More Inaugeration Ethics: The Hero, The Dunce, And The Weenie…Whoops, Make That A Dunce And TWO Weenies



The Ethics Hero was going to be Jennifer Holliday, the big-voiced diva who stopped the Broadway hit “Dreamgirls” with her solo, “I’m not going.” She had agreed to sing at the Inauguration, telling the Associated Press that her decision to participate was a way to welcome the American people to an event that should be about unifying the country.

Which is, of course, what it is.

She then faced a vicious response to her patriotic and principled decision, with critics calling for a boycott of her music, labeling her as an “Uncle Tom,” promising that her career was over and telling her to kill herself. Most vociferous of the bullies were those from the LGBT community, which has managed to convince itself that Trump is a foe despite the fact that nothing in his speeches or record suggest that he is. But he is a Republican, and thus presumptively biased. (Assuming anyone is less than admirable based on group membership is bigotry, but in this case, the argument goes, good bigotry.)

Rather than stand up for what she said was right, Holiday whined, and capitulated:

“How could I have this much hate spewing at me, and I haven’t even done anything? I guess it’s not like those old days when political views were your own and you had freedom of speech. … We live in a different time now and a decision to go and do something for America is not so clear-cut anymore.”
The way to stand up for the values you claim to embrace, you sniveling coward, is to refuse to be bullied out of supporting them, and opposing the forces of divisiveness and hate.Ah, but performers who are willing to resist peer pressure and the howls of the mob are rarer than Florida panthers, so Jennifer grovelled instead, in a nauseating open letter:


Please allow me this opportunity to speak to you directly and to explain why I originally made my decision to perform at the inauguration which was what I had thought would be my simply keeping in my tradition of being a “bi-partisan songbird” having sung for Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush.

I was asked to sing a song for what was presented to me as the “Welcome Concert For The People”– in my mind I was reflecting on the past times of being asked to sing for presidents and I only focused on the phrase “For The People”… I thought, For America!

I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country… Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

In light of the information pointed out to me via the Daily Beast article on yesterday, my only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!

I sincerely apologize for my lapse of judgement, for being uneducated on the issues that affect every American at this crucial time in history and for causing such dismay and heartbreak to my fans.

Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.

Thank you for communicating with me, I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.

Thank you for your posted comments both the good supportive ones as well as the ugly hurtful ones.

With LOVE & Appreciation,

“The Original DreamGirl”

Oh thank-you, thank-you, for threatening me into submission! I now see the way! How could I ever have been so blind as to choos my country and its sacred traditions of peaceful and unified transitions of power over the Daily Beast and the LGBT Star Chamber!

Abandoning one’s principles that easily is worse that not having them at all. I do not care to hear or look at Jennifer Holliday again. She is a role model for hypocrisy and cowardice.

The other Ethics Weenie, who, luckily, I never in my life wanted to hear or watch perform, was 75-year-old song-writer Vegas act Paul Anka, who had agreed to sing “My Way” at one of the Inauguration Balls, and even re-write the lyrics for the occasion. (Maybe they would have been better than the cringe-worthy lyrics he originally put to the French tune, like  “ thing of which I’m certain,” but since it’s Anka, I doubt it.) After he was similarly threatened and attacked for singing for the new President, allegedly a 50-year friend, Anka also pulled out, claiming a court conflict. “Who got to him?” Althouse mused.

One of her commenters wrote…

Sadly, the NeverTrumpers will win these little victories such as boycotting the inauguration, but they will lose the war.

The Americans who voted for Trump, many very reluctantly, now see themselves vilified by a cultural Left that can be called, without hyperbole, “frothing at the mouth”. They now understand, it’s war. The Left will not give quarter & wants nothing less than full throated assent to the twists & turns of the party line. Sides have to be chosen, because if you don’t choose a side, one side or the other will choose your side for you, often to your considerable disadvantage.

What amazes me is that the Left feels so sure of victory, in spite of the state map by party & their incompetence in the election, that they feel confident enough to start this cultural war. I really think it’s one they are going to lose. It’s not going to help the country in general, but it’s really not going to help them. Cultural boycotts can go both ways, and their economic base is geographically & industrially shakier than the heartland Right’s.

Who ever it was that “got to” Anka, they are vile, and Anka, like Holliday, is a coward.

The Ethics Dunce is Washington Post fashion writer Givhan, who spent the past eight years gushing over everything Michelle Obama did or wore. Now she attempts to justify designers withholding their fashions from Melania and Ivanka Trump. “Should designers dress Melania and Ivanka? The question is more complex than it seems” her column is headlined.

No, it’s very simple. Decent, ethical people do not withhold their talents and services from other Americans because of their identity, conduct, beliefs or associations. While artists have a right to do so while mere service providers often do not (depending on whom they choose to be jerks to), it is wrong, unethical, in either case, and leads to a broken, dysfunctional society. Would dressing the First Lady or First Daughter approval of Trump’s “scorched-earth tactics?” Givhan asks? Gee, I don’t know: would selling them a sandwich? This hypocritical, anti-American idiocy comes from a card-holding cheer-leaders for putting a pizza place out of business for daring to say that it wouldn’t cater a gay marriage who is stumped by the appropriateness of  punishing two women because their father and husband is President of the United States. Gee, tough one. A real ethics head-scratcher.

Givhan measures multiple opinions from fashion designers—you know, those well-credentialed political science whizzes, but her thorough vetting of the issue bypasses the fact that no matter how much the forces of division repeat the fallacy, simple decency, polite interaction, respect and commerce does not “endorse” the political views of another citizen. It merely confirms that they are fellow human beings.

The grandstanding is palpable, as is the ignorance. One vocal designer, Sophie Theallet, wrote another “open letter” as a formal declaration that she would not associate with the First Lady. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” she wrote. “I encourage my fellow designers to do the same. Integrity is our only true currency.”

What balderdash. When have designers refused to dress women based on the opinions, statements and conduct of their husbands? Were Bill Clinton’s degrading cigar tricks with a star-struck intern “shared values we live by,” ? They sure didn’t hesitate to dress Hillary. These designers gave dresses toNancy Reagan, whose  husband turned a blind eye to the AIDS epidemic. They happily sell clothing to the wives of despots and dictators all over the world. Integrity? Fashion designers???  I would also like to know what the racist and xenophobic rhetoric is that Sophie refers to.  I bet she has no idea; she’s just mouthing talking points and partisan narratives. What is Trump’s “racist” rhetoric? Nobody has a real answer for that one. It is not xenophobic to want to enforce the immigration laws.

Those who want to discriminate in service, art and commerce on the basis of personal and political beliefs threaten American liberty, culture and the unity of the nation. There is no complex question. Either you respect the right of people to hold different opinions than you without you seeking to marginalize them, isolate them, stigmatize them , inconvenience them or punish them, or you do not. There is no ethical difference between the cake-maker who refused to sell a cake to a gay couple, the druggist who refuses to fill a birth control prescription for a single woman, and a designer who won’t sell a dress to Ivanka Trump. They are all bad citizens and divisive community members.


27 thoughts on “More Inaugeration Ethics: The Hero, The Dunce, And The Weenie…Whoops, Make That A Dunce And TWO Weenies

  1. Either you respect the right of people to hold different opinions than you without you seeking to marginalize them, isolate them, stigmatize them , inconvenience them or punish them, or you do not.

    You’re conflating too many different things here, Jack.

    You’re stigmatising some people with different opinions than yours in this very article, aren’t you?

    Being free from punishment for one’s beliefs is very different from being free from criticism.

    Decent, ethical people do not withhold their talents and services from other Americans because of their identity, conduct, beliefs or associations.

    Yes they most certainly do. I would consider it perfectly ethical to refuse to sell another axe to an axe murderer who has broken theirs while in the middle of a rampage simply because of his conduct.

    Identity, beliefs, associations – different matter. I suspect I would agree with you if you were a bit less careless and a bit more specific with your rhetoric. Even then, I would be loath to label those who disagree with me – and you – as neccessarily indecent and/or unethical.

    • Nope. I’m stigmatizing what they are doing: bullying and coercing unselfish and patriotic people to do the wrong and destructive thing. Threatening performers with shunning in an industry is unethical. The two singers made choices that should have been respected. They weren’t. And interfering with a national show of unity out of hate and spite—and that is all it is, can’t be excused or justified. The election is a starting point, the searing in is another—the traditions of the nation and its success for 2 centuries plus tell us who is doing what is ethical and who is indulging base emotions and values.

      • I fail to see how calling someone an “ethics weenie” isnt stigmatising them, and a separate issue from criticising their actions.

        Not that I agree with what they did, there I’m in accord with you, but that’s immaterial. I’m *supposed* to treat both sides the same, or at least, not have two sets of rules, one for when I agree with the reason for the action, but a different one when I don’t.

        This is anything but a simple issue. The US Constitution guarantees Freedom of Association, but just because a right is guaranteed doesn’t make it ethical to take advantage in all circumstances.

        There seems to me to be a difference in kind, not just degree, between legal sanction against acts, and opinions. And another difference between legal and social sanction.

        Social sanction against opinions is fine, part of the freeplay of ideas. Death threats not so much, and actual rather than threatened attempted homicide even less so, lynching is not “social sanction” but boycotting and shunning is. Boycotting based not on opinions, but identify, characteristics such as race, that’s out. Based on religion, even though that’s voluntary, that’s out too… But that troubles me. It seems inconsistent.

        I’m saying it’s anything but simple. We can agree that lynching is right out. We can agree that polite, even robust critique of ideas, is right in. But there’s a massive area between those two extremes, and I won’t call everyone “unethical and indecent” if they put the dividing line(s) in different places from me. They’re just WRONG WRONG WRONG!!
        (Humour intended there…)

        There’s a troubling quote I’m trying to locate. The gist is “I can’t stop racists from hating me, that’s not my aim. I can’t and shouldn’t stop them from expressing their hatred in words. I can stop them from lynching me and even by violent means if necessary, and I can try to ensure that them expressing their hatred means their being shunned, ostracised,and made into pariahs, objects of contempt and derision”.

        It’s that last bit I find troubling. I have no problem if someone prevents me from lynching someone, even if they use violent means to do it. But I know all too well what it’s like to be an object of contempt and derision, so would be loathe to inflict that on others. Yes, even the Westboro Baptists. Especially them, in fact, since my views are diemetrically opposite to theirs, and so I’m certain to be biased.

        It’s not simple.

        • “I have no problem if someone prevents me from lynching someone, even if they use violent means to do it. ”

          Interesting commentary; Im curious on your opinion, with regards to those who claim that those who try to place limits on abortion are telling women what they can/can’t do with their bodies, when those in favor of said limits often reason that they are protecting those who cannot protect themselves, similar to your above quote. Different lines in the sand, reasonable minds can differ, but the “keep your laws off my body” crowd seem to always want to ignore that there are many laws that place bodily restrictions on what harm you are/aren’t allowed to cause others.

          • It may be irrelevant, but I’m very much against abortion in the third trimester. I consider it infanticide. Sometimes it’s necessary, just as sometimes it’s necessary to separate conjoined twins where one will survive if separated, but both will die if not.

            Such decisions have to be made on a case by case basis, the patient, child advocate, and medical team all having a say – remembering that forcing someone to undergo a lifethreatening procedure against their will to save another life has been deemed to be immoral. Childbirth is dangerous.

            In the first trimester, I consider it unfortunate, I’d try to counsel against it, but in the end, not my call to make. Biologically, the divide is at around 24 weeks, before that there isn’t much of a nervous system. The foetus is brain dead, or rather, brain never having lived. Infanticide, it’s not.

            As you said, different lines in the sand, reasonable people can differ, and I should be able to justify my views based on facts not faith. My views have changed, I used to believe that it was only prudent fo put the line at conception. That doesn’t work though, as an embryo can split into two people, two embryos can fuse, and a conception can result in a tumour not a foetus. Sex can also change quite late in some syndromes.

            Consider whether it’s ethically acceptable to compell someone with a rare blood type to involuntarily supply blood in lifethreatening amounts so another person won’t die. Refusal is effectively homicide. I’d do my best to persuade them to donate voluntarily, and would do so myself, even at the risk of my own life. I won’t force anyone else to do so.

        • Zoe brain, you’re right. Jack has become increasingly unhinged and partisan if he’s blind to the fact that both the left and right have extremes and immoral actions (especially in the last year as partisanship has gotten more bitter). It is possible to have a conversation about ethics acknowledging the extreme immorality that people on the left and right have sunken too (both sides are boycotting and harassing nowadays) but Jack has become too much of a bitter partisan at this point to be the leader of such a discussion

          • I’d never use the word “unhinged” to describe Jack. I’m not sure Partisan is a just description either.

            I do think he’s allowed himself to tolerate the intolerable, and even have a double standard. That’s uncharacteristic of him, but I think it’s happened.

            But *think*. He allowed your post, one that must have angered and hurt him, to stand. On his blog. An “unhinged partisan” would not, *could* not, do that.

            I know far too many unhinged partisans who agree with me not to say “hold on.. he’s not like that yet” here.

            An “unhinged partisan” wouldn’t even allow this comment to remain.

            • “he’s allowed himself to tolerate the intolerable”


              The elected President cannot be “intolerable.” He has a right to the office. After he’s in office, his actions may be intolerable.

          • The current unethical conduct is being committed by the Left. That’s the topic at hand. I have never suggested that the Right was more ethical over the span of time and as a general proposition. However, the current conduct of Democrats and progressives is the most unethical I have ever seen in the country. They deserve the criticism. Appealing to “They’re not so great either” is a dodge in this situation, and allows the avoidance of accountability.

  2. So, does Jackie Evancho qualify as an honorary Ethics Hero for standing her ground, despite the daily abuse being heaped on her via social media? What if she pulls out at the last minute, dedicating her pullout to her transgender sister (not entirely impossible since she once tweeted she would never perform in North Carolina, but then deleted it)?

    It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. The Left may bandy all these terms like equality and coexistence around, but it wants no one but itself to define those terms. Further, it has zero tolerance for any dissent, unless it’s doing the dissenting. A dressmaker who refuses to do business with Melania Trump is standing up for her integrity, and a singer who refuses to lend her voice to a ceremony involving a Republican official is just staying on the right side of history. However, a baker who refuses to bake a cake in rainbow layers for a gay wedding, or a pharmacist who refuses to fill a prescription for birth control, they deserve to be ruined. The former is particularly ironic because no one will try to put a baker who refuses to make a “blue lives matter” cake out of business.

    I remember watching the inauguration of George H.W. Bush, waaay back in 1989. There was some band stuff, one all male choir singing “This is My Country,” and the vocalist who ended things with the National Anthem was tenor Staff Sergeant Alby Powell of the United States Army Band. There were no celebrities involved at any level, and that was just fine.

    The fact that a President has celebrity performers at his inauguration doesn’t make him a better president. Frankly the President shouldn’t be too worried about hobnobbing or taking photos with celebrities, leave alone throwing star-studded bashes or spending a morning playing golf with some actor whose education ended with high school. Leave the partying for the other heads of state and the diplomats, and the golf games, breakfasts, and lunches for meeting with business leaders, governors, congressional leaders, etc. The presidency isn’t supposed to be any man’s personal path to a rock star lifestyle, it’s a serious job.

    Singing, acting, dress designing, while they are jobs, they aren’t on the level of being President, and the opinions regarding the president of those who do them, though they make your own heart sing, though they deliver a line with more conviction than an apostle preaching his Gospel, though their creations turn merely beautiful women into goddesses, are worth no more than those of the ordinary citizen, and sometimes decidedly less.

    Like anyone, they are free to provide or not provide their services. However, also like anyone, they should not decline to provide them to politically grandstand and otherize those who don’t agree with them. Finally, the fact they do or don’t provide does not make the recipient or non-recipient of their services any better or worse, cool or less so.

    I’ve met stage and screen actors, some quite famous. I’ve shaken hands with opera stars and embraced many lovely crossover singers. I have pictures with beauty queens. None of this makes me a better lawyer, or indeed a better person, and I wouldn’t be any less who I am without it. Those who put much stock in this culture war don’t have their priorities straight.

    • I hear you, I grew increasingly frustrated with my fellow liberals in the past couple years as their calls for inclusion have become intellectually exclusive, but I’m not seeing the right taking the high road either. Trump promoted two completely ridiculous, counter factual statements on twitter that amounted to petty cyberbullying-Meryl Streep is not a good actor and Rep Lewis isn’t an instrumental figure in our nation’s civil rights movement and both were entirely unwelcome of voicing dissenting opinions- and he got thousands of likes and retweets for absolutely inappropriate behavior. There wasn’t any nuance.

      In your second paragraph, can we just concede that no one deserves to have their lives ruined of either political affiliation? I’m only hearing more hatred from you rather than empathy which is what this country is lacking less and less eat day

      • No one deserves to have their lives destroyed because of their political affiliation, obviously, and we’re not there yet. But apparently certain people standing up for certain principles do, and certain people standing up for certain principles, like certain florists and bakers, HAVE. It’s one thing to ding someone with a fine, but to impose such a high fine that you destroy the business someone built and with it their financial lives, that’s a whole other thing. To criticize something someone said because you don’t agree is one thing, to attack him and try to make sure he loses his job and can no longer provide for his family, that’s something else.

        People’s lives are not scalps and antlers, for warriors on one side or the other to collect as trophies. This isn’t the time of the Scottish and Welsh Wars, when the English overlords displayed rebel leaders’ severed heads and limbs to make the point that “this is what’s going to happen to you too if you don’t get with the program.” It should come as no surprise that when the battles went the other way captured English knights might find themselves tied to trees and shot with arrows by the Welshmen, or themselves getting chopped up like sides of beef by the Scots. We’ve had our Bannockburn, and now it’s time for us to start taking some heads of our own, and this should not come as a surprise.

  3. Somehow I don’t think Toby Keith will chicken out. Maybe Trump’s team could ask Gretchen Wilson to perform. She’d be perfect.

  4. It blows my mind (which is easy, these days) that people of a particular political ideology generally decry threats of violence against women, and consider coerced sex to be akin to rape (implying that the coercion takes what would otherwise be a legal act, and makes it a felony), but is totes silent when multiple female performers are threatened with violence and coerced to withdraw from practicing their livelihood.

    Seriously, it doesn’t matter how much I disagree with your ideology; Presumably, liberals believe in their ideology, fervently. But when rubber meets the road, it’s all crickets. What happened to “Remaining silent in the face of injustice is the same as supporting it”? It IS still unjust to threaten the life and livelihood of another, is it not?

    • I guess I can’t be a liberal then. Neither can those somewhat to the left of me who condemn threats like that no matter who they’re aimed at.

      It saddens and concerns me that a few of my friends are as you describe though (I’m trying to change their minds) and I know rather more who I’m co-belligerant with who feel that way too. Not friends though.

  5. This is flawed logic be you don’t know if Jennifer Holiday was capitulating to the mob when she recanted or if she was never that into it anyway. I don’t support the harassment of her but we don’t know for sure if she “compromised her principles”, but you have little evidence that performing at an inauguration was higher up on her list of core values than whatever reasons she chose for changing her mind. it sounds like you rooted for her and she disappointed you but she’s her own person.

      • Stuff That Does Not Matter:
        who performs or doesn’t.

        Stuff that matters:
        Harassment, Death threats, especially credible ones if any. This stuff is contagious. Don’t care who does it, nip it in the bud. Ok, it’s worse when it’s by those in positions of power, but a difference of degree not kind. Just stop it.

  6. If there is one thing, just ONE thing the left should have learned in the recent election, it is that both sides can pull the same nasty tricks. Liberals relied on the reluctance of conservatives to violate their principles by acting as liberals did in the past. Many of those ‘conservatives’ are no longer conservative.

    Democrats (liberals, if you will) bemoan their treatment of Republicans in Congress, but only after Republicans got back in power (as was inevitable according to history) and began using their own tactics against them.

    Progressives lost their collective minds when a Republican candidate used ‘traditional’ liberal tricks against their side during a campaign. Trump acted like a Democrat candidate, using all the dirty tactics Democrats have used for decades.

    Now we have the example of how the losing side ‘should’ act in a hotly contested, nation dividing election. Progressives have been great teachers so far. The Alt Right is watching and learning.

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