Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/7/2018: Something In This Post Is Guaranteed To Send You Screaming Into The Streets

Good Morning!

1 Oh no! Not my permanent record! My wife gave a small contribution to Mitt  Romney’s campaign, and has been hounded by RNC robocalls and mailings ever since. GOP fundraising started getting really slimy under the indefensible Michael Steele’s leadership, and continued to use unethical methods after Steele went on to job at a bait shop or something. Last week my wife got an envelope in the mail with a block red DELINQUENCY NOTICE! printed on it. A lie, straight up: there was no delinquency, just a my wife’s decision that she would rather burn a C-note than give it to the fools and knaves running the Republican Party. She registered an official complaint with the RNC, and received this response from Dana Klein, NRCC Deputy Finance Director:

“My job as the Deputy Finance Director is to communicate with supporters to let them know the status of their NRCC Sustaining Membership. Unfortunately, I have bad news for you. As of right now, you have a delinquency mark on your record for your failure to renew your membership. But, I have some good news. You can remove this delinquency mark if you renew by the FEC deadline on Wednesday.”

Both my wife and I were professional fundraisers for many years. This is deceptive and coercive fundraising, and anyone who voluntarily supports an organization that uses such tactics is a victim or an idiot.

Or, I suppose, a Republican.

2. Another one…This is another one of the statements that I am pledged to expose every time I read or hear it: a Maryland legislator, enthusing over the likelihood that a ballot initiative will result in legalizing pot in the state, ran off the usual invalid, disingenuous and foolish rationalizations for supporting measure. (Don’t worry, pot-lovers: I’m resigned to this happening, not just in Maryland, but nation wide. As with the state lotteries, our elected officials will trade the public health and welfare for easy revenue every time. Minorities and the poor will be the most hurt, and the brie and pot set couldn’t care less.) Only one of his familiar bad arguments triggered my mandatory response pledge: ” to legalize a drug that is less harmful than alcohol.”

This is the bottom of the rationalization barrel, “it’s not the worst thing.” Alcohol is a scourge of society, killing thousands upon thousands every year, ruining families and lives, wrecking businesses, costing the economy millions of dollars. Just yesterday there was a report that fetal alcohol syndrome was far more common that previously believed. There is no question, none, that U.S. society would be healthier and safer without this poison accepted in the culture: unfortunately, it was too deeply embedded before serious efforts were made to remove it. Now pot advocates want to inflict another damaging recreational drug on society, using the argument that it’s not as terrible as the ones we’re already stuck with. Stipulated: it’s not as harmful as alcohol. It’s not as harmful as Russian Roulette or eating Tidepods either. I have a bias against taking seriously advocates who use arguments like this; it means they re either liars, and know their logic is absurd, or idiots, and don’t.

3. Riddle me this: What do you get when you cross casting ethics, weak and lazy school administrators, political-correctness bullies-in-training with “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”?

Answer: a cancelled high school musical, and per se racism supported by the school.

New York’s Ithaca High School was beginning production of the Disney film-based musical “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” but made the unforgivable error, in the eyes of student activists,  of casting of a white student as a Romani heroine Esmeralda, played in the classic film by that gypsy wench, Maureen O’Hara, and in the Disney version by a Toon.  Several students quit the show in protest,  and formed an activist group to reverse the decision. It sent a letter calling the casting “cultural appropriation” and “whitewashing,” calling the student the “epitome of whiteness.” The letter admitted that she was also “a stellar actor, singer and dancer” that any stage would be “lucky to have,” but what is the talent, skill and competence required for a role compared to what really matters, her skin color? The students demanded that the school either choose a different show or recast Esmeralda a black and brown actress.

The school could have responded by teaching the students about what acting, casting, and theater’s purpose as art involve and the relevant values. It might have instructed the students about race-baiting—not how to do it, since they already know that, but why it is wrong. It should  have explained why “cultural appropriation” is a crock, and why casting is only ‘whitewashing” if a white actor is actively sought for the role of an ethnic character, rather than cast because, even when appearances are factored in, as they always are in casting, she will optimize the effectiveness of the production because she is the best qualified for the part.

The school canceled the musical, saying it wanted to be “more inclusive and culturally responsive” and “eliminate institutional biases.” Of course they did. Avoiding controversy always trumps educational obligations with public school administrators. Now the school says it is planning “a collaborative project” in place of the show. Sounds like so much fun!

You cannot trust the public schools to teach your children competently, and to avoid indoctrinating students with leftist, anti-democratic cant. I hope the parents of the actress sue the school district for racial discrimination. I do not believe in using the courts to resolve such matters as casting and amateur sports team rosters, but there have to be serious consequences to a high school behaving like this.

4. What a GREAT segue this is! And speaking of Notre Dame-–as I thought would happen in the wake of the latest victory of the Perpetually Offended, the political correctness furies have moved on from Chief Wahoo to the next target. Notre Dame’s “Fighting Irish” logo. Trigger warning!

 

As I wrote in the Chief Wahoo post,

“…the protests were part of a power play by the Left and not the result of genuine, widespread offense affecting Native Americans… the attack on team names and symbols is about power, and bending others to their will.  Now the political correctness mob will move on to its next prey…”

ESPN’s Max Kellerman shouted yesterday that Notre Dame should ban its longtime symbol with this fatuous and censorious “logic”:

“Many Irish-Americans are not offended, but many are. Should that also change? The answer is yes! Unequivocally yes. Pernicious, negative stereotypes of marginalized people that offend, even some among them, should be changed.”

Comments: 1) Max is an idiot. 2) This is why ESPN is losing viewers. 3) “Many” Irish-Americans are offended? Prove it. What does “many” mean? Like, twenty? If the Post found that 90% of Native Americans didn’t give a whoop about “Redskins,” what do you think the corresponding percentage is for Irish-Americans feeling blue about the Notre Dame leprechaun? I would guess that the Irish are among the least easily offended ethnic groups on the planet. 4) So, as we have heard before, the Left’s proposed standard is that if anyone is offended by art, a song, a message, a joke, a statement, anything at all, that’s enough to justify rejecting those expressions, even if the vast majority finds them tolerable at worst, and valuable at best. Got it. This is the hard-core Left in 2018, everybody. How can anyone responsible vote for people who think this way, or trust their judgment? Why doesn’t everyone just point and laugh?  5. Twenty-Two Presidents of the United States have Irish ancestry. The Irish haven’t been “marginalized” for about a hundred years.

6) Did I mention that Max is an idiot?

 

5. First D.C. commissions a statue of Marion Barry, then this; next, a monument to Tom Brady in Boston Common…The San Francisco Giants officially announced that they will retire Barry Bonds’ No. 25 and celebrate his career before their August. 11 game against the Pirates at AT&T Park.

Presumably this will be called, “Cheating Pays Day.”

43 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Race, Rights, Sports, U.S. Society

43 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/7/2018: Something In This Post Is Guaranteed To Send You Screaming Into The Streets

  1. #1) I think you meant RNC, not DNC.

    I know…it’s easy to shift into habit considering it doesn’t seem like the DNC does anything ethical these days.

  2. adimagejim

    Pretty sure Chris pooh-poohed my post last week on other professionally offended parties, not the actual population portrayed, joining this movement.

    Presto!

    • Hey come on! If there’s any dispised immigrant group that never got advocacy it’s the Irish… it’s about time someone spoke up for them!

      • BITE. ME.

        /snark 🙂

        We are too stinkin’ proud to need no progressive advocacy! We see what it has done to those who have bought in to the victim mentality, and want no part of that.

        • Hey! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome how the Irish are but easily offended. They’ve combined a toughness with their cultural lack of personal standards so that even offensive comments seem complimentary. It’s brilliant.

          And I can’t help but celebrate the qualities they’ve given America:

          They brought us their delicious breakfast cereal, their insurmountable love of whiskey and their intractable impatience with resolving differences through rational discourse.

          (I’m claiming the rationalized immunity that many claim when they say they’re are allowed to be racist towards their own “group”…I have sufficient Irish ancestry to pass)

  3. 3)

    Time to google all our past discussions regarding this topic so I can be ready to cut and paste responses the inevitable arguments.

  4. 1. Establishment politicians have no ethics, morals, or common sense. This is a scam, and those that send such things are relegated to the 3rd ring of hades, IMHO.

    2. Employers (mine, in fact) will not allow pot smokers to remain employed. I raised the issue some time ago during a ‘drug and Alcohol Awareness’ mandatory meeting, that if I visited a state that allowed pot, and then tested positive via secondhand smoke, what would they do? The answer was “Fire you with prejudice.’ Their solution? ‘Don’t let that happen.’ The level of Zero Tolerance is amazing to behold. And with the (buried) stories that pot users cause problems even while not directly under the influence (lower judgment skills, lower coordination, and so on) I can see why companies would be this way. If you test positive for alcohol abuse they can eventually fire you as well.

    How will this play out? With the Fed now coming down on the side of law and order (pot is illegal federally) and more states decriminalizing, a showdown is brewing, I think. Guess I will pop some popcorn and wait to see the show…

    3. I despair for our experiment in public education, I really do. I come from a LOT of teachers, including my wife, and even here in Texas the lunacy infringes every day.

    4. Sheesh. Speaking as one with Irish blood prominent in the mix (Scot-Irish is Irish) I am greatly offended by Notre Dame. Not at the silly looking mascot, but how they are overrated based on their name every year. I agrew up in a household that “was for Texas A&M and anyone who played Notre Dame, after all.

    5. Baseball is still the most ethical professional sport out there… but that bar is set pretty low these days.

  5. Linda

    #1. I too contributed a very small amount to the RNC last year and have received mailer after mailer requesting money from every RNC and his brother serving in state and federal offices. As a former boss once told me, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Boy, was he right!

  6. Steve-O-in-NJ

    1. (rolls eyes in disgust) Seriously? Although it should be measured against the Democratic Party’s letter about 4 years ago telling members that although which way you voted is confidential, whether you voted isn’t, and if you don’t vote this time out, we’re going to ask why. Then again, we also talked about how the right has stooped now to tactics previously used on the left, with some success. Still, yuck.

    2. I find it ironic that politicians are pushing the legalization of an additional drug hard, while trying to make the use of another one (tobacco) all but impossible.

    3. You know Ithaca had developed the reputation of being “the City of Evil” on conservative websites for a while, due to its wackadoo politics (partly due to being a huge college town, partly due to a lot of old hippies moving there like Vermont), right? This comes as no surprise. If, however, this had gone the other way, with a black actress being cast as obviously white Belle or a brown actress being cast as obviously Celtic Merida, then no problem, just keep on opening those doors and removing those barriers.

    The fact is that kids are also going to have to deal with favoritism, double standards, unfair application of rules, and abuse of power later in life, as we all do. Might as well learn how to handle it now. Might as well also learn that if you had been born white and born Protestant a few generations back it would have been an advantage, but because you were born now, sorry, you’re going to have to pay reparations to your black and brown brothers and sisters. Uhuru!

    4. The perpetually offended just got turned back by my alma mater at Holy Cross, after a lengthy process of “discernment” (read: overthinking) after which they decided the “Crusader” was ok after all, since you can be a crusader for a good cause as well as for the cause of throwing the Muslims out of the Holy Land (because that was such a clear-cut wrong cause…). The student run college newspaper, however, elected to become “The Spire” instead, saying they didn’t want to be associated with massacres or the KKK publication of the same name. Snowflakes and shallow thinkers.

    Among the idiotic arguments advanced for the mascot change, together with the usual massacre/hatred stuff was “if something offends just one person, it should be changed,” and “we have to be concerned with how we present ourselves, and make those not of our tribe feel welcome.” What it all boils down to is the opinion history doesn’t need to be looked at very closely, just say “hatred” or “atrocity” and that’s it, it’s automatically offensive and should barely be discussed, leave alone honored. If it IS discussed, it needs to be properly disclaimed and acknowledged as wrong, lest some olive-skinned exchange student leap up and yell “that’s wrong! The Muslims were peaceful until you thugs showed up with sword in one hand, gospel in the other!” It also seems to be built on the principal that white western people must allow non-white, non-western peoples to define them, say what they can call themselves, say what they can call locations, say what they can celebrate, say how they can celebrate it. I’m just not buying it, and apparently the trustees weren’t either.

    You’re right, this IS the modern hard left. Be relentless, be uncompromising, be loud, be self-righteous, and it will get you everything you want.

    What’s more, within an hour of the announcement of the decision, posts went up in response to it to the tune of “the next generation will overturn this,” and “you white-haired, red-nosed, alcohol-preserved, Rosary-clutching relics may have won this round, but we’ll still be here long after your brains pop from all that Guinness and your hearts explode from too much corned beef, and we’ll make things right.” So don’t just be relentless, et al, also be ungracious and let it be known you can’t wait for those who oppose you to die off so that you can take over.

    5. That’s what we call a “family-unfriendly Aesop.” Yes, sometimes cheating DOES pay. Sometimes people do bad things and get away with them. Sometimes people get the King’s Pass. Ironically, the same people who say yank Columbus down have no problem with either Barry (psssst, he’s BLACK!). Tom Brady may run up against some problems down the line though, since he has no melanin to protect him.

  7. #3: I wonder how many of the triggered junior SJWs are gushing fans of Hamilton ?

  8. Rich in CT

    I once received an emergency alert titled: “This is Not a Drill!”

    Being a student, I freaked out, wondering what tragedy struck my school….

    K-Mart was having a sale.

    I was not amused.

    K-Mart got a very sternly written letter in reply, and I actually got a reply from a manager offering something resembling an apology.

  9. Kyjo

    Is there a qualified Romani actress at Ithaca High? If not, why should anyone care about the race of the person chosen for the role? You’ve got a black student saying, “you can’t get the parts that are written for you.” Right, because Esmeralda was written as a 21st-Century teenaged African-American woman? (Incidentally, Demi Moore was Esmeralda’s voice in the Disney film.) The Romani aren’t black, East Asian, Middle Eastern, or Latino. “People of color” aren’t some kind of monolith. All of this over a fictional character from a 19th-Century French novel. Absurd.

    One wonders how Quasimodo—in the novel, also born to a Gypsy family—was cast. Is the actor authentically deformed and deaf?

  10. Other Bill

    Ironically, an article in Maxim praised Kellerman’s heroic stance and suggested Conor McGregegor, an Irish cage fighter, be made the new mascot rather than the leprechaun. I find Conor McGregor representing Irish heritage really offensive. The guy’s an host to God, living, professional tavern brawler who effects about as whimsical and self-deprecating an image as your run of the mill thug. He’s what the leprechaun laughs at.

    And there’s this Authentic Frontier Gibberish from a former ESPN guy:

    Former ESPN and current MLB Network host Brian Kenny, the son of an Irish immigrant, tweeted support for Kellerman’s stance.

    Brian Kenny

    @MrBrianKenny
    People are actually arguing for Chief Wahoo, by bringing up use of Leprechauns. You know what? Leprechaun cartoons are subhuman and offensive, and are used to keep us “in our place” So, yes, bag them too…

    “For all saying ‘they’ve never met a single Irishman offended’: The Notre Dame mascot is an embarrassment,” Kenny said.

    Uh, Brian, Leprechauns are imaginary, you know, mythical? And what “place” have you been put in? This is 2017, not 1917. Are you digging a ditch? Shoveling coal into a boiler? No, you’re a highly (over?) compensated sports talking head. Probably the easiest job on earth.

    I’m half Irish and got my JD at Notre Dame. But I guess identity politics doesn’t work for white guys. So that gets me nothing. Do I wear a tam-o-shanter and plaid slacks and root for the Irish? No. I don’t even go to church. But I do get my back up at anti-Papist crap. ND football is easy to hate, I get that. It’s silly that NBC broadcasts all their games and they don’t need to be in a football conference. But when anti-ND hating turns into Southern Baptist Catholic bashing or WASPY superiority, it gets pretty annoying.

    And more ironically, the school has essentially turned into an overheated nest of social justice warriors– where football money rules the roost. Trust me, the Holy Cross fathers know extremely well which side of their bread the butter’s on.

  11. “If the Post found that 90% of Native Americans didn’t give a whoop about ‘Redskins,'”

    Didn’t give a WHOOP?!

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to report this to the PC police…;)

  12. When I saw “Which of these items will make YOUR head explode???” I thought the following might be included.

    Black Lives Matter/NYC President Hawk Newsome to Newsweek on the Philadelpia Iggles (sic) Super Bowl “Riots:”

    Newsome called the lack of condemnation from officials ”a glaring example of white privilege.”

    Sooooooo, there are no Black Iggles fans? That’s so freakin’ easily debunked it’s pathetic. I watched the film and guess what I saw? Diversity!

    Seriously that’s some of the stupidest shit I’ve read in a LONG time, only to be outdone by the following:

    ”You can riot if you’re white and your team wins, but if you’re black and being killed, you can’t speak out,”

    http://www.newsweek.com/philadelphia-chaos-reveals-racial-double-standard-over-riots-critics-say-799421

    It’s abundantly clear what the talented Mr. Newsome was trying to accomplish, all he did was make it a matter of record that he’s an race-baiting ninnyhammer!

    • Kyjo

      I saw something about this on the ol’ Facebonk myself. Similar opinions circulated when folks were rioting in Baltimore over the Freddie Gray case. These are fast becoming boilerplate talking points.

      I have never seen a sports riot that was racially-based; they all involved a racially diverse cast of fans. No sports rioter claims to represent the interests of the white race. Sports riots aren’t defended by the literati as a kind of a last-ditch effort by desperate sports fans to express their grievances against systemic anti-sports supremacist oppression in our society. In fact, no one with any appreciable cultural influence defends sports riots.

      • Other Bill

        Jack sure didn’t. He wanted statutes put in place dealing specifically and harshly with sports rioters so the riots won’t be allowed to continue.

        • Other Bill

          The Philly PD must have taken the Pats and given the points and not deployed any cops in anticipation of an Eagles victory.

      • crella

        Yes….’if you’re white it’s ‘celebrating, if you’re black it’s ‘rioting’ on FB yesterday. Got lots of people snoozed for 30 days…

    • If it’s in Newsweek now, I just assume it was written by James Patterson.

  13. Brad Prothero

    My sophomore year in High School, we did the opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors”. It called for a boy soprano as Amahl and a soprano as the mother. Since I was the only one that could hit those notes, I played Amahl. At the time, I was a small 5’4″ white boy and am 75%+ Norwegian (like I said, white). The person that played my mother was a person of color that was shorter than me. I think we were the two shortest in the choir. Everyone knew that she was the best singer in the choir and no other male could hit the high notes. We chuckled at the casting but knew it was the best decision the director could make. I do not know if there were any complaints but I never heard any.

    While they were not perfect, there are times when I wish we could bring back some things from the 80’s. Just some, though. That “feathered hair” thing never worked for me.

  14. Neil Dorr

    Jack:

    There is no question, none, that U.S. society would be healthier and safer without this poison accepted in the culture: unfortunately, it was too deeply embedded before serious efforts were made to remove it.

    Poison? You’re using the same hyperbole that lead libertarians to compare taxation to slavery, or the Trump-resistors to label the President a despot.

    Alcoholic libations have been loved by BILLIONS of people worldwide for millennia. Taken responsibly, they’re an effective social lubricant, pain reducer, and anxiety reliever. Moreover, some alcoholic beverages (such as wine) contain antioxidants which can have beneficial effects on the heart and blood pressure. Yes, it is addictive. Yes, it is prone to abuse. Yes, millions of the previously-mentioned billions are to blame. So what?

    Similar arguments could be made about any number of other legal substances which are addictive and dangerous when abused. Should they all be banned? Should liquor? What’s the threshold? Please advise.

    • Hmmm… is this the worst reasoned comment of 2018? The substance kills 88,0008 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) every year, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Go ahead, tell why me why it’s hyperbole to call an ingested substance that deadly a poison. Nicotine is also a poison.

      The definition of poison is “a substance that is capable of causing the illness or death of a living organism when introduced or absorbed.” The disease is called alcoholism. 8.1 people have it in the US.

      Surely you can come up with better bitches than this.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        We tried to remove it. It proved to create more problems than it solved. That said, alcohol’s been around since Biblical times, and tobacco only since the discovery of America. Of course we did have that little problem with opium for a while too…

      • Brad Prothero

        Playing devil’s advocate, by using that definition, which says nothing about the amount needed, can’t water be deemed a poison?

        • No? Unless its polluted water that kills people or makes them sick. How would you argue that water is a poison?

          • From an early 2009 online article re “dihydrogen monoxide” (H2O):

            A few years ago, Neal Boortz, an Atlanta Radio Talk Show Host and legend (in his own mind if no other) brought to light a something VERY important.

            He informed the population of Atlanta that the city’s water supply had thousands of tons of a compound called “Dihydrogen Monoxide.” The water supply was simply full of it. He went on the lay out some of the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide (from DHMO.org/facts):

            Death due to accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities.
            Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
            Excessive ingestion produces a number of unpleasant though not typically life-threatening side-effects.
            DHMO is a major component of acid rain.
            Gaseous DHMO can cause severe burns.
            Contributes to soil erosion.
            Leads to corrosion and oxidation of many metals.
            Contamination of electrical systems often causes short-circuits.
            Exposure decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
            Found in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions.
            Given to vicious dogs involved in recent deadly attacks.
            Often associated with killer cyclones in the U.S. Midwest and elsewhere, and in hurricanes including deadly storms in Florida, New Orleans and other areas of the southeastern U.S.
            Thermal variations in DHMO are a suspected contributor to the El Nino weather effect.

            In laying out the case regarding Dihydrogen Monoxide, it was interesting to see the reactions. The story was actually picked up by one of the local television stations. The Atlanta Water Department was put on the spot, and their spokesperson at the time told news crews and others that the Atlanta Waterworks allowed no more dihydrogen monoxide than allowed by law.

  15. Re #3: I’d seen this story a few days ago, but luckily for my sanity I had too many other things on my mind to contemplate too deeply what was going on in my old stomping grounds (I went to high school a little over a half hour from Ithaca, and spent four years in grad school at Cornell).
    I’m not sure I agree with you that the school is supporting “per se racism,” but I do think the decision was equal parts stupid, repressive, and cowardly. Even if we discount your entire argument, Jack (and I don’t), we still left with this: the character is Romani. The fact that a POC actor played the role in the biggest production of this particular iteration of the story doesn’t change the fact that many Romani are indeed white. What they definitely aren’t is black, although one suspects that casting such as actor in the role would have been at least condoned if not applauded. And if I’m identifying the complaining student correctly, she is far from the body type one would associate with the role.
    But does body type really matter? Sometimes. Does race? Sometimes. Does gender? Sometimes. This director apparently cast the actor who, taking everything into account (as you say, Jack) promised to help the show the most. I’m currently working on a production of Max Frisch’s Biedermann and the Firebugs. For one role I cast a big muscular guy because that’s what the role requires: someone who can be physically intimidating. A fair number of 5’8″, 145-pound men auditioned; none were even considered for that particular role. For another part, I cast an African-American woman in a role obviously originally played by a white man. Why? Because what I really need is a singer, and she was the best one available. That’s the way it works. Directors cast the actor they believe to be best for the role. Might there be racist directors who base decisions on inappropriate criteria? Of course. Is there any evidence that’s what happened here? Nope.
    Season selection and casting have indeed favored whites and men to far too great a degree for far too long, and the profession needs to address that issue more vigorously than it has. This does not mean, however, that casting a white actor in a role that can perfectly plausibly be played by a white actor is wrong, much less inherently so.
    Want to get cast, or cast in a better role? Be better. Actors often thank me for casting them. I tell them I did so entirely out of self-interest: I cast the most talented actors, the ones who’ll work the hardest, the ones who show a particular affinity for a particular role… in short, the ones who will make me (and my work) look the best. I do love it when ethics and self-interest converge.

    • Perfect.
      Boy, I love it when I can whistle up a Comment of the Day on demand!

      Want to get cast, or cast in a better role? Be better.

      I bet I’ve said this in various forms to over a hundred performers.

    • dragin_dragon

      Or, specialize. I have played ‘Earthquake McGoon’ in li’l Abner and Bob Ewell in Mockingbird. Why? Because I’m 6’2″, weigh close to 250 and can project ‘menacing’ with the best of them. For Mockingbird, I got a standing ovation all 10 nights at curtain-call…not to mention getting a glare and skipped handshakes in the ‘Joydit’ line after the play (as well as an audible “gasp”) from some of the LOL’s in the audience (during the courtroom scene). Figured I was fairly successful.. We were very fortunate to have a black drama major play the defendant, and a really cute girl play my daughter. Thus, I became the “go-to” bad guy. Loved it.

  16. I would argue that in most cases, the argument that pot is less harmful than alcohol is not really an example of “it’s not the worst thing.”

    “It’s not the worst thing” would be an argument such as, “Yes, I smoke pot, but at least I don’t use crystal meth!” That may be true, and it’s probably even a good thing, but just because meth is worse than pot doesn’t mean it’s okay to use pot.

    But the argument that pot is less harmful than alcohol doesn’t work that way. It’s not usually used to argue that pot is good, but to argue that a proposed policy is inconsistent with other policies. In drug policy, one of the arguments in favor of keeping pot illegal is the utilitarian one: The net benefits of keeping pot illegal exceed the net benefits of legalizing pot.

    Policymakers who want to keep pot illegal tend to support their position by emphasizing the costs that pot imposes on our society. And they argue that the high costs of pot use justify making it illegal. It is quite reasonable to point out to them that they have allowed alcohol to remain legal even though it has even higher costs. They are contradicting themselves. There is no logical, internally consistent, intellectually honest way to support criminalizing pot while keeping alcohol legal as long as you are arguing on the basis of harm to society and you agree that alcohol is more harmful.

    Imagine that you were directing a play for a high school, and one of the parents told you they wanted to remove their son from the production because they were afraid he would hurt himself during the song and dance number. But you happen to know that the student in question also plays varsity full-contact football. If you wanted to try to keep the young man in the play, you might point out to the parent that the risk of the dance number is considerably less than the football risk, which they don’t seem to have a problem with. This is not an argument that the dangers of football make the dance safe, but that the parent is not thinking clearly about the risks.

    You, of course, escape the inconsistency problem with pot prohibition by arguing that alcohol should also be prohibited, so this argument doesn’t apply to you. Unlike some policymakers and pundits, your position is intellectually honest. Actually, you could turn the “pot isn’t as bad as alcohol” point into an argument in favor of re-criminalizing alcohol: “We already criminalize less harmful substances like pot, so surely consistency demands we criminalize the far greater scourge of alcohol!”

    • Oh, there is abundant justification for criminalizing both alcohol and tobacco. Once the culture has accepted a harmful drug into mainstream traditions, entertainment, commercial activities and daily life, however, it is literally impossible to try to turn back the clock. That was the lesson of Prohibition, and it was tbe lesson of pot,once elites and the mainstream media and pop culture signaled their approval beginning in the Sixties.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s