Mistreating cancer patients: how about not making us sicker?

I asked a friend who specializes in medical history what it is about cancer patients, and the way they get attacked psychologically. She says there is a huge stigma about lung cancer, but she didn’t think it was true for other forms. So that leaves us without an answer to the question, How can anyone think it is a good idea to deal someone a blow at as they are goiing through treatment for cancer? And, believe me, they do all too often.

There are pretty bad figures about the national complaints, but there is also tons of anecdotal evidence that I’ve heard at my cancer center. Maybe part of it is that a lot of cancers occur when people might want to get rid of you and put a younger person in your place. But whatever it is, research is now making it completely clear: Stress can affect ways in which cancer cells grow and spread.

One of the US’s main cancer center just sent around the following:

there is growing scientific evidence that considerable psychological distress can affect the immune system, cancer specific biological pathways, and treatment recovery.

Some kinds of cancer love to spread; in fact, that’s often what makes them lethal. And they can create their own pathways. Stress can help them get the needed ingredients. It really can shorten lives and do so in very awful ways. Metatasis to the brain can lead to WBR, or whole brain radiation. There’s no way that’s something you want to do unless your life is at stake. You really, really don’t want to worry of you helped cause that because of your hostile behavior, however self-righteous you may have felt at the time. So concentrate on healthier people, OK? Not some experiencing an awful and still fundamentally mysterious disease.

Men in traditional marriages have problems with women in the workplace

Such men are defined as those whose wives don’t work outside the home. From Jezebel:

No matter how well-meaning they are, no matter how much they love their moms, no matter how much they think they believe in gender equality, men who opt to live in antiquated gender paradigms are part of what the researchers call “a pocket of resistance to the revolution”:

We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion.

They presented male employers with identical job applicants—same experience, same qualifications, same resume—except one was named Dave and the other Diane. Then men in traditional marriages rated “Diane” significantly lower than Dave. Because, you know, vagina.

Thanks, S!

On Getting a Job (and Publications!) in Philosophy

A reader (thanks TB!) directs us to a typically lively discussion that occurred over at The Philosophy Smoker at the end of April concerning Carolyn Dicey Jennings’s data on hiring in Philosophy in the past year. Dicey Jennings reports that

…overall prospects are at around 24% chance of getting any job, 17% chance of getting any tenure-track job, 6% chance of getting a ranked tenure-track job.


…one’s overall chance of getting any job (post-doc or tenure-track) coming from an NRC ranked institution may be as high as 51%, 39% for any tenure-track job, and 11% for a ranked tenure-track job.


if you are a woman from an NRC ranked department looking for a ranked job, your chances might be around 9%, whereas if you are looking for a tenure-track job in general they at are around 44%. If you are a woman from an NRC ranked school looking for a post-doc, be advised that only 15% of ranked women achieved post-docs this year (5 out of 34 ranked post-doc achievers), whether or not the post-doc was itself ranked. Because of that fact, the chance of a woman from an NRC ranked department getting a tenure-track job or post-doc is about the same as for a man from these departments: 51%.

The comment thread is worth a look too. The discussion ranges from Dicey Jennings’s methodology to differentials in publishing rates between men and women (as reported by Dicey Jennings). Our reader highlights as especially interesting the following comment:

Anonymous said…
There are a lot of things that can affect publication rates that
aren’t just straightforward discrimination by editors (though 8:24
does target an important problem for women – and, by association, men
– working in certain areas). Feeling encouraged and like one’s ideas
are worth publishing can contribute greatly to publishing rates. It is
often very hard to know oneself whether one’s ideas are worthwhile, or
just “obvious”. I can really only speak from my own point of view on
this, but this means I end up publishing only things that seem really
clearly worthwhile to me (although I’m not a perfect judge of such
things). Which means I pass up on publishing things that are probably
publishable somewhere, which would up my publication rate…but that I
don’t think would make me a better candidate.

As our reader points out, the above comment is especially timely “in light of the one year anniversary of the APA [Mentoring Project] , which was focused on supporting increasing publications.”

Man kicked out of bookstore children’s section

for being there without a child. This sort of thing strikes me as one of the most pernicious ways gender roles are reinforced. A friend who is a father told me that when he is with his child at a play ground, he has to stick with the child at all times in order not to be kicked out, unlike the mothers who can sit on a bench while their child plays. Women are simply accepted in child-oriented places, while men are viewed with suspicion.

Thanks, S!

Apologies from Jason Alexander for calling cricket ‘gay’

I have to admit, I expected better when I saw the headline, “Jason Alexander offers the greatest apology in history for ‘gay cricket’ joke.”  I mean, the greatest? In history? Is this the best humanity can do or has ever done?

SO, let me know if I’m just an overly critical philosopher here, but it doesn’t seem the greatest apology to write at length that it was completely unclear to you and to your gay friends — of which you have so many — as to what you said that could possibly be bad, but that after much mind-bending and soul-searching, you see macroscopically that oppression is bad, and that because oppression continues, we’re not yet ready for your awesome jokes referring to some sports as ‘gay.’

I swear, I really was feeling receptive to J.A. when I started reading this!  But paragraph by paragraph, he started to bug me.  Maybe it was just the chronological presentation.  Philosopher Nick Smith, the author of I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies, urges our attention to the value of apologies, their roles and functions.  I can see the value of Alexander’s extended explanation in light of his initially dismissive twit-tweet that people have no sense of humor.  I shall try to look upon this positively as an offer of serious uptake. But I still feel irked.