Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll draws on her professional experience in NO COUNTRY FOR SMART WHITE MEN. She writes:

C’mon, MAN! I JUST got my decorations for National Pronoun Day taken down when along comes TGWMCGAAD – Thank God White Men Can’t Get Awards Anymore Day. Make it stop, make it stop, PLEASE, GOD, make it stop! So before I quote, recap (okay, crib) from a very good article in Daily Wire by one Ashe Schow, October 28, 2021, let me advise you to pour a strong drink before continuing. It’s gotta be 5:00 o’clock somewhere…

Now I am not a big fan of awards-giving in general. I have sat through dozens and dozens of corporate awards banquets, mostly for longevity of service. A uniformly boring emcee will give a droning speech during dessert and coffee and then start reading the service award recipients, usually starting with the 5-Year Pins and maybe a $25 Gift Card at Target. “Emily Aardvark.”

Emily walks across the stage, and even though the emcee has implored people to “hold your applause to the end,” Emily will get a nice round of applause, slowing down the next name considerably. She also shakes hands with some bigshot while her picture is taken for the corporate newsletter. Everyone looks at the printed program and thinks, “Land O’ Goshen, there are 180 people to go!” Or words to that effect.

“Alan Aaronson.” “Joe Blow.” Lather, rinse, repeat. Somewhere around 9:30 p.m., Boring Guy will get to the stalwarts who have put in 25 Years of Service. By this time many people will have voted with their feet as to whether or not they wish to see 20 more people walk across the stage. Also by this time, not only will nobody still be clapping for the recipients, they will be chatting in groups, gathering around the open bar, and calling home to check on their sitters. Some will actually just be out in the hall. Especially back when people smoked.

By the time Boring Guy announces, “And now our comedian!,” that unfortunate person is playing to, maybe, half of the crowd, a third of those drunk and another third as asleep as a Senile *Resident at a Climate Scam Convention. No matter how many times I BEGGED the committee to put me on BEFORE the awards part, they always informed me that putting me at the end was “to make people stay.” Toward the end of my career, I would just say, “They won’t. Maybe they would stay for The Eagles or Larry the Cable Guy, but not for me.”

I think my last awards banquet set was about 12 years ago when I opened for Louie Anderson for the Mayo Clinic’s 25-Years-Plus of Service Banquet. The Mayo had ALREADY given the people their bonuses and swag bags and it was just Louie and me in concert. We had a ball.

But because that awards banquet was 12 years ago, and many were 15-30 years ago, NOT ONCE did anybody say that we had to be concerned that too many of the recipients were WHITE or MALE. If you did the work that was being recognized, you got the award – what a concept!

Enter The Era of New Racism. No, not REVERSE racism, just good old-fashioned regular racist bigotry based on the color or shape of one’s skin. It’s just as ugly as it ever was.

We saw it with the “Oscars So White.” One year everybody who won was white. Cry me a river. And although I probably never saw ANY of the movies, I am reasonably confident that the artists who won had earned it, if for no other reason than watching Harvey Weinstein shower. At no time did any grievance-grubbing complainer posit just WHICH Person of Color it was who should have won over which of the winners of pallor. It was just taken for granted that something racist had occurred. Okay, that’s Hollywood, right? But, what about actual scientific achievement? Surely, there must be some standards of excellence that do not include skin color, right?

In the Schow article in Daily Wire, it was revealed that, according to Scientific American, five of the nation’s top ice scientists – who knew that was a thing? — were tasked with reviewing peer-nominated candidates for the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) fellows program. Alas, even though a rigorous and lengthy process had produced the slate the committee had to choose from, after noticing “that ALL the nominees were both white and male,” the cowardly, craven committee “decided not to move any of them forward.”

Evidently, all these dedicated, worthy men were passed over due to the efforts of one Helen Fricker, Ph.D., from the University of Tasmania (really) who said in an interview that the fact that all the finalists were white men was “kind of a bit of a showstopper for me.” Well then. And the other two women and three men on the judging committee just caved to her? Did she have compromising pictures from the AGU company picnic?

I’m not saying we should draw any conclusions from the fact that Ms. Fricker is a “glaciologist.” She looks nice enough on Wikipedia. However, she had been put on the committee because she had previously pitched a fit on the ground that there were not enough women on the committees. Not even to mention that she doesn’t even know what “showstopper” means. In showbiz, hon, it is a GOOD thing. It means someone’s talent has been so obvious that the show stops right there to acknowledge it.

Like when the late great Pavarotti sings “Nessun Dorma” and brings the house down. Should it be twerked by Cardi B instead because she is a black woman? What say you, Helen?

Helen, please inform us what the proper ratio of nominees must be? Enlighten us poor benighted merit freaks. What if there had been one woman, one black man and three white guys as finalists? Would any of the white guys have had a chance? Then why even bother to submit their names? What if it were true and obvious that the white guys who were eliminated were actually much more qualified than the woman and black man? Does anybody care? And why the unspeakable bigotry toward Samoan transgenders or Jewish lesbians or disabled seniors? Bring on the categories! There can never be too many in Helen World, Hel for short.

I wish it were possible for me to cancel my subscription to the AGU’s Ice and Snow Quarterly, or to write a letter to the head of the AGU with my suggestion for next year’s contest. When the fix is in and a woman wins, instead of saying, “You have been peer-reviewed and acknowledged to be the best in your field of ice and snow study,” you can now say, “Congratulations! You are a woman! That’s why you won and you should be so proud!”

Boy, I’m glad these rules weren’t in effect when I was in high school. There were four co-valedictorians when I graduated in 1964 before Ms. Fricker was born, and THREE of us were female. I would have felt really bad if I had been the one eliminated because of Diversity.