Ethics Dunce: ME. An Abashed Apology From Your Host…

It was the blog equivalent of coming home and finding that you left the bathtub water running.

At 6: 56 this morning, I read reader Marie Dowd’s comment that said,

“7: ‘This cover’ has no link and a search showed a cover with people in the spray of a fire hydrant?”

Initially I had no idea what she meant, and then, when it dawned on me, I rushed to check out yesterday’s Warm-Up while screaming “NOOOOOOOO!” in slow motion. Sure enough, I had never posted the New Yorker cover showing the President looking flat and arguably dead at the bottom of an escalator, and that was what I was writing about. Thus the post made no sense. Here, for anyone who cares, and apparently few did, is what was supposed to be shown. Does it make  sense now?

7. Is this New Yorker cover responsible?

It is perilously close to Kathy Griffin’s severed head: many read the image as the President being dead, and members of “the resistance” have openly alluded to Trump’s death or hope thereof over the past 18 months.  (Note the double thumbs up, however.) I rate the cartoon as well within the boundaries of political commentary, but, again, wonder what the reaction would have been if a similar image of President Obama was run on the cover…and it easily could have been, many, many times, with justification.

It’s fixed now, but 14 hours after I posted it.

I apologize to Marie and everyone else who read the post. If you are going to do anything, including writing a blog, and especially writing an ethics blog, you have a duty to do it competently. It is not competent to post commentary about a graphic that you don’t include in the post.

How did it happen? That doesn’t matter: I did it, and you trust me to be better than that. You trust me not to waste your time because I represent myself as not wasting your time. Making a sloppy  mistake like that, and not being aware of it for so long, is a breach of trust. For an ethicist, doing this is like a hygienist appearing in public covered in crap.

And in this case, having nobody tell you (or notice?) for 14 hours. (Thank you so much, Marie, for caring.)

For the record, this botch happened because, as has occurred repeatedly this month for personal and professional reasons that are entirely my problem and should not be yours, I completed  that post with a hard deadline stalking me, and I was rushing. I’ve been writing Ethics Alarms on the run, under time pressure, while having other deadlines pressing and various people reminding me, often loudly and unpleasantly, to hurry up, we have to leave/talk/solve this/ finish that/ quickquickquick! / ARRGHHHH!.  The whole month has been like this,which is odd, because I usually have blog traumas when I’m traveling on business (the ProEthics Family doesn’t take vacations or acknowledge weekends) or have a lot of seminars to teach, and this July has had none of the former and little of the latter. Nonetheless, it has been one mess, crisis or schedule crunch after another, and you, the readers, have suffered for it. I apologize. I apologize for the whole month. It is telling that I haven’t been able to participate in the comments as I usually do (Slickwilly has had more comments than I have) ; I have let some especially bad typos slip by; I have not found as many unique topics as I usual.

There have been 57 posts in July so far, which is a bit under the average. I’m happy with most of them: I do review the product here regularly, and I do check. (I even go back and fix old typos, the ProEthics equivalent of cleaning the toilet.) To the extent that I am not happy, it is that I have missed some important topics, and had to truncate some essays because of time limitations. But “most” isn’t enough or acceptable”: when you define high standards and hold others to them, which is essentially what I do for a living, you have to measure yourself by standards that are at least as exacting. In many of my seminars, I tell professionals that 90% of all serious professional ethics breaches come out of stress, illness, anger, frustration, neglecting mental, emotional, spiritual or physical health, burn-out or time pressure. I need to pay attention to myself more, as unappetizing a prospect as that is.

One more time: I am sorry.

All I can do is try to do better.

Now I’m going to check for typos.

31 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: ME. An Abashed Apology From Your Host…

  1. I had noticed that the post #7 was missing the illustration, but my imagination filled in numerous examples that would fit the bill. No loss for me in this case.

  2. It could be that people didn’t comment because most had seen “the cover” elsewhere so didn’t click on your link; were not surprised that the New Yorker would run such; were not surprised at the lack of outrage, etc. Sadly, we’ve become numb to the chutzpah and hypocrisy of leftish outlets.

    • Agreed. I had already seen it by that point and didn’t think to fill in the blank. However, I appreciate Jack holding himself to a higher professional standard.

  3. Apology accepted.

    As for the cartoon, I did not interpret it as a dead Trump. Instead it appears as a Trump who has fallen flat on his face giving the thumbs up to suggest nothing is wrong.

    The escalator represents his first arrival in the race where he announced his candidacy. The flatness of his body suggests he was run over by those that wish to disparage him. The thumbs up is his belief “everything is fine”.

    If cartoon had him lying in a pool of blood I would see the death reference. This is clearly not a call for his death.

  4. Jack, please be good to yourself. Enjoy the Red Sox–your team. I’m enjoying the Cubs (one of my two teams, the White Sox being the other, but they’re in the midst of yet another “building year”). I’m constantly astounded at your energy and astuteness, even though I don’t comment too often.

    • Cubs (one of my two teams, the White Sox being the other

      What in the holy cow is wrong with you?

      Might I suggest literally any other minor league^H^H^H^H^H^H^HAmerican League team?

  5. I’d give that a textbook 1 on the ole’ Apology Scale…

    1. An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.

  6. What! You make one mistake on a link and declare yourself an Ethics Dunce? I guess this is what occurs when you become an attorney.

  7. I wasn’t upset, your comments made the context pretty clear. I was just curious what would be unusual with all the Trump-bashing these days. The New Yorker isn’t readily available out in this hinterland, so a missed link wasn’t a tragedy. Others had commented, so it was widely available.

    It’s been a stressful month or so, and I’m not sure why either. I can’t say I like the idea that it’d due to all the various freakouts, when few actually impinge my daily life. Regardless, don’t forget to exercise compassion for yourself. At least the ceiling isn’t leaking advocates all over the tile floor after that oopsie…

  8. I read the post after Marie’s comment was up, and thought that multiple reports would be repetitious, and so didn’t say anything. I figured you must be really busy, and was able to find the image quickly.

    Thank you for the apology, but please don’t be too hard on yourself. You accomplish a tremendous amount, and I really appreciate the work that goes into Ethics Alarms and enjoy it every day.

  9. I can only echo the numerous comments about the excellent nature of and dedication to your blog, and add a hearty “Thank You!”

  10. To the extent that I as a reader who contributes zilch to the authored content of this blog have any right to accept or reject your apology, it’s accepted unequivocally.

    For me to reject would be assholic.

  11. Heh… more comments than the author.

    Given my life of late (wife is attempting to return to work this school year after being sick since late 2016) most of my content has suffered. When I am home, or on a weekend, I have focused on taking care of the family. This means I get behind on commenting, and tend to kibitz rather than add to the conversation. I hate that, but this is life right now. EA is my outlet, my safe place, my private garden behind the walls of anonymity. It has kept me sane… well, less insane, shall we say?

    As to Jack’s little indiscretion: the less said, the sooner forgotten, eh? Do your best: we dare not ask for more of another, and you are a great example to us all, even if you have the poor taste to be a Sox fan. 🙂

    Take a break when you need it. The race is not a sprint but a marathon.

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