Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/16/ 2017: A Kiss, A Blacklist, A Mystery, And President Frog

Good Morning!

It’s tree decorating day!

1 Fact. Last night, TCM was showing “Holiday Affair,” starring Robert Mitchum, Janet Leigh, and Wendell Corey. After the film, as is his wont, host Ben Mankiewicz returned with some inside trivia. He said, “Janet Leigh was not prepared at this point in her career to be on a set with such pranksters as Mitchum and Corey. At the point in the film where the actress was supposed to be kissed by Mitchum, Leigh wrote in her autobiography, instead of getting the expected movie kiss, she got a genuine Robert Mitchum kiss while the cameras rolled. The script called for her character to react with surprise, and there is no doubt that’s what audiences saw!”

This was exactly what Al Franken’s first accuser alleged he did to her in a skit rehearsal a decade ago. Now, was that “prank kiss” sexual harassment? Since that kind of “prank” by male movie stars was hardly uncommon, Mitchum was a bigger star at that point than Leigh (who was 22), and he was considered a dreamboat, and this was 1949, Leigh was a good sport about it, and presumably wasn’t uncomfortable for the rest of the shoot. Yet if the film was in made in 1999, she could hold a press conference today and accuse Senator Mitchum of sexually harassing her, and there would be evidence on film.

She could do this a) if she had shrugged the off then as an initiation to the World of Bob Mitchum, but newly “woke” realized it was sexual assault; b) if her career was flagging and she needed to get back into “Variety” headlines; c) if she had been seething all these years and waiting for a chance at revenge; d) if Senator Mitchum were a pro life conservative and her liberal daughter Jamie Lee Curtis called her up one day and said, “Mom, you know that story about Robert Mitchum slipping you a tongue during “Holiday Affair”? You can take that right wing SOB down with that!”

And there would be nothing Senator Mitchum could do about it.

Go ahead, Prof. Butler. say “Come ON!” I dare you.

2. On the other hand...Yesterday, director Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit,” “King Kong”), told reporters how Harvey Weinstein, he now realizes, made good on his threats to exact revenge on young actresses who didn’t “cooperate” with him:

“I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women [Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino] – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list…My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings… was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies.”

Sorvino tweeted in response,

“I now suspect we were fed false information about both of these talented women [Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino] – and as a direct result their names were removed from our casting list ” [said Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson]…. “My experience, when Miramax controlled the Lord of the Rings… was of Weinstein and his brother behaving like second-rate Mafia bullies. They weren’t the type of guys I wanted to work with – so I haven’t,”

Indeed, the sudden collapse of Sorvino’s film career shortly after she won an Osacr with “Mighty Aphrodite” has always been a mystery. She was 27 then. Now she’s 40, having spent the last ten years in independent films, B moves, horror films and cable TV series.

3.  The Reality Show Scorpion and President Frog Omarosa Manigault gave an ominous interview to “Good Morning America” this week after either being given til the end of the year to clear out of her White House job, or deciding to leave on her own. It is clear that she intends to milk every drop of publicity she can out of her White House experiences, and that it will all be ammunition for the anti-Trump news media. This should set her up for at least the next three years. She’ll have a book and a book tour, in all likelihood, and even though she has been savaged for being a “traitor” as an African American working for our evil, racist President—look at this oh so professional reaction to her White House exit by a CNN panel—

—the fact that Omarosa will happily tell tales out of school to embarrass the White House will doubtlessly make her suddenly popular.

Manigault is a reality show star created by Donald Trump, who made her a recurring villain on “The Apprentice.” A lot of her horrible image was editing, but nobody’s that good an editor: she’s clearly a snake, or, with reference to the fable of “The Scorpion and the Frog,” a scorpion. Why Trump gave her a White House job is a mystery, like so many of the things he does. I assume that he wanted at least some racial diversity on his staff, didn’t have any close associates who were African American, and assumed, since he was 100% responsible for her career, that he could trust Omarosa, which made him the frog. Far more trustworthy staff members than this awful woman have succumbed to greed and self-promotion to turn on their benefactors. On “The Apprentice,” the “Psycho” shower scene music was often played when Omarosa wouls make an entrance, yet the President set her up to turn on him for cash and another 15 minutes of lucrative infamy.

This will be ugly. It does not excuse Manigault’s inevitable  perfidy and ingratitude to say that I have no sympathy whatsoever with Trump here, who made a stupid mistake. As the scorpion says to the indignant frog, fatally stung as he was generously ferrying the creature across a raging river, “You knew I was a scorpion when you let me ride! Of course I was going to sting you—it’s in my nature!”

4. Why the Anderson Cooper anti-Trump tweets scandal is more important than the mainstream media says it is.

The story: Last week a tweet was issued from @AndersonCooper calling President Trump a “tool” and a “pathetic loser”.

Since Cooper is the biggest star on the All-Trump Bashing All The Time  network (that is, CNN) this would undercut CNN’s insistence that it is as objective as Walter Cronkite presented to be, but CNN explained that an investigation had confirmed that the unprofessional tweets weren’t sent from Anderson Cooper’s phone. You see, what really happened was that the only other person with access to his Cooper’s  account, his assistant,  inadvertently left his phone unlocked and unattended at the gym, and someone took his phone and sent the tweet, then put the phone back in the locker.

As one skeptic on Twitter wrote,

“Not to sound like Alex Jones, but why would someone temporarily steal a phone owned by Anderson Cooper’s assistant, who was in a gym in a different city than Anderson Cooper? And how would that person know it was logged in to that Twitter account?”

Conservative writer David Hirsanyi tweeted,

“I’m obsessed with this Anderson Cooper thing. we’re supposed to believe someone at gym knew this person was cooper’s assistant — who for some weird reason unlocked his phone.”

Tweeted law student James Hassan,

“Who among us hasn’t opened an unlocked gym locker, found an unlocked smart phone among its contents, used it to log into the owner’s twitter account, and upon seeing it was Anderson Cooper’s, sent a tweet at the President and then put the phone back exactly where it was?”

Indeed, CNN’s explanation is hard to swallow, and sounds like a cover-up. I don’t care about Cooper’s tweet. I do care that CNN isn’t being straight with the public, and that the mainstream media sees nothing wrong with that. Here’s what’s wrong with it, courtesy of another tweet, this one by Hirsanyi’s colleague at the Federalist, lawyer Gabriel Malor:

“This is a test, CNN. If you’re gonna lie about something as dumb as an errant tweet from Anderson Cooper’s assistant, why the fuck wouldn’t you lie about more significant things?”


5 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/16/ 2017: A Kiss, A Blacklist, A Mystery, And President Frog

  1. 4- About narratives being deftly eviscerated by reality, I mean not holding up to cruelly obsessive, and unfounded-n-unfair partisan scrutiny.

    Remember the two women who claimed to have been cast adrift while trying to sail from Hawaii to Tahiti?

    Welp their…um…experience, which raised red flags from the git go, has been superbly dissected by a wickedly irreverent writer who happens to be lifelong sailor.


    “Now here’s how much of their story makes sense: They left Hawaii in May. They were rescued five months later by the Navy.”

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