A consequence-free bubble

Ross Andersen at the Atlantic is also underwhelmed by Geoff Marcy’s notpology.

In Marcy’s account, he was just moving through the world, giving unsolicited massages to undergraduates, according to the complaints, without the slightest inkling that his actions were causing pain and distress. But in practice, Marcy had leveraged his considerable fame and power in the world of astronomy to build a nearly consequence-free bubble around himself, so that he could avail himself of pleasures that rightfully require the consent of others.

That’s one reason this story is so familiar – the way that fame and power can create that bubble.

Given that reality, Marcy’s intentions aren’t that important. The important intentions here belong to the women he victimized, and by all accounts those women intended to go about the demanding work of astronomy without being touched inappropriately by someone who was supposed to be mentoring them.

But he wanted to grope them, so he did. That’s science.

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