Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 12/16/18: As Bing And I Dream Of A White Christmas, Pre-Holiday Ugliness

Good afternoon!

[For some reason, Bing’s version of the song that begins the film “White Christmas”–accompanied by a music box–is completely off-key. This has bothered me for decades. How could this happen?]

1. Our trustworthy news media. How many news outlets reported this story? In 2016, Tribune Publishing Co. owner Michael Ferro met with corporate leaders from within his news empire, including chief news executives from the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.  During the meeting, he engaged in old-fashioned Jew-bashing, railing about the “Jewish cabal” that ran Los Angeles. In 2018,  Tribune Publishing made the first in a series of secret extortion payments that totaled $2.5 million to avoid a threatened lawsuit filed by a fired newspaper executive who had been in that room, thus keeping Ferro’s anti-Semitic slur out of the news.

Yes, a news organization paid millions to suppress the news. The rest of the story is similarly disturbing.

2. KABOOM! This article made my head explode. Therein, CNN contributor Kate Anderson Bower attacks the First Lady, saying that “she doesn’t understand what it means to be first lady.” The article is perfect 10s all across the board: for arrogance, for bias, for Trump-bashing, for incompetence and historical revisionism. The accusation arose from statements Melania made in an interview with Sean Hannity, stating that the hardest part of her job was having to deal with her and her family being personally attacked by “comedians to journalists to performers[and]book writers.”  Bower writes that Melania was

“again making the job about herself and her family instead of taking the opportunity to talk about the challenges she sees other people facing…The entire moment was a lost opportunity to put attention on the families of struggling Americans she’s met in her role as first lady, especially since she spent time the very next day reading to children at Children’s National Hospital, some sitting in wheelchairs with IVs attached. And the Hannity interview took place on USS George H.W. Bush, a trip the first lady made to support members of the military and their families. Wouldn’t it have been heartening to hear her use that moment during the interview to talk about the women and babies she’s met struggling with opioid addiction, or the children who she has met as part of her “Be Best” campaign who have been bullied at school, or the people whose homes were destroyed in the California fires?”

I’ll tell you what, you presumptuous hack: when you’re First Lady, you show us how it’s done.

There is no job of First Lady for Melania to “understand.” Bower is imposing her values and priorities on the job, and claiming that she knows the job description, which has always fluctuated with the occupant and the times.  The job of the First Lady, to the extent there is one, is to do whatever is possible to help the President of the United States be successful and succeed, using whatever talents she has. There is no obligation for a First Lady to be Eleanor Roosevelt, nor is it written in ink or precedent that the President’s spouse has to concentrate on “the challenges she sees other people facing.”  Jackie Kennedy’s primary project was renovating the White House, where she lived. How did that help the poor and under-privileged?  Lady Bird beautified the shores of the Potomac. How was that a boon to the poor in Appalachia?  Nobody criticized their priorities. I wonder why?

The nation is facing an institutional and constitutional crisis because of the challenges her husband is facing. No President in history has been bombarded by a concerted and coordinated campaign of personal and political destruction like her husband has, and will continue be to as long as he holds office. No First Lady has ever been derided and insulted like Melania, and the previous one, whose great contribution to U.S.  society was to make school lunches healthy but inedible, was treated as a goddess. I’m sure Bower would like to see Melania routinely attacking her husband’s policies, and arguing for the migrant hordes and the presumed guilt of men accused of sexual assault. That’s just too damn bad. Melania Trump’s first job, as First Lady, is to have her husband’s back.

3.  From the “Politics Poisons Everything” files: Variety reports that the NFL is having trouble filling out its line-up to perform at the Super Bowl because “woke” musicians and performers don’t want to be associated with the mean, racist NFL, which doesn’t allow its players to hijack the National Anthem to make half-baked, incoherent protests about “racial injustice and police brutality” when they are supposed to be, you know, playing football.

Once upon a time, before the Left decided that there should be no such things, professional sports and national events like Presidential inaugurations, funerals of statesmen, arts awards presentations, sports team invitations to the White House and the Super Bowl were non-partisan, non-political, nationally unifying activities. Now, with athletes and artists having taken the bait and entered the partisan political arena, everything is an endorsement or a boycott.

Personally, I boycott the NFL because it makes billions paying young men to get brain injured for the amusement of the intellectual and moral descendants of the Romans who cheered gladiators fighting to the death in the Colosseum. As for the half-time show, two words: Marching bands.

Finally, this comment from the Variety article, via Gozie Boy:

“I’m surprised the NFL hasn’t got Kaepernick, BLM, Madonna, Babs, Antifa, and a hundred other America haters to do a special, heart-wrenching program of kneeling routines, flag stomping/burning, p*ssy hat formations, Trump profanities, and simulated cop murders, all to the dulcet tones of tattooed thugs belting out their greatest hits of violent pornographic rap.”

4. Signature Significance! On Reddit, a husband tells the sad story that his wife wants to be artificially inseminated so their child will be better looking than he is. I may use this as an explanation of signature significance: no woman who believes this, much less who says it, can possibly love and respect her husband sufficiently to justify a marriage. This is all the husband needs to know, and thus he should take the sage advice of the Amityville Horror house, and “GET OUT!” (No, he has no inheritable disease or physical abnormality.)

Sure enough, the husband eventually learned that his wife had the perfect donor already picked out—and was having an affair with him. The husband now says he’s going to begin divorce proceedings and “destroy her in court” after he calls the potential sperm donor’s wife—Mr. Wonderful Sperm is a doctor— and tells her about the affair.


5. Trump Tweets. The President felt that he had to send out a tweet gloating about the demise of The Weekly Standard, which rallied NeverTrump conservatives. It just doesn’t occur to him that nice people don’t gloat, and cheering the demise of any enterprise, when real people lose their jobs, income and their dreams, can’t possibly do anything but hurt him.

Hopeless. Hopeless.

9 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 12/16/18: As Bing And I Dream Of A White Christmas, Pre-Holiday Ugliness

  1. I think the recording is just playing a little too slowly. I don’t think it was performed and sung off key. I think it’s a recording/play back/re-recording issue. Inept? Yes.

  2. 4. Wait, from the preceding post, I thought looks weren’t supposed to matter. I’m confused. Looks only matter if it’s the guys’ looks we’re talking about? Have any professors of media studies (i.e. watching TV [is this a great country or what?]) pointed this out or written their theses on this topic?

  3. I sometimes wish the President had his own Julia Sand (I owe you my lifelong thanks for introducing her story to readers like me on EA) who would act as his conscience, but I doubt the President reads much, doubt he would recognize the need to be better and, unlike Arthur, doubt he recognizes the Presidency as being the great honor that it is, much less the Vice-Presidency.

  4. 1. The rest of the story is similarly disturbing. No, it’s way more disturbing. And I can see why you didn’t go any further, seeing as how it would take up at least a week’s worth of blog posts just to explain who was who when. What a mess! It does lead me to wonder, however, if the journalists are as much at fault as we think. Much as we would like them all to be the eternal truth-tellers, it’s hard to get published after you’ve been fired. The last thing the papers needed was the union, but they were johnnies-on-the-spot as far as the reporters were concerned and you can’t blame them for welcoming the organizers.

    The newspapers are rotting from the top down. And I thought it was just Murdoch.

  5. 4. I would take this, and anything that appears on Reddit anonymously, with a grain of salt. First, that particular board is known for soap operaish relationship stories that are rarely corroborated beyond the poster’s say-so. Second, it fits a disturbingly prevalent Reddit narrative — that all women are 100% systemically and selfishly out to use good-looking men for their genes and unfortunate-looking men for their resources* — just a little too well. The post has now been removed, and many commenters are calling it out for being fake for similar reasons. That doesn’t confirm anything but it doesn’t smell good either.

    *Note: I will not debate this point with anyone, but just so it’s clear: yes, some women do behave this way. No, far from all women do or want to. Even if women influenced this way by evo psych, and that’s a big if, it’s not hardwired in us. The idea that women think and act as a hive mind is what disturbs me most here, and I feel I can’t speak out against it enough.

    • The idea that women think and act as a hive mind… disturbs me too, when it is not being assumed as or attacked for being just that. It is true in pretty much the same way women think of men as not being able to keep their minds off sex. There is truth in both and they are both lazy ways of thinking.

      They are the downsides, in a sense, of very positive attributes: in women, such as the power of cooperation; in men, of competition. The idea of “hive mind” comes to the fore, for instance, when a sentiment like “think of the children” distracts from a situation where the idea (or the inhumane actuality) is being used as a Trojan horse … or of course, in the rallying cries of “Believe Women” or “#MeToo” generalities which call for disbelieving and distrusting men in all or in great part.

      But you already know this. There is a preponderance of reactive testosterone in the comments here, too much to argue just by the all-too-occasional posts like yours. Being gay, and as a one-time supporter of “feminism,” I try to keep my entries in gender-balance, but I have to consciously fight off that overcritical “lapsed such-and-so” or outsider attitude. Being not so energetic these days, I don’t respond as often as I should to the knee-jerk homophobia or plain-jerk sexism. It is all too easy to fall of the point into a personal, irrelevant response.

      This is just to let you know your comments are welcomed and respected by this fellow commenter, and to offer my encouragement for you to continue the good fight.

      • Thanks friend, that means a lot.

        Honestly I don’t notice the “women are a single organism” mindset here nearly as much as on other sites I visit (let’s not start on dating apps), and I sometimes struggle against the idea that “*men* are a single organism” myself. But even a whiff of it makes me feel powerless and frustrated, because it goes against my personal experience (“I’m an *individual*, dammit!”) and because it’s just so clearly *wrong*.

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