Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

The Nurturing Of Race Hate, Part Two: The Daniele Watts Saga

daniele-watts

Last September, African-American actress Daniele Watts (“Django Unchained”) engaged in lewd, if non-felonious, public conduct, then exploited the tensions arising out of Ferguson to claim victim status, police harassment and race prejudice. When the police were exonerated by the recording of her arrest and she was ordered to apologize by a judge (and asked to apologize by civil rights leaders, who were embarrassed after they rallied to her support only to find that she had played the race card without  justification), she failed—twice—to deliver a sincere apology. She is defiant and intoxicated by her martyrdom, another young African American who has been convinced of her entitlement to be an anti-white racist.

To appreciate the tale, we have to go back to September 11, 2014, when the actress and her white boyfriend, a “celebrity chef,” were visibly engaged in sexual conduct in their car in broad daylight on an LA street. Neighbors complained—we have not yet reached the point where rutting in public is legal and acceptable, but give progressives time—and police responded. Naturally, as this was at the height of the Ferguson controversy, the news media immediately reported the story as more police harassment of black citizens, this time for “kissing while black.” Here’s a typical account from  September 14: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day #1: Ethics Quiz: The Looney Tunes Cartoon Disclaimer

coonsongs

The Looney Tunes post was the latest in along line of those that I never anticipated provoking the rich discussions that they have, and this fascinating post by SamePenn really took off into an unexpected direction—ragtime and racist songs—that is  still relevant to the post. Just read, enjoy, ponder and learn; I did.

Here is SamePenn’s Comment of the Day, and there’s a second COTD coming,  on the post, Ethics Quiz: The Looney Tunes Cartoon Disclaimer: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, History, Popular Culture, Race

Ethics Quiz: The Looney Tunes Cartoon Disclaimer

Warner Brothers Warning

Above is the disclaimer shown at the beginning of each DVD in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4, Volume 5, and Volume 6 sets, as well as the Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn Looney Tunes Super Stars sets and the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection:

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is the warning that introduces the Warner Brothers classic cartoon videos fair and responsible?

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Humor and Satire, Literature, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Race, Religion and Philosophy

The Vulgarizing Of America

No, this post isn’t about Donald Trump, and I expect the inevitable “Get off my lawn, you kids!” mockery in response to it. All right, I’ll take it. Some adult has to remind the arrested development cases running the media, advertising, business and the nation—OK, I guess this is a little about Trump—that as hilarious as they seem to think boorishness, incivility and vulgarity is, their determination to lower standards of public speech below the water level in the gutter is cultural pollution.

At the televised Teen Choice Awards, Sarah Hyland, the young actress who plays the oldest and dumbest of the two Dumphy sisters on hit sitcom “Modern Family,” moved to the podium to present an award. Who knows, maybe the whole thing was concocted by her publicist to compete with the week’s buzz over the revelation that Ariel Winter, who plays the youngest and smartest sister, just had breast reduction surgery. Whatever the cause, Hyland tripped awkwardly on the way to the microphone and screamed out, as she recovered her balance, “Are you fucking kidding me??”

I did say she played the dumbest sister—good casting!

Hyland apologized to the audience and later on Twitter…for tripping. E!, which plays the role of the dumbest cable channel, responded on its website, “Oh, Sarah, you’re the best!” and “We’ve all done it!”

We’ve all screamed “fuck” in front of a formal wear-attired audience and TV cameras? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

The Ethics From U.N.C.L.E.

U_N_C_L_E_-logo-symbol-The-Man-From-UNCLE-TV-show

There’s nothing that can be done about this, but I’m going to complain about it anyway.

When I was a sprout, one of my favorite TV shows, indeed among my top 20 shows of all time, was “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”  At least for its first few seasons—that balance between satire, intentional silliness, cool and plots worth paying attention to was hard to hold—the show simultaneously kidded the James Bond craze and delivered an hour of thrills and intrigue. It was a period piece, to be sure, of its time as much as “Perry Mason,” which is why, I assumed, that it wasn’t in syndication any more.

When I heard that it was getting the Hollywood reboot treatment, I knew what was in store, and it was. The movie, which came out last week, is an unremarkable meh, and the middling to sneering reviews, by people less than half my age and who never saw the original, are taking cheap shots at Robert Vaughn (the first Napoleon Solo) and David McCallum (the only Illya Kuyakin) and the original as if it were crap too.  As has happened so many times before, a careless and disrespectful movie exploiting all the good will created by an older work of art—yes, art, dammit—is burying its better model and has effectively poisoned it in the culture. Ultimately, the loss is ours. Continue reading

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The Smithsonian Institute Discovers That It Has Booked A Seat On The Bill Cosby Ethics Train Wreck, But It Has No Intention Of Getting Off

Cosbys and Cole

The Cosbys and Johnnetta Cole

When three new women accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault this week, the government’s Smithsonian Institution, “the nation’s attic,” suddenly found that it had been lured into assisting a clever PR ploy by the disgraced comedian. [ Full disclosure: I have worked for the Smithsonian recently, delivering a five hour lecture on the cultural and ethical influence of classic Western movies last December.] The revelations were the most graphic and disturbing yet ( Sample: “I was shocked. I didn’t know how I had lost so much time. My clothes were thrown all over the room and I felt semen on the small of my back and all over me…” ), and brought the total number of accusers near the half-century mark. Meanwhile, an exhibition of art owned by Bill and Camille Cosby will be on display at the National Museum of African Art until January 2016.

How many women will have come forward by then? Let’s start a pool! Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Race, Romance and Relationships

Look! “An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments”!

bad arguments

As various thought fallacies and flawed arguments are constantly being exposed, used, debunked or otherwise referenced during our ethics discussions and debates—the Ethics Alarms compendium is here–this looked like something readers would enjoy. I probably should dedicate this post to former blog Commenter of the Year tgt, in appreciation for his ending—maybe just briefly, we shall see—his latest sabbatical with a flurry of 70 comments while I was lecturing in Newport last week. I didn’t have time to properly engage him or even read all the comments, but he seemed in characteristic form.

Tgt loves the fallacies and delights in slapping them down whenever they occur. His favorite is “No True Scotsman.” I immediately thought of him when I  stumbled upon “An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments” by the multi-talented Ali Almossawi. Tgt’s  pet fallacy is here, as well as ad hominem, appeals to authority, the straw man, equivocation and others, some under different names than those I am used to. I haven’t read it carefully: there may be one or two that needs to be added to the Ethics Alarms list.

This is a well-researched and written exposition of some major fallacies with lovely illustrations, presented like a vintage children’s book. Someone should actually publish a children’s book like this: I would have been grateful for one when my son was a boy, or when I was a boy.  I’m grateful for this now.

You can find this amazing work of art, ethics, rhetoric and logic here. I’ve already sent the link around to many friends, young and old, and you may want to do the same.

 

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Daily Life, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Religion and Philosophy, Research and Scholarship