Morning Ethics Round-Up, 8/23/2018: A Quote Fest!

Good Morning!

1. Now THIS is narcissism! It’s long, but go ahead and read it.  This  was Madonna’s “tribute” to the late Aretha Franklin at the VMAs this week:

Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. I left Detroit when I was 18. $35 in my pocket. My dream was to make it as a professional dancer.
After years of struggling and being broke, I decided to go to auditions for musical theater. I heard the pay was better. I had no training or dreams of ever becoming a singer, but I went for it. I got cut, and rejected from every audition. Not tall enough. Not blends-in enough, not 12-octave range enough, not pretty enough, not enough, enough. And then, one day, a French disco sensation was looking for back-up singers and dancers for his world tour. I thought, “Why not?” The worst that can happen is I could go back to getting robbed, held at gunpoint and being mistaken for a prostitute in my third floor walk-up that was also a crack house. So I showed up for the audition, and two very large French record producers sat in the empty theater, daring me to be amazing. The dance audition went well. Then they asked if I had sheet music and a song prepared. I panicked. I had overlooked this important part of the audition process. I had to think fast. My next meal was on the line. Fortunately, one of my favorite albums was “Lady Soul” by Aretha Franklin. I blurted out, “You Make Me Feel.” Silence. “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” Two French guys nodded at me. I said, “You know, by Aretha Franklin.” Again, “Mmmhmm.” They looked over at the pianist. He shook his head. “I don’t need sheet music,” I said, “I know every word. I know the song by heart, I will sing it a cappella.” I could see that they did not take me seriously. And why should they? Some skinny a– white girl is going to come up here and belt out a song by one of the greatest soul singers that ever lived? A cappella? I said, “Bitch, I’m Madonna.”

No, I didn’t. I didn’t say that. Cause I wasn’t Madonna yet. I don’t know who I was. I don’t know what I said. I don’t know what came over me. I walked to the edge of the pitch black stage and I started singing. When I was finished and drenched in nerve sweat. Y’all know what this is, right, nerve sweat? They said, “We will call you one day, and maybe soon.” So weeks went by and no phone call. Finally, the phone rang, and it was one of the producers, saying, (French accent) “We don’t think you are right for this job.” I’m like, “Why are you calling me?” He replied, “We think you have great potentials. You are rough for the edges but there is good rawness. We want to bring you to Paris and make you a star.” We will put you in a studio . . . it sounded good, and I wanted to live in Paris and also I wanted to eat some food. So, that was the beginning of my journey as a singer. I left for Paris.

But I came back a few months later, because I had not earned the luxury life I was living. It felt wrong. They were good people. But I wanted to write my own songs and be a musician, not a puppet. I needed to go back home and learn to play guitar, and that is exactly what I did. And the rest is history.

So, you are probably all wondering why I am telling you this story. There is a connection. Because none of this would have happened, could have happened, without our lady of soul. She led me to where I am today. And I know she influenced so many people in this house tonight, in this room tonight. And I want to thank you, Aretha, for empowering all of us. R-e-s-p-e-c-t. Long live the queen.

Another anecdote I would like to share: In 1984, this is where the first VMAs were, in this very building. I performed at this show. I sang “Like a Virgin” at the top of a cake. On the way down, I lost a shoe, and then I was rolling on the floor. I tried to make it look like it was part of the choreography, looking for the missing stiletto. And my dress flew up and my butt was exposed, and oh my God, quelle horreur. After the show, my manager said my career was over. LOL.

The fact that Madonna is getting flack for this is almost as funny as the fact that she would think a long monologue about herself qualified as an appropriate tribute to Franklin. This is a manageable mental illness, but it is pathological, and Madonna is an extreme narcissist in a business that produces them in bushels. But didn’t everyone know that? Why, knowing that this woman only sees the world in terms of how it can advance her interests, would anyone entrust  her with giving a tribute to anyone else? That’s rank incompetence.

Narcissists are incapable of ethical reasoning, since ethics requires caring about someone other than yourself.  Madonna’s “tribute” is a valuable window into how such people think. Madonna really thought the nicents thing she could say about Aretha Franklin is that she made a cameo appearance in Madonna’s epic life.

2. Next, a ventriloquist act!

“His answer would be no, I do not want a pardon from this man…. Under no circumstances, since he came to the judgment after Mr. Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States that his suitability is a serious risk to our country. And certainly after Helsinki, creates serious questions about his loyalty to our country.”…

That was Lanny Davis, answering a reporter’s question of whether Michael Cohen, his client, would seek a Presidential pardon.

To begin with, I don’t think it is appropriate, honest or ethical for a lawyer to announce what his client’s answer “would be.” Did Cohen say this? Then that’s what Davis should say: “He has told me…” Second, the idea that Cohen, the sleaziest lawyer on the face of the earth that has become a household name (there may be sleazier, but they are still burrowed under ground) would  conclude that his long-time patron and client lacked “suitability” for the Presidency stretches credulity, time and space. Cohen was involved in the campaign. He figured this out  after the election, having worked closely with Trump, and being paid by Trump for years? Do you believe that? Third, who in their right mind cares what Michael Cohen believes are appropriate character traits and qualifications for the Presidency, when one indisputable answer is, “as unlike Michael Cohen as possible”?

Finally, Davis really exposes himself as a hack here. The sentiment he attributes to Cohen sounds like it was dictated by Hillary Clinton. If he’s going to pull this off, he has to cover his tracks better than that.

3. Bias makes #MeToo stupid. “None of us know the truth of the situation and I’m sure more will be revealed. Be gentle.”—Tweeted by Rose McGowan, the former actress who has been among the most militant #MeToo warriors, and who has harshly condemned Hollywood figures that initially defended Harvey Weinstein or that knew of his mistreatment of women and remained silent. McGowan was responding to damning evidence that her fellow outspoken #MeToo advocate, Asia Argento, had been accused of sexual assault by Jimmy Bennett, a young former co-star, of harassing him and molesting him when he was a teen. She had also paid him about a third of a million dollars to keep quiet about it.

McGowan would have been the last person I would have expected to fall into the double standards trap. The obvious lack of integrity among the aggressive sexual abuse  advocates, lately demonstrated by the Democratic Party’s pass for Keith Ellison, the feminist academic community’s wagon-circling regarding Professor Avital Ronell, the world-renowned female professor of German and Comparative Literature at NYU, after an investigation concluded that she was guilty of sexually harassing a male graduate student, and now this, will kill any momentum toward serious workplace reform if it isn’t addressed, and quickly.

A full post on this topic is on the way.

4. Paging Kitty Dukakis…Senator Elizabeth Warren, in response to a question on CNN regarding her reaction to the fact that missing college student Mollie Tibbetts’ body had been found, that she was murdered, and that the apparent killer was an illegal immigrant..

“You know, my — I’m so sorry for the family here, and I know this is hard not only for her family, but for people in her community, the people throughout Iowa. But one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are. Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children had been taken away from their mothers, I met with their mothers who had been lied to, who didn’t know where their children were, who hadn’t have a chance to talk to their children, and there was no plan for how they would be reunified with their children. I think we need immigration laws that focus on people who pose a real threat and I don’t think mamas and babies are the place we should be spending our resources. Separating a mama from a baby does not make this country safer.”

This is dishonest spin and misdirection, but nicely shows the cynical callousness of open-borders flacks. An immigration system that is effective and that focuses on where real problems are is one that doesn’t let foreign citizens stay in this country illegally, and that discourages them from trying to come in. Warren’s answer consists of ducking the issue and resorting to Rationalization #22, “It’s not the worst thing.”

CNN’s John Berman, who asked the question, should have responded with, “So you regard a young woman murdered by a man who got into the country illegally and was allowed to stay here as just collateral damage then, a price worth paying if the alternative is enforcing the law?”

6 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Round-Up, 8/23/2018: A Quote Fest!

  1. I cannot comment on number 1 because I am the greatest. Let me tell you about how wonderful I am.

    Point 2. Your point is well taken. No one in their right mind would turn down a presidential pardon, unless he knows that NY state is about to pass a law that allows state prosecution for the same crimes.

    Point 3. I personally do not want Mollie’s image to be used for either side’s agenda without her parent’s permission. Using images of dead loved ones without such permission is as unethical as using children as props carrying signs about issues of which they have no understanding.

    I do want the killer’s image shown and background provided everywhere upon conviction. If Elizabeth Warren believes “one of the things we have to remember is we need an immigration system that is effective, that focuses on where real problems are.” then we can count on her vote to build a wall. This will prevent us from having to separate more people than necessary after they are arrested for crossing illegally.

  2. 4. More than anything else, I find Warren’s misdirection damning evidence of Democratic politicians inability to do anything in response to a question other than spout one of their current talking points, any one. The left has trumped up this family separation thing in an organized and now long running campaign. That Warren would default to that talking point is glaring evidence of her being a nearly sociopathic political hack of the largest magnitude. She seems to have taken over the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Chair for Randomly Shouting Talking Points (which was originally endowed by Nancy Pelosi).

  3. Cohen is doing everything he can to throw Trump under the bus. Not even Trump is stupid enough to issue THAT pardon.

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