Category Archives: Etiquette and manners

The Pope’s Smoking Gun

Papal MitreI have been touched by the passionate defenses of the Pope during his visit here, by sincere believers who desperately wanted not to see what was going on. If only Pope Francis respected his supporters enough to live up to the ideals they projected on him, which included insisting, against all evidence, that he was merely talking in broad, moral generalities to Congress rather than lobbying for progressive policies, like making illegal immigration legal.

He was, we were told, only showing us where “true North” was according to the Church. I guess he just forgot to bring up abortion, which the Church regards as murder (and Joe Biden too, when he’s not playing politics) as he was lecturing our legislators about “human rights.”

The second he returned home, the Pope threw gay couples under the Popemobile, stating that Kim Davis’s position as a government official refusing to obey the law was a “right.” Again, his defenders insisted that this was just an abstraction. Now we hear from Davis’s lawyers that she had a secret meeting with Pope Francis. Davis says that he hugged her, gave her a rosary, and told her to “stay strong.”

“That was a great encouragement. Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we’re doing, it kind of validates everything to have someone of that stature,” Davis said.

Naturally, those who can’t handle the truth will say she is lying. There is no evidence that Kim Davis is untruthful, and her lawyer would be facing discipline if they falsely reported what did not occur. This really happened. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy

Audience Ethics And Ethics Dunce Kelvin Moon Loh

"I hear child screaming in audience, so audience cannot hear King. Is a puzzlement! But brave..."

“I hear child screaming in audience, so audience cannot hear King. Is a puzzlement! But brave…”

I don’t want to be harsh, because Mr. Loh is obviously a sensitive and compassionate young man who means well. However, he is also receiving plaudits on Facebook and in the media for taking a position that is not ethical, and is in fact just more political correctness guilt-mongering and double standard-peddling. It is also likely to provoke disrespectful and arrogant parents to believe that they have a right to impose their problems on unsuspecting theater audiences.

At  Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, a screaming child disrupted a matinee performance of “The King and I.”  Some members of the audience agitated for the child to be removed, and the woman with the child indeed left.

One of the understudies in the production, Kelvin Moon Loh, defended the woman who brought the child to the performance in a post on his Facebook page, in which he assumed the kid was autistic and used the incident to argue for compassion and “inclusiveness” in the theater, and compassion.  Loh actually praised the woman as “brave.” Brave she may be; she also was selfish, irresponsible, disrespectful and absolutely wrong.

This is not an issue of tolerance. This is not an issue of compassion. The ethical issue is whether one person has a right, and can be right, to ruin a theatrical performance for the rest of the audience, or to unreasonably risk doing so. It’s an easy call: noNever. It is no more “brave” to take a child who cannot behave properly to a Broadway show (or any show) than it is to take a cranky infant to a movie. This is not like the airplane situation, where the mother has no choice, and the child’s noise doesn’t interfere with the flight’s main purpose, which is to get to the destination. The mother doesn’t have to see “The King and I,” nor does she have to bring her child to potentially disrupt it. Doing so is inconsiderate; defending her conduct, as Loh does, stands for a kind of etiquette affirmative action, in which being the mother of an autistic child relieves one of any obligation to care about anyone else. Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Family

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Week: Rep. Bob Brady (D-Pa.)


From the Washington Times:

“As Congress members rushed to touch Pope Francis after Thursday’s historic address on the House floor, Rep. Bob Brady reportedly made a beeline for the podium to swipe the Holy Father’s discarded water glass.

The Pennsylvania congressman immediately took a sip out of the glass and brought it back to his office, ABC News reported

“The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,” Rep. Brady’s Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC.

His office confirmed that Mr. Brady drank from the water and shared it with members of his staff and his wife, Debra Brady…The congressman kept the remainder of the water and plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren, Mr. White said.”

Actually, I don’t know what to call this conduct.  Creepy? Superstitious? Embarrassing? Unsanitary? Silly? Bizarre? Funny? Deranged?

Incompetent will just have to suffice.

Does every glass the Pope drinks from become like the Holy Grail? I’d be careful, if I were were the Congressman…

Brady’s antics make the entire government look foolish. There’s religious belief, and there is irrational conduct. One doesn’t have to lead to the other, but such a display should cause serious voters to pause and wonder whether a man who acts like this belongs in a high office, or even a not so high office.

What an idiot.

UPDATE: After I posted this about an hour ago and had to run an errand, I began wondering whether Brady’s reverence for the Pope, which seems to extend to a belief that his lips are magic, also extends to accepting Catholic doctrine and what the Pope advocates, at least when these don’t conform to the Democratic Party’s platform. Here are Brady’s votes on abortion. A summary: Brady has voted for the most extreme pro-abortion positions. Reconcile that, if you will, with his water glass stunt.

I cannot comprehend Catholics who embrace this kind of hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance, nor can I respect any voter who would observe Brady and say, “Now there’s a man of integrity, wisdom and judgment!”


Filed under Government & Politics, Religion and Philosophy, Leadership, Etiquette and manners, Incompetent Elected Officials, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

Ethics Quiz: The Syracuse Kiss Cam Ban

Kiss cam

The Syracuse University Carrier Dome kiss cam was taken out of service over the weekend and was not in operation during  the Syracuse-Central Michigan University football game, apparently because a letter to the editor  on expressed the opinion that it encouraged sexual assault. So-called kiss cams are a tradition in some stadiums in which the scoreboard camera pans the crowd and picks out a couple who find themselves being displayed over or under a banner that encourages/demands that they kiss as the crowd roars. Typically, they do, laugh, and life goes on.

Yes, it’s stupid.

Letter writer Steve Port described watching two kiss cam scenes in which women didn’t seem to want to be kissed, but nearby men kissed them anyway as the crowd cheered.  He said such a practice condones and encourages “sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement, at best. And they are an actual instance of assault, at worst…No one has the right to forcefully touch someone be it a hug, a kiss or a violent rape.”

Well, I certainly agree that rape cam is a bad idea.

Port argued that “the Syracuse University student government, the chancellor, the athletic director, etc. review what happened last weekend and seriously consider the ramifications of what they are encouraging.” Spooked by the letter and the online response to it, the Syracuse administration discontinued the gimmick. One letter is all it took. “We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor. We discussed this with POMCO, the sponsor, and they supported that approach,” Sue Edson, executive senior associate athletics director for communications, said in an email.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is the kiss cam a provocation to sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement and therefore unethical?

Continue reading


Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Quotes, Romance and Relationships, Sports

Ethics Hero: Stephen Colbert

Sen. Ted Cruz appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show on CBS last night, and when he reiterated his views on same sex marriage, Colbert’s audience began to boo.

“Guys, guys, however you feel, he’s my guest so don’t boo him,” Colbert said.

Well done. That’s how you start to build an ethical culture.

Somebody please send this video to Bill Maher.


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics

From The”On The Other Hand” Files: Before You Are Too Hard On Feminists Who Arrive At College Resenting Men, Read This…

Street harassment sign There is are good reasons why many women come to think of all men as potential predators.

Valerie Steighner authored a powerful essay titled “My 11-Year-Old Daughter Just Got Catcalled for the First Time and I Don’t Know How To Teach Her to Protect Herself From Predators.” Please read it. Here’s an excerpt:

She is 11 years old. She just graduated from elementary school and still plays with small plastic animals. And now along with vocab words, I have to teach her how to protect herself from disgusting men.

I told her that what that man did is called catcalling and catcalling is aggressive behavior and the best action is to ignore it. Usually, men that are willing to yell slurs about you and your body, if provoked, can be unpredictable and dangerous; it’s best to keep walking; don’t make eye contact and stand tall. 

I felt so defeated as the words came out of my mouth. Basically, there is nothing we can do, but pretend it’s not happening….Obviously, I was sexually active all through my twenties, but there is a difference from being what others want and finding what you need…The predator lives everywhere. He lives on our streets, in our grocery stores, on our billboards and in our malls. He constantly reminds us what our value is and where we belong. How do I teach her to catch him, see him and to protect herself from him?  How do I teach her that her body is not a source of shame but a source of power and strength? How do I teach her to hear the predator’s words to know what they mean and still stand tall and confident? How do I teach her to protect herself and still be open?

It sucks. It sucks that this has to happen to my daughter in 6th grade. It sucks that it’s only the beginning. It sucks that she has to learn about her body in the context of men noticing it. 

What also sucks is that the problem is a failure of ethics and civilization to move fast enough. Men are programmed to want sex and to procreate, and once upon a time in America the kind of conduct a disgusting 50-year old focused on the writer’s barely pubescent daughter was a cultural norm. In some places, it still is. Women had no other function but to find a man, have his children and make the home run smoothly, and not finding a man was, in some settings, a catastrophe. In the American West, a woman in her thirties who was uneducated and unmarried was very likely to end up a prostitute: it was the single largest occupation for unmarried women. When so many women are whores, men get in the habit of treating women as whores, and women who don’t want that fate will provide positive reinforcement to flirtations that are really harassment and disrespect. [You can find the many Ethics Alarms posts related to this topic here]

Old habits supported by hormones, traditions and bad role models—like, say, Jack Kennedy, Joe Biden and Donald Trump–will die hard or not die at all. In many ways, the culture still supports the ugly behavior Steighner’s daughter experienced. Many ways.  For example, in a current Geico commercial, the Gecko shows his trophy accompanied by that briefly popular song “Whoomp! There it is!,”  which is essentially street harassment in song form. You will also hear it in sporst stadiums. Continue reading


Filed under Childhood and children, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Love, Popular Culture, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

Now THAT’S An Unethical Baseball Fan.

WARNING: Click “Cancel” when the clip is over, or you will see a series of unrelated videos of dubious motive. I’m sorry; this is the only YouTube version of the incident.

Let’s list the ways this fan proves he’s a jerk:

  • He doesn’t clear away so the player (Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez) can make the catch. Technically it isn’t interference if he doesn’t because the ball is officially out of the field of play. But good fan sportsmanship dictates that a fan, even of the other team, should allow the catch to be made.
  • He not only doesn’t clear away, he competes for the catch. This is a fan actively interfering with the game, and treating a souvenir as more important than the game it would be a souvenir of—which means he’s an idiot, as well.
  • Then, after the catch, this guy tries to wrestle the ball out of Gonzalez’s glove…to steal the ball, in fact. As long as a ball isn’t abandoned by a player, lands in the stands, or is tossed to a fan, it belongs to the MLB.
  • In the alternative, as some have argued in his defense, he may not have noticed that he was wrestling with a player in the heat of the moment. I don’t believe that for a second, but let’s say it’s true. Any fan who sits that close to the field in a baseball game is obligated to know what is happening every second. Obligated. This is the Steve Bartman Rule, and you don’t want this to happen...
  • After the incident (I think Gonzalez told him to let go or he’d be very sorry), the guy took a bow. This is the final qualification of a fick.
  • He embarrassed Red Sox fans everywhere. There is nothing wrong with wearing your favorite team’s hat in another team’s park (contrary to the assertion of sportswriter Craig Calcattera and some of his Boston-hating readers), but like any other badge of allegiance, if you are in public and wearing a Red Sox cap, you represent the fan base, Red Sox Nation, as it is called in Boston (unfortunately), and that means that acting like a jerk reflects on more than just you. I just had to point out to a guy on another site (who wrote, “Typical Sux fan”) that the commenter is a bigot.
  • He also embarrassed his girlfriend.

That’s seven, and preserved for posterity.

Oh, by the way, he was kicked out of the stadium.



Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Sports