Category Archives: Humor and Satire

Comment of the Day: On Cosby, Clinton, And An Ethics Dunce Convention In Melbourne, Florida

Why can't a serial rapist be funny and cute?

Why can’t a serial rapist be funny and cute?

Frequent commenter aaronpaschal weighed in with this rich post on the Bill Cosby matter. I will hold my response to the end, because there is much to consider here, and much I disagree with. However, aaron has articulated well the thoughts many are having about the Cos, and I am grateful for the exposition. Here is his Comment of the Day regarding the post, On Cosby, Clinton, And An Ethics Dunce Convention In Melbourne, Florida.

I don’t know if I fully believe the allegations. I don’t know if the girls and women involved should bear some responsibility for choosing to become impaired. I don’t know if Cosby’s career will long survive this uproar – Netflix is dropping all of Cosby’s works in response, and that’ll cost someone a pretty penny.

But I do know that I don’t feel completely at ease with the notion that he faces ruin. That there is no evidence, no words, nothing he could present in his own defense. No courtroom, no trial, no lawyers. That the man who allegedly committed these acts did so a lifetime ago. I’ll admit that the women who have come out don’t have much tangibly to gain – but I also know all too well that revenge, hatred, defending existent lies, even merely time in the spotlight can be powerful motivators for some people (bearing in mind that pursuing justice, speaking the truth, and protecting the innocent are well – it could be any of them, all of them, or more.) There must, however, be SOME motive somewhere, or they would not be stepping forward – if there was truly nothing to gain.

But I do know that his works have always made me laugh, and I will appreciate them for years to come. I know I’ve heard wisdom from him, and these crimes don’t change the wisdom, either. I might not choose to leave my daughter alone with him. And I know that the court of public opinion makes very few wise choices, it is a terrible thing to be tried by it, guilty or innocent, and true justice is rarely found there.

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Comment of the Day, Gender and Sex, History, Humor and Satire, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunce: Jon Stewart

Meanwhile, Lincoln pretty much just lay around after he was President...

Meanwhile, Lincoln pretty much just lay around after he was President…

Face the Nation had George W. Bush on today as its primary guest,  so the show’s lead in, CBS This Morning, asked its guest, “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, what question he would ask the man who preceded President Obama in the Oval Office.  Stewart’s smirking reply,

“ ‘Tell me about umber and how it helps you in painting cats.’ Jimmy Carter’s like 108? He’s out in Africa pulling guinea worms out of children’s feet, trying to cure them. Bush is at home. ‘Bring me my fruit bowl. Doin’ a still life!”

The technical term for this is, I believe,“being a dick.” Yes, it’s vulgar, but the usual terms don’t quite do Stewart’s gratuitous and unfair nastiness justice in trhis instance.

I recognize that Stewart, who eschewed a flood of well-deserved Democrat jokes over the past five days because he could not get around his massive anti-Republican biases, is in mourning over the GOP electoral avalanche that turned the nation red at all levels of government in all regions. Poor baby. Nonetheless, mocking one President of the United States for his activities in retirement because they do not measure up, in Stewart’s value system, to what Presidents are supposed to do is evidence of a stunning lack of grace, decency,proportion, self-awareness and common sense. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Charity, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

Brad Paisley and Jon Stewart: The “It Was Just A Joke” Follies

Joker04Once again, we visit the ethically murky realm of jokes, near-jokes, misfired jokes, fake jokes, the ‘it was just a joke’ excuse and things the purveyor of non-jokes wish were jokes after the fact. Interestingly, by my estimation, the real and non-offending joke among our twin set today was the one delivered by a non-comedian, and the dishonest joke excuse was employed by a professional comic.

Case A: Jon Stewart

Appearing on CNN election day with Christiane Amanpour to talk about the  midterm elections, the host asked Stewart if he voted. The comic/pundit/news anchor/progressive hit man responded “no” saying, “I just moved. I don’t know even where my thing is now.” Said Ann Althouse:

“The epitome of apathy. And this is the man who shows the young folks how to think!”

She was not alone. Later, as he hosted a special live election night edition of “The Daily Show,” Stewart  apologized, saying:

“…to set the record straight, I did vote today… I was being flip, and it kind of took off, and you know what, I want to apologize. It sent a message that that I didn’t think voting was important. I shouldn’t have done that. That was stupid.”

This was flagged to me as a solid and ethical apology, and I agree, if that’s what it was.  I don’t think that is what it was, though. I think it was damage control, and a lie. Maybe Stewart voted and maybe he didn’t, but he’s a professional comic. His “flip” dismissal of voting to Amanpour didn’t read a s a joke, and she didn’t seem to take it as one. He’s one of the highest paid and popular comedians in the country, and doesn’t know how to make it clear when he’s joking? Or can’t tell when a joke misfires, and he has to backtrack so people don’t think he’s serious? I am dubious. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, The Internet

Not Funny, Just Hateful, Harmful And Wrong: The New York Post’s Despicable Post-Election Front Page

Post Obama STRIPPED

Yes, I know the New York Post has made an art form of in-your-face, outrageous, I-can’t-believe-they-printed-that headlines and front page shenanigans, epitomized by the deathless classic, “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar.”

Yes, I know that Post is owned by Australian schlockmeister Rupert Murdoch, and yes, I know that the Obama-hating market is large and especially enthusiastic after the Tuesday Night Massacre Democrats just suffered under President Obama’s leadership.

And yes, I know that this is essentially a cartoon via photoshop, and that insisting that the Office of the President must retain its dignity after Bill Clinton got through with it and Democrats en masse declared that it didn’t matter how disgusting a POTUS’s  “personal” conduct was in the White House as long as poll numbers were high and unemployment was low, so come on, Bill: lead our national convention in condemning how Republicans denigrate women!

I know all that. It doesn’t matter. Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and this kind of personal, disrespectful ridicule insults not just him, but the office he holds, the nation, and every citizen of the United States of America. If this front page were published in France or England, I would regard it as an attack and an insult. Where is the line where legitimate editorial criticism becomes vicious, culture-poisoning disrespect and a breach of ethical journalism standards? I don’t know; we can argue about it. Wherever the line is, this is over it, by a lot. Continue reading

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

Is “F-Bomb Princesses For Feminism” The Most Unethical Ad Ever?

Pretty close, I’d say.

Here are my Top Ten ways it is unethical:

1. It’s full of lies. Women do NOT make only 77% of what men do in the same jobs. The fact that President Obama blithely quoted this infamous canard doesn’t make it any more respectable. This is the smoking gun of  feminist activist hackery.

2. A close second is the completely unreliable “1 in 5 women will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.” Yes, what President Obama did to a stranger after voting can add to that stat…or not, depending on what the woman being polled chooses to call “sexual assault.”

3. The stat about women who were A students earning as much as men who were C students is similarly bogus. The study apparently being fucking referred to was about high school grades, not college grades. It was also widely distorted in the media, which claimed that the finding was that “high-achieving female students still won’t earn as much as male counterparts who didn’t work quite as hard” [TIME], which explains nothing about what jobs we are talking about, or career choices. More female attorneys, for example, go into family law; more male attorneys go into tort litigation.  Trial lawyers are famously non-academic–they are combative, aggressive and street smart, and the good ones become millionaires. What does this prove about gender discrimination? Not one thing.

The University of Miami study, published recently in the Eastern Economic Journal, show that a one-point increase in high school GPA raises annual earnings in adulthood by around 12 percent for men and 14 percent for women. It was not directed at gender bias issues at all, nor did it prove any.

4. Apart from substance, the ad is one more coarse and cheap bit of sensationalism employing assaultive vulgarity to get attention.  This is cultural rot, nothing more. Gutter language doesn’t illuminate or explicate, and used as it is here, it doesn’t even convey genuine passion or emotion. This is the pseudo kiddie-porn equivalent of  TV ads for Go Daddy.com featuring a busty actress making sexual innuendos to attract attention to a product having nothing to do with busty actresses. An ad currently running for a cable show has the host talking about the time he “got crabs” but how he’s going to go to an “orgy” anyway. HA! A crab orgy, get it! See, he made you think he was talking about sex, isn’t that clever? In a 7 PM commercial? No, it’s not clever. Just cheap and tawdry, like having a lot of little girls yelling “fuck” at you.

5. This isn’t even a genuine ad promoting feminist objectives. This is an ad exploiting feminists themes to sell T-Shirts. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet

Esurance Wants You To Know That Old People Are Ignorant And Pathetic

It was the Candy Crush commercial that did it. I nearly red-flagged Esurance for its commercial earlier this year showing “Lucille,” an elderly, technologically clueless auto insurance consumer whose version of a Facebook wall consisted of posting photographs on an actual wall in her home, but decided, “OK, maybe that’s just Lucille. After all, the ad shows another senior trying to put her straight.”  The recent Esurance ad featuring an elderly idiot who plays “Candy Crush” by hitting hard candies with a hammer was too much, though.

The dirty little secret of the political correctness culture is that the groups most associated with political conservatism—males, seniors, whites and Christians—are acceptable targets for bigotry, denigration and ridicule. Add to that the overweight, who are always fair game for derision today, and the double standard in mockery is clear. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

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