Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/18/2019: “The Pussy-Grabber Plays,” And More

1. The Comment Of The Day That Wasn’t. An aspiring troll calling himself “Alan P Siegfried, PharmD” attempted to post a debut comment on “Prophesy Confirmed: SNL And Our Nation Of Assholes,” which concerned Saturday Night Live mocking the war wounds of then candidate, now Congressman Dan Crenshaw as part of a campaign of ad hominem attacks on Republican. I considered making the post a Comment of the Day, as I have in the past with especially amusing rants, but it’s not that funny. I am going to reproduce it here, though, first, to provide another example of the kind of approach that the Comment Policies explicitly warn against. You don’t get leave to comment here by insulting me or condescending to your host, much as I am in thrall to the wisdom of pharmacists. I don’t know how someone can think that it is ethical to enter a house and immediately to start vomiting on the furniture, but commenters who do think that aren’t going to be tolerated. I also thought the attempted comment would be instructive on the question of why the current imbalance between commenters on the Left and Right here or late. Recent progressives have been arriving sneering and spitting; new moderate and conservative oriented readers have been acceptably civil. Why is that, I wonder? Here is the post, and my comments follow intermittently:

How many adults did you see ‘roll with laughter?’

This is called “a bad start.” I wrote that the mockery of Crenshaw by snickering Pete Davidson had the SNL barking progressive seals roaring with laughter, which it did. The first line also was signature significance, apparently suggesting that the vicious disrespect of a wounded veteran was mitigated if the laughter was muted. “Ah!” I say, when a comment begins like this. “An idiot!”

Or is that conjecture from a big city gal who dine went and lost touch with reality??

Wait—I’m a “big city gal”? I don’t even identify as one.

Vets are special, dignified, upstanding folks. That, however, does NOT make them immune to jokes, like this dude hasn’t heard eye patch jokes yet? Come on.

See “Ah!” comment above. The commenter believes that if an individual has been treated badly and unethically in the same way previously, then such conduct is magically OK.

And the next week he and Pete were on the damned show together, so YES, he CAN take a personal joke from an SNL MEMBER, unlike the writer, (author seems too dignified). They joked and made sure each other were understood and things were on level footing.

Crenshaw turned the episode into a political victory and allowed SNL to extract itself from what was overwhelmingly condemned by all sides. He had previously made it clear in his public statements that he regarded the mockery for his disfigurement unfunny and wrong.

Do you have a disability? Personally? Because a lot of times, when people are healthy and accept their circumstance, they are happier, able to roll and deal emotionally with obvious teasing or jeering, and then, in the back of their mind, a MARINE knows he can whip 95% of the peoples asses in the United States. He is not saddened by this exchange. I assure you. Also, ALSO, BUG ONE HERE, How many people ACTUALLY approve of this treatment toward vets, troops, servicemen and women… very few if any. How many ppl thought it was funny. A ton. How many average folks, ‘being corrupted by this SNL MEDIA ATTACKING OUR BRAIN HOLES,’would even entertain saying anything LIKE a derogatory statement to a brave, battle-heartened vet, now trying to make things right in DC? Very. Very. Few.

If you can figure out what this paragraph means, let me know. On second thought, don’t bother. I don’t care. However, I count at least three rationalizations in there.

Who are you writing for? Who is your audience? You trying to convince conservatives to find the mistake in their ways? I seriously doubt it.

Oooh, I got this one! I’m writing for people like you, Alan, who never learned how to apply ethics problem solving skills or learn how to analyze an ethics issue. Unfortunately, you appear beyond helping.

Don’t be a child. Make a good case, be a decent, even GOOD, human, and quit writing garbage that tilts the world toward disorder, misinformation, and Ruffin chaos.

Because pointing out that it is unethical to use personal  appearances and disabilities as a way to attack those you disagree with tilts “the world toward disorder.”

Alan has since posted two more equally obnoxious screeds that will never get out of moderation. “Hello! I want to post on your blog and by the way, you write garbage!” is not an effective greeting here. I’m funny that way.

2. Trump’s letter’s aftermath. The smart and ethical way to react when an  adversary completely outmaneuvers you is to smile, concede momentary defeat, and say, “Well played. I walked right into that one.” Yet this morning I watched Rep. Adam Schiff say that this was one more example of the President acting like a fifth grader. Could the public possibly be as stupid and House Democrats seem to think? The cancellation of the Democrat’s junket flight, unlike Pelosi’s transparently and gratuitous insulting disinvitation of the President to give the State of the Union Message, at least had some genuine logic behind it: if ending the Border Wall-Budget impasse is indeed high priority, it is irresponsible for the Speaker to take off for an extended trip. It was also instructive to watch the news media try to spin this for Pelosi. Robin Meade, on HLN, noted that the President flew to Iraq to thank the troops shortly after the shutdown. At the time, however Meade’s bosses a CNN were already attacking him for NOT visiting the troops, and the fact is that overseeing the military is in his job description, not Pelosi’s. The Speaker has no role to play in international relations and the military at all.

Perhaps even more telling was this blatant double standard, from Meade’s CNN colleague Chris Cillizza. It’s a “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” classic!

The hilarious aspect of this is that Pelosi’s letter was not a power move at all, just a further effort to denigrate the President. She has no power to prevent the State of the Union Message. Trump’s letter, in contrast was very much a power move. He can block House junkets, he can do a lot of things, and most important of all, he has the audacity to do them.

Again, the key questions are how dumb do the media and Democrats think the public is, and how dumb is it?

Meanwhile, the Ethics Alarms poll results so far…

3. Hatred of the President takes many ugly forms. In New York, Off Broadway, they are presenting “The Pussy Grabber Plays,” a program of eight short works based on the accusations of the women who  publicly accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment or assault during the 2016 campaign, after Trump’s infamous “Access Hollywood” went public. The Times drama critic says the plays  “collectively form an act of vehement feminist protest.” Wrong. They collectively form an act of vicious libel and slander that comes very close to meeting the Supreme Court standard for when defamation of a public figure crosses the line into both falsehood and malice. Writes the female Times critic, “To most of us, the events in these plays were stories in the headlines. To these people, though, this was life.”  Yeah? Prove it. During the Kavanaugh hearing, dozens of women tried to register unproven and unprovable claims that the judge had assaulted or harassed them, including two whose names were made public and whose claims were definitively debunked. The one “credible” accuser still was unable to prove her case sufficiently to overcome a presumption of innocence, yet the “resistance,” which thrives in show business circles (and the Times, of course), still denies that the presumption of innocence should exist when men, and especially conservative men, and particularly the President, are being accused by women.

“The Pussy Grabber Plays” are available for local productions at no fee. It’s all about art, of course.

4. Paralyzed by partisan bullying and political correctness… and it serves them right. It really looks like the Oscars won’t have an MC this year. The last time that was tried, in 1989, the resulting show was so meandering and unprofessional that many actors formally complained to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists. Awards shows need hosts, but after Kevin Hart was chosen and immediately subjected to a Hader Gotcha!, no qualified performer is willing to risk being destroyed by various victim and minority groups looking for a scalp to collect. (Ooops! A reference insensitive to native Americans! And I was just going to call the Oscars and volunteer!) There just aren’t as many established female comedians as the male variety—I’m sure that’s pure discrimination—to stand in the shoes of Johnny Carson and Bob Hope–and all someone needs to do to crush an actress who assumes the role is to show that she accepted favors from Harvey Weinstein, or knew his habits but didn’t warn young actresses to stay away. A male host? Forget about it. Some previously unknown starlet seeking a moment in the spotlight will claim he kissed her, or fondled her, or watched smiling as another man kissed her or fondled her, even if she enjoyed it at the time. Or he sent a dumb tweet with a joke about gays, women, the handicapped, blacks, Hillary, trans individuals, illegal immigrants or Barack Obama.

What the mess really shows is how weenie-fied Hollywood is, but then, showing guts is now considered “toxic masculinity.” Why doesn’t one talented comic say, “Hell, I’ll do it. Take your best shot. The industry deserves a professional awards show.” My candidate would be late night talk show host James Corden, who is clever, sweet, apolitical, seemingly asexual (though married), and who was terrific as Peter in “Peter Rabbit.”

 

31 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/18/2019: “The Pussy-Grabber Plays,” And More

      • More mockery? That’s three in a row. Are you trying to provoke an intemperate response, or do you just not know the effect of this, even after I stated it earlier?

        I’ll see your mockery and raise you some civility.

        For what it’s worth, I might have mentioned that the practice was probably started by the French offering bounties, but I would have admitted – and do admit – that it was the Red Indians (can I write that?) who got the reputation, so some might read “scalping” as their custom.

  1. 4. If they could get him to do it, Charles Grodin would be perfect. He might do it for the sport of it and could do it without even breaking a sweat. He’d have the perfect oblique response to anything they threw at him. He’d drive any accusers nuts.

  2. 1. I don’t know how someone can think that it is ethical to enter a house and immediately to start vomiting on the furniture, but commenters who do think that aren’t going to be tolerated.

    I’m fairly sure that most people see the blogs they encounter as public forums that come into their own homes, and thus they feel offended that you, who disagree with them, are messing up their well-ordered domiciles. Still, I marvel at how people are willing to descend to such levels of incivility in a blog comment, when I doubt they would take the same tone to someone face to face. But then, maybe we’re all a little blind at how we come across in a post. I know I’ve written many things that I thought exemplified passionate eloquence, only to realize later I sounded like a jerk. I even ended up posting a few, to my shame…

    I would think that calm, collected prose with structured arguments, visible premises, and sound conclusions would be far preferable to incendiary, especially if you want to contribute to a blog on ethical analysis.

    2. The more I think about Trump’s letter to Pelosi, the more I wonder if Trump doesn’t have two or three more “gotcha’s” of this magnitude lined up. I would think it difficult for the Democrats to maintain their momentum in the fight over the government shutdown simply in light of this cancelled trip, but a few more like that might deflate their sails altogether.

    3. Do you know, Jack, much about the quality of the plays? Are they anything that would stand on their own without the current political environment? I don’t mind works that use current political themes form the basis of a story, but it seems to me that a lot of what’s being produced is junk made specifically for political sniping.

    4. No sin shall ever be forgiven,
    no slight left unavenged,
    but all shall be judged wanting and torn down.
    When no one remains to stand,
    we’ll gaze across the empty land,
    wasted by the whirlwind that we have sown.

    • 1. Oh, I think you’re right. On the other hand, comment policies and “About” pages lay out the rules for all to see. As my Dad liked to say, “RTP!”–“Read the paper!” If you don’t read instructions, you only have yourself to blame if the device blows up in your face,

      • This is the only place I ever read comments. Comments on MSM sites devolve into nasty ad hominem stuff in one or two entries. It’s depressing. I guess they’re not moderated. But they are also moronic, unlike here.

    • I’m fairly sure that most people see the blogs they encounter as public forums that come into their own homes, and thus they feel offended that you, who disagree with them, are messing up their well-ordered domiciles.

      The proper answer to those who have such an entitled mindset is ‘Bite Me!’ He who pays the bills makes the rules. Ignore those rules at your peril.*

      The more I think about Trump’s letter to Pelosi, the more I wonder if Trump doesn’t have two or three more “gotcha’s” of this magnitude lined up… might deflate their sails altogether.

      I pray to God that he does. It is about time the Democrats learn that their bullshit applies to them as well, and that they created the incivil environment that allowed him to be elected. They need to feel the pain personally and understand that they have relied too long upon the civility of their longsuffering foes. They have now gotten a foe who is as uncivil as they have been for decades, and such is condign justice.

      *This may be a significant portion of traditional conservatism in nutshell, now that I think about it.

  3. It was petty….and funny. And the reactions from the people you’ve already pointed out were funny. Really hard not to like him sometimes.

  4. 1 COTD that wasn’t

    I found him on social media. He’s just some millenial pharmacist with delusions of … something. His narcissism is evident in his SM presence.

    In his defense, he did use his real name.

    2 Trump’s letter

    Could the public possibly be as stupid and House Democrats seem to think?

    You mean the same public who put the insanely leftist Democrats, the worst of the worst of their party, in charge of the House of Representatives? Your question answers itself.

    3 Hatred of the President

    I wish I could muster shock and horror, even a little outrage. All I can muster is sadness.

    4 Partisan bullying

    Awards shows need hosts, but after Kevin Hart was chosen and immediately subjected to a Hader Gotcha!, no qualified performer is willing to risk being destroyed by various victim and minority groups looking for a scalp to collect.

    I don’t blame them in the least. I’d rather subject myself to 10 straight days of waterboarding than 15 minutes of the Twitter “gotcha” mob. Looks like other potential MC’s feel exactly the same way.

    Why doesn’t one talented comic say, “Hell, I’ll do it. Take your best shot. The industry deserves a professional awards show.”

    My remark would be that Hollywood, in its current form, does not deserve an awards show at all, professional or otherwise. They are intolerant, hypocritical one-percenters without the least self-awareness, virtue-signaling their way through life as if social media were the whole world.

  5. Re: No. 2:

    Did you see Rep. Pelosi’s comments today? Here it is in all of this glory:

    -https://www.facebook.com/CNNReplay/videos/789739221385002/UzpfSTg0MTI1NDU1NjoxMDE1Njg5NTg0MjMzOTU1Nw/?comment_id=10156895986354557&notif_id=1547847925514823&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic

    Apparently, Trump should be impeached because, by cancelling the military flight, he exposed the travelers to risk and jeopardized their safety. Nice spin, Madame Speaker. Well done.

    jvb

  6. I tried to post this to Facebook, just for fun. This is what I received:

    You can’t share this link

    ethicsalarms.files.wordpress.com

    Your content couldn’t be shared, because this link goes against our Community Standards
    If you think this doesn’t go against our Community Standards let us know.

    jvb

  7. 1) It didn’t rake any reasoning to get offended by his comments. Too many of the words were badly misspelled and just plain out of context, it’s hard to take them seriously. Hint: get the free add-on Grammarly app and clean it up. ‘Dine’ was the first head scratcher and others were worse.
    3) “The Pussy Grabber Plays” are available for local productions at no fee. It’s all about art, of course. Too bad I never got involved in acting. Let’s do an avant-guard casting to challenge stereotypes and change only gender, or does anyone want to say that guys don’t get grabbed too? I understand getting the rights to a play can be expensive…
    4) Networks and executive producers will break away first. They have forgotten that big bucks come from appealing to everyone, not lecturing them. If they don’t, the dollar will, just like it’s been hurting football. We watched to see how movies we like do (and message movies don’t have legs, witness the relative success of the different Ghostbusters movies) or the costumes of famous actors. It will be a disaster unless they do have a mystery host to reduce the risk of gotchas.

  8. A propos of nothing in this post, but a propos of everything that is going in this thread, it seems that rising star Beto O’roarke may have outlived his welcome as a Democrat party presidential hopeful. According to Nia-Malika Henderson, Senior Political Reporter over at CNN, his new video is dripping with white male privilege. Check it out:

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/17/politics/beto-orourke-funk-drive-2020/index.html

    I do love me this quote: “But the fact that he knows he has the freedom to cast about as a campaign-in-waiting forms, shows how much of his political identity is predicated on being white and male.”

    jvb

  9. 4 Why not Corden’s predecessor, Craig Ferguson? Quick thinking and self-deprecating but slyly clever without being too mean or seeming to feel much pressure to ingratiate himself with any particular demographic. Is he no longer one of the “cool kids”?

  10. The hilarious aspect of this is that Pelosi’s letter was not a power move at all, just a further effort to denigrate the President. She has no power to prevent the State of the Union Message.

    In the abstract and in general, she obviously has no such power. But Parliament long ago established the precedent that the monarch and the monarch’s servants couldn’t enter Parliament without Parliament’s leave, a precedent that is ceremonially and ritually re-asserted with each Parliament. Did the U.S.A. omit this when setting up its legislature? If there is a similar principle, no president can ever give a State of the Union Message in Congress without Congress’s leave. So I’m wondering whether this precedent was or was not copied and implemented.

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