Mid-Day Ethics Warm-Up, 10/16/18: The Jerk Squad

Good whatever it is by the time I post this; big time computer problems, and every keystroke may be my last..

1. Baseball Ethics, Jerk Divison. Should baseball reward or punish its jerks? Last night in the Brewers-Dodgers NLCS game, LA’s jerks were out in force. Free-agent slugger to be Manny Machado was penalized for one dirty slide, much like the one that helped put Red Sox second-baseman Dustin Pedroia on the sidelines for the entire 2018 season,  a night after loafing to first base. Are teams really going to break the bank to try sign this guy? Then, in the ninth inning, Dodger mega-jerk Yasiel Puig mocked the Brewers closer for not throwing him a strike. Said MLB analyst Harold Reynolds, “I would have hit him with the next pitch. You can’t let an opposing player disrespect you like that.” Old school nonsense  or cultural enforcement?

Driving home from this morning’s ethics seminar, I heard two commentators on the Sirius-XM baseball channel talking about Houston Astros star Alex Bregman’s sending out a derisive social media message about Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi in advance of tonight’s play-off game. They agreed that it was “good for the game” and appealed to kids for the athletes to show “personality” and “edge.”

This is “A Nation of Assholes.”  Being a jerk isn’t showing “personality.” It’s just being a jerk. No part of the culture should be extolling “edge.”

2. When in a hole, stop digging. If all goes well, Elizabeth Warren’s triumphant discovery that she is 99.9% white and therefore was justified in representing herself as a “person of color” for institutional diversity purposes will sink her career aspirations as deep as they deserve to be sunk. The fact that so much of the mainstream media is willing to have their credibility brought down with her is indicative of how stupid bias will make people. The Daily Beast, for example, writes in a headline, “Warren revealed results show Native American heritage Monday.”

Keep it up, guys. Pretty soon the jig will be up for identify politics, since  if 1/1,024th Native American means “Native American heritage,” then everyone is “of color” somehow. In that case, perhaps we’ll owe Warren a debt of gratitude. As for the news media, I am pretty sure all but the most reality-resistant progressive warriors recognize how absurd it is to call a distant, distant outlying contributor to the family gene pool sufficient to bestow “Native American ancestry,” especially when Native Americans themselves cry “hogwash.” Why are journalists so eager to rationalize Warren’s transparent distortion of fairness, science and logic? What could make them behave like that? Why should we trust people who take such manifestly ridiculous positions? Why should we respect a profession that treats us like idiots?

The news media appears to think they can keep getting further and further away from the boundaries of legitimate reportage and commentary without a critical mass of people asking these questions.

3. The unethical practices dilemma. A commenter, being mean to me in an off-site rant, accused me of supporting Project Veritas. As I quickly pointed out with one of many negative quotes from past posts, I do not. James O’Keefe is the epitome of an unethical reporter/investigator/activist or whatever he calls himself. The fact that his surreptitiously videoed and dishonestly provoked revelations are obtained by unethical means does not mean they have to be ignored if the information obtained is credible. Unlike the criminal courts, there is no “exclusionary rule” in the court of public opinion that requires evidence unjustly or illegally obtained to be excluded as evidence of wrongdoing. The Pentagon Papers, after all, were stolen. The emails showing that the Democratic National Committee was helping Hillary Clinton cheat to win the nomination may have been hacked, but what they showed could hardly be ignored. O’Keefe’s latest sting caught Missouri Senator Claire McKaskill and her staff admitting that certain views the Senator has aren’t safe to tell the public about before the election. O’Keefe says,

“This undercover report shows just how broken our political system has become. Senator McCaskill hides her true views from voters because she knows they won’t like them.” 

Virtually every candidate for every national office hides their actual motives and intentions, however. They also say one thing to one group and different things to opposing groups. This is not a partisan problem, though O’Keefe only exposes Democrats as if it is.

4. One of my polls was hacked!  It was the first poll in this post, in which I briefly described a bit of college hi-jinks on my part and asked, as perspective in the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, if it should bar me from a career in law and ethics. (I elaborated on the college episode here). Last time I checked the poll, the option of “it is typical college silliness, and has no relevance now” was far ahead, and the extreme option that the episode proved “moral turpitude and should bar practice as a lawyer, judge or ethicist” had only a few votes from trolls and tongue-in-cheek satirists. Yesterday I checked, and the latter opinion led the way, with 256 votes. (No poll has ever had more than 170 responses.) Somebody was so annoyed that I have steadfastly held that decades-old tales of high school misconduct were unethical ammunition to be used against an adult with an impeccable record, and that the presumption of innocence is not just some legal construct but basic fairness, that they sat at their computer and spend a long time clicking on that insulting answer. (I think I know who it was.)

Bias makes you stupid, and #MeToo makes a frightening number of people crazy.

5. Haunted House ethics: Does the mock victim of a mock rape have to be believed?  In Akron, Ohio, a couple visiting  a “haunted house” reported that one of the costumed ghouls pretended to accost them with the intent of raping one or both. Other people who claimed to have experienced the same “fright” confirmed the account of a simulated rape scene. The couple is claiming that they didn’t sign a waiver, which some of the more aggressive haunted houses require, but I would think going into one of those things is waiver enough. Is the argument that while they consented to usual fake horror movie fare, like people jumping out at them, grabbing at them, and appearing to try to kill them, eat their brains, or chop them into little pieces, they didn’t consent to a fake rape? Is it that fake murder is fun, but fake rape is serious?

6. Stay classy, Mr. President. Today President Trump called Stormy Daniels “Horseface.”


67 thoughts on “Mid-Day Ethics Warm-Up, 10/16/18: The Jerk Squad

  1. 2. Warren might have been a victim of Hanlon’s razor before (in that she was ignorant of the claim by taking her parents word for it), but now she and the media have removed all doubt by (perhaps maliciously) doubling down.

  2. #6 I like the double meaning of horseface

    Horseface — Having the face of a horse

    Whore’s Face — The face of a whore.

  3. I don’t understand how this 1/32 or 1/1024 Native American heritage of Senator Warren’s is not considered cultural appropriation by the left. Is it just that she’s not in a Halloween costume?

    • The rules do not apply to progressives, just the rest of us. They are smarter, better connected, and morally superior to everyone else, after all.

      Surely you understood this when Bill got a ‘Lewinsky’ in the Oval Office?

  4. Re: No. 2.

    Warren had an easy out of this mangled story: She should/could have said that she believed her family’s telling of the events and, being originally from Oklahoma, it would be reasonable to believe that she had Native American heritage.* But, she elaborated on the story, to make it more compelling. She also told interviewers her father’s parents did not approve of his choice for a wife because her mother was Cherokee.**

    Warren is a lawyer and, supposedly, is very bright. If you’ve watched or listened to CNN and MSNBC for the last four years or so, she is the very embodiment of moral authority over all things . . . erm . . . moral, guided by a passionate desire to help the poor and the middle class.

    She knew, and reasonably should have know, that DNA is not determinative of Native American heritage. It is being included in the tribes’ relevant hereditary scrolls. In fact, she said that in an interview, so she was aware of the standard and she is aware that she is not so listed.

    Yet, Warren used her family’s yarn to promote her career. Harvard Law School didn’t make up that she was “person of color”; they got it from her. She exploited it and used it to her benefit. Now, she is shown to be the fraud that she is (and the one I have always known she is – she would speak at the University of Texas Jay Westbrook bankruptcy Continuing Legal Education seminars, specifically intending to drive me crazy).

    Warren took a political gamble by releasing tenuous results showing a possible connection to Native American heritage, hoping it would put the matter to bed before she reluctantly announced that she would run for president, to save us all from Trump and the nastiness he has wrought large on the country. Sadly, it failed spectacularly, providing ammunition to her critics that she is not ready for prime time.***

    In addition to outing her grandparents as bigots, Warren has demonstrated she cannot be trusted. She used that yarn to get hired by Harvard Law School, paying her somewhere around $400,000 per year. How is that not fraud? How is that not conclusive evidence of bad character? How is that not signature significance that she cannot be trusted with the Office of the Presidency?


    *Ed. Note: My mother always told us her maternal grandfather left Ireland to escape punishment for his criminal involvement in the IRA. We had no reason to doubt it when we were young. Only later did we look it up and find out that it was simply my mother telling a tall tale, learning that her relatives immigrated to the US in the late 1800s as a result of famine and before the IRA took on the separatist movement it turned into in the 20th century.

    ** Ed. Note Two: Now, think about that. She threw her paternal grandparents under the bus, declaring publicly that they were vicious bigots. What does that say about her ambition? If she is willing to annihilate her paternal grandparents, just think of what she will do to people she likes.

    ***Ed. Note. Three: Speaking of SNL, will they run a skit this weekend showing just how idiotic this whole episode is? If suspect not.

        • BTW is Liz going to give Harvard or the US government the money she received as a person of color, surely there has to be a reasonable threshold, with interest?

          • I never understood how this could happen. When I was in college, a kid I graduated with got a scholarship for being Indian. It later turned out he wasn’t and he was dropped, but he didn’t have to pay it back. I looked on those forms and you need a tribal membership card to qualify for that. The only way this happens is if the school goes along with the fraud to inflate their diversity numbers. Please don’t tell me everyone at Harvard is that stupid. They must have known this was a lie and happily supported it. If not, this would have stopped the moment they required a copy of her ID card for their file. Did she supply a card from a non-recognized tribe? Did they not check? Did they not ask for one at all? Stupid or corrupt? Do we need a poll?

  5. 1. The good news? The jerks lost, the Brewers won, and are two wins away from the World Series.

    I do wonder how the Haderade will taste in Fenway… 🙂

      • True, but they’ll involve waivers, warnings, hard age limits, etc. Most of those guests will know what they’re getting into, and it doesn’t sound like these ones did.

      • From the article they were grabbing a girls ankles and pulling them apart. Every one I’ve been to and worked at had a strict No Touching policy. I must’ve only been involved with ‘square’ haunted houses.

        • We’re on the same page! Every haunt I’ve been to or worked on also had a strict No Touch policy. Haunts that allow touching seem to still be pretty rare, and the ones that do exist should always be properly labeled and regulated. This was a bad actor or bad management, or I suspect, both.

          Incidentally, my local haunt evolved from the craziest place I ever worked to the squarest. Square = safety for everyone!

      • That looks like it is on the anonymous demographics section, at least part of which is required by federal law to qualify for the student loan program.

        • If we are truly to have a societal blindness to race and ethnicity then ALL questions regarding race and ethnicity should be permanently removed from all application forms.

          Here’s the deal: we will never, not ever, not in this world and possibly not in any conceivable world, have societal blindness to race and ethnicity. It will not happen, not ever.

          Therefor, it must be seen as impossible of attainment, and therefor as an unreal and unrealistic goal. The notion of it, the idea that it is an important value that must be believed/accepted under threat of social shaming, must be dismantled.

          Now, it becomes obvious — to all but the self-blinded I might say! 🙂 — that once one has made this assertion, and once one has understood that it is true, a great many other issues all on the sudden appear to coalesce in front of one. They gain solidity and importance. They become necessary, to put it in philosophical terms.

          However, if you-plural determine that against all contrary ideas you must insist on your unreal predicate, you will demonstrate how socially-controlled or government-controlled and politically-correct thinking functions.

          • Not all, just those where blind objectivity can, at least initially, be maintained should be enacted to mitigate eventual bias. Because eventually, you are correct, we cannot eliminate it entirely in practice. We should, however, eliminate it where we can.

            • Not all, just those where blind objectivity can, at least initially, be maintained should be enacted to mitigate eventual bias. Because eventually, you are correct, we cannot eliminate it entirely in practice. We should, however, eliminate it where we can.

              Incorrectly stated. The reason I say ‘incorrectly’ is because, obviously, your view is infused with ideology. Modify the ideology, that is, the predicate, and the the determinate shifts.

              I am not convinced that positing a multi-cultural society — that is, the society proposed and constructed in the post-war and as a result of Sixties activism — is in anyone’s best interest. At the very least the assumptions that underlie the assertions can be examined, and in a free society they should be examined (or should have been examined).

              I do not — not necessarily — agree with your various *shoulds*. Those shoulds are the stuff of social coercion and certainly of social engineering. What I should do, and what I should think, and how I choose to order my perception and also to teach my children, I will determine as I define what is good and necessary, not what I have been instructed to think believe or do.

              You miss the point — naturally — of what I say and what I mean and the reason you do this is because you — you specially — exist within determined thought. As does Zoltar (and many others). That is the mental condition of America and of Americans.

              And that is my larger point: the need to challenge, and possibly to shatter, these constructs. In any case, to see how they have been constructed. To examine the causal chain.

              Don’t get me wrong please. I make no specific recommendations and I call for no specific action. I speak about clarifying mental processes and attaining clear seeing.

              I agree with the assertion that on all different sort of forms the race check-box should not appear. But I am clear-seeing enough to know that demographic battles are now being enacted in our present and that, at one point or another, decisions will have to be made. I speak to a larger issue which you cannot speak to. Your ideology will not allow it. It is not a complex assertion, really.

              • Ever so humble as usual. Ever consider your mindset, such as it is, might be the issue.

                Please tell us how 2+2=4 should become hyper-complicated and we are such simpletons to think it is 4. I know you can do it.

                Back to ignoring you. (My own fault.)

                • What does humility have to do with this or with anything? This is about boldness and fearlessness.

                  You are, really it is true, better off to sequester ideas and people who have such ideas, that you cannot entertain. The escape into one’s own echo-chamber, as they say, will in fact protect one. I fully understand your strategy. If it works for you, don’t change it.

                  Please tell us how 2+2=4 should become hyper-complicated and we are such simpletons to think it is 4. I know you can do it.

                  You repeat the same argument, which is a complete fallacy! One, you use a plural *we* the purpose of which it to alienate and separate me from ‘you-plural’. It is underhanded.

                  You also reduce a complex issue to one of simple math. As if to say that the things being discussed are as simple as that equation. Another fallacy.

                  I know that my opinions and my ideas are not very popular. But when I see that I am dealing with certain persons whose thinking processes seem afflicted, I am pushed to prove to myself and to *them* that my ideas have merit. And my ideas have merit. And I can prove it through reasoned discourse.

                  Pushed, you fail in that, adimagejim.

                • Ever consider your mindset, such as it is, might be the issue[?]

                  Talk about that. If my ‘mind-set’ is wrong, demonstrate it. And also show me the correct ‘mind-set’.

                  And do it without fallacious argumentation! 😉

            • Not all, just those where blind objectivity can, at least initially, be maintained should be enacted to mitigate eventual bias. Because eventually, you are correct, we cannot eliminate it entirely in practice. We should, however, eliminate it where we can.

              Obviously, I am detested for what I think and what I say and my moral and ethical status is questioned. But the proper term is not easy to arrive at. It could amount to as much as *hatred*, but I see it as (largely) *contempt*. [From Latin contemptus: from con- (expressing intensive force) + temnere ‘despise’]. It would take just a bit more emotional energy to turn ‘to despise’ into ‘to hate’. Still, I am tolerated and I assume this is because of the high value placed on free speech.

              It has taken me 2-3 years to process what that means to me personally and also for me personally as well as publicly to engage in the communication of my thoughts. I became aware that no matter where I went, no matter where I wrote, no matter where or even how I expressed my thoughts, that I would as a result receive if not hatred then contempt. In the larger world there is of course greater dangers, though not for me personally. I have had to weigh what the cost of receiving that contempt would be, against what would be sacrificed if I gave in to groupthink, which is exactly what opposes me (and in this sense *us*: we who have chosen, for ethical and moral reasons, to question and challenge the societal assumptions of groupthink and thought controlled by political correctness).

              The advantage of sticking with my *project*, which is philosophical and also cultural and social (historical and civilizational is how I would put it), and specifically within an American context, has been enormous. By noticing one specific area where groupthink functions and where the political-correct determines how thinking will be done, has alerted me to the possibility — the probability — that it also will occur in other areas. Therefor, I define *the structure of lies* and, even more relevant, the willing participation by individuals and groups in upholding structures of lies: complicity.

              The task therefor becomes an even more difficult one because it hinges into hermeneutical questions and epistemological questions. If we can deceive ourselves so successfully in one area, to what degree will the same will-to-self-deception operate in other areas?!?

              Our Present is a sort of Perception Machine; that is, a machine that structures and insists on specific lines (outlines) through which perception is ordered. How this comes about is through *coercion*. [I use that term in the precise sense: Latin coercēre to hold in, restrain, equivalent to co- co- + -ercēre, combining form of arcēre to keep in, keep away…] The function of intellectual coercion is to keep one away from seeing straight, from being able to state what is, to say what one sees. The question and problem of cognitive dissonance arises here because when a culture — its education-system, its media (et cetera) become geared to coercion, the freedom of the individual is ipso facto lost, destroyed, undermined.

              And this is what defines America right now. And you who participate in it, are active co-creators of a deceiving present. You resist me but in the larger sense you resist the possibility of (intellectual and other) freedom and you serve, if I can put it this way, a modern form of Mammon.

              Given an opportunity to argue my positions, I will soundly defeat you. You know this and your manoeuvre is to avoid the confrontation, so not to be seen as losing. You are a pimp adimagejim. This is what I noticed about you right at the start. And there are millions and millions of similar *pimps* and you dominate and significantly control, as gatekeepers of sorts, what ideas are allowed to be discussed.

              You must be resisted!

              Here is a far more comprehensive and accurate platform-of-view for understanding those issues that are forever present, if submerged, in our discussions. By God’s Grace I will never bend nor stoop to groupthink that has you pinned under it.

              [ https://youtu.be/XZCb0xLzU9Q ]

                • I think you misunderstand the actual point I wished to make. This is not a *personal* matter and I mostly do not care what anyone thinks of me personally. (And yet at times I cannot conceal that I react in personal fashion).

                  Yet, here on this forum, when I get push-back, it has always been in very personal, shame-slinging ways. You, Adimagejim, Chris, Spartan, Wednesday Woman (today’s her day BTW!) and numerous others *argue* in this way.

                  I do not, as such, condemn it. I have always said that I understand it.

                  You *detest* the ideas, or the interpretations if you wish, that I work with, and communicate a form of detest-ment and contempt. You even wrote a note condemning me which, I understood, you had erased.

                  The same goes on in the larger, surrounding world. Fear, hatred, contempt — along with *disagreement* — are brought out against the ideas *we* advocate (or the perspectives, if you wish).

                  The more important aspect of this has to do with *social coercion* and the techniques and processes that are used to dismiss ideas that are difficult, challenging or confrontative.

                  Essentially, that is my battle: a battle against that. The only sure is consistent counter-argument and persistence.

                  Oh and getting people to sign up for my 10-week Internet Course… 🙂

                • Though on a blog comment section, that’s a pretty abstract distinction. “Real” Aliza is not known here—for the purpose of EA, she “is” her commentary. In real life, she could be a saint, a cannibal, or an Irish Setter.

                  • St. Alizia? (sounds like a good name for a rock band)

                    Cannibal? Is she a person of good taste? Does she have a certain meal preference?

                    Irish Setter? But is her nose cold?

                    It is Friday, after all…

                    (Tim, this was snarky humor. YMMV)

                    (Sorry, Tim, for continuing to poke fun at you weeks after the misunderstanding. I will stop if it offends: really intended to be all in fun)

                  • I was just making a point that she was making an assumption that she is detested based on what she says.

                    I dislike oodles of things other people say but I really don’t detest them. It’s actions they take against others that raise my ire. Sometimes hateful words push or cross that line.

                    Even though I choose not to go down the paths of deflection that Alizia chooses, as far as I’m concerned, Alizia’s words don’t cross the line.

  6. 1) As I mentioned a few days ago, this nonsense is what caused me to lose interest in baseball. Even the NHL is trying to get rid of enforcers and clean up the game. For the MLB, it’s “tradition.” Phooey.

    2) This was a dumb move by Warren. It’s blowing up (in a negative way) on social media among Native Americans. Publicizing this was dumb, and I think it actually may disqualify her from a presidential run.

    6) Sigh. I know it’s hard for New Yorkers (I kid), but can the man have some common decency or at least a filter between his brain and his mouth and fingers?

  7. 2. “The news media appears to think they can keep getting further and further away from the boundaries of legitimate reportage and commentary without a critical mass of people asking these questions.
    I’m unconvinced we’re even close to critical mass, even though most people recognize the hypocracy and fact-mangling for what it is. My experience indicates most people prefer to tune it out rather than raise it up as an issue; it has become far too dangerous to raise one’s head above the crowd even this much.

    • I’m hoping that Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker all run for president in 2020. If that happens, I very much doubt that Harris, Booker or the press will give Warren a pass on the “person of color” issue. She will be booed off the stage, followed by the mocking laughter of Donald Trump.

      Trump got under her skin so badly that she made this idiotic move, which undermines her chances to become the Democratic nominee. The 2020 election is two years away and he has already virtually eliminated one of his strongest potential opponents.

      • Cory Booker admitted to sexually assaulting an intoxicated friend when he was 15. That *should* make the Democrats stop and consider just how the public will perceive their double-standard if they put him up as a presidential candidate after the whole Kavanaugh circus. Of course, there were articles (CNN) explaining just why it was different between the two, coming down to how he admitted he did it and it took the “victim” to come forward with Kavanaugh. I can see all the “but he admitted and said he’s sorry…” type mindset excusing him already. He couldn’t trip over himself fast enough at the hearings to bring Ford coffee and things, (and never once did she flinch being so near a self-admitted assaulter after having all her 30 some year trauma.) to, in my opinion. put himself in the spotlight and play the concerned man.

        It would be nice to see one of the other parties whether it be Independent, Green or whomever, put up a viable candidate that could give a good run and have a shot.

        • All good points.

          I think we have established, however, that the rules do not apply to progressives. Cory gets a pass since he is ‘woke’ or something.

          I pray common Americans are paying attention.

          • Didn’t Cory Booker, the admitted sexual assaulter, say that he would try to impeach Kavanaugh for being accused of sexual something or the other (it never was clear what he was accused of doing) despite the fact that no evidence or testimony supported the idea that this event occurred in our reality?

  8. I am biased, as I am both young and a Dodgers fan. However, within certain limits, I find the new, uninhibited spirits abroad in baseball immensely refreshing. I was yelling at my TV when Machado dogged it down to first, and was not pleased with his slides the next game; a dirty slide from Chase Utley put the karmic stank on us and contributed to our loss to the Mets in 2015 NLDS. However, I love Puig’s absurd expressiveness. How he licks his bat after at bats. How passionately demonstrative he is on the field. Even when he makes a truly bone-headed play, like he did while running the bases against the Atlanta Braves back in the NLDS, he’s always so *intense* about it! And in that particular instance, when he got tagged out by Charlie Culberson (who was on the Dodgers last year) Puig greeted the tag with a big hug, right there on the diamond. It was, in the purest sense of the word, fun! Almost the polar opposite of Machado’s detached, almost petulant demeanor. Insofar as more baseball players are voluably having fun and expressing passion about the game I have loved since I could walk, I will support them, even if that passion sometimes spills over into less-than-desirable conduct.

      • Mark me, the Dodgers will rue the day they signed Machado. They will long for the days of a healthy Seager. (There’s a secondary, less obvious, reason it took Baltimore so long to trade him.)

        • No question there…I’d 10 times out of 10 rather have Seager. The Dodgers almost certainly won’t resign Machado simply because they’d have to move Seager to third, Justin Turner to first, and dump Max Muncy, who’s been at least as good as Machado with the bat this year (even if he’s not replicating the success so far in the playoffs). We won’t be able to get a compensatory pick when someone else signs Machado since he’s not eligible for a qualifying offer from us, but hopefully that won’t stop the front officer for letting the second consecutive underwhelming second half rental move along to greener pastures elsewhere.

  9. 5)

    Someone coming at me with a knife at a haunted house isn’t going to actually kill me, no matter how believably terrified I am.

    Someone coming at me with their penis (however covered by pants) at a haunted house isn’t actually going to rape me, but they sure as hell are very likely to make unwanted sexual contact with me.

    This one’s easy. The Haunted House is wrong and the people who went through it have valid complaints.

  10. Jack wrote: Why are journalists so eager to rationalize Warren’s transparent distortion of fairness, science and logic? What could make them behave like that? Why should we trust people who take such manifestly ridiculous positions? Why should we respect a profession that treats us like idiots?

    The news media appears to think they can keep getting further and further away from the boundaries of legitimate reportage and commentary without a critical mass of people asking these questions.

    [My italics]

    In my view, if one successfully answers this question, and even if one comes only close or right up near the edge of an answer, one will have done a great deal.

    The general, gloss answer is: We live in an intellectual world that has become defective and perverse. The general population, after over 100 years of specific and constant social engineering, has become the pliant, weak-minded, subservient, gullible, emotionalized mass of citizens incapable of seeing straight and thinking straight. In a significant sense — not an absolute sense but a significant sense — this is what ‘America’ now is, how it is seen internationally, and what must begin to be seen and understood by Americans concerned about their own country.

    What could make them behave like that?

    A complex question. An employee of a news corporation is an employee still. They do what they are *told* even when there is no specific instruction. A general *climate* determines what can be said and there are parameters that are defined in what could be termed subtle ways. I describe this as *complicity* and I note that every person, in one degree or other, could if they chose to locate and describe their own complicity within structures of lies. The lie could be slight or the lie could be extreme. But no one can deny that such lies exist, are set in motion, and have the purpose of influencing people. In order to influence someone there has to be a defined interest involved. Therefor, behind all efforts to influence stands interest. If lies are set in motion in our present, they are set in motion because there is an interest that will benefit if they are believed.

    Therefor, to unravel such lies must be seen as a duty of a proper citizen. But, and here is the core of the difficult truth that must be seen, described and taught: the citizen has been rendered, consciously and deliberately by specific concentrations of interest to be incapable of making discriminatory analysis. That is, over the last 100 years a New Citizen has been created who resembles, sadly, the type represented by Homer Simpson. A parody of course, but that yet describes a ‘real thing’. How did this New Citizen come to be created? Well, answer that question and you will have the answer you seek. But who can do it? It cannot be done in the present, at least not thoroughly, because it involves employing a critical posture that has definite social and political ramifications. It cannot be carried out in the present because, ipso facto, the present is one where specific and interested views dominate. What this often appears to mean is that the New Citizen will resist, tooth and claw, the critical analysis that will lead him or her to a Truth about *what has happened*. What an odd and also tragic situation!

    How many goodly creatures are there here! . . . O brave new world, That has such people in’t!

    The question is (really) Why are we, each one of us, so eager and willing to structure our own views within lies? Why do we accept these lies? Why do we weave them into our own structure of perception? Why do we insist on them? And why do we beat down on people who have the courage to challenge the lies that are set in motion?

    The answer involves *complicity*: how the self gets invested in lies, builds a Weltanschauung that incorporates lies, and in order to maintain an edifice, conditions others to believe the lies. It is a lovely self-serving circle!

    Shall we begin to unravel lies? Who’s up for the task?

    Usually, when one comes across a sole person who is obviously invested in structures of lies, one might say to oneself: Good Lord! but this is going to take a certain amount of time to unravel! If they are young, well, there might be hope. But if they are old … the chances are not good that they will have the energy and the resilience to undertake and complete the demanding project of unraveling lies. Therefor, they will die in their lies.

    The metaphor can be applied to larger, societal structure. A culture that cannot unravel its lies is a polity that will die in its lies.

    Therefor, if we are interested in Truth we must become invested in a) seeing and describing lies, and b) beginning to tell the truth, and then c) teaching this to our young. Showing them how it is done. Living in truth. And finding life through truth. Who can tell the truth and what is that truth? Who can show what it means to unravel lies and what will result from that process, both personally and culturally?

    … keep getting further and further away from the boundaries of legitimate reportage and commentary

    What I see, here with this question, is that I can do nothing more useful than to attempt to define what is ‘legitimate commentary’, but that this hinges on Who sees? and What is seen? It is an entirely interpretive project! The boundaries of thinkable thought is really what is alluded to. But who will define what those are? And who will come out and admit that now, in our present, there are definite controlled boundaries that you must not cross? Boundaries that are *patrolled* by anti-intellectual zealots convinced that their ideas — and their insisted-upon boundaries — are the correct ones and are ordained by God or by Logic?

    It all circles back to the free citizen and that one who is capable of free thought.

  11. The rape threat lacks credibility when there are two people in the ride. Otherwise, I agree with you; the rape threat would carry more weight because it is not so extreme, more . . . logical, likely . . . and therefore more expected. People are funny that way.

  12. 1. Respectful treatment of opponents is a sign of character. Doing what Bregman did is a sign of being a character. Never confuse the two. Each brings certain rewards and penalties.

    Note that Babe Ruth was a first class jerk, by all accounts. Willie Mays was not. Baseball rewarded both. “God causes it to rain upon the just and the unjust” so how can Baseball do less?

    My opinion is for Baseball to stay out of the matter and let the cards fall where they may.

    2. Warren weaponized Affirmative Action to knowingly perpetuate a fraud. Then doubled down on her obvious lies. Progressives are like this: you knew it was a snake when you picked it up.

    3. Democrats have always lied when campaigning (so has the GOPe); it is in the nature of politics. Americans are so complacent that they do not hold candidates to account for broken promises. This has to end. American is in the state she is in due to complacency and apathy of voters.

    4. If he cannot sue you, he can smear you, huh? Might be fun to try to get a restraining order to keep him off of your blog…

    On second thought, that would encourage him.

    5. This is just…stoopid. On everyone’s part. Grow up, people.

    6. Is it too much to ask that the POTUS tweet machine pass through a 24 hour delay? Would that give him time to reconsider? Embarrassing.

    7. There is no number 7

    • >>Americans are so complacent that they do not hold candidates to account for broken promises. >>

      However, isn’t that part of what is driving the approval of Trump’s presidency? The fact that he made campaign promises and he is actually carrying them out. Whether you agree with them or not, that has certainly not been the standard case for presidents.

  13. 6. I’ve worked on a few haunted houses and consider myself an enthusiast. This scene was inappropriate and unsafe for a mainstream haunt where guests didn’t sign waivers or agree to be touched. This house did not have a waiver, though another house in the park did.

    A few points:

    -There’s a fine line between “fun”, movie-style safe fear, which non-extreme haunt-goers want, and feeling truly threatened. A good mainstream haunt should know where this line is for its general audience. As the line varies for individuals, though, a good mainstream haunt ghoul will know to read each guest and not push their limits too hard. This is for safety reasons among others: threatened people throw punches.

    -Often ghouls have a lot of leeway and little oversight when they interact with guests. This makes the job fun, but many ghouls are not good at their jobs. Some can’t read their audience’s limits and others love to push them anyway.

    -As others have noted, for most people rape is well on the wrong side of the fear line – it feels more plausible than being chopped to bits, especially in this setting.

    -It’s not clear to me whether the rape scene was sanctioned by the house or performed by a rogue ghoul.

    -If the house sanctioned this scene, it was a terrible business and legal decision. The house failed to deliver the “safe” fear it promised its customers. Remember the “extreme” fear was promised in another attraction onsite, and rape is considered extreme even in horror movies. The scene also invited all kinds of lawsuits by subjecting customers to rough handling without waivers, and set customers and employees up to get injured.

    -If this was a rogue ghoul, then it was likely either a hyper nineteen-year-old edgelord who got a little too caught up in the atmosphere, or an inveterate creepazoid. Haunts attract a fair number of each type. The ghoul needs to be reprimanded or fired. I wouldn’t trust this actor to work the “extreme” house safely.

    -All that said, these guests sound fragile and this story should not have been news.

    -It’s possible the haunt was *trying* to make the news, but I don’t know how many industry people are that savvy.

  14. #4, I personally wouldn’t spend a long time sitting at my computer (well . . . I actually do spend a long time sitting at my computer almost every day, but that’s beside the point) repeatedly clicking on the poll to get three-digits worth of results. I’d run it up by several MILLION and it would take less than a minute.

    I’m a goddamn computer genius.* 256?!? LOL!!!


    *but one who, as a hobby at least, reads about Ethics. So of course I have never and would never actually do such a thing.

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