Lies, Scams, Fiascos, and “Saved By the Bell”

Some diverse ethics observations while living the lonely existence of a traveling ethics trainer…

  • Airline attendants now routinely lie on every flight, saying it is a “completely full flight” to persuade passengers to put as little as possible in the inadequate over-head compartments. Since it is often  obvious very quickly that the flight isn’t full, this gets a relationship of trust off to a rotten start right from the beginning. The bogus “full flight:  claim now  happens on every flight—apparently it is an industry-embraced deception. But for frequent flyers who are aware of the lie, it is counter-productive: I now disbelieve the claim even when it turns out later that the flight is full. Idea: how about dealing with the problem by eliminating the $20 charge that encourages  flyers to avoid checking luggage?
  • Political correctness isn’t always bad. If you doubt it, watch the special “Saved By the Bell”  special where Zach, Slater and the gang go to Hawaii. The inexplicably popular 80’s kids TV series was the best alternative in my hotel room as I awoke at 4;30AM,and I was treated to a jaw-dropping episode in which Screech, an idiot, is recognized by a group of native Hawaiian cab drivers as a returning Hawaii demi-god who will help them re-gain their native land. The native Hawaiians, who are portrayed as actually dumber than Screech, putting them in kitchen appliance territory, begin carrying him around on their shoulders, worshiping him, and doing fake Hawaiian chants. Compared to this offensive and condescending portrayal of a native culture, those Indians on “F Troop” were the height of racial sensitivity.
  • President Obama needs to sack someone in the wake of the Christmas airplane bombing attempt. It is called accountability, a value that went out of fashion in the Bush Administration. Leadership not only has to acknowledge policy fiascos, but also make it clear that someone is at fault, even when the problem is systemic. It isn’t a matter of fairness. It is critical for an administration to make certain that there is a penalty for overseeing failure, and that every official knows this and is prepared to accept it. The obvious choice is Secretary Napolitano, just as Donald Rumsfeld should have resigned following the Abu Ghraib scandal.

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