Ethics Observations On The Naked Trump Statues

Naked Trump

Last week, five identical statues of a grossly caricatured nude Donald Trump  appeared overnight on street corners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, and New York City.  The Washington Post reported that the anarchist collective INDECLINE made and placed the statues. It called the  project “The Emperor Has No Balls.” Indeed, the otherwise anatomically correct statues showed the Trump effigy missing those particular features, though not bright yellow pubic hair. If you really want to see these assaults on your consciousness and sanity, go here.

I advise against it.

Ethics Observations:

1. Art, free speech, humor, satire, yeah, yeah, sure. I don’t care. This is disgusting and uncivilized, and degrades the process, the nation and democracy. The Golden Rule applies. You don’t treat anyone like this, especially someone running for President of the United States. Not if you have an atom of decency and fairness anywhere in your body.

2. Civil discourse and political conflict have now reached about as low and primitive a state as they can, and in record time. If you applaud this, and I don’t care who is the target, you are assenting to it. If so, you are a fool. Watch how ugly a society that encourages such conduct will become.

3. Did Trump lead us down this path? Indeed he did. Nobody had to follow. Nobody with any ethics alarms functioning would follow.

4. The statues are nothing but tangible ad hominem attacks, and irredeemable ethically. What does it matter what a candidate or leader looks like? I don’t know how opposition to a candidate can be expressed in a more idiotic, unfair, vicious and meaningless manner.

5.  Says Gothamist, incoherently, as it sniggered over these monstrosities,

“Note that while the human form is beautiful and should be celebrated in every shape and size, Evil is always ugly.”

So I guess we can pick out the evil-doers out of any crowd, right? Heck, this is good to know: it should make criminal trials a lot simpler. Convict the ugly guy, but make sure he strips first. You know, I just might vote for Trump just so I don’t have to be on the same side as assholes who think like this.

6. If there are non-conservative  pundits or mainstream journalists who treated this gutter attack as anything but hilarious, I couldn’t find them. Even the usually objective and sane Ann Althouse rationalized the attacks, writing in part,

“The brutality is already there in politics, so we should have the words and pictures to express it.”

Wow. This is reasoning from a law professor.

In fact, here’s a fun and easy challenge: go through Ann’s blog post and count the rationalizations from the Ethics Alarms Rationalizations list.

7. Trump-haters ( justified though they may be), progressives and wishy-washy intellectual moderates like Althouse can say silly things like this, because they know that in practice, the escalation in crudeness, cruelty and meanness will only be used against the right. I hate playing this game, but the context compels it: what would have been the reaction if equivalent nude statues of Obama suddenly appeared during the 2008 or 2012 campaign? Would any of the news media be laughing? That mural of Hillary in a bikini, far less blindness-provoking than the Trump statues, appeared in Australia, but was unanimously criticized by U.S. pundits who covered it at all as “disgusting’ and “sexist,” like the (unofficial) buttons some delegates at the Republican National Convention were wearing…

anti-hillary buttons

Not a peep or protest out of the about the far more offensive Trump statues, however. Double standards have seldom been so blatant, biased or shameless.

8. Special bonus points for complete lack of ethics goes to the the New York City Parks Department, which was called upon to remove the naked Trump statue in Union Square, and made this statement:

“NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”

How professional. What a fine role model for our young. What class, what fairness, what respect for our institutions. And hilarious, according to CNN, which called the remark “cheeky.” Sure, that’s all it is when a government agency makes penis jokes.

At this rate, discussing ethics in this country will be impossible, because full Bizarro World ethics will have made down up, and black white.

9. This will help elect Donald Trump.

10. What is there left to enjoy, admire and respect in our society, culture, institutions  and leadership right now? My brain is still a bit in shock after looking at those statues (the back view is arguably worse than the front one), so I may be missing something.

There’s still baseball, at least.

22 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Naked Trump Statues

    • It turns out this is not some New Age mystic with quasi-religious platitudes: it’s an actual physicist doing actual physics and spamming for his article under the guise of a New Age mystic with quasi-religious platitudes. I’m actually quite relieved by that.

      Kudos for making a post that’s generic but plausibly relevant enough that it took me a while to realize that you might have posted this same response on dozens of blogs without reading them.

      It’s an impressive article even with the melodramatic subtitle, and thankfully much more concise than many physics articles. You really ought to be able to get citations the honest way, though, considering the paradigm shift that neutron repulsion could present for nuclear technology.

      I’ll only be slightly embarrassed if it turns out we know this person; the lead-in is still fake-mystic.

  1. You could have stopped at Observations #1 and #2 and the post would have still been dead on. I confess to a morbid curiosity as to what’s to come in the next few months. I’ve stopped thinking I can’t be shocked anymore than I already have been.

  2. I don’t think Trump is primarily responsible for “leading us down this path”. It is true that made some comments suggesting that some of the candidates were not “well endowed” or “low energy” which was crude and boorish. However, lefto artists have been doing this for awhile to Republican candidates going back to the depiction of John McCain as a blood sucking vampire. I put these “artists” in the same catagory as the thugs that spray paint graffiti all over freeway overpasses and building and carve their gang signs on toilet seats.

  3. “Did Trump lead us down this path? Indeed he did. Nobody had to follow. Nobody with any ethics alarms functioning would follow.”

    Concur in all respects.

    “This will help elect Donald Trump.”

    Doubt it, but immaterial. The kind of people this would influence either way are the Trump voters already. Or would vote for Trump if he were running as a Democrat. And I think it will disuade them from supporting him. But so what? Ethics can’t be abandoned just because they become inconvenient.

    • “This will help elect Donald Trump.”

      There’s a phenominon… And I can’t think of what it’s called for the life of me… Where people will tell pollsters something, but vote differently. it was described to me in 2008 as “they’ll say they’ll vote Obama, but they’ll turn racist at the polls.” And if you look at the numbers, there was a little bit of truth to that. But I’m not convinced that it’s because people were too racist to vote for Obama as opposed to they were too ashamed to say they’d vote McCain.

      Regardless, fast forward 8 years. Aside from Trump’s more maniacal of followers, I think a large swathe of America isn’t going to admit that they’ll vote to Trump to another human being, even as they plan to. Right now the polls are basically split. Hillary’s up, but it’s within the margin of error.

      This might not hell Trump win, but it might help obscure the fact that he’s alread winning…. If he is. Who fucking knows this cycle?

      • ” I think a large swathe of America isn’t going to admit that they’ll vote (for) Trump to another human being, even as they plan to. ”

        I agree completely. The only question is, how large a swathe, and how distributed?

        Do I think Trump could win? Easily. If he does, I can absoluteky guarantee you won’t recognise America within a few months.

  4. Oh yes… And I would fight to the Death etc for the right of the “artist” to engage in Freedom of Speech this way. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

    Not sure I would actually die for it in this case.. but in principle I should be willing to. Bleah. What a revolting way to go.

  5. Wait a minute. Two questions of the morons who are behind this::

    1. Is The Donald Emperor yet? I don’t think so.

    2. He has no balls? Are you kidding me? He must have very substantial brass ones to have gotten various lenders to loan him over half a billion dollars. Give me a break.

  6. Jack,
    “I don’t care.”
    You should. Distasteful speech should be protected the most. I don’t want to live in a society where civility gets to dictate the level of acceptable discourse.

    • 1. “I don’t care” means, obviously, “in this case.”
      2. For teh 500,000,000 time, just be cause you can legally be a vulgar, obscene, cruel asshole doesn’t mean you should.
      3. Civility does dictate acceptable discourse, and incivility isn’t acceptable. Ultimately, it distorts discourse and makes actuall communication impossible.
      4. What did this stunt add to “discourse”?
      5. It was illegal anyway. You can just put things like that in a public place. It’s public nuisance and vandalism.
      6. Thus the art and First Amendment arguments miss the issue and the event. So I don’t care.

      • See, if it were one statue, in a gallery or somewhere, presented as art and not in public, the artistic expression angle would carry more weight. But to do it in public where people can’t avoid it crosses the moral/ethical line. Yes, it’s still legal and such to do it, but as Jack points out, it’s still being an a-hole.

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