The professional anti-cancel forces are at it again, turning a dubious case into a morality play.
Some cancels may be genuinely unjust. When an exec has been following the CURRENT rules all the time, and gets fired for failing to predict TODAY’S craziness 30 years in advance, it’s unjust. But as my father pointed out in the ’60s with Commie firings, there’s usually a personal reason hiding behind the official accusation. Univ president can’t officially fire a prof because he dislikes him, but can fire him for being a Commie.
In this case there’s no presentism at all and no need to read between the lines. Sabatini was running a cult-like lab this year knowing this year’s rules, with happy hours and whisky-tasting sessions leading to the predictable results. He was doing the Steve Jobs thing, just like Elizabeth Holmes, expecting 24-hour obedience on all levels.
The Holmes case should make us suspicious of this type even if we don’t know the full situation. Defending saints who turn out to be monsters is embarrassing. I’ve done it and I don’t like the aftertaste.