Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/16/2017

 Isn’t it a lovely morning?

1. This isn’t the first post of the day: I woke up around 4 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep (“As My Guitar Gently Weeps” was playing over and over in my head, don’t ask me why, and images from the Red Sox 16 inning loss to the Yankees was giving me the night terrors), so I went to the office and wrote this post. Charlie Green, critic and friend, properly pointed out that my comment in passing that incorrectly alluded to rumors about Joseph P. Kennedy being a bootlegger was exactly what my  post was criticizing David Brooks for doing in his attack on the entire Trump family, going back generations, a truly ugly op-ed.

What I was sorely tempted to say was that I’m just an ethics blogger, trying to focus attention on ethics standards in a daily blog from which I receive no income and intangible professional benefits if any. I mange to get 2000-4000 words published every 24 hours, working in short bursts while I try to earn a living, run a business, do research and be as good a father and husband as I can be. I have no editors, no researchers (except generous volunteers) and my blog is not a “paper of record” for journalists, seen by millions and paid for by subscribers. Is it really fair to hold Ethics Alarms to the same standards as David Brooks and the New York Times?

Make no mistake: my own standards are that no typo, no misstated fact, no misleading argument, are acceptable on an ethics blog, or any blog, or anything published on the web. Charles was right: using an unproven accusation of long-standing (Until Charles flagged it, I thought the bootlegging charge was a matter of public record) undermines my case against Brooks. Nonetheless, Brooks has absolutely no excuse. This is all he does, he has all week to produce a column or two, and he has a staff.

I’ve also corrected my error within hours of making it. What are the chances that Brooks and the Times will ever admit that they intentionally impugned the character of Fred Trump using rumors and innuendo as part of their ongoing effort to demonize the President of the United States?

My guess: Zero.

2. The big story this morning appears to be O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing. Will he be paroled and released after serving just nine years of the three-decade sentence he received for his participation in a burglary? Assuming that it is true that O.J., now 70 and unlikely to stab any more ex-wives and innocent bystanders to death, has been a model prisoner, yes, that would be the ethical result. O.J. got away with a double murder—he will not be asked at the hearing, “Once you’re out, can we assume that you’ll renew your relentless hunt for the real killer?”—but he wasn’t put in prison for that crime. Officially, he’s innocent. His fellow burglars were all put on probation, while the judge threw the book at the former football star, presumably to exact a measure of societal revenge for Nicole and Ron. The sentence was unethical. I don’t feel sorry for O.J. at all; I’m glad he had to serve hard time, just as I would have been happy if he had been squashed by a meteor. Justice, however, demands that he go free.

The bastard.

3. Another Times note-–again, I regard the current collapse and death spiral of ethical journalism the #1 ethics story of the decade, and perhaps the century so far—today’s primary front page story is “Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over.’”

Guess whose name is never mentioned once in relation to that disastrous “handing over”? I’ll give you three tries, and the first two don’t count.

Nobody at the Times even possess a “Gee, this makes us look partisan and biased” alarm…or they just don’t care any more.

4. I hate fake history, as readers here know. The new, much-praised Spider-Man movie, which sounds so politically correct and gratuitously diverse (but not diverse enough!) that I got nauseous just reading about it, includes the statement that slaves built the Washington Monument. No, they didn’t. This is standard Left Wing, race-baiting, America-slurring cant. There are absolutely no records that indicate this. (Slaves were used in the construction of the White House and the Capitol, but stick to the facts, America-haters. George had released his slaves and denounced slavery by the time his monument was commissioned in 1848. ) Popular culture can be as political as it chooses, but it is unethical to make the public ignorant.

One website I saw, grudgingly admitting that George’s monument was not directly built by slaves, argued that it was sort of built by slaves because some of the marble used in construction probably was taken from quarries that used slaves.

5.  Harvard is still trying to extort its students out of their right to free association. I wrote about this unethical effort by Harvard’s leftist, feminist, destructive President Drew Faust here, discussing the “rules and penalties”  mentioned in the latest missive from Harvard SJW Central. From Heat Street:

A Harvard University task force has advised banning all students from joining any “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations” in a bid to phase out the social groups entirely by 2022.

According to a faculty committee report released on Wednesday…the group suggests the ban could replace rules and penalties for students engaging in social clubs that are set to come into effect this coming fall. The report urges the ban be introduced in the fall of 2018.

“All currently enrolled students including those who will matriculate this fall will be exempt from the new policy for the entirety of their time at Harvard,” the report reads. “This will lead to a transition period, whereby USGSOs would be phased out by May 2022.”

 The university has already announced a new policy prohibiting members of single-sex organizations from leadership roles and disqualifying them from academic fellowship recommendations…

The university has also been asked to adopt the following language in its rules for students banning every Harvard student from participating in social clubs, regardless of whether they are co-ed or single-gender:

Harvard students may neither join nor participate in final clubs, fraternities or sororities, or other similar private, exclusionary social organizations that are exclusively or predominantly made up of Harvard students, whether they have any local or national affiliation, during their time in the College. The College will take disciplinary action against students who are found to be participating in such organizations. Violations will be adjudicated by the Administrative Board.

CNN, carelessly and falsely as usual, reported this as Harvard College banning college fraternities and sororities. Harvard has no fraternities and sororities, and hasn’t had any since before World War II. Nice research there, CNN! The clubs in question are all off campus and the few officially affiliated with Harvard, like the famous Hasty Pudding Club, aren’t fraternities and sororities.

These clubs, I must emphasize, are all elitist, preppie hang-outs that many students, like me and my room mates, thought were pompous and silly decades ago.  The evil fraternity in “Animal House” was in part a satire of these clubs and the kinds of student who join them. Nonetheless, they are not Harvard organizations, and all of their student members are legally adults. As I wrote in the initial post:

“Let us be clear what Harvard is trying to do here. It is seeking to punish students for their associations and activities unrelated to the school itself, and using its power within the limits of the campus to indoctrinate ideological values and require conduct that is unrelated to education. This is a rejection of the principle of freedom of association, one of those enumerated rights protected by the Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and a cornerstone of American principles. If the college can, in effect, create a blacklist withholding institutional honors from those who choose to belong to an all male or all female club completely distinct from the university, what clearly delineated line prevents the same institution from declaring that membership in the Republican Party, Occupy Wall Street, Americans For Trump or the NAACP are similarly undermining its values?”

Now I feel badly about never giving any money to my alma mater, because now I can’t register a protest by not giving money.

I think some of those old money members of the clubs in question will sue the College, and they will win.

47 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture

47 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/16/2017

  1. JP

    “The new, much-praised Spider-Man movie, which sounds so politically correct and gratuitously diverse (but not diverse enough!) that I got nauseous just reading about it, includes the statement that slaves built the Washington Monument. No, they didn’t. This is standard Left Wing, race-baiting, America-slurring cant. There are absolutely no records that indicate this. (Slaves were used in the construction of the White House and the Capitol, but stick to the facts, America-haters. George had released his slaves and denounced slavery by the time his monument was commissioned in 1848. ) Popular culture can be as political as it chooses, but it is unethical to make the public ignorant.”

    I just saw it last week and can say I definitely enjoyed it. So for it is my favorite in the Marvel series and I am looking forward to a sequel. I will add it was gratuitously diverse, but I don’t think that really took away from the plot. It takes place in Queens, which I understand to be quite diverse itself.

    I will say it could have done without the SJW scenes, which were rather insignificant. I believe all of them centered around a minor figure in this particular movie (I believe she will have a much bigger role in future movies). The comment at the Washington Moment was crude, uninformed, but lasted very briefly. This is not me trying to rationalize it because I think it was stupid, but for some reason, they did not want this character going in the monument, and this served as a quick way to move that along (I believe it is because she will figure out who Spider-man and this serves as the reveal).

    On an unrelated note, is there a way to ask ethical questions of you that are not things you write about? I know you are quite busy (as this article illustrates) but sometimes there are things I would like to know what is the ethical standpoint in x situation.

  2. Neil Dorr

    Also, when the character in question mentions that the monument was “built by slaves” the teacher says “I don’t think it was built by slaaaaav ….” and then looks over at a tour guide who gives him a shrug to suggest “Possibly. We don’t know for sure.” In other words, as suggested above, it wasn’t preachy and did little to distract from the actual plot.

    • We don’t know for sure that it wasn’t built by Martians, or a huge guy named Morton, either.

    • A.M. Golden

      I saw the movie yesterday. The scene in question jumped out at me immediately. I thought, “Is that right?” and made a mental note to check the historical facts at home.

      Maybe the guide’s gesure was meant as a, “Hey, who knows…”, but it didn’t seem that way to me. It looked a lot like a, “Well, actually…”.

      Although, I suppose one could also interpret it as a way to lecture so-called Unwoke people about how they shouldn’t question any narrative about slavery…especially since the tour guide was black. After all, how dare a teacher try to school a student on the facts of slavery in front of a black person.

  3. deery

    I saw the movie fairly recently, and being from the DC area, I didn’t have much of a problem with that scene. DC, Maryland, and Virginia were all slave states. And slaves were instrumental in the construction of most of the major projects from that era. It would be truly shocking, and almost certain to be remarked upon in the historical record, if slaves weren’t used to help build the Washington Monument. I assume pretty much everything of note in the pre-Civil War era in the DMV area was built at least in part, by slaves, unless otherwise noted. It was not very economical to do otherwise, for one. And they would no more note that slaves helped than they would note that horses helped, especially if their labor was donated.

    Though as a side note, how is a movie designated as “gratuitously diverse”? By bothering to put more than one nonwhite person in a role?

    • How about by making every group of people into the UN? If you notice it, then it’s a distraction. It looked as if they had a diversity quota to fill. Was any group unrepresented? Yet there are complaints that Spidey’s racially transmogrified girlfriends weren’t black enough. It’s a mania.

      On the slavery issue:

      Historian of the Washington Monument, John Steele Gordon, author of Washington’s Monument and the Fascinating History of the Obelisk, told Vulture:

      “I can’t say for certain, but the stonemasonry was pretty highly skilled, so it’s unlikely that slaves would’ve been doing it. The stones were cut by stonecutters, which is highly skilled work; and the stones were hoisted by means of steam engines, so you’d need a skilled engineer and foreman for stuff like that. Tending the steam engine, building the cast-iron staircase inside — that wasn’t grunt work.”

      He’s got no ax to grind, and its his job to know this stuff. When the expert says “It’s unlikely,” you can’t say that’s the same as, “Who knows?’ The right description is “Probably not.”

      • deery

        How about by making every group of people into the UN? If you notice it, then it’s a distraction. It looked as if they had a diversity quota to fill. Was any group unrepresented?

        So any movie that dares to step out of the bounds of most of the lily-whiteness is probably going to be noticeable. So under that criteria, only works that hewed to “centering whiteness” paradigm aren’t “gratuitously diverse.” Spider-Man is from Queens. It wasn’t set in ancient Ethiopia or medieval Finland. Is there a tipping point to movies set in modern America where they just have too many of those gosh-darned minorities? I hope not.

        “I can’t say for certain, but the stonemasonry was pretty highly skilled, so it’s unlikely that slaves would’ve been doing it. The stones were cut by stonecutters, which is highly skilled work; and the stones were hoisted by means of steam engines, so you’d need a skilled engineer and foreman for stuff like that. Tending the steam engine, building the cast-iron staircase inside — that wasn’t grunt work.”

        He’s got no ax to grind, and its his job to know this stuff. When the expert says “It’s unlikely,” you can’t say that’s the same as, “Who knows?’ The right description is “Probably not.”

        Well, there are several points here. There were plenty of very skilled slave artisans who could conceivably do detailed work of the nature required for the Washington Momunent.

        But that is an interesting, but ultimately unnecessary line of inquiry. There would still need to be unskilled labor that worked on the Monument. Foundations needed to be dug, trenches, stones hauled, fires stoked, supplies carried, etc. Slaves were almost always used in that era to do that kind of work in construction. It would certainly have been noted if they weren’t (it would have a revealed a pro-abolitionist sentiment that would have been quite policed in the lead up to the Civil War.)

        • I see no reason not to hire diverse casts, if every member is as arguably qualified as whateever actor or artist is being discriminated against to do so. Then there’s grandstanding.

          How do you feel about “Dunkirk” being criticized for having an almost all-male, all-white cast?

          • dragin_dragon

            Both the British and French Armies WERE mostly white…the German, TOTALLY so. Sorry, I know this was in response to someone else. My bad.

          • Chris

            How about by making every group of people into the UN? If you notice it, then it’s a distraction. It looked as if they had a diversity quota to fill. Was any group unrepresented?

            This is an impossible standard, because different people notice different things.

            I have never heard anyone say they noticed that the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies seemed to exist in a nearly all-white New York, and yet looking back, they did. I’d wager lots of PoC noticed this, and that fewer white people ever did.

            If you ask me, the diversity in Spider-Man: Homecoming is probably a more accurate depiction of what a prestigious Queens high school looks like in 2017 than the original film was of what a prestigious Queens high school looked like in 2001. This level of diversity is only “noticeable” because it’s rare in the movies, despite being unnoticeable in real life.

            In my experience, an all-white cast is often unremarked upon, where a “diverse” cast gets noticed. That’s because Hollywood is far whiter than the general population, so we are more likely to notice when a movie has a level of diversity that actually reflects reality.

            Yet there are complaints that Spidey’s racially transmogrified girlfriends weren’t black enough. It’s a mania.

            There will always be stupid complaints made by stupid people. Today lots of people are complaining that a fictional alien who has changed appearances 13 times over the past fifty years will now be played by a woman. What are you going to do?

            • I think that you’ve nailed it though… “That’s because Hollywood is far whiter than the general population, so we are more likely to notice when a movie has a level of diversity that actually reflects reality.”

              We might disagree on the “therefore” that follows that, but what you can’t argue is that the people making these movies that are purposefully
              casting with more diversity than the average Hollywood movie, In a movie like Spiderman… Where there’s very little attention played to the race of the characters… I don’t know that anyone would care… They didn’t care when Samuel Jackson played Nick Fury, off the top of my head … Except that there’s been a noticeable push for diversity, even in movies where it makes no sense to have diversity, or when diversity actually runs counter to the story. If I was convinced that the push for diversity would be limited to the fraction of the population at large (although that’s a stupid measurement) or to represent accurately the populations being depicted, I’d… Care less. But I don’t believe that, and so things like this burr me.

              I use The Dark Tower as my example. Roland is white. Susannah is black. This is important, because Susannah suffers from multiple personality disorder, and one of those personalities is Detta Holmes, a foul mouthed kleptomaniac sociopath who also happens to be a flaming racist. Most of her arc in The Drawing of The Three revolves around the drama caused by her personalities, the enduring patience of the “honky mofo”s she’s travelling with, and the reconciliation of her personalities. Without that tension, without that dynamic, you’re throwing out about a seventh of the source material, and homogenizing a quarter of Roland’s Ka-Tet.

              Idris Alba is an amazing actor, but he isn’t white. And so… We’re faced with a choice… Either they cast Roland black and to continue the racial dialogue they could cast Susannah as white, although there’s a fundamental difference between a black person hoisting racial abuse on a white person than the other way around, especially in the time frame being depicted. I think that would be story breaking. Or they gut the story. They either pretend there’s no racial backstory to Susannah, which… To be honest, her entire story is built around, or they write her out completely. The latter option of the second choice I hadn’t actually considered until I noticed that IMDB doesn’t list the role, or the role of her husband, Eddie Dean. I thought perhaps that meant the movie was going to be a prequel… But Jake Chambers IS listed, and he was the last of the three to be drawn.

              I suppose as with so many other things, I’ll wait to see the movie before I judge it… But it seems like a role that Clint Eastwood or Nathan Fillion was born for (I think I remember Steven King saying he modeled Roland after Clint Eastwood… But Clint’s a little long in the tooth for it now). And try to get over the dischordia of wondering what American History X would have looked like if the social justice furies got their diversity quotas pigeonholed into it. Who would play the black Derek Vinyard?

              • I take the forced diversity as political, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-Islam/ “What? terrorists aren’t Muslims!”, and anti-Trump. If Hollywood doesn’t want me to see it so, it shouldn’t create the context.

              • deery

                I always thought the character Susannah was deeply problematic in The Dark Tower. Stephen King doesn’t know any black people, and it showed in his attempt to write in a black dialect. It was truly cringe inducing, and King has stated that he regrets writing that particular storyline in there, and tried to handwave it all in later books. My guess is they will change the nature of the conflict to something else, with King’s full blessing. The casting of Elba signals that strongly, but I don’t the storyline change is the result of his casting, rather his casting was possible because they had already decided to change that aspect of the story.

                • There ARE no black people in Maine.

                • King has, in fact, given it his full blessing, although I’m not convinced that’s relevant. As with Steven Spielberg having his ability to “update” his previous works hampered, I don’t think that King’s opinion matters much.

                  As for his hand waving in later books, the author changed. That’s what happens when it takes you almost 22 years to write a 7 part series. I remember being bitter about being made to wait so long between books, a feeling somewhat alien to me, because I generally have respect for the creative process. Stephen King changed drastically after his car accident, and if you want to talk about cringe… How about writing yourself and your car accident into your work of fiction? Not a metaphor. Literally the thing. Despite what I admit are some very cringe inducing lines in the second book, the love Susannah has for Eddie, the Respect she has for Roland, her own personal strength, everything is built off her arc in The Drawing of The Three, and while it’s POSSIBLE that some other friction could stimulate the same outcome, I think that we can both agree that it would be contrived… If the problem is the lines, fix the lines.

              • Chris

                We might disagree on the “therefore” that follows that, but what you can’t argue is that the people making these movies that are purposefully
                casting with more diversity than the average Hollywood movie,

                I’m not sure why anyone would try to argue against that. Is consciously trying to make a movie more diverse than the general lilly-whiteness of Hollywood a bad thing in your eyes?

                … Except that there’s been a noticeable push for diversity, even in movies where it makes no sense to have diversity, or when diversity actually runs counter to the story…

                I use The Dark Tower as my example. Roland is white. Susannah is black. This is important, because Susannah suffers from multiple personality disorder, and one of those personalities is Detta Holmes, a foul mouthed kleptomaniac sociopath who also happens to be a flaming racist. Most of her arc in The Drawing of The Three revolves around the drama caused by her personalities, the enduring patience of the “honky mofo”s she’s travelling with, and the reconciliation of her personalities. Without that tension, without that dynamic, you’re throwing out about a seventh of the source material, and homogenizing a quarter of Roland’s Ka-Tet.

                I’ve never read Dark Tower, but just based off your description, this doesn’t seem like an example of pushing diversity “where it makes no sense to have diversity, or when diversity actually runs counter to the story.”

                You’re saying that in the original story, there WAS racial diversity, it’s just that the movie adaptation has switched the races of the characters, which weakens characterization and themes that were important to the original story. But changing one black character to white and one white character to black isn’t “pushing diversity where it makes no sense.” The way you’re describing it, the adaptation is just as diverse as the original, just with swapped races for certain characters. So “diversity” doesn’t have anything to do with the problems you’re pointing out here.

                Do you have any better examples of pushing diversity “where it makes no sense to have diversity, or when diversity actually runs counter to the story?” Because I can’t think of any examples of this phenomenon.

                • “I’m not sure why anyone would try to argue against that. Is consciously trying to make a movie more diverse than the general lilly-whiteness of Hollywood a bad thing in your eyes?”

                  It’s consciously acting so as to produce a racial outcome, in response to people acting unconsciously in a way that had racial outcomes.

                  It seems to me that you’re excusing all sorts of things that you would normally rail against: racism, discrimination, profiling… Because they are the means to your desired ends, and they effect groups you don’t care about. I’m uneasy with them, but so long as it’s done in a way that makes certain amounts of sense… I can ignore it, because there is a nugget of truth to what you’re saying. The problem is that Social Justice doesn’t have goals, they have aspirations, and once what should have been their goal is complete, they are unable to recognize victory, and keep aspiring to more. And then you end up bitching because someone who has always been cast white should have been cast as Asian, because he knows Kung Fu,

                  “You’re saying that in the original story, there WAS racial diversity, it’s just that the movie adaptation has switched the races of the characters, which weakens characterization and themes that were important to the original story. But changing one black character to white and one white character to black isn’t “pushing diversity where it makes no sense.””

                  It is when you consider that Roland is the lead, and Susannah is an (important, but still) supporting character. Would you be content if all the extras were appropriately diverse, even though none of the headliners were?

                  • deery

                    It is when you consider that Roland is the lead, and Susannah is an (important, but still) supporting character. Would you be content if all the extras were appropriately diverse, even though none of the headliners were?

                    That literally happens all the time (see Spider-Man, and every other Marvel movie). And we barely hear a peep, except for people to complain that even then, there are way too many “diverse” characters.

                  • Chris

                    It’s consciously acting so as to produce a racial outcome, in response to people acting unconsciously in a way that had racial outcomes.

                    It’s cute that you think all of the problems Hollywood has with race are due to people “acting unconsciously.” Some? Sure. Most? Maybe. But a ton of it is casting directors making a conscious effort to hire white people over minorities, because they think that sells better.

                    It seems to me that you’re excusing all sorts of things that you would normally rail against: racism, discrimination, profiling… Because they are the means to your desired ends, and they effect groups you don’t care about.

                    Uh…no, because deciding “I am going to make a conscious effort to make my movie to be racially diverse” isn’t racism, discrimination, or profiling, and arguing that it is is just silly. “Why, making a special effort to hire black people is JUST LIKE refusing to hire black people!” No. It isn’t. That’s stupid.

                    And then you end up bitching because someone who has always been cast white should have been cast as Asian, because he knows Kung Fu,

                    I wish I could say I’m surprised that you’re still misrepresenting the Iron Fist argument months after I clarified it to you–again and again–but I’m really not.

                    It is when you consider that Roland is the lead, and Susannah is an (important, but still) supporting character. Would you be content if all the extras were appropriately diverse, even though none of the headliners were?

                    I don’t care about Dark Tower; I’d be content if all the characters were played by lobsters. I think changing PoC characters to white is problematic, given the dearth of minority representation in Hollywood…but I don’t know the rationale for the choice to make Susannah white. It sounds like the choice to make Roland black was based purely on the producers’ love of Idris Elba. But whatever the motives, what you’re describing is not “diversity gone wild!”

                    • “It’s cute that you think all of the problems Hollywood has with race are due to people “acting unconsciously.” Some? Sure. Most? Maybe. But a ton of it is casting directors making a conscious effort to hire white people over minorities, because they think that sells better.”

                      Do you have actual reasons to believe this, or do you just choose to believe this because it suits your argument? I mean…. You can’t even fall back on some kind of anecdotal experience angle.

                      “Uh…no, because deciding “I am going to make a conscious effort to make my movie to be racially diverse” isn’t racism, discrimination, or profiling, and arguing that it is is just silly.”

                      Ok guys… I have the answer to the age old question of: “When does something that has racially disparate outcomes not get counted as de facto racism by a Social Justice proponent?” And the answer is: (drumroll please.) *ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat tat* When it benefits minorities.

                      Look, if you have every intention of passing up white actors because you have some kind of self-imposed melanin requirement for prospective employees, then it’s by definition profiling, discriminatory, and racist. “Whitey needs not apply” is not exceptionally removed from “Coloreds only”. Except one was meant to be means, and the other had the best of intentions. Now and again someone will say “reverse racism” to me and I roll my eyes… it’s not reverse anything, it’s just racism, and the answer to racism should not be high minded, well intentioned, somehow ephemerally different and explained away by People Like You racism.

                      “I wish I could say I’m surprised that you’re still misrepresenting the Iron Fist argument months after I clarified it to you–again and again–but I’m really not.”

                      Yes yes… Asian cultural pieces, tropes, the Asian sub-character played his role better. Not only do I reject your argument, I find it absurd, so much so that I will continue to mock it until you explain it in a way that is somehow less absurd, I tire of doing it, or you see the light.

                      “It sounds like the choice to make Roland black was based purely on the producers’ love of Idris Elba.”

                      Who cares? No. Really. Would you replace Edward Norton with Idris Elba in American History X? What if the producers really liked him? Could Django be played by a transsexual Vietnamese midget? Sometimes the race and gender of the characters matter, and sometimes they don’t. I’m frustrated because I don’t think you understand the difference. And when the race or gender of the character matters, but they change it anyway, and that change just so happens to conform to a trend in Hollywood to cram diversity quotas into remakes and adaptations of timeless classics, then maybe at the very least I could be forgiven for reading what appears to be the obvious into the situation.

                      Proponents of Idris Elba playing Roland try to downplay the effect of the second book in the series where the racial undertones that built Susannah’s character came from, not just in the interpersonal relationships, but in her treatment as a black person in early 20th century America. If Detta Walker was a flaming racist, she came by it honestly. So much of the role doesn’t make sense without it. What are her motivations? Where does the deep misanthropy come from? Where does she get her skills from? And it looks like in the face of having to answer these questions, the studio took the “easy” way out, and literally wrote half (I’m not kidding, of Roland, Eddie, Susannah and Jake, 2/4 is half) of the main cast completely out of the production. But Idris Alba!

                      This movie had better be AMAZING.

                    • Chris

                      Do you have actual reasons to believe this, or do you just choose to believe this because it suits your argument? I mean…. You can’t even fall back on some kind of anecdotal experience angle.

                      I’m sure you can find enough examples of casting calls looking specifically for Caucasian actors in roles that shouldn’t require them, as well as testimony from ethnic actors who have been put in the uncomfortable position of “perform as a stereotype or don’t perform at all,” through the miraculous invention of Google that you don’t need me to find them for you. “I am ignorant of the experiences of others” isn’t really a convincing argument.

                      Ok guys… I have the answer to the age old question of: “When does something that has racially disparate outcomes not get counted as de facto racism by a Social Justice proponent?” And the answer is: (drumroll please.) *ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat tat* When it benefits minorities.

                      Pushing for more diversity in casting has “racially disparate outcomes?” You’re joking. Please let me know when white representation in Hollywood underperforms compared to white representation in the country as a whole. I’ll be fascinated.

                      What you’re actually describing is correcting racially disparate outcomes by making a conscious effort to achieve diversity. That’s not racist.

                      Look, if you have every intention of passing up white actors because you have some kind of self-imposed melanin requirement for prospective employees, then it’s by definition profiling, discriminatory, and racist.

                      So “Hamilton” is racist? Fascinating.

                      Yes yes… Asian cultural pieces, tropes, the Asian sub-character played his role better. Not only do I reject your argument, I find it absurd, so much so that I will continue to mock it until you explain it in a way that is somehow less absurd, I tire of doing it, or you see the light.

                      Then find a way to mock it in a more honest, less deceptive way. My argument is what it is, I stand by it, and you not getting it really isn’t a problem for me.

                      Who cares? No. Really. Would you replace Edward Norton with Idris Elba in American History X?

                      Picking the stupidest hypothetical possible really doesn’t help your case. You’ve yet to establish that Roland’s race is anywhere near as important to his character as Derek Vinyard’s is to his.

                      Could Django be played by a transsexual Vietnamese midget?

                      See above.

                      Sometimes the race and gender of the characters matter, and sometimes they don’t. I’m frustrated because I don’t think you understand the difference.

                      No, you’re frustrated because you haven’t adequately explained how Roland fits into the former category rather than the latter, and more importantly, even if he was miscast, how that miscasting is a result of “forced diversity” when the movie also cast a PoC character as white. If this were really a result of the “SJW loves forced diversity and discriminates against whitey!!!eleven!!111!!!” line you’re pushing, they wouldn’t have made Susannah white.

          • Dunkirk definitely didn’t focus enough on transsexual rights and I don’t recall there being enough scenes between two females NOT discussing a man.

          • deery

            If it is a historical drama, set in a mostly white place, then I have no problem with mostly white people making up the majority of the cast. Of course.

            Though you could pull the camera back a few levels, and question why so many all-white films get the green light from major studios in the first place. But quibbling over a particular film, unless it’s egregious, or using it as an illustration of the latest example of a specific problem, is rather useless.

  4. His fellow burglars were all put on probation, while the judge threw the book at the former football star, presumably to exact a measure of societal revenge for Nicole and Ron. The sentence was unethical

    You seem to be implying thst the judge did not follow the law.

    • No, the judge has that discretion. he hit OJ with the maximum. Do I think, absent the murders, that OJ would have been sentenced to the maximum? No, and I don’t think anyone does.

  5. You want night terrors? Try dreaming about the O’s pitching staff, starting with $50 million man Ubaldo Jimenez.

    Man, the sport-that shall-not-be-named (but runs from Sept thru Jan) cannot come soon enough, to take my mind off of the train wreck of a season.

  6. dragin_dragon

    “Officially, he’s innocent. ”

    Officially, he’s ‘Not Guilty”…a fine distinction, but true, never-the-less

    • JP

      Should we presume innocence until proven guilty?

      • A jury must. But I’m not on that jury.

        • Good answer. OJ is the perfect example for illustrating the principle that being factually guilty–which OJ is—and found guilty in the formal process dictated by our laws are distinct, and one will not always lead to the other. If a defendants lawyers do a great job, the state doesn’t, the jury in poorly chosen, the venue is wrong, the judge in inept and more worried about his image than doing the job, and most of all, if the defendant is a celebrity with a benign image of decades-long duration…and then you add the race-factor (as the OJ mini-series nicely illustrated), you have a perfect storm of factors that will trump what should be an open and shut case. OJ was also lucky, with the gloves gaffe and the Mark Furmin fiasco. I don’t think anyone paying attention objectively could NOT be certain OJ is guilty (trying to publish a book called “If I Did It” was the capper.) But the jury wasn’t objective, and they didn’t know the whole story.

          • JP

            Interesting, I never really looked at it that way. I guess I have too much faith in our legal system that things will be done the right way and I’m prone to giving people the benefit of the doubt. My comment was not so much about OJ (I remember the trails going on when I was a kid, but never really cared) but people in general.

            It seems a lot of this would come down to perspective, an understanding of the law, and the amount of information out there.

            • But that’s just it…guilty people getting off the hook IS part of the system working the way it was designed. Because the American philosophy pushing Rule of Law and Due Process is geared towards knowing the flaws inherent in Man, it does everything at every step to Err on the side of letting actually Guilty people go free to keep to a nearly absolute minimum, the number of actually Innocent people being punished.

              So as stupid as it looks, OJ getting off is a symptom of making sure *innocent you* aren’t ever falsely imprisoned or otherwise punished.

              • JP

                Hypothetically speaking, would treating those people has guilty be bad for our society? For example, the treatment of Officer Wilson in the Mike Brown case (Here I understand that is actually innocent, but he isn’t treated that way by a large group of people).

                • JP

                  Sorry, that should be a question.

                • It’s a hard one to answer, and I’m not sure of my answer yet, though I’m 99% sure:

                  If I’m reasonably certain Melvin Shlubknuckles, local teacher at a pre-school, has odd attitudes towards my children, I’m under no obligation to leave my children in his care even IF he was found not guilty at his child molestation trial. That being said, I do not have the liberty to refuse to serve him breakfast at my restaurant if he wants to eat there.

                  If a judge and jury haven’t found the ability to punish him and temporarily abridge his rights and privileges as a member of the community, individual members of the community most certainly do no have the authority to mistreat him in regards to his *rights* and *privileges*.

                  But any other public or private interaction? We approach each other all the time with reasonable or unreasonable evaluations of each other’s conduct and character. And I don’t think we can compel individuals in the community to adjust those approaches without damaging the community MORE than the damage done by unreasonable evaluations of each other’s conduct and character.

                  • JP

                    I googled Melvin Shlubknuckles to see if you were referring to a particular case and learned that its 4 references were all done by you. I thought this rather funny.

                    In this particular case, I would agree. If I perceive a threat to my children (real or imagined) I would more than likely not put them in that situation. However, I think when it comes to children, we tend to be overcautious. If Melvin was found not guilty, I imagine that he is still able to keep his job (though I admit I am ignorant of the law here). You would leave your kid out, but now those other kids. What to do about that? Say nothing? I feel like I would be ethically obligated to share my feelings with all the other parents.

                    Though I am sure that Paul Nungesser engaged in consensual sex (based on the evidence), it is hard to imagine Mattress girl doing everything she did if it didn’t happen (though I read one argument that said she did it for career prospects and another said she fooled herself into thinking it happened).

                    • JP

                      Sorry, I realize I made a leap without a good transition. My train of thought being that Nungesser, like Wilson, is being punished by society when a system found them not guilty and they are both (likely) innocent.

                    • Well, I’m firmly in the camp that says to the degree that the “art girl” associates her art with Nungessor, she SHOULD be compelled to stop because it is tantamount to either harassment or slander. In which case, we do get into violating his rights and privileges as a member of the community.

  7. charlesgreen

    Jack,

    I want to give you huge props for this post.

    You are totally right that you put out a huge amount of material, you don’t get paid for it, and it’s probably amazing you don’t make more factual mistakes than you do.

    And yet, you very quickly did the right thing, and not only acknowledged a factual error, but corrected it, and even noted the relevance of the error and the correction.

    No one can expect any more than that of a ‘journalist,’ using the broadest of definitions to include bloggers like yourself (and me).

    As far as I’m concerned, your role-modeling behavior here reinforces your right to criticize other media for not living up to such an ethical standard.

    Good on you. Bigly.

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