“Comedy is not assuming zero responsibility over your actions. It is not telling others how to respond. It is not demonstrating the utmost hypocritical behavior in making callous, lazy, ignorant statements and then lashing out aggressively against critics. Comedy is not free from criticism. This is not an echo chamber containing only yourself and a couple other people exactly like you. You won’t need to do any of these things if you want to be a good comedian, or a decent human being for that matter.”
—-Chelsea Bacon, concluding her account of the reaction she received from male comedians and commenters when she criticized what she regarded as gratuitous sexist jokes.
You might want to read Chelsea’s piece, Seth…
Bacon takes a brave and ethical stand on unpopular topics among comics, such as whether all jokes are defensible regardless of content as long as they make someone laugh, whether rape is ever legitimate joke fodder, whether exploiting minority stereotypes is fair game in pursuit of comedy, and whether it is inappropriate to criticize comedy material at all. Along the way, the dirty little not-so-secret of the gender imbalance in the comedy world also comes to light.
It is a bold and thought-provoking piece, which you can read in its entirely here.
Source: Little Village Mag
This is a mercurial story, several in fact, but one of its most valuable uses is to allow us to sort out various individuals and institutions for their trustworthiness and character based upon their words and conduct regarding the multiple scandals hurtling around Washington.
- Fool: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Mn). Bachmann is talking impeachment, which has signature significance: any elected official who brings up impeachment now or anytime before hard evidence turns up proving that President Obama personally delivered a bag of gold to the IRS leadership to make sure proprietary tax information was leaked is an utter, irresponsible dolt. 1) No President has ever been convicted after their impeachment, and heaven knows we have had multiple Chief Executives factually guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It is a waste of time, an all-encompassing political warfare glut that this nation can’t afford at this point, especially when the U.S. Senate is in control of the same party the impeached POTUS belongs to. Yes, I agree with the principle that corrupt Presidents should be punished; I’m glad Bill Clinton got his just desserts, but I also know that if he and the rest of the government had been concentrating on what was going on in the world rather than hiding blue dresses, the Twin Towers might be standing today, and 3000—10,000?—-Americans wouldn’t be dead. Impeachment is like using a nuclear bomb: it’s a useful threat, but the reality is too horrible to permit. 2) Anyone who thinks making Joe Biden President is a solution to anything is certifiable. 3) There is nothing at this point that would support a legitimate impeachment. 4) Putting the scandals in that context just supports the agreed-upon White House and media spin that this is all about politics. Shut up, Michele.
Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Public Service, Philanthropy, Charity, Rights, War and the Military, Workplace
John Andrew Weldon, and the mother of his baby, and her property.
John Andrew Welden is being held on first degree murder charges for tricking his girlfriend, pregnant with his child, into taking an abortion bill ( Cyotec, a drug used to induce labor) that she thought was an antibiotic, because he had tampered with the label. The fetus, nearly seven weeks old, miscarried as a result. You can read this ugly story here.
She wanted to have the baby, he didn’t. He arranged his own abortion, deceiving her, betraying her, mistreating her terribly. But how did he commit murder? What he tricked her into aborting wasn’t a human being. NARAL says so. Sandra Fluck says so. President Obama says so.
The ethical and logical problem with our abortion laws, as well as the rhetoric and conduct surrounding them, is that they lack integrity and embarrassingly so. A seven week fetus is not treated as a human life if a mother chooses to have an abortion, and a doctor performs it. This must mean, in any sane, fair and ethical system, that it is not a human life. If it is not a life if a doctor aborts it, it isn’t a life if a boyfriend tricks the mother into aborting it. How can it be? The fetus hasn’t changed, and the conduct hasn’t changed. All that has changed is the agent, and there are only a few ways that can alter the act. “A deceptive killing?” A killing without authority,” perhaps. But the agent can’t make eliminating something first degree murder, if it wasn’t a human being that was eliminated. Continue reading
I am pretty certain that actress Angelina Jolie could have undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy and never revealed it, She could have had reconstructive surgery and continuing to appeal to the sexual fantasies of moviegoers, which has been a significant aspect of her movie career. She had no need to disclose the operation, which she underwent last month, and no obligation to. Nonetheless,Jolie revealed her choice to the world in an eloquent, powerful, and courageous op-ed in the New York Times this week, and undoubtedly saved lives by doing so. She also made a critical cultural statement about the worth of women and how they are devalued by being reduced to their body parts in popular culture, the media, and the minds of men.
I think it is one of the most courageous acts by an entertainment figure that we have ever witnessed.
Jolie writes in part… Continue reading
But she’s not naked!
It will be therapeutic, I hope, to take a breather from considering the steadily increasing seriousness of the various government scandals, as well as reviling the increasingly desperate spin being employed to try to deflect them, and to focus on something both far removed and of vital national interest. Of course, that means buckling down and refining the Naked Teacher Principle, which in its formal explication, is that a responsible high school teacher has a duty to take reasonable care that her students do not see her in the nude, and if she does not, and her students do see her in the nude, she has no standing to complain when the school deems her unable to maintain the proper and necessary credibility and dignity necessary for teaching.
Now comes the news that at Martin County High School, in Florida, a ninth-grade English teacher of otherwise good repute named Olivia Sprauer has been fired for being shown on the web modeling bathing suits, and offering her services to photographers for less clothed presentations. Should the Naked Teacher Principle or any of its variations apply? Continue reading
Barry Bonds identifying as female…kind of like he identified as “not being on steroids”
The fur is flying in California and also in the internet culture wars over California’s latest foray into social engineering, officially known as Assembly Bill 1266, and popularly known as “the bathroom bill.” In its current form, the proposed legislation states…
“A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs, and activities, and facilities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”
Here is such a wonderful example of the inherent limitations of laws as opposed to ethics that I’m considering having it framed and mounted. Continue reading
Oh, thank you, South Carolina…No sooner do I get my head put back together, and you make it explode AGAIN…
The news that disgraced ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who showed that he would abandon his duties, lie to his constituency, misuse public funds, enlist state-paid staff in a personal deception and betray his wife and children was nonetheless deemed fit for election to the U.S. House of Representatives, while disgusting, is certainly well-timed for this forum.
Today some commenters on Ethics Alarms took the dubious ethical position that one ought to vote for a candidate’s “ideas” rather than his or her character, record, experience, values, talent or abilities. I surmise, then, that they now believe that those who voted for Mark Sanford because they agree with his political views were being responsible, despite the fact that the man is spectacularly, John Edwards-ly untrustworthy in every way. Continue reading
Last year’s high school controversial high school yearbook-related Ethics Quiz in involved a comely female student who wanted to advertise sex;* this year’s edition is about the potential results of effective advertising.
Wheatmore High School in North Carolina told its graduating seniors that they should have their yearbook photos should include some object that would have personal significance. It was very kind of them to guarantee at least one Ethics Alarms-worthy donnybrook with this brain-dead idea: just imagine all the props students could have brought along to prime lawsuits and Fox News stories. A diabetic student might have posed with a syringe, for example. Or an empty martini glass. The “V is For Vendetta” mask. A Romney-Ryan button. A John Edwards for President button! A winning poker hand. A blow-up doll. A Samurai sword, or more edgy yet, a pressure cooker. Or, of course, a hunting rifle. I’m amazed that only graduating senior Caitlin Tiller thought of a prop that was guaranteed to set school administrators’ teeth grinding, but she certainly chose a dandy one: her baby.
The school rejected the resulting photo of the happy 17-year-old, unmarried mother holding her year old child, Leelin, as celebrating teen pregnancy and motherhood. It also cannily waited long enough to inform Caitlin that the yearbook was days from publication by the time she found out. Caitlin and her mother vociferously protested ( “They should be proud students are willing to stay in school graduate and make something of themselves and not try and hide it” —-Tiller’s mother, Karen Morgan), but to no avail.
Your 2013 Ethics Alarms Yearbook Ethics Quiz:
Was it fair and responsible for the school to reject the photo of Caitlin and Leelin?
and a Bonus Question… Continue reading
David Niven would understand, Howard.
The Daily Beast has canned Howard Kurtz, the only current official news media critic in captivity, and now CNN, long the home of Kurtz’s “Reliable Sources” panel show that reviews the media’s choice and manner of news coverage during the week, is “reviewing” his status with that show as well. The sudden downturn in Kurtz’s fortunes is, we are told, the result of an accumulation of mistaken stories, missed facts and sloppy reporting of his own. I’ll buy that explanation, but there is more here too.
Kurtz’s departure was overdue. I have followed him for years, and his coverage, as I have pointed out periodically, was unacceptably politically slanted for a quasi-journalism ethicist. A typical performance was when he recently criticized —correctly—Republicans who were (and are) trying to twist the Boston bombing tragedy into an argument against immigration reform. In a reply to a comment on the recent Ethics Alarms post on the same topic, I noted that media commentators who saw nothing wrong with the Democrats using a Newtown massacre that would not have been altered in any way by background checks to push for more gun controls were suddenly applying the correct standards to a similar conservative manipulation of the Boston Marathon attack: Continue reading
“Meg Lanker-Simons is innocent we believe what she did was justified and deserves not to be held accountable for her accusations we stand behind you sister.”
—-The Facebook page dedicated to the plight of University of Wyoming student, progressive blogger and campus radio host Meg Lanker-Simons, who apparently sent an obscene and threatening message to herself online under the guise of an anonymous male conservative, one of her sworn foes. She has been charged with a misdemeanor by campus police.*
I confess, there were more flattering photos of Meg I could use, but she doesn’t deserve to have me use them. What she deserves, really, would be for me to dress up in drag, blacken my teeth and take my own photo, and then not only label it as Meg, but then riff on how ugly she is in the picture, when it’s really me. Meg would approve of that. She’d have to.
Let us stipulate that the title of the Facebook page may well be correct, as James Taranto persuasively argues: threatening yourself, even with rape, which is what Lanker-Simons did, is unlikely to be anything but protected speech.
Beyond that, however, this kind of stunt is low-wattage Tawana Brawleyism, and thus ethically revolting. That 38 Facebook fans and the semi-literate clod who authored the quote above argue that it is “justified” shows that ethics rot has some new and virulent strains.