Famous people have been misbehaving, but getting surprisingly little flack for it. Allow Ethics Alarms to supply some flack…
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi complained last week that the immigration negotiations with the President are being led by “five white guys.” The “white guys” are presumably the Minority Whip, Pelosi’s No. 2, Rep. Steny Hoyer, plus Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Hoyer immediately rebuked Pelosi for her characterization. “That comment is offensive. I am committed to ensuring DREAMers are protected and I will welcome everyone to the table who wants to get this done,” Hoyer said to Politico in a statement.
Using anyone’s skin color to suggest inadequacy or an inability to complete a task competently is racist by definition. Using anyone’ gender for the same reason is per se sexist. Pelosi should issue an appropriate apology, and she should not be given a pass. Naturally, she already has been.
For days now, we have seen President Trump excoriated by Democrats and the news media for using “racist” language for alleged comments that a) have not been substantiated, b) were made in a private meeting, if at all, c) if made as reported, were not intended for public dissemination, d) were not recorded, e) did not reference color or race, and f) referred to locales, not human beings. Pelosi’s comments, in contrast, were aimed at named individuals, referred in derogatory fashion to their race and gender, implied that their race and gender made them unqualified for a project, and were made in public, on the record, and before TV cameras.
Not only was Hoyer legitimately offended, I’m offended, as a fellow white guy. How dare one my government’s leaders insult me like that?
Dinesh diSouza, conservative author and film-maker, tweeted, “Bristol Palin seems so much smarter than her horse-faced counterpart Chelsea Clinton” along with this meme..
What the hell? First, there is nothing especially”smart” abut the quote, or Bristol Palin, for that matter. But mainly, the tweeted comment is gratuitously cruel and insulting. I know it’s tempting to deal in hatefulness, since so much of it is coming from the other side, but ethical, decent people are supposed to have better ethics alarms than that.
My theory that Twitter is a tool of Satan that robs users of their values and common sense seems more plausible every day.
Actor Robert DeNiro was presenting Meryl Streep with an award at the National Board of Review Annual Awards Gala in New York, and this was his introduction, I kid you not:
Thank you. First congratulations to Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks has played opposite some of the most iconic figures in American cinema. In “Turner and Hooch” he co-starred with a humongous, slobbering French Mastiff. In “Toy Story” his nemesis was action figure Buzz Lightyear. And who could forget his award-winning performance in “Castaway,” opposite a volleyball named Wilson.
That brings us to “The Post,” and another signature performance from the extraordinary Meryl Streep. Meryl is the most generous and giving actor. She not only inhabits her own character, she helps bring out the character of everyone else on the screen. Can a volleyball do that?
Not even if the volleyball was a “stable genius!” It was fascinating to watch The Post. That story took place nearly 50 years ago, but there are many parallels with today obviously.
At the time of the story Donald Trump was suffering with “bone spurs”. Today the world is suffering from the real Donald Trump. Come on. You know what are we talking about…
This fucking idiot is the President. It’s The Emperor’s New Clothes – the guy is a fucking fool. The publication of the Pentagon Papers was a proud moment for American journalism. The Times and the Post challenged the government over critical First Amendment issues. And the press prevailed. Our government today, with the propping-up of our baby-in-chief – the jerkoff-in-chief I call him – has put the press under siege, trying to discredit it through outrageous attacks and lies.’
And again just like 1971 the press is distinguishing itself with brave, exacting journalism. The movie gave us glimpses of President Nixon as delusional, narcissistic, petty, vindictive, nasty and batsshit fucking crazy. Ah the good old days.
The movie and my friend Meryl Streep showed us the evolution of courage – Kate Graham was forced into a man’s world and showed the world and showed all those men something about the qualities of daring and devotion to public service – qualities that were thought of as male. No longer. But, astonishingly, today women are still struggling to get their rightful place and their fare share.
I am still fighting for Meryl to be able to get 79 cents of what a man would get to play Catherine Graham. It’s shameful, I know. The good news is that I think we’re at a watershed moment and it’s about time. There are many to thank for that, but tonight is for Meryl Streep. Meryl, thank you for speaking out on matters of conscience that affect us all. Thank you for being an actress who plays the most interesting characters with full commitment and without judgement.
You show us their heroism as well as their imperfections. And I know that’s a stretch for you – because Meryl doesn’t seem to have any imperfections. And I say that with the most love for you, Meryl. I love you so much. Ladies and gentlemen, the National Board of Review’s best actress…
I am priming myself for the moment when some self-obsessed jackass like DeNiro subjects me, as a captive audience member, to that kind of vulgar rant, because I want to be prepared and primed to stand up, as someone with integrity, decency and guts should have done at the National Board of Review Annual Awards, and call out,
“Excuse me, sir, but what do you think you are doing? We didn’t come here to listen to your gross language and insults to the President of the United States. If you are so hateful that you can’t show respect for our nation’s leader, at least show some respect for us. This isn’t “Goodfellas,” and your job as a presenter isn’t a blank check to act like a foul mouthed jerk, which apparently you are in real life as well as on the screen. You had me fooled: I thought you were acting. Now apologize to everyone here.”
I want to be well prepared so I don’t yield to the temptation to stick in a “dickhead” somewhere, or add, “And Al Pacino is twice the actor you are.”
Finally, and weirdly, we have the saga of Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Cal.), 84 years young and still running for another six year term.
Feinstein released some 315 pages of closed-door testimony by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Fusion GPS was the firm paid by Democrats to compile the dossier alleging ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. She did this without without consulting Judiciary chairman Senator Charles Grassley, or any other Republicans on the committee, despite the fact that her actions breached protocol and procedure as well as raised legal issues. The move wasn’t even necessarily helpful to her party’s prime directive, which is to drive President Trump out of office before he has to run for re-election. Her actions could impede the investigation and deter others from testifying before the Judiciary Committee, including President Donald Trump’s associates.
Feinstein apologized to Grassley, saying “I meant to tell him, and I didn’t have a chance to tell him, and that concerns me. I just got pressured, and I didn’t do it.”
Pressured? Pressured by who? Who is pressuring U.S. Senators, The Resistance Steering Committee?
Then, a few days later, the Senator told NBC,
“The one regret I have is that I should have spoke with Senator Grassley before. And I don’t make an excuse but I’ve had a bad cold and maybe that slowed down my mental facilities a little bit.”
Ah! The “I had a cold” alibi. Why hasn’t President Trump tried that one? It’s gold!
Still later, Buzzfeed reporter Emma Loop asked her about being “pressured” to release the Simpson transcript.
“I made no statement to that effect,” Feinstein said.
“But there are recordings of you saying you felt pressured,” said Loop, correctly.
Feinstein: “I don’t believe there are. I don’t believe I said that.”