Red Ink

It’s all about being helpful.
Have something in desperate need of editing? Email inquiries to wieldaredpen(at)gmail(dot)com or send me a tweet @wieldaredpen.

Let Me Fix That For You, Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker, who is “not a feminist”, has a new book dropping on Valentine’s Day. Exploring the plight of the “Alpha female,” Ms. (Mrs.?… Little Missus?… what do “not feminists” prefer these days?) Venker posits that the same qualities that allow women to excel professionally are singularly responsible for their inability to stay married to men who are tired of women who speak up, make demands, and have standards. Women, it seems, have developed opinions. Opinions that are entirely independent of the men in their lives, and it seems to be affecting their relationships. Fox News hosted an excerpt in their “Values” section. Calling for a return to more traditional marriage dynamics, it seems to us that the piece is somewhat out of step with the general trend of women-as-whole-people that we’ve been enjoying in the 21st Century.

Frankly, it’s concerning. So, Suzanne Venker, in the interest of the common good, let me fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 3.11MB)

Guest Post: Let Me Fix That For You, Lochte

Oh, Ryan Lochte. At this point, anyone with exposure to the American moon cycle & birth has had their fill of #lochtegate and #lochtelies. (We’re a little sad that #lochtorrhea didn’t catch on). Emilio Bruna (@BrunaLab) took on the tough work of giving Ryan Lochte’s non-apology the red-ink treatment it deserved, and was kind enough to let us host it here.

Ryan Lochte, let @BrunaLab fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 428KB)

Let Me Fix That For You, Nathan Alberson

Though female representation in film still has a long way to go, the past few years have given us some interesting female characters. For Nathan Alberson, writer for and creator of Warhorn Media, Star Wars’ Rey was just one white tank top of authority too many. In this letter, posted to An Open Letter to Rey From Star Wars back in March of 2016, Mr. Alberson goes on for 3000 words about warrior women, Hollywood’s emasculating agenda, and the natural order of things. By the end, we were definitely asking ourselves, “Why, oh why, didn’t I take the blue pill?”

There’s a problem with tone, here. Mr. Alberson certainly pulls no punches, and we feel that kind of candor deserves an equal turn. Nathan Alberson, let me fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 4.91MB)

Gues## t Post: Tim Hunt and the Women
Last week, Tim Hunt, Nobel Laureate and all around smart guy, did an unbelievably stupid thing. Amid sorry-not-sorry statements, damage control in the media, and memorable hashtags come marching the apologists. There are many, but here is a guest edit from reader, M^2, on a brief op-ed by Joanna Williams over at Spiked. Here at Red Ink, we appreciate readers willing to jump in and share the work. Thanks, M^2!

Download (PDF, 1.87MB)

There’s a lot of print being generated by Dr. Hunt’s diarrhea of the mouth remarks, and we’ll update here with anything we feel worthy of inking. If you come across something you’d like to submit, send it along to wieldaredpen (at) gmail.

Guest Post: The Intersection of Feminism and Beer

At Red Ink, we like beer. We also like feminism. We were alerted to the complex intersection of both by @metacookbook. She responds on her blog to critiques of women’s representation in beer-dom that are, themselves, problematic (This post at Thrillist and this one at Northdown Taproom). The original articles are linked in her post, so do be sure to click over there.

So, here, let @Metacookbook, fix that for you…

Let Me Fix That For You, Alice Huang

Alice Huang, a shining star of research and former AAAS President, takes some time out of her day to show us what the science workplace was like for women in the times when male faculty had smoking lounges and female faculty had foundation underwear. In an advice column for Science Careers, Dr. Huang counsels on the best course of action for a harassing mentor. Never have we wished so hard that Poe’s Law were in effect. The post was taken down in short order, but you can read the original at this archive.

Alice Huang, let me fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 949KB)

Guest Post: Let Me Fix That For You, The BMJ

There are occasions for editing when an expertise beyond snark are necessary. The BMJ (formerly The British Medical Journal) ran a piece on the dangers of milk-sharing that was picked up in several news outlets. Nuance matters.

Medical anthropologist, @aunpalmquist, writes to us:

On March 24, BMJ ran an Editorial on the “Risks of the unregulated market in human breast milk.” Kudos for getting so much press on an important topic. But there are some issues that need attention….

So, The BMJ, let @aunpalmquist fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 859KB)

Let Me Fix That For You, New York Times

Yesterday, the New York Times dropped an opinion piece by Cornell researchers Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci, making the bold claim that Academic Science Isn’t Sexist (<– that IS the title of the post, Gentle Readers). As one may well imagine, several excellent analyses went up almost immediately. The opinion piece is effectively an advertisement for this paper, which at 67 pages, few of us will read in its entirety, much less comprehend. On reading the NYT post, we were struck by some creative statistical analysis and sleight-of-hand with regard to cause-and-effect.

In order for any persuasive piece to be effective, internal consistency and logic is the rock-solid foundation upon which to pile on your massive heap of shite. We’ll let the good people of science decipher the treatment of data, and tackle the post for the masses instead. In the interest of bettering persuasive science writing, New York Times, let me fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 331KB)

Guest Post: Let Me Fix That For You, Pacific Standard

The recent Ebola outbreak has the news media in the grips of a misinfornado. At Red Ink, we feel that accurate reporting is a top priority. Science writer, @rocza, sent us this terrific markup of the first page of the Pacific Standard’s Terrible Awful No Good Very Bad Coverage. There’s so much to correct here, it looks like the pen is… uh… bleeding out. Courtesy of our guest editor, let me fix that for you, Pacific Standard…

Update: read Kelly Hills’ complete writeup on her inked commentary HERE

Download (PDF, 711KB)

Let Me Fix That For You, Neil Hall

In a recent issue of Genome Biology, Dr. Neil Hall published his tongue-in-cheek analysis of twitter popularity and citations in science circles. The “K-Index” basically hangs on a critique of Kim Kardashian, a woman who is a brand unto herself, for having the gall to refuse to be shamed publicly for having sex. Dr. Hall’s choice of target, together with the bland tone of his piece is problematic. Here at Red Ink, we love satire, and we want to see more people succeed at it. So, here, Neil Hall, let me fix that for you…

Download (PDF, 2.41MB)

Let Me Fix That For You, Ken Ham

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and Creation Museum barker, is the creationist response to the equally annoying blow-hard of atheist circles, Richard Dawkins. They both write a lot of books, give a lot of talks, and are terribly impressed with their own opinion. One big difference, though, is that Mr. Ham has tickets to sell. Currently in the fund-raising phase of his Young-Earth Creationist theme park centered around the Noah’s Ark of Genesis, Mr. Ham penned an opinion piece for Time’s online entity about the newly released bible-based epic, Noah, from director, Darren Aronofsky.

After reading his review, we, at Red Ink, were much surprised that such a scholar of biblical texts as Mr. Ham would deliver such a one-sided analysis of a film with so much potential for discussion and debate among skeptics and believers, alike. In the interest of academic rigor, Mr. Ham, let me fix that for you…

Let Me Fix That For You, SFWA

The January 2013 cover of the SFWA Bulletin was the final straw in series of sexist incidents within the ranks of the SFWA. Mr. Truesdale jumps to the defense of artists from the burden of editoral censure. Here, at Red Ink, we are great fans of editorial censure. Alyssa Rosenberg gave an excellent write-up in Slate. After @Femme_Mal alerted us to Dave Truesdale’s 11-page “petition”, containing wikipedia references to Andrew Hamilton, a lengthy email transcript with then-president of the SFWA, a conversation with a real-live lesbian (presumably speaking for all women), and a quote from Charlton Heston. You can read the whole thing HERE, but it is this bit (capped below) that caught our attention.

Let Me Fix That For You, Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog, a digital publication that believes “all thinking is relevant”, published this post by Colton Ashbury – a self-described “NYC Writer” who has no other pieces of work attached to this name. Whether this is a pseud or whether he is actually this brand-spanking-new remains to be seen. In an effort to help young Colton on his literary way, we offer these edits. And, in the spirit of his post, we’re not holding anything back. Unlike the site, we at Red Ink do NOT have a “value-neutral editorial policy.” So let me fix that for you, Thought Catalog…

Let Me Fix That For You, Nature

[NOTE: As Henry Gee remains an employee of Nature, we address these edits to Nature collectively]

A letter to the editors of Nature set off a series of interactions online that culminated in Nature editor, Henry Gee, revealing the identity of pseudonymous blogger, Dr. Isis (if you want to see the whole series of events, get thee to the Google). In the due course of time, Nature and Henry Gee both have issued statements. We at Red Ink hesitate to call them apologies, and they really should be. So, in the interest of being helpful, let me fix that for you…

Senior Nature editor, Henry Gee’s “reflections”:

Download (PDF, 301KB)

Nature statement:
Download (PDF, 87KB)

The Unvitation – A LMFTFY Intervention

We, at Red Ink, are a bit frustrated with the language sometimes used in professional correspondence. Kate Clancy posted an email exchange she had regarding a submission for … a thing. Read her original post for context, but the upshot is that she got an invitation, a swift unvitation, and then a reinvitation (Now with extra added pressure!!). The back-and-forth is an object lesson for people that, sometimes, DUDE, we totally know what you’re really saying. So, here, managing editors, let me fix that for you…

And Dr. Clancy’s response (excerpted from her post):

Dear DCST,
Thanks for thinking of me (or rather, my thanks to PFS). First and most importantly, I am pleased to accept this.
Second, I am struggling to figure out how to say this, but I am going to be honest. If you want more women, telling the women you are inviting that you’ve been told you have to have more women, particularly said in a way that implies you are being forced to do it rather than are aware of and eager to eliminate gender disparities, does not promote a welcome environment for women. I hope you realize the impact of your statement towards those you invite, regardless of what was likely a benign intent.

Let Me Fix That For You, James Franco

James Franco, actor, novelist, a bunch of other stuff, with degrees in English from two major universities, is a regular contributor over at His latest is a review of Blackfish**… or is it a critique… or a review… or a CRITIQUE??? It’s hard to say. Which is the problem. So, here you go, James Franco, let me fix that for you.

Let Me Fix That For You, Joe Hanson

This edit originally appeared on The JAYFK on November 18, 2013. An additional edit to the PBS response and Joe’s second apology can be found at The JAYFK, HERE.

Joe Hanson, host of the PBS webseries “It’s Okay to be Smart”, created a video that depicted (using bobblehead dolls) Albert Einstein harassing and then assaulting Marie Curie**. Then Joe apologized. Ish.

**I submit this video link for context, since the original was taken down, after many requests and a statement from PBS that it was not representative of the channel’s work or ethic.

Let Me Fix That For You, Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins had an unfortunate incident with airport security. You can read his original post, My honey trap: why doesn’t anyone believe in public-spirited concern?, wherein he relates the event in great detail, and has the opportunity to ponder the meaning of it all.

Let Me Fix That For You, @huler

This edit originally appeared on The JAYFK on October 16, 2013.