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Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork

'Bad human being' alert


In his piece, Damore repeatedly mocks the idea of "unconscious biases" – utterly resistant to the idea of imagining himself as anything but the very best sort of person. It's all of you who harbor unconscious biases. Challenged, he feels victimized. And so decides to do what he does best: use his mind to argue the case logically.

He does a spectacularly bad job of it. Mostly because he is wrong and acting out of bitterness and ignorance – never a great starting point.

We have been here before many, many times. The world's most revered politician, Winston Churchill was an appalling racist. An incredibly intelligent man, he felt, for some reason, that Indians were somehow sub-human and his bias directly lead to two million of them dying in the preventable Bengal famine.

Another incredibly clever man is James Watson. He co-discovered the structure of DNA. He was also apparently convinced that black people are, somehow, inherently intellectually inferior.

The instances of deeply ingrained sexism in the minds of very brilliant men are simply too numerous to even begin to list.

The bigger question to ask is probably why highly intelligent, accomplished, lauded white men feel the need to draw distinctions of superiority in the first place. Why does someone already sitting high on the hill feel the need to point at those below him and explain why they don't deserve to be where he is?

Just to be absolutely clear here: If you ever make a statement about what a broad group of people are like, especially in comparison to another group of people, you are going to be wrong. And the bigger that group, the more wrong you will be.

And, no, simply inserting the word "average" does not excuse you from making such false generalizations about groups of people; in the same way adding "allegedly" does not let you accuse a random person of being a child molester.

But let's get to the top five dreadful people that this Google manifesto and surrounding hubbub has pulled out of the woodwork.

5. Eric Weinstein

Eric is the managing director of Thiel Capital. For some reason, the news that Google had decided to fire James Damore inspired him to write the following on Twitter:

"Dear @Google, Stop teaching my girl that her path to financial freedom lies not in coding but in complaining to HR. Thx in advance, A dad."

There are several problems with this response which, combined, push Mr Weinstein firmly into asshole territory. It's fair to say that Eric didn't say what he really thinks because he squeezed not one but two straw men arguments into just 26 words.

First, if there was anyone complaining to HR it was in fact Mr Damore who was arguing that he was being silenced by "Google's ideological echo chamber." Second, no one benefitted financially from him being fired. In fact, money has nothing to do with the entire saga.

And then there is the construct of supposedly writing as a father and taking issue with Google over what it was seemingly teaching his daughter. If genuine, that would be an extremely odd way of parenting – by posting messages to a public forum rather than talking to her in person.

But that also ignores the fundamental fact that Damore literally argued that women were biologically unsuitable to do certain types of jobs. If Mr Weinstein wants his daughter to be a coder – and we'll ignore the fact that parental pressure to do a specific job is already a bad idea – then it would make sense for Google to have fired someone who implied a woman couldn't do the job.

The fact that there is not a single genuine or reasonable word within Mr Weinstein's response and considering that as the head of Thiel Capital, he is a very rich and powerful figure in the tech industry, his response firmly places an ASSHOLE stamp on his head.

Was this an example of "behavioral contagion" at work? Quite possibly. Although it continued on for a while as Eric doubled-down after receiving abuse for his appalling response.

Rather than STFU, in his next tweet he decided, unfathomably, to talk about race. "Ever watch mixed-race kids made to cry for not being brown enough? Family bullied for standing up to racism? It doesn't mean what you think."

As asshole meters across the world started to be recalibrated, he offered more of the same: "You don't fire a biologist for noting that the SRY protein could result in social/cognitive differences as if he were promoting harassment."

And as it gradually dawned on Mr Weinstein that lots of people did not agree with him, he attempted a backtrack: "It's far more likely that women will one day be found to be better at coding than men, than that both genders will be exactly as good at it." Most bizarrely he then exclaimed that he had voted for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And then when it couldn't get any better, noted: "And I fight for women in tech fields because we need them. Is this April 1?"

Nope, it is not April Fools Day, Eric, it is "Holy shit, did you just use the equivalent of 'some of my best friends are black' argument" Day.

Mr Weinstein looks very much like the embodiment of pretty much everything that is wrong with Silicon Valley VC culture. And he proved it with his own words thanks to James Damore's ignorant thesis.

4. Michael Gray

It's probably worth pointing out that most of the dreadful people who have emerged as a result of this situation are old, white, rich men.

Why? Because as dreadful as Damore's text was, he is still a young man. He hasn't lived much of a life yet and he's not in a position of power. He made a stupid mistake that, with luck, he will learn from.

Not so men in the 50s who should have become better human beings by now, who have families, who oversee others, who develop work cultures that have a big impact on younger, more impressionable people, and who have resources and influence. If you're still an asshole in that position, you are actively encouraging the creation of more future assholes. You are the lead asshole.

Michael Gray is President at Atlas Web Service. It's not a big company. It does SEO work, social media work, and reputation management. But what he lacks in influence, he gains in being a terrible person.

For some reason, the issue of a foolish young man being fired by claiming women are biologically inferior was sufficient cause for Mr Gray to take what felt like most of the day off work to post seemingly endless aggressive responses online.

A significant number of them were posted in response to Google's own tweet highlighting its CEO statement on the firing of Damore.

Again, the issue of sexism and racism was instantly connected: "You hate white families"; "You hate white women"; "You hate white men"; "Your diversity is a lie" ran a series of four tweets, each attached with a screengrab of Google image searches for "white families", "white women" etc.

In one, Gray is infuriated that when he searched for "white men with white children and white wives", the images returned lots of non-white people.

And, again, the firing – even though it was about disparaging women as inferior – is instantly connected in Gray's mind to politics and "liberals." A quick review of his online postings show Mr Gray to be a strong supporter of President Trump and pretty much everything appears to be seen through that filter.

Gray even mocked up a version of the Google logo with its changed to the word "Goolag." Because firing a staff member for posting an offensive document internally is morally equivalent to forced detention and work camps introduced by Joseph Stalin.

At least according to Gray, who, we would venture to argue, is a Grade A asshole.

And just in case you were in any doubt, the decision to retweet a message from "White Outreach" that read "Refusing to teach White children about their racial heritage & history strips them of their natural sense of identity," complete with a picture of Vikings coming off a boat sort of sums up where he is coming from.

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