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Don’t Heed the Haters: Albert Einstein’s Wonderful Letter of Support to Marie Curie in the Midst of Scandal
“If the rabble continues to occupy itself with you, then simply don’t read that hogwash, but rather leave it to the reptile for whom it has been fabricated.”
Few things are more disheartening to witness than the bile which small-spirited people of inferior talent often direct at those endowed with genius. And few things are more heartening to witness than the solidarity and support which kindred spirits of goodwill extend to those targeted by such loathsome attacks.
In 1903, Marie Curie (November 7, 1867–July 4, 1934) became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. It was awarded jointly to her and her husband, Pierre, for their pioneering research on radioactivity. On April 19, 1906, she was widowed by an accident all the more tragic for its improbability. While crossing a busy Parisian street on a rainy night, Pierre slipped, fell under a horse-drawn cart, and was killed instantly. Curie grieved for years.
In 1910, she found solace in Pierre’s protégé — a young physics professor named Paul Langevin, married to but separated from a woman who physically abused him. They became lovers. Enraged, Langevin’s wife hired someone to break into the apartment where the two met and steal their love letters, which she promptly leaked to the so-called press. The press eviscerated Curie and portrayed her as “a foreign Jewish homewrecker.”
Upon returning from a historic invitation-only science conference in Brussels, where she had met Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879–April 18 1955), Curie found an angry mob in front of her home in Paris. She and her daughters were forced to stay with a family friend.
Einstein considered Curie “an unpretentious honest person” with a “sparkling intelligence.” When he got news of the scandal, he was outraged by the tastelessness and cruelty of the press — the tabloids had stripped a private situation of all humanity and nuance, and brought it into the public realm with the deliberate intention of destroying Curie’s scientific reputation.
A master of beautiful consolatory letters and a champion of kindness as a central animating motive of life, Einstein wrote to Curie with wholehearted solidarity and support, encouraging her not to give any credence to the hateful commentaries in the press. The letter, found in Walter Isaacson’s terrific biography Einstein: His Life and Universe (public library), is a testament to the generosity of spirit that accompanied Einstein’s unparalleled intellect — a masterwork of what he himself termed “spiritual genius.”
Einstein, who would later remark that “Marie Curie is, of all celebrated beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted,” writes:
Highly esteemed Mrs. Curie,
Do not laugh at me for writing you without having anything sensible to say. But I am so enraged by the base manner in which the public is presently daring to concern itself with you that I absolutely must give vent to this feeling. However, I am convinced that you consistently despise this rabble, whether it obsequiously lavishes respect on you or whether it attempts to satiate its lust for sensationalism! I am impelled to tell you how much I have come to admire your intellect, your drive, and your honesty, and that I consider myself lucky to have made your personal acquaintance in Brussels. Anyone who does not number among these reptiles is certainly happy, now as before, that we have such personages among us as you, and Langevin too, real people with whom one feels privileged to be in contact. If the rabble continues to occupy itself with you, then simply don’t read that hogwash, but rather leave it to the reptile for whom it has been fabricated.
With most amicable regards to you, Langevin, and Perrin, yours very truly,
Shortly after the scandal, Curie received her second Nobel Prize — this time in chemistry, for her discovery of the elements radium and polonium. To this day the only person awarded a Nobel Prize in two different sciences, she endures as one of humanity’s most visionary and beloved minds. The journalists who showered her with bile are known to none and deplored by all.
Complement with Kierkegaard on why haters hate and Anne Lamott’s definitive manifesto for how to handle them, then revisit Mark Twain’s witty and wise letter of support to Helen Keller when she was wrongly accused of plagiarism and Frida Kahlo’s compassionate letter to Georgia O’Keeffe after the American painter was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown.
Credit: Brain Pickings
FLAT OUT CURSED
A GAME/BOOK HYBRID.
7:00AM. Nothing can be heard except the ticking of the town’s clock. While you could admire the beauty of the morning sun or the amazing and calm view of Fighter’s Street, the one thing that stands out is the silence.
We should enjoy it while it lasts…
Ah yes, truly beautiful, but our story here, is far from silent and calm; it’s a mouthful actually.
You could even say that this story is flat out cursed…
7:13 AM. Still silence, but at 7:15 the first few people are waking up.
When the town clock reached 7:15AM the clock began to ring.
Let’s pay attention to this one person, mumbling something upon hearing the loud ringing.
The clock rings louder.
The person is mumbling louder and pulls on their bedsheets.
The clock rings one final time, the loudest way possible.
DRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING! WAKE UP YOU BUNDLE OF INCAPABLES!
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” the person in the bed, pulls out his bedsheets completely and throws them onto the wall.
“GOD DAMN IT!”
Another sleepless night for this person. Having the same nightmare again and again, day and night. This person is 16-year-old John Katherin, emerging from the pits of insomnia.
“Happy Birthday to me… Let’s try to make this day as… acceptable as possible.”
TASK: FIND YOUR CLOTHES.
TIP: SEARCH IN YOUR CLOSET.
John walks up to the window. You can see a giant wall blocking the view from the window. The wall has a giant campaign poster glued onto it. Some glue still drips from it.
John walks up to his bedside cabinet. He checks inside.
You found the dusty toothbrush.
John walks up to his closet. He checks inside.
You found the Shabby Outfit.
TASK: PUT ON YOUR CLOTHES.
TIP: GO INTO YOUR STATUS MENU AND SELECT THE ARMOR TAB.
You check the Shabby Shirt.
Shabby Shirt: DEF -1
This shirt, like many things, used to be better.
You check the Shabby Pants
Shabby Pants: DEF 0
These pants aren’t actually that shabby. At least they don’t sink your defense.
You check the Shabby Socks
Shabby Socks: DEF 1
John’s stomach rumbles.
“Ugh…Should probably go get something to eat. Am i still broke?”
TASK: CHECK YOUR WALLET.
John checks his wallet.
“5G?! Wow, I’m not broke anymore.
Let’s go to the bakery then!”
TASK: GO OUTSIDE.
TIP: THERE’S A DOOR IN YOUR ROOM, YOU KNOW?
John leaves his apartment.
You can see the mildly beautiful view of Fighter’s Street.
It seems like an adventure is going to unfold.
An adventure about a croissant, entering your mouth, being chewed into little bits and being swallowed to finally reach your stomach.
This adventure begins now.
TASK: GO INTO THE BAKERY.
TIP: LOOK IN FRONT OF YOU.
Nobody’s in sight, strange since the chiming of the clock was as loud as the honking of cars on a highway.
John enters the bakery, and goes to the cashier.
“Hello Ms. Boulang.”
“Hey, John. What do you wanna buy?”
“A croissant, please.”
“Hot or cold?”
She pulls out a croissant from a refrigerator and uses a hair dryer to heat it.
“So how’s your day so far?”
“Pretty bad. Didn’t really sleep last night. Having the nightmare about you know what.”
“Ugh…This was 5 years ago, John. Forget about it.”
“Did you get a job?”
“No… I’m pretty sure you knew that already.”
“John, you can’t keep living like that. If you don’t get a job soon, you’ll probably be evicted from your apartment. How did you even still not get evicted?”
“I threw an egg on the landlord’s house and told him that it was a winged bear with throwing egg super powers. He’s scared of three things: Wings, Bears and Eggs. I told him that i’ll keep it away from him, if i can stay in the apartment without paying for at least one year.”
“You know the year is almost over, right?”
“…Yeah. Well, if i’m lucky i can find a flying bear with egg throwing abilities and keep it as a pet.”
“You can’t keep living like that, you know?”
“Yes, i can.”
She finished heating up the croissant.
“Here you go. 2,50G please.”
“Here you go.”
John puts 2,50 G on the counter.
“Wait, isn’t it your birthday today?”
“Alright. Bye John!”
“Bye Ms. Boulang.”
As John was about to leave he saw a man, or more of a shady figure. He ignored him at first but noticed that he had a weapon on him. A gun to be precise. He wanted to sneak up behind him and maybe hit him with one of his shoes, but he knew this was too risky. What if this guy is part of this town’s mob? Turf wars have been happening left and right here on Fighter’s Street. You wouldn’t want to get mixed up in all of that.
John left the bakery and went back to his house.
The man in the bakery pulls out the gun on Ms. Boulang, he also pulls out a bag.
“I want the money in here, please.”
As he said that you can hear the sound of a window breaking.
“What was that?”
You can hear a splotch on the ground.
Finally, a creature with a head floating above its body jumps through the window of the bakery.
“I’m not paying the repair bills.”
“HUH?!” reacted the shady one and Ms. Boulang.
“Yes, i know. My pants are pretty shabby, but hey, at least it gives them a unique look right?
Anyway, i heard from Santa that a naughty boy with a pew pew machine was going into a bakery to rob someone. Wow, what kind of idiot robs a bakery for money? You rob one for the food, ya idiot!”
“WHO ARE YOU?!” asked the shady one.
“I’m called by a lot of names, but i won’t waste time like that Spider hero in this one movie.
I’ll just have you know my name through violence.”
The creature pulls out a stick from his bulky hat and slaps the shady figure with it.
“SLAPSTICK! GET IT?! IT’S FUNNY! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”
His laugh becomes physical and starts to hit the shady person.
“ENOUGH FROM THIS CLOWN!”
The shady figure shoots with his gun at Slapstick, but the bullet just bounces off and hits the shady figure’s shoe.
“Get a HOLE of this.”
Slapstick pulls out a hole from his hat and places it under the shady robber.
The shady robber falls into the hole and it seems that he can’t escape the hole.
“Oh, did you look into a mirror?”
“YOU FOOL! I KNEW YOU WOULD COME!”
“It’s my job after all!”
The shady figure transforms himself into an alien.
“Wow, this is pretty random.”
The Alien rises from the hole using a jetpack.
“MUAHAHAHA! I am Count Dred Blek! Conqueror of planets, master strategist and-”
“Wait, let me guess. Cliché villain with a giant army of incompetents backing him up?”
“……QUIET! I have been searching for this mask for years and you clown are wearing it right now! GIVE IT TO ME AND I MAY MAKE YOU MY RIGHT-HAND MAN!”
(You could choose now, but since this is the good boy route, we’ll just do that you won’t accept the offer.)
“This is the most cliché thing to say, ar- are you sure you’re not a cliché super villain.”
“SHUT UP! BLEK MINIONS, ATTACK HIM!”
“You literally called them Blek Minions?
Well, time for a real wallop.
FIGHT BEGINS! *DRING DRING*
*Press Z on the blocks to do stuff.
(Now i’m just assuming what you would do)
*Attack -> Special -> Headball.
*Press Z repeatedly to dribble.
*Your head bounces of the walls it hurts the enemies but will hurt you too, dodge it!
Enemies: LONG LIVE THE GUY WHO PAYS US!
The enemies form a pyramid and throw their lances at you.
Attack -> Normal -> Hammer
*Keep your finger pressed on Normal -> Punch
You approach the enemies to punch them. Press Z repeatedly to fill up the Punch Gauge.
You got 10 Star Points and a Lance.
“Wow, your troops are useless.”
“SILENCE! You will give me this mask at once!!!!!1111!!!”
“Then I’m gonna force you to give it to me. Uhm… If you don’t give it to me, i’ll uhm… DESTROY an… uhm… I’M GONNA DESTROY A BAKERY!
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“Oh yes i would.”
“I’ll make you eat those words!”
Slapstick throws a hammer at Dred Blek.
Dred Blek catches the hammer and throws it at Slapstick.
This causes the mask to break off Slapstick’s face.
Slapstick transforms into a human.
The human covers his face with a shabby piece of cloth.
“You-YOU-YOOUUUUUU! YOU IDIOT! YOU BROKE THE MASK!
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?!”
“Heheh, that you won’t be able to have superpowers anymore?”
“NO! I HAVE TO COLLECT THE POWERS OF THIS MASK ACROSS MULTIPLE UNIVERSES YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SHI-”
“Hey, why not tell me about your evil plan if I’m going to die anyway?”
“Oh, uhm… OF COURSE.
As Dred Blek explains his evil plan which is as cliché as himself, the human, still covering his face with cloth escapes with a piece of his mask.
Dred Blek notices and goes away using some sort of teleportation device.
The human goes back to his apartment, and lays himself on his bed, throwing the piece of cloth away, since he doesn’t have to hide his identity anymore, even if going into your apartment kinda reveals your identity, but every story has a plot hole, right?
“Ugh…my days as Slapstick are gone, now. Well, it was fun while it lasted.”
This human reveals himself to be John Katherin.
Yes, big plot twist, I know.
“Welp, seems like i’ve got no more friends… I can die a normal person knowing i did something good once. Time to get a job, go back to studying and-”
Suddenly, his eyes go from brown to green.
John hears a voice inside his head.
“YOU IDIOT! Haven’t you heard what cliché supervillain Number 89 said? We could go across different universes to get the powers back!”
“Ugh…Are YOU an idiot? What did you say? “ACROSS UNIVERSES” ARE YOU BRAINDEAD?! I’M A HUMAN WITH NO POWERS! I’m weak!”
“Ugh… Listen, i don’t want to say emotional shit, but in the 5 years i knew you, I know one thing, you’re hopeful. So why lose hope now? Universes? That’s no big deal, y’know? You captured the baddest baddies in Fighter’s Street, getting pieces of a mask won’t be a big deal.”
“Me? Doing that? That was you. I didn’t do anything.”
“You know that you had most of the control, right? I only say the one-liners, cause you’re bad at it.”
“Now tell me, what do we do go across universes? Should i go find a portal in Fighter’s Street and jump into it without knowing where to go? Should i do that?”
“…Ok, i’ll do it. But not for me, for you. Promise that if i find the powers again, you’ll leave me alone completely, ok? I’m gonna throw you back into the sea of nightmares I found you and i’ll never have to think about you again, ok?”
“Let’s do this.”
END OF CHAPTER 1-
“You just broke the fourth wall, that’s my job.”
“Yes, but what happened to Ms. Boulang?”
“What about her?”
“You know that the fight we had happened in the bakery, right? What happened to her?”
“Let’s say she died and that’s one of your motivations too.”
“…No. Let’s just say that the writer was lazy.”
“Mm…I would love to, but I’m not allowed to annoy the writer until Chapter 2.”
“Let’s say that you saved her and put her somewhere where she’s safe.”
“Let’s do that.”
“You know this sounds simillar to the thing you said at the first end of Chapter 1, right?”
“Oh, shut up.”
REAL END OF CHAPTER 1