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the google affair
When Identity Politics Turns a Profit
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  • Nevis07

    I think you have to start with breaking up Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter – and that comes from someone as a user of all four platforms. The truth of the matter is that competition on their respective spheres is non-existent and even if it allows a foreign competitor to emerge, at least the progressive left hold is diminished. How do you divide a social network and retail company? I’m not exactly sure, but enforcing the requirement that they not hold every single card in the online deck is a start.

    Of course, none of this is enough. Conservatives need to reevaluate their objectives and recognise that Postmodernism as Jordan Peterson describes it, is their enemy. Postmodernism is the foundation of the various conflicting value sets that are at odds with each other and yyet have made strange bedfellows in their political cause. Educating the public on the errors of the Postmodernist value set would help greatly – starting with the defunding of many of the college/university school systems that have grown on the largess of the state for far too long.

  • Isaiah6020

    Google is following a traditional path from a young noble upstart to a corrupt disease ridden tyrant. If I had to bet, I would say Google’s days as fast growing tech company are behind it.

    • Nevis07

      Well as titans grow it becomes harder to maintain their growth rates. The more interesting question personally to me is if they realize that their motto of “do no evil” is less than a motto now…

      • Jim__L

        They’ve just redefined evil. Postmodernism makes that very, very easy.

        But honestly, the firing was just a knee-jerk reaction to pressure from Leftist groups, backed up by a shallow, knee-jerk PC reaction to thinking too hard or showing any spine.

    • Jim__L

      That’s absolutely true. The “20% project” initiative that brought us gmail and other useful ideas shut down a few years back.

      • Boritz

        Emblematic of this is the way my Android tablet downloads megs and megs of updates for a suite of Google apps that I never use but that aren’t eligible for deletion.

    • Tom Scharf

      Yes, this may be their Microsoft moment. Microsoft was cool once.

  • Boritz

    It would be interesting to know if Damore viewed Jerry Maguire recently.

    • D4x

      Willick should watch “Up in the Air” 2009, then “The Company Men’ 2010, to understand ’employment at will’ needs less intellectual musings.

      Too many syllables here.

  • Dan Kearns

    This is the kind of article that makes TAI a great read and a model for good analysis on the internet: an anti-echo chamber.

  • Angel Martin

    My favourite reaction to this whole thing was the female employees of Google who were so “traumatized” by the content of this memo that they had to take time off work.

    • Curious Mayhem

      I’m sure mental health is part of the benefits package.

    • Jim__L

      Yes, I didn’t think that that was the best reaction to a memo that argued that women had a lower tolerance for high-stress jobs.

  • Fat_Man

    ““Roosevelt Dispensation”—a solidarity-based liberalism that emphasized what American citizens owed to one another.”

    So they authorized unions to trespass on employer property and beat the tar out of anyone they didn’t like.

    Hogwash. Roosevelt and his followers are just socialists and only Bernie Sanders has had the guts to admit it.

    Damore wrote his memo to argue: “… when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies.”

    And Google proved that he was being too kind to them by firing him. They may have been within their rights to do that, but it sure makes them look like jack***es. When they come to Washington wanting favors like protection from the EU, or “net neutrality”, or exemption from copyright laws, we need to remember who they are and how they behave so that we can give them the backs of our hands. They have earned it.

  • Anthony

    Are we conflating (for use of politics – clicks) two separate, though not mutually exclusive, concepts – Capitalism/Ownership and Workers/Employees/Group Identifiers? Granting Lilla’s thesis (on broad terms) of the the Rooseveltian and Reaganist Dispensations, this episode (Google’s property ownership/corporate authority) reflects power concentration and its omnipotence sans balancing power in a Representative Democracy framed by an underlying worldview – Capitalism and its prerogatives/dynamics. A companion subtitle to when identity politics turns a profit could be the dominant role the dynamic of capital accumulation and expansion plays in the economic order.

    • Boritz

      Is this was created by a reply-generator it’s as impressive an example of programming as Scott Pakin’s complaint generator.

      • Anthony

        FriendlyGoat identified your “modal” but I believe it’s more comedic relief (or lament).

        • Curious Mayhem

          On the Internet, no one knows if you’re robot.

          • Anthony

            But, the question is who cares beyond the inane, the grieved, the imposter (internet pretender himself/herself).

          • Curious Mayhem

            Dostoevsky called them the “permanently insulted.”

          • Anthony

            Dostoevsky is quote on much – some germane and others…

      • Fred

        I think you’ve been insulted, though Anthony’s pseudo-intellectual babble is so incoherent it’s hard to tell.

  • J K Brown

    How very Medieval. Of course, the rules to protect workers can and have gone the other way in times of stress.

    (1388) The Statute of Richard II restricts laborers to their hundred and makes it compulsory for them to follow the same trade as their father after the age of twelve. The wages of both industrial and agricultural laborers are again fixed — shepherds, ten shillings a year; ploughmen, seven; women laborers, six shillings, and so on. Servants are permitted to carry bows and arrows, but not swords, and they may not play tennis or foot-ball. And here is the historical origin of the important custom of exacting recommendations: servants leaving employment are required to carry a testimonial, and none are to receive servants without such letter — the original of the blacklist.

    In a long struggle, the Anglosphere man became free, only to be shackled again in the last century. All with popular consent to reduce workers to wards of the state. Ironically, “wards of the state” was the justification for controlling the labor of women. Instead of women being granted the liberty enjoyed by men, men have been reduced to the status of the pre-20th century woman, Wards of the State. The state defining the treatment of the corporate villeins.

    p209
    For instance, it is a primary principle that an English free man of full age, under no disability, may control his person and his personal activities. He can work six, or four, or eight, or ten, or twelve, or twenty-four, or no hours a day if he choose, and any attempt to control him is impossible under the simplest principle of Anglo-Saxon liberty.

    Yet there is possibly a majority of the members of the labor unions who would wish to control him in this particular today; and will take for an example that under the police power the state has been permitted to control him in matters affecting the public health or safety, as, for instance, in the running of railway trains, or, in Utah, in labor in the mines. But freedom of contract in this connection results generally from personal liberty itself; although it results also from the right to property; that is to say, a man’s wages (or his trade, for matter of that) is his property, and the right of property is of no practical use if you cannot have the right to make contracts concerning it.

    The only matter more important doubtless in the laborer’s eye than the length of time he shall work is the amount of wages he shall receive. Now we may say at the start that in the English-speaking world there has been practically no attempt to regulate the amount of wages. We found such legislation in medieval England, and we also found that it was abandoned with general consent. But of late years in these socialistic days (using again socialistic in its proper sense of that which controls personal liberty for the interest of the community or state) it is surprisingly showing its head once more.

    p 213
    You can have regulation of the hours of labor of a woman of full age in general employments, by court decision, in three States (Massachusetts, Oregon, and Illinois), … but the Oregon case, decided both by the State Supreme Court and by the Federal Court in so far as the Fourteenth Amendment was concerned, after most careful and thorough discussion and reasoning, reasserted the principle that a woman is the ward of the state, and therefore does not have the full liberty of contract allowed to a man. Whether this decision will or will not be pleasing to the leaders of feminist thought is a matter of considerable interest.
    Muller v. Oregon. 208 U. S. 412.

    –Popular Law-making: A Study of the Origin, History, and Present Tendencies of Law-making by Statute, Frederic Jesup Stimson (1910)

    • Makaden

      That was great. Thanks for typing it out.

  • CaliforniaStark

    “What matters is that he questioned the design and execution of Google’s lavishly-funded but not particularly successful diversity initiatives, created a firestorm of outrage, and was summarily dismissed for his offense. After all, Lilla says, a defining feature of identity politics is that argument is replaced by taboo.”

    There is a saying that “the statements that make people maddest are those they worry might be true.” The fact is Google is a not a diverse workplace. It has predominately male employees, with very few Latinos or African-Americans. To project an image of diversity, Google continually spews out a leftist spin to make it appear it is a wonderfully diverse and progressive company. When one of its its own employees infers the “emperor has no clothes”, of course their going to ax him.

    • dwk67

      Classic overcompensation. With a leftist dominated media and popular culture, one has to publicly decry their diversity bona-fides in order to appear to be on the side of the angels and avoid a very public shame campaign from the supposedly non-judgemental leftist cultural gatekeepers Call it cultural blackmail if you wish…..I prefer to call it simply bu11sh!t…..

    • Curious Mayhem

      Most US tech companies are like this. They are largely run by aging Boomers or Gen-X-ers who supported both Clintons and Obama. Of course they have to sing from the approved hymn book. In a more rational world, we wouldn’t be persecuting intelligent people of either sex, even if they say something wrong or offensive.

      Depending on the nature of their business, tech companies have predictable distributions of employees by sex:

      * Engineering has no or a few women.
      * Support and testing have more, sometimes a lot more, women.
      * Documentation is about half-and-half.
      * Sales and marketing are sometimes majority-female.
      * Finance and law are largely male, but have a large minority of women.
      * HR is largely or exclusively women.

      In a free society, especially, specialization happens. It just so happens to be shaped by the relationship of sex to interpersonal ability and human- or object-oriented personality, among other factors. (There are many such factors. What’s striking is how often they wash out and reduce to a few simple variations by age, education, and sex.)

      In such a workplace, everyone has to learn to, not only get along, but to make constructive use of such differences, especially by age and sex. Big boys and girls know there are differences between boys and girls; they learn to not only live with, but to make good use of them.

      I’ve thought a lot about this recently and have come to a simple but startling conclusion: contrary to a nearly-universal but false assumption, the left isn’t about appreciating differences. It’s about squashing differences. From the days of Rousseau until the present hour, the modern left is fundamentally hostile to both natural and cultural differences. In its current incarnation, it’s obsessed with “gender” (ewww >:-P) because it wants everyone to be “transgender,” lost in the sexual identity transporter beam. It can’t stand differences.

      My guess is that it’s a personality disorder.

    • DrDean

      Don’t forget the role of the Obama “fundamentally transformed” government in this. Google would not and could not be acting as a mega-PC-nazi over it’s people and it’s holdings (like YouTube where conservatives are being targeted and having their incomes from advertising stripped away because they do not submit to PC-rule), if the government was not empowering them and other corporations, colleges and government-departments to behave like PC-nazis.

      If instead the laws/regulations of the land did not allow “legalized” bigotry and discrimination and euphemistically call it “affirmative action” and insist, in true “Animal Farm” form, that all identity-groups are equal.. but some identity-groups are more equal than others.

      As long as we have legalized *required* bigotry we will have this insanity embedded in our society and it is eating us alive.

      • Tom

        In fairness to Youtube, they’re hitting everybody right now, not just conservatives.

    • Jim__L

      It’s really, really, really hard to put together a diverse workplace in Silicon Valley. I’m currently hiring for a tech company, and over 90% of the resumes crossing my desk have South Asian names on them.

      • Curious Mayhem

        Lest I sound like a defensive, middle-aged white male tech worker who used to be hip — or a robotic version thereof — I found these articles, by or about women in technology, very interesting and worth reading:

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/taskrabbit-ceo-stacy-brown-philpots-task-expansion-1501875939 (requires free account)

        https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-08-09/as-a-woman-in-tech-i-realized-these-are-not-my-people

        The first, about the TaskRabbit CEO, does hit a nerve by avoiding the victim card. Instead, Brown-Philpot talks about American subcultures (including white ones) that have ended up on a one-way road to failure, and how to get them back into the mainstream. Reminiscent of J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.

        In the second, Megan McArdle talks about her younger days in tech. She experienced sexual harassment and patronizing attitudes — but always from some of her clients, never from her fellow techies, who were straight arrows. Exactly my experience.

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    See Walter Olson’s explanation of how the Federal government’s regulatory regime forces corporations to restrict speech in ways the government can’t: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/08/09/googles-attack-dissenting-speech-normal-walter-olson-column/549536001/

    • Curious Mayhem

      That is exactly the case, and it applies to universities as well. That is yet another noxious Clinton legacy from the 1990s.

  • D4x
  • Jim__L

    Identity is Reaganism without the freedom.

    At that point, is it really Reaganism at all?

  • QET

    I trust that Lilla’s book presents the antecedents of the “dispensations” he organizes the book around. The individual-centered, market-focused ethic most certainly was not “inaugurated” by Reagan or in his time. It was, in fact, the program of emancipation from “oppressive” social conditions championed by the 18th century “Left.” It was given the name “bourgeois” in the 19th century and ever since the political Left has opposed to it one kind of collectivist tyranny after another, all of which not only have failed but failed miserably. And while the source of today’s identity-collectivist Nile may well be found in the sort of narcissistic ego-obsessed individualism that began well before the Reagan era (the order of the phenomena is important: the “it’s OK to make money” ethos of the Reagan era was appended to the Age of Aquarius when the Aquarians grew weary of poverty; anyone who was around our major cities in the 1970s figured out that there was nothing chic about economic passivity), it certainly has abandoned–denounced is more like it–any pretense to individualism. It is just the latest incarnation of the Jacobin spirit that resurfaces periodically in the West. The identitarians enforce a conformity that would make Robespierre smile.

  • Jeff77450

    Mr. Willick, good article. Many thanx. I read all ten pages of James Damore’s memo and agreed with essentially all of it. Google was foolish to fire him and one way or another will pay a price, but this is not a free speech issue. I have no illusions about this happening any time soon but the sooner society dispenses with diversity-quotas & affirmative action in all of its dysfunctional forms, in favor of as close to pure meritocracy as flawed humans can get, the better. You know, like they already do in the NBA, the NFL and track & field.

    • Anthony

      Practically (it may be called something else), society will not dispense of what you lament than humans will cease to create markers to separate and denote some form of organizational hierarchy – though your sentiments are noble.

  • FriendlyGoat

    One reason the Reagan dispensation might be coming to an end is that Trump has suddenly trumped Reagan. Aside from the fact that no one is still talking about “needing a man like Reagan again”, we are probably in the era where even some old time conservatives are noticing that “OMG, we’ve jumped the shark”. Personally, I have always believed that most of Reaganism was bullsh*t—–starting with the economics then touted. The circling of the wagons which took place around “employment at will” was also massive bullsh*tism (I love isms), as well. Working people have never recovered, which is why they are so dang mad.

    But they don’t know WHAT they are supposed to be mad at. They have been told it was globalization, trade, minorities and immigrants. They have been told it was American debauchery from the Left and all could be fixed by getting the nation “back to God”. The Church, being a gullible bunch, has now produced Trumpism and are following Trump as the he IS God in an expensive suit.

    No one knows yet the full ramifications of Trumpism——-but we do know that it casts new doubt on Reaganism. Stay tuned. The tax cut debate IMHO is going to be a lot bigger “national questioning” than anything connected to this Google diversity episode.

    • Tom Scharf

      Everything doesn’t have to be about Trump. Repeat as often as necessary.

      • FriendlyGoat

        You’re welcome to write about all other subjects.

      • Andrew Allison

        It does if you’re a so-called “progressive”!

        • Jim__L

          They’ve found someone to blame other than Bush, so in a way they’re making progress.

  • Andrew Allison

    The content of Damore’s memo is precisely the point! It not infer that women are intrinsicallly inferior to men, just that they are different; and thus that either gender may be better than the other at some tasks. What I suspect really ignited the firestorm were the self-evidently accurate suggestions that men are being discriminated against is the drive for gender balance, and that non-PC views are punished.

    • Eurydice

      I think the reaction can also be attributed to the differences in experience between men and women. The idea that jobs be tailored for women’s capabilities is not new; it’s very, very old. And the evaluation of women’s capabilities has long been couched in negative terms – they aren’t logical enough or mathematical enough or strong enough, or mentally tough or hard-working. I myself was advised to give up physics and choose nursing or teaching because women are different and empathetic and nurturing, even though I scored through the roof in sciences and both medicine and children give me the creeps. I ignored the advice, much to my satisfaction and the relief of patients and children everywhere.

      But I still remember the code words and weasel words used

      • Andrew Allison

        You’re right, but that’s not the point, which is that Damore’s memo has been grossly mistrepresented by the PC police, and that the frightening prohibition of free speech is not confined to college campuses.

        • Eurydice

          I don’t think the First Amendment applies to Google. Damore chose to challenge the PC police force of Google and he lost. I don’t really know what he was thinking – had he tried to make changes within the company and was rebuffed, did he feel discriminated against because of his political views, did he really believe the Google propaganda of an open and welcoming environment? What reaction was he hoping to get?

      • Jim__L

        Your experience is not a counter-argument to Damore’s argument. Damore recognizes that there are outliers in any general distribution. He points this out specifically in his memo, and even has a handy, clear diagram on the subject.

        Google is hiring extremely talented individuals– they’re all outliers! They’ve finally found a place where they fit in, and they don’t want to feel like they’re going to lose that. (At least, this is what I gather from talking to a female Google employee who was upset by the memo.)

        I can sympathize with the fear, but I think it’s unfounded. Damore’s fear that Google would fire people who criticize the overarching PC narrative was far, far more justified.

        • Eurydice

          Well, yeah, his fear was justified – he got fired. And I get that fear – what I don’t get is why he had to drag all that claptrap about gender differences into his argument. Why provide a handy clear diagram to refute all his text about generalizations? See, he talks about an overarching PC narrative, but he specifically points to gender differences. And his solutions are based on gender averages, which he says, in asides, don’t apply to the company whose practices he’s criticizing. Everything else is couched in the PC non-specific jargon of corporate HR departments. It’s not unreasonable that a reader would think that somewhere in all that garble he’s talking about gender. But, my real question is what self-respecting conservative would use the term “psychological safety?”

          • Jim__L

            Look at the tails of the Gaussian distribution. At one end of the curve, the number of outlying (n-sigma) males is greater than the number of outlying (n-sigma) females, for a given value of n, for the traits Damore cited.

            Proving the existence of outliers (as you do) absolutely demonstrate that no one should bar women from technical careers. However, no one should be surprised if a disparity — even a dramatic disparity! — remains even if every injustice has been eliminated from the process.

            At this point, as Damore points out, the injustices in the process are concentrated *in favor of women*. And the fact that even that hasn’t been effective in eliminating the disparity is a fairly glaring anomaly in the “men and women are equivalent” narrative.

          • Eurydice

            Just because Damore says there are at Google injustices in favor of women doesn’t mean it’s true. And I didn’t see anywhere in his manifesto that Google has achieved a level of hiring that would bump up against some kind of biological ceiling

          • Jim__L

            If it is true that Google supports organizations and programs for the advancement of some demographics and not others, that’s not just. I didn’t think the existence of those organizations and programs was in dispute.

            Whether a biological ceiling in terms of a likely M/F ratio, that is in dispute. The existence and/or shape of that ceiling is probably the only useful thing that’s likely to come out of these discussions. Although, I would be surprised if people-watchers from decades, centuries, or millennia ago will be found to be too far wrong about human nature.

          • Eurydice

            If we could only live long enough. People watchers from millennia ago, centuries, decades, etc., couldn’t imagine women being capable of what they are doing today. Even our most respected sci-fi writers, who envisioned so much of today’s technology, couldn’t imagine a future for women that was other than homemaker or helpmeet. Women, themselves, couldn’t imagine the choices they would have in the future.

          • Jim__L

            Read more plays from ancient Greece.

          • Eurydice

            My posting name isn’t just random – I’ve studied all the plays from ancient Greece, including the “lost” one by Euripides, “Hypsipyle.” 🙂

          • Jim__L

            I’m just saying, it was pretty well documented for women to act against type. You’ll see the stereotypes, you’ll see the outliers recognized there as well. In the midst of ancients saying “women can’t”, you have depictions of outliers that certainly can.

            (Seriously, the generalization that women had no power in history — that
            if your name was Elizabeth, or Victoria, or Catherine, you were out of
            luck — just doesn’t hold up. I will own that in time periods where upper-body strength mattered more than anything, the disparity certainly grows.)

            Neither generalization — either “women can’t” or “women are equivalent to men” — is accurate, and evidence for that has been observed throughout human history.

            From a personal perspective, I honestly wish we lived in a world where the M/F ratio among techies were closer to parity. I actively seek out places that pursue that. But even in Silicon Valley, the only way to get those numbers even close is to expand the pool to include fields like biology.

            It is what it is, and expending a huge amount of energy swimming against that current is not going to optimize our economic or cultural results.

  • Eurydice

    To me, the most interesting part of the reactions to this kerfuffle is that many believe Google is and has been a neutral and impartial source of information. And now they’re all “*gasp* This is setting a dangerous precedent!!”

  • Tom Scharf

    Evolutionary science is clear that there are biological differences between men and women that effects their interests as a group. Men like things, women like people. This shows up at all ages and across worldwide cultures. This isn’t even controversial. People are not blank slates no matter how much some people wish this to be true.

    Having different interests doesn’t mean different abilities. This needs to be stressed. Also different interests doesn’t equate to there is no sexism in the workplace. Thirdly these difference are not hugely significant and there is a lot of variation in individuals.

    If these two paragraphs don’t seem to agree with what you read about the memo, then you haven’t read the memo. What is clear is that trying to discuss this diversity issue with the diversity police gets you terminated. What an ugly scene.

    • seattleoutcast

      Tom, quit being such a Tabula Racist! We’re all blank slates. All behavior is learned!

      • Andrew Allison

        Nonsense.

        • seattleoutcast

          Joking, Andrew. I thought calling him a Tabula Racist would give it away, but alas. I should add a /snark tag.

      • Curious Mayhem

        Shouldn’t that be Tabula Rasist? 🙂

        • seattleoutcast

          That works, too 🙂

  • Curious Mayhem

    Isn’t it time to start applying anti-trust law to Google, Facebook, and Amazon? Really, they’re classic falling-marginal-cost monopolies that have ceased to be tech companies and increasingly aim to manipulate American culture in creepy ways that should disturb everyone. Google and Facebook in particular are highly visible outcroppings of the bicoastal liberal elite: run by Democrats, big supporters of Hillary — like the financial and media sectors — and also doing profound damage to the economic basis of the news industry by ripping off expensive-to-produce content.

    The tech industry was freed by several crucial antitrust cases in the last century, the best known being the 1980s case against Bell and the late 1990s case against Microsoft. Both stimulated new competition once anti-competitive practices were ended.

    There are serious calls in Europe to break up Google and Facebook. They see the danger. Where’s the clever Republican to seize the opportunity and expose the Democrats for what they are?

  • “I certainly don’t agree with everything he wrote”

    Then you should link to a rebuttal. Otherwise you’re just begging for mercy with the other cowards.

  • DrDean

    “Conservatives looking at the Google spectacle with fear and dismay, then, shouldn’t necessarily see it simply as the product of an overreaching elite Left. It represents something wider—the exhaustion of Lilla’s “Reagan Dispensation,” which mixes capitalist self-expression and a laser-like focus on “the feeling self and its struggle for recognition.””

    No. Just no. The key issue is that Google would not and could not be acting as PC corporate nazis if government were not aiding, abetting and encouraging the very behavior that resulted in not only Damore’s firing for heresy, but Google management’s “Black Lists” comprised of people who do not submit to the politics and thought suppression/control of the people as empowered by government.

    The government’s insane power-craving pushing of legalized PC-bigotry via laws/regulations on corporations, colleges and K12 education and fed/state/municipal government departments even those like NASA and DoD, DOE that should be spared such dangerous, mindless twaddle.

    Reagan is spinning in his grave.

  • Jim__L

    Google is hiring extremely talented individuals– they’re all outliers! They’ve finally found a place where they fit in, and they don’t want to feel like they’re going to lose that.

    (I’m an outlier myself — I love hanging out with people I can learn from. I socialize daily with a group of these outliers (both consciously and unconsciously gender-balanced) who live together in a mansion in Silicon Valley. Only people who think that good fun on a Friday night means talking about the technical details of their NASA / Google / startup job stick around for very long.)

    Anyway, there are a handful of Google employees there, some of whom are more upset than others by the Damore Affair (can’t think of a good “affairs d’amour” pun here. A pity.) Out of three Google engineers I’ve spoken to about it, there are three different opinions…

    One, a software developer (male) who thinks people should read the original memo and make up their own minds.

    Two, a software developer (female) whose job at Google involves analyzing the last set of searches that users perform before discontinuing use of Google services. She believes that Google was wrong to fire Damore, as that would have a chilling effect on debate, which would prevent information from being available (to her) useful in understanding phenomena like the rise of Trump.

    (Interesting point — the firing of Damore did not in fact quell the debate within Google. I would, however, have trouble believing that it did not clarify the stakes.)

    Three, a Google scientist (female, very intelligent, taller than average but not remarkably so) who is working on a fascinating and unique project (that I have spent a number of happy hours asking and hearing about). She is deeply concerned by Google’s promotion practices. She has cited mathematical models where a small bias in each step of the promotion process (typically in favor of people who were male, and tall) lead to the high gender disparity we see in Google’s upper echelons. When asked what her greatest fear is in being denied promotion, she said she feared being excluded from interesting projects because first pick of those projects goes to people higher up the totem pole.

    She’s the most upset about the whole Damore memo. I think it’s a fear of exclusion, which as I’ve said I find sympathetic, but not particularly convincing. It also bears repeating that Damore’s fear of being fired for talking about an unpopular position was far more justified.

    Other interesting reactions include a non-Google scientist (female, and much smarter than I am in an impressive variety of technical subjects) who deprecated the memo for two reasons:

    One, because a ten-page manifesto is typically a bad idea in a professional situation, sparking debate that distracts people from work. (Certainly reasonable given the outcome, but I would dispute whether throwing what turn out to be Apples of Discord in a forum explicitly dedicated to open discussion should be a firing offense).

    Two, because it did not include scientific citations, which to her meant that the author was not interested in discussing things (and possibly being persuaded to change his mind) in terms of scientific evidence contrary to his opinion. On a related note, Gizmodo is being criticized for stripping the original memo of its citations (both from science and popular media) and graphs.

    Fascinating subject, all in all — and far more nuanced than CNN / NBC / anyone else has managed to capture. I’m impressed that TAI has managed to scrape together a unique perspective on the subject, although some talking with actual people involved (as I’ve been doing, unofficially) might be more enlightening generally.

  • Anthony

    Another Woman’s point of view: “James Damore, the Google employee fired for circulating an internal memo….As there are few things the right loves more than basking in its own sense of victimization…Indeed, one of Steve Bannon’s great innovations lay in realizing that the rage of atomized men who line online could be harnessed for political ends….” http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/2017/08/the_accent_google_employee_james_damore_to_free_speech_martyr_was_inevitable

  • Bandit

    To put it bluntly, most workplaces in America today are miniature dictatorships ruled by their employer.

    Uhhh – no – they’re places of employment for hundreds of millions of people who freely participate in the job market. Nobodies stopping you from walking out the door to work somewhere else. It’s called the free market.

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