August 27

Fifteen years ago today my beloved Sue died and for me this is always the most sombre day of the year. One ‘gets over’ the death of a loved one in the sense that people ‘get over’ the loss of a limb. But, as C.S. Lewis acutely observed in A Grief Observed, “you’ll never be a biped again”. He was right.

Sexism in the Valley

This morning’s Observer column:

A few months ago, a Google engineer named James Damore wrote an incendiary internal memo on a 12-hour flight to China. He had just attended a “diversity programme” run by his employer, which had clearly annoyed or disturbed him. “I heard things that I definitely disagreed with,” he later told an interviewer. He said there was a lot of shaming at the programme. “They said ‘No you can’t say that, that’s sexist… You can’t do this…’ There’s just so much hypocrisy in a lot of the things that they’re saying.”

Damore’s 10-page memo – entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: how bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion” – went viral within Google, and eventually news of it reached the outside world. When it did, it provoked a predictable firestorm…

Read on