Tag Archives: cruelty

So is THIS The Tipping Point For Trump Fans? Because One Is Coming….

epic-fail-fire-alarm-fail1

I mention this briefly, to illustrate my point that Donald Trump will keep testing the limits of human tolerance, even that of stupid, crude, bigoted, hateful and ignorant humans, until he exceeds it. This is a certainty.

Someone had thrown a tomato at Trump at a previous event, so at his Monday rally in Cedar Rapids, Trump told the crowd,

“So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them. I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.”

So we have now escalated from Trump kicking out protesters while directing that his thugs keep their coats, so they freeze, and thowing out reporters he doesn’t like, to directing the crowd to beat people up. This last would be enough for most decent, fair, civilized people, none of whom attend Trump rallies. What will make these people say, “Oh-oh! I don’t want to be associated with this guy!,” I wonder?

When he has the protester brought up the podium, says, “Stand him up!’ and breaks his jaw, like Captain McCluskey does to Michael Corleone? No? Not bad enough?

How about setting a protester on fire? How’s that?

It is certain, certain, that eventually Trump will go too far, because he has no ethics alarms.

Just wait.

You’ll see.

________________________

Pointer: Fred

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics

A “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” Case Study: The Angouleme International Comics Festival Thinks Announcing the Wrong Award-Winners Is Funny

In December, comedian Steve Harvey inadvertently announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe Pageant on live, national TV. It was horrible. He then had to correct his mistake, the wrongly crowned Miss Columbia had to be uncrowned, and everyone except the sadists in the audience felt awkward and embarrassed. Harvey sincerely apologized, more than once.

How anyone could be aware of that fiasco, which received world-wide attention, and conclude that it would be hilarious to do the same fake-winner bit intentionally is beyond my small mind to comprehend. Such individuals would have to have their ethics alarms installed backwards, or buy them from the Bizarro World of Superman Comics. Yet the organizers of the Angouleme International Comics Festival this tear decided exactly that: “Let’s announce the wrong winners! It will be great!

The ceremony began with the MC, comedian Richard Gaitet,  announcing that“This will be the shortest ceremony in history, because all we want to do is drink and dance!” He then presented all nine awards in rapid succession, including the Fauve d’Or, the biggest award of the show, to Arsène Schrauwen, by Olivier Schrauwen. Then two women appeared and announced that the awards just handed out were fake, and they presented the real awards to completely different artists. The “winners” who just accepted their prizes in the exhilaration of pride and recognition, were as stunned as Miss Columbia.

The audience reaction, meanwhile, was exactly as you, I or any sane person would expect. Nobody laughed. Everyone felt that the targets of the practical joke had been abused. “We were all happy, we had tears in our eyes, and then we were humiliated,” said Sam Soubigui of Komikku, one of the publishers whose book won a “Faux Fauve” (fake prize). Another publisher who accepted a phony prize had already relayed the news of the honor to the writer and artist of the book that “won,” and then had to call them back and explain. One editor whose comic won a “Faux Fauve” left the auditorium in tears when she realized it was fake.

The condemnation of the stunt on social media was swift and unanimous. The organizers of the festival thought this was an appropriate response (courtesy of the French to English Google app, further translated by me from the typical gibberish these programs often create): Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire

The Crime That Can’t Be Charged: Humiliation And Harm For Money

I hate this topic with a passion. It has come up often: the exploitation of desperate attention-addicts in celebrity reality shows, dwarf-tossing, the ancient pastime of paying geeks and the deformed to present themselves for public ridicule and dehumanizing treatment, and more. The problem is that the phenomenon is indistinguishable from other, societally-approved examples of paying individuals to harm themselves or be humiliated for our entertainment. Pro football, of course, harms more human beings in one game than all the dwarf-tossing since the beginning of time. Child actors are harmed for money, and often they don’t even get the proceeds, or give meaningful consent.

Every example I can imagine feeds directly into the vile Rationalization #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.” The problem is that all of those worse things are legal, and likely to remain so. Yes, there are worse things than paying a drunk to dance like fool in exchange for a few dollars to buy his next drink, like paying young men millions of dollars to pound their brains into jelly. That’s our national pastime!

And yet—how can a society tolerate this? From the AP...

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey say no charges will be filed after a stranger paid a homeless man $5 to pour coffee on himself twice. Police say that’s because Ronald Leggatt consented even though he was embarrassed. The 65-year-old tells the Asbury Park Press he let a stranger videotape him pouring coffee on his head on Monday in Lakewood because he needed the money….

I wish I had a solution. I’d like to know the name of the scum who did this, but then what? Post his name for vigilante justice? I would argue that there is no valid consent when an individual agrees under duress and desperation, but then what is society saying—that a man can’t exchange a humiliating act for money he desperately needs? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

In Search Of A Tipping Point: Trump, The Microphone, And Thomas Dewey’s Ghost

Tom Dewey

The question is what will be the tipping point with Donald Trump, the incident, large or small, that suddenly causes the scales to fall from the eyes of his so far endlessly tolerant supporters, and cause them to suddenly realize what they are doing, exclaim, “My God! This man is a jerk!” and end this sick romance. The human being behind the ugly mask is uglier still, after all. Sooner or later, a tipping point will be reached.

In 1948, Republican Tom Dewey, who already had given FDR his best battle in an election, was poised to defeat the unpopular President Harry Truman and become President of the United States. It was less than a month from election day when, in Beaucoup, Illinois,  Dewey was speaking on the rear platform of a train as a tactic to counter Truman’s 30,000-mile whistle-stop campaign. The engineer accidentally backed the train up a short distance and stopped with a jolt, frightening both the candidate and the crowd. Dewey, flustered, snapped, “This is the first lunatic I’ve had as an engineer. He probably ought to be shot at sunrise, but I guess we can let him off because nobody was hurt!”

Nobody laughed. This was a petulant, privileged, arrogant side of Dewey that the public had never seen before, and was played up by papers as emblematic of a contempt  for working Americans. It didn’t help that he wore a fussy, anachronistic  mustache mocked by Alice Roosevelt Longworth as making her visualize Dewey as “the bridegroom on the wedding cake,” but whatever his other flaws, the train incident and his unguarded moment of impatience may have cost Thomas Dewey the election.

Yesterday, during an overflowing rally in Pensacola, Florida, the Republican poll-leader for the party’s Presidential nomination became annoyed by a balky microphone and attacked an anonymous sound engineer.

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History

Ethics Perspective: All Leaders Do Awful Things, And Many Are Awful People: All We Can Do Is Identify Leaders Who We Can Trust To Try Be Ethical, While Having The Ability To Lead

Roosevelts

Case Study I: Theodore Roosevelt.

Teddy’s easily my favorite President, both as a personality, a leader, and a human being. Almost all of his flaws, and he had plenty—the excessive animal-killing, the imperialism, the love of war, his sexism and intrinsic belief in white supremacy—are directly attributable to his times and class. He learned, because he was brilliant and intellectually curious. Like George Washington, TR was capable of evolving. He wanted to do good, and like all of us, was on a lifetime journey to find out what good was. Like most leaders who are capable of leading, he thought he had a pretty good idea of what was right, and one that was better than those of almost everyone else.

In at least one instance, however, Roosevelt personality and leadership style led to a terrible injustice.

On August 13, 1906, there was a race-related fight in Brownsville,Texas. It got out of control, turned into a full-scale riot, and one white police officer was wounded while another man, a bartender, was killed. The town blamed the black soldiers of the 25th Infantry stationed at nearby Fort Brown; tensions between the soldiers and the all-white town had been growing since the blacks arrived.  The town produced spent shells from army rifles as evidence of the soldiers’ guilt, and investigators accepted them as incriminating, though they probably were planted.

All the soldiers protested that they were innocent. Their white officers backed up their claims that the soldiers had been in their barracks at the time of the melee.  No military trial was ever held, but a Texas court cleared the black soldiers of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, President Roosevelt discharged  the entire regiment without honor anyway: 167 men, but only the blacks; the white officers were not disciplined.  The alleged cause for the harsh punishment was that the blacks had engaged in a “conspiracy of silence” to protect the guilty member of their regiment. Some of the men dismissed had over twenty years of  honorable service; one had fought alongside Roosevelt during the Spanish American War. Many were only a short time away from retirement and vested  pensions. The 168 lost their careers, reputations, and retirement income. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, Race

The Unethical Web-Shaming Destruction Of Holly Jones

kilroysFB.0

“I will never go back to this location for New Year’s Eve!!!” young Holly Jones ranted on an Indianapolis bar and restaurant’s Facebook page. “After the way we were treated when we spent $700+ and having our meal ruined by watching a dead person being wheeled out from an overdose my night has been ruined!” The angry post accused the evening’s restaurant manager of rudeness, the party’s waitress of profanity and the establishment itself of inattention.

After a sharp on-line rebuttal by the restaurant, the Web Furies were unleashed. Jones’ post became the latest web-shaming catalyst and an invitation to join a cyber-mob where fun could be had by all turning an ordinary jerk into a national villain. Lots of people signed up. The mob tracked down Jones and bombarded her own Facebook page with hate—she took the page down—then moved on to the salon where she worked as a hairdresser, threatening a boycott unless it fired Jones.

So it did.

These exercises in vicious web shaming can be ranked along an ethics spectrum. At the most unethical end is the destruction of Justine Sacco, who had her legitimate marketing career destroyed by social media’s  hysterical over-reaction to a self-deprecating, politically incorrect tweet. Now she works promoting a fantasy sports gambling website, a sleazy enterprise that entices chumps into losing serious cash with a business model derived from internet poker—she not only had her life derailed, she was corrupted too.

At the other end is Adam Smith, the one-time executive who wrecked his own career, with the help of another cyber-mob, by proudly posting a video of himself abusing an innocent Chic-fil-A  employee because Smith didn’t like her boss’s objections to gay marriage.  Somewhere between the two is Lindsay Stone, who lost her job by posting a photo showing her pretending–she later said— to scream at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while flipping the bird at the “Silence and Respect” sign.

The distance between Smith and Jones is the difference between words and conduct. Smith’s video showed him abusing a young woman, and his posting of the video indicated that he saw nothing wrong with it. Jones, in contrast, did nothing, other than prove herself to be, at least at the moment she posted her rant, an utter jerk. Everyone along the spectrum, however, including Jones, were excessively and unjustly harmed by the web-shaming  campaign against them. Last I checked, Smith was unemployed and destitute three years after his episode of atrocious judgment.

In the current case, the cyber-mob forcing Holly’s employer to fire her is ethically worse, by far, than anything she can reasonably be accused of doing by posting her criticism of the restaurant. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Facebook, Social Media, U.S. Society, Workplace

Cast Your Vote For The 2015 “Curmies,” Disgraces To The Field Of Education…

Charles Addams

Rick Jones, whose blog has been a past award winner at Ethics Alarms and who is also a much-cherished commenter here, has posted the nominees for his annual “Curmie Awards” (his blog is, after all, Curmudgeon Central.) The Curmies are “presented to the person or persons who most embarrass the profession of educator.”

This time, only one of his nominees were the objects of posts on Ethics Alarms. Following is the list of finalists; then go here to read more of Rick’s riffs on the nominees, and to recoil in horror at Rick’s dishonorable mentions, like the  Texas high school that “not only painted Christian zealotry on the corridor walls, they used made-up quotations from the likes of George Washington and Ronald Reagan to do it.” (I’m really sorry I missed that one.)…

1. …Gustine ISD in Texas, where Principal Alan Luker faced a rather unique problem: someone was leaving feces on the gym floor. So, naturally, a couple dozen 4th and 5th graders were carted off to separate rooms for girls and boys and made to drop their pants….

2. … Harrisburg (PA) Sci-Tech High School, where an (of course) unnamed Assistant Principal threatened senior Alexus Miller-Wigfall with suspension for wearing a dress that was “too revealing” to prom…apparently motivated by the fact that Ms. Miller-Wigfall has “more boobs than other girls,” who “have less to show.” (More boobs? Two aren’t enough for this girl?) [Ethics Alarms post here.]

3.…The State Education Department in Florida, which devised a testing apparatus whereby students who got perfect scores on a standardized test actually hurt their school and their teacher by not improving on the previous year’s perfect score. How often does this happen? Actually, tens of thousands of times annually. Yes, there’s a provision that allows districts to correct the record, and indeed the problem might have been fixed by now, but the mere fact that the default position was to punish teachers and schools for not improving on perfection tells us everything we need to know about the corporate-driven lunacy that now infests public education. [ I omitted this initially, finding it so incomprehensible that I, I don’t know, thought Rick was having a stroke or something. He assures me it’s real.]
Continue reading

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