I always play that clip when I need cheering up. It works, too.
1. How did we get to this sick, unethical and un-American place? The New York Times had an interview with America Ferrera in its book section. “Ugly Betty” was a long time ago, and I have no idea why Ferrera, a completely ordinary talent at best, has a career or is deemed important enough to warrant a profile, except that she is a professional Hispanic-American. The very fact that there are such celebrities and activists whose source of income is group advocacy is troubling, and she flagged an unethical quote that “inspires her” that is more unsettling still. She says,
“Brittney Cooper’s “Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower.” It’s razor sharp and hilarious. There is so much about her analysis that I relate to and grapple with on a daily basis as a Latina feminist, particularly this point she makes: “When I talk about owning eloquent rage as your superpower, it comes with the clear caveat that Everyone is not worth your time or your rage. Black feminism taught me that. My job as a black feminist is to love black women and girls. Period.” I say hear, hear!”
“Hear, hear” WHAT? Cooper is essentially saying that only her tribes—women, race, nation of origin—are worth her time or care. This is an unethical point of view that feeds division, distrust and hate. Caring is a core ethical value that includes sympathy, empathy and beneficence. “I only care about people like me” is a selfish, ugly sentiment, and Ferrera is extolling it.
Until people like Ferrera and Cooper stop proclaiming sentiments that would be properly regarded as racist or sexist with a change of color or gender, the nation’s society will continue to be roiled by division.
2. From the “What were they thinking?” files: Now this sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit: Somebody had the brilliant idea of hiring Alex Trebek, the “Jeopardy!” host (after Art Fleming), to moderate the televised debate between Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and his Republican challenger, Scott Wagner. Trebek is a smart guy and quick on his feet, but the problem is one of appearances rather than competence. Reducing a political debate to the status of a game show is the kind of foolish dumbing down and public misinformation that leads to distortions like a Senate confirmation hearing being called a “job interview.” The theory was that more people would watch the debate with a slick MC involved. Heck, why not go all the way? Use the cast of “Modern Family” or zombies from “The Walking Dead” to ask questions. Better yet, how about Kanye West?
To make things worse, Trebek seemed to think the debate was now about him, which isn’t too much of a leap, since the organizers didn’t hire him to do a Martha Raddatz impression presumably. After joking that the only thing with a lower approval rating than the Pennsylvania legislature was the Catholic Church, he decided to inform the audience about his own views, saying, “I was born and raised in the Catholic Church and I’m just as ticked off as everybody else is over what has happened with the church.When I was a young teenager I attended a Catholic boarding school run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Two-hundred and fifty students, other boys and I, spent three years sharing the same accommodations 24/7 with 44 priests and not once in those three years was there any sexual misbehavior. Now boys are pretty sharp, we talk, we would have known. So I believe that there are Catholic priests out there who are able to minister to their congregations without preying — that’s P-R-E-Y — on the young people.”
Who cares what you think, Alex? The debate is supposed to inform us about the candidates.
3. Confession: I don’t care if Brett Kavanaugh threw ice at a guy who insulted him in a bar when he was at Yale or not. (I don’t care what anyone wrote in his yearbook, either. Or how drunk he got at parties. Or what “boofing” meant in the 1980s. ) The New York Times has decided that this story is relevant to how Kavanaugh will perform as a Supreme Court Justice. It isn’t, and I suspect they know it isn’t. But in order to defeat a qualified nominee for the Court by all previous standards, the Times has joined the Democrats in creating a foolish, irrelevant and impossible standard that will haunt every candidate from any party for every office, forever, unless the American public has the integrity and the sense to reject it, now.
Yes, supporting a SCOTUS nominee because the campaign to smear him has been so loathsome, cruel and wrong is a terrible way to construct a strong Supreme Court. Nonetheless, it is ethically mandatory at this point.
4. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! The Horror. During a White House press conference on trade, President Trump said, referring to the assembled journalists, “I consider you a part of the Democrat Party.” I’m sure he does, and he should. Everyone should.
The New York Times is holding an event with Bernie Sanders tomorrow aimed at getting college students to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Called “Turn Up The Turnout With Bernie Sanders,” this is part of the paper’s “Get With The Times” lecture series. Times reporter Alex Burns will interview Sanders at the University of Maryland for a live-streamed discussion, with watch parties planned at universities across the country. The event is billed as nonpartisan (wink, wink, nudge nudge.)
The news media isn’t even pretending to be neutral or objective any more. It just counts on people who are either deluded or corrupt to keep insisting that they are.
5. The Ethics Dunce here is Georgetown University. Professor Fair is just a bigoted, hateful fool, which is her right. Fair has appeared in Ethics Alarms twice before. She was the one who demanded that Richard Spencer be kicked out of an Alexandria health club because of his political views. She was also mentioned here, for a set of revolting tweets about the Kavanaugh matter. Now she has been getting negative publicity—not from 97% of the news media, of course, because it doesn’t want people to know what kind of professors roam the halls of academia–because of recent Twitter-vomit in which she opined,
Look at thus chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes
Nice! I wonder what her opinions are on the topic of “hate speech”? But I digress: here is Georgetown’s cowardly and dishonest reaction:
“The views of faculty members expressed in their private capacities are their own and not the views of the University. Our policy does not prohibit speech based on the person presenting ideas or the content of those ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable. While faculty members may exercise freedom of speech, we expect that their classrooms and interaction with students be free of bias and geared toward thoughtful, respectful dialogue.”
How could Georgetown possibly expect that? The issue isn’t prohibiting speech; that’s a straw man. The issue is when a university is justified in concluding that a professor’s public statements so damage the trust and respect of her employer that every student’s degree and every faculty member’s reputation is damaged. Does anyone believe that a parallel statement in which a professor tweeted that all black men should be killed and castrated would get the same response from the University?
No responsible parent should be expected to pay tuition to an institution so irresponsible and incompetent that it would allow someone this openly hateful and bigoted to teach its students anything.