Scott Kern's Message

October 5, 2010

You’ve read the stupid commentary “Where’s the Passion?” by Scott E. Kern, M.D. (pictured; note wedding ring) telling scientists they have no right to a life or a 40 hr workweek so long as cancer remains uncured. “It is Sunday afternoon on a sunny, spring day. I’m walking the halls—all of them—in a modern $59 million building dedicated to cancer research. A half hour ago, I completed a stroll through another, identical building. You see, I’m doing a survey. And the two buildings are largely empty…off-site laypersons offer comments on my observations. ‘Don’t the people with families have a right to a career in cancer research also?’ I choose not to answer. How would I? Do the patients have a duty to provide this “right”, perhaps by entering suspended animation?”

You’ve joined the hilarious Twitter fun with #k3rn3d!

Now read the analysis that cuts to the chase, penned by theshortearedowl:

Kern’s whole piece is a thinly disguised attack on women in science. He wants to return to the good ol’ days when a man could just spend all his time in the lab, when he’s not sitting around with other men talking about how very manly and scientific they are, and have the old ball and chain at home taking care of all the boring bits of life, like laundry and children and stuff, so he can do so.

Yeah. This.

This sums up all that is wrong with these jerks (Kern is not alone in this “kids these days should spend more time in the lab” nonsense). Their obsessive vocational approach to science was made possible in many cases by a spouse who picked up the pieces for them at home. In sadly too many more cases, Obsessive Vocational Scientist Man operated at the expense of children who had a Dad who was never around, couldn’t make the weekend soccer game, was constantly out of town on business and had to hide out in his study when he did manage to stay at home for a few hours.

The younger generations have chosen a different path. Deal, old grumpy dude. Deal. Your personal failure to cure pancreatic cancer (and thereby justify the choices you made vis a vis your personal life) are not the fault of the trainees you would like so desperately to exploit even more than you do already.

So Vogelstein got a big rep in part from the p53 work you did in his lab? And you haven’t had a soulless, zombie lab-slave make a similarly big discovery or breakthrough that would make your reputation in turn?

Call the waaaahmbulance.