biologe

Blog and online journal with editorial content about science, art and nature.

Tag: bullying

Bullying by the Museum of Natural History in Berlin/ Mobbing durch das Berliner Naturkundemuseum?

This article is about a conflict since 2013 until today that I had and still have with the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, which I already accused in 2013 to perform a (homophobically motivated) bullying against me. In 2019 I finally complained to the petition committee of the Berliner Abgeordnetenhaus. They sent me statements from the museum management, Prof. Dr. Vogel, regarding my complaints, and according to that, they do not deny the bullying accusation, but stated :

"You have never been an employee of the museum and are therefore not under
 the scope of the General Equal Treatment Act"

As I felt since 2013 so heavily bullied by that institution and in such an intensity that I despite of my very good CV-reputation could never receive any employment in a German research institution at all (abroad I could once). I in 2019 had asked at least for a certification by the museum that I worked with them for some years, wrote several peer-review publications for them and even organized the loaning of a very expensive light-microscope (Zeiss-Axiophot) from the FU Berlin for my use and the use of Dr. Jason Dunlop from the Museum of Natural History. The certification had helped to limit further bullying influences, when recently applying to research positions. Prof. Vogel answered to the petition committee the following regarding that point:

"A certificate can not be issued, 
as you are not entitled to receive a certificate based on your
voluntary work in the museum"

A remarkable part of my mite specimens consisting of holo- and paratypes as well as voucher specimens is part of the museum collection being curated by Dr. Jason Dunlop. The museum denies me access to that material with one short interruption since 2013. I loaned that material to the museum, material, which I collected and prepared based on my private income only. The museum was asked in my petition to return it to me.

"You had been given the opportunity to examine the described
 
reference material from mites for your work. Another access to the museum
however, cannot be granted to you."

The mite material represents my so far lifework. To discover new species like Histiostoma palustre from Berlin or Histiostoma blomquisti from the red imported fire ant in Louisiana (USA), I invested all my energy, my sweat, my time, and in case of my ant work even my blood. The Museum of Natural History excludes me from the results of my own heavy productivity. the text indicates that the museum, represented by Prof. Vogel, has a right to decide about material, which I consider my property. I do not have a contract nor was I ever paid for these mite objects, I just rent them to the museum. I had repeatedly asked to receive my material back, as not only my access to it is denied by the museum, but and also the access for other scientists is limited.

"The collections of the Museum für Naturkunde 
in Berlin are indeed a scientific infrastructure,

but they are not a public body for those working in science or for
other interested parties with an unrestricted access."

My intention was and is to transfer the types and vouchers permanently to another museum, which allows me and other scientists access to it, that my material can be a well suitable support for future scientific interests and research by me and others. I additionally doubt that the material is treated adequately as Mr. Dunlop is arachnologist, but no acarologist. The petition committee and the committee of „Regierender Bürgermeister von Berlin“ stated about the property conditions of my mite-collection:

"The ownership of those specific exhibits cannot be conclusively judged 
(decided) from here (our side). To this extent,
only the ordinary legal action can answer this question."

I thus via this article ask lawyers with corresponding experiences to support me in this context, which I consider being a property offence even with the purpose to harm my public reputation! Committed lawyers please contact me via twitter private message.

What had happened originally to feel bullied by the museum and the former colleague Mr. Dr. Jason Dunlop?

I applied in June 2012, recommended by a colleague, who was researcher at the Karl-Franzens-Universität in Graz (Austria), for an official tender for a lecturer position at his university, the Karl-Franzens-Universität. The colleague G. was seemingly not sure about the integrity of the application procedure, as he wrote on 18.06.2012 at 7:37 am:

„Es ist auch nicht sicher, ob Herr S… (I shortened the full name, S. Wirth) für die Stelle nicht schon jemanden im Auge hat; also bitte erwarte Dir nicht zuviel.

It is also not certain whether Mr. S... 
(I shortened the name, S. Wirth) already has someone in
 mind for the position; so please don't expect too much."

I applied nevertheless believing in a fair process. But I indeed was officially informed that I didn’t get the position despite of my high reputation via Email on 06.08.2012 at 7:29 pm. Subsequently I asked for an explication for not having been chosen as candidate. I received an answer on 9.08.2012 at 12:33 pm by Mrs. C. H.-R.:

„Ich darf in diesem Zusammenhang betonen, dass diese Auswahlentscheidung auch vom Arbeitskreis für Gleichbehandlungsfragen der Universität bestätigt wurde.

In this context, I would like to emphasize 
that this selection decision was also confirmed by
 the university's work group for equal treatment."

That meant for me that the decision officially was made by preference for a person of female gender. I first asked for reasons not to be selected. Later additionally I complained against so called „equal treatment“ on 10.08.2012 to Mrs. R. with the words:

„…. Um den Verdacht auszuräumen, dass die Ausschreibung nur eine Formalität war, also eine Schein-Ausschreibung, und dass in Wirklichkeit jemand aus den eigenen Reihen die Stelle bekommen hat (und dies möglicherweise von vornherein feststand), bitte ich hiermit darum, mir mitzuteilen, wer die Stelle bekommen hat….

In order to dispel the suspicion that the 
job advertisement was only a formality, i.e. a sham job advertisement,
 and that in reality someone from your own ranks
got the position (and this may have been determined in advance),  
I hereby ask you to let me know who got the job."

I got an answer only to my first question from that Mr. S., who is mentioned in the mail from 18.06.2012 at 7:37 further above. The answer is from 09.08.2012 at 8:16 pm:

„… Ich habe mir die Auswahl der Kandidatin bzw. des Kandidaten für diese Stelle nicht leicht gemacht. Es war in der Tat sehr knapp und Sie wären mit Sicherheit an Nummer 1 oder 2 gereiht worden, wenn bei dieser Ausschreibung die wissenschaftliche Erfahrung bzw. Leistung im Vordergrund gestanden wäre. Wir haben eine befristete und nicht verlängerbare Halbtags-Lecturerstelle besetzt, wo natürlich die spezifische Erfahrung in Bezug auf die abzuhaltenden Lehrveranstaltungen im Vordergrund war und hier waren andere KandidatInnen näher am Fach. So ist das nun einmal. …

...I didn't make it easy for myself to
 select the candidate for this position. It was indeed very tight and you would certainly have
 been ranked number 1 or 2 if the focus of this tender had been on scientific experience or performance. 
We have filled a temporary and non-extendable half-day lecturer position, where of
 course the specific experience in relation to 
the courses to be held was in the foreground and
 here other candidates were closer to the subject. That's the way it is....

I got never an official answer, who the position got, except of that it was a female candidate. but I already had before asked the colleague G. , who had answered already on 06.08. 2012 at 3:06 pm:

„Hi Stefan,

…wahrscheinlich darf ich das gar nicht mitteilen, deshalb bitte vertraulich behandeln, bis es offiziell ist: …… B… (I shortened the female name, S. Wirth), eine E. (i shortened the name, S. Wirth)-Schülerin.

... I am probably not allowed to tell you,
 so please keep it confidential until it is official:
 ... B.(I shortened the female name), 
an E. student (I shortened the name of a professor
 of the same institution, a direct colleague of Mr. S. from above)."

Shocked by this mixture of by me perceived inbreeding, corruption and gender discrimination, I complained finally against the whole candidate finding procedure and officially asked for the repetition of the whole procedure, based on the fact that I am homosexual, and because homosexual men are more discriminated than women. The repetition application was approved, but it only (of course) confirmed the first decision.

Subsequently I perseived something like „a bomb“ of bullying activities against me in the German-spoken countries, especially in Berlin from side of the Museum of natural History, where I was volunteer (ehrenamtlicher Mitarbeiter) and where I had my official scientific affiliation, which I used to name in my scientific publications and from side of the FU Berlin (only periodically), where I was still teaching courses in evolutionary biology and ecology. but the worst consequences came from the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, where I had published already in 9 November 2011 a very successful paper with much international attention together with Dr. Jason Dunlop and technical scientists from Manchester (UK) :

Dunlop1  J. A., Wirth1 S., Penney2 D.,  McNeil3  A., Bradley3R.S., Withers3 P. J.,Preziosi2 R. F. (2011): A tiny phoretic mite deutonymph in Baltic amber recovered by X-ray computed tomography. Biology letters doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0923.

Apart from not being named as a first author together with Mr. Dunlop, which I only finally was informed about in 2013, as the small numbers on top of the author’s names seemed me to indicate an equal level of authorship, but it came out that it just referred to the same author’s address and apart from my name not being mentioned in the English-written press-releases of that very successful paper (about the tiniest animal ever in Baltic amber examined in a high resolution ct-magnification without the need to harm the amber itself) my name was from end 2012 to 23 September 2013 10:30 am entirely removed from side-publications of the same paper, especially in a poster presentation on the poster itself (much delayed finally added to it) and the corresponding online-abstract-publication (until 23 September 2013 10:30 am never added to it). A corresponding poster award, given by the Museum of Natural History, was not given too me at first, but to the other authors. I got it much delayed on my strict demand only.

I complained against these happenings and interpreted them as homophobically motivated bullying with a direct context to my complaints to the Karl-Franzes-University, where I had officially outed myself as gay and had officially criticized a perceived unclean application-procedure, being additionally based on gender unequality. My complaint referred in major parts to the happenings subsequently to the happenings in Graz. But I additionally considered the previous unexpected second authorship (I did all scientific work regarding the mite fossil interpretation including all paintings and most text parts, as I am and was the only expert for this group of mites in Germany) and the deletion of my name from international press releases as bullying too. This part of bullying as result of a harsh elbow mentality and putatively homophobic too, as there was a rumor of my homosexuality circulating at the FU before, as the female phd-student N.W. had interrogated me on a Christmas-celebration event in detail about my from her side assumed homosexuality.

As I got no excuses nor any compensations from side of the museum or from Mr. Dunlop, I partly needed to find harsh words to criticize, what happened to me from side of the museum (later also from side of the FU Berlin, but from there only periodically, they in 2019 wrote me without any difficulties a certification for my work in their house). Subsequently and finally in 23 September 2013 I was invited to a conference about my accusations by Mr. S. Junker (until today „Geschäftsführer Naturkundemuseum“) and some other witnesses. They did not intend to excuse, what happened to me, but let me know that I was no first author of the paper and thus had no rights about it. I then presented a print of the still in that time online published poster abstract being entirely without my name, which seemingly was unknown to the the people of that conference and also seemingly shocked them too. There was a visible feeling of unjustice noticeable in their faces, but still no excuses nor any try of compensation. I lately on this conference had announced to leave the museum based on these happenings and about a week later picked up all my belongings from there. Equipped with that harsh feeling of being bullied and of a general unjustice, I never did one step into that museum again. Except of once, where I needed to visit a further away building, belonging to it in order to receive the holotype of my species Bonomoia opuntiae, which I loaned for some time. I needed much to fight for that option, as my wish to see it was repeatedly denied. I then got it in harmed conditions. They excused that by saying it would sometimes happen to glycerine-slides (what I still doubt about), and I finally returned it in the same conditions. That is, what Mr. Vogel meant with writing that I once enough had had the opportunity to examine „the material“ for my scientific work. I never again got access to my own mite material. A terrible punishment for someone, who had invested all his life time into his acarological work.

To the petition commettee, Mr Vogel argued the restriction of access to my material in 2019 with the following words:

"You had to be banned from the house in 2013,
 because you were facing the 
museum staff continued in inappropriate
and expressed insulting ways 
so that they felt threatened."

I was never in a written or a spoken way informed about such a ban to enter the house. Because of such a lack, a house ban did never happen. It was imposed subsequently in 2019. According to my perseption based on the will to negatively influencing my scientific reputation. Even in the situation, in which me as a victim I got no excuse or compensation, nobody had trusted additionally to even impose a penalty in those times. I never threatened somebody in my life, thus this is a mean defamation, and additionally my communication against the strongly perceived bullying cannot be named inappropriate at all. from the point of legal justice, in this context the term „felt“ is most important. Unfortunately, everybody can feel something, even, when it is not there. If you have a reason to feel threatened, you officially report an offence. If you just want to bully: say you felt threatened in public. Me as an intellectual and as a person, well known for his passion for nature research, has nothing to do with performing offences or feelings of being threatened. Bullying is a crime. I herewith want to refer to one of my last articles about bullying. But in Germany, it is not a crime according to criminal law. This makes it a perfect weapon to eliminate unwanted people.

But what is the sense of bullying from today back into the past by imposing a house ban, which in fact did not exist in this past, sounds not very efficiently, doesn’t it? That’s why Mr. Vogel needed a second paragraph to this topic, this time directed to the future:

"Also taking into account the rules
for good scientific practice
a weighting of interests by the museum management 
...came to the result that the concerns of 
the employees of the Museums are more worth of being
 protected.The house ban is therefore upheld."

i interpret this statement as admission that the Museum of natural history in Berlin and Mr. Vogel acted aware and on purpose against the rules for good scientific practice. I as I said of course I did never threatened anybody and even everybody knows that, let’s not talk about, what they felt again, let’s talk about, what happened. After many years even to „upheld“ a house ban (elongation of a non existing ban in the past) is the most easiest way of bullying. One just needs to say to colleagues on a conference something like „Oh, Mr. so-and-so? He has a house ban in our institute. Do I need to say more?“. Very efficiently and fully destroying! Can I fight against the life-time house ban as basis for the denied access to my own mite collection? The petition committee answered this in the same document with no:

"The museum management is responsible
for exercising domiciliary rights within the framework of 
 their duties at discretion." 

That means, in that case there is no option for legal actions against a house ban existing, because there are no legal reasons necessary to ban somebody from a house. It simply means for me and my perception: Bullying goes on!

But what about the facts? All happenings around the paper about the amber fossil? To that topic Mr. Vogel answered to the petition committee as follows:

"The museum had your other allegations
checked by an ombudsman, who
came to the conclusion that no scientific 
 misconduct by scientists
of the museum happened."

Who was this „ombudsman“, who decided that publishing an abstract with my drawings, my private photo of the recent mite Histiostoma blomquisti and with my text passages, and all that without my name at all is NO misconduct by the corresponding scientist(s)? Was this ombudsman the cleaning woman of the museum, who thus could earn some extra-salary? Or is the important information in this statement the term „of the museum“? Does it mean, it would be of course a misconduct, when performed by any scientists, but not, when they belong to the museum staff? As Mr. Vogel intends to keep all critical eyes away from the reputation of his famous museum? I subsequently instructed an ombudsman-committee (a legal and well known in scientific fields one) from my side too. I unfortunately am not allowed to publish details of the corresponding correspondence. But the correspondence is well saved. Purpose of my ombudsman-committee was only about to get my mite collection permanently transferred to another museum. I then rejected their indeed finally small success, according to which the collection would have been loaned to another museum for the duration of two years, as fully inappropriate.

But why would the management of the Museum of Natural History react in such unacceptable and harming ways on my complaints from 2013 about a specific researcher and its behaviors against me? My answer is: bullying is the most used weapon in Germany, but it exists nowhere. Institutions fear for their reputation and seemingly even prefer the destruction of the reputation of the victims. My life and career is since 2013 remarkably harmed. I just survive based on my enormous energy and productivity and passion for research. I herewith ask my readers for support. Wherever I apply to in the field of scientific research or museum work, it is denied without invitations at least for a first interview. Is there anybody out there, who has a feeling for justice and even made bad experiences with bullying and seemingly corrupt position procedures in the world of natural sciences, especially biology him/herself? Please contact me via private message on twitter.

German written relevant part of the document from the petition committee of Berlin from 2019, which includes the English citations in my text.

Homophobic tendencies are unfortunately generally widespread in the fields of evolutionary biology. On 3 August 2020 the well known evolutionary biologist from the university of Kassel, Prof. Ulrich Kutschera, was sentenced by a trial for insulting homosexuals by bringing them close to pedophilia to pay a penalty of 6000 Euro.

The judgment is not yet legally binding.

He in detail stated besides other things in an interview with the catholic church (Internet portal kath.net):

„Sollte das Adoptionsrecht für Mann-Mann bzw. Frau-Frau-Erotikvereinigungen kommen, sehe ich staatlich geförderte Pädophilie und schwersten Kindesmissbrauch auf uns zukommen.

Should the adoption rights come for man-man or woman-woman 
erotic associations, I see state-sponsored pedophilia
 and serious child abuse coming our way. "

I had much email communication with U. Kutschera about male homosexuality in general and his assumed case of a tendency towards pedophilia under certain circumstances. He could not prove based on serious scientific findings his incredible theories to me!

But back to the topic of bullying:

Let’s play a little game with you, my readers: Just theoretically, imagine the author of this article would apply to the position offer of the museum of natural history in Potsdam, just because his CV according to his professional self-assessment exactly fits, to what they are looking for? Would he have a chance to be at least invited for a first interview? Let’s indeed regard it as a given fact that his qualifications are fitting very, very good to the job profile. So: Would he be invited?…. What? So many readers voting for „no“? Why? What did you say?…. „Because he is „gay“? Oh, no…..no,no,…. that one goes too far „because he even might be a pedophilist and because state-sponsored pedophilia needs to be prevented“. Ah….please again! That one is interesting:… „because he fights against bullying, which he perceives to have happened against him from another museum of natural history very nearby and because he is gay“. Really interesting, but I have a question: Where should he apply then, always under the conditions of very well fitting qualifications?….. I see, so you mean „may be in a small and isolated village in the Bavarian Alps, inhabited by non-conservative-religious people, let’s say a neo-hippie-community, who pays his scientific work with home grown potatoes“?…… I agree, but still, I have doubts…. What did you recommend? ….“Not Germany and no well known countries at all“? But where then?….. „Timbuktu“? ?? Why not! I like this idea very much.

Citations in my text out of the document from the petition committee of Berlin about my complaints against Naturkundemuseum Berlin were changed from indirect speech to direct speech, staying in the second person singular.

Mite Histiostoma blomquisti. Its holotype is not accessible for me in the collection of the Museum of Natural History Berlin. Copyrights: Stefan F. Wirth

Dr. Stefan Wirth, 19 December 2020

Personal aversion or competitor – common reasons for bullying

Bullying is a major weapon in modern times to eliminate competitors or people, which do not fit into the herd of other people or against whom somebody shows a personal aversion. Generally people with individualistic attitudes are endangered to become victims of bullying. The mechanism is often simple: As many people use to follow group dynamics and are open for dogmata, the ability for an independent enquiry is often limited. A „Don’t talk to that Person!“, means for streamlined people frequently „ok, I should not talk to that person“. Why? They don’t ask why.

As bullying is surely a still not fully recognized hidden violence that appears in all kinds of communities, unfortunately even in academic circles, I decided to point out this phenomenon herewith again.  Especially in my fields of fundamental research in systematics and evolutionary biology/ zoology, elbow mentalities are quite common. We need to learn to cooperate, especially when for example financial resources are limited, it’s about our future, and in cases of natural sciences it’s about the future of these sciences.

 

menschengemischt

Bullying can happen everywhere

 

All copyrights including photo: Stefan F. Wirth, Berlin July 2020

Fox and Witch – a fable – Part II

Exhausted and with a missing right ear and with both hind legs broken, the fox very slowly crawled up to the top of the sandy hill on the other side of the restless and hissing little stream. He felt no pain and thought that the release of all his left power would be still enough to continue his way. The moonlight swished through the tiny bilberry bushes along the edges of a rounded forest clearing. Dewdrops mirrored the light, and the ground sparkled and glinted, when suddenly hundreds of male fireflies started their flights in the air. And while these living tiny stars formed up a very motile starry sky directly around the fox’s head, his brain refused its attentiveness. He closed his eyes and tried to listen to the sound of his forest, with one ear only. Silence, only an incidental rough nasty grunt of the old owl from far away, no wind and no other birds, neither singing nor fluttering around. The fox laid immovably on the ground, where the white, grainy and supple sand, still warm from the daily summer heat, smoothly cuddled his body. Two streams of ruby-colored blood meandered downward the hill. A third one filled up his closed eyeballs from outside and made them both resemble very tiny little ponds. From there they flowed off to the chalky sand, which drop by drop changed its color from wine red to ebony.

 

 Mushroom Man

 

He would only rest a little while and then continue his way, as this way was all he had, thus it needed to be continued in spite of his wounds. The fox’s front paws were strong, he knew they would bring him forward, step by step. But all of a sudden, he heard a fast rustle and crackles and a hoarse „hihihi“. And zap, a first ax blow, and zap, a second ax blow severed both of his hind legs.

 

 

P7250919a Kopie

 

 

„Hihihi, poor fox, you should have stayed, where you were, should have found a new way through another forest. You don’t belong here any more, hihihi, now see, what happened to you. You are dirty and full of parasites, you destroy the peaceful silence of our woods. You should have expected the woods beating back. Hihihi, but however I feel compassion with you, that’s how I am, my little heart is always filled up with too much sympathy. Hihi, your legs were both broken numerous times. You would have died by inflammations and blood poisoning….“. The fox opened his eyes and saw everything distorted and in red. His lungs lacked enough blood and thus he could scarcely breath. His tongue couldn’t form one word, and his whole body trembled, while his heart was beating irregularly and became louder and louder. Still no pain. „Good to know“, the fox thought, „that one can lose the ability to feel the pain“. And his eyeballs moved to all sides, searching for the mushroom man, whom they finally detected on top of an adjacent tree stump.

He was about as tall as the fox’s head, wore blue striped knee breeches and a wide green shirt with a yellowish necktie. His still young and reddish face lacked a dense beard growth, thus only some single grown long whiskers around his narrow mouth formed a fuzzy parody of a moustache and a goatee. His weird and curly brown protruding hair was intertwined with tiny withered leaves, while the upper part of his head covered by a flat, bulging and dried fruit body of a tree fungus as hat, almost hiding his crooked nose and his green narrow slit eyes. He giggled constantly, even when there was no reason at all to giggle. He giggled, because he considered generally all life a funny rhapsody. The fireflies dancing above his head. „Hihi,…“, he said, „this morning, I slew a too snoopy rat. I carefully eviscerated it, ate its tasty little heart and its vitamin-packed kidneys and draw off its fur, which I sew together into two elegant booties. I twirled its intestines to yarn, should be dried meanwhile, hihihi, …oh, you urgently need my treatment, can you hear me?“ The fox could only sigh, and saw the tiny man, stretching out his narrow chest, and standing there in his new hairy booties with his legs apart, seemingly hoping to appear that way much bigger than he was. „Hihihi,.. I’ll quickly pick up the yarn to suture your wounds, as I don’t want to see you bleed to death..“. And he disappeared, hectically hopping from one tree stump to the other, by keeping his balance with his extended skinny arms and his delicate slender fingers of both hands, alternately moving up and down.

The fox’s body was laying in a lake of blood and slowly attracted swarms of carrion flies, which he never saw flying at night, flying without any noise, no humming and no mumbling, it never was so silent in the fox’s life before. The moon had left the forest clearing, it became darker, and even the fireflies vanished without any trace from the scenery, instead only these legions of blackish carrion flies, buzzing around his head, without producing any noises, like an army of zombie souls of former flies, which already had died decades ago. The fox suddenly felt a short draught, then both of his thighbones were quickly grabbed and sewed up with the surrounding drooping lobes of meet. „Hihi, my old friend is saved, he won’t lose more blood, he will lick his wounds and survive. And see, I connected two small wooden wheels to each of your stumps“. And the mushroom man jumped with a nimble motion on the fox’s neck, with his tiny rat boots frenetically knocking against his bloody shoulders. „Hop, hop, hihi,..“, he said, „get up, trust in my navigation, stretch your shoulders, lift up your body, hihihi“. And the fox, feeling at least as dead as the clouds of zombie flies around him, tried his best to send signals via the neurons from his brain directly to both of his collapsed heart sacs and ordered them to beat. And, a miracle, they first twitched alternatingly, and then contracted faster and faster, bump, bump, bump, and the fox began to pant for oxygen, until the muscles of his forelegs received enough energy to finally and successfully fulfill their service. „hihi, yeah, walk like a fox, hihihi, one step after the other. You are doing it right, my friend, so right…“. And the fox walked forward, still slowly, but with his head courageously raised, while his hind body followed on squeaky wheels.

He left a lake of coagulating blood behind, at which all zombie flies lunged in their erroneous assumption to find dead meat underneath, where they could deposit their undead eggs. „Hihihi, well done, fox, now try to follow your path once again and then never come back. There is no space for foxes in this forest any more. I mean, all we inhabitants of these woods will always honor the good memory of you. But all kinds of external effects harmed our woods: the weather, the climate, the decrease of our species and the dispersal of foreign species from far away into our land, all these things have changed our habitat forever. It became dangerous for foxes, and we all became sensitive for their ticks, we all suffer from their diseases as never before, hihi“. With a slight jerk the fox threw his rider off. And with sticky blood around his tongue, he gurgled: „Do I have to be grateful to you now?“. And the mushroom man answered: „All I ever did was due to selflessness. Get well soon again. Your strong shoulders will always carry you. And I promise you that I will regularly send you a new set of handmade wheels to your foxhole, hihihi, there is only one thing I want to ask you for: You know that I am a passionate collector, hihi, leave me your hind legs, you don’t need them any more; hihi, I will prepare them to persist for hundreds of years; Future generations will study these of your remnants, and they will recognize that you once were a member of our community. Hihihi.“ And the fox, who now suddenly began to feel his pain all over his body, tried to respond, but a new surge of blood from his missing ear came into his mouth, and thus his answer was only a suffocated noise: „mpfff“. The mushroom man took the fox’s broken legs, which he had already covered with a blanket to repel the ghost flies, and nimbly disappeared without saying any other word.

 

Old Owl

 

The fox followed his path for a while with squeaking and rattling wheels. And always, when he felt exhausted and tried to rest, his entire body was filled up with a pain, which blazed like a flame inside his wounded body and forced him to continue. He never reached the big incrusted rock that stood far out in the forest landscape, the home of the old owl, which due to his enormous age was already for a long time unable to fly. His prey needed to move astray upward to his platform, where he sat inside a dome, formed by his own dried excrements. The owl couldn’t see any more, but his hearing was still exceptional. It helped him to localize his food and to hear all noises throughout the forest. What a useless ability in such a frightening silence, the fox thought.

Bravely and without complaints he slowly, but purposefully, with powerful steps of his forelegs, followed the sandy narrow path alongside the big snowberry hedge area; still no noise, and his still bloody eyes discolored his surrounding into red shades. Some of the undead carrion flies had followed him, but the many bats, whizzing lightning-fast through the air, discarded him accurately and silently from his somehow inanimate persecutors. His forward locomotion was a fight, and the fox thought that each forward direction is the most important aim in life, which always deserves all available investment. His badly wounded body begged for a rest, but he answered with more oxygen and panted with his widely opened mouth. He crossed the wet meadow, passed the birch grove and was on his way down to the rocky little valley, when he noticed that the wheels, which replaced both of his hind legs, tried to run faster than his paws could, it became an energy-sapping and tedious procedure. Finally down in the valley, there was a fork in his way. One path went further down to the stream, which at this point of the forest was already swollen into a little river, and continued along the riverbank, while the other led to the old owl’s rock. The fox didn’t know yet that he wouldn’t arrive at the lonely rock to talk to his former owl friend, but it was at least his intended destination, after a short rest at the waterside. His body entirely refused his service, and the fox needed water to quench his thirst and to carefully wash thoroughly his throbbing ear injury and finally to cool down his overheated head. The tight stony riverside welcomed him with a warm and humid air and the aromatic scents of marsh-marigold, water forget-me-not and ragged-robins. The moon had disappeared to the other side of the forest and thus, and the fox crouched down in the midst of a rather dark night scenery, interrupted by some single rays of light, which were wandering around.

When the fox was just in order to tilt his snout down to the water surface, at this point of the forest surprisingly calm and silent, a deep and croaking voice cut through the mysterious quietness of the forest: „Fox, I could hear the sound of your wheels, and I am very well informed about your misfortune, which is based on your own recklessness and stubbornness. Times have changed, fox, today, we prefer the silence. Your noise disturbed my trains of thought. I doubt that you’ll ever learn how to behave appropriately. Listen to my well intentioned advice. Get back to health soon, and when you then still think that this world was not fair to you, climb on the highest mountain, you can find, and then look down and see the minuteness of the world and the insignificance of all individual worries“. „I can’t climb up a mountain any more and I don’t think about fairness, only about survival and moving forward“, the fox thought, but couldn’t answer any more, as the weights of his wheel-apparatuses drew his hind body down into the water and his struggling paws couldn’t resist these forces at all, he fall.

 

River

 

The water was rather warm, and it smoothly washed around his sticky fur. The fox slowly drifted away, following the flow direction of the quiet river, and he did not oppose it. He felt weightless, and some occasional colder drifts from lower depths calmed his deep wounds. His eyes were clear again, and he saw extended reed beds passing by and even two sleeping swans, but both with an astonishing blackish plumage. The wood of his wheels increasingly swelled up due to the wetness, and after a while, both constructions broke coincidentally and came loose from the seams of his leg stumps. A relief, and soon, the fox noticed that he could even control his mutilated former hind legs, and he carefully began to paddle with his stumps, and seemingly thanks to the smooth and calming water, this caused him no pain at all any more. „An interesting phenomenon“, he thought, „first the shock prevented me from noticing the pain, which wounds would normally cause, then they appeared with delay and then unbearably heavy, while the later situation created an insensitivity again, an immunity based on a permanent stimulation, or was it a miracle? The river soon got wider, while the water flow was still surprisingly smooth. The reed beds were meanwhile replaced by carrs on both sides, mostly consisting of black alders. Again black swans. And even the mallards, sleeping on a tiny bald headland slope, seemed to have lost all colors. There was no audible, but visible active life: The moor frogs entirely replaced the water surface along the river banks. They submerged and emerged, a bustle consisting of heads, paddling legs and splashing water, all fully soundless.

The fox quickly learned performing meandering movements with his body, first barely noticeably, then always more confidently, and he paddled increasingly skillful with his leg stumps, moved them alternating up and down, until he found a stable rhythm, and lo and behold: he gathered speed, did not only float passively any more, but controlled his way with advancement and even a certain elegance. He then discovered the sideward rowing by turning his hind body slightly to one side that his hind-leg-rudders needed to change their angles and allowed him to swim a small circle, and even to stand against the soft water flow direction. He supported his maneuvers with courageous strokes of his paws, while the river made a sharp right turn. Shortly after, the fox lifted his head a bit above the water surface and blinked with his eyes, as if he was looking for a very tiny specific detail. And indeed, a greyish obstacle appeared in the near distance, coated with fumes, while the moon behind him generated billowing reflections on the body of water and irradiated the obfuscated tiny island.

The fox knew the little island very well and noted to his satisfaction that he was still on his way, another mode of locomotion, but yet the right direction. His maneuverability grew, and his sensation of pain decreased. And he turned around his own axis like a seal, but it was no expression of exuberance or recklessness, it was an expression of the awareness of new opportunities. Improvement instead of death, new advantages based on the woundings of his hurtful discrimination; and the fox puckered his mouth to a broad grin, he smiled at his own amazement, which seemed to be an amazement about the time in itself. About the last two single hours, standing fully against his entire life, which at least already had seen around 40.000 hours passing by; complete changes almost within a wink of an eye.

The closer he got to the island, the more it seemed released from its misty cover and presented a miniature landscape of tiny rocks, older conifers of a too small height, and it was covered with gloriously shining yellow blossoms of loosestrife flowers, softly illuminated by the last beams of an already very low standing moon. The small and sickle-shaped piece of land was a firm component of his daily route through the woods, which he usually passed via the narrow rabbit way on the opposite very close river bank. Thus its presence, meanwhile just ahead in front of his snout, was a proof for still being on the normal way, albeit under abnormal conditions; and with a certain satisfaction, he nodded imperceptibly with his head, which meanwhile had been sunken back down beneath the water surface.

His destination was the small gap of water between island and the rabbit trail ashore, where he planned a short rest, not from exhaustion any more, but to savor the mild fruity scent of the insular flowers, the deep flavor of the adjacent deep forest and the warm, somehow very complex, but also heavy smell of the water. When he arrived at his desired position, he could feel a network of roots closely beneath the water surface and could hold on the strongest of them with both of his remaining paws. The mere sight of the blooming loosestrife flowers awoke a warm and almost forgotten feeling of delight inside his head. The fox knew that blossoms of this beautiful plant, being colored like an golden hour evening sunlight, could differ from each other, depending on blooming in the shadow or being exposed to the daylight. Light bloomers owned a reddish-yellowish color shade and elongated pistills, while shadow bloomers were shining in a bright yellow shade with shorter pistills. Some flowers carried already seeds, and he saw a short and slight gust of wind blowing some of these rounded tiny capsules into the air, from where they slowly sailed down to the water. There, directly in front of the fox’s snout, they performed a quickly merry-go-round and then disappeared with the soft water flow.

 

Death

 

All of a sudden, something inexplicable changed about the normal working procedures of his internal organs, his heart flickered in a surreal fast motion, while his lungs remained fixed in their inhalation mode, and daylight and moonlight alternated within seconds, blossoms withered in the rhythm of several winks of his eyes. The fox’s fur colored from orange-red to a muddy deep-brown and shrank piecewise from his body. Seasons had imperceptibly changed and suddenly autumn laid in the air, the forest was ablaze with motley colors, while the tendrils of the underwater featherfoil plants all at once enclosed the meanwhile fully naked body of the fox and relentlessly dragged him slowly deeper and deeper. And before the fox completely disappeared in the depth, a bitter cold winter moon emitted misty light beams through the bald skeletons of trees.

 

 

P7250945a Kopie

 

 

The fox’s body came to lay between a rocky protrusion with a hook-shaped tree root around his neck, still embraced by dozens of featherfoil tendrils. He couldn’t feel nor could he hear any more, but he saw. The water was clear, and the ground deeply beneath his body, which now more and more began to decompose. A „You are dead“ whispered through his head, while his brain was surely still alive. And it fought against its decay with an unearthly power, which the fox never released before. And indeed, his heart at once began to beat again, his lungs suddenly demanded for air, and blood began to circulate throughout his almost fully rotten corpse. He tried to move, but he couldn’t, and then forced by a rapidly increasing respiratory distress, he grasped an adjacent hollow tube of a reed plant only with his snout, and carefully bit a piece out of its wooden wall, and then began to breathe, to slowly inhale his new life.

 

The tiny Tit

 

The time was passing in a fast motion speed, and then all at once fell back to its normal rhythm: The early summer approached, when the fox stepwise awoke to all his former life functions, he began to hear the far away bird’s twittering as a muffled noise, the crawling of mice along the riverbank, and he became hungry for the first time, since he had died. But he saw no other option than crying for help. His hoarse and broken voice mutedly sounded out of the on-air part of the reed tube, „help, help, I want to live“, but no one responded. And the fox fall asleep and dreamed of a forest under water, through which he swam like an elegant dolphin and was friendly welcomed by all animals of these surreal woods. He saw a community of harmony and a never before seen goodwill, when he suddenly woke up. He had slept over months, and now it was midsummer already, when the fox again cried for help. But this time, he unexpectedly received an answer from the other end of the tube. „Who are you?“, the tender voice of a bird asked. And the fox answered: „I was the decaying fox, but I want to survive, oh please give me food, I am hungry.“ The small penduline tit chirped amused in a language, which the fox did not understand. Then he said: „I am just a small bird, but I feel sorry for you and thus will try to provide you with everything I can, I need to impose one condition only, tell me about your life and tell me everything about the forest, I am still so young, make me understand the life that is expecting me here.“ The fox happily agreed and told the tit all he knew about the forest from times, in which most trees of today were still sprouts. In fact stories that he had heard himself by the old owl, stories about health and development. The tit was a passionate listener and captured a small grasshopper, which he carefully dropped into the tube opening, from where it directly landed in the fox’s throat.

 

 

P7250932a Kopie

 

 

Years passed by, and fox and tit were connected by a growing deep friendship, although they never saw each other. The fox’s body kept fixed by his fetters, but his naked skin was soon covered by a new fur in grey with white stains. And his hind limbs grew to fins, and if he hadn’t been tied up, he would have swum away like a seal. In the warm season, tit and fox met each other daily, with the bird always bringing a small insect or even an earthworm to their meetings; and the fox told him about his former friendship with the witch and about times, in which he used to offer the tiny mushroom man a ride on his back, and about the old owl, whom he provided with all kinds of things, which the old lazy-to-move bird couldn’t reach from around his rocky nest. And the tiny tit was so fascinated from hearing about older times and soon also from the fox’s warm and friendly voice that he fell in love with him and never looked for a bird mate, and in the winter time he only followed his migrating conspecifics as short as possible towards the warmer South. He was always the first penduline tit arriving back from the Mediterranean in early spring and then couldn’t wait to meet his friend at the still stable old reed-tube. The fox, who used to oversleep the winter time, then got his first food for the year, and the presence of his new friend warmed his almost decomposed heart, and he began to love him back. He loved him for his impartiality, his curiosity, his optimism and his lovely character, which made him begin a friendship with a dead fox, which he could not even see.

In the fourth year, it was early spring, the fox awoke from his hibernation and turned his head to the left, then to the right and even tried to bend it as far as possible to his underside, and what he saw did not resemble the weak body of a seal from the former year any more. All his muscles were enormously grown during the season of his inactivity, and he seemed almost be ready to break his bonds. Punctually he heard the voice of the tit, excited and full of a loving friendliness. He brought him the first worm that he could catch from a still frozen forest ground and twittered:“My dear and beloved fox, I missed you more than anything, and I couldn’t wait to meet you. Listen, so much happened, while you were sleeping and me being abroad. I heard it from the blackbird. The witch, who used to rear trumpet lichens around her teeth, which she considered the latest fashion for witches, became seriously sick, after a giant bird tick had bitten into her right butt cheek, when she was sitting on her wooden witches toilet. She became so weak that the lichens grew out of her mouth and covered her entire body until she almost could not move any more. She lost all control over her whirlwinds, which disappeared forever somewhere in the air. Flightless and unable to walk or to talk, she was lastly seen to crawl on her knees around a smelly pond, where she tried to chew on rotten algae, while her voice resembled the sounds of fire-bellied toads and moor frogs so much that even the old and blind grass frog mistook her with his aunt. It is a terrible tragedy, and the whole woods talked about it. But listen, fox, unfortunately also other things happened: Once, when the winter was especially cold, a lonesome wolf got lost into our forest, and the first, he met, was the mushroom man in his nasty winter clothes. He first took a ride on the wolf without asking for permission and lately even tried to cut off the wolf’s ear for his collection. But the tall loner couldn’t take a joke at all and devoured the tiny man with skin and hair and everything around.“ The bird’s voice became quieter with a very sad sound. „dear tiny friend“, the fox answered, „these people were part of my life, and thus I do not feel any malicious joy.“ And the tit responded: „It was sad to hear all that, my whole body was trembling, when the blackbird continued his stories. Finally the wolf couldn’t digest the gnarled little man and excreted him undigested and still alive. But he had shrank to the size of a mouse, his skin became green like a frog, and since that, he almost always hides inside his tree cave, as all rats of the forest had discovered him as a suitable prey. And that’s still not all I need to tell you. The friendly swallow from my neighborhood yesterday morning discovered the old owl fully enclosed by walls of its own guano, being obviously still very much alive inside, but nobody knows, how and where he would find his future food, but so far he fortunately didn’t stop to comment all incidents in the forest, just being less well audible. Fox, that’s not the forest, you were telling me about. How can I survive in such a rough and immoral world. Miseries everywhere…“.

 

Metamorphosis and Rebirth

 

The little tit felt as a stranger in his world and fearful saw the time passing, clinging to the only thing he had, the friendship with an invisible fox, which seemingly and hopefully was on his way to get back to a normal life ashore. The summer time had just begun, and one day, a somehow stronger water flow released the fox all of a sudden from his bonds, he first drifted away, far away and almost reached the wetlands with the witch’s house, until he got used in the water locomotion of a seal, from which his outer appearance almost didn’t differ at all any more; but then, hours later and due to vigorous movements of his hind leg fins, he arrived back at its tiny island, where he happily several times circled around, when he all of a sudden felt a pulling and drawing along his entire skin, and within one deep breath of air, his seal fur burst open from all sides, and the fox, who had already become a seal-like creature, molted back to a fox in the way a lizard or a snail would repel their old skin. His new fur appeared deep red and  clear, such an intense and shiny red, shinier and clearer than ever before he died as a fox. And the fox with hind leg stumps instead of fins crawled on shore, in order to finally see his new friend, after all these years, they had spent together, the fox in under-water bonds, the honest little tit ashore, on the other side of the tube: the only good soul he could find inside an increasingly evil surrounding, his new hope, which made him belief in the outstanding superiority of moral integrity. A new light in a malicious world. And the tit had desired nothing more than seeing his fox, his link to a better past and his hope for a bright future. But when the fox reached the outer part of the reed- tube, it was empty, nobody was waiting there. And the fox waited and waited and waited, but the tiny tit never came back, nor did they ever see again.

 

Epilogue

 

The wood fay visited the forest only once a hundred years. When she arrived this time, she flew along the river and sat down on an old tree stump, close to a tiny island, on which yellow blossoms in different shapes reflected a warm evening sun. While she enjoyed her rest, she discovered a lonely reed-tube, obviously dead since many years, on which a lonely little tit sat down with powerlessly hanging wings and waited. All other tits were busy with each other, only this one specimen stayed apart from everybody and seemed with sad eyes staring into the depth of the hollow tube. „What a beautiful little guy, so full of yearning and hope“, the fay thought, when suddenly an owl approached in flight and grabbed the tiny waiting tit, killed him with his giant beak and carried his lifeless bloody body away through the air. The fay couldn’t know that the owl was a son of the well known old owl, which meanwhile lived invisibly inside his guano cavity. But shocked by the unusual rudeness in a forest that she knew as a peaceful place from her last visit hundred years ago, she decided to stay for a while and to observe the changes that were going on. A week later, she discovered a very wondrous scenery. The most beautiful fox, she ever saw, with two ears of different sizes and with such vigorous hind legs, never ever seen on a fox, stood in front of the same reed-tube, and he waited there with tears in his eyes.

 

I will tell, and you will wonder, about the monstrous result of an ancient crime. But now the unaccustomed effort tires me, and, look, a poplar tree entices us with its welcome shade, and the turf yields a bed. I should like to rest here on the ground (Ovid’s metamorphoses: Orpheus sings Venus and Adonis).

 

“Bring me the two most precious things in the city,” said god to one of his angels; and the angel brought him the leaden heart and the dead bird. “You have rightly chosen,” said god, “for in my garden of paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the happy prince shall praise me.” (Oscar Wilde, the happy prince)

 

 

Copyrights of text and all paintings: Stefan F. Wirth, Berlin July 2020

Paintings: in tempera colors on canvas

 

 

 

When elbows are used in the world of science

I was part as acarologist and natural scientist in a 2011 scientific paper about a mite preserved as fossil in amber, which was analyzed using the X-ray computed tomography and determined systematically on a family level. In this time, this scientific publication had a remarkable impact in international scientific media, because it seemed, as if this mite was the smallest animal ever visualized via CT on a high quality level.

 

Strange behaviors of so called „colleagues“?

 

The technical work was performed by technical scientists in Manchester UK. The natural scientific analyses was performed by me as the only European specialist for the mite family Histiostomatidae. But I noticed already in the time period of  this publication that there were strict tendencies by the so called „colleagues“ to mention my name as less as possible, this concerned the drafting of international media releases and also a poster presentation (my name was added days later) and an online abstract on a conference in Berlin. The corresponding poster was even awarded, but I got my award certification only after demanding explicitly for it. I much later, when I decided to complain officially at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Berlin, needed to learn that I was not even considered as one of the first authors. I didn’t notice that before, because the former „colleague“, Dr. Jason Dunlop, curator at this museum, was mentioned in the original citation with 1) after his name, me too. Thus I interpreted this as a double-first-author-ship. It then came out that the „1)“ only indicated the same scientific address, because I was in that time officially a volunteer at the MFN in Berlin.

 

Mite in an amber fossil, made visible by using the x-ray computed tomography, acarological work: Stefan F. Wirth

 

The work of a scientific specialist: here an acarologist

 

The question must be: Who is needed to scientifically interpret three dimensional photos of an amber fossil, in this case the deutonymph of a mite of the Histiostomatidae? A specialist for this taxon is needed, who is able to perform scientific drawings, based on the photos. He first needs even to decide, which of the photos are showing details of scientific relevance. While drawing, the specialist must distinctly recognize single microscopic structures, so that all these structures can be clearly separated from each other including all borders or gaps between single components. The scientific term is „homologisation“. Homologisation means: comparing single structures with (phylogenetically) equivalent structures of other (related) species. As there were not more fossils available, the homologisations needed to be based on recent mites. Thus the specialist must have a very competent knowledge of a high number of species from this family. To reach that level requires hard work over many years. I had the necessary level and found character details in the fossil, which were fitting to recent members of mites of the Histiostomatidae. But it’s of course not enough to discover such homologous structures. They must be made visible for every reader of the scientific paper. Thus the drawings need to be correctly labelled, which requires careful morphological studies. Then a detailed description needs to be written. But that is far not enough. Readers of a scientific paper are usually no specialists. That’s why they need a written introduction, in which the summary of the general recent knowledge of a mite group needs to be presented. And after all that they even expect you to discuss your results. It’s an own chapter, subsequent to the result descriptions.

The discussion chapter also requires a maximum of specialized competence. Some researchers even say that this is the first part of a paper that they read as it puts the results into a general scientific context based on arguments, mostly according to the principle of the most economical explication. Conclusions in the discussion part have usually the character of theories based on the facts, which the paper could contribute. Topics of a discussion part in such a paper as ours are systematic conclusions, the discussing of homologisation problems and also the formulation of a possible relevance for the recent scientific knowledge and also the future scientific importance of these new findings.

This all is, what I as a specialist needed to do. I additionally contributed one of my photos of a recent mite for comparative reasons and captured a stereomicroscopic photo of the mite fossil to demonstrate, how much the CT could improve the visible details of the amber fossil. I guess I did quite a lot, the other part was overtaken by the technical colleagues in Manchester. They needed to explain their technical situation and also needed to discuss their ideas about the meaning of their CT-technology for the future of science, focussed also on work with amber fossils.

 

Contributions of different authors to a scientific paper

 

To be honest I don’t remember, where there was still space left for content issue contributions by Dr. Dunlop. But he did some organizational stuff, he collected the contributions from the UK colleagues and me, he arranged the photo table via a graphic software based on the photos, which I had determined as scientifically relevant, and he was the so called corresponding author (I allowed him, because he is an English native speaker). That means, he submitted the final paper to the journal and communicated with the editors. Of course reviewers always ask for revisions. That was then mine and the technicians job again.

It is common that corresponding authors represent automatically the first authors of a paper. But it is not mandatory. I for example once was the corresponding author of a paper, which was based on a bachelor thesis that I (in major parts) supervised. I despite of my in fact major authorship regarding the scientific paper itself and my additional corresponding activities let her (the student) the first authorship. That even means that this paper can be easier found, when searching for her instead of my name. I just wanted to support a younger scientist.

And of course also a double first-authorship might be possible, especially representing  an adequate solution, in case another author even contributed more concerning the scientific content itself. In case of objections by the editors, the one, who contributed more, should to be the first author.

 

„B-word“?

 

But to come back to the amber paper of this article, it is surely not fair to reduce the scientist, who had the major scientific work on a paper secretly to a second author. It is highly unfair to leave him out in the international press release information. And I don’t trust to say here, what it is, when deleting his name entirely from a poster and an online abstract presentation and even impeding him to get a certification of a poster award in time for his work. Should one use the „b-word“? Generally bullying would be an act against the good scientific practice, but there would be clear proofs for malevolence against specifically somebody needed to get corresponding behaviors sanctioned. But when „only“ the elbow mentality is obvious, which means that people leave somebody out for their own better recognition, then the distinct malevolence against the victim is not clearly proven. Thus the interesting question arises: when is elbow behavior equal to bullying and when not?

 

Warning to young scientists

 

What I can say for sure is, even when the original bullying assumption is still a kind of questionable: after you complained, you might need to expect a real merciless and long lasting bullying. That’s why I intend to warn all young scientists: be careful and double check, with whom you cooperate. The wrong choice can be a failure as long as you do not agree being a bullying victim. The consequences can last over years and can destroy your whole career. I even once was told by a bullying victim that the accused institution did not even deny its bullying activities, but stated that depending of the kind of position, somebody has in an institute, an equality right would not be automatically existent. I go further and say: don’t become a natural scientist at all, except you are in a love relationship with an internationally highly influential professor.

In these days there are alternatives for possible natural scientists. Earlier I was a harsh critic of the modern gender sciences (sometimes also named genderism). But they have much financial capacities. Nobody there needs to sharpen his elbows, a good basis for fair careers, and based on that after a while surely also the most important basis for a good quality work!

 

Copyrights Stefan F. Wirth, Berlin 2019

 

„Me-too“-debate and documentation-film „Leaving Neverland“ – is medieval sentencing without any trial the newest step into our modern future of social interacting?

When a person was illegally harmed, then I expect him or her as the victim of a crime in most imaginable cases being immediately aware of something having being undoubtfully wrong, independent of the victim’s age. There might be cases and reasons, such as for example shame that can prevent an official accusation made by the victim, for a while.

But remembering serious sexual crimes only decades later, exactly, when the career is unstable enough to need a major attention, then doubts should be advised.

 

Documentary „Leaving Neverland“, a witch-hunt?

 

The 2019 documentary film „Leaving Neverland“ by the British director and producer Dan Reed is actually capturing a major attention after it was presented at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25 in 2019. The co-production between the UK Channel 4 and the US Home Box Office (HBO), presents the alleged stories of two men: Jimmy Safechuck, who performed as child in a Pepsi commercial with Michael Jackson and Wade Robson, a today dancer and choreographer. They both claim to have been over years repeatedly sexually abused by the King of Pop.

 

michael_jackson_in_1988

Singer and performer Michael Jackson again accused of paedophilia, a modern witch-hunt? Photo-rights: German Wikipedia

 

Michael Jackson won all trials against accusations of paedophilia. No indications towards sexual crimes remained. Let’s say except of the unusual and for some people’s eyes bizarre life-style and look of the singer and performer, who very obviously simply liked children in legal and natural way. In his most famous music video, „Thriller“, he appeared as a monster. Obviously the monster that so many conservative, intolerant and uninspired people want to see, even today. The modern trends of an exuberant extreme-feminism contributes to these monster-desires. Some of these hardliners generally fight for an anti-male-agenda. All males are suddenly monsters with uncontrollable sexual pressures, which they permanently practise against everything and everybody. And if they want to imagine a superlative of all these monsters everywhere, then Michael Jackson fulfills enough clichés to act as a convincing monster, even years after his death.

 

aerial-neverlandranch2-28-08

Aerial photography of Jackson’s „Neverland-Ranch“, photo-rights: German Wikipedia

 

The reaction of the „US Weekly“-journalist Mara Reinstein is absolutely according of very modern ideas of justice, it’s all about, what you feel, not what you know. Best is, when it’s against males and somehow in context with sexual accusations. That’s why she informed the world via her Twitter-account, how sick she felt in her stomach after watching the premiere of part 1 of the documentary, and how very credible the victims were coming off. I wish Mrs. Reinstein a very speedy recovery, and I think she is a very great role model, when it’s all about credibility.

 

#MeeToo, a modern (male) witch-hunt?

 

Since mid October 2017 a special hashtag overwhelmed the world: #MeToo. Suddenly countless famous male film-makers and artists became victims of sexual-abuse-accusations, using the same patterns mentioned above. But is the term „victim“ always correct in that context? Yes it is. Does that mean that all accusations were false accusations? Unfortunately not. But all modern legal systems (at least in occidental countries) require a trial, which judges against the accused. Judgements in the run-up to a court hearing or even without any court hearing at all are illegal, and in the worst case make a perpetrator as culprit indeed to a victim.

 

Character assassination and bullying!

 

When normal people and not a court judge somebody’s alleged crimes with existential consequences for that person, which are irreversible even after a later non-guilty-sentencing by a court, then this needs to be named: character assassination! It is a moral offence, which is also often called bullying, an offence, which is mostly not considered liable to prosecution, incredibly!

 

Witch-hunt in the Middle-Ages

 

From the biological point of view, humans are not as social as they are supposed to be. Almost all human skills that differ us from other Great Ape species evolved in smaller populations. Homo sapiens is until today not perfectly adapted in living in extreme big and complexe communities. Specific behavioral characters, evolved in prehistoric times, appear under modern conditions even more distinctive. These are laziness, egoism and unscrupulousness.

 

lossy-page1-800px-sprenger_-_malleus_maleficarum,_1669_-_beic_9477645.tiff

Malleus Maleficarum, „Hammer of Witches“, treatise on witchcraft by Henricus Institoris, photo-rights: German Wikipedia

 

Dangerous and sinister characters from the medieval period even towards the early modern times, exactly knew, how to make use of these unfavourable human behavioral tendencies. When for example the German churchman Henricus Institoris, better known as inquisitor Heinrich Kramer, in the late 15th century began to sow hatred between German families, friendships, neighbors and cohabitants, then he just needed a quite simple strategy to successfully perform his hysteric witch-hunt: When he arrived in a city or a village, he asked for denunciations. And he got stacks of them, what easy way it was to get rid of a competitor, an unbeloved family member or an uncooperative rich elderly lady. To officially accuse them as witchcraft was all they needed to do in order to eliminate their own people. When the real switch is pressed, humans can unfortunately still easily forget all mercy,  solidarity and humanity.

We don’t need witch-hunts in our 21th century!

 

Berlin, January 2019. Copyrights Stefan F. Wirth