I wrote a lot of grants in my first 3 years as faculty. A LOT. Nearly 30. And so I’ve read a few reviews, and a few summaries of review panel discussions that took place over my grants. I take reviewing grants incredibly seriously because I know that more often than not, someone’s career is on the line. If I agreed to do the review then the applicant absolutely deserves the most careful review that I can possibly deliver.
I guess what they are all declaring is that a salacious story about a young superstar American icon will play really well with the American audience while a sordid story about an aging superstar American icon will just not play very well in most American households. The fact that the former is a colored man while the letter is a gray-haired white man has nothing to do at all with all of this, I'm sure.
From here on up, New Postdoc, you should know there will forever be far too much administrative crap all up in your science. What, nobody really warned you about this, you say?
So. One of the things I'm afraid of is not making a significant contribution to the world while I'm here. That's why I like publishing. That's why I want to win grants. I want to leave something behind. Something that mattered. Even a little bit.
It sounds pretty great though, doesn't it? In practice, I think it may have meant "count how many times a monkey craps in a day", but at the time, I thought it was terribly glamorous.