Category Archives: Humor and Satire

Law vs. Ethics: A Snatched Bar Mitzvah Gift, A Leaky AG, An Embarrassing Scoreboard, and”OINK”

Oink

I try to keep my legal ethics seminars up-to-the-minute, so while preparing for yesterday’s session with the Appellate Section of the Indiana Bar, I came across a bunch of entertaining stories in which the ethics were a lot clearer than the law, or vice-versa. All of them could and perhaps should sustain separate posts; indeed, I could probably devote the blog entirely to such cases.

Here are my four favorites from the past week’s legal news, involving a mother-son lawsuit, a brazenly unethical attorney general, a college scoreboard named after a crook, and police officer’s sense of humor: Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Finance, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Professions, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: The Looney Tunes Cartoon Disclaimer

Warner Brothers Warning

Above is the disclaimer shown at the beginning of each DVD in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4, Volume 5, and Volume 6 sets, as well as the Daffy Duck and Foghorn Leghorn Looney Tunes Super Stars sets and the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection:

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is the warning that introduces the Warner Brothers classic cartoon videos fair and responsible?

Continue reading

59 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Humor and Satire, Literature, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Race, Religion and Philosophy

Ethics Observations On The Old Dominion University Signa Nu Fraternity Freakout

It is times like this when I wonder if my theory that ethics evolves toward wisdom may be excessively optimistic.

In Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University officials went bananas when a fraternity engaged in randy verbal hijinks of questionable taste at its off-campus home across the street from the institution. ( “Hijinks of questionable taste” is synonymous with “acted like a fraternity.”) Some frat boys hung painted bedsheets as banners to welcome incoming freshmen co-eds, thusly:

Fraternity

Well, THE HORROR!

ODU’s leadership responded to the tomfoolery by issuing the following statement:

“Messages like the ones displayed yesterday by a few students on the balcony of their private residence are not and will not [be] tolerated. The moment University staff became aware of these banners, they worked to have them removed. At ODU, we foster a community of respect and dignity, and these messages sickened us. They are not representative of our 3,000 faculty and staff, 25,000 students, and 130,000 alumni.

Ours is a community that works actively to promote bystander intervention and takes a stand denouncing violence against women. The ‘It’s on Us’ video is just one example of ODU students’ leadership on this topic. In addition, the University ensures all students receive education on the prevention of sexual harassment and relationship violence.”

Old Dominion’s Student Government Association also issued their own verbal condemnation of the incident. They filmed a video directly addressing the banners and stated: Continue reading

34 Comments

Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dunces: Not Only Anybody Who Actually Thinks Donald Trump Would Be Anything But An Existential Disaster As President, But Anyone Who Isn’t Disgusted By His Existence”

Circus

I was looking for an enthusiastic Trump defending comment to post as a comment of the day, and my former math partner from Mrs. Penwarden’s 6th grade class at Crosby School in Arlington, Massachusetts, Peter Canaday, was kind enough to supply a doozy all the way from New Zealand, to which, as a physician of note and significant success, he retired with his latest bride a while ago. Peter’s a smart guy; he also questions Obama’s birth certificate and is a fan of both Pauls, so he is also…complex.

His opening volley is a bit obscure: that college he’s referring to is Peter’s alma mater, Amherst, where I was wait-listed. Actually, it’s a funny story: the letter, which arrived after I had accepted early admission to another school, began. “This is a difficult letter for us to write, for we must inform you that you have been placed on the waiting list and you don’t deserve to be there…” I was shocked—it was bad enough that I wasn’t deemed worthy of admission, and here they were rubbing it in by saying that I didn’t even deserve to be on the waiting list?  Bolstered by the fact that I had an admission in hand, I wrote Amherst a tongue-in-cheek wounded letter of complaint, bemoaning their callousness, lack of professionalism and mockery. I got an immediate letter of apology swearing that they didn’t mean that I didn’t deserve the wait list, only that I deserved better. “It’s too late to retract the insult now,” I wrote back. “My heart was set on your college, but my faith in the institution has been shattered. Please remove my name from your list. I don’t care to attend a school this insensitive and cruel. I’m not sure I want to go to cllege at all any more. I think I will join the Merchant Marines.”

Amherst didn’t get me. It did admit my nephew Ross, however, and he graduated with honors.

I’ll have a rather lengthy response to my friend Peter at the end. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Dunces: Not Only Anybody Who Actually Thinks Donald Trump Would Be Anything But An Existential Disaster As President, But Anyone Who Isn’t Disgusted By His Existence: Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Leadership

The Vulgarizing Of America

No, this post isn’t about Donald Trump, and I expect the inevitable “Get off my lawn, you kids!” mockery in response to it. All right, I’ll take it. Some adult has to remind the arrested development cases running the media, advertising, business and the nation—OK, I guess this is a little about Trump—that as hilarious as they seem to think boorishness, incivility and vulgarity is, their determination to lower standards of public speech below the water level in the gutter is cultural pollution.

At the televised Teen Choice Awards, Sarah Hyland, the young actress who plays the oldest and dumbest of the two Dumphy sisters on hit sitcom “Modern Family,” moved to the podium to present an award. Who knows, maybe the whole thing was concocted by her publicist to compete with the week’s buzz over the revelation that Ariel Winter, who plays the youngest and smartest sister, just had breast reduction surgery. Whatever the cause, Hyland tripped awkwardly on the way to the microphone and screamed out, as she recovered her balance, “Are you fucking kidding me??”

I did say she played the dumbest sister—good casting!

Hyland apologized to the audience and later on Twitter…for tripping. E!, which plays the role of the dumbest cable channel, responded on its website, “Oh, Sarah, you’re the best!” and “We’ve all done it!”

We’ve all screamed “fuck” in front of a formal wear-attired audience and TV cameras? Continue reading

4 Comments

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

Is Spouting Nonsense On Talk Radio Unethical?

I know Swift; Swift was a friend of mine. Jan Mickelson is no Jonathan Swift.

I know Swift; Swift was a friend of mine. Jan Mickelson is no Jonathan Swift.

I can’t resist using Media Matters as a source on an ethics blog: the irony is too delicious.

Linked to the e-mailed question, “How outrageous can a radio talk show host be, ethically?” comes a link to this nonsensical gibberish spit out by local Iowa right-winger Jan Mickelson, who suggested on his radio show that illegal immigrants who refuse to leave should be warned, and then used as slaves. Now, Media Matters looks for this junk because its unethical goal is to make the false case that all progressives are angels sent from a Godless heaven with the Only Right and Good Way, that an unethical or mistaken progressive is a contradiction in terms, and that all opponents of these paragons of virtue are cretins, crooks and demons.  Thus an act like Mickelson’s  is highlighted—I had never heard of him, for which I am quite grateful—to show what a typical Republican and conservative thinks. You know: a crazy person.

To be fair to MM, which, of course, believes that Hillary Clinton’s handling of her e-mails was perfect, and that every word she has uttered about it is gospel truth, this guy is pretty outrageous:

 MICKELSON: Now here is what would work. And I was asked by an immigration open border’s activist a couple of weeks ago, how I would get all the illegals here in the state of Iowa to leave. “Are you going to call the police every time you find an illegal, are you going to round them up and put them in detention centers?”

I said, “No you don’t have to do any of that stuff.”

“Well you going to invite them to leave the country and leave Iowa?”

And I said, “Well, sort of.”

“Well how you going to do it, Mickelson? You think you’re so smart. How would you get thousands of illegals to leave Iowa?”

Well, I said, “Well if I wanted to do that I would just put up some signs.”

“Well what would the signs say?”

I said, “Well I’d would put them on the end of the highway, on western part of the interstate system, and I’d put them on the eastern side of the state, right there on the interstate system, and in the north on the Minnesota border, and on the south Kansas and Missouri border and I would just say this: ‘As of this date’ — whenever we decide to do this — ‘as of this date, 30–‘ this is a totally arbitrary number, ’30 to 60 days from now anyone who is in the state of Iowa that who is not here legally and who cannot demonstrate their legal status to the satisfaction of the local and state authorities here in the State of Iowa, become property of the State of Iowa.’ So if you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you’re still here, and we find that you’re still here after we we’ve given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa. And we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.

“Well how would you apply that logic to what Donald Trump is trying to do? Trying to get Mexico to pay for the border and for the wall?”

“Same way. We say, ‘Hey, we are not going to make Mexico pay for the wall, we’re going to invite the illegal Mexicans and illegal aliens to build it. If you have come across the border illegally, again give them another 60-day guideline, you need to go home and leave this jurisdiction, and if you don’t you become property of the United States, and guess what? You will be building a wall. We will compel your labor. You would belong to these United States. You show up without an invitation, you get to be an asset. You get to be a construction worker. Cool!’

Later, when a caller challenges him, saying that this sounds like slavery, this exchange transpires… Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

Jon Stewart Betrayal Update: Concha Gets It Right

Jon-Stewart-and-BarackLast night Jon Stewart finally commented on the reports of his meetings at the White House, and by his smug demeanor and evasiveness, confirmed the assessments of Ethics Alarms and many others.  Joe Concha of Mediaite nailed it:

“Well, I mean, I don’t know if they were secret,” the 52-year-old said last night while pointing out his name (which one?) was clearly on the visitor logs. It all sounds so much like Stephanopoulos explaining that his donations to the Clinton Foundation that were also there for all the public to see… buried on his tax forms. All I know is this: If I met with the president and hosted a program which primarily focuses on politics, pretty sure I’d let my audience know at the very least that what had happened. Unless, of course, I have to carry out my PR orders in a way no White House Press Secretary or Sunday talk show appearance ever could…Why attend a meeting with the most powerful person on the planet if you can’t report back what was said? In the end, these people are there not for an interview, but for instructions. And that’s exactly why Stewart took the Acela down to DC: To come back to New York and serve as the Baghdad Bob of arguably the most influential news program—forget that it’s billed as fake—on the dial right now…No matter…Stewart will get the Letterman treatment next week when he leaves The Daily Show, and rightly so. He didn’t earn $25-$30M a year for hosting a show four days a week for nothing. His timing, delivery and intelligence is something you don’t teach or learn.

In the end, Jon Stewart will be looked back on as one of the great performers of our generation. He’s also one of the more dishonest, and about as phony as they come.”

Exactly.

20 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media