Monday Morning Ethics Wake-Up, 7/16/2018: Punking, Molesting, Grandstanding And Obsessing

My state of mind this morning…

It’s Monday again.

1. Ethics Neurosis. I failed to get an Ethics Warm-Up or an equivalent posted this past Saturday, and still feel guilty about it after feeling guilty all weekend. This is not healthy. I had an early morning seminar to teach as well as some urgent family business to tend to afterwards, and then found myself thoroughly exhausted. I just couldn’t rouse myself to the task, then felt like I was failing my duties of diligence and responsibility.

This is especially weird, because I’m kind of frustrated over the blog these days. Traffic continues to lag, having dropped about 10% since the overheated days of 2016, and 2018 is a little behind last year, meaning that there is a goodly chance that Ethics Alarms will have negative growth two years in a row after trending up for its first seven years. I attribute the slump to Mr. Trump, as the New York Times calls him, the “resistance,” as the large bloc of progressives, including those in the news media, who have refused to do the ethical thing and let Mr. Trump be the President he was elected to be without unprecedented disrespect, sabotage  and interference from them, and the rigid polarization, social and political, the two have created among members of the public who are now crippled by hate, anger and bias.

One of my Facebook friends, in this case a real friend who has occasionally commented here, recently noted innocently that one of Melania Trump’s dresses was gorgeous, and even though he had led with a disclaimer that he did not want his observation to prompt political invective, several of his own FBF’s reacted by attacking the First Lady. One called her a “ho;” another opined that she had no soul, which is the only way she could be married to this President of the United States. I told the latter commenter to “Get help,” and he responded by declaring me a racist. This is the kind of deranged logic that has caused committed leftists from visiting here, being rational, and discussing ethics. One of our prominent and most noisy excommunicants recently wrote me  to say that since I apparently approved of “putting children in cages,” he was glad to be gone.

Maybe such individuals will be able to reason objectively again some day. I’ve got to learn to stop beating myself up if they can’t. Writing an ethics blog is too much work and responsibility to do every day when it makes me unhappy.

2. Why I don’t give a damn what the Pope thinks. I watched “Spotlight” again yesterday, the Academy Award-winning film about how the Boston Globe broke the Catholic Church child molestation scandal 18 years ago. It ends with a disturbing four screens of small type listing all of the cities in the U.S. and the world where major child molesting scandals and cover-ups had been exposed. (There have been more since.) Come to think of it, I also lost some readers here over the Ethics Alarms (correct) position that a religious organization that could allow this catastrophe to happen had forfeited its moral authority and was untrustworthy.

Then I read a prominent story above the fold in today’s Times that begins,

As a young man studying to be a priest in the 1980s, Robert Ciolek was flattered when his brilliant, charismatic bishop in Metuchen, N.J., Theodore E. McCarrick, told him he was a shining star, cut out to study in Rome and rise high in the church.

Bishop McCarrick began inviting him on overnight trips, sometimes alone and sometimes with other young men training to be priests. There, the bishop would often assign Mr. Ciolek to share his room, which had only one bed. The two men would sometimes say night prayers together, before Bishop McCarrick would make a request — “come over here and rub my shoulders a little”— that extended into unwanted touching in bed.

Mr. Ciolek, who was in his early 20s at the time, said he felt unable to say no, in part because he had been sexually abused by a teacher in his Catholic high school, a trauma he had shared with the bishop.

“I trusted him, I confided in him, I admired him,” Mr. Ciolek said in an interview this month, the first time he has spoken publicly about the abuse, which lasted for several years while Mr. Ciolek was a seminarian and later a priest. “I couldn’t imagine that he would have anything other than my best interests in mind.”

Bishop McCarrick went on to climb the ranks of the Roman Catholic hierarchy — from head of the small Diocese of Metuchen to archbishop of Newark and then archbishop of Washington, where he was made a cardinal. He remained into his 80s one of the most recognized American cardinals on the global stage, a Washington power broker who participated in funeral masses for political luminaries like Edward M. Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts senator, and Beau Biden, the son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Suddenly, last month, Cardinal McCarrick was removed from ministry, after the Archdiocese of New York deemed credible an accusation that he had molested a 16-year-old altar boy nearly 50 years ago.

Cardinal McCarrick, now 88, who declined to comment for this article, said in a statement last month that he had no recollection of the abuse. He is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the United States to be removed for sexual abuse of a minor.

The Pope was elected by people like this.

And as in “Spotlight,” when the argument was used to excuse Boston’s Cardinal Law, who enabled hundreds of molesters, we are assured by its defenders that the Church “does good work” and “we need’ what it provides” a perfect merging of Rationalization #12, “The Siant’s Excuse,” and  Rationalization #10, “The King’s Pass.”

3. Today’s baseball ethics note: As we pause for the All-Star Game (the Red Sox have five players on the A.L. squad), let us note that yesterday New York Yankee manager apologized, saying he was wrong when he vociferously argued that umpires had wrongly called one of his players’ foul balls a swinging strike, getting himself thrown out of the game in the process. Good for Boone. John Wayne didn’t write the line, but when he said, as Captain Nathan Brittles in one of the Duke’s best films, 1949’s “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon,” that apologizing was a sign of weakness, it encouraged several generations of jerks to take the advice as gospel. It isn’t. Apologizing is a sign of strength, honesty, and principal.

4. Since I’m in a bad mood already, let’s see what the New York Times has on its op-ed pages…Ah! Here’s the headline of Charles M. Blow’s weekly exercise in Anti-Trump mania: “Trump, Treasonous Traitor.” I don’t think Blow has written a single column that wasn’t a Trump-Hate orgy in two years! Aren’t Times readers a little bit bored with this? Aren’t his editors?

What else…Oh! Here is Michael Tomasky, a free-lance Hillary shill who wrote some of the most head-exploding pieces on the 2016 campaign at the Huffington Post, explaining that Senate Democrats’ doomed efforts to derail the Kavanaugh nomination should focus “on President Trump’s character.” Never mind that confirmation hearings are supposed to be about the qualifications of the nominee, not the quirks and flaws of the man who chose him, Tomasky has a theory. You see, in nominating Kavanaugh, President Treason McTraitorface, or whatever Charles Blow calls him in his next column, might be ” naming one of his own future jurors.” This is a grave constitutional issue, says Tomasky. “The Democrats’ job here is to get Judge Kavanaugh on the record such that if he does someday rule that Mr. Trump cannot be prosecuted, the public will be outraged.”

Of course, every President who nominates a Supreme Court Justice is potentially naming “one of his own future jurors.” The entire “resistance,” however, is built on the completely evidence-free assumption that this President is a criminal, because the modern Democratic Party is determined, as Alan Dershowitz and Jonathan Turley put it, to criminalize politics.

5. At least Ethics Alarms is consistent. Sacha Baron Cohen, the auteur of “Borat” whose comedy schtick is using false identities and outrageous personas to gull his on-camera victims into hilariously making asses of themselves, has a new show on “Showtime” in which he hilariously punks politicians and activists, most hilariously the conservative variety, getting them to utter such ridiculous opinions as Congressman Joe Wilson’s (Guess which party!) positions that it was reasonable to arm pre-schoolers. Liberals love Cohen but detest James O’Keefe, and Washington Post writer Hank Steuver raises the obvious hypocrisy.

Happily, the Ethics Alarms positions on O’Keefe and Cohen, as well as The Daily Show’s similar segments where they tricked conservatives—it was almost always conservatives—into saying stupid things are the same. Lying to manipulate people, whatever the goal, is unethical, a pure Golden Rule breach, and what people say when they are being encouraged to say it often isn’t a fair representation of their beliefs. The mild practical jokes of “Candid Camera” have metastasized into a culture-wide disrespect for the truth and fairness, and an acceptance of the anti-Kant principle that it’s all right to use human beings as a means to an end.

6. Again, a complaint that the President isn’t presenting his face to be slapped. The Times this morning complains that President Trump has yet to award the National Medal of Arts and  the National Humanities Medal to any deserving artist recipients, a “gotcha!” approximately in line with complaints that Trump didn’t throw out the first baseball of the 2018 season so Washington D.C. fans could boo and jeer him. Artists, like athletes, have been nearly unanimous in their united disrespectful treatment of President Trump, using their artistic achievements to justify political grandstanding. They boycotted his Inauguration, and forced him to stay away from the Kennedy Center Honors. The two medals are now a set-up: the President knows that one, more, or even all of the recipients will find a way to embarrass him by refusing the honor and making a nasty public statement to explain why.

The tactic of the “resistance” has been to strip this President of the traditional non-political, no-partisan, unifying functions of his position. Swell…they can live with the consequences of that strategy.  Artists, who mostly give lip-service to “the resistance” because they have the political sophistication of  sixth-graders, can learn to behave graciously. If I were President Trump, I would make it known that if a single medal recipient announces a boycott, no arts medals will be awarded at all, as long as he is in the White House.

Of course, that would risk losing maybe four or five votes in 2020…

115 thoughts on “Monday Morning Ethics Wake-Up, 7/16/2018: Punking, Molesting, Grandstanding And Obsessing

  1. Do not feel bad about tending to your own needs. Addressing the myriad issues of the day can be daunting and exhausting.

    As for declines in traffic, the number of site visits does not measure the importance of your work. For me you are often calm eye of the hurricane of stupid that surrounds me. I have learned a great deal from this site and it has exposed me to well articulated alternative perspectives.

    Writers such as Zoltar, Mrs.Q, Other Bill, Micheal West, and many others have reshaped much of my thinking. I do miss Tex’s commentary and even some of Chris’s ideas.

    I guess my point is that the site serves as a relatively civil public square as much as a guide to ethical decision making. With so many splitting into factional tribes, now more than ever, what you do here is tremendously important. Keep the faith you have helped me a great deal sort out the madness in which we live.

    • Dittos, Chris Marschner. Thank you, Chris, for expressing so well so many of the same thoughts I have about Jack, this blog, and fellow commenters.

    • I’ll echo two statements in Chris’s comment.

      Do not feel bad about missing a post. You do this without pay, and do an excellent job.

      The second one is that I encourage you to not take it personally about the drop in traffic. In the face of so many others going bonkers, you’ve held yourself out as one of the rare objective people with a pulpit. I may not comment on ever one of your posts, but I read every one. I often read the comments too, but not as much. (Usually ignoring the one on one pissing match that has declined with some of the recent bannings.) Those who no longer come do so because of them lacking the character to remain objective, not because you’re doing anything wrong.

      I don’t have an answer for how we right the insanity over American politics, but your traffic is only a symbol of a massive problem.

    • PS
      I have gained some insight into issues from every commenter here. The few I identified simply represent the quality of 99% of the commenters. The brevity of identies is not a limitation.

    • My goodness. Thank you Chris for putting me in such august company. Right behind Mrs. Q? Amazing. I consider my comments, unlike yours and those of the other substantial commenters here, to be sheer peanut gallery stuff. In any event, you are very welcome. And, as I heard Jack Nicklaus once sagely urge, “Never turn down a compliment. Just accept it graciously.” So, thanks again.

    • Thank you Chris! And yes Jack & the others here have truly made me a better thinker & writer. Being able to now readily identify unethical rationalizations and bias (including my own) has been a priceless gift. Discernment is key to being a better citizen and EA is an excellent place to develop that skill.

      My ethics alarms have never been clearer. I have Jack & you guys to thank for that.

  2. 3. Apologizing can also be practical. If you apologize to someone for your part in squabble in which he or she was far more at fault, the response you receive tells you all you have to know about the person.

    • Also take into account the number of peole accusing after someone is taken down. George Takei and Clarence Thomas never had new accusers come forward, casting doubt because that is the normal course of events.

      That does make me wonder about how Takei feels about Thomas now? Takei is left leaning but reasonable. After weathering a (probable…) false accusation, I wonder if Takei is sympathetic?

      • Normally the number of accusers like in the case of Thomas would be a reasonable factor to consider, but considering the culture of the church, it is also quite reasonable to assume he did do it.

        Personally, I don’t find Takei reasonable. He is also deep in TDS.

  3. Second try to post…

    3. Saw an article this morning about “Big Papi” Ortiz complaining about “the shift.” How DARE any opposing team’s defense take away his, or Bryce Harper’s, entitled hits. Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch represented “the other side” – as well he should, because the Astros use the shift as much as, or more than, any other team. I chuckled, imagining that Hinch means merely to be doing his patriotic part to “shorten games.”

    I read the article very quickly, so I might have missed something. But I caught a hint that baseball rule-makers are considering a ban on shifts. If that happens, then for me it’s good-bye, baseball – and I’m not referring to what announcers say when a home run is hit. Shift-banning affirmative action in favor of pull hitters would be no less a stain on the game than race-based affirmative action in favor of racial discrimination is a stain on the law and its makers, enforcers, and unjustly, illusorily advantaged “beneficiaries.” (I can’t say “Good-bye, U.S. law and justice” like I can say “Good-bye, baseball,” but, I need not worry about saying such, because that’s what the “fairness” ideologues mean to say.)

    • I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s a little like the NBA trying to ban zone defenses. In his defense, Big Papi lost more hits to the shift than anyone since Ted Williams, so he’s biased. There’s no way to ban shifts. Outfielders playing in for weak hitters is a shift. Third basemen guarding against the bunt is a shift. Hitters will learn to shorten up on the bat and shoot through the open sides eventually. Ty Cobb would have LOVED shifts.

      The net effect of shifts is beneficial, but not extremely. There’s something like one run saved per 100 shifts. It’s just talk.

      I worry more about the stupid “start extra innings with a man on second” scheme.

      The major reason for long games is television ads. MLB is going to have to PAY to shorten games.

      • Good point, Jack, about how sponsors slow down games.

        “I worry more about the stupid “start extra innings with a man on second” scheme.” Me too.

        “The net effect of shifts is beneficial, but not extremely. There’s something like one run saved per 100 shifts. It’s just talk.” Really?

        • I’m pretty sure. All the complaining is just the last gasp of the pre-Bill James establishment, because computers are rendering traditional wisdom obsolete, meaning the old school is losing power. In the end, they just sound silly. Like Denneis Eckersley yesterday, complaining about replay reversing a safe call because the player’s foot left the bag for a nanosecond, caught on tape, when the tag was still on him.”I hate that niggling technical stuff” he said. You know, like calling a runner out when he is out.

          Imagine a player who kept getting hits the same way by dinking balls just over the first baseman’s head. All the spray charts show 90% of his hits come this way. Everyone knows it…and MLB is going to make a rule saying they CAN’T position a fielder there?

      • Tony Gwynn — he wouldn’t have been affected by the shift, because there would be no shift against him. One does think that eventually hitters will learn to hit the ball the other way and get the cheap hits, or bunt to the open side of the infield and get the easy infield single (or even double?).

        However, right now batters get rewarded for the frequency of home runs they hit, so they’ll continue to pull the ball, which means the shift will continue to be effective. Perhaps hitters such as Jose Altuve can help stop this trend.

      • There’s some evidence that the majority of wasted baseball time is just plain diddling around by the players:

        The players seem to acknowledge this, as many have been said that they can’t just get in there and pitch or hit, because the stakes are so high in games nowadays. The umpires are supposed to move the game along, but seem not to consider it a priority.

        Ironically, the games could probably be made shorter by requiring pitchers to take at least 15 seconds between pitches. They do it most of the time, anyway, and if it was mandatory they could run brief commercial spots between pitches and shorten the longer breaks between innings and when pitchers are changed.

        • The diddling can be easily controlled with rules, discipline and enforcement. But TV ads have added 2-3 extra minutes, at least, between every inning. That’s 2 or 3 minutes X 15—30-45 minutes of just waiting around for commercials.

    • I thought about the recent discussion about shifts yesterday. The Tampa Bay Rays were up by 2 over the Twins when Dozier drove in 2 runs on a hard base hit down the third baseline which, followed by some poor fielding, left Dozier on third base.

      As the pitcher got ready to face the next batter, Dozier started running toward home, stopped, backed up, started again, and then stood in the middle of the baseline between third and home. Apparently, there had been a shift that left no one at third to hold Dozier on third base.The pitcher balked, sending Dozier home to take the lead.

      Being the Twins, the lead would not hold, until Dozier hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th to end the game at 11-7.


        • Forgot to mention, though, benches cleared twice, after the black, with one pitch intervening.

          Fun times.

          Jack, on your first point: have you looked at dictation software? As someone with much experience in public speaking, you may be able to dictate posts coherently.

          It may also, uh, fix, fix?, no, improve, uh, greatly? um, slightly the whole issue, minor as it is, of your, uh, deficient? no, substandard? nay, horrendous! “spelling” abilities? no, instincts.

          Seriously, though, I have commented less frequently of late, but still visit regularly. Just very busy. I suspect I am not alone. Even if comments are down, if views are steady, just know that we are out here.

          If views are down, then, we’ll, I got nothing..,.


            • Me too. Not the 12,000 words. The hunt and peck. I fondly remember dictating a 15-page legal brief “flawlessly” at one point. I can still do some of that, and I am better speaking extemporaneously than rehearsed, but I understand the difficulties of dictation, particularly in technical situations.

  4. # 4 “The Democrats’ job here is to get Judge Kavanaugh on the record such that if he does someday rule that Mr. Trump cannot be prosecuted, the public will be outraged.”

    Welp, he’s not there…yet. And the efforts to prevent him from being seated is embracing feverish desperation, which Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise in Risky Business) would say smells:

    La Resistance in full-fledged-freakout

    Mystery as IDENTICAL letters appear in 21 newspapers across 12 states slamming Trump’s Supreme Court pick – and they’re all signed by different people

    • Ewwwww. Just get that old mimeograph out? Can’t even find someone local who can make it relevant to local interests? Sloppy, sloppy conspiracy. I really hate that these machiavellian motions are making me rethink my liberal tendencies. It’s like a nightmare mash-up of Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. Didn’t they learn those were warnings and cautionary tales? I’d rather buy my first gun, than hobble police and ban all weapons. Almost anything can be a weapon, any activity leads to a brawl, so are we to be locked in bare rooms after an awful day shuffling useless papers all the same?

      A conspiracy that stupid deserves to fail.
      1: Don’t Worry! I take occasional days off of writing projects, it’s only fair you can too. (fair is a good thing, combining golden rule, reasonable opportunity, and justice. It’s not something to diss just because it’s not formalized and kids cling to it)

      I admit I skim or skip over some posts when it’s on a topic we don’t agree on, and many others we completely do. I don’t need convincing. Today I missed one of my favorite shows (politics-free) because the station decided I needed to hear more political blather. It wasn’t even anything new since the last time they did it. Too bad the show isn’t in any other channel…

      I don’t see how you keep this up, honestly. Maybe you should plan a couple days off a months, you could use a break without being stressed about it. (and honestly, I wasn’t upset. I thought my message filter whisked it away or I accidentally deleted it while half-asleep)

      • ”Can’t even find someone local who can make it relevant to local interests? Sloppy, sloppy conspiracy”

        Copy that! C’mon, those responsible conjuring this up and unable to envision any down side?

        Honestly, how could anyone even say that seemed like a good idea at the time…or at ANY time?

        Sometimes people are so ideologically/emotionally twisted they want to get caught, which to me is the antithesis of trying to get away with something; think that’s the case here?

      • It’s like a nightmare mash-up of Fahrenheit 451 and 1984. Didn’t they learn those were warnings and cautionary tales?

        It would seem progressives believe those were blueprints for a proper society.

        making me rethink my liberal tendencies.

        Welcome to the team. There are donuts in the break room.

      • I didn’t like the color. I generally dislike clothing in shades of yellow or orange.

        Now, had it been moss colored with a different neckline, hunter green silk lining and the front side of the sleeves flipped and pinned back it’d have been striking.

  5. #5 I recommend the readers to check in on the comment section of that WaPo article. One common thread I found interesting was that Cohen is being funny, while Veritas just makes up stuff, edits stuff, people get fired, and they have congressional testimonies, it’s false equivalence, apples to oranges, etc. I will agree with EA position on the ethics of the way how Veritas does their thing. I find it silly though, that WaPo commentators will say it’s all lies and people are fired unjustly. The most recent thing I remember, when there where NJ teacher’s unions bosses saying some unsavory things, which then led to their firing and even the NJ state legislature looking into this. Does that mean the NJ legislature is just too stupid to see the obvious lying and editing? Are they in cahoots with Veritas to do some union busting? I think you need to apply some suspension of disbelief to argue that line.

  6. For the record, I am deeply saddened by the account that you listed above about Mr. Ciolek. The priest’s conduct was awful, abusive, and most definitely sexual harassment. I needed to say that first, because what I am going to say next deliberately is provocative.

    For those of you who believe that Mr. Ciolek (a man in his twenties) was abused by this priest, please remember that next time you try to argue that women deliberately try to use the casting couch (or any couch) as a way of promoting their careers. Men in power abuse those who are beneath them — and their victims (male or female) often do not have much say in the matter, or are mentally abused to the point where they think that they have no say. It would have been wonderful if Mr. Ciolek had been able to say “no.” He felt that he could not, and I will not judge him for it.

    • AhHA! And I have argued, for the same reason, that bosses hitting on subordinates is abuse of power and sexual harassment, even when there is “consent.” How do you square your objections to that position with the statement above—which I agree with completely?

      • (Insert massive eye roll.) Define “hitting on.” A superior respectfully asking me out on a date is NOT harassment. My boss insisting on me sharing a room with him on a trip? That is per se harassment.

        • Asking a subordinate out is harassment, even if the law hasn’t caught up. Unequal power, inherent fear of reprisals. It’s unethical conduct, and the smart companies ban it. As I tell my clients to. It’s no different from the casting couch. In my theater company, directors were forbidden to date actors. Once I got out of amateur theater, I held myself to the same standard, theater policy or not.

          • I will speak for myself for a moment. I’ve been asked out many times in the work place (not so much now that I am older). Ninety percent of the time, it was not harassment. In those instances, I never felt that I had to say yes, and there were no negative consequences. In one circumstance, but for the fact I had a boyfriend at the time (now husband), I might have been interested. That is just normal human interaction, and it’s fine.

            Much like pornography, you know harassment when you see it.

            You need to stop saying it is harassment. You have a lot of non-lawyers who read this blog, and they will come away thinking that is the legal definition. I don’t think the law will catch up with you on this either.

            • Ethics isn’t law. It is unethical to put a subordinate in a position of refusing a request from a superior. I’m not a lawyer here: I’m an ethicist. They should regard the practice as unethical, because it is. Whether it is technically harassment (when the boss was repulsive, his advance was unwelcome) or not, it’s an abuse of power—even if you like it.

              • I prefer to treat people like adults.

                If companies want a no-dating policy, that’s fine. It protects them from potential harassment claims, and it also gives them a reason to fire employees they want to get rid of anyway if they catch them violating the policy.

                Two of my colleagues got married to each other a few years ago. Our CEO performed the ceremony and now they have a beautiful baby daughter. Good for them.

                • “I prefer to treat people like adults.”

                  You may have hit on a new rationalization! I think you know that adulthood is a myth. The whole #MeToo fiasco proves it, as have many other situations.Adults are children when it comes to sex. That’s why there have to be rules—because adults will do what they can get away with.

                  I’m sure Harvey W. can point to happy marriages that resulted from casting couch episodes too. So what?

                  • A co-worker (even if he is in a higher position than me) asking me out on a date and my acceptance of that date does not resemble the casting couch. What is wrong with you?

                    • It is the appearance of a quid pro quo, and obviously so. Why isn’t that clear on its face? It is no different, and no less coercive, than asking a secretary to shop for a wife’s birthday gift, or handle the boss’s dry cleaning.

                    • Sparty. Lay off the “what’s wrong with you?” That’s incredibly demeaning to the addressee and doesn’t put you in a great light either.

                      As to your point that there’s no harm in you dating a superior, how would you feel if a peer of yours started dating the superior you both reported to and all of a sudden he made partner or got a huge bonus or a better office? I’ve got my money on your going right through the roof.

                      Also, I’ve noticed you have a habit of using what I’ve come to call “The Sparty Move.” If I had studied rhetoric and argumentation, I’d probably know the correct term but I’ll use The Sparty Move since it sounds like something from wrestling. You always hold up your personal experience as dispositive of any question you’re addressing. Eg., “Two of my colleagues got married to each other a few years ago. Our CEO performed the ceremony and now they have a beautiful baby daughter. Good for them.” You want people to think, “Gee, Sparty must be right. By golly! Isn’t that amazing! I never thought of THAT!” But the appropriate answer (as Jack responded above) may just as well be “SO WHAT???” You’re overplaying this hand. We all have personal experiences. But the discussions here are attempts to find out what’s best for as many as possible.

                    • Replying here as the nesting makes any place just as bad:

                      I want to nominate this entire little ‘Definition of Harassment’ rabbit trail for a COTD. I learned more from Spartan and Jack here than an entire day reading the NYT (not that I would, mind you)

                      This is the sort of exploration that makes EA unique. You were both cordial, persuasive, and tolerant of the other’s point of view, even though you have strong convictions that the other was wrong. In the end, I suspect you both kept your counsel on this, but the back and forth was illuminating and a pleasure to read.

                      Jack, this alone made your time writing this blog worthwhile, in my humble opinion.

                    • “If I had studied rhetoric and argumentation, I’d probably know the correct term”

                      What you may be referring to is the disarming “other people/third party (in this case, first party) emotional story” and often used with the feel, felt, found sales technique.

                      They “create more of an emotional connection than pure data.” Facts make you think, emotion makes you act.


                      Reminds me of a funny story…

                    • I get what Jack is saying, and I also see where you are coming from. I have never and would never ask a subordinate out, for two big reasons: One: there is no way I would know how much our work relationship entered into her answer, even if it were zero. I would always have to assume that it was a non-zero factor.

                      Two: Asking out a subordinate who accepts is asking for potential trouble down the line. If she became angry at me for any reason, I can see that date morphing into some kind of sexual harassment. I would then be faced with defending that accusation, and as usual in these areas, it’s he said/she said.

                      I have often said, “If we all behaved like adults, there would be no sexual harrassment.” Alas, that is not so. Superior/subordinate dynamic has to be considered a factor, no matter what the people involved say. It can’t be any other way. I’m not sure what Jack thinks of that, but that’s why I think it’s unethical.

                    • Other Bill — I take exception at that. I take pains to point out personal experiences as only being representative of me. I’m quite aware of the weight of anecdotal evidence. Please keep in mind that I also practiced employment law (plaintiff side in fact), so I am pretty knowledgeable in these areas.

                  • We used to have a set of rules regarding sexual relationships.

                    Those rules worked.


                    But those rules were also attended to by a series of marginal rules and small rules that acted as protective buffers against assaults against the main rules.

                    Those buffers were labeled as prudish and stuffy, so we got rid of those rules. Then we lost the big rules.

                    It’s been mayhem ever since.

                    • Wait … what? What rules worked? I’m asking this earnestly and respectfully. Are you talking about the world where women were clerical workers or not workers at all? And if they were clerical workers, it was very much like the movie 9 to 5?

                    • I’m not sure why you jumped from my comment about rules governing *sexual* relationships to rules governing the employment of women.

                      Handmaid’s Tale much?

                    • We also have bright line rules regarding dating (don’t do it). It also works fabulously.

                    • Um … because we are talking about workplace rules and sex and potential harassment claims that can arise from such relationships?

                    • Yeah, but I still mentioned rules governing the relationships and you still jumped to rules barring employment of women.

                      This is your projection, not a problem with my comment.

                • Take exception if you will, Sparty, but I think if you look back at your comments, you do it almost all the time. Not just in your area of work expertise. I think it’s just a habit you’ve fallen into. And being predictable is not very effective.

                  • For some reason, word press won’t let me respond in the actual comment that this is about, but I believe you were looking for the term “anecdotal evidence”.

                    • Thanks JP. Paul had some good terms as well from sales strategies. I happen to love anecdotal evidence since I’m a fiction writer. Anecdotes are my stock in trade. I always laugh when sociologists say something is “just anecdotal evidence” and dismiss it out of hand. I just think it’s not really a helpful tool in the kind of discussions that go on here. It can add a little humor and flavor here, but there are a fair number of humorless people here. Not to say there aren’t a lot of people here with really good senses of humor. Sparty’s got that pretty stern, earnest, probably protestant Midwestern thing going pretty well. She doesn’t suffer fools at all and I suspect she tends to think most people, certainly non-lefties, are fools.

                  • Good grief. Lots of people talk about personal experiences here — Jack just did it during his Ted Kennedy post. Not only is that normal, it also shows thoughtfulness and knowledge. But funny you only notice it (and are bothered by it) when I do it. Biased much?

                    • ‘Are you talking about the world where women were clerical workers or not workers at all?’

                      I thought they were referring to the old rule about not dating at work.
                      (I couldn’t reply under that post).

                    • People say the same thing about faithful marriage and rejecting promiscuous pre-marital sex. The fact that a wise rule is often breached doesn’t make it unwise.

                    • Ever occur to you, Sparty, that your experience may not line up with common Americans?

                      Maybe you lived and worked in an urban liberal bubble, where morals (and ethics?) were somewhat ‘looser’ than in the Heartland?

                      While what you describe is the norm today, it was not 30 to 40 years ago, in Southern Baptist dominated central Texas? Missouri? Montana?
                      (Hell, I expect this is STILL the case in Oklahoma, away from progressive urban pollution!)

                      The rule held there, enforced by local custom and civil society. Prove me wrong! (Don’t rely on the lying mainstream media, either: we have proven again and again that they are gaslighting you daily.) You just know better than the deplorables? Your little stories hold more weight than ours, as you are on the ‘right side of history?’

                      (If you want to go to “well those are backward places that don’t matter” remember that this limousine liberal attitude gave us Trump)

                      I apologize if I seem a bit harsh: you hit a pet peeve of mine where coastal elites (yes, you are) always think they are the smartest one in the room. Find a different room, dearie.

                    • Quick: tell me what that statistic signifies. According to everything I can find, “divorce rate” means number of divorces per number of people over X period of time. It does not tell us how many marriages end in divorce, or what percentage of marriages end in divorce. It is the ultimate misleading and useless statistic.

                    • Yep. For “divorce rates” to even be useful, there are several other numerators and denominators we need.

                      1) # of divorces per capita is useless as you describe.

                      2) I need to know # of marriages. So we can see how many marriages end in divorce.

                      3) I need to know # of people who are in marriage-like arrangements. That is, people who co-habitate or people who bear children together.

                      4) I need to know the rate at which those arrangements dissolve.

                      5) Of the “divorces”, I need them categorized by individuals who have been:
                      a) Married once and divorced once.
                      b) Married twice, divorced once (that is, they are now quite stable after having discovered what they actually want/need out of marriage).
                      c) Married more than twice, and divorced a similar amount of times.

                      6) If there ever was a way to quantify #5 in terms of #3.

                      Otherwise…the “divorce rate” as it is currently measured, is a meaningless stat. The presence of people in #5c are enough to ruin any value of the stat, and if there was any residual value of the stat, the presence of people in #3 ruins the rest.

              • Winters: These men have been through the toughest training the Army has to offer, under the worst possible circumstances, and they volunteered for it.
                Buck: Christ, Dick, I was just shooting craps with them.
                Winters: You know why they volunteered? Because they knew that the man in the foxhole next to them would be the best. Not some draftee who’s going to get them killed.
                Buck: Are you ticked because they like me? Because I’m spending time to get to know my soldiers? I mean, c’mon, you’ve been with them for two years? I’ve been here for six days.
                Winters: You were gambling, Buck.
                Buck: So what? Soldiers do that. I don’t deserve a reprimand for it.
                Winters: What if you’d won?
                Buck: What?
                Winters: What if you’d won? Never put yourself in a position where you can take from these men.

  7. #4: Comedian Kevin Hart agrees with you. Kathy Griffin thought she should call Hart on the carpet for not bashing Trump in his stand-up routine. After all, he’s BLACK. He has a duty to bash the President of the United States, right? Hart’s response was that, since every comedian is building routines around the President, it’s become rather boring and audiences are tired of it. I guess Charles Blow hasn’t gotten the memo yet.

  8. 6. I regard getting the President out of all kinds of cultural events as one of the few positive developments of the Trump administration. National art awards, throwing out the first ball, calling the winning Superbowl team, the White House Correspondents dinner, the Kennedy Center Honors…the President’s job is hard enough that he doesn’t need the extra work, and the job is prestigious enough that he doesn’t need the ego boost. I hope future presidents will not reinstate this needless nonsense.

    • I agree with this somewhat. I think that calendar should be radically smaller, but a few of those are needed to help remind the people that he is not a king, but a president. Humanization is an underrated but necessary quality.

      • How about if we keep the silly “pardoning the turkey” ceremony at Thanksgiving, and purge all the other needless junk? That single idiotic tradition packs a year’s worth of humanization and can’t-miss “reminders that the president isn’t a king” into a two minutes ceremony. The only question is if it’s more demeaning for the president or the turkeys.

      • Hmm. I agree with the “remind the people that he is not a king” goal, but I think having the President involved in too many cultural events contributes to the king-like feel of the Presidency. We talk about him almost every day — and that started way before Trump — which makes him a larger part of our lives than he should be. The Cold War is over, the President is no long the Leader of the Free World, so we can start dialing down the pomp and circumstance around everything he does.

  9. #3 typo gane -> game.

    I’d qualify it as a freely offered, sincere apology is a sign of strength. This is confusing to many because the only apologies they’ve ever made were forced, and their weakness was apparent because they were forced to make them.

  10. #6
    Trump could just be selective on his awards. He could pick Ted Nugent, Charlie Daniels, Toby Kieth, etc….

    It would piss off his detractors even more,and it would be fun to watch.

  11. I have been wondering if Donald Trump is the Andrew Jackson of the 21st century. I am also wondering if implementing Jackson’s spoils system would result in less corruption in Washington by firing 25% of all government employees every 4 years.

  12. “Maybe such individuals will be able to reason objectively again some day.”

    I wonder whether that day may come the day after the midterm elections this fall when there’s a red wave. Fingers crossed.

    • May there be a red wave… or I may have to take Spartans position of looking at other countries for a better fit for my family. It will indicate that a tipping point has been reached, if common Americans allow a blue wave. If the past 18 months won’t motivate and wake them up, they may never wake again.

      Just kidding. There is still nowhere on this planet better for raising a family.

      • America is the last bastion of freedom. Progressives have won everywhere else. The US is absolutely unique in the world in regards to our view of freedom of expression.

  13. 1. “Maybe such individuals will be able to reason objectively again some day.
    I fear that once tainted, it would take an extraordinary happenstance to being such a person back for this insanity. This is why I despair for former conservatives who are embracing the new right. How do you get integrity back?

    2. That this Church allowed and covered up for such vileness is indicative of a lost mission statement, at least at the upper echelons.

    …I don’t give a damn what the Pope thinks

    I care little for what the pope thinks as well. He needs Jesus just like my next door neighbor… or like I do.

    3. An well earned apology is a powerful statement, especially if everyone already knows you were wrong. Project Managers are taught to use them to heal breaches in projects, and unify teams. Of course, you have to be wrong in the first place to apologize…

    4. Still reading the NYT? Integrity is like a balloon: one little leak and all is lost. If the NYT will lie to you in one area, they will anywhere else. This tactic is also a form of gaslighting.

    5. Some of those shows are horrible to watch. Even those that don’t take advantage of any one demographic are still cringeworthy.

    6. I like the suggestion that conservative stars get these awards. Most of them don’t care about awards (or they would not be conservative and still in show business) but they would graciously accept.

  14. “I don’t think Blow has written a single columns that wasn’t a Trump-Hate orgy in two years! Aren’t Times readers a little bit bored with this? Aren’t his editors?”

    I’m not blaming you for this Jack, but I have to admit a level of exhaustion with everything Trump. He sucks the oxygen from the room. I had a friend ask me what I thought about the Justin Trudeau #MeToo moment and I had to admit that I hadn’t heard about it until I read it on here, and my only excuse, if it can even be called that, was that American politics has become so noisy that it’s distracting me from domestic issues unless they’re coupled to an American outlet I follow.

    What’s worse is this constant barrage of bullshit is not only distracting, it’s also boring. Like… fireworks… They’re big and flashy and noisy, but after a few months of fireworks every night, you’ve basically seen it all and the noise is just bothersome. There aren’t any fresh impeachment plans, there aren’t any fresh scandals, and even if there were…. I don’t know that they’d be different enough that the entire outrage and outrage-response couldn’t adequately be ad-libbed out of some previous scandal’s responses.

    I was worried, at the outset of the Trump presidency, that if progressives continued to complain about Trump telling the EPA not to Tweet with all the grave seriousness as setting Pruitt up as head of the EPA, that people were going to get outrage fatigue. That either the progressives would burn themselves out and not respond to something serious, or that the population in general would cease to be able to differentiate the mundane from the serious, and treat everything as mundane. What I never envisioned is that I would actually get tired of making fun of the idiots first.That’s not to say they’re going to win on account of my exhaustion. I’m not that important, and more excited parties than I are still going full bore. I just feel like I grossly underestimated the arrested development, and grossly overestimated the learning curve of progressives.

    You may have noticed my lack of participation here… It’s not anything anyone has done so much as it’s that I have no idea how to make a fresh spin out of anything. Basically anything I might respond to at this point is just variation on a theme and the regurgitation of a discussion already had. I blame this wholly on the people who can’t be asked to think further than “I hate Trump” on any issue…. Because that’s all it really is. There’s no discussion on principles, because their only principle is “I hate Trump.”, there’s no discussion of ideas, because their entire CPU is devoted to hating Trump, and it’s BORING in a way that I’ve tried to explain, but still feel have inadequately done.

    • Tell me about it.

      I begin every day looking for interesting topics that do not involved Trump deranged rantings or the President’s own transgressions. The problem is that its all about ethics. It’s like an environmental blog during the Gulf spill.

      The thing is that ethics is my game, but Presidents and Presidential leadership, and American government, was what got me here. I regard the assault on the institution of the Presidency—because that’s what’s going on—the most important US ethics story of the last 50 years at least. If everyone at least agreed on THAT, maybe I could write about lobster hats more often.

      • Yes, normally Americans would be angry about their President being openly ridiculed in another country (the Trump balloon, and other instances), but with this one it’s celebrated. It is truly sad.

        I appreciate your hard work, Jack. I read every day, without fail. It’s always thought-provoking, and I always learn something…and, the discussions here are reasoned. I enjoy reading everyone’s opinions, and love how things here can be discussed without the hysteria so common everywhere else.

        What would you think of taking weekends off, even if just for the rest of the summer? Making the Warm-ups five or six days a week? The amount of upsetting material you read must get to you after a while.

      • I don’t even know what the argument is though… “Trump said embarassing things so he should be impeached” seems weak even by resist standards. Yeah, we all agree. Trump is dumb, he shouldn’t have said a lot of what he did. If Obama had said it, I’d say the same…. Criticism of your own national institutions abroad is weird, counterproductive and self destructive… But not impeachable. In a lot of ways this mirrors Obama’s apology tour…. Sure, he was more eloquent, but that doesn’t make the base act more or less impeachable.

        • I love it when I don’t write something and think, “Someone else will make this point.” The comparison with Obama’s “apologies” was one of those.
          And oddly, nobody suggested that Putin “had something” on Obama when he mocked Romney during a debate for saying that Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe and then napped through the Crimean incursion.What changed? Only the identity of the President.

          • Well, progressives were assured of being in power from now on, and somehow that was stolen from them.

            They cheated every chance they got to make sure they dominated America, and destroyed a country that is preventing global domination for progressive/socialists. Therefore, somebody had to cheat to deny them their victory.

            Notice that progressives will tell you what they have been up to: they say the other side has done it. Every time.

  15. Ok, resident gay catholic here, I was an alter boy from 7-19 and never ever molested, more in any of the parishes I served in saw any evidence of such behavior, and the church knew about me at 15, not something I want to get into, but attempted to straighten me out. Know I know these things happen but they are not as wide spread as the media( largely anti- catholic) would have you believe. Do I believe the church needs reforms, God knows I do, the ban on priests getting married needs to go, we need women priests, and to rethink birth control and gay rights. But change comes slow in the church. It supoorteted slavery and capital punishment for centuries until it saw its theological mistakes.
    I believe and pray the church corrects these issues. Pope Francis is a step in the right direction. But I only see him moving way to slow. Some may think this heresy but as a Catholic I am supposed to question my faith these are my questions.

  16. I know my participation is down here. I don’t want it to be, but work has been exceptionally busy this spring and summer. Which is obviously a good thing, the consequence being that I get fewer breaks in the day and by night time I’m exhausted after all other present obligations I prepare for.

    But I still read the articles and try to share them. Don’t despair!

    • I wish to officially reiterate my protest that I am not getting my entitled ration of West provided content on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis (annually we are fine: it was a good first quarter.)

      I blame Trump: if it were not for the roaring economy, Michael would have more time to post.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.