Tag Archives: Facebook

Ethics Dunces: Professor Robert Donald Weide, And Any University That Employs Him

crushing dissentThe results of the Curmie Award vote are up at Curmudgeon Central, where blogger Rick Jones tracks episodes of supreme embarrassment for his profession, education. I think next year’s winner may have already arrived. It’s not that I can’t imagine worse conduct by an educator—I have a lively imagination—it’s just that the conduct California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) professor Robert Donald Weide is an apt symbol of why U.S. higher education is no longer a solution to anything, but a tragic problem in itself. There is no reason, none, why any school shouldn’t immediately sack a faculty member who behaves like this. If the issue is tenure, then tenure needs to be abolished. Tenure should not shield campus fascists.

What did Weide do? CSULA’s branch of Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative political organization, dared to invite Ben Shapiro to give a lecture called “When Diversity Becomes a Problem” about such emerging issues as Black Lives Matter, “microaggressions,” “safe spaces,”  trigger warnings and other assaults on free speech on campuses and elsewhere. Naturally, since the topic is an important and legitimate one, many at CSULA are attacking the event and arguing it should be blocked by the university, citing trigger warnings, safe spaces,  microaggressions, and, of course, the ever-useful censorship concept of “hate speech.”

Perhaps here is as good a place as any to note that I wouldn’t cross the street to listen to Ben Shapiro, and wouldn’t do so even before his website, Breitbart, decided to shill for Donald Trump. That, however, doesn’t alter the fact that he is every bit as worthy of a campus speaking gig as Lena Dunham, Bernie Sanders, Sean Penn, or the Pope. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Facebook, Race

The Unethical Web-Shaming Destruction Of Holly Jones

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“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

And Here’s Yet Another Unethical Use For Facebook…

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Senga Services, a Canadian cable company, recently web-shamed some of its  customers who were behind in their cable fees by listing their names and amount owed on Facebook. Of course, “it wasn’t the worst thing”—the company could have put up wanted posters

Naturally, the company had an excuse: Rationalization 2A, Sicilian Ethics.* “We always got excuses from everybody,” a rep for Senga told the CBC about the decision to publicly humiliate customers. “Promissory notes and everything, and it never arrives. So we found the most effective way is to publicly post the names.”

Effective, maybe. Ethical, never. Employing the threat of using humiliation to extract funds is indistinguishable from extortion. Yes, lawyers do it all the time, and mostly get away with it. It’s still wrong. It is particularly wrong when consumers have reason to believe that they are dealing with a business entity that respects their privacy and understands that their dealings, amicable or not, are not to be shared with the public. This is a dirty tactic, and in the U.S., an illegal one.  Section 551(c) of the Cable Communications Policy Act specifically prohibits cable companies from disclosing “personally identifiable information concerning any subscriber without the prior written or electronic consent of the subscriber concerned.” The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada maintains that Canadian law only “allows organizations to use or disclose people’s personal information only for the purpose for which they gave consent,” meaning that there ” is also an over-arching clause that personal information may only be collected, used and disclosed for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate under the circumstances.” Senga, not knowing ethics from a tree frog, feels that public shaming for amounts as small as a hundred dollars is appropriate. Nonetheless, Senga agreed to pull the shaming posts.

Ban them from cable service, take them to court, work out a payment plan, charge interest…all of that is fair and reasonable. Using private information as a reputation-wrecking weapon, however, isn’t.

I think the debts of every Senga customer who the company treated this way should be cancelled.

 

*Note of Rationalization List change: Rationalization #2 was always two rationalizations in one. I finally split out the two, with the main rationalization re-named “Ethics Estoppel,” for the theory that Party A’s unethical conduct makes him unworthy of ethical conduct from Party B. The sub-rationalization, “Sicilian Ethics,” is just an excuse for revenge.

___________________

Pointer: Alexander Cheezem

Facts: Consumerist

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Filed under Around the World, Business & Commercial, Facebook, Law & Law Enforcement

Audience Ethics And Ethics Dunce Kelvin Moon Loh

"I hear child screaming in audience, so audience cannot hear King. Is a puzzlement! But brave..."

“I hear child screaming in audience, so audience cannot hear King. Is a puzzlement! But brave…”

I don’t want to be harsh, because Mr. Loh is obviously a sensitive and compassionate young man who means well. However, he is also receiving plaudits on Facebook and in the media for taking a position that is not ethical, and is in fact just more political correctness guilt-mongering and double standard-peddling. It is also likely to provoke disrespectful and arrogant parents to believe that they have a right to impose their problems on unsuspecting theater audiences.

At  Broadway’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, a screaming child disrupted a matinee performance of “The King and I.”  Some members of the audience agitated for the child to be removed, and the woman with the child indeed left.

One of the understudies in the production, Kelvin Moon Loh, defended the woman who brought the child to the performance in a post on his Facebook page, in which he assumed the kid was autistic and used the incident to argue for compassion and “inclusiveness” in the theater, and compassion.  Loh actually praised the woman as “brave.” Brave she may be; she also was selfish, irresponsible, disrespectful and absolutely wrong.

This is not an issue of tolerance. This is not an issue of compassion. The ethical issue is whether one person has a right, and can be right, to ruin a theatrical performance for the rest of the audience, or to unreasonably risk doing so. It’s an easy call: noNever. It is no more “brave” to take a child who cannot behave properly to a Broadway show (or any show) than it is to take a cranky infant to a movie. This is not like the airplane situation, where the mother has no choice, and the child’s noise doesn’t interfere with the flight’s main purpose, which is to get to the destination. The mother doesn’t have to see “The King and I,” nor does she have to bring her child to potentially disrupt it. Doing so is inconsiderate; defending her conduct, as Loh does, stands for a kind of etiquette affirmative action, in which being the mother of an autistic child relieves one of any obligation to care about anyone else. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Family

Comment of the Day: Sabrina Corgatelli, Fick

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Just as the Cecil the Lion kerfluffle began to disperse (as Republicans try to recruit a dentist to shoot Donald Trump), frequent Ethics Alarms commenter Ing scored a Comment of the Day on my follow-up post about in-your-face giraffe-killer Sabrina Sabatelli, who intentionally mocked the Cecil mourners.

I designated her a fick, someone who publicly revels in their unethical conduct. Ing demurs, and employs the three Niggardly Principles to make his argument. I’ll be back briefly at the end; in the meantime, I’ll add the Niggardly Principle definitions to his commentary so you don’t have to follow the link back and forth.

Here is Ing’s Comment of the Day on the post, Sabrina Corgatelli, Fick: Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Character, Environment, Etiquette and manners, Facebook

Sabrina Corgatelli, Fick

Sabrina_Corgatelli

Sabrina Corgatelli, a university accountant from McCammon, Idaho, is engaging in such blatantly fickish conduct that I am tempted to change the term “fick” to “corgatelli.” I won’t, because the conduct by the felicitously named Leroy Fick (in proudly declaring to the media in 2011 that he would continue to accept public assistance from Michigan despite winning the state lottery) had no defenders at all, while Corgatelli has thousands of fans who are evidently just as warped as she is. Thus Corgatelli is a fick—an individual who not only engages in unethical conduct but who publicly brags about it—and Leroy Fick avoids the fate of being labelled a corgatelli.

I just wanted to get that bit of terminology housekeeping out of the way at the outset. I must say, however, that at least fick Fick’s motives for his fickism are traditional and comprehensible: selfishness and greed. Corgatelli pays large sums of money to travel large distances in order to kill endangered species. If forced with a crossbow to my head to play Sophie’s Choice with one fick or the other, I’ll keep Leroy.

Corgatelli has set out to taunt critics of Cecil the Lion Killer Walter Palmer by posting  serial images of herself on  social media, posing triumphantly with her big game victims, sporting captions like this one, attached to the photo above: Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Facebook

A Jumbo For Sulu

SuluGeorge Takei, the Japanese-America actor permanently enshrined in pop culture history for his role of Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series. He has essentially lived off that one felicitous part for forty years, recently acquiring less moldy,  non-sci-fi following by being a gay rights advocate.

Takei recently skimmed, or just didn’t comprehend, Clarence Thomas’s  audacious dissent to the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling and Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion declaring same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. Apparently he also does not comprehend that Supreme Court dissents are both stimulating and useful to legal scholars as well as those, unlike Mr. Sulu, possessing an open and curious mind.

Thomas made the unusual but provocative argument that human dignity is innate:

Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which
this Nation was built.

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Thomas was expressing  his disagreement with the majority that the government withholding the right to marry from gays robbed them of human dignity. I think it is a rather pedantic argument that has more validity in the abstract than in reality, but the position that rights come from creation rather than the government is a core concept in the Declaration of Independence, and one that statists, as in “modern Democrats,” like to ignore. If individuals are born with rights, they cannot be truly taken away. If citizens must look to the government to have their rights granted to them, then government is granted too much power in exchange. Thomas’s philosophical argument is classic conservatism. Naturally, that means, in Takei’s intolerant and partyist world view, that he deserves abuse. Continue reading

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