The Ethical Problem With The Cinnebon Tweet


First I was going to post an essay about Cinnebon’s humorous tweet above under the title “How Humor Dies.” Our culture is in serious trouble if a clever, playful, obvious joke like this attracts so much criticism that it generates a retraction and an apology.Clearly, there are Political Correctness Furies on the Left and  Puritan Scolds on the Right lurking and  lying in wait to make any attempt at levity too much of a risk for all but the socially inept or defiantly rude to attempt. I confess, I laughed out loud when I saw Cinnebon’s gag. I thought the company deserved applause, not opprobrium.

Then I thought about it, and decided to make the episode an Ethics Alarms ethics quiz. Does the fact that Cinnebon can be accused of using Carrie Fisher’s tragic death as product promotion outweigh the cleverness of the tweet, or was the joke a natural one for the sticky bun-makers to make? Who better to remind us of all the jokes about Leia’s odd hairstyle when “Star Wars” debuted? Maybe this was one example where the “she would have approved” standard might be more than a rationalization. Is there any doubt that Carrie Fisher would have laughed at Cinnebon’s joke more heartily than anyone?

Fortunately, I thought some more.

I hadn’t realized until just a few minutes ago that the tweet was issued on the day Carrie Fisher died.  Ick, and also, yecchh, as well as “Ethics Foul!”

It doesn’t matter how clever, well-executed or funny it was. Krusty the Clown could have told Cinnebon what was wrong with the tweet in a trice, if they had the sense to ask, and Krusty wasn’t a cartoon character.

Too soon.

13 thoughts on “The Ethical Problem With The Cinnebon Tweet

    • Which way? Not too soon, or always too soon?

      A week would have been better, I agree. I first saw it last night, and that would have been two days after Fisher’s death…about the earliest I’d grant immunity from bad taste accusations for a genuinely good natured gag.

      • Not too soon.

        I used to have a motto when I was playing FattyMoon on Electric Minds. “Good taste is always in style.” I used this as a comeback when a member called me out for something I’d posted. (I was younger then, with a loose tongue.)

        I think time limits shouldn’t necessarily apply to those in the public eye. And, perhaps, maybe not to people like myself… nobodies. Black humor knows no bounds nor time restraints.

        Thanks for asking.

  1. I’m on a diet and Jack posts Cinnebon! Great – thanks. What nexr? Butter Pecan ice cream and maybe something on bacon? Geez….I want one of those buns and not that of the departed.

  2. It seems to me that the problem is that this is basically an ad that makes it a bit tacky, rather than the timing. Sharp whit needs to be sharp otherwise it’s like a stand up comic with bad timing, but as soon as product placement is involved you run into the ethics of ‘The Truman Show’.

    • Agreed. The product placement is awful. They could have left off the cinnabon and it would have been funny. Maybe too soon but at least not aggravating as only product placement can be.

  3. Jack wrote, “I hadn’t realized until just a few minutes ago that the tweet was issued on the day Carrie Fisher died. Ick, and also, yecchh, as well as “Ethics Foul!””, “Too soon.”

    Jack said on the day Debbie Reynolds died, “Debbie was a lifetime drama queen, and now she’s upstaged her own daughter. Well played.”

    Similar, kinda’ish; if one was “Too soon” wasn’t the other one too?

    Personally I didn’t see anything wrong with either the Cinnebon’s humorous tweet or Jacks statement. In someways I saw the Cinnebon’s humorous tweet as a honorable remembrance.

  4. To toss out a rationalization, it isn’t nearly as bad as some of the *dark dark dark* humor my grizzled veteran buddies were throwing out mere hours after the news broke…

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