Annoyances For The Obsessing Traveling Ethicist


I just got home from another day trip, and am too weary to essay a significant post. Allow me, instead, to give readers a taste of what goes through one’s mind when you have begun to focus exclusively on ethics in preparation for a key, out-of-state presentation:

  • The incompetence of supposed professional broadcasters. Shortly before leaving for the airport on Sunday, I watched the local Fox affiliate report on the new Vogue cover, featuring Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. One of the two anchorwomen noted that there was a parody of the cover titled “Vague” featuring Kermit and Miss Piggy in the same poses. She pronounced it as “Vagg.” Her partner did not correct her. I think newsreaders should be able to read, don’t you?
  • Dishonesty in headlines. With the Kardashians still gnawing at my brain, I noticed an issue of “Star” in an airport magazine rack. The headline read, “Kardashians Cancelled!” Filled with momentary hope for civilization, I looked up the corresponding story in the rag. It stated that cable’s “Keeping Up With The Kardashians had been renewed, but that the family was worried that it might be cancelled next year. Yes, the headline was “X” and the story was “Not X.” I don’t care that the Star is just a glossy paper tabloid—how can anyone justifying this? Deceitful headlines are bad, but at least they are literally true, if misleading. Tabloid ethics are as low as ethics can be, but this flat-out false cover headline seems to have breached them… a neat trick.
  • More  incompetence of supposed professional broadcasters. CNN’s John Berman showed a clip of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton with Jimmy Kimmel and said…”Next…what Jimmy Kimmel did with three generations of Clintons.

  • CNN’s unprofessional and irresponsible content choices. I watched, via CNN, of course—the all-missing Malaysian airliner all the time network—the announcement that the jet had crashed and was presumed lost at sea. This was the the result that matched the assumption the minute the plane’s vanishing was first reported weeks ago, and was the first news about the incident since then that deserved the “breaking news” designation that CNN had been giving to every report, rumor, whisper, theory and announcement regarding the plane since. The travesty of the network’s coverage while dozens of more important stories were ignored or barely mentioned exceeded the irresponsible coverage of the deaths of Princess Diana, John Kennedy Jr. and Michael Jackson, all of which were disgraceful in their excesses. It was a breach of duty and trust. From the one 24 hour news network that gives viewers a choice between Fox’s 24-7 conservative slant  and MSNBC’s relentless (and increasingly desperate) stumping for President Obama and Democrats  actual news reporting be damned, the slow-motion Russian invasion of the Ukraine, the embarrassingly lame U.S. response, revelations of new problems with, the New York Times revelations about Pakistan’s support of Al Quida, Syria, misuse of government funds by Attorney General Holder, the General Motors recall (and previous cover-up), and, of course, the latest developments in the Kardashian family all took a back seat to…what, exactly? Endless, breathless speculation about a tragedy with tangential relevance to our lives.
  • The creepy CGI Audrey Hepburn ad for Galaxy chocolate. It is disrespectful and wrong to regenerate the image of a dead actress and make her a digital slave.
  • Gratuitous and misplaced political correctness. I had intended to show the Daniel Muessig lawyer ad I wrote about earlier as an intro to my professionalism program for a large law firm, but the senior partner in charge wouldn’t let me, saying that the end of the video, where Muessig plays with a dreidel and says “Did I mention that I was Jewish?”, might offend some of the firm’s lawyers. The program was about professionalism, which means conduct by lawyers that undermine the profession’s credibility and image. How am I supposed to illustrate offensive conduct if I can’t risk offending other lawyers? And what is “offensive” about Muessig’s gag—and it was a gag—anyway? He is Jewish. He’s tweaking stereotypes. It’s funny, and even if an attendee didn’t think so, it is relevant to the topic!

I need a vacation.


17 thoughts on “Annoyances For The Obsessing Traveling Ethicist

  1. It IS spring break time. Find a place where they’re having spring (that eliminates Wyoming of course) and get your party on!
    I hate the Audrey Hepburn commercial too.
    Was the Clinton dog in the picture?

  2. With regards to pronouncing “Vague” as “Vagg,” I think it’s a regional accent thing. The proper pronunciation holds sway around here, but it’s not that uncommon to hear it as “Vagg,” particularly from someone from the upper Peninsula, Southern Canada, Minnesota- that whole area of weird pronunciation.

  3. Vacation?

    Might I recommend Fort Worth or San Antonio? Both are laid back towns and what I’d consider the representative of the primary archetypes of the State.

    Of course if you just want to really get away from everything or everyone:

    secluded place in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma only one other house in the area and you can’t see it. It was a great retreat.

    historic lodging from late 1700s in Kentucky. I’ve only eaten there, and its not as secluded.

    few other cabins and is super secluded.

      • She didn’t mean he should get drunk, she meant he should go troll for chicks at the airport bar rather than reading magazines and overhearing improper word usage. Find one that’s scared of flying, fear-adrenaline makes for poor decision making…

        • Or Jack could spend his time occupying the TSA by refusing to strip when his mechanical parts set off the alarm. I’d rather mess with the TSA then watch CNN. As an added bonus, we’d be treated to a “Calm Down Sir!” post.

          • ARRGHH! You just reminded me of the main ethics dilemma that occurred on the trip! My fake hip, for the first time ever, DIDN’T set off the alarm! I was happy not to get a pat-down/feel-up, but I was tempted to ask if the machinery was working right. I was in a rush, and decided “to hell with it.” But I felt guilty. Should I have made an issue of it? I told them about the metal hip as I walked through.

            • So, the one time you don’t get molested you feel the need to point this out? There could be a diagnosis for this — “TSA Battered Passenger Syndrome.”

  4. I recommend Monterey, California, for a spring break. (I have not yet taken a break there yet, but it’s on my list.) There are plenty of experiences to choose from to enjoy there and in the vicinity. I have been there in the spring several times, but only for business or school. I vowed to my wife that I would never go there again unless we went together and FOR A VACATION. My favorite places and experiences there are the Tuesday markets on Alvarado Street (even if I buy nothing), and Carmel River State Beach, at the mouth of Carmel River (which I hope is still emptying into the Pacific today, despite the drought). But I could go on and on…it’s not a get-away-from-it-all place, but neither is heaven, so Monterey in spring suits me just fine.

  5. I was wondering if you would be mentioning the comment by Sen. Reid about how Republicans helped Russia invade Crimea.

    But if you do, no matter what, do not read the comments at the Huffington Post about it. Please, I beg of you. Your sobriety is too important…

  6. Fortunately, I have not flown since roughly two weeks PRIOR to 9/11 and have never had to experience the oft-described delight of dealing with the TSA. I don’t intend to become experienced, either, if I can possibly help it. The advent of the Interstate has given me an option!

    BTW: Even more than the Kardassians, the aspect you related that worries me the most was the Audrey Hepburn commercial. This is just the opening move in what is destined to be a new aspect of filmation that will relegate all previous forms into obsolescence. Right now, it’s still a matter of fitting old footage into a new format. And it illustrates that many actors, alive or not, have no control over their image and name. That’s just the set-up for when computer graphics takes over the industry, as it will within the next two decades.

    Note that producers like George Lucas have been buying up those rights. They see what’s coming. The abuses that can and will entail (from less scrupulous filmmakers) is slightly terrifying.

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