Comment Of The Day: “Sick-Bed Ethics Warm-Up, 11/14/18: Ethics Among the Sneezes” (Item #6)

I’m still catching up on Comments of the Day, and they won’t be arriving in strict chronological order. This one comes from Tim LeVier, one of the three longest-running commenters on my two ethics websites, the now off-line (but soon returning) Ethics Scoreboard and Ethics Alarms. Tim was bringing some perspective to the infamous Baraboo High School photo, used by various commentators and pundits to further all sorts of agendas while creating a perhaps permanent stain on the reputations of the participants.

Here is his Comment of the Day on Item #6 in the post, Sick-Bed Ethics Warm-Up, 11/14/18: Ethics Among the Sneezes:

What I wanted to do was give some hard numbers on this. I count 64 distinct individuals that can be seen. If one were to use this photo as an indictment, then you have to look at each person as an individual to see what they’re doing. 32 of the 64 could be said to be doing something that looks like a Hitler salute, but most of them are pretty poor. Some are spot on. Another 12 of the 64 are so poor or different that you couldn’t say they were a Nazi salute, such as fists in the air, bent arms, looks like they’re waving. 20 of the 64 simply can’t be seen, don’t have their arm up, or have the wrong arm up or have both arms up.

So, overall, it’s a 50% gotcha of the 64 boys.

Ultimately, the photographer is a jackass. I remember photographers from different stages of my life that would try to loosen tension by getting their subjects into compromising positions and then shocking them back to reality by pointing out what had happened. It’s an effective bit of shock therapy. But why snap a picture in the compromising position? Why release it as a part of the package?

I’m honestly not concerned or afraid for our youth as I believe they were trolled into this. I don’t think they requested a salute photo. I don’t think they knew what was really going on. I don’t think they were saluting to iconography or to send a message or to show respect to some abhorrent German political party.

Some of them were clearly quicker on the uptake and understanding of what was happening. Some you can see shock, confusion, and “wtf?” in their eyes. In all, I think we need to let this community sort it out. They got their moment in the public square of the internet, but back to reality.


7 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Sick-Bed Ethics Warm-Up, 11/14/18: Ethics Among the Sneezes” (Item #6)

  1. Here’s another stat: Over 2 mil have commented on the first two photos posted on YouTube. Most of the comments are from teens, and none of them that I could find even pretend to discuss any “ism.” Most of them don’t even bother to dismiss the raised arms (except as a “joke”) but go straight to digging at the media, way-out-of-the-loop classmates (and most adults) for thinking they were sooo clever to catch the “white power sign” in the front row that turns out to be part of a punching game. Hardee-har-har: if I catch you looking at that circle I’m making with my fingers, — aka “necking” — I get to punch you in the bicep. Then you get to “brush it off” – and then we’re even and can start all over again.

    Was this not 2nd grade?
    Regardless of the photographer’s instructions, the group at the upper left (stage right), at least seven of them, know exactly what they were doing and had practiced it … you don’t get that kind of 1st-time precision otherwise. The picture, taken informally in front of the town hall for best effect, had been scheduled for family and friend attendance. Everyone was taking pictures (let’s call them “themsies” = selfies taken by one’s loved ones) by the dozens, which would naturally include a few by buddies in the know just waiting for the salute or the purposeful circle meme – just like the placement of mister-red-tie in the middle was meant for the parents.

    • p.p.s. For those, like myself, who aren’t up on on teen cant (or the lastest business slang, for that matter): the red tie is “a reaffirmation of strength, authority and dominance within the professional world.”

      Jack would wear one.


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