Gal Gadot demonized for her memoriam for Stephen Hawking

The outrage mob, always sniffing for ideological impurities, has struck again. When Stephen Hawking died on March 14, actor Gal Gadot—you know, the Wonder Woman phenom who is also an Israeli—issued this tweet:

Now most of you are on the Left, but look at that tweet and see what you could find objectionable if you’re a Pecksniff. You’ll spot it instantly, I bet. Yep, it was the idea that after death Hawking will be “free of any physical constraints.” Now I don’t know if that means he’ll have an afterlife where he’s not in a wheelchair (implying Gadot is religious, though most liberal Jews don’t believe in an afterlife), or that he’s simply gone and therefore not thereby constrained.

But if you’re a Pecksniff, you can also be huffy and say, “Well, this is ableism, pure and simple. It implies that Hawking was ‘constrained’ mentally as well as physically, and that he could have accomplished more had he not been afflicted with ALS (or polio).” That is arguable, because perhaps being confined to his chair enabled his mind to roam more freely. But that’s not what Gadot meant, I bet, for she pays tribute to his “brilliance and wisdom”. She was, I suspect, just paying tribute to him, and saying that he’s free from “constraints”—exactly as many people say, when someone dies, that they’re finally “at peace”, or “beyond suffering”. And that tweet, of course, got 53,469 likes when I put it up.

Yet the termites are ever dining, and so there’s a piece on Mashable called “People aren’t thrilled with Gal Gadot’s tribute to Stephen Hawking“, which presents exactly seven tweets accusing Gadot of ableism, and one supporting her. Apparently seven people is some kind of consensus.

Here are some Pecksniffs:

Yes, the last tweet is accurate: people should chill out about this, and there’s no doubt that, these days, many people are simply “looking to be offended.” I suppose there are psychological reasons for that, but this is above my pay grade.

But what was Hawking’s view? Would he have preferred to have had his ALS (with its putative benefits for his science), or to have never gotten it?

This video, which I found on YouTube, supports the latter, for it shows Hawking supporting the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge“, in which someone challenges another to dump a bucket of ice water on their head. If they don’t do it within a stipulated amount of time, the one who forfeits donates to The ALS Association or other groups fighting motor neuron disease.  It’s estimated that the challenge not only brought awareness of this dreaded ailment, but raised over $100 million dollars for research and treatment.

And here’s Stephen Hawking participating in that challenge, urging his kids to drench themselves. They do. And Hawking adds, with his computer voice, “I urge everyone to donate to the MNDA to eliminate this terrible disease.” Yes, it’s terrible, and one has to conclude that Hawking would prefer not to have been afflicted.

That, of course, doesn’t mean that one should treat the disabled as lesser humans, or make fun of them (as Trump did during his campaign); it just means that we should keep working, raising money, and using the best science we can to get rid of those ailments that people don’t want. I suspect that most people with disabilities would just as soon not have them, though some deaf people say they wouldn’t want to hear even if that were possible.

And people should lay off Gal Gadot.

By the way, yesterday I mentioned a piece in the Torygraph intimating that Hawking’s final science paper might have shown a way for us to test the idea of the multiverse, heretofore seen as hard or impossible to test. A new article in Gizmodo by George Dvorsky, however, says that the Torygraph’s interpretation is overblown, and urges considerable caution:

The scientists say it may eventually be possible to see signs of the multiverse in the background radiation of the universe, but that has yet to be proven. If someone down the line can expand on this work, and show us what we should be looking for, then it can be said that Hawking and Loeb were truly onto something. But for now, that’s a big if.

. . . Frank Wilczek, a theoretical physicist at MIT and Nobel laureate, was less charitable about the new work.

“It’s heavy on speculative assumptions, and I don’t see any concrete predictions,” Wilczek told Gizmodo. “Very hard to understand, though, at least for me, and I may be missing something.”

48 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The Pecksniffs have “raised awareness” again – thank you Pecksniffs for catching that.

    Can’t wait til the next installment of Pecksniff Patrol. I’d say I’ll be lashing myself, but I’m aware that could be a violation. Instead, I promise to be sad, miserable, and ashamed.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      It seems obvious that the only reason these twits latch onto tweets like this is the exposure they gain from the celebrity of the original tweeter. Otherwise they only get read by their dreary circle of equally dysfunctional friends. Kind of like having a “brush with greatness” by throwing up on the shoes of someone famous.

      • Daniel Engblom
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        That’s a great point! Attention seekers who desperately want their 15 minutes of fame, can look to moralizing everything and demonizing people with more stature in the hopes that they will be raised above the level of their better peers.
        In this day and age, it can work.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Lash

    I mean

    Sub

    I mean…

    Can’t win here, I think…

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    But you are being far too hard on the real termites out there. I make that stupid comment to parrot how silly these Tweets can be. There are many twits out there on Twitter.

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Moral superiority appears to one disability that is coupled to a disability to understand what’s written and meant.

    If only they were rid of both disabilities.

    Glen Davidson

  5. Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Abled people can go away. You could not make this stuff up.

  6. Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Well, they already hated *her*, so…
    why not?

  7. Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I despair.
    I wonder if the internet just opens up a window to show the huge number of assholes that there exist in the world or if instead the internet provides some mechanism for actually generating the huge number of assholes.

    • Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Yes.

    • mfdempsey1946
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Internet headline writers are forever using “outrage” in stories about people who seem to leap onto every opportunity to foam at the mouth.

      To the point where “outrage,” like “adorable” (another done-to-death internet word, has no longer has any useful meaning.

      One frequently gets the impression that such people don’t really care about whatever sets them off. They are simply outrage junkies.

    • Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (GIFT): Normal Person + Audience + Anonymity = Total Fuckwad

  8. Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I am not against multiverse theories, but they are closer to mathematics than physics and Wilczek is probably right…no concrete predictions. Still I like the theories, as they are pleasant to think about.

    I’ve known many special olympic athletes and I doubt any would not find Gal’s comment offensive. What I’ve found disabled athletes despise most are lazy people who have no disabilities but choose not to live life to the best of their capabilities, whether those be physical or mental.

    • Paul S
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      You may have meant paralympic athletes. My niece being a former US Paralympic sledge hockey athlete and IHSA AWD multiple gold medalist, wasn’t offended by the tweet.
      P.S. She’d prefer not to have cerebral palsy.

      • Posted March 20, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        My jujistu club has legally blind folk, some partially blind, one deaf with vision problems. They participate in all sorts of other athletic events with a variety of names- special olympics or paralympics. All of them are just happy to be participating.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Kevin was probably referring to the global movement Special Olympics which is distinct from the Paralympic Games.
        QUOTE:

        What We Do
        Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, every day, everywhere. We are the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities: with more than 4.9 million athletes in 172 countries — and over a million volunteers.

  9. sabre422
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Ms Gadot’s tweet can be interpreted a number of ways. Her recognition and acknowledgement of Hawking’s brilliance and wisdom overpowers her attempt at crafting a clever poetic phrase.

    Pete Frates lives just down the street from my home here in Beverly MA. He remains active in his campaign he started to fund research for a cure to ALS. Many noticed years ago that Pete never attempted to recruit or encourage religious connections to his Ice Bucket Challenge. He and others who started the fund raising effort wanted to craft the campaign to encourage anyone to participate. You will find no references to religion or prayers at his or other web sites formally associated with the challenge. From the surface, you can not claim that Pete and the campaign are anything but secular in tone. I have heard him on local radio a number of times (mostly sports stations)and I don’t recall any mention of religion or faith. He is an incredibly strong person.

  10. Christopher
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Hawking would have had little time for these twits. He had said “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”

    Those twitters twits are showing themselves to be disabled in spirit, in intellect, in compassion, and maybe more than a little anti-Semitic.

    I also found a quote which clearly shows what he would have wanted (hint: it wasn’t to be disabled): “If I had to choose a super hero to be, I would pick Superman. He is everything that I’m not.”

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    My wife is disabled, and would bloody well like to be normally abled. We should do everything we can so that people with disabilities can lead full lives, and aren’t discriminated against. But don’t let’s kid ourselves that not being disabled isn’t preferable to being disabled.

    • Kate
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      👍👍 agree.

  12. Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    My general rule is: the disabled person should speak, not someone on their behalf, for what they need.

    The hard cases exist, and I have little to say about that other than “still thinking”.

  13. Posted March 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    It is amazing that one of the pecksniffs whose tweet is quoted says they “ran a charity funding work on my disease.” They are obviously willing to spend money and time fighting their disease so, presumably, they consider having the disease to be a bad thing. They fail to see the irony in their own statements.

    I suspect there’s an element behind their sentiments that we’ve often seen. In their eyes, no one is qualified to make statements regarding their condition but those who share it.

  14. eric
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    She was, I suspect, just paying tribute to him, and saying that he’s free from “constraints”—exactly as many people say, when someone dies, that they’re finally “at peace”, or “beyond suffering”.

    I did not take it that way at all: to me it implied she was talking specifically about him being free from his ALS and wheelchair.

    But I also didn’t take offense at that. Is it at all surprising or unusual to think of Hawking’s ALS as something he might not like? At worse, Gadot can be accused of thinking Hawking didn’t like a condition she herself wouldn’t like. Which is not empathic, but then again, seems pretty understandable in this situation.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      “At worse, Gadot can be accused of thinking Hawking didn’t like a condition she herself wouldn’t like.”

      There seems to be adequate evidence that Hawking didn’t like his condition at all. So Gadot was correct in her assumption.

      (Hawking regarded it as fortunate that his chosen field of work was still possible for him, which is a different matter).

      cr

  15. Curt Nelson
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Maybe SH was a whole person who wanted to do more than think about physics. Maybe he wanted to go for a walk.

  16. ploubere
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    One has to really distort Ms. Gadot’s statement to find anything negative in it, or disparaging of those with disabilities. It’s sad that the critics saw only something for which they could take offense.

  17. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I kinda get that some people don’t respond well to pity because of some implied condescension.

    But this is not the same thing as ableism or bigotry!!

    Condoleeza Rice is reported to have said she was a Republican because she preferred dealing with the bigotry of some Republicans to the condescending pity of Democrats. She I think could react (a bit) negatively to Gadot’s tweet withOUT implying it is ableist.

    If I were GG and thought about the possible problems, I would have just put the tribute to brilliance and wisdom first and the freedom from constraints second, and then sent it out as is.

  18. Stephen Mynett
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Those comments against Gal Gadot are typical of the self-righteous politically correct who devote their lives to nit-picking but rarely, if ever, do anything positive.

    I would be very happy to get rid of my haemophilia and walk without pain and losing the cirrhosis of the liver would be nice as well but it is not going to happen. In the meantime I shall carry on enjoying the things I can still do and try to ignore the fact I am disabled.

    I am also a realist and my various complaints mean there will come a time when the pain gets too great and I will end my life then and it will be a release. That is the sort of release (freedom from physical constraint) I believe Gal Gadot meant. Perhaps she could have worded it better but her sentiment seems to be one of being upset at the thought of anyone suffering or being disabled.

    Talking about disability issues is not always easy for the able bodied but often the things that sound wrong are because people are trying too hard to be polite/decent, unlike the politically correct who just exacerbate the issue with their jack-booted attempts to control language. It is also difficult for disabled people to discuss disabilities other than their own, there are so many and they are so wide-ranging there can never be a “one-size fits all” solution.

    Some years back there was a ridiculous idea that the term differently-abled should be used instead of disabled. Many of my disabled friends agreed with me that this was totally patronising, it highlighted our disabilities rather than put a positive spin on them. I found it as demeaning as the awful “does he take sugar” attitude, something that was common
    when I was younger.

    Unfortunately that is the way of the politically correct and the self-righteous left, rather than find solutions they invent nice sanitised euphemisms to try to mask problems. That and vilifying those who do not adopt their ideas is about all they do.

    Gal Gadot meant well, it is as simple as that.

  19. Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    This is from an piece in The Times last weekend, reflecting on a previous interview with Hawking:

    “An audience with Hawking was just that — a spectacle. Yet putting questions to him was by no means pointless, and one of his prepared answers left me literally lost for words. The question had come from a child who had been studying The Tempest at school. I was to ask Hawking if he ever dreamt he was able-bodied. “In my dreams I’m always able-bodied,” he replied. “Either I don’t admit to myself that I’m disabled, or I feel that by will alone I can overcome it.” ”

    (Link (paywall))

    • Barcs
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Neil deGrasse Tyson interviewed Hawking, asking if Hawking could upload his brain into a computer would he do it?

      Hawking replied: “My body hardly works at all because I have Motor Neuron Disease, otherwise known as ALS. So getting rid of it would be no loss sparing me from discomfort”.

      (https://youtu.be/NRrzkSHbTsg?t=34m11s)

  20. Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday on this very web site, Ron Miksha wrote:

    Stephen Hawking was in his 20s when he was (correctly, I think) diagnosed with ALS. But by age 40 or so, his progression was at a point where many people decide not to use technology to keep air in their lungs. When chest muscles fail and chewing is impossible, most folks figure that’s enough. Resources, of course, often force the decision – it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the machinery and nurse in the house.

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/did-hawking-have-polio-rather-than-als/#comment-1591752

    That implies that the statement “people with disabilities don’t wish for death to be free of their challenges” is false for at least a few of them.

    • Kate
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      A few years ago I took Peter Singer’s online course on practical ethics and euthanasia was one of the very interesting subjects that he touched on.

      I can tell you that, very interestingly, there were lots of people in the forums that suffered with chronic disease that were totally for euthanasia and suicide. Many even shared books on the subject and suicide methods.

      I saw my mother die a very slow painful death and I’m an autoimmune disease patient and I can also tell you that there were days when every SECOND of my life was extremely painful and hellish and I wished I was dead. I also feel very strongly that if my life gets too bad I will definitely “pull the plug”.
      Painless death is a right all of us should be able too choose.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 21, 2018 at 1:23 am | Permalink

        I would guess that just having the option available would be some sort of comfort. The knowledge that “I’m not stuck with this forever, I can end it any time I choose”. Which currently most people don’t have.

        (I firmly believe, as a matter of ethics, that if people have a right to control their own lives that must also include the right to die – as painlessly as possible – when they so decide).

  21. Derek Freyberg
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    For anyone who is interested in Hawking’s voice, here is an article from last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle on some of the activity involved in maintaining and updating he voice synthesizer, complete with sound clips:
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/The-Silicon-Valley-quest-to-preserve-Stephen-12759775.php

  22. Kate
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, I strongly believe that death is a good alternative to living with a disability specially when:

    1- Life is totally miserable, and you are in constant pain.
    2- You have no family, friends or means to be taken care of.

    And I say this as a chronic pain and autoimmune disease sufferer who was very painfully disabled for a few years.

    I bet a million dollars Hawkin’s life was very fisically painful from being most of the time seated in the same position and laying down without being able to move normally. I think what kept him going was his rich intelectual life but very surely he had many days of thinking he’d rather have been dead than go through the fisical hell of disability.

  23. Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    There was an article on the BBC written by another Pecksniff: How I saw Stephen Hawking’s death as a disabled person – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-43418251

    Note the “as a disabled person”. As if that grants him more authority to speak about Prof. Hawking.

  24. Kate
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Do watch Ricky Gervais’ new stand up “Humans” on Netflix. He touches on this subject of people getting offended for all an no reasons. It’s hilarious, enjoyable and very politically incorrect.

  25. Robert Bate
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    The Peckinsniff “Peckinsniff Patrol” Patrol?

  26. Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  27. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Gah! Those miserable cripples* who tweeted just demonstrate that they’re so obsessed with their disabilities they can’t think of anything else.

    If they want to be valued for what they can do, then stop whining about what they can’t.

    cr

    (*I’m referring to their mental state, of course, not their physical attributes. Now excuse me, I just need to go and tip over a wheelchair…)

  28. Richard
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    “differently-abled” – I have also seen “temporarily-abled” used to refer to people who are not disabled; as though being disabled is the natural state of mankind, and those who are not have stupidly not yet realized that they are the exception.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      I have been disabled since 1977: loss of two limbs mainly, but also many smaller additional injuries that recede & return, plus other ‘insults’ as a result of the initial disability such as my ‘body image’, psychological problems relating to reduced capabilities [or no capability in some areas], coming off medical drugs, keeping regular work when you know every year will require unplanned days off for medical matters.

      With many disabilities, over the years, a slow snowball effect of spreading disability is inevitable – having to overuse remaining capability PLUS increased likelihood of injuries from falls or spilling hot water etc. Even if the disability remains still it is harder to cope with age.

      Still being seen as a vital, interesting, loveable, loved, contributing person is a challenge! There are many out there who will unconsciously treat one differently in a negative way. It is harder to engage with the average A.N.Other person, one has to learn to brush off the casual unintended cruelties of curious children. You only need 2% of people to be shits for ones day to be about anger management. As a human I recall the 2% too much & the 98% not enough!

      As much as I am on the Gal Gadot side & as much as I approve of her tweet [100% for], I don’t think you understand why someone might want to self describe as “differently-abled”, not my line at all, but I’m happy for others to take that line

      I also understand why a disabled person might use “temporarily-abled” to describe the ‘normies’ – I haven’t come across it, but I can imagine it coming from a community of deaf or ‘neurodiversity’ activists. More power to them!

      The conversation about disability needs to go even more mainstream & even more in-yer-face if we are to see the end of comments such as yours.

      The world you live in is a cartoon version of the real one. In the real one 20% of the population in the UK has some sort of disability & it is true that most ‘normies’ have some of that disability in their future.

      • Posted March 21, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for your personal perspective on this issue.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 22, 2018 at 12:18 am | Permalink

          x 🙂

    • Posted March 23, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      It is true that we start our lives helpless, slowly gaining control, and then at some moment we lose it again and become more and more disabled – unless we die suddenly at a young age.
      However, I do not see why these facts should be constantly emphasized, a sort of “Memento mori”.

  29. Jonathan Dore
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    Such people can be answered very simply: would Stephen Hawking have preferred to have ALS or not? Unless you believe that having it was something he enjoyed, or that improved his work, then you can have no complaint about the original tweet.

  30. Posted March 21, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Any excuse to tear down Gal Gadot is welcomed by the pecksniffs.


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