Category Archives: Education

Pop Song Ethics Flashback: “Why Do They Always Say “No?” by Lawrence Cook and The Jim Dandies

It probably isn’t the winner in the Ethics Alarms quest to identify the most unethical pop songs, but the 1949 ditty “Why Do They Always Say No?” is one of the most instructive nominations. The fascinating and essential feature of ethics is that our understanding of right and wrong evolves, changing and advancing with wisdom, cultural debate and reflection. This song is a tuneful reminder, arriving at our attention just as the culture, especially on campus, is struggling over exactly the dilemma the song celebrated. In 1949, however, literally no one thought about romantic or sexual gamesmanship as an ethical issue, or at least not a momentous one.

Have a listen (It’s on the B side of the record pictured, and starts playing at the halfway mark):

The lyrics are credited to Harry Pease, Frank Davis, Ed G. Nelson and Billy Glason. Only the latter has much of a footprint on Google, and none of them rate a Wikipedia entry. I doubt that it took four guys to write this song: It’s not exactly “A Day in the Life.” Glason (b. 1904) was probably the author. He shows up in the Encyclopedia of Vaudeville as a “singing comedian,” known for devising new punchlines for ancient  jokes, such as

Q: “Who was that lady I saw you with last night at that sidewalk cafe?”

A: “That was no sidewalk cafe! That was our furniture!”

Pease, Davis, and Nelson were all musicians, though it’s also hard to imagine that the elemental tune required three collaborators. The lyrics are more disturbing read than heard:

Why do they always say no
When they know they mean yes all the time
You ask a girlie for a kiss or two
She’ll let you know that’s something I don’t do
How can they tell such a lie
And still look you straight in the eye
Whenever they say no to you go right ahead
Cause it’s 10 to 1 that they mean yes instead
Oh, why do they always say no
When you know they mean yes all the time

Why do they always say no
When you know they mean yes all the time
You start to love them and they pout and fret
Down in their hearts they want all they can get
What keeps them acting that way
They don’t mean a word that they say
A girl that said she’d never marry me
She’s the mother of my happy family
Why do they always say no
You know they mean yes all the time

Why do they always say no
When you know they mean yes all the time
You ask your girlie for a kiss or two
She’s lets you know that’s something I don’t do
How can they tell such a lie
And still look you straight in the eye
Whenever they say no to you go right ahead
Cause it’s 10 to 1 that they mean yes instead
Oh, why do they always say no
When you know they mean yes all the time

You know they mean yes all the time.

“You know they mean yes all the time.”

Sure you do.

_________________________

Special thanks to my volunteer scout Fred, whose wife found this piece of musical ethics archeology.

 

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Education, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Popular Culture, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

When A Reality Show And A Self-Promoting Billionaire Are More Trustworthy Than TIME, American Journalism Is Seriously Ill

astrology

This week’s print TIME and the magazine’s website has a story titled “Astrologer Susan Miller On Why You Should Pay Attention to the Lunar Eclipse.” The TIME writer, Laura Stampler,  promotes the astrologer as if she was Nate Silver,  a reliable, respectable expert in a legitimate field  who has something to teach us. Susan Miller is not a reliable, respectable expert. She is an astrologer, meaning that she is as legitimate as a palm reader, a douser, or the Amazing Kreskin. She is a fraud, in a fraudulent field, however ancient or popular. There is no scholarly controversy about this. There is more evidence of the existence of Bigfoot, Nessie, ghosts and flying saucers than there is that astrology is more than pseudo-scientific claptrap. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Education, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Science & Technology, The Internet

Free Speech vs. Ethics: Goddard College and the Cop-Killer Commencement Speaker

Next gig for the Cheshire home invaders: Commencement honors at Goddard?

Next gig for the Cheshire home invaders: Commencement honors at Goddard?

Convicted  cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal was the commencement speaker at Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont today, having been chosen by graduating students. He is a controversial figure, convicted in the 1981 slaying of Officer Daniel Faulkner, sentenced to death, and eventually sentenced to  life in prison without parole after a long legal battle.  Abu-Jamal’s speech was prerecorded by Prison Radio and broadcast.

Goddard is not your typical college. It is liberal/radical even by current college standards. Students design their own curriculum. It holds 20 commencement ceremonies each year so students in each degree program can have personalized graduations. Abu-Jamal, himself a political radical, received a bachelor of arts degree from the college in 1996, completing his coursework by mail. Before the killing, Mumia was a member of the Black Panthers. While imprisoned he has become a cultural icon to the radical left as an activist against institutional racism.

As you would expect, a lot of people have problems with Mumia receiving this honor. Maureen Faulkner, the widow of the officer killed by Abu-Jamal, condemned Goddard’s decision.The Vermont Troopers Association issued a statement saying that it was “ outraged that Goddard College is hosting a man who shot and killed a police officer.”  But Goddard is proud as punch that its students chose the convicted murderer. Said the acting President:

“As a reflection of Goddard’s individualized and transformational educational model, our commencements are intimate affairs where each student serves as her or his own valedictorian, and each class chooses its own speaker. Choosing Mumia as their commencement speaker, to me, shows how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that.”

Well, that’s one way of interpreting it. Or, we might justly conclude that the graduates of Goddard have been taught to have contempt for decency, justice, law enforcement and the legal system, and since they admire murderous criminals, might see nothing wrong with being one. Ask me if I want to hire anyone with  a Goddard degree. Go ahead. Ask.

Naturally, defenders of Mumia’s honor think it is perfectly acceptable because it embodies the principle of free speech. I’m not sure it does….not at all. Unpopular speech embodies free speech. Encouraging popular and offensive speech by someone who is not worthy of emulation embodies bad taste, dubious values and anti-social priorities. Show me that Goddard students would welcome speeches by Ted Cruz, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney, and then I’ll accept that the campus is supportive of free speech.

Meanwhile, why stop with Mumia? Why not have that Isis guy who beheaded the American journalist speak at commencement, with his hood, of course? Surely that would expresses graduates’ freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that. How about the Cheshire home invasion killers, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky, who raped the family’s young girls and mother before burning their house down around them? If it’s free speech to allow the scum of the earth speak at a commencement, if someone is crazy enough to want to listen to them, let’s really go for it.

That doesn’t make it right, however. All allowing Mumia to speak at commencement shows me is that the students are exercising their rights to promote freedom of expression, and doing so in a context and manner that is less dignified, justified, respectful or reasonable than having the honor delivered by a circus performer who communicates in farts, Carrot Top, or Honey Boo Boo. It shows me that the culture created by Goddard is toxic, and that the students who graduate from there without sufficient resistance to its influence will range from useless to annoying to dangerous.

Their parents must be so proud.

________________________
Sources: Washington Post, Huffington Post, Philly

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Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, Rights

This Settles It, In Case There Were Any Lingering Doubts: Where Sex Is Concerned, Men Are Idiots

And they read The Huffington Post!

And they read The Huffington Post!

Shelley Dufresne, 32, and Rachel Respess, 24, both teachers at Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish in New Orleans, have been arrested after credible evidence surfaced that they had engaged a 16-year-old male student in a three-way sex romp.

You can read about this nauseating incident here. Needless to say (but as I will soon demonstrate, I do need to say), this is the ultimate breach of trust by a teacher, and not merely rape, but gang rape. Age, authority, role, everything is wrong here. If these women are not treated exactly like  two male teachers who did the same, and my guess is they won’t be (the Debra LaFave factor is in their favor: they aren’t hideous), it will be a disgrace to the community and justice.

But you all knew that, because Neanderthals don’t read ethics blogs. Not these commenters, though, on the Huffington Post, which tends to attract liberal-minded readers. As the comments below prove, however, the toxic Y chromosome overcomes ideology. Read ‘em and weep…

Mike Martin: The victim was treated at a local hospital… for injuries to his wrist after a plethora of high fives from classmates.

Mouad El Bouanani: Im laughing so hard mate

Dennis Woodard: Lol. Aint that the truth! Like seriously! He wasnt going to brag to friends!

Rick Fitzgerald: When are the ladies going to learn that young men could never keep their mouth shut after snagging a teacher. Much less two at the same time.

Patrick BeMent : Well,, the young man learned an important lesson here. When you are lucky enough to fall into that situation, keep your mouth shut.

Dean Yasuda: If you keep your mouth shut, you’re probably not doing it right.

Walid Osama:“My son is taking it difficult” Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight..

Kris Schaumburg : In all honesty they were doing him a favor. He is now catapulted to Demi-God status.

Tony A Aragon: Yeah, He’s sad that its over.

Qamron Joseph Crooks : Let’s be honest, in some of these cases the “victim” was plenty pleased with the situation – In others, they were actually victimized. Goes for both sexes.

Clyde Daisley: AGAIN!!.. Where were these teachers when I was in high school!!.. Yep been cheated!

James L. Walker : Bet all three got off easy! Maybe two or three times!

Wayne E Naylor : You can’t rape the willing Mr. Akerberg. noun This young man was in heaven, not forced. He was NOT RAPED.

Yes, later on an occasional male tried to make an intelligent comment, balanced by the equally occasional females who agree with the fools above. This is an accurate representation of the thread, however.

I’m going to go castrate myself now.

_______________________

Pointer and Spark: Fred

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Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Gender and Sex, Romance and Relationships, The Internet, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: Silent Soccer

Zip_it_ball

The American culture’s grim determination to raise a race of wimps, weenies, hysterics and delicate snowflakes continues apace. Or is this a necessary adjustment to our growing incivility?

In Ohio, the Thunder United Metro Futbol Club, a kids’ soccer league, held an experimental “silent soccer weekend.” Parents and fans were told that there would be no shouting or cheering at the games. Clapping was permitted, but not whistling or using  noise makers. Team coaches were instructed to keep shouted instructions to a minimum. Printed signs and rally towels got a green light, since they are quiet.

The objective, of course, was to combat negative shouts and other demonstrations by parents and fans that might bruise youthful egos and squash self esteem.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today:

Is banning crowd commentary at youth athletic events responsible, or irresponsible?

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Etiquette and manners, Quizzes, Sports, U.S. Society

Indocrinating Our Students With Apathy, Cowardice and Selfishness: No Wonder We Won’t Help The Ukraine…

THIS, however, is perfectly acceptable, because it's perfectly ineffective.

THIS, however, is perfectly acceptable, because it’s perfectly ineffective.

Day by day, moment by moment, our ethically incompetent schools inculcate the wrong values in our young, undoing centuries of American traditions and unraveling the unique character that made the United States the hope of the world.

When he witnessed another student at Chicago’s Elmwood Park High School beginning to bully a smaller, weaker colleague, high school athlete mark Rivera pulled the aggressor aside and said something in the manner of “Do that again, and you’ll have to deal with me, got it?” As a result, he was suspended.

The principal told reporters, “You can say stop it or leave him alone but if that doesn’t work, get an adult involved.”  Ah. Object without intending to do anything to back up the objection. Do nothing, and, say, go play golf. Or leave it to someone else.

Sounds familiar.

Mark Rivera is an Ethics Hero, even though, if the cultural polluters inchrage of our institutions aren’t stopped and replaced, future generations of the wan, timid, self-absorbed nation that was once the United States won’t think so.

 

 

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Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Heroes, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Today’s Ethics Understatement: “This Story Does Not Encourage Trust In The Legal Profession”

photoshoppinglawyer_screenshot

Svitlana and her fake friends

The ABA Journal informs me this morning that a California bar court judge has recommended a six-month suspension for attorney Svitlana Sangary. Oh, she has some client ethics complaints against her, but that was the least of her problems.

On her firm website, she had posted photographs showing Sangary with politicians and celebrities, including President Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George Clooney, Donald Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman and Paris Hilton. An expert testified that most or all of the images were photoshopped, making them visual lies. A lawyer is not allowed to lie on her website, or anywhere else when it may mislead clients and the public.

Paris Hilton? Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions