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.”