Cinema Veritas

On the Pop My Culture podcast, actor Josh McDermitt described his first audition scene for the role of Eugene on The Walking Dead.

…I was taking to a girl. We were both backstage about to give this big presentation in front of, like, the world’s top scientists about some, you know, medical breakthrough we just had; and I’m backstage talking with her and I’m, like, berating her and, like, telling her how stupid she is, and then, and then, I try to sleep with her…

The scene, although fiction, rings very true, because this scene happens – not always in such a confined time frame, with those particular details, or with that intensity – but the aggression, denigration, and sexual objectification of women in science is ever present.

The focus of the description is on how the abuse of the female character illustrates flaws in the male character, because the description of the scene exists to illustrate the process of auditioning for a specific character. In real life, however, should we be more concerned with the character of the jerk or the life experience of those who have such behavior directed at them? As Janet Stemwedel notes in her column in Forbes on Tim Hunt’s controversial comments:

What if, when asked to say a few words to the Korean women scientists and the science journalists at the luncheon, he had recognized the audience he was speaking to was likely to have had quite different experiences in science than he had?

Thinking about Angelina

Writing in Forbes, David Kroll has a very thoughtful take on Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she had a preventative double mastectomy after learning that she was at exceptionally high risk for developing breast cancer. While taking nothing away from Jolie’s bravery in writing about her choice, Kroll raises concerns about health care access, gene patents, “certainty” in medicine, and the influence of celebrity (which could be both positive and negative in this case):

On the one hand, I am stunned by the bravery of this high-profile woman to not only undergo such a transformative surgery and then write about it in the nation’s newspaper of record less than three weeks later…On the other hand, I do worry that the ensuing publicity surrounding her announcement might evoke some magnitude of panic in women with breast cancer, particularly those who don’t have BRCA1/2 gene mutations or cannot afford to have the testing done…My primary concern is that some women with breast cancer may think that they are not being aggressive enough with their current treatment plan. – David Kroll