Category Archives: Quotes

Reflections On The Ethical Holiday

Christmas

 

“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”

—G.K. Chesterton.

“It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be.”

— Frank Cross (Bill Murray) in “Scrooged”

CHARLIE BROWN: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

LINUS: Sure, Charlie Brown. I can tell you what Christmas is all about.  Lights, please?

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men.’”

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

—Charles M. Schulz

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

― Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

― Dr. Seuss, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

― Steve Maraboli, in “Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience”

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”

― Bob Hope

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

― Fred, Scrooge’s Nephew, in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Quotes, Literature, Love, Popular Culture, Quotes, Religion and Philosophy

Over 30% Of Republicans Apparently Have No Problem With America’s Representative To The World And The Role Model For Their Children Using Words Like “Schlonged” In Public

Well, I do.

I have previously opined, confidently, that Donald Trump supporters, every single one of them, are stupid. This I have pointed out, is the only possible explanation for supporting an obvious narcissist who utters no substantive or serious policy ideas, believes rationalizations are legitimate arguments, is vulgar and insulting without shame or hesitation, and has the essential character of a pimp.

I was wrong.

They aren’t stupid.

They are very stupid.

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Leadership, Quotes, U.S. Society

Unethical Lawyer Of The Year, Mae West Division….

The ABA Journal is on a roll today..

“A Miami lawyer was arrested outside Disney World’s Magic Kingdom earlier this month after a security guard noticed a bulge in the attorney’s pants that turned out to be a loaded gun…Police say the lawyer, 36-year-old Andrew Gerson, told the suspicious security guard that the bulge was his genitalia…The guard called a sheriff’s deputy who pulled his gun and ordered Gerson to stop after Gerson began running away, according to police. Gerson stopped running, dropped to his knees, told the deputy he had a gun and was arrested…”

When they are deciding how long to suspend this idiot’s law license, they should give him credit for the film reference.

 

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Quotes

Farewell To Yogi Berra (1925-2015)

yogi_berraP14

Whether celebrating the life of Yogi Berra has anything to do with ethics is debatable, I guess, but I feel ethically obligated to note his passing.

My father loved him: next to Ted Williams, who had the added enhancement of being a two war veteran and war hero, Yogi was Dad’s favorite athlete even though he hated the Yankees almost as much as I do. [ CORRECTION: I am reminded  by reader John Condray that Yogi was also a war hero, “serving on the LCSS (dubbed “Landing Craft, Suicide Squad” by sailors since they operated in harm’s way). He was at D-Day & the Anvil landings in southern France – where he was grazed by a bullet from a Nazi machine gun.” I’m sure Dad knew that, and I should have.]

Berra was a unique and successful baseball player, a Hall of Fame catcher, and that rarity, a completely benign and welcome presence, always. A poor kid from a St.Louis Italian-American ghetto, he managed to project himself as a nice guy who was grateful to be able to make a living playing a kids game, and who never felt superior to anyone. He was an 8th grade drop-out, and always happy to play the fool, but those who knew him realized quickly that Yogi Berra was as witty and savvy as he was modest. If anyone didn’t like Lawrence Peter Berra, he or she never had the guts to say so in public. He really appears to be just as nice, honest and modest a man as he seemed to be.

Maybe that’s what Yogi Berra’s life has to do with ethics. He had a successful and long lasting marriage to his wife Carmen, successfully raised a family, was in public life for six decades without saying a mean word against anyone, entertained and thrilled millions of baseball fans, was the epitome of a professional, and left the world richer for his being in it.

You don’t get much more ethical than that.

You can read more about Berra here and here; his statistics are here. As you may know, Berra’s talent for coming up with funny quotes, many of which were deceptively wise and showed a deft sense of internal irony and word play, became as celebrated as his baseball achievements. Today those quotes are everywhere, including some that he may not have said. As Yogi did say once, “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”

Below are 25 of my personal favorites.  Some of them make me laugh every time I read them.

What a great life. Continue reading

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Ethics Quiz: The Syracuse Kiss Cam Ban

Kiss cam

The Syracuse University Carrier Dome kiss cam was taken out of service over the weekend and was not in operation during  the Syracuse-Central Michigan University football game, apparently because a letter to the editor  on Syracuse.com expressed the opinion that it encouraged sexual assault. So-called kiss cams are a tradition in some stadiums in which the scoreboard camera pans the crowd and picks out a couple who find themselves being displayed over or under a banner that encourages/demands that they kiss as the crowd roars. Typically, they do, laugh, and life goes on.

Yes, it’s stupid.

Letter writer Steve Port described watching two kiss cam scenes in which women didn’t seem to want to be kissed, but nearby men kissed them anyway as the crowd cheered.  He said such a practice condones and encourages “sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement, at best. And they are an actual instance of assault, at worst…No one has the right to forcefully touch someone be it a hug, a kiss or a violent rape.”

Well, I certainly agree that rape cam is a bad idea.

Port argued that “the Syracuse University student government, the chancellor, the athletic director, etc. review what happened last weekend and seriously consider the ramifications of what they are encouraging.” Spooked by the letter and the online response to it, the Syracuse administration discontinued the gimmick. One letter is all it took. “We are taking the time to assess the concerns expressed in the letter to the editor. We discussed this with POMCO, the sponsor, and they supported that approach,” Sue Edson, executive senior associate athletics director for communications, said in an email.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Is the kiss cam a provocation to sexual assault and a sense of male entitlement and therefore unethical?

Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Quotes, Romance and Relationships, Sports

Eureka! The Shocking Origin Of “Politically Correct” [UPDATE: This Is Apparently A Hoax]

The didn't say

They didn’t call him “Give ’em Hell Harry!” for nothing.

CORRECTION: I am shocked to learn this  a hoax, because I would not expect the two sources involved, both of whom make a serious avocation of verifying quotes, to be fooled. Rees has written a book on the topic of political correctness, and Tom annoys his friends by checking Snopes on almost anything he runs across. I apologize, and as usual, I’m annoyed, because I hate web hoaxes to pieces. The Snopes debunking is here: my thanks to faithful reader Phlinn, who first flagged this.

___________________________________________________

Now I’m going to have a word with my old friend…

From my old friend (we go back to 1970 together) and frequent theatrical collaborator Tom Fuller, an intermittent contributor here, comes this fascinating historical snippet regarding the origin of the term “politically correct.” Tom’s British source, the author of the Politically Correct Phrasebook (1993), initially placed the phase’s origin to the 1980s, which is when I first recall hearing it and detesting it. However, Tom informs me that BBC’s Nigel Rees has uncovered much earlier source: President Harry S. Truman.

From Rees’ quotation newsletter, as relayed to me by Tom—and this is, if accurate, amazing…

“Now I have just been handed an explosive use of the term – apparently in its modern sense – but dating from 1945. It comes in an exchange of telegrams re the Japanese surrender between General Douglas MacArthur and President Harry S Truman on the day before the actual signing of the Surrender Agreement in September 1945. An unnamed source at the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri, provided them – and not a word has been added or deleted … I hope they are genuine:

(1) Tokyo, Japan 0800-September 1,1945

To: President Harry S Truman From: General D A MacArthur

Tomorrow we meet with those yellow-bellied bastards and sign the Surrender Documents, any last minute instructions?

(2) Washington, D C 1300-September 1, 1945

To: D A MacArthur

From: H S Truman

Congratulations, job well done, but you must tone down your obvious dislike of the Japanese when discussing the terms of the surrender with the press, because some of your remarks are fundamentally not politically correct!

(3) Tokyo, Japan 1630-September 1, 1945

To: H S Truman F

From: D A MacArthur and C H Nimitz

Wilco Sir, but both Chester and I are somewhat confused, exactly what does the term politically correct mean?

(4) Washington, D C 2120-September 1, 1945

To: D A MacArthur/C H Nimitz

From: H S Truman

Political Correctness is a doctrine, recently fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and promoted by a sick mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end!

Now that’s politically incorrect!

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, Quotes, War and the Military

Out Of 199 Quotes, 40 That Reveal Donald Trump’s Ethics

Slogging through 199 Donald Trump quotes is too much for anyone to endure. Here are the 40 that matter...

Slogging through 199 Donald Trump quotes is too much for anyone to endure. Here are 40 that matter…

I don’t like or trust the technique of cherry-picking quotes from famous people to make them sound stupid, venal, mean or distasteful. First of all, the technique has been  abused by the news media, which uses it against people like Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle, but seldom digs up quotes to embarrass the leaders and political figures they like and support. Many liberal icons—Barney Frank comes to mind—talk so incessantly that it would be easy to make them sound like monsters or fools using the technique, but if it is done to these people at all, it is done by ideological blogs with minimal exposure. Second, those who make such lists often cheat, taking quotes out of context, or worse, making them up. Many lists designed to show that Sarah Palin is an idiot, for example (she is many things, but idiot is not among them) use lines actually said by Tina Fay while lampooning Palin.

Michael Kruse’s feature for Politico called “The 199 Most Donald Trump Things Donald Trump Has Ever Said”, however, deserves a bit more deference. After all, he appears to have waded through a putrid swamp of Trump interviews, books, and videos, which probably left him drooling and giggling in a corner some place; I’ll be relieved when I see evidence that he’s OK. That task took courage, dedication and endurance: attention must be paid. Moreover, this isn’t the usual list of ten or twenty quotes: you could make Stephen Hawking  seem like a dolt in twenty quotes if you chose them maliciously. This is 199. Impressive.

Also horrifying. In selecting the 199 juiciest and most provocative quotes from any prominent American, wouldn’t you expect at least one that was articulate, thoughtful, wise or memorable? I’m not looking for Samuel Butler here, or even Barack Obama, but for someone who is at least for the nonce a “serious” candidate for the highest office in the land, it would be reassuring to find some evidence of wit, perspective, reflection, or a vocabulary beyond that of a typical 8th grader, and it just isn’t there. Has Trump  read any literature? Has he ever seen a play? Is he capable of a relevant famous quote or a cultural reference (saying that Bette Midler is “grotesque” doesn’t count, though “grotesque” may be the most sophisticated word that appears on the list)? If so, there is no hint of it. Maybe Kruse intentionally left out quotes that would reflect well on Trump, and omitted utterances like “I suppose there’s a melancholy tone at the back of the American mind, a sense of something lost. And it’s the lost world of Thomas Jefferson. It is the lost sense of innocence that we could live with a very minimal state, with a vast sense of space in which to work out freedom” (George Will) or “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators” (P.J. O’Roarke) or even“Our political differences, now matter how sharply they are debated, are really quite narrow in comparison to the remarkably durable national consensus on our founding convictions.” (John McCain). I doubt it.

There are three Trump bon mots in the 199 that barely justify quoting, like  #57: Continue reading

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