Ethics Hero: Stevie Van Zandt

van-zandt

There is at least one liberal, Donald Trump-hating celebrity performer who has the integrity to insist that wrongful conduct is still wrongful regardless of the target.

Bruce Springstein guitarist Stevie Van Zandt, an inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and a memorable actor on “The Sopranos”), used a series of tweets to criticize the cast of the musical “Hamilton” for targeting Vice-President Elect Mike Pence  from the stage when Pence was in the show’s audience. Van Zandt wrote:

“Lin-Manuel is a genius. He has created the greatest play since West Side Story. He is also a role model. This sets a terrible precedent…When artists perform the venue becomes your home. The audience are your guests. It is nothing short of the same bullying tactic[s] we rightly have criticized Trump for in the past. It’s taking unfair advantage of someone who thought they were a protected guest in your home…There never has been a more outspoken politically active artist than me. Everyone who is sane disagrees with [Pence’s] policies…He was their guest. You protect your guests. Don’t embarrass them.”

Boy, just wait, Stevie: now you’ll get all the good progressives explaining to you that Pence had it coming, that he doesn’t deserve to be treated like a guest, that these vile Republicans should be treated like they will treat others, that these are not ordinary times, that ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now, that the cast was nice about it (actually, I just saw the video, and they weren’t nice at all; they were strident and  confrontational), that everybody does it, that the ends justified the means, on and on. Just check the “Hamilton” defenders’ excuses on the threads here and here.

Van Zandt is 100% correct, of course, and courageous to oppose the approved unethical cant from the Left.  Unfortunately, most of his ideological mates have decided that standards of decency, respect, fairness and professionalism were suspended by an election result they disagreed with.

21 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Social Media

21 responses to “Ethics Hero: Stevie Van Zandt

  1. Aleksei

    Steve will surely now get a reckoning. The liberal borg does not tolerate this kind of human decency and what not, so he will be dealt with swiftly and severely. He will be called out for the closeted Republican that he surely is. In these unordinary times, when will we finally get an institution to protect the people, like a House Un-Progressive Activities Committee? Oh I wish this was more funny than sad, because I’m convinced some people would probably support such an idea.

    • joed68

      HUPAC instead of HUAC. I like how it rolls off the tongue.

    • Chris

      Actually, a renewed HUAC is supported by Newt Gingrich, who will likely be one of Trump’s cabinet members, not by progressives.

      Van Zander disagrees with me over whether the cast’s behavior was appropriate. That’s OK. Somehow I’ll live.

      Meanwhile, four posts have been written about this subject here and not a single one has focused on Trump’s unethical, petty and tyrannical response to this criticism.

      • 1) Newt has said he will not be in the cabinet.
        2) Who cares what Newt “supports”?
        3) Nice mature “nyah nyah!” there, Chris.
        4) Trump’s response to Hamilton was correct. They should apologize. Stevie explained why.
        5) If you don’t see why tweets complaining about unethical conduct are not of minuscule importance compared to the breach of a production’s pact with its audience, then I’m not going to be able to explain it to you. See, one is trivial, and the other effects the culture, an art, an industry, and millions of theatergoers stretching into the future.

        • Chris

          “1) Newt has said he will not be in the cabinet.”

          Good.

          “2) Who cares what Newt “supports”?”

          Aleksei and Joe accused nebulous progressives of calling for a renewed HUAC. The point that this is actually coming from a conservative politician, not progressive randos, is relevant.

          “3) Nice mature “nyah nyah!” there, Chris.”

          And the initial false accusation against progressives was mature? See above.

          “4) Trump’s response to Hamilton was correct.”

          This is disturbing. What past president has called for private citizens to apologize after they criticized him? Even George W. Bush didn’t call for the Dixie Chucks to apologize. Using the power of the presidency in this way is wrong, and a threat to free speech. It’s petty, vindictive, and fascistic.

          “5) If you don’t see why tweets complaining about unethical conduct are not of minuscule importance compared to the breach of a production’s pact with its audience, then I’m not going to be able to explain it to you. See, one is trivial, and the other effects the culture, an art, an industry, and millions of theatergoers stretching into the future.”

          The incoming president’s tweets don’t affect the culture??? You’re kidding.

          • “Aleksei and Joe accused nebulous progressives of calling for a renewed HUAC. The point that this is actually coming from a conservative politician, not progressive randos, is relevant.”

            Oh I see, once someone serves in elected office, everything they do automatically becomes a pillar of the party they were elected in. Like… Say…. Wiener. How’s paedophilia working out for you?

            Or maybe…. Just maybe…. A random talking head who hasn’t held office in a decade and didn’t get a single percentage point of support in the RNC isn’t actually that important.

            I’ll let you pick one.

            “This is disturbing. What past president has called for private citizens to apologize after they criticized him? Even George W. Bush didn’t call for the Dixie Chucks to apologize.”

            What I think you’re missing is that the situations are different. You think that Trump’s rhetoric is ratcheting up the conversation to unprecedented levels? Fine. But this isn’t a two way street. Bush didn’t call out the Dixie Chicks? Well… Ok. What’s your point? They didn’t call out an audience member live and present for their political views. It’s…. amazingly disingenuous to pretend that what Dixon did was normal, and that Trump’s response was abnormal. At best they’re both breaking new ground.

            And what’s the assertion here? That politicians are our punching bags? That they are expected to sit there and take it, and rise above it? What’s the limit? Slander obviously isn’t the limit, harassment obviously isn’t the limit, what if Dixon had thrown something at him? Would that finally rise to the level that we graciously allow someone to defend himself? As with so many things that have happened in Obama’s presidency… You have to remember… “Make rules assuming that in some future situation they will be used against you.” I think you lack the self awareness to see that.

            Just wait for Trump to sign an executive order.

            • Chris

              Or maybe…. Just maybe…. A random talking head who hasn’t held office in a decade and didn’t get a single percentage point of support in the RNC isn’t actually that important.

              Why can’t you follow a discussion? My point about Gingrich was in response to a specific point raised by another poster; I didn’t bring it up out of the blue.

              If you read carefully you’ll see the point was simply that Gingrich’s call for a renewed HUAC was *more* important than non-existent calls for a renewed HUAC by imaginary liberals that Aleksei made up in his head.

              Do you disagree?

            • Chris

              And what’s the assertion here? That politicians are our punching bags? That they are expected to sit there and take it, and rise above it? What’s the limit? Slander obviously isn’t the limit, harassment obviously isn’t the limit, what if Dixon had thrown something at him? Would that finally rise to the level that we graciously allow someone to defend himself?

              Jesus Christ. Of course! I am blown away that so many people here do not seem to understand the difference between speech and violence.

              And what do you mean “slander and harassment” aren’t the limit? Pence was neither slandered nor harassed.

              • I’d say this rises to the level of harassment. The guy can’t even watch a show without getting a lecture.

                • Chris

                  No, he can’t. He’s going to be the VP of the United States. He can expect to be criticized in pretty much any venue he sets foot in–have VPs typically NOT expected that? It goes with the territory, and a “lecture” isn’t harassment.

                  And yes, I’d think the same if this happened to Biden.

                  • “and a “lecture” isn’t harassment”

                    Ooooh…. You sure you want to hang your hat there? How about anti-abortion activists scolding expectant mothers walking in to have their babies killed. Is that harassment? Yes? That’s odd, it seemed more like a lecture to me. It’s different? How?

                    “He can expect to be criticized in pretty much any venue he sets foot in–have VPs typically NOT expected that?”

                    So uh… Real question… Can you think of an example of this happening? A VP being ambushed (and I think that’s the proper term) by protesters who are otherwise supposed to be serving him for the money they just took? I mean… Maybe in our lifetimes? Because I can’t.

                    You pretend like this is normal, but I’m pretty sure this is new.

                    • Chris

                      “How about anti-abortion activists scolding expectant mothers walking in to have their babies killed. Is that harassment?”

                      It would depend on how it’s delivered. I would not consider an anti-abortion activist who spoke to a woman like this to be harassing her if his tone and word choice was anything like Dixon’s. Screaming in her face? Following her? Yes, that would be harassment. But the comparison is still off–you’re talking about an average citizen going about her life, not one of the most powerful people in the world. I think the powerful can expect to be singled out for criticism more often than ordinary citizens. And I think that’s how it should be.

                      I can’t think of examples of this happening before. I have said, though, that if the exact same message was delivered to Biden I wouldn’t have found it unethical.

      • Glenn Logan

        Van Zander disagrees with me over whether the cast’s behavior was appropriate. That’s OK. Somehow I’ll live.

        Pity, really (ambiguity intended).

      • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

        And of course it is the duty of performing artists to take this on. Really.

  2. Jeff H.

    I wish I’d seen this article before I posted a big thing on my Facebook about it. I could’ve just pointed to this and said, “He’s 100% right.”

    Jack, my theater friends on Facebook seem to think that not ambushing someone like this means that actors are expected to just shut up and look pretty and play their songs or whatever. One use said we shouldn’t “expect to just put aside their humanity to entertain you.”

    I told her she was god damn right I expected actors to put aside their humanity, whatever that means, to do just that. When I took acting classes, I learned focus. It was about keeping your mind on the task at hand and not letting outside stuff distract you. I’m suddenly not sure how good a show Hamilton is, if the actors can’t even pretend this guy’s not in the audience.

    What do you make of this?

  3. Other Bill

    I’m counting down to when Mr. Van Zandt’s grovelling, consultant-drafted apology will appear.

  4. joed68

    “Little Steven” has always been a class act.

  5. Wayne B

    Springstein will probably straighten him out and let him know that he has erred in following the party line. If Van Zandt doesn’t admit his grievous error, he will probably be banished to play with KISS or start his own band.

  6. Chris

    To Pence’s credit, here is how he responded to the incident:

    “It was a real joy to be there,” Pence told Chris Wallace in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “When we arrived, we heard a few boos and we heard some cheers and I nudged my kids and reminded them, that’s what freedom sounds like.”

    “I did hear what was said from the stage, and I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said. I’ll leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it,” he added. He also praised the show as “incredible,” and complimented the “incredibly talented” cast.

    I am glad to see Pence did not follow his boss’s lead in whining and making false allegations of harassment. Perhaps he can explain to Trump the same thing he had to explain to his kids. This is how an adult politician responds to criticism.

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