Daily Archives: April 30, 2008

The World is Full of Meanies

Priya Venkatesan Hays (Dartmouth ’90, MS in Genetics, PhD in Literature) has an impressive resume. Well, so what? you ask. So do a lot of other people. Ah, but she has more interesting ideas! For example, her book Molecular Biology in Narrative Form was a “groundbreaking, interdisciplinary study that shows a connection between molecular biology and French narrative theory” according to its publishers.

Unfortunately for Priya Venkatesan Hays, nobody cares.

No one seems to have read her first book – or cared enough to have written a review of it on Amazon, take your pick – and something tells me her second book, A Postmodernist in the Laboratory is headed for the same fate. Although I’d guess that answers the question posed by the Modernist Studies Conference in Tulsa as to whether a modern science has ever existed. I wonder what conclusions the panel arrived at regarding the other questions:

How have arguments for the social constructedness of scientific fact affected visions of a modernist science? Does the scientific method inherently engender the modern subject as free beings? Papers that deal specifically with the issue of whether modern science has been deconstructed in terms of actual scientific practice [were] especially welcome.

But I digress. You see, not only is the world made up of philistines who don’t care to explore science through French narrative theory, it is also populated with a whole bunch of meanies. Like those students she taught at Dartmouth (an Ivy League school she attended herself) who thought her ideas were crap and superiors who thought she was a big diva because she kept complaining about her students’ snotty attitude. Not to mention evaluators with bad manners who interrupted her while she was speaking and then left the classroom without excusing themselves or expressing any thanks.

The bastards! Coz you know they only did that because she was Indian.

Wait, what?

Hey, I told you she has interesting ideas. That’s right, they only did it because she was Indian. Dartmouth hates Indians. It’s out in the open now, folks. We know what’s going on. You’ll give us admission as students and then hire us back as teachers but you won’t take us seriously! Especially if we complain about your bad manners and your comments to other people in our hearing. Look at this heartrending example of what happened when she stood up to Dr. Christopher H. Lowrey, an Associate Professor at the medical school:

One complaint, during Venkatesan’s two-year tenure as a DHMC Research Associate, regards the alleged behavior of Dr. Lowrey. Specifically an instance during which a research lab was preparing for a conference, and Venkatesan alleges that Lowrey commented to a research tech that, “your beauty will attract people to your poster.” Venkatesan claims that she informed Lowrey of the inappropriateness of the comments and that the next day Lowrey invited her to his office to discuss the matter. At this meeting Venkatesan recounts a livid Lowrey saying comments like, “you wreck havoc wherever you go” and “you think the world revolves around you” and slamming files into a garbage can. This series of events was among what Venkatesan calls “many many many incidences” of violative and inappropriate behavior.

She “thinks world revolves around” her? Quelle blague! I think the fact that she sued her students for employment discrimination and is currently pursuing litigation to see whether she even has a claim definitively proves that she doesn’t give a thought to herself. Also, Dr. Lowry apparently lives in the 19th century. I hope he wears a pince nez and pantaloons and smokes a pipe coz I really need to see a doctor like that.

Maybe she should just go back to Pasadena and teach. At least some of them like her there. Even if she doesn’t answer her emails and expects them to… you know, work for their grades.

I’m just worried that we’ll eventually find out that this was some kind of postmodernist lab experiment and we’ve all been suckered into playing along. Don’t take my dreams away from me, Priya Venkatesan. I’m Indian too.


Posted by on April 30, 2008 in Life, Newsmakers