From this day on, “Trump of the Month” will recognize those individuals who are accorded the benefits of celebrity, public attention, trust and credibility despite demonstrating beyond any shadow of a doubt their lack of the character, judgment or acumen to justify such status.
With that important announcement, Ethics Alarms now designates its first Trump of the Month, the daughter of elderly British rock star Ozzie Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne. She is described these days as a “television personality,” the rocking-chair career also occupied, at a slightly higher level, by Osbourne’s opinionated wife, Sharon. Both Osbournes owe their millions in dollars and fans to the fact that they are related to Ozzie, and nothing else—and Ozzie was a drug-addled, half-forgotten has-been when some bright TV executive, inspired by his name and the idea of doing a reality show parody of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” the sine qua non of unfunny whitebread Fifties family sitcoms, gave him a second bite at fame.
Kelly’s got nothing, and I am being generous. She is not especially attractive, has no talent, has never uttered a perceptive comment in her life, and should fall down on her knees and thank providence that she is not living in a two room apartment in Gary trying to make ends meet as a temp. Because, however, she acquired that most important of all assets, at least to star-struck Americans, fame, by appearing weekly in a long-past reality show about the dysfunctional family of a mumbling boob with a lot of money (that would be Ozzie), she has been tapped to deliver verdicts on everything from fashion (Kelly herself likes to dye her hair lavender) to the administration of Barack Obama. Why are so many citizens ill-informed and eagerly embracing the dubious leadership abilities of Trump, Clinton or Sanders? Paying attention to “authorities” like Kelly are part of the reason. Compared to Kelly Osbourne, the Kardashians look like the Algonquin Roundtable.
Kelly Osbourne earned the initial Trump of the Month by engaging in the kind of slimy conduct that in a sane culture would ensure permanent obscurity and antipathy. Her parents recently announced that they were getting a divorce because Sharon found incriminating e-mails that proved Ozzie had been fooling around with Sharon’s hairdresser. In response, pundit Kelly tweeted this classy tweet to her FOUR MILLION followers on Twitter:
The blurred section is, of course, the target’s mobile phone number, guaranteeing harassment and worse from a substantial proportion of Osbourne’s followers, since if you follow someone as crude, dim and entitled as Kelly, who knows what else you might think is reasonable? Ozzie’s ex-mistress better hire a bodyguard.
Those of you with long memories—longer than Ozzie’s, anyway—will recall that The Donald did this to Senator Lindsay Graham last July, when there was still time to point to Trump like the pod people point to humans in the remake of “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers” and emit an ear-piercing scream of anger and disgust. I so pointed, in fact, designating such disgraceful conduct as signature significance, a single act that alone tells us all we need to know about an individual’s character. My pod-scream, in part, was this:
This would be the conduct of a certifiable creep if the guy was in the 7th Grade, and Trump wants to be President of the United States. He is so unethical that he doesn’t see anything wrong with this. Only an asshole would do it to anyone: for a Presidential candidate to do it to a member of his own party and the U.S. Senate is the mark of an arrested adolescent sociopath running amuck.
For all the good it did. I added this, as true today as it was in July—truer, in fact…
By the way: telling a pollster that you support Trump for President is also signature significance.
Tweeting a private phone number of someone who is not a Senator but just a star-struck hairdresser who had an affair is worse that what Trump did, because the victim lacks Graham’s resources and is not a public figure. Then again, Kelly isn’t a potential President–yet (If Trump is elected, the standards will have been sufficiently lowered that almost anyone with an US Magazine profile will be a potential POTUS).
Former baseball star Curt Schilling has been effectively banned as a TV baseball commentator because he tweeted politically radioactive opinions, but Osbourne, who did far worse, will doubtlessly be welcomed back on “The View” to explain the virtues of the Affordable Care Act.
One final observation: the practice of attacking people by publicizing their phone number or address is wildly unethical, and society apparently cannot mount sufficient negative consequences in shame and shunning to discourage it. When ethics fail, the law must step in, and it is time to make this conduct illegal.