goes wrong. Her apologies are never good enough. She’s inauthentic. She’s calculating and devious. Her qualifications were never highlighted, only her behavior. She’s everything our culture tells us to condemn in ambitious women as if it is taboo to be both “ambitious” and “woman”.

That’s pretty typical of implicit bias. Where men are graded on their accomplishments women are graded on how they behave.

We are in the 21st century now. Biology is no longer destiny. But this nitpicky crap just puts women constantly on the defensive and continually draws attention to the very thing that has limited women’s progress for thousands of years.

Anyway, why stop with sexual harassment? Let’s take a long hard look at the Cilizzas in our media and workplace. You would think that the entities that hired Cilizza would have told him to cut that shit out as soon as they realized how it was potentially affecting his female coworkers. Because it does. If you can get away with undermining an extraordinarily talented woman in the press, imagine what he’s doing during private happy hours.

WaPo and CNN need to train the members of their staff about what implicit bias looks like and they should use a lunkhead like Cilizza as the poster child for it. Let’s start with the editors. Marty Baron, Jeff Zucker and Dean Baquet who need intense remedial training and should start measuring everything to eliminate any “he said/she said” and compensation ambiguities. Statistics: not just for football anymore.


A couple months ago, someone I knew waaaay back when who never used to express any sexist sentiment but has clearly been hanging out with a bad crowd, told me that female software engineers just could not stack up to any male engineer.

This in spite of the history of women who helped pioneer programming going all the way back to Ada Lovelace. But whatever. You gotta see proof, right?

So I give you Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer on the Apollo Project at NASA standing next to her code in 1969:


Those were the days before fancy workstations and graphics and object oriented pipelines.

You have to wonder how we have gotten to the place where we don’t think women can do this stuff when clearly they were more than capable 50 years ago.

It was Hamilton’s software that landed Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon. Literally.

BTW, guess who coined the term “software engineering”. That’s right, Margaret Hamilton.

Too bad she just wasn’t any good and some dude could have done it better. {{rolling eyes}}.


21 Responses

  1. Never understood why this guy has a job.

  2. We all know what is wrong with trump, right? At least one of the things that is wrong. He has no shame or conscience which makes him say and do all the things he does and has done all his life.

    At the other end of the spectrum, here is why Hillary’s critics are mad as hell (about her). She has a conscience and she keeps going like the energizer bunny. She knows what is right and the right thing to do. She is unfazed in pursuing her goal of public service. She does not confront them to bully them; she does not joke/pal with them trying to take the edge off; bottomline, she just does not take their criticism seriously enough (for them). She JUST DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT. That drives her critics crazy.

  3. And let’s not forget, Harvey Weinstein would have remained a choir boy if he hadn’t fallen under the evil influence of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation!
    The only thing I say about Chris Cillizza, now, is that he wears lady glasses-pass it on.

  4. Tsk, tsk, RD.

    You forgot the obligatory portrait of Mr. Cilizza. 😛

  5. [S]omeone I knew waaaay back when who never used to express any sexist sentiment but has clearly been hanging out with a bad crowd, told me that female software engineers just could not stack up to any male engineer.

    I’ve commented on this at NC in the past. This bizarre attitude is actually a fairly recent development (by my standards, at least) in the field. I do high-performance scientific computing (what we used to call supercomputing) for a living. When I got my first real-world job in the field, back in the late ’70s (at NASA, no less), I’d say the software engineering staff was just about 50/50 – some groups (like the data reduction group) had a slight female bias, operating systems people were slightly male biased, and the realtime folks were just about even. When I left to work for Cray a few years later, the VP of software was female, the lead for the operating system was female, and the lead for software support was female. Somehow their lack of the magic Y-chromosome software gene didn’t keep us from building the world’s fastest computers.

    I find it absolutely stunning how much this has all changed – it’s not at all uncommon for me to visit a client and see a technical staff that is entirely male. I know we live in vile and degenerate times, but this really isn’t the 21st Century they promised me.

    • This article has some insight into why the numbers went down.


      FWIW, my friend’s daughter speaks to the difficulty of breaking into the boy’s club who code at her school. We women who work in male dominated workplaces all have experienced that. A lot of this is the social environment, big and small, who gets to hang out with whom.

      • You know, it’s kind of weird tha Hamilton got in on the ground floor at MIT because someone wanted assistance with a weather project and found out that she was very good at math.
        What I suspect happened afterwards is that the phds who started to teach this stuff just couldn’t find a Hamilton in their groups. Let’s not forget that Harvard didn’t go co-ed until well after Hamilton graduated and was working at NASA.
        I don’t know what MIT was like in the 60’s. Did they integrate early? Hamilton got her chance kind of because she was at the right place when they needed someone with her skills, not because she was a student there.
        If all you’re seeing is male students when the field started to take off, then is it any wonder that make professors got the idea that female software engineers are a rarity? How do you reverse that? It’s a misperception that’s very difficult to change because it’s a vicious circle.

        • How do you reverse that?

          Here is the problem. STEM has to compete with medicine and law in this country which is orders of magnitude more lucrative. Men and women who go into STEM have to be motivated otherwise. Such passion can be cultivated early on but without a social framework that does that (for women), smart and driven women go into law and medicine and other women appear to avoid it. I say this looking at the other trend in India and China/Korea.

          In middle class India and (perhaps China), the incentive for smart women to get into CS was very much social in the beginning, in the 80s. It started with the parents thinking they can marry them off easily, colloquially speaking, (‘every guy who is an engineer wants a smart engineer wife’) and therefore encouraging them to get into it and now, women have found the key to prosperity and stick with it. In general, education is given priority and one that pays well is popular with Indian parents. I don’t see that kind of or comparable movement here. Even the Indian parents here have difficulty getting their children to go for engineering because there are so many other ways to make a living. I taught CS, undergraduate and graduate classes for more than a decade here in the US and most of the women in my classes were foreign students.

          • And do you know WHY a lot of Americans don’t go into STEM professions?
            Well, let’s take NJ as an example.
            We had a lot of American, Asian, Russian, etc scientists who had intrinsically rewarding nice paying jobs in research and in about a decade, The whole small molecule R&D industry was decimated. Layoffs everywhere. Housing prices plummeted and we were told to accept jobs at shaky startups marking a fraction of the money in expensive cities like Cambridge.
            Would YOU want your kid to become a chemist or biologist?
            You do not.
            You want them to get their BS in Molecular Biology from a prestigious university and then go wreck havoc on Wall Street. Then after a few years, go back for an MBA and wreck more havoc.

            I didn’t encourage my younger daughter to go into STEM even though she’s got all the abilities to be a great researcher. You can’t make a living that way.

        • America is too diverse and individualistic to herd women or men into something they don’t want. Having said that, implicit biases in every field should be addressed on its own demerit for what it is rather than thinking more of one kind or the other will naturally (or automatically) take care of these biases.

  6. Yeah, first day of Deepavali (as we southerners say; deepa = light, avali = collection)! {Diwali is what northerners Hindi speaking people say}. Also happens to be my birthday according to Indian calendar. I was born at home and my brothers were stopped from setting off fire crackers in the yard in honor of my arrival :).

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