Category Archives: Etiquette and manners

Crotch-Grabbing Ethics: A Pitcher And An Umpire Make A Dunce/Hero Pair, And Baseball Teaches The NFL About Values

Jonathan Papelbon

I don’t know about you, but I need a break, however brief, from the NBA’s political correctness self-immolation and the NFL proving that it really has no idea what’s right or wrong when its players are violent off the field. Fortunately, Major League Baseball has its own, rather less societally significant ethics scandal for this baseball fan to focus on.

Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon has been very good this year, unlike the rest of his team., but he was lousy Sunday, blowing a big lead for the last place Phillies in front of a home town crowd over the weekend. The Philly fans, as they are famous for doing, booed him lustily as he left the field, so classy Papelbon grabbed his cup and gave it a heave, as he stared down the mob. Translation: “Boo THIS!”

At this point, home plate umpire Joe West, a crummy umpire from a technical viewpoint but notable as an outspoken arbiter of the conduct of players, threw Papelbon out of the game. This was unusual, because Papelbon was almost certainly through for the day anyway. The ejection under such circumstances  didn’t mean the umpire’s usual, “You are unprofessionally challenging my authority regarding a call that does not favor your team and delaying the game, so you can’t play today any more,” but the more succinct and far more rare, “You’re really an asshole.”

Papelbon then took offense, and furiously confronted the umpire. Now Major League Baseball has suspended Papelbon for seven days, and is enjoying it, telling sports fans and the media, “See? The NFL suspends its players for a game or two when they punch women in the face and beat their kids with a log. We kick out our players for seven games just for being rude.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Professions, Sports, Workplace

I Don’t Believe It! Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) Betrayed Someone Who Trusted Him? NO!

SANFORDSignature significance. It is the one act that shows that “anyone can make a mistake” is the confounding rationalization that it is. For there are single instances of bad conduct that tell you everything you need to know about someone’s character. If, for example, a state Governor disappears, leaving his aides to lie that he’s “hiking,” when he really is AWOL and cheating on his wife with his “soul mate” in South America, this is signature significance. This man can’t be trusted, and its a good bet that he’s not playing with a full deck, either.

I am speaking, of course, about Rep. Mark Sanford, once the Governor of South Carolina. His tenure in that high office was a casualty of his being stricken with overwhelming amorous feelings for Argentine beauty Maria Belen Chapur, who, he said, was the love of his life. The previous love of his life, Sanford’s wife, was understandably bitter, but not the forgiving, absurdly gullible voters of South Carolina, who after waiting a couple of years, allowed Sanford back into a position of power over their lives, electing him to the House of Representatives.

The fools! Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, The Internet

Ethics Quote of the Month: Ken White, of Popehat

JohnPaulJones

“Civility is not weighed equally with free speech. It is not a prerequisite of free speech. It is a value, an idea, to be tested in the marketplace of ideas with other vales. Free speech is often uncivil. Lenny Bruce was uncivil. “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” was uncivil. “I have not yet begun to fight” was uncivil. “I called you naughty darling because I do not like that other world” was uncivil. “Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!” was uncivil. The equality of all humans regardless of station has always been a deeply uncivil idea, because “civil” usually means “that which makes me comfortable.” Comfortable people paint nice watercolors but otherwise don’t accomplish much.”

Ken White, First Amendment lawyer, wit, philosopher and blogger par excellance, in a masterful dismembering of a sinister  email about free speech sent to Berkeley students, faculty, and staff by U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks .

An equivocating, double-talking, free-speech degrading college administrator attempts to warp our nation’s values in the minds of the young, and Ken exposes the university’s censorious and timid soul for the dangerous fraud and the disgrace to intellectual freedom that it is.

As Carly Simon said once about James Bond, nobody does it better.

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Filed under Education, Etiquette and manners, Rights, U.S. Society

Quote of the Week: Joan Rivers

joan-rivers-giving-finger1

 

AHHHHGGGGGRRRRRhhhrrrah….

Comedienne Joan Rivers, 81, in her reported final words before expiring yesterday.

Just kidding.

Too soon?

Joan Rivers would rate Ethics Hero status if I did not have a philosophical objection to calling someone a hero because everyone else is a weenie. Yes, Rivers spouted off whatever outrageous, impolitic, offensive thing that materialized in her nimble brain regardless of who it might offend, as long as she felt someone, or a critical mass of someones, would find it funny. That is the proper mindset for any professional comic, but it has become both a rare and dangerous one, as we regularly see comedians grovelling in remorse as soon as sufficient numbers of well-placed critics designate a joke as “insensitive.”

Rivers, whom I can never recall making me laugh for a second, served an important cultural purpose while she was alive, as do Jackie Mason, Mel Brooks and Don Rickles, perhaps the last remaining in-your-face comedians from the days when funny was all that mattered, and careers weren’t ended  by stepping just a little too far over the line, or even a lot too far. Her successors, like Sarah Silverman and Lewis Black, don’t count: they are vicious toward whatever group or groups their audience deems deserving of abuse, and only them. In the end, it is likely that the only clowns with the license that Rivers enjoyed will be animated cartoons, like Peter Griffin(“The Family Guy”) and Homer Simpson. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Professions, Rights, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunces: Blindly Partisan and Hateful Website Commenters

argument

I just learned that CNN closed its online message boards. I understand why, and no, it was not a move designed to stifle the increasing volume of anti-Obama comments, as some have suggetsed. I have been thinking about writing about this for a while, and the CNN move is an ideal opportunity.

The discourse on most news aggregator websites and news sites is beyond abysmal and uncivil: it’s an embarrassment to the nation. On such sites as CNN, Mediaite, The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, Politico and others, virtually every thread follows the same, sad, pointless, idiotic path. Maybe there are a few substantive comments, then someone makes a cheap partisan crack, followed by an exchange of increasingly nasty comments based on familiar talking points from the right or the left, then, finally, name-calling, often with a racist, sexist or homophobic tone.  If you have the patience to wade through the crap, a thoughtful comment may sneak in, but who has the time or patience, or utter emptiness of life to do the wading? Here is a section from the middle of the comments on this Mediaite story…this one was about Bill O’Reilly being critical of Obama’s handling of ISIS, but honestly, the subject doesn’t matter much,. All the threads read the same way. Eventually every one gets around to someone insulting Obama, and immediately an Obama defender will mention Bush, who was, I should note, President six years ago, but I digress: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, The Internet, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Roshomon, Good Citizenship And Ethics: The Case Of The Concerned Stranger And The Indignant Father”

Poster - RashomonJeff Gates, the father, photographer and writer whose essay in the Washington Post prompted my post here and a lively discussion thereafter, has been kind enough to contribute additional thoughts and clarifications in response. This is one of the really good things about the internet, and his willingness to enhance the discussion with additional perspective reveals good things about Jeff as well. His original article is here.

At the outset, I want to clarify something about my post that I kept intending to do but obviously did not, at least not well. The fact that the man who was suspicious of his photo-session with his daughter said later that he worked for Homeland Security didn’t figure into my analysis at all, and still doesn’t. I am concerned with the original encounter, and the question of whether this was excessive Big Brotherism clouds the issue, which I see, and saw as this: we should applaud and encourage proactive fellow citizens who have the courage and the concern to step into developing situation that they believe might involve one individual harming another.  As the man needed no special authority to do that, I don’t care whether he was a federal agent or not; I thought it was pretty clear that this was not official action. Indeed, I think as official action, the man’s intervention was ham-handed and unprofessional.

Here is Jeff Gates’ Comment of the Day, on the post, “Roshomon, Good Citizenship And Ethics: The Case Of The Concerned Stranger And The Indignant Father.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

Dunces, Heroes, and Fools In The Wake Of The Great Nude Actress Hack

Perez Hilton Yecch.

Perez Hilton
Yecch.

You should know by now that about a hundred actresses have had their nude photographs hacked from private accounts and posted for the world to drool over. As is often the case in such incidents, the ethical instincts, or lack thereof, of various individuals have been exposed in the wake of the event:

Ethics Dunce: Perez Hilton.

No surprise here: Hilton, a web gossip columnist and a different species of hack than the ones at issue, showed himself to have dead ethics alarms. After eagerly posting the uncensored photos  of Victoria Justice and Jennifer Lawrence on his celebrity gossip blog, Hilton was condemned far and wide on social media, so he first proved he didn’t get it by keeping up the photos but censoring the women’s naughty bits, and then taking them down entirely, explaining that “At work we often have to make quick decisions. I made a really bad one today and then made it worse. I feel awful and am truly sorry.”  Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Quotes, The Internet