Morning Ethics Warm-Up, October 11, 2018: Ethics Flotsam and Jetsam

Hello, I must be going…

Ugh! Big seminar to teach at a downtown D.C. law firm and no time to linger! Some quick ethics notes…

1. The Nike pander. Can a TV commercial be pandering to one side of the political spectrum and dubious ethical conduct more? In the new Adidas ad, Colin Kaepernick, grandstanding boob, is treated like a cultural hero. So is one of the most abrasive of the Parkland shooting anti-gun kids, and Serena Williams. It made me wonder what was the matter with the other pseudo-celebrities who quickly crossed my vision: I assume that they are ethics corrupters too. Like Nike…

2. So much for Plan E. Plan E is the 25th Amendment impeachment plot (the whole list of Democratic and “resistance” plans to undo the election is here.) President Trump gave Fox and Friends another of his hyper-energized monologues today, over 45 minutes-worth. He still sounds like Trump, but anyone listening to that who wants to claim the man is disabled will have a lot of explaining to do. I dare Nancy Pelosi to free-style for 45 minutes without crashing and burning.

3. Maybe this will be Plan O: After the President’s rant, Fox and Friends’  co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked the President to wish her father a happy birthday over the air, which he graciously did. I’m not sure what was horrible about that, but I’m sure someone will claim that it is a dangerous breach of some “norm” or other.

4. Now, impeaching Fox talking heads is another story. The K-pop group NCT 127 appeared on Fox’s Good Day L.A. yesterday.  Following their performance, band member Mark Lee told  co-host Megan Colarossi—guess what color her hair is? Come on, guess!— that he is from Vancouver. She responded with, “Very cool, your English is awesome. I love it.”

Asked one Twitter wag…“I mean he’s from Canada, what is he supposed to speak, moose?”

Why should the public trust the news media when so many of them regularly expose themselves as idiots?

5. Quickie Ethics Quiz: If you take up two spaces with your fancy-schmancy BMW, but pay for both of them, is it still unethical?

6. Tom Selleck goes soft. In a recent episode of the CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” (known around our house as “The Conflict of Interest Family,” Police Chief Tom was lectured by his PR aide about how horrible it was that an illegal alien, arrested for a minor infraction, now faced deportation, who argued (I’m paraphrasing, since my head was exploding during the speech, “He has a job, is raising a family, he’s made a life for himself, and now, because of an over-zealous rookie cop, he’s going to be sent back to Venezuela!”  Commissioner Reagan looked perplexed. What he should have said was, “Garrett, if we are going to enforce the law according to what admirable things people do with what they steal, we won’t have any law, or respect for the police either. The man is here illegally, and I don’t care whether he was arrested for assault or spitting on the sidewalk. He has no right to be here.


49 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, October 11, 2018: Ethics Flotsam and Jetsam

  1. 5. Not if he paid for it. If the place that owns the parking lot is renting the spots and allows him to rent the spots, there should be nothing unethical about him double parking. If they are going to allow him to rent two, no one can park in the other one anyway, so I don’t see why it matters.

    Of course, this depends on how the parking system is set up. Some places have you pay on the back end, so he could have taken two tickets and is conning the system.

    It might be unethical for the company to rent two to one person. There was a line in the story that said a man with a Ferrari bought two and was still charged a fine. I think that is unethical.

    • I’m also going to assume here this is private property where it doesn’t matter if he double parks. I imagine that if it were public, there would be a law against double parking. If the government is allowing them to pay for two spots and then fine him for double parking, that would be unethical. Do we have anything like that?

    • I’m kinda thinking along the same lines as you. If you can buy 2 spaces, you ought to be able to use 2 spaces. It might give others an “ick” factor when they see it used that way and they feel that the space could be better utilized, but then that can become a slippery slope to “Is it ethical to park a vehicle that’s bigger than you need but actually requires 2 spaces like an over-sized commercial vehicle or a elongated RV.

      Truly, this is an issue because parking lots have decided to maximize their profits by utilizing the smallest size stalls and putting everyone’s car at risk of dings and dents, without making some type of “premium space” for those that are particular about such concerns.

      With that said, I think it’s stupid to do what this person did because it obviously calls you out as a target. (If something happens to his car, this would be considered “blaming the victim”…”he was asking for it”.) Which I’m not trying to blame him for the actions of others, but it is good common sense advice to not stick out like a sore thumb in order to attract unwanted attention.

  2. 1. I am still waking up, so I beg forgiveness for what might be a dumb question: How does one distinguish between pandering and virtue-signaling? Isn’t Nike doing the latter, regardless of whether they intend to do the former?

    • I’ll throw in my two cents.

      Pandering is to indulge an immoral/incorrect/base desire or need, or to indulge a person who has that desire. (ie.. The Portland police pandered to the protesters by allowing them to block the street and assault people instead of enforcing laws regarding public assembly)

      Virtue signaling is more about expressing an opinion that you think will show how virtuous or correct you are for the purpose of raising your profile or standing within a hierarchy.

      • Thanks Rusty; that’s a well-written explanation of the difference. I still think pandering and virtue-signaling are closely related, though. Virtue-signaling is a reflection of one’s personal insecurity and lust for empowerment-by-group-belonging or security-via-group-identity. Identity politics is inherently “pandermonium” because it indulges persons who have the base desire to be included in an identity group. Since groups tend to have common “virtues” among their members, we get that Dolezal gal and Elizabeth Warren, each with her peculiar “metoo” plea.

  3. 4. I think you’re making too much of this, Jack. She could have thought he was from Vancouver, WA (360m to the South). Their English is generally pretty unintelligible.

  4. 5) Tough one. I see arguments from both angles as being fairly valid. In a complex and nuanced quiz like that, I’ll say there are probably several right answers implying then that there are probably several categories of “garage contexts” where different answers to the quiz are correct.

  5. Any chance for a comment regarding John Robert’s handling of misconduct complaints regarding Kavanaugh?

    It’s the latest angle that the insurgents are taking on why Kavanaugh should be removed.

  6. #4: In my most charitable interpretation, the co-host was making a back-handed joke about Canada’s bilingualism (pretending that the predominant language in Canada is French.

    Of course, the Twitter-idiot (Twitdiot?) probably does not know that French is an official language in Canada.

    But, THAT would have been a funnier joke: “I mean he’s from Canada, what is he supposed to speak, FRENCH?”


    • I had an even simpler interpretation: Being from a K-Pop group, there’s a reasonable presumption that the band members are Korean and that Korean would be their first language. Thus, “Very cool, your English is awesome. I love it.” . . . “Oh, you’re originally from Canada, well that explains it!”


  7. Flotsam & Jetsam* aside: I am frighteningly alarmed by what the Times is instructing me:

    Heat and Humidity Are a Killer Combination</b<

    One critically important and underreported fact is that as temperatures rise, absolute humidity, the total amount of moisture in the air, will also increase. That may create combinations of heat and humidity so extreme that the evaporation of human sweat won’t sufficiently cool our bodies, leaving even healthy adults at risk of death from overheating.

    Trump loves coal, and yet coal is killing the Earth, therefore Trump has responsibility in the crisis that is descending upon us.

    Try to sweat — if you can, sucker! — but you might not be able to and perhaps you’ll just drop dead?

    Things are getting really bad out there!

    *Flotsam: early 17th century: from Anglo-Norman French floteson, from floter ‘to float’.

    Jetsam: late 16th century (as jetson ): from jettison.

  8. The most ethical BMW driver…ever! OK, I’m joking, but BMW drivers don’t have the best image. I think it is wasteful, but if this owner wants to prevent door dings this badly, OK. (caution, unrepentant depiction of BMW drivers)

    I’m sick of the leftist pandering commercials. It is getting too hard to keep track of the products I am not going to buy anymore. I guess I am buying Penzoil from now on, however. Valvoline, take note.

    • “Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat”
      “Again? That trick never works!”
      “Hey! Bite my A…”

      Heard this on the radio one day and nearly lost control of my car.

  9. 5. I wouldn’t think that shopping centers would want anyone to park in two spaces as it takes away a space another customer could use and therefore reduces the number of customers available to purchase goods from their shops.

  10. I don’t blame the two-space parker at all. We live in a world where some people seem to feel it is appropriate to bang their door into an adjacent car and leave a dent if it is parked “too close”. My car has suffered such abuse, and when I confronted the perpetrator (the car was dented while I was present), she tried to act like I was unreasonable for expecting her to pay for the damage.

  11. 5. Reminds me of the old joke / riddle: What is the difference between a BMW and a porcupine? The porcupine has the pricks on the outside. Hope I don’t get censored; it’s just meant to convey some humor.

  12. 4. NCT 127 is based in Seoul. (K-pop = Korean pop.) Most of its members were born and educated in Korea, China and Japan and speak with noticeable foreign accents. Mark Lee, though he is of Korean heritage and was educated in Seoul, was born in Vancouver and does not speak English with a Korean accent. The charitable interpretation is that Colarossi didn’t quite catch that he was born in Vancouver, didn’t understand that he is a native English speaker, and was complimenting him on his English because she thought he was a native Korean.

    • I’m glad I didn’t see your clarifying post earlier, Greg – it was refreshing to get a chance to poke fun at Canadians for a change (snark). Do you happen to know if they have any good jokes about their neighbors to the South?

  13. Phill Knight is a graduate of the University of Oregon. It has been a self feeding cycle of moral, ethical and intellectual rot as Nike pours money into the University and they feed more like minded clone graduates to the company.

  14. FOURTH try…

    5. Yes, it’s still unethical. ONE car per parking space – CENTERED. Paying for two parking spaces should be an act of charity only, benefitting someone other than the one who pays. It should never be an act of purchased privilege to occupy two spaces with one car.

    Those lines that mark individual parking spaces are the “thin white lines” that stand between order and anarchy; sufficiency and gluttony; mutual respect and arrogant assholery; undeserved privilege and oppression; entitlement and charity; Golden Rule, and gold-making-the-rules; equal opportunity and theft.

    Just today, I parked in a public, lined parking space that was open and between legally parked cars. For practical purposes, that space I chose was double-parked by a car in one of the adjoining spaces. That car parked so close to the line, it rendered my exit from my own car, from my driver’s seat, an impossibility. So, I just exited from the passenger side. There wasn’t much margin for my mid-sized car to park centered. There definitely was not enough room for an adult to enter the offending car on the passenger side.

    I wish I could have seen whether there was a passenger in that virtually double-parked car. If there was, they would have had to enter that car from the driver’s side. But that car had left before I returned to my car. Maybe I taught someone a lesson; maybe not. But no army of demons from hell was going to keep me from parking in that space I chose.

    So, the Republicans had BETTER keep their majority in BOTH houses, too…

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