Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/10/2019: Icky, Creepy, And Wrong

Good Afternoon!

Working today to train a Clarence Darrow understudy for my Darrow legal ethics seminars that my original Clarence, the estimable Paul Morella, can’t fit into his schedule. I’ll be doing one such seminar in New Jersey this month. You can never have enough Clarence Darrows!

1. On the matter of corporations caving to social media mobs..here’s something completely stupid. Earlier this winter, Delta Air Lines distributed cocktail napkins with message, “Be a little old school,” in small print on the napkin, advertising Diet Coke. “Write down your number & give it to your plane crush. You never know …” There was a space on the napkin where a passenger could write down his or her name and another space for their number. The larger print said, “because you’re on a plane full of interesting people and hey,” again, “… you never know.”

The harmless stunt was condemned by some flyers on social media as “creepy,” and that was enough to spark a dual company grovel.  “We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January,” Delta told USA Today in a statement. Coca-Cola added: “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended. We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs.”

I think it’s creepy that I often find myself sitting next to someone on a plane who is so close I can count his or her moles, and that neither of us will say a word to each other  for hours. I can’t fault Delta and Coke for trying to break the ice and encourage a more social atmosphere on planes, especially since the air travel experience has become increasingly grim and uncomfortable. I know more than one couple who owe their long marriage to a number scrawled on an airplane napkin. (Full disclosure: I once wrote a message to an attractive young  flight attendant who was especially effervescent. She smiled, and I never heard a word from her.)

All attempts at human contact with strangers aren’t harassment.

2. Ew. Did the National Enquirer try to blackmail Jeff Bezos? It sure sounds like it. Bezos says that the tabloid threatened to publish “dick pics” from his social media output if he didn’t get his paper, the Washington Post, to back off from its accusation that the Enquirer’s coverage of the nasty Bezos divorce was based on political animus rather than good ol’ old-fashioned tabloid sleeziness. You can read the Bezos blog post here.

The theory seems to be that the Enquirer is doing the bidding of President Trump, Saudi Arabia, or someone or something equally nefarious. And yes, the head of the Enquirer’s publishing outfit really is named “Pecker,” and it has nothing to do with the Bezos junk shot. Bezos is apparently releasing the Weiner-like photos someone hacked from his account to foil the extortion attempt. Let’s see: a) Nothing could lower my opinion of the National Enquirer. b) Ethics Alarms subscribes to the Naked VIP Principle, which is that if you are a public figure and send pictures of Mr. Wiggly to ANYONE over the internet, you deserve no sympathy for anything unpleasant that happens to you as a result.

I don’t care if “everybody does it’ (and if everybody really is taking crotch selfies and mailing them to friends and strangers, I don’t belong on this planet any more), if you do this, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.

3. This is useful for things like the Green New Deal. From the National Review, Williamson’s First Law. “Everything is simple if you don’t know a fucking thing about it.”

Perfect.

4.Now THIS is rejecting the presumption of innocence. Again: the position here is that Justin Fiarfax cannot do his job while under suspicion of serial rape allegations from named accusers willing to testify under oath, and should voluntarily step down. Duke, however, is asking him to leave a board using the false principle of guilty until proven innocent and “believe all accusers” standards.

“I am writing to let you know that Justin Fairfax will be asked to step down from the Sanford School Board of Visitors pending the resolution of the serious and deeply distressing allegations that have been made against him,” Dean Judith Kelley wrote in an email  to Sanford staff and students. “Sexual assault is abhorrent and unfortunately can occur right around us. I urge everyone to take survivors of sexual assault seriously, and to help build an environment that is safe and supportive for everyone,” she added.

Wrong. His presence does not make anyone “unsafe” because an unproven accusation has been made. Nor is it not taking sexual assault seriously to refuse to use a mere accusation to strip an accused man of his positions and honors. The board membership is mostly honorific. Duke is taking sides where it should be neutral.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Democrats are going to leave Governor “King of Pop” Northam to keep moon-dancing in the Virginia Statehouse, since polls show them wanting him to stay 2-1. Can it really be that the only one to lose his job over this mess will be the black guy? This is what is known as “the appearance of impropriety.”

But wait! There’s more from the Old Dominion here:

Ibraheem Samirah, the Democrat nominee in Virginia’s 86th district House of Delegates election on February 19th, issued a statement Friday evening apologizing for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic social media posts that were published Thursday by Big League Politics. Samirah, a Muslim-American born to Palestinian refugees, said that giving money to Israel is worse than giving money to the Ku Klux Klan and wished for the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to “burn,” in addition to other hateful screeds.

“This slander campaign is using my 5-year old Facebook posts from my impassioned college days, posts that upon reflection and with the blessing of time, I sincerely regret and apologize for. I am so sorry that my ill-chosen words added to the pain of the Jewish community and I seek your understanding and compassion as I prove to you our common humanity,” Samirah stated.

A “Hader Gotcha” is when someone searches old social media posts to embarrass a public figure. The vileness of the exercise diminishes according to the age of the posts and the relevance of the opinions discovered to the position of the writer. Finding high school tweets to embarrass a baseball pitcher like Josh Hader is indefensible. Flagging five-year old anti-Semitic  posts by someone running for elected office is very defensible, and it certainly isn’t “slander.”

5. Res Ipsa Loquitur ( I hope) Yes, this is what is going on during Sunday talk shows. From CNN (Pointer: Ann Althouse):

On  a panel about the mess in Virginia, Jake Tapper asked Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragan  to confirm that she wouldn’t want the three Democrats to resign, since it would make the Republican speaker of the Virginia house of delegates governor. She ranted

No, but we need to think about doing what’s right and what’s right for Virginians and what’s right overall. I mean, the race issue in today’s day and age with the president at the helm who has been one of the most divisive presidents and, frankly, racist himself, is a conversation we do need to have. But looking at just the line of order and saying we’re not going to do that because of the consequence is not the right way to do this. And so for me, I would — I do think we need to have this conversation and we should continue to have this conversation, but it has to be front and center. And we can’t forget about the person who is dividing us and who himself is injecting this into the country to live up again and coming out again. We haven’t seen it be this bad in recent time until the president has really made this a race issue whether it’s about African-Americans, certainly he’s doing it all over the board with immigrants, but we need to have this conversation.

Then black CNN commentator Nina Turner ranted back…

Jake, I cannot. I just can’t. 1984, 1980, Gucci just a few days ago. This is not about President Donald Trump. This is about racism in the United States of America. Congresswoman, I hear you, but on this, we’re not blaming President Trump. …No, let me just say this… I am not going to continue to let politicians use this man as the excuse to deal with racism in this country. It’s been going on for far too long in the United States of America. We need some real truth and reconciliation. Yes, president Trump is a racist. There is no doubt about it. But as we have seen, Democrats delve in racism as well.We’ve got to stop making this about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat. I want to know who say humanitarian. I want to know who’s going to stand up for people’s lives, starting with black people’s lives. Because when you take care of black lives everybody’s life is taken care of. Everyone’s life taken care of. So no more about this — these three men. It had nothing to do with President Trump. What Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is going through don’t have nothing to do with President Trump. Northam wearing blackface don’t have nothing to do with Donald Trump. Herring, wearing blackface has nothing to do with Donald Trump. This is about racism in the DNA of this country. And I am over it. We are traumatized, Jake, and we are sick of it. Politicians need to stop playing games.

What’s res ipsa loquitur is how one-sided and biased even disagreements are on CNN; how there are members of Congress whose quality of thought is as incoherent and  hysterical as Barragan’s; that CNN employs “journalists” who utter sentences like, “What Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is going through don’t have nothing to do with President Trump.” Why send children to school if they are going to hear adults talk like that on TV?

Here is what might no be so obvious: Jake Tapper just sat there like  a smug frog on a lily pad and didn’t challenge a colleagues statement that the President is  a racist. This is Big Lie journalism, as I have said before. Furthermore, the fact that two Virginia Democrats when they were students once put on black make-up does not indicate anything about the state of race relations in the United States in 2019.

 

 

 

14 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Education, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

14 responses to “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/10/2019: Icky, Creepy, And Wrong

  1. Chris Marschner

    RE: Coke and Delta. My first reaction was yech but upon reflection I realized it is every bit as voluntary as the ads in the SkyMall catalogue nestled into the seat pocket. Nothing in this requires any action and if someone sends you their number if nothing else it’s a ego boost. So what.

    2 The Enquirer has played to our most base desires for as long as I can remember which is over 50 years when I read the juicy stories while visiting my grandparents. You cannot traffic in sline without getting some on you.

    3. Nothing renders facts unnecessary more than passionate opinions.

    4. I see no difference but that’s just me. As for women testifying under oath didn’t Dr.Ford testify under oath and the others give sworn depositions. Had these same women filed a police report at the time and Fairfax been under criminal investigation I can see him needing to resign. Why didn’t these women come foreward during Fairfax’s campaign? Why now; it does not pass my smell test. That is one of the reasons I give him the presumption of innocence.

    5. Each day Jake Tapper’s tarnishes his reputation a bit more.. The claims by anyone that any individual is a racist must be backed up by proof. I am of the opinion that this label should be considered libel or slander because the term carries such an inflammatory meaning. The public figure exception should not factor into this and they should be able to file suit. If pundits want to point to a policy that affects one race differently than another, thats fine but stop speculating as to motivation. I may believe someone is racially motivated but that does not make it so unless I can point to a long history of obvious discrimination.

  2. Joe Fowler

    Jack, #3. link is actually to The National Review, which IS where the article is located. I’m pretty sure Kevin Williamson has never written for the New Republic. Good article.

  3. Other Bill

    5. The thing doesn’t speak for itself as clearly as you do, Jack. Nice observations well said.

  4. Glenn Logan

    1 Social media mobs

    There is no aspect of human behavior that is beyond or beneath the reach of the mob’s outrage. That’s why it must be stopped. The best way is to force truly free speech on social media rather than allowing the owners to tailor its output to suit their own politics.

    The other is to shut it down completely.

    All attempts at human contact with strangers aren’t harassment.

    Wrong. Unless you toe the line of the Left, every human contact may be justifiably described as harassment.

    2 Bezos’ penis pix

    Ew indeed. Anyone allowing their nether regions to be photographed intentionally by a non-medical professional has … issues. Anyone photographing their own junk for non-medical reasons has even worse issues.

    The NI’s actions were in a gray area of the law. Generally, money or property has to be the object of extortion to meet the legal definition. Also, there has to be a way to negotiate in such cases if such negotiations are available without reaching a crime such as extortion or blackmail. Right now, we don’t know enough about all the communications to make a viable conclusion, only the ones made public by Bezos, and he obviously has a dog in the fight.

    But a prosecutor could almost certainly charge the crime — we have certainly seen far less plausible definitions of crimes successfully brought, and gray area by definition suggests it’s as likely one as not. Just ask Michael Cohen about his “campaign finance” violation.

    4 Presumption of innocence

    Duke, however, is asking him to leave a board using the false principle of guilty until proven innocent and “believe all accusers” standards.

    I believe this falls under the rubric of “Totalitarians gonna totalitarian.” I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, given history, that “Wiiittchh!” is being hollered in North Carolina.

    • Interesting term: totalitarian: “or relating to a government that has almost complete control over the lives of its citizens and does not permit political opposition”. It only came to be used in the 20s and 30s, got popular in the late 1940s, but has since fallen off.

      It’s very curious to consider a ‘totalitarian mentality’ or a social-regime that has totalitarian tendencies.

      My question is What sector of our society would desire ‘totalitarian control’ over people through cultural forms or social conventions? That you bring up ‘witches’ seems relevant: paranoia, suspicion, the projection of *evil*.

      I guess we are dealing with a social mood that has totalitarian tendencies.

      May I suggest ‘totalitarians have got to totalize‘?

      Additional comments, possibly vain or *reaching*

      I just watched A Dry White Season, an anti-Apartheid film (Euzhan Palcy, 1989) A very well-made film I should say. It could be paired — in time at least — with the video Black or White. What is interesting to me is that the anti-Apartheid movement and a great deal of the *sentiment* that stood behind it is — to be truthful — totalistic, totalizing and totalitarian. At a world-level the *mood* that gave power to the myriad ‘movements’ had its origin in the radicalism that spread out of the Sixties.

      I suggest that this is one more piece of evidence that we live in a kind of ‘regime of thought’ in which there is just one way to think about things, or this tendency to move in the direction of that sort of control is very strong. A totalized world-opinion turned against South Africa. A communist-egalitarian regime gained power. Now, the nation of South Africa is in deep trouble and the *social animus* desires, literally it seems, to wipe out the once ruling and directing Whites. Yet that nation was completely their (the Afrikaners) creation (and had a long, established history).

      What if there had not arisen within world social psychology (a kind of ‘social media’ of that time) a blind will to allow a communistic-egalitarian regime to take over? What if it had all been predicated differently? and in accord with sound conservative principles, not profoundly emotionalized sentiments with a revolutionary flavor? It is a very hard question to ask because really it is a statement about our Present and what we seen, now, coming to fruition which is unstoppable.

      When it comes to imagining a counter-movement to the present *regime* it involves a most profound reassessment of all the notions that underpin our sense of radical egalitarianism: these ideas which have become melded with our own self. We have been totalized. We exist and think through totalizing lenses. Naturally, I recognize how deeply dissenting and regressive is the mere suggestion of this!

      Thoughtcrime!

  5. I think it’s creepy that I often find myself sitting next to someone on a plane who is so close I can count his or her moles, and that neither of us will say a word to each other for hours. I can’t fault Delta and Coke for trying to break the ice and encourage a more social atmosphere on planes, especially since the air travel experience has become increasingly grim and uncomfortable. I know more than one couple who owe their long marriage to a number scrawled on an airplane napkin. (Full disclosure: I once wrote a message to an attractive young flight attendant who was especially effervescent. She smiled, and I never heard a word from her.)

    Perhaps Coke and Delta will eventually team with CloudMinds or DeepMind (real AI companies) to design and implement ‘friendship drones’ that will hover around the cabin. Facial recognition technology will allow the drone to access all sorts of information about people and then hover over to them, speaking oddly like HAL/Mr Rogers:

    “Hello. My name is Desta™ and I have been developed by DestinyReasearch DeepMind to aid in social interaction and social bonding, so important in our democracy. May I suggest that you and the women in 13C share much in common? Including that you are reading the same Kindle book right now! What wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here!* If you’d like, I can arrange for you to switch seats and I will provide a courtesy Coca-Cola Company beverage for the two of you!”

    [*It occurs to me that the drone could be named Miranda, or perhaps Mirandus or Mirandis to make it necessarily unisex].

  6. Ronald J. Dupell

    How about a good article on the pettiness and obscenity of Facebook censuring your Page.??? FB will not allow reposting of your articles or even a reference to your URL. Why are they censoring reasoned dialogue?

  7. ”I want to know who’s going to stand up for people’s lives, STARTING WITH BLACK PEOPLE’S LIVES. Because when you take care of black lives everybody’s life is taken care of. Everyone’s life taken care of.” (bolds/caps mine)

    It’s just that easy? Who knew!

    Anywho, no audible squawking from Latinx, LGBT, Little People, or any other protected class/privileged group, about Blacks cutting in line by virtue of the color of their skin?

  8. Isaac

    “This slander campaign is using my 5-year old Facebook posts from my impassioned college days….”

    I know it’s kind of a thing for Leftists to act oppressed all the time and to never take responsibility…but it’s becoming a trope now for them to cry foul when someone just directly QUOTES THEIR WORDS. Is there a term for this?

  9. All attempts at human contact with strangers aren’t harassment.

    Oh Jack, you are so out of date now. The nuEthics of today require no interaction at all between anybody, less you commit an ‘ism’ of some kind.

    From the New Republic: Williamson’s First Law. “Everything is simple if you don’t know a fucking thing about it.”

    Uh… did you mean “National Review”? That’s where the link goes. As I recall NatRev and NewRep are complete opposites politically so it’s a bit of a funny mixup.

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