Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2017: Gwyneth’s Mom, Harvard’s Airbrush, Salon’s Favorite Conservatives

Yes, I KNOW it’s Thursday, but I meant to use this song yesterday, but didn’t, because I thought it was Tuesday…

GOOD MORNING!

1 We have several Ethics Train Wrecks barrelling along. The Harvey Weinstein Express is still picking up expected passengers, like Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. The Executive Committee unanimously voted to award Weinstein the 2014 W.E.B Du Bois medal for contributions to African and African-American culture. In the midst of complaints by the African American community that Hollywood was slighting black artists and themes in its films, Weinstein’s Miramax studio had stood out as a notable exception.

The same professors voted Tuesday night to rescind the honor in the wake of the Weinstein’s (long-known but only recently publicly exposed) sexual predator proclivities, announcing in a statement: “We have voted unanimously to rescind the Du Bois Medal awarded to Mr. Weinstein in 2014. We stand with the women who have courageously come forward to fight for themselves and indeed for all of those who have experienced similar abuse.”

Wrong, and cowardly. What does sexual harassment have to do with African American culture? The mania among progressive missions groups to insist that only those who satisfy all broad progressive agenda mandates are worthy of any honor is why the nation’s continued celebration of Jefferson, Washington and other founders is hanging by a thread. Did Weinstein deserve the award in 2014? Yes, I assume. Has anything changed regarding the producer’s contributions to black culture through his movies? No.

I covered this substantially identical situation here, in 2015.

2. Same train wreck, different car: Actress Blythe Danner took to the New York Times letters page to defend her daughter, Gwynneth Paltrow, from critics like the Times’ Maureen Dowd (and me) regarding Paltrow’s handling of her early career harassment by Weinstein. Of Danner’s daughter, Dowd wrote,

Some who were importuned or pawed, like Angelina Jolie, stalked away and told studio executives that she would never work with the pestilent mogul. Others whom Weinstein asked to give him a massage in his hotel suite refused but continued to collaborate, like Gwyneth Paltrow, who put aside qualms to become “the first lady of Miramax.”

I put it somewhat differently, noting that Paltrow was never the typical helpless and vulnerable starlet, and later had sufficient power and influence to end Weisntein’s reign of open-bathrobe terror by simply going public with what she knew. This is complicty. Announcing that she too had been harassed after Weinstein was already in a nosedive to earth, his taile and wings aflame, wasn’t “brave.”

Danner writes in part,

Gwyneth did not “put aside her qualms to become ‘the first lady of Miramax’ ” back then, as Ms. Dowd would have it. She continued to hold her own and insist that Mr. Weinstein treat her with respect. She had learned from her father, the producer and director Bruce Paltrow, how to stand up for herself. ..I suggest that the pundits stop casting aspersions on the women who have confronted unwanted sexual advances in the manner each sees fit and concentrate on the constructive ways to prevent this behavior in the future.

She damns Paltrow with her own words. That’s right, Mom: Gwyneth insisted that Weinstein treat her with respect, and left dozens (hundreds?) of more vulnerable victims primed to be assaulted by him instead. She stood up for herself, got her Oscar celebrated films and roles, and dealt with Weinstein “as she saw fit,” just as Weinstein dealt with his victims as he saw fit.

Paltrow was part of Weinstein’s cover and cover-up. Danner writes later that she hopes “that this is the point of no return where change will occur.” If it is, one of the changes has to be that actors and actresses who know about harassers and predators think about future victims, and “see fit” to take action before, rather than after, an abuser is taken down.

3.  I suppose it is some kind of fun house mirror form of integrity when a publication makes its bias so explicit that it can’t be missed, but Salon recent “The 25 conservatives actually worth following on Twitter” is a an open admission of Trump Derangement. When I looked fleetingly down the motley list, I noticed that the ridiculous Ana Navarro was on it—how could this logic and professionalism-challenged fool be worth following anywhere?—as well as Ethics Alarms’ favorite blogger, lawyer Ken White, who isn’t a conservative at all (he’s a libertarian). So what makes these 25 special, in Salon’s eyes? Only one thing: they all detest President Trump. A typical endorsement in the post, this of Richard Painter: “When he isn’t educating his followers on legal and government ethics, Painter displays his wit and his contempt for Trump.”

Painter has dismayed many of his colleagues in the legal ethics establishment by allowing his out-of-control hate for Trump cause him to promote endorse disingenuous and absurd legal theories.

An ethical and useful article by the same title would point Salon readers to principled conservative thinker and pundits that could challenge Salon’s knee-jerk leftist cant.  Concludes Brian MacNicoll:

“Salon’s solution to helping fellow liberals learn more about the conservative ideals and thinking that beat them in the last election is to continue to read only people who echo their beliefs but label themselves conservatives.”

 

48 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Social Media

48 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2017: Gwyneth’s Mom, Harvard’s Airbrush, Salon’s Favorite Conservatives

  1. Isaac

    Hollywood is Detroit. They have purged themselves of all the deplorable Right-wingers and Bible-thumpers, and are now enjoying the paradise of equality, prosperity, and superior morality that such a purge has always promised.

    They are hoping now that Harvey can just fall on his sword for the rest of them, because he’s in no way atypical and probably far from the worst of the lot. Watch them all join in now with their condemnation and stories, (because they ALL knew about it and did nothing because such behavior considered normal in showbiz.) Once Harvey is out of the news they can all go back to covering for each other.

    • Isaac

      Oh, and speaking of what happens when you banish all conservatives, guess what OTHER institution is a swamp of sexual harassment?

      http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-women-harassment-capitol-20171017-story.html

      • Oh be fair. I think women get harrassed by conservatives to. I think the better argument to be made is “speaking of what happens when you banish traditional boundaries in society”?

        At which point a discussion can be had, was the banishment of those social boundaries good for society or bad for society now that we see some of the side effects alongside the benefits?

        • Isaac

          Granted and agreed. Though the overlap between those two is such that if your cultural enclave doesn’t welcome people who espouse traditional values (whether or not they practice them), then whoever is left isn’t going to be practicing them either.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          They voted them in, now let them vote them out if they are so inclined. They won’t though, because as long as someone votes the right way on the progressive agenda and especially on abortion, he can help himself to all the women he wants, and they will just have to take one for the team. After all, it’s just having unrestrained fun, just like Errol Flynn and Roman Polanski in their day and Woody Allen now. With great power comes…the ability to chase all the ass that strikes your fancy, get away with it, and be admired for it, just like the rich kids and the football heroes we all grew up envying and wishing we could even sample the lives of. I spent college hiding out between the computer lab and my dorm room, while the football hero with meat between his ears bedded all the cheerleaders except the one who was engaged to a Naval Academy midshipman and the good-looking tenor who knew he was the best of all the tenors and knew he was good looking once had sex with four girls in one weekend. It should come as no surprise that when one of the cheerleaders complained that this Flash Thompson doppelganger didn’t call her back, or one of the four girls was mad that the cad used her and then treated her like damaged goods, that the other students and the administration just laughed, saying as long as they consented there was nothing they could do, and they might want to be a little careful how quick they “gave it up” next time. Meantime someone like me, who brought no such credentials to the table, had to rely on an honest computer lab proctor who was an employee, not a student, to prove he was somewhere else when another girl’s date went south and she had to blame someone, so why not blame the conservative guy who doesn’t fit in and kill two birds with one stone? No sympathy.

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    1. Like I said, the left wants a monopoly on honor, as though someone set them up as the great unappealable panel who could dole it out and just as easily rescind it, staffed entirely by their own, of course. BTW, feel free to use the phrase “monopoly on honor,” if so inclined.

    2. This is no different than the Turks in WW2, who stayed neutral until they saw Germany was going to lose, then joined the Allies at the eleventh hour to stop the Soviet armies who’d rolled over the Axis from keeping right on rolling, then joined NATO to play the role of “outpost,” as much to move with the political winds as anything else. It was easy to turn on the Nazis as their blitzkrieg boomerang was about to smack them full in the face, just as it’s easy to turn on someone who everyone is turning on. These actresses who put up with Weinstein’s abuse and now turn on him are no better than wolves joining a huge pack closing in on a wounded bison as he gets winded, or hyenas circling and laughing before a fatally wounded elephant falls to the ground and bleeds out, so they can strip him to the bone with no danger to themselves. Actually they’re worse. Wolves and hyenas perform a useful ecological function by culling out the weak and keeping the landscape free of large carrion that would otherwise rot. Not so here.

    3. Actually this is the fun-house mirror reflection of the monopoly on honor the left wants, and naked evidence of the left’s arrogance. Not only do they want a monopoly on the ability to declare anyone or anything worthy of honor, but they think the right wants or needs their imprimatur, as though the right can’t see what an honor it is to be allowed to agree with them and be partially accepted in a permanent junior status by their betters on the left, on the condition that they surrender their honors and heroes, kneel to kiss the rainbow flag, allow their women to always precede them down the street, and pay reparations to their black betters. I just don’t get it. This is 2017, not 2009, and the left is in nowhere near as strong a position as it was then, certainly not a position to shame their vanquished foes. I suppose it’s just more of the mentality that if you say something loudly enough, confidently enough, and often enough, it will be accepted as the truth, even if it’s a bald-faced lie.

  3. valkygrrl

    Jack would you, perhaps, be interested in changing things up with a nice rant about civil asset forfeiture? https://theintercept.com/2017/10/13/ice-hsi-asset-forfeiture-handbook/

    • Chris Marschner

      Valkygrrl

      We may not agree on many things but this is one we can. As a strict Constitutionalist I see current policy on civil forfeiture as an unconstitutional appropriation of funds. I also believe that it violates both the 5th amendment such that there is invariably a bar so high to recover seized property that the value of the property in question is dwarfed by the legal costs assert a claim for the property. Moreover, unrelated third parties such as mortgagors, landlords, or other lenders can be harmed in the process denying them just compensation. Such policies incentivize various agencies to prioritize enforcement actions based on the “payoff”.

      While I am not against civil forfeiture of “ill gotten gains” a determination should of the legitimacy of the forfeiture should be adjudicated in a court before any property is actually forfeited and any proceeds of such forfeitures should be returned to the treasuries of the governing bodies to which they serve; that is to say federal or state. It is the legislature’s responsibility to determine the level of funding the agency is to receive.

      The second paragraph in your link supports my contention.

      “HSI’s 71-page “Asset Forfeiture Handbook,” dated June 30, 2010, underscores the role seizures play in “helping to fund future law enforcement actions” and covering costs “that HSI would otherwise be unable to fund.”

    • I have covered this, and recently, when Sessions endorsed it.

      • valkygrrl

        Yes I forget, you never cover a topic twice no matter how egregious. That’s why there’s never a peep out of you about Hillary Clinton. My bad.

        • Cheap shot. Bad Valky. The “rant” you requested predated the Sessions post. It was called The Civil Forfeiture Outrage: American Government At Its Worst, So Naturally We Ignore It, which I think is pretty clear. It ended this way:

          Tolerating a law that can be used to persecute an innocent family like the Caswells to obtain income that will directly benefit the government agency doing the persecution requires excessive and unwarranted trust in the purity of government motives as well as the ethics of government personnel. As illusion-shattering as it may be for patriotic conservatives and government-boosting progressives, it is essential to focus seriously on this abuse of power. You can learn more about civil forfeiture—and truly, every civically-engaged American should be informed on this practice—by reading this concise Institute for Justice report here. [That link no longer exists]

          Then there was this post, in 2015, and the Sessions post this year.

          It’s pretty simple: when there is a new development relevant to ethics on a topic, I try to cover it. Analogizing Hillary, a serial ethics offender on a wide range of matters, to civil asset forfeiture is dishonest. Analogize Hillary, rather, to “police”, or “politicians,” or “liars” or “ethics corrupters.” She keeps providing new material and issues. The outrage of civil asset forfeiture, however, doesn’t change.

          It’s not too much to ask that before someone unfairly implies in print that I’ve neglected an issue, they check the archives. I do it all the time.

  4. Steve

    It is all too much for me, many of these victims of Weinstein were such strong feminist insisting that women can do anything, can handle anything and should be unquestioned. Yet, Yet…….time and again we see stories of them putting up with and being victims off sexual assault/harassment for years.

    Are women responsible members of society? Are they as capable as they believe? I know the excuse is “rape culture” and the like but what are they doing about it? Obviously yelling at men and telling them not to rape isn’t working. Maybe it is that too many women continue to put up with it and do next to nothing to prevent it. How about women start holding each other accountable? Too often when this happens women immediately blame men and want men to solve the problem for them. How many of these men who act like this are doing so because they have learned women will use their sexuality to get ahead, how many more Weinstein women are out there that slept with him to get ahead and haven’t spoken up because that was their choice and don’t hold it against him? How many of those who are speaking up now really didn’t have much issue with and are only speaking up now for personal reasons?

    I am not excusing rapist and harassers but how about some consistency, responsibility and some critical thinking? Is that too much to expect? This guy did this for decades, not all these women were victims, some share some culpability, as do some men.

    • Chris Marschner

      Steve:
      I agree 100% with your perspective. I will add that as I was channel surfing last night I ran across a program on MTv in which a dozen nubile 20 something females dressed only in lacy underwear and a equal number of alpha and beta males were cavorting in hot tubs and on mattresses strewn about this mansion, which I assume is in Beverly Hills.

      It seems that the premise of the show is to “find the perfect match” as these couples paired off and traded off between and among themselves to see which couple would win the prize for being the perfect match. As could be expected the females were exploiting their sexuality to attract the guy of their choosing, two women wanted the same guy and two males got into a fight because of it. I never saw any pillow talk that related to each others values, politics, or likes and dislikes. What was discussed on air was what each physical attribute each favored of the other.

      As a viewed the behaviors of both sexes it struck me that the female competition was based of who was considered to be the most beautiful. The beta females sided with their favored alpha female. The beta females consoled each of the favored alpha females with words of reassurance that the man was being a cad and she did nothing wrong – it should be noted that she did nothing wrong by “entertaining” another guy while the object of her desire was “entertaining” another female.

      With that said, with all the righteous indignation from the virtue signalers, no one thinks this program fosters objectification of either sex for the glory of making a buck.

      • Isaac

        These feminists LOVE porn. It’s “empowering.” (I’m aware of sex-negative feminists but they seem to be very much the minority.)

        I remember reading about the female music producer responsible of the “Pussycat Dolls” and other similar acts that obviously demeaned women. She frequently played the “sexuality is empowering” card, no matter how outrageously objectified her “stars” were. There were very few voices against this.

        Now one of the Pussycat Dolls is tweeting that she was basically a sex slave. I’m on my iPhone 3 here but if someone wants to look it up and post a link that’d be great. Maybe Jack would want to do a post. The music industry should be the next show to drop, though I’m still of the cynical opinion that there aren’t going to be any other shoes dropping.

    • Isaac

      America doesn’t have a rape culture, but it seems we’ve got a few little rape subcultures, doesn’t it…concentrated in, ahem, specific areas.

  5. Still Spartan

    I wish I could make the vomit emoji bigger on my phone. 🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢

    Sorry Jack, I know you hate them, but vomit really is the only appropriate reaction to the male discourse on your site lately.

    Now, I’m off to ponder which lacy underwear (I mean suit —silly female brain!) to don for my legal job tomorrow. I just love giving men confusing signals in the work place and then playing the victim! I better not smile or make eye contact with any of the men with whom I work. They might rape me and then blame me for encouraging them! I hate it when that happens!

    • Chris

      If it helps at all, I’m pretty sickened by it too.

      • Steve

        Chris- Spartan doesn’t need you to be her white knight.

        • Still Spartan

          Agreement doesn’t equal being a white knight — sheesh you are sexist!
          If another man agrees with you, is he being a white knight? Thanks for proving my point. Also, you confused the word “strawman” with “ridicule.”

          • Steve

            He agreed with you to show he was a good little feminist. No other reason.

            Maybe I was wrong about your ethics, you certainly seem to be acting as if you are incapable of analysis and critically thought.

            You have zero arguments so you have to resort to calling me a sexist, big surprise.

            • Still Spartan

              “He agreed with you to show he was a good little feminist. No other reason.”

              What on earth is your basis for saying that other than your gut?

              Again, when people agree with you, do you think that might have something to do with the fact that they agree with you — or is it somehow gender based?

              I’m sorry if calling you sexist hurts your feelings, but that is exactly what you did — you assumed he agreed with me because he was trying to be a white knight.

              • Steve

                Spartan his comment doesn’t fit the normal conversation pattern for Ethics Alarms, most of us who have been here for a while don’t make inconsequential comments.

                Look at the other comments in reply to me, they all offer additional ideas and arguments, and unlike yours actually address what I said.

                • Still Spartan

                  I used over the top language on purpose to illustrate my point. I thought that was obvious. Writing long sentences cloaked in polite phrasing doesn’t make your (using the collective “your” here) opinions less odious.

                  • Steve

                    Spartan what is odious about what I said? I am talking about accountability, I really don’t think that you would go to your job and use your sexuality to try and get ahead, are you saying that never happens? Do you believe that none of these women knew what this scumbag was and made the personal decision that it was worth it to achieve their goals? None of these women have any culpability in this guy treating women this way for decades?

                    • Still Spartan

                      Why don’t we reverse this exercise? No need to go back over all the posts on this blog from the last two weeks, you can just use the ones on this blog entry. Please identify for me all the comments made by men that you think are objectionable or at least are coming close to that line. BTW — no snarky tone intended. I really want to see what you come up with in your response.

            • Chris

              I agreed with Spartan because Spartan is right, you dumb asshole.

              • Come on. If you are going to specialize is pushing people’s buttons, you can’t insult them too.

                • valkygrrl

                  Since when it that a rule here?

                  • Still Spartan

                    Valky — yup.

                    • See my response to Valky. Don’t be a dick. It ill-becomes you.

                    • valkygrrl

                      Oh no. You agreed with me, it must be white knighting!

                    • Still Spartan

                      What? How is it objectionable to point out that lots of people insult others on this blog? And, I didn’t even insult anyone! Pointing out sexist behavior is EXACTLY what you and others here have been pointing out for 2 weeks now. Apparently, it is my DUTY to do it. So, okay, I did it. And then I get told that I insulted the insulter? And people (by people, I mean men) wonder why women aren’t more pro-active calling attention to this shit. This is always a rock/hard place problem for women.

                    • It isn’t objectionable, within reason. My reply to you was a mistake, because on my feed, your seconding of Valky was attached to THIS comment:

                      “Yes I forget, you never cover a topic twice no matter how egregious. That’s why there’s never a peep out of you about Hillary Clinton. My bad.”

                      I responded with this:

                      Cheap shot. Bad Valky. The “rant” you requested predated the Sessions post. It was called The Civil Forfeiture Outrage: American Government At Its Worst, So Naturally We Ignore It, which I think is pretty clear. It ended this way:

                      Tolerating a law that can be used to persecute an innocent family like the Caswells to obtain income that will directly benefit the government agency doing the persecution requires excessive and unwarranted trust in the purity of government motives as well as the ethics of government personnel. As illusion-shattering as it may be for patriotic conservatives and government-boosting progressives, it is essential to focus seriously on this abuse of power. You can learn more about civil forfeiture—and truly, every civically-engaged American should be informed on this practice—by reading this concise Institute for Justice report here. [That link no longer exists]

                      Then there was this post, in 2015, and the Sessions post this year.

                      It’s pretty simple: when there is a new development relevant to ethics on a topic, I try to cover it. Analogizing Hillary, a serial ethics offender on a wide range of matters, to civil asset forfeiture is dishonest. Analogize Hillary, rather, to “police”, or “politicians,” or “liars” or “ethics corrupters.” She keeps providing new material and issues. The outrage of civil asset forfeiture, however, doesn’t change.

                      It’s not too much to ask that before someone unfairly implies in print that I’ve neglected an issue, they check the archives. I do it all the time.

                      My response to you was a) not referring to insults, and b) based on misunderstanding which Valky comment you were seconding. My mistake. I’m sorry.

                      I have to take what WordPress tells me, because if I replied on the post itself, it would take forever.

                • Steve

                  Spartan I will do that, can’t do it right now but I will. I assume you will let me know what you find so objectionable about my comment after?

              • Steve

                Chris my apologies if i triggered you but you really should do some self assessing and seek help, maybe develop some friendships with some adult men. The fact that all your replies have been trite just goes to support that you had no other purpose in your original comment than to virtue signal.

        • Chris

          Only misogynists use the term “white knight.”

          • Steve

            Yes Chris I must be a misogynists for calling out your reply that served to do nothing but virtue signal.

          • I’ve seen it thrown around, the few times I’ve seen it thrown around, quite equally balanced between, on one hand, misogynists trying to shame some dude for defending a woman’s opinions as though he only defended her because she was some fragile person who couldn’t handle herself in a discussion and, on the other hand, feminists/feminist allies who just want to shame a guy who happens to defend a woman’s arguments and they are pissed because she “doesn’t need the help”.

            In Steve’s case, it seems to be an intentionally ironic use of the 2nd category.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Bullshit. White Knighting is sticking your nose in a discussion that you don’t need to stick your nose into so either you can curry favor with one of the participants or so you can virtue-signal. It’s an annoying and unnecessary practice that has nothing to do with misogyny, although sometimes those who do it ARE looking to win favor with a female participant in the discussion. Those who stick their noses where they don’t belong shouldn’t complain if they end up bloody or broken, though.

    • Steve

      Spartan- You did nothing but set up a strawman, what am I wrong about? I am fairly certain that if you were being harassed that you wouldn’t put your own ambition before doing the right thing, especially for decades and then put yourself out there as a standard bearer for feminism.

      We are not talking about some relatively unknown women but a shitload of the most powerful and wealthy women on earth.

      You should be furious, these actresses, politicians and others in the know make feminist look hypocritical, dishonest, greedy and very weak.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      Weeelll… you COULD wear lacy underwear under the suit (Carey Lowell as Jamie Ross points out lingerie and says she’s wearing it right now in an epi of Law and Order). Who’s to know? All silliness aside, tarring one gender or the other with a super-broad brush is kinda…counterproductive, no?

  6. Al Veerhoff

    I have not read them lately but I know they are still published: books and magazines that portray men as dominant aggressors and women as passive, subservient and admiring of the fictional testosterone outbursts.
    I can only guess that the audience for these publications comprise men who feel sexually inferior (to other men as well as to women). I don’t know whether the publications merely satisfy daydreams or encourage the reader to act out what he has read. My experience among Army infantrymen many, many years ago leads me to believe in the acting-out hypothesis. I remember hearing some of these men boast about the way they subjugate women. The description was often parallel to the “men’s mag” stories.

    Gilman School in Baltimore has a response to this kind of thinking. It’s described in “Season of Life” and the school’s everybody-gets-to-play football team.
    Here’s a link to an excerpt:
    http://www.seasonoflife.com/excerpt.html
    As I walked around the campus of Georgetown Prep in Bethesda, Md., recently, I saw banners displaying phrases from the book. So Prep has instituted a similar program, but I doubt that the students are aware of the book.

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