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.
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…
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.