Category Archives: Romance and Relationships

Comment of the Day: “The Ray Rice Affair: Defending Stephen Smith (and Blaming the Victims Of Domestic Abuse When They Behave Like Rice’s)”

 

"I'm going to slug you, and then you sing a lovely song about how you love me anyway, and it doesn't matter in the great scheme of things. OK?"

“I’m going to slug you, and then you sing a lovely song about how you love me anyway, and it doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things. OK?”

Steve-O-in-NJ sent in a thoughtful elaboration on the issue underlying my previous post regarding the obligation of abused women to end their relationship with abuser, and certainly not deepen it. He gets extra credit for quoting a lyric from “Carousel” in response to my post’s use of a similar themed lyric from “Show Boat.” (I wonder how many Broadway and popular songs are laments by abused women? The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Carousel’s” protagonist is an abuser: one woman he strikes says that the blow “felt like a kiss.” Gee, if he threw her down the stairs, would it feel like a hug?)

Here is Steve’s Comment of the Day on the post, The Ray Rice Affair: Defending Stephen Smith (and Blaming the Victims Of Domestic Abuse When They Behave Like Rice’s)

There’s an Italian proverb to the effect that no one else should enter into the discussions between husband and wife. I’m personally acquainted with one couple where things went bad after the wedding because the husband decided his wife was no longer so good-looking after she didn’t quite lose all the weight she gained during her first pregnancy. I’m also acquainted with another couple, mostly with the wife, in which the husband both verbally and physically abused the wife for months before the wedding, but she married him anyway, and now with the birth of their first child it appears that life is perfect.

For a long time prior to the second couple’s wedding I listened to the now-wife’s constant complaining and gave her exactly the advice set forth above. It fell on deaf ears, and I paid a draining emotional price. Because of that, when the wife in the first couple came to me in tears because the husband’s attention had turned to some hot number with tattoos and piercings, I turned her away and told her to work it out, I didn’t have the time or the inclination to listen to this nonsense again, when all it would probably result in was her going back with him after burdening me with her problems, leaving me the loser. I should also mention that the wife in the second relationship had been in relationships with at least two other men who beat her prior to the one she actually married.

It’s hard to say that there’s a war on women when some of the women actively walk into the line of fire and toss logic to the wind (“What’s the Use of Wondrin’?”) and burden society’s resources by welcoming their 911 rescue only to drop all charges once they see their men in cuffs, leaving the cops and prosecutors wondering why they even bothered.

It’s generally an accepted practice that if you call for the paramedics because you feel ill or are injured, but decline to go to the hospital, you have to sign a form generally called an AMA (against medical advice) form, absolving them from liability. I would suggest that a similar form be adopted for domestic violence situations, where, if the woman declines to press charges, she has to sign a form saying she is doing so, and perhaps a second form where she has to sign off if she declines to leave the relationship. Then the police keep these forms on file, and when they get another call from the same address about the same stuff, they can give it a lower priority or ignore it altogether in favor of pursuing the shots fired or burglary in progress calls. It isn’t society’s job to help those who refuse to help themselves, nor to be a maid or valet service cleaning up after messy relationships but never able to get at the source. Society has an obligation to properly husband its limited resources, and members of society have an obligation not to become a drain on those resources.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Family, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, Romance and Relationships

The Ray Rice Affair: Defending Stephen Smith (and Blaming the Victims Of Domestic Abuse When They Behave Like Rice’s)

The love birds. Luckily, she can take a punch.

The love birds. Luckily, she can take a punch.

I came close to writing about the latest disturbing turn in the Ray Rice affair—the fact that the Baltimore Ravens star’s ugly domestic abuse, caught on a hotel elevator camera, was recently deemed to warrant only a two game suspension by the NFL. I think this is a fairly accurate representation of how seriously that league and a segment of the professional sports culture take the problem of domestic abuse—wait until you hear all the cheers for Rice in his first day back on the field—but I had already registered my disgust at Rice’s lack of sufficient punishment for this incident. Then ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith was pilloried by female pundits for daring to suggest that the victims of domestic abuse sometimes share responsibility for what happens to them, and need to take action to prevent further beatings. ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle, noting that she was once in an abusive relationship, erupted in indignation, saying she “would never feel clean again” after taking reading Smith’s comments, and wrote,”I’m thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend…I’d hate to think what I’d be asking for by doing so… “Violence isn’t the victim’s issue. It’s the abuser’s. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting. Walk. Away.”

Of course,  other pundits, websites and blogs followed Beadle’s leaddid you know there’s a war on women?—because you just don’t dare get on the wrong side of this kind of issue. The problem is that in the context of the Ray Rice episode, Smith was making a valid point that is made too seldom because of The Beadle Rule, that women who are abused share no responsibility for their fate, and to even suggest otherwise is proof positive of misogyny. That is a politically correct lie, and Smith should not be attacked for telling the truth, albeit inarticulately. Continue reading

27 Comments

Filed under Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Romance and Relationships, Sports, U.S. Society

Comment of The Day (Public Service Message Division): “Wanetta Gibson Is Even Worse Than We Thought”

Wait a second...I'm getting my rifle...

Wait a second…I’m getting my rifle…

We haven’t had one of these in a while, and I’m feeling like having a good fish-shoot in the ol’ barrel, so here we go….

Apparently there has been another development in the Wanetta Gibson saga—I know this because the last post about this horrible woman is suddenly getting traffic again—and this has moved one Terrance Skerrette—I sure hope there’s just one— to enter one of those periodic comments I receive here that serves as a public service announcement for the ethically-challenged. You know the kind—Saturday Night Live parodies of such spots used to be a staple:

“Hello. I’m Jack Marshall, and this is Terrance. Terrance was raised in an environment that left him with an inability to understand ethics. That’s right–he will go through life justifying horrendous conduct by using rationalizations, hideous logic, and warped values. Will you help Terrance? No, he can’t be helped by treatment, but perhaps, if you give generously, we can provide him with a comfortable shack in the forest and plenty of food, so he can live comfortably without infecting anyone else with his hopeless ethical ignorance and dangerous excuses for terrible conduct. Please send your generous contributions to “Help Terrance,” care of Ethics Alarms. Thank you. Terrance would thank you too, but he probably thinks you are evil.”

Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

The Campus Sexual Assault Witch Hunts Ethics Train Wreck, Complicated By The Fact That The Witches Are Real

"Wait...are you raping me, or am I raping you?"

“Wait…are you raping me, or am I raping you?”

There is no question that there are sexual predators on college campuses, or that some colleges let them get away with raps on the knuckles for sexual assault or worse. There is also little question, though various parties and activists deny it, that what constitutes genuine sexual assault and even rape has been so thoroughly politicized and muddled by irresponsible rhetoric, dubious statistics and cynical political maneuvering that addressing the problem of actual campus sexual assault is becoming impossible without harming, indeed destroying, the innocent in some cases.

At Stanford, women are rallying for a more stringent process and harsher punishment after student Leah Francis protested in an e-mail to the campus that she had been “forcibly raped” by a fellow student and he was permitted to graduate. Of course, Stanford didn’t find the she had been raped: her assailant was found guilty of sexual assault. The loose use of “rape” to describe sexual assault for political purposes is one of the reasons universities seem incapable of finding a satisfactory balance in handling such cases. At the risk of getting ahead of the post, I would say this: if it is alleged to be rape, then turn the matter over to the police and the justice system. Schools are not allowed to use internal procedures to investigate and punish murder; it makes no sense to permit them to do so with the serious crime of rape. The fact that the standards of proof and the requirements of due process are less stringent in a campus procedure is what simultaneously leads to inadequate sanctions for the guilty and railroading of the innocent. The solution to this problem has always been available: treat allegations of campus rape like any other kind of rape.

Unfortunately, colleges are often in thrall to the political agendas of feminists and their allies, so “rape” can mean many things, as can “sexual assault.” In the casual, morality-free sexual atmosphere now not merely tolerated but nurtured on college campuses, lines of consent are blurred, and missteps are inevitable. At the same time, the permissive sexual environment is a playground for predators, exploiters and manipulators. How are the genuinely culpable sexual assailants to be distinguished from the clumsy, the confused, the misled, or the drunk and overly aroused? Continue reading

142 Comments

Filed under Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, Romance and Relationships

A Culture Lost And Confused: “The Donald Sterling Ethics Train Wreck” Is Now The U.S. Cultural Values And Priorities Ethics Train Wreck…Good Job, Everybody!

Lost2

Let’s see if I understand:

NBA owner Mark Cuban wasn’t making a racist statement when he publicly said that he is prejudiced in matters concerning blacks and race. That’s interesting, because the common description of one who is bigoted regarding race is “racist.” Even if  he was racist, it doesn’t justify his being fined millions, banned and losing his team, because he made the statement publicly, which is brave, rather than making his racist statements in the privacy of his own bed room, where Donald Sterling foolishly thought, as an American, that what he did was nobody’s business, as the gay members of the mob who want him ejected from his business always tell us.

Wait, that can’t be right. Let me start again. Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Race, Rights, Romance and Relationships, Sports, U.S. Society

Judges Who Appear To Have Difficulty Grasping The Seriousness Of Rape, And The Results Of Misallocating Values

Ok, I grant you, he drugged his wife to rape her for three years. But she was snippy when she was conscious...have some compassion!

OK, I grant you, he drugged his wife to rape her for three years. But she was snippy when she was conscious…have some compassion!

In Indiana, Superior Court Judge Kurt Eisgruber decided that jail time was too harsh for David Wise, who was convicted of  drugging his wife, raping her in her sleep, and videotaping the rapes…for three years.  He sentenced Wise to eight years of home confinement, with the remaining 12 years of his 20-year sentence suspended. Prosecutors had asked for a forty year sentence.

For some reason, Wise’s victim and former wife Mandy Boardman still holds a grudge. She recounted to the press how she would wake up puzzled, with a half-dissolved pill in her mouth. Finally, all became clear when she found videos of sexual encounters on Wise’s cell phone, and her husband confessed to her that his non-consensual sex with his drugged wife had been going on for more than three years. In trial, he explained that she was a little snippy sometimes, so drugging her and having her unconscious during sex made it a lot more pleasant for him.

Judge Eisgruber has declined to explain why this horrendous crime doesn’t warrant imprisonment, though he is running for re-election unopposed this fall, making a write-in campaign for, well, just about anybody or anything essential, I would think. He did express concern with the victim’s conduct, however, imploring her to forgive her ex-husband for his astounding breach of  trust, respect, fairness, dignity, and honesty, not to mention the law, telling Boardman during the sentencing  hearing, “I hope that you can forgive him one day, because he’s obviously struggled with this and struggled to this day, and I hope that she could forgive him.” The judge added, helpfully,

“Ultimately, I think that helps a lot of people heal — it helps them to reach that point. Some can, some cannot. I’m not in her shoes, I’m not able to say one way or another … It’s not something that’s limited to her or this case. But when people are really struggling, I just offer that out. … I just hope that they find peace.”

Continue reading

36 Comments

Filed under Character, Gender and Sex, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, Romance and Relationships, U.S. Society

The Humiliation of Jessica Urbina

JESSICA_URBINA

Every year at this time, Ethics Alarms covers one or more ethics controversies over a yearbook photo that has been deemed inappropriate for a high school graduation yearbook. The 2014 controversy, I think, has more significance than the others. Like other examples of rigid school administrator enforcement of poorly though-out rules and blatant cruelty to children, what was done to Jessica Urbina demonstrates the peril of allowing those in what no passes as the education profession to have power over our children, since they so frequently abuse it, or influence over the development of our children’s character, as the administrators display such flawed character themselves. The more I think about this incident, however, the more I conclude that it foretells the dying of a major religion in this country, and why it may deserve to die.

The yearbook photo of senior Jessica Urbina was deleted from her class  yearbook because she wore a tuxedo. School officials at San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral High School said  she violated the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s policy because she didn’t wear the dress that’s required for female students in yearbook photos. This is the no-tolerance version of yearbook photo rules, sexist, anti-gay, cruel and stupid. Jessica isn’t dressed inappropriately or unkempt; in fact, she looks great. She took care to make herself presentable for her yearbook, and succeeded. Quite reasonably, however, she decided to appear in clothing that made her feel comfortable, given her sexual orientation, for she is reputedly gay. Tuxes are not a gay uniform by any means; hetero and gay women have worn them as fashion for decades. Below are, clockwise, Ellen Paige, Kim Kardashian, Madonna, super-model Danielle Luquet de St Germain, and the immortal Marlene Dietrich:

Celebs in Tux

I know: yecchhh! How disgusting!

Seriously–there is nothing, nothing, provocative, inappropriate or wrong with Jessica’s attire. She is nicely groomed, her clothing is impeccable, the photograph is impeccable, and she looks cute and happy. The school officials knew what to do about that.
Continue reading

36 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Gender and Sex, Religion and Philosophy, Romance and Relationships

Michael Sam Flunks Trailblazer Ethics, And Many Will Suffer Because Of It

Sam kiss

The most charitable explanation for Michael Sam’s disastrous performance in the wake of the NFL draft is that he’s a young man who got terrible advice. A less charitable theory is that he’s an idiot. The worst theory of all is that Michael Sam is less interested in being the first openly gay pro-football player who blazes a clear path for those who follow him, and more concerned about becoming a gay icon, or worse, a martyr. Whatever the reason, Sam accepted the massive responsibility of being a cultural trailblazer, and fumbled the ball.

Sam wasn’t the best player in the NFL draft, but everyone knew, including Sam, that he would be the most closely watched. He had “come out” as gay soon after the college football season, and in light of his prominence and recognition as a stand-out athlete, his honesty and openness about his sexual orientation was hailed as a cultural turning point, an advance for gay Americans, and a test for the macho NFL. Would he be drafted? If he wasn’t (or was?), would it be because he was gay? ESPN’s cameras were in the Missouri defensive end’s home Saturday as the drafts neared its final stages with Sam name still uncalled. When St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher called Sam at his agent’s house in San Diego to tell the former University of Missouri defensive lineman that they had selected him in the seventh and last round of the draft, it was instant drama.

There was more drama, in fact, than ESPN and viewers probably expected. Sam burst into tears while receiving the call, and then received an emotional, mouth-t0-mouth kiss from his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Actually, there is; several, in fact. To begin with, Sam had violated the Second Niggardly Principle, which states,

“When an individual or group can accomplish its legitimate objectives without engaging in speech or conduct that will offend individuals whose basis for the supposed offense is emotional, mistaken or ignorant, but is not malicious and is based on well-established impulses of human nature, it is unethical to intentionally engage in such speech or conduct.”

A clearer example of the SNP would be hard to find. No doubt about it, most heterosexual Americans, which means most of the public, are not used to seeing adult men kissing each other on the lips. There is no question that Sam knows this: of course he does. Even now, popular culture uses the image for shock value; it was only the 90’s when an impulsive lip-lock from Kramer on Jerry drove the studio audience to screams of laughter. No, there’s nothing “wrong” with two men kissing each other, but an awful lot of people were raised to think it is unnatural, and it is wrong to intentionally or negligently offend or upset them gratuitously. It is the flip side of tolerance: consideration and etiquette. Causing discomfort just because you can, or because your targets “deserve” or “need” to feel uncomfortable is just trouble-making for the hell of it. “Deal with it!” is confrontational and aimed at creating rancor, not comity. Continue reading

42 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Race, Rights, Romance and Relationships, Sports, U.S. Society, Workplace

The “Bernie” Sentence’s Message: The Lives Of Mean People Aren’t Worth As Much As Those Of Nice People

Jack Black as Bernie, the nicest murderer you'd ever want to know.

Jack Black as Bernie, the nicest murderer you’d ever want to know.

“Bernie” is a quirky 2011 movie telling a strange and true story. Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede, an oddly cheery mortician who became a small town community favorite for his kind deeds and upbeat manner. Bernie even befriends the town pariah, a mean, rich old woman named Marjorie Nugent (played by Shirley Maclaine) whom he managed to reform–slightly–until she finally became even too much for him to bear, and in 1996 he shot her dead.

He was loved, she was hated, and the community (Carthage, Texas) rallied behind the murderer even though he hid his friend’s body in a freezer for nine months and spent about 2 million dollars of her money.  The pro-Bernie bias was so strong  prosecutors had to seek a change of venue, since no local jury would convict him. They got it, and a jury that knew neither charming Bernie nor his nasty victim found him guilty (because he was) and sent him to jail for life in 1997.

After the film was released, however, attorney Jodi Cole took up Tiede’s appeal. She discovered that he had a collection of books aimed at survivors of sexual abuse, and got Bernie to admit, for the first time, that he was abused as a child. Cole hired a psychiatrist who testified that Tiede’s abuse probably influenced the murder and his willingness to endure an abusive relationship with Nugent, until he finally snapped. This changed the mind of Panola County District Attorney Danny Buck Davidson, who told a judge Tuesday that he supported reducing the sentence to time served. State District Judge Diane DeVasto agreed. Bernie is now a free man, living in the apartment over the garage of the man who directed the film about him.
Continue reading

26 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Law & Law Enforcement, Romance and Relationships

Ethics Quiz: Replacing The Sideline Babe

Before and After

Before and After

In a nakedly cynical effort to appeal to male TV audience members, most of the major league baseball teams employ “sideline babes” in their local broadcasts—young, lovely, shapely women who impart little nuggets of “behind the scenes” information about the local team during lulls in the action, of which baseball has many. It often seems like these women can’t tell a ball from a bat, but who cares? Hubba hubba!

The Boston Red Sox however, have had a string of bad luck with their lovelies. The last two became romantically involved with Red Sox players, in one case a potential scandal (the player was married), and in the most recent, as sideline babe Jenny Dell began dating Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, a conflict of interest in the view of NESN, the Red Sox network. Who would have guessed that having fold-out ready young women roaming  dugouts filled with rich young male athletes would lead to this?

This season, the Sox sidelines have a different look. The game broadcast cutaways now lead to a large, handsome, undeniably male member of the broadcast squad, Gary Striewski. (That’s Gary on the right in the photo above, Jenny on the left.)  Coincidence? I think not. I think NESN got tired of the off-field whoopee, and decided to go in a different direction that minimized the risk. Assuming this is true (and recognizing that it may not be), your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is this:

Does choosing to have a male sideline reporter to avoid romantic conflicts with the players constitute unfair and unethical gender discrimination?

 

 

40 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Romance and Relationships, Sports, Workplace