Now THIS Is The Streisand Syndrome: The Strange Saga Of Professor Bruce Hay

You have to go to the links; I can’t do justice to this story without giggling. Primarily, I want to highlight this epic mess because it’s the best example of the Streisand Effect ever, a situation where an attempt to seek redress for an alleged smear brings more publicity to negative details about the supposed victim far beyond  anything the original conduct could have. To make the fiasco more juicy still, here is a Harvard Law professor revealing himself as an utter fool, and engaging in a frivolous—that is, unethical— attempt to use “sexual harassment” to apply to “you used your feminine whiles to manipulate me, and I fell for it.”

Sexual harassment doesn’t mean that.

The hilariously baroque story involves…

This sentence from the ABA story tips you off to what’s ahead:

Hay was embroiled in an “escalating legal conflict” with the women, “facilitated by individuals who had an interest in driving them apart,” according to Hay’s suit. Although he came to think that he was a victim of the women, Hay says, he later realized that he was mistaken.

Wait, what? Never mind…you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Read the whole story here, and the legal analysis  here.

A few thoughts:

  • The professor has brought public embarrassment on his employers, not that Harvard University doesn’t deserve it.
  • Americans pay immense amounts of money to have their offspring educated by strange people like Hay. If they knew how strange, they would be more careful. Thanks to Hay, many of them will be enlightened.
  • Think about Hay the next time someone appeals to authority by quoting a Harvard professor.
  • To be fair and kind, it seems quite possible that the professor is in the midst or some kind of breakdown, or one of the great mid-life crises of all time.
  • A digression: why do the photos of people who do irrational things so frequently look like photos of people who do irrational things? Does it just seem that way because of confirmation bias? Would I have looked at the photo of Hay above and thought, “Yeah, I’d move away from that guy on the subway” if I hadn’t read about him?  Do crazy people tend to look crazy? Is it unethical to give credence to a little voice in your brain that says, “Oh-oh…I don’t like the look in her eye”? Our first Jack Russell, Dickens, had a diabolical, crazy streak. He had a look, and when my wife or I saw it, we were wary. It wasn’t our imagination.

18 thoughts on “Now THIS Is The Streisand Syndrome: The Strange Saga Of Professor Bruce Hay

  1. I’m still…. not entirely…. sure I understand the plain language of what happened here. I’ll take a shot at it;

    Hay got into a messy confrontation with a couple. He was approached by a reporter to act as a source on a story about that interaction. He collaborated on the story, and then was disappointed because it painted the stereotypically progressive trans-lesbian couple as a stereotypically progressive trans-lesbian couple, and him as a rube. So he’s alleging sexual harassment based on a New York employment law that almost certainly doesn’t apply because his collaboration wasn’t employment, in the hopes that magical things like the story unwriting itself and the world forgetting about the dirty laundry he collaborated in airing happens?

    • He collaborated on the story, and then was disappointed because it painted the stereotypically progressive trans-lesbian couple as a stereotypically progressive trans-lesbian couple, and him as a rube.

      He was disappointed because he painted them as predators and con-artists and himself as a rube, and she believed him.

      On another note, as a law professor teaching civil procedure, his pro-se complaint should be punishable by immediate termination. No judge should be subjected to this. Won’t somebody please think of the judges?

      • Great point regarding rejecting the complaint for being too long, way too long. I guess he’s never heard of notice pleading even though he teaches Civil Procedure? Clearly, the guy is an Asperger’s sufferer. Doubtless a good feature for a successful academic needing to become expert in something or other.

          • Oh it’s simple! A lesbian seduced a professor, got pregnant – blamed the professor (real paternity uncertain), forged a lease and stole the professor’s ex-wife’s house, and filed a rape claim with the professor’s employer. All in reward for the professor helping the lesbian’s spouse professionally.

            Oh, and she apparently did this before, with multiple children and alleged father’s (paternity disproven in some).

            On a related note, I cannot read the professor’s lawsuit without getting a headache, so have no idea what’s going on there. Apparently he felt insulted being called the most gullible man in Cambridge? But the story was otherwise completely fair to him, showing him confronting an absurd situation with utter befuddlement, and trying to do right by his alleged “extra”-extramarital child (because apparently he was still having kids with his ex-wife).

  2. Wow. I tried reading the complaint. (Do you suppose some clerk of that court has read the entire thing? Some poor litigation associate has read the entire thing and had to draft a responsive pleading? Sacre bleu!) The only thing that comes to mind is Dostoyevsky (not one of my favorite authors). “Baroque” is the word.

    And how did a clinically depressed, somewhere on the autism spectrum, survivor of child sexual abuse get tenure at HLS rather than being encouraged to get professional mental health help?

  3. Re: his looks. He looks like one of those creepy Guy Fawkes masks the Anonymous people wear. (What ever happened to them?)

    Of course we’re supposed to take cues from how people look. It’s called “a survival instinct.” Anyone who denies this is denying millennia of human behavior and adaptation thereto.

    • Precisely. There’s a reason we evolved an uncanny ability to spot microscopic “tells” in order to detect flawed personalities. Once a species starts to rely on cooperation to survive, rooting out the ones who can’t be “team players” is absolutely essential. We no longer rely on the law of the jungle to deal with such cases, but the brain retains the ability to identify them from the tiniest clues.

      Also, the photo above is obviously from a professional shoot, and he still looks like a maniac. Imagine how he must come across in a more casual encounter…

      • Oh trust me, Benj, most people, certainly the woke among them, consider me nothing BUT judgmental. Hah! Roman Catholic upbringing, I guess. My least favorite bumper sticker is probably “Be Kind.” Retch.

        • We used to celebrate men with discriminating tastes. I think we’ll be bringing that fashion back. “Stupid people look stupid” is an idea that can be suppressed only so long.

          You should hear the Millennial and Generation Z Catholic zealots I’ve met under our local statue seriously discussing physiognomy. It’d warm your heart. They’re so young! Maybe not enough for a resistance army, but enough to reclaim the Earth after whatever inevitable catastrophe befalls us.

          • There are young Catholics? This is my shocked face.

            Nowadays, only gay guys can get away with being discriminating and having discriminating tastes right out in the open. For them, it’s okay. Not for everyone else.

            • I’m enduring the stares from masked cretins while I shop unmasked and training myself to be okay with not being okay. It’s liberating. After only a few repetitions, their shocked, diapered faces are actually amusing. Sometimes I even laugh at them openly. All this time we were hoping for their approval. Now that they’re calling men women and saying 2 +2 = 5, we should aggressively ostracize anyone they don’t sufficiently revile. Let my whole person emanate refined discrimination from my parted hair to my leather-soled feet, and let them burn with the fury of one who knows and resents his own inferiority.

              It sounds harsh, but it’s probably the first step in their recovery, if such a thing is even still possible. Regardless, the healthiest thing we can do is simply choose not to be demoralized and ignore all of their irrelevant moral panics (up to that point when self preservation demands they be shot, of course).

              I wonder if moving about as a functioning society, simply stepping around them when they hurl themselves down to writhe in our paths, would make them shrivel away like salted slugs.

  4. I read through both articles and it’s kind of like reading a novel where the bad guys keep doing worse and worse, more and more atrocious things. In the novel, though, finally the heroes of the story will gather their forces to act and ultimately thwart the villains.

    Here, it seems like we are still in the first half of the story, where these people keep doing their worse and worse deeds.

    If I understand the current complaint and law suit, thought, it sounds as though this professor has totally lost it. All those poor kids are probably the true victims — most of the so-called adults in the story are going to deserve whatever ultimately happens, I’d say. The children, though, are being treated as objects and pawns. *sigh*

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