Friday, August 11, 2017


David Brooks thinks Google shouldn't have fired James Damore, because SCIENCE:
In his memo, Damore cites a series of studies, making the case, for example, that men tend to be more interested in things and women more interested in people. (Interest is not the same as ability.) Several scientists in the field have backed up his summary of the data.
But wasn't the memo offensive to women? Oh, yeah, that's true:
We should all have a lot of sympathy for ... the women in tech who felt the memo made their lives harder. Picture yourself in a hostile male-dominated environment, getting interrupted at meetings, being ignored, having your abilities doubted, and along comes some guy arguing that women are on average less status hungry and more vulnerable to stress. Of course you’d object.
So Brooks acknowledges that the Damore memo made the work environment more hostile. But that okay, isn't it?

No, it isn't. The memo told women that either (a) they're not qualified to do tech work or (b) they're freaks within their gender. To Brooks, that's not a serious workplace problem.

Does Brooks go to an office every day and stay there for eight hours, day in and day out? When was the last time he did that routinely? If he doesn't do that, and hasn't for years, I don't think he's capable of understanding what creating a hostile work environment means.

Beyond that, he decries the moral fervor of what he describes as the "mob" that expressed outrage at Damore:
The mob that hounded Damore was like the mobs we’ve seen on a lot of college campuses. We all have our theories about why these moral crazes are suddenly so common. I’d say that radical uncertainty about morality, meaning and life in general is producing intense anxiety. Some people embrace moral absolutism in a desperate effort to find solid ground. They feel a rare and comforting sense of moral certainty when they are purging an evil person who has violated one of their sacred taboos.
And so Brooks's response to this controversy is...?
There are many actors in the whole Google/diversity drama, but I’d say the one who’s behaved the worst is the C.E.O., Sundar Pichai....

Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a C.E.O.) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob.

Regardless which weakness applies, this episode suggests he should seek a nonleadership position.
Brooks is urging Pichai to resign as CEO. In fact, the headline on this column is "Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O."

Which is totally not "moral absolutism" aimed at "purging an evil person." Right?

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