Controversy in the field of journalism often keeps many journalists from writing what they really think, or even stating the truth because of the fear of the backlash they may receive from people who may find whatever subject they are writing about offensive.
Having written for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Economist, Science Magazine and numerous other publications, Faye Flam is known for going against the grain and has talked about many controversial subjects in her articles. In Science Magazine, Faye wrote about cosmology and particle physics, yet she strived to write articles for the general public, wanting to explain new fields of science to the masses in a way that people who are not savvy with science terms could understand. Wednesday, as part of the Biology Colloquium Series, she visited Millersville to talk about her new book “The Score: The Science of the Male Sex Drive.”
Given her portfolio, many people would assume that she had a background in sexology or similar fields, but this is not the case. Flam started off her lecture on Wednesday by stating that she actually had majored in geophysics. Her journalism career expanded after she took a job covering science for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I never really thought the term covering quite explains what we do. “ Flam said.
“I think of it more as sampling.” She went on to explain how she loved bringing up controversial topics in her writing because no one else seemed to bring them up for debate. Some of her topics include evolution, climate change, genetics, space exploration, and cancer research.
“Being a science reporter is a little like getting private lessons in science from anybody I want to learn from.” Flam said, “It’s not too hard to teach yourself a new field, even biology,when you can call just about any Biologist in the world and ask him or her to help you.”
Her latest publication, “The Score: The Science of the Male Sex Drive” was inspired by her devotion to her sex-oriented column “Carnal Knowledge.” Backlash from her articles was harsh: Some praised her work, some heavily criticized her work, and yet she still wished to write this book on male evolution. Her editors thought this was a good idea because a woman writing a book on male evolution is almost unheard of. Currently, the book is on sale on sites such as Amazon.com, and over various sites.
Some of Faye Flam’s most controversial articles include: ‘Da Vinci Code’ raises questions of Jesus’ DNA, “What fuels the hatred of homosexuality,” where sex gets mixed up with morality, and “Why are sex words our worst swear words?” Though she receives many hate-filled e-mails every day, she continues to write about these topics because no one else does.
When talking about her mail, Flam saw a pattern.“The ones that brought in the negatives also brought in the most positives, because then, people would be like, “I’m so glad someone’s finally asked that question.”