Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/1/2019: Mania In Pennsylvania

Hello from Cannonsburg, PA.

Mr. Adams, but Mr. Adams
The things I write are only light extemporania
I won’t put politics on paper, it’s a mania
So I refuse to use the pen in Pennsylvania

—-Ben Franklin, in “Mr. Adams,” 1776

(But Ben didn’t have a computer…)

1. Like watching a zombie outbreak. Predictable, embarrassing, scary, disgusting, and hilarious. The comments on my Facebook feed by Trump Deranged friends and friends of friends really does begin to make me wonder if protected Trump Hate is mental illness. Multiple people were willing to go on record as saying that they believed Michael Cohen, and—get this—that they found him to be a sympathetic character! Now it’s true that these same people believed Jussie Smollett, Nathan Phillips, Bill Clinton and Christine Blasey-Ford based on nothing more than ideological bias and anti-Trump animus, but even these four are paragons of honesty and trustworthiness compared to Cohen. It is also amazing that these Coehn fans are so confident of the Facebook echo chamber that they don’t hesitate to write something so mind-numbingly stupid.

2. Petty perjury. The Republicans who are trying to prompt an investigation of Cohen for alleged perjury before Congress are abusing process, and worse, they are  imitating the bitter Democrats who argued that Bret Kavanaugh committed perjury by giving his recollection of an innocent definition of “boofing.” Among Cohen’s alleged “lies” is that he said he never wanted to work at the White House in the hearing, but said elsewhere that he did want to work there. The man is inately unbelievable (but sympathetic!) He’s a criminal. He has violated too many legal ethics rules to count. He betrayed his client’s confidences. He has lied under oath. He’s been disbarred. It is literally impossible to have less credibility than Michael Cohen. There is no point in proving petty perjury, except to be vindictive.

3. Testing the tolerance, determination and gag reflex of those who believe in innocence until proven guilty. Michael Jackson’s family is out in force to condemn “Finding Neverland,”is out in force to condemn “Finding Neverland,” a documentary debuting on HBO this weekend.  It purports to chronicle the King of Pop’s alleged serial child abusing, featuring two former kiddy pals who slept in Michael’s bed, all in good fun, according to the Jacksons. No jury ever found Michael guilty, though one has to wonder if the result would have been the same if he looked and sounded like Vin Rhames. On the other hand, Jackson was so, so strange that virtually anything is believable, including the theory that he really was just a big, famous, harmless, case of arrested childhood whose motives were pure as the driven snow. The Jacksons say his now grown playmates are just seeking money and book deals. That’s certainly plausible. What isn’t plausible is that the Jacksons say they never thought Michael’s obsession with young children was suspicious or troubling, and that they see no reason why anyone would have expected them to advise their brother not to act like a pedophile, whether he was one or not.

4. Selma Blair. Selma Blair never became a big star; I remember her best in “Hellboy.” She was talented, though, and now we know she’s gutsy, appearing on the Oscars red carpet using a cane. Blair has multiple sclerosis, which has disabled a career already shot by another crippling malady for movie ingenues–getting older. Blair announced her illness on Instagram, saying, “I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.” Now she is defying typical Hollywood vanity to appear in public, giving invaluable support to the million-plus Americans who suffer from MS. Wrote Ed Tobias on the MS support website, MS News TodayMS News Today:

“If a photo is worth a thousand words, then the video of Blair and her cane, as she slowly made her way along the red carpet at the Oscars, is worth a million. It shows pain and persistence. Caution and class. It shows what many of us have to handle each day. And Selma Blair showed an audience of millions how to do it. Bravo!”


5.  Now let’s see how many acting jobs David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel get after this. An arbitrator awarded $179 million,awarded $179 million, much of it in punitive damages, to the two and one of their partners in the long-running hit TV show “Bones,” holding that Fox executives lied, cheated and committed fraud at the expense of the show’s stars and executive producer Barry Josephson. That creative Hollywood accounting robs stars is the third worst-kept and longest running secret in show business, #1 being that directors and producers use their power and star-makimg ability to force actresses to have sex with them, and #2 being that an awful lot of actresses take advantage of that illicit entree. James Garner was one of the few big stars to challenge the swindle in court, and he did so more than once. He won, too, but he also paid a price in lost roles. Most stars just put up with the cheating and take their paychecks, which are pretty big anyway.

Maybe Boreanaz, a latter day Garner who may have sensed that he has maxed  out his career as he enters his fifties (surely you remember him as Angel, Buffy the Vampire Killer’s tragic true, un-dead love?) and Deschanel, who has always been oveer-shadowed her younger, cuter, funnier sister Zooey, may have decided that there was no downside in fighting for their fair share. Or maybe—just maybe—they are making a courageous stand for their profession. Either way, it is good ethics news any time the Hollywood moguls get foiled in this game.

10 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/1/2019: Mania In Pennsylvania

  1. On #5 – it really is a bit of a scandal how Bones was used. FOX sold the “current season streaming rights” to Hulu for $0. The agreement was signed and counter-signed by FOX as the Studio and as the Hulu representative. Meanwhile, archive seasons of the show were sold to Netflix that paid plenty. FOX’s position is that the “current season rights” wasn’t worth much; all the while revenue tumbled in from previous seasons.

    The implications will expand beyond this one show – I’d expect to see many many other productions stepping forward with their hand out now. I wonder what Disney makes of this as they’re set to complete the purchase of FOX.

  2. Re: No 5: David Boreanaz, et al.

    Our intrepid host wrote: “Maybe Boreanaz, a latter day Garner who may have sensed that he has maxed out his career as he enters his fifties . . . ”

    He is the main character in SEAL Team, which airs on Thursdays on CBS. For some reason, though, the show killed off his wife in the last season, which was a shame – she was a good character played by a good actor. C’est la vie.


    • Talk about a working actor – David Boreanaz has been on TV since 1997 when he debuted as “Angel” on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Since then, in 22 years, he’s been on a show (Buffy 3 yrs, Angel 5 yrs, Bones 12 yrs, Seal Team 2 years)

      Now that’s dedication to working.

  3. #5 Yeah, but people in Hollywood are good people, they voted for Obama. Basically they have all the political views like the white people from “Get Out”. How could they do wrong? It’s just a little #1 Golden rationalization, that’s all. Let’s not get too mean about it.

  4. #3: Wouldn’t the people behind the documentary also have to be worried about the creators of the MOVIE “Finding Neverland” suing them?

    • The documentary is actually called “Leaving Neverland”. I think there’s just a mix-up with the film & play of the other name.

  5. I recall the blacklisting of Cliff Robertson for reporting David Begelman’s embezzlement at Columbia Pictures. A long history of using and abusing the talent in Hollywood.

      • Funny how Hollywood preaches at their audience on how to act, all the while knowing THEY are the bad actors. Guess it is just projection: if THEY are really great people (says so right in the press release) and this kind of junk happens, how bad must the serfs in the audience be?

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