Friday, May 23, 2008

Tough Math

Back in 1992, Mattel had a controversy on their hands when Teen Talk Barbie said "Math Class is Tough." Today we hear about the difficulty of mathematics about another woman, this one running for president.
"She has fought a very energetic race, but the math just isn't there." (Tim Russert on MSNBC)

"She's mounted an extraordinarily impressive and tough campaign," said Steve Grossman, a Massachusetts superdelegate and pledged Clinton supporter. "The math is tough. Most people think the math is virtually impossible." (Boston Herald)

Obama chief strategist David Axelrod said whichever way the Clinton camp spins it, "the math is the math." (AFP)

The Clintons' War Against the Math (ABC News)

and many more.

What is our beloved field of mathematics doing to poor Hillary? Of course "math" does not describe the technical delicacies of the field, but rather to remark that in the end the nomination goes to the candidate with a majority of delegates and given the current delegate status the probability that Obama will not achieve that majority is quite low. The term "math" is also being used as a logical game-stopper—no one can make 1+1=3 no matter how hard they try.

"Math" gets played by the media as a cruel and heartless monster that many believe Hillary Clinton cannot defeat, rather than the the beautiful and ever growing field of knowledge that we love and respect.

Or maybe, as John Dickerson suggests, another scientific field now applies.

The race for the Democratic nomination…now feels like a quantum physics problem: How long can a body exist in a state approximating motionlessness without actually stopping?


  1. Now we know why there are so few women in computer science.

  2. Now we know why there are so few women in computer science.

    It's true! Pointing out that a candidate, who happens to be female, has basically lost when they clearly have is deeply sexist.

  3. Screw off, women can do anything men can do and i know plenty of down right awesome females who could kick your ass in math any day.

    sexist fools.