1 Housekeeping matters. For some reason, I know not what, there was an outbreak of contentious discussion regarding Ethics Alarms administration in a couple of threads yesterday. I think everything covered or complained about is covered in the Comment Policies above, but just for the record:
- I handle the moderation here. Only me.
- Though it might appear otherwise to some, I do not spend my day glued to Ethics Alarms. Thus on days like yesterday, when I had an early morning CLE session to teach in D.C., followed by one law firm client emergency after another, I did not see any comments at all from 1am to 6 pm. Thus the hysterical and indignant “Why did you delete my comment?” outbursts and the “How dare you allow that rude comment to stay on the site?” and the ultimata springing therefrom were especially silly, unfair, and ill-informed.
- I am not your Moderation Monkey. Don’t command me on how to police my own site. Thank you.
- As I have written many times, occasionally a comment from an approved participant gets spammed for no good reason. Sometimes WordPress, for no apparent provocation, starts spamming the comments of visitors here who have been commenting for years. Sometimes such commenters have had to change their screen names as a result. None of this has anything to do with me: I can’t control it, or predict it. The calm, reasonable commenters faced with this crisis generally e-mail me, then I search the spam archives, find the lost post, send it to moderation, and approve it.
- I do not delete posts from approved commenters. The exception is when I ban a commenter permanently, or give one a time out, which is a temporary ban or suspension, in which case the commenter is always warned in advance.
- I expect discourse here to be civil, but will excuse momentary and periodic lapses and outbursts from veteran commenters (and me, of course), in direct proportion to their time here, level of participation and constructive value to the mission. Individual quirks will also be taken into consideration.
2. Remembering the David Manning Liar of the Month: A commenter who hails from the old Ethics Scoreboard days recently referenced the feature there called the David Manning Liar of the Month. A David Manning-style lie is a statement that the speaker or writer can’t possibly expect anyone to believe, thus raising the question of whether it is a lie at all. (Sony spawned the award by excusing its use of a fake film reviewer it named David Manning to rave about terrible movies in ads, claiming that nobody believed such excerpts anyway.) If Ethics Alarms had the same feature, President Trump would obviously dominate it, as I was reminded this morning. The President’s ex-physician, Dr. Harold Bornstein. bitter over his ejection from the Trump Court, revealed that Trump himself had dictated the absurd letter in which the doctor attested,
“If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
Anyone so dim that they could not figure out that neither the President, nor his doctor nor anyone else can compare his health “unequivocally” to men they never even saw alive, much less examined, really needs a full-time keeper. (As an aside, Dr. Bornstein, by admitting this, is confessing that he is untrustworthy and unprofessional…and apparent dim-witted himself, if he thought the revelation would accomplish anything else.) This is a classic David Manning Lie. However, Kim Jong-Un and his doctor lapped Bornstein and Trump with this hilarious tweet:
“Personal doctor of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un attests that Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un has the strength of 100 men.”
UPDATE and CORRECTION: This was a hoax tweet, from a hoax site. I will spare everyone another screed about why hoax sites are unethical. I was especially vulnerable to this particular tweet, because I am old enough to remember Red China news sources telling us that Chairman Mao was a marathon swimmer, using bad fake photos of the seventy-year olds head protruding from a river.
And because is is no more ridiculous than the claim that Trump is the healthiest President ever…
3. From the non-traditional casting files: The Tony nominations are out, and I could not care less, but they do raisee some ethics related. As expected, the Harry Potter play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child received many nominations, including one for the actress playing grown-up Hermione, Noma Dumezweni, who looks like this:
I think this is a bold non-traditional casting choice, but not an indefensible one. Race is an issue in the Harry Potter books, but not that race. There is no reason why Hermione couldn’t be black, or Asian. The fact that she is white in the novels and movies shouldn’t dictate her race in other versions of the stories. However, I will be shocked if Hermione isn’t white again when the inevitable movie version of the play is made.
4. And speaking of Broadway: Some progressive critics were surprised that the two big revivals of old Broadway musicals, “My Fair Lady” and “Carousel,” were not punished by the Tony nominators for their insufficiently “woke” sensibilities, for both musicals depict women in abusive relationships. The songs in “My Fair Lady” and the music in “Carousel” are among the best musical theater have ever produced, but these shows were always about men bullying and abusing women. A lot of classic plays and musicals simply cannot be enjoyed as much now, no matter how well they are produced and performed. because they set off ethics alarms that were absent in their original audiences. The line in “Carousel” when thug-hero Billy Bigelow slaps his teenage daughter and she says it “felt like a kiss” game me the fantods the first time I saw the show when I was 11.