Good day to all, I guess.
Me, I feel like quitting.
1. Basic ethics blindness regarding the White House Correspondents Dinner. The ethically obtuse responses I am reading in columns and blogs regarding the self-defining journalism ethics event–you know, as in none—doesn’t bother me too much. I assume these people have the ethics of jackals. The similar responses I am reading here from intelligent readers who have been supposedly paying attention, however, discourage me greatly. Really: why bother writing a couple thousand words a day about ethics when your readers react to a high profile, unequivocal act of disrespect and rudeness by resorting to “I don’t like the guy, so I’m glad,” “he started it!” and “they had it coming”?
Or, my personal favorite, “this one insult everyone is talking about isn’t one if you spin it hard enough, so the other 30 insults don’t matter”?
There is no ethical defense whatsoever for inviting individuals to a formal dinner and intentionally making them feel like they are being singled out for abuse. Ever. Period. No exceptions. This is so obvious and uncontroversial that it prompt debate in a civilized society. That anyone is trying to defend the association, and its hired gun, Ms. Wolf, simply validates my two years-and-running correct prediction that electing Trump as President will turn this into a nation of assholes, though I was expecting those transformed to be primarily young, shallow and easily influenced. I did not expect so many professionals to re-enact the donkey-scene in “Pinocchio.”
And yes, as far as I’m concerned, Wolf, with the journalists’ consent, insulted the President of the United States and his daughter to their virtual faces. It is just moral luck that Trump did not attend, and there is no reason to believe that Wolf changed her act one iota because he wasn’t there. She was prepared to call the President of the United States a pussy, a monster and a Nazi to his face, with him a captive audience member. The ethics-free, rationalized justification I am reading on this blog is , “Yeah, well he made fun of a disabled man in 2016!” Wow. I really am wasting my time, I guess. How else can I interpret that?
Off the blog, some other ethically dim justifications have surfaced, like today’s New York Times column absolving Wolf from all responsibility because she performed the same kind of anti-Trump material that she always did. Funny, nobody gave Don Imus, the briefly ascendant shock-jock, that easy out when he embarrassed President Bill Clinton by calling him a “weasel,” among his less offensive terms, when he entertained the same group. Hey, protested the I-Man, I call Clinton a lying weasel every day on my show, why would anyone expect me to do any differently at the dinner? Why? Because professional entertainers have calibrated the appropriate content of their performances to their audiences’ tastes and sensitivities forever, that is why, and professionals are expected to be professional, which includes responsible. Go ahead, look me in the eye and tell me that Wolf would have made equally denigrating jokes if Obama was the President. Jokes about his flirtation with being gay. Jokes about eating dog. Jokes about him being a weenie with Putin and the “red line.” Jokes about the most “transparent” administration ever. Jokes about Joe Biden feeling up women during photo ops. About the IRS. About “you can keep your plan.” No, the association always assumes that its entertainers would keep their material appropriate to the venue and the event. The argument being used to excuse Wolf would be like excusing infamous “blue” material comics like Buddy Hackett, Redd Foxx and David Brenner if they made dick jokes on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” No, they toned down their material, out of respect for the audience. Respect. What a concept. And this was an audience of middle class Americans, not the President of the United States.
Of course, Wolf easily could have assumed that she was expected to be uncivil, cruel and offensive, since she knew that her hosts, like her and her fellow professional Trump-bashers, constituted the “resistance’s” Agents of Presidential Destruction. That doesn’t relieve her of ethical responsibilities, though. The association was irresponsible to hire someone with her proclivities, and she is accountable for her own disgusting, divisive conduct.
2. And I am priming myself, so I’m ready. As with the ambush of Mike Pence during “Hamilton,” I am thinking about the dinner and wondering if I would have done the right thing if I had been present. I am a bit surprised that nobody intervened, but then, we are living in The Age Of Weenies.. There is a duty to stop wrongdoing when you can, and an audience member with significant decency and guts should have stood up, challenged Wolf, and said, “You have no justification for bullying dinner guests like this. Have you no decency? I guess not. I’m leaving, and anyone who has basic respect for civility, manners and fairness should join me.” I have had a few similar moments in my life, nothing on that scale but I’m still proud of them, but I am hoping that when the time comes, if it comes, that I am up to the challenge.
My late, great, father, of course, specialized in such one-man stands.
3. Boy, am I getting sick of these stories. Chef Tunde Wey has forced customers in his New Orleans eatery, Saartj, to pay two and a half times more for the same meal if they are white than if they are “people of color” That’s illegal, you know, but he is typically self righteous about it, responding to objections by arguing that paying more is just an “inconvenience,” not racism: “Nobody’s wealth was affected. Nobody’s health was affected. Nobody’s education was impacted.” His latest divisive stunt is “discomfort food” in a Detroit locale, where diners will fill out a form asking about their race, gender, education and income, and their answers will then be used to determine their menus.
We want to present to you, in essence, what your privilege represents,” Wey explained to the Detroit Free Press. “If you go to a restaurant right now—any nice, high-end restaurant—as much as possible folks try to tailor the experience to you. . . . I want to tailor the experience to them [guests] and I want to predicate that experience on their privilege.”
No, this trend will not end well, and maybe not even bloodlessly.
Yes, I regard this as part of the devastating, divisive racial legacy of Barack Obama.
4. And speaking of that beloved and incompetent POTUS…That Iran deal that non-Kool-Aid drinkers thought looked dangerous irresponsible, since Iran is 100% untrustworthy, has apparently been proven to be…dangerous and irresponsible.
Israel Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu revealed yesterday that the Israelis located a secret warehouse in Iran, infiltrated it, and stole tens of thousands of documents that show Iran is a) cheating and b) snookered Obama. United States intelligence confirmed the authenticity of the documents, which provide such clear evidence of Iran’s continuing nuclear activity that President Donald Trump will have to abrogate the deal. Yet the news media’s Obama enablers still tried to spin it. Here’s CNBC’s John Harwood, for example, tweeting…
“Hasn’t US always known Iran lied which is why we and allies pursued Iran nuclear deal?“
You’re going to have to explain that one to me. One does not make nuclear deals that forward billions of dollars to a terrorist nation based on promises that are likely to be lies. At least, competent leaders don’t. Do you think Michelle Wolf could make a funny joke out of that?