Noonish Ethics Warm-Up, 11/30/18: The Trouble With Sloth, Bing Misplaced, And Reader Pointers

Hi there…

1. Thank you to the readers who immediately took my call for tips and links to heart. This post ends with three of them, and there are more on the way.

 2. Can we have a little Christmas music station integrity, please? There are currently three holiday music channels on Sirius-XM: an all instrumental channel, aka. department store muzak; “Holly,” which is supposedly “contemporary” Christmas music, meaning either bad songs, endless covers of “Last Christmas,” or horrific versions of classics so stylized that they are unrecognizable, like Destiny’s Child’s jarring version of “O Holy Night;” and “Traditions,” which is the all-dead people channel, with actual tunes, occasional references to Jesus, angels, and Bethlehem, and only a couple of songs written before 1963.

But it’s complicated. John Lennon is dead, but his awful Christmas song shows up on “Holly.” Paul NcCartney’s awful Christmas song has been on both channels: he’s alive, BUT the song is crap. However, I nearly drove off the road just now when Holly featured Bing Crosby singing “Mele kalikimaka” with the Andrews Sisters, whose recording of the same sone without Der Bingle turned up yesterday on Traditions. I don’t get it.

3. This is a good test as to whether the public is smart enough to know when it’s being manipulated. Paul Manfort’s plea deal about his dealings with the Ukraine and other questionable machinations unrelated to his time with the Trump campaign has nothing to do with the Russian 2016 election meddling. Michael Cohen admitting that he lies about his activities connected to the Trump organization building a hotel in Moscow also has no connection to the Left’s Russian collusion fantasies. So why is the news media hyperventilating about “big breaks” in the Mueller investigation? I’d say a) confirmation bias b) they aren’t very bright c) they don’t think the public is very bright, and d) they think they can continue to undermine the public trust by flogging this narrative. This is a fact: there was and is nothing illegal about Donald Trump pursuing a business project in Russia while running for President. It does not suggest or constitute collusion, and the fact that his ridiculous ex-lawyer lied about it is irrelevant to the Trump Presidency.

Nonetheless, here’s CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin yesterday:

“You know, today’s the first day I actually thought Donald Trump might not finish his term in office. I mean, I think this thing is enormous. And the whole week — think about what the position is of Donald Trump and the Trump camp about all these things. His position is, for six months, Michael Cohen never discussed with him that he was negotiating for a Moscow Trump Tower. It’s preposterous. … Second, he says that Roger Stone never discussed with him that he was negotiating with WikiLeaks and talking about WikiLeaks, even though both Donald Trump and Roger Stone were obsessed with WikiLeaks, but they spoke repeatedly and never discussed it. Third, Don Jr. never discussed with his father the plans for the Trump Tower meeting in June of 2016.”

What an astounding hack. Three “So whats?” in a row don’t equal a single impeachable offense, and the Wikileaks story is hardly solid. If CNN’s legal analyst thinks that President Trump won’t last his term despite Mueller turning up nothing, then CNN needs a new legal analyst, and badly. If CNN wasn’t the Let’s Overthrow Trump network, I’d posit that Toobin won’t last the term. Meanwhile, in the tiny crevices of sanity and honesty in the CNN maze, Jake Tapper showed that he still has some semblance of rationality.

Interviewing New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, one of the pro-impeachment hawks (and, ironically enough, one of Bill Clinton’s most vocal defenders when the House was legitimately impeaching Bill Clinton, , Tapper asked about actual “evidence of conspiracy” resulting from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s plea deal.

“Look, this is clearly not welcome news for the president,” said Tapper. “I don’t want to pretend that it is but once again I look at these documents and I don’t see any evidence of conspiracy between members of the Trump team and the Russian government to interfere in the election.”

Nadler responded that the potential Moscow project was a “corrupt business deal.” Tapper replied,  “You call it a corrupt business deal?”

“The fact that it was negotiated with a foreign power while you’re running for president … ” Nadler said. “Not illegal, you mean like more just colloquially corrupt?” Tapper said. “Yeah,” said Nadler.

In other words, completely legal

“But still no conspiracy,” said Tapper.

“Well, wait a minute,” bickered. “It certainly tends to indicate — it’s one more piece of evidence — so now we know or Cohen testifies to the fact that Trump during the campaign at the same time that he is dictating a change in the Republican platform to favor the Russians, at the same time that he can find nothing negative to say about Putin or about what they are doing is, in fact, negotiating with the Russian government for personal business profits. He is mixing his personal business profits and perhaps putting them over the interests of the United States and lying to the electorate about it.”

[Note: the claim that Trump weakened the GOP platform to favor the Russians is one more “resistance” Big Lie, one that was pushed by NPR.]

“Sure, it stinks, but it’s not a conspiracy is all I’m saying,” said Tapper.

When Nadler responded that it could be, Tapper said there’s “no evidence” that it would have been a conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 election.

Correct. I would bet my head that President Trump will finish this term, and I like the odds, if not the prospect,  that he will get a second if he wants one.

4. A society that embraces political correctness and paternalism will eventually end freedom of expression.  This was predictable. The British Film Institute is rejecting  films that have scarred, disfigured or presumably ugly villains  so as to “remove the stigma around disfigurement”. Films featuring villains like the Phantom of the Opera, Freddy Krueger, Darth Vader, Jason Voorhees, and the Joker–and even Scar, the cartoon lion villain in “The Lion King”—will no longer get financial support from the taxpayer-funded body as part of a campaign called #IAmNotYourVillain, which was launched by a kind-hearted, mush-headed British charity.

Of course, Dick Tracy is out of luck [“Who’s Dick Tracy?”], since all of his bad guys—Flat Top, Prune Face, Egghead—were mirror-crackers. I wonder if zombie flicks are covered: sure, the zombies are dead, but they are, or were humans, and  I’d call having your face rotting away a disfigurement. Does the rule only apply to human villains? Do scary humanoid space aliens count, since they are hideously deformed by our standards, though by their standards, we are the deformed ones? What about deformed good guys who we just think are villains until their soft, chewy center is revealed? Like Sloth, in the Goonies…

Morons.

[Pointer: Michael West]

5.  More naming ethics. Southwest Airlines apologized after a gate agent ridiculed a 5-year-old girl’s name and posted a photo of her boarding pass on social media. The girls mother protested to the airline, which issued this apology:

“We extend our sincere apology to the family. We take great pride in extending our Southwest Hospitality to all of our Customers, which includes living by the Golden Rule and treating every individual with respect, in person or online. The post is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility we expect from all of our Employees. We have followed up with the Employee involved, and while we do not disclose personnel actions publicly, we are using this as an opportunity to reinforce our policies and emphasize our expectations for all Employees.”

The girl’s mother also said that Southwest staff laughed at the name while they were boarding the plane.

The girl’s name is Abcde, and pronounced “ab-city.”

Southwest was right to apologize, as its employees’ conduct was unprofessional and cruel.

The mother is an idiot, and she better prepare her daughter to be mocked a lot. I assume this was a gender-neutral name, so the girl can be bullied or brain-washed into switch genders at a later date. Maybe the mother was just an idiot, though. Hard to tell. [Pointer: Fred]

6. Whataboutism” ethics. It is true, as has been pointed out here many times, that “Yeah, but he/she/they did it too” is not a rational rebuttal of accusations of unethical behavior. It is also true, however, that in the right context, “Yeah, but he/she/they did it too” does raise a rebuttable presumption that a critic is applying a double standard, and is arguing from bias. Here’s an excellent example from the daily parade of flawed logic and ignorance, “The View.” In a segment on ABC’s “The View” exploring the use of tear gas was used on would-be illegal immigrants who threw rocks at U.S. Border Patrol agents and rushed the border crossing,  Abby Huntsman and Meghan McCain raised the media’s hypocrisy in their coverage for giving identical tactics used during the Obama administration a broad pass.  Citing the National Review, Whoopi Goldberg accurately noted that The National Review had protested  that agents had used tear-gass during the Obama years, and there was little criticism in the media. Co-host Joy Behar, who is also capable of naming a child ABCDE, retorted,

“Do they have a photo like that when Obama was in office?” as she showed a picture of a woman running from tear gas with her two kids. Yes, this qualifies as an argument on “The View.” After McCain and Huntsman reassured the herd that indeed the Obama era use of tear gas is not in question, Sunny Hostin said,

“The last I checked President Obama is no longer in office! President Trump is in office! I don’t care what Obama did! I care what Trump is doing right here right now!”

That would be a valid ethical retort, if...

  • Hostin criticized Obama’s policy at the time.
  • Hostin can honestly say that she would make the same objection regardless of which President was in power.
  • Hostin says that she agreed with Obama’s policy then, but came to realize that it was wrong.

Of course, what she meant was “I only care about the tear-gassing because a Republican, white President I hate is behind it.”  [Pointer: Grady.]

22 thoughts on “Noonish Ethics Warm-Up, 11/30/18: The Trouble With Sloth, Bing Misplaced, And Reader Pointers

  1. 5) See this is child abuse.

    When we see the outrage over the supposed racism of hiring managers by passing “black names” what we are really doing is mischaracterizing the situation.

    I fully believe hiring managers bypass *unorthodox*, *non-traditional* sounding names. And there’s really not a problem with this. No there really isn’t. Hiring managers have mountains and mountains of resumes to sift through. They can’t scrutinize everything. Now, this isn’t a 100% rule, but I think the correlation is much more present than it is not present – that children with bonkers names have bonkers parents. Bonkers parents raise bonkers children. Employers don’t like bonkers individuals in their offices because they are unreliable and unpredictable. Yes, I know, this isn’t a 100% rule, and we all know solid people with odd names and we all know bonkers people with ‘normal’ names. But the correlation is present ENOUGH that the stereotype is an accurate ENOUGH stereotype, that when hiring managers need to cull down a stack of 200 resumes, and they can chuck 10% of them off the get go because someone wanted to name their kid ABCDE or Tronquisha or Rainbow Moonbeam, then they are going to chuck 10% of them from the get go.

    That being said, naming your child something bonkers is child abuse, because you are giving that child a bonkers name to satisfy *your own ego* while saddling that child with a life long burden of perpetually having to explain that their parents didn’t understand that the child would look like a perpetual idiot from then on.

  2. Channel 30 is apparently all Mannheim Steamroller, so there’s sort of another Christmas channel. I happened to page through it this morning.

  3. #5–“The British Film Institute is rejecting films that have scarred, disfigured or presumably ugly villains”

    What Happy Horseshit CRAP!! They’d embrace a director that was “hard on the eyes” in the interests of inclusivity and not surrendering to Looksism, am I right?

    Want to see steam come out of their imbecilic ears?

    Have Michael Moore do a remake of The Blob

  4. Re point 4.
    I agree 100% with the bold heading. With that said does PC only affect the things we find objectionable or does it operate both ways?

    First let me say denial of taxpayer support to facilitate expression is not chilling expression it simply is not subsidizing it. The NEA was roundly criticized for its subsidy to an artist who created a religious icon in urine. Would that be PC as well?

    Yesterday the poll was whether CNN was justified in firing Marc Lamont Hill for expressing his political views that were antithetical to many. Did the many who felt CNN was justified consider that perhaps they were imposing their own brand of political correctness. I do believe there are absolute moral positions to take but I can defeat those with morally reprehensible ideas with my own words and thoughts provided my economic means to support myself is not harmed by government edict or a PC culture.

    Nothing stops a filmaker from portraying villians as ugly, this directive simply chooses not to support such arts financially. Obviously, the public will be the final arbiter. Films that do well at the box office will succeed and films that tend to confuse good versus evil will probably suffer. Their is a emotional reason why villians are portrayed as ugly and our heroes as beautiful people. It sells.

    • In Great Britain, where everything in the arts is subsidized, this chills expression much more than it does in the US. Subsidizing art does chill expression, unless it is completely apolitical, and even then, it’s a warping factor. Piss Christ was expression, it was just expression that offended a lot of people. “Imagine” offends me, as it is stupid. But since bureaucrats can’t, and shouldn’t,decide what is good art, they either have to subsidize all, or nothing. I vote for “nothing.”

    • I think the BFI’s decision is more serious and more far-reaching than the reports are expressing. This is an iconic organization in the film world. What they do is going to be carefully considered by film festivals (hundreds world-wide, where the distributors and programmers come to buy, finances found, and the reputation of originality and high quality in filmmaking is upheld).

      This affects us all, not only because it is BFI behind this ugly PC plot, but because there is a virtue-signalling organization behind them. #MeToo and hard-line feminist groups have coerced every single film festival and most studios into signing “diversity” and “women’s equality” policies that are already affecting every aspect of the movie industry. That happened in less than a year. The doors are now wide open for any busy little group to dictate whatever they choose. So far the dictates have been strictures, binding tighter and tighter. This is not healthy.

      BFI is a primary arbiter of probity in indy films, both British and foreign.Independents are supposed to be, well, independent. Free, open, brave, honest, pushing envelopes, taking chances — Not cringing in the face of the word nobody is using yet: CENSORSHIP. It is SELF-censorship in fact, which makes it worse. You can throw off a rule somebody lays on you … not so easy when you willingly swore to it. Your (your organization’s) reputation depends on you to abide by what you promised, especially when you promised “the public” … the little guy … the woman with the scar on her face … the man with the limp that makes him go humpity-hump… think of the crippled children!!

      This is an outgrowth of the rebound effects of seemingly sound ideas: ideas like affirmative action and equal grading (or whatever it’s called), forced “diversity,” “safe spaces,” torn down statues and unnecessary name changes, taking a hole-punch to history, putting danger into casual speech with strangers, and the “cultural appropriation” that spoils dress-up and holiday fun (I add this: it’s just as important as the rest), . All of it is unnatural, confusing and devoid of reason.

      Compliance with any or all of it is divisive, not inclusive, pinpointing people for their differences while trashing singularity, originality, and similarity; literally dividing to conquer. It is a voluntary act to accept a bad idea or accede to a bad rule of behavior. (Is there such a thing as unethical thought?) Thus self-censorship. Nothing will kill the idea of independence faster, in the organization that subscribes to it, or the human being who practices it.

      I don’t know how to fight it, other than to refuse to comply with any of it, and tell anyone who will listen – not many, and not for long – the reasons why.

  5. Re: item 4

    I really hope Nadler tries to impeach Trump with this argument. In fact, I’m praying for it.

    America needs to know what constitutes an impeachable offense, and the best way to show them that is to try to impeach Trump with something that is transparently not an impeachable offense. We need to start getting rid of the idea, hopefully by farcical, Keystone Cops style slapstick, what the Constitution meant versus what the Democrats (and probably some Republicans) think it means. I can think of nobody better than Nadler to arrange such burlesque. I’m stocking up my popcorn right now.
    Frankly, the Democrat multiple orgasm over the Cohen plea is worthy of a facepalm, at minimum, and outright mockery in general. There is no there there, and there hasn’t been in this entire Mueller investigation.

    This is just more Democratic (and media) waking wet dreams. Charging a bunch of Trump hangers-on with process crimes isn’t exactly a praiseworthy investigative record, and I confess my unsurpassed talent for understatement. This is what the Deep State gives you for your tax dollars.

    Re: item 5

    A boy named Sue? A boy named Dwezil? A girl named Moon? Now a girl named Abcde.

    People are morons, and this is child abuse. Frank Zappa’s naming convention was not a model of parental ethics. Neither was Johnny Cash’s song.

    Re: Item 6

    I think we can all agree that bias is making Hostin stupid, and the fact that maybe 30% of America would agree with her should make us all worry. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in.

  6. Of course, what she meant was “I only care about the tear-gassing because a Republican, white President I hate is behind it.” [Pointer: Grady.]

    This fits in with your post about Glen Greenwald.

    https://ethicsalarms.com/2018/11/23/ethics-hero-glenn-greenwald/

    It ensures that these very same policies will endure: by dishonestly pretending that they are unique to Trump, rather than the hallmarks of the same people now being applauded because they are denouncing Trump’s actions in such a blatantly false voice, all to mask the fact that they did the same, and worse, when they commanded the levers of American power.

  7. The story of “Wonderful Christmastime:”

    Paul McCartney: “Here’s a little Christmas song I’ve been working on.”

    [plinks keyboard while idly singing placeholder lyrics.]

    McCartney: “Something like th-”

    Record Label: “Perfect! And you did it in one take. Of course you did. You’re Paul McCartney! Let’s get it on the radio by tomorrow!”

    McCartney: “You mean you were recording that?”

    Record Label: “Yes. No need to add anything else. It’s perfect.”

    McCartney: “But that wasn’t a song. I was just showing you the chords-”

    Record Label: “We’re done here.”

  8. One more reason citing ‘how other countries do things’ does not apply to America: America has a bill of rights, and England does not.

    England chooses your rights for you, and they are subject to change on a whim.

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