Category Archives: Humor and Satire

Unethical TV Ad Of The Month: Geico

“If your boss stops by, you act like you’re working — It’s what you do. If you want to save 15 percent or more on car insurance, you switch to GEICO.

Actually, it’s not what you do if you are diligent, responsible, fair to your employer and deserve to have a job. It’s what you do if you are an unethical, dishonest slacker who is stealing your salary and ought to be fired.

These are apparently the kinds of people GEICO believe are its prime market.

Good to know.

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Pointer: Grace Marshall

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, Workplace

Ethics Dunce: Above The Law

Wait, you mean Above the Law ISN'T The News Nerd? Could have fooled me.

Wait, you mean Above the Law ISN’T The News Nerd? Could have fooled me.

The legal gossip and commentary blog “Above the Law” is a useful source of inside-baseball stories about the machinations and peccadilloes  of law firms, lawyers, judges and law students, and occasional hard news of special interest to lawyers. Today it sported an intriguing headline:

Samuel Alito Gets A Supreme Benchslap

…which was filed under the categories of Justice Alito, The Supreme Court, and benchslaps. The latter is legal jargon for a reprimand from a judge. The Supreme Court reprimanding one of its own justices is big news, and unprecedented. Like many others, I clicked on the link, and read a jaw-dropping, insulting rebuke of Justice Alito by Chief Justice Roberts, banishing him to  “to a minor appellate jurisdiction” until he writes ” a few decisions in some lower-pressure situations” and is ready to return.

The post explained at the end of the quote that Justice Alito had been temporarily removed from the Supreme Court and appointed to the Eleventh Circuit, and that, according to reports, Alito will be replaced by Judge Ricardo Gonzalez of the District of Puerto Rico.

Then Above the Law’s writer, Staci Zaretski, revealed that…

(This quote comes from The Onion, a satirical news site, but that in no way takes away from the overall awesomeness of imagining a Supreme Court justice being demoted as a form of spanking.)

Ah. So you just wasted my time, then.

I had begun to suspect that the Roberts quote was fake, both for its use of the neckname “Sammie” for one of his brethren, and also because it sounded so much like a manager’s explanation for why a player was being sent to the minors. Nevertheless, posting a fake story, announced with a plausible headline, is unprofessional and unfair to ABL readers: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Unethical Blog Post

Would You Trust This Newspaper?

Amphibious-Pitcher

I wouldn’t.

The newspaper is the East Oregonian of  Pendleton, Oregon. The subject of the headline was not, in fact, an amphibious pitcher, nor, as the photo above was labeled in its file, an amphibian pitcher, which really would have been a story. No, it referred to ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte, who was brought up from the minors by the Oakland Athletics last week, and who, while pitching against the Boston Red Sox (I saw the game on TV)  made baseball history by becoming the first big league pitcher to record an out as a left-handed pitcher and a right-handed pitcher in the same inning. In case you are wondering, the age-old question of what happens if a switch-hitter faces a switch-pitcher was answered quickly. Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, came up to bat right-handed, then switched to batting left-handed because Venditte was then pitching right-handed. Venditte responded by switching his glove (it has two thumbs) from his left hand to his right to throw left-handed, and that’s how the situation stayed. Both batter and pitcher can switch once before the at bat is underway.

But I digress.

As for the headline, I won’t blame the reporter (he used the correct word in the story), but the headline writer, editor and anyone else on staff who saw the page before it was printed and distributed needs to find a line of work that doesn’t require English, writing, the conveyance of information, or common sense.

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Pointer: The Sporting News

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Sports

Ethics Dunce Update: See, Jason, This Is Why We Need An Ethics Alarm…

 Too little, too late.

george03Jason Alexander has just responded to his agent’s and publicist’s frantic texts with a tweeted apology for his disreputable and needless swipe at an out-of-work actress now plucking ukuleles for a living…and not even in Hawaii.

He feels officially awful, he says. Her inability to play scenes with him and the other cast members wasn’t really the reason she was killed off on the show. It was all Jason’s insecurity, he says. Everybody “really liked and like Heidi…she is a kind, lovely person” he says. In show business, screwing over people you like and humiliating lovely people who make about 1% of what you do is just what stars do…wait, no he didn’t exactly say that.

He also says this: “But in telling this story, it sounds like we are putting a heavy burden on Heidi. I, personally, am not.”

Hmmmm. Interesting “personally.” As in the comments to Stern, Alexander is again implying that it wasn’t his fault that the actress got dumped and sent to hula hell. But Jason: you told the story humiliating her on the air. You. Nobody else.

Finally, Alexander tries to shift blame to the news media:

“So, to all the press that is now running wild with this 15-year-old story, please don’t pervert it.

“George,” you, not anyone else, you, told the 15 year-old story. The story now is what a jerk you were on Stern’s show. That story is new, and you just added to it, because this “apology” makes you seem like even more of a jerk. Yes, there’s a nice “I personally apologize” to Heidi. It doesn’t matter. The harm was done, and can’t be undone, and many of us, like me, have a hard time believing that this mea culpa is anything but PR repair work. For her career, dignity and reputation, no repair is possible.

You want to make amends? Have your agent find her an acting gig.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Professions, Unethical Tweet

Ethics Dunce: Actor and Ex-“George” Jason Alexander

susan-ross

The gag on “Seinfeld” was that all four of the main characters (and most everyone else, too) were selfish, neurotic, essentially horrible people. Michael Richards signaled that he might have been channeling his inner creep into “Kramer” when he had a spontaneous racist meltdown during a stand-up gig, effectively destroying his career. Now we have learned what a mean-spirited, gratuitously cruel jerk Jason Alexander is. And I always thought it was just the fact that he was playing mean-spirited, gratuitously cruel jerk Larry David as “George Costanza.”

The “Seinfeld” episode in which George’s rich, odd fiancee Susan Ross died by licking too many cheap wedding invitation envelopes has always been controversial, as many critics and fans felt that it caused the show’s characters to cross over the line from endearingly strange and self-involved to outright despicable—especially George, who received the news of her death with thinly veiled relief.

In an interview with a genuinely despicable individual, Howard Stern, Jason Alexander, previously “George Costanza,” was asked by Stern how Susan’s sudden death became an episode.

“This poor girl,” Alexander said, chuckling.  “The actress is this wonderful girl, Ms. [Heidi] Swedberg… I love her. She’s a terrific girl. I love her. I couldn’t figure out how to play off of her.”

Stern: “You’re being kind.”

“No,” said Alexander, meaning “Yes.”  “Her instincts for doing a scene — where the comedy was — and mine were always misfiring.”

Alexander went on to say that his castmates told him he was being unfair until they had to play scenes with Swedberg. “Finally, they do an episode where Elaine and Jerry have a lot of material with her,” Alexander said. According to Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Seinfeld concurred afterward that it was ” fucking impossible” to play off of her.

Alexander then fingered the actor who sealed “Susan’s” doom.  “Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Elaine”) actually said, ‘I know — don’t you just wanna kill her?’” “Seinfeld” co-creator and writer Larry David then agreed to execution by envelope.

“Every time I tell this story I cringe,” Alexander said, “because Heidi is the sweetest.”

In a career turn that sounds like a  punchline, Swedberg now lives by teaching the ukulele and leading her own ukulele band.

Alexander, not to be excessively harsh, is scum. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire, Popular Culture

Oh, Great: The Head Of America Rising Is A Harry Reid Clone

Secret photograph of future GOP operatives cloned in a secret facility.

Smuggled photograph of future GOP operatives cloned in a secret facility.

Republicans need a lot of things. Their own Harry Reid—and thus their own smug, unethical, Machiavellian liar who thinks deliberately misleading the public is justified if it helps win the day—isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, the brilliant RNC scientists at its top secret Bio-ideological Warfare facilities in a bunker under Pike’s Peak have apparently made one. (And maybe many...)

Remember the name Colin Reed (they cleverly changed the spelling to hide the fact that he was cloned from Harry’s nose hair clippings), and then forget anything you hear from his conservative opposition research hit-group America Rising. What good is an opposition research hit-group that can’t be trusted to be fair and accurate about what it finds? None, unless you favor slander and cheating. You know..like Harry.

This week, Reed’s Breitbart wannabe released a video that purported to show Hillary Clinton blowing off a supporter who asked for an autograph while she campaigned in New Hampshire. Conservative Hillary-Haters immediately went into overdrive, led by Reed himself (“Maybe these New Hampshire voters would have better luck getting Secretary Clinton’s attention if they wrote a six-figure check to the Clinton Foundation or were a highly-vetted political activist at one of her staged campaign events,” he said.) as the clip went viral. The problem was that the video was deliberately edited to omit Clinton’s actually signing the autograph as the woman beamed and took a photo. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire

Here’s The Thing, Booking.Com: If You Think Your Customers Appreciate Gratuitous Smuttiness, I Don’t Want To Be One Of Them

Booking_com_Logo The manners of society appear to be heading south at an accelerating rate, with our up and coming generations being increasingly sent the message from the culture, celebrities and even elected officials, that manners and civility in public conduct and speech is for snobs, nerds, dorks, and goons. It’s cool to be vulgar! I admit, I’m in at least two of those three categories, so I really don’t get it. Ethics dictates that one communicates with respect for anyone within hearing distance, and unless ugly words serve a material purpose, using them is not the mark of a good citizen, a good neighbor, or a trustworthy human being. Nor is spouting vulgarity witty, and unless you are 11, and employing obvious code words that sound like curses, epithets and obscenities isn’t especially funny either, since we pretty much exhausted the possibilities at summer camp. I have no idea why anyone would want to recast the culture as a place where professionals curse like sailors and the words “fuck” and “cocksucker” are as likely to issue from a debutante’s lips as those of a hip hop artist, but that seems to be the objective now. President Obama, the Fish Head, signaled his approval by repeatedly using the word “bucket” in a televised event when he obviously meant “fuck it.” First President ever to use fuck on TV! Yes, Obama continues to burnish his legacy. Small wonder that CNN’s John Berman thought his audience wanted to see him snigger over a colleague’s “big stones,” a testicle joke that always has them LOL-ing in the 7th grade. Making sure that there is nowhere for the civil and well-mannered to hide, all the other TV stations happily accept money from advertisers using code words for “ass” (Verizon), alluding to sexual intercourse (Reese’s), and evoking the word “shit” (K-Mart and DraftKings). Continue reading

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