Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/16/2019: Smirks, Grovels, Smears, Gotchas And Gracelessness

Gooooood MORNING!

Feeling blue today, so I had to start off with the great Charles Trenet magic ballad.

1. “I’m smart! I’m not dumb like everybody says!” Yesterday I hypothesized that Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees was fired because of sexual harassment allegations. Apparently I was right.

2. Another hypothesis! I think I may know why the unhinged media and MAGA-haters went so over-the-top bonkers over Nick Sandmann’s supposedly sinister smile when the Native American jerk was banging a drum in his face. We’ve been streaming 2018’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” on Netflix, and it is amazing how much Darren Criss, playing serial killer and sociopath Andrew Cunanan, resembles Sandmann in that unfortunate photo. I suspect that Martinez’s disturbing performance as a gay predator was sill percolating in the minds of some observers, and Sandmann’s “smirk” stirred extreme revulsion that wasn’t entirely his doing.

Look:

3.  “Never apologize; It’s a sign of weakness.” Capt. Nathan Brittles’ (John Wayne) rebuke of a young cavalry officer (Harry Caray Jr.) in “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon” is sometimes right, especially recently, when cowardly public figures apologize when they have done nothing wrong.

Yesterday, a group of students at an NYU vigil dedicated to the 49 people were murdered in two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand confronted Chelsea Clinton, accusing her of sparking the massacre by condemning the anti-Semitism of Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. “The 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there!” one student told her. If Chelsea had any integrity at all—and to be fair, given her parents, how could she?—she would have told all of the students that blaming a massacre in New Zealand on legitimate criticism of a Jew-bashing Muslim demagogue in the U.S. was moronic, and she should have queried the students about whether they got into college because someone had taken their tests for them, since they lacked the critical thinking skills to run a bait shop. But no…lacking integrity and courage, the former First Daughter grovelled to the mob, because that’s what good progressives are supposed to do in 2019, saying, “I’m so sorry that you feel that way. It was certainly never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.”

Then there’s the latest entrant into the Democratic Presidential race, Beto O’Roarke, who yesterday apologized for for joking at several events in his first two days campaigning in Iowa that his wife has been raising their three children “sometimes with my help.” After grovelling for that, he  apologized for fiction he wrote when he was a teenager, using the pen-name Psychedelic Warlord, about murder written from the murderer’s point of view. He said he was “mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed… whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn’t matter.”

This kind of reaction is why the unethical Hader Gotcha! is becoming an epidemic. Bravo to Ann Althouse for a great take-down:

No. I want him to apologize to the teenager, the boy he once was. Apologize for saying he doesn’t matter. Apologize for being embarrassed for him. Who the hell are you to be embarrassed for him? You are erasing him. You are misappropriating him. What about the teenagers today who hear you and resolve never to write fiction lest it trip up some aggressively ambitious person they may grow into some day?

4. Meanwhile, another Hader Gotcha! finally fails. Right wing activists Jack Posobiec and  Mike Cernovich got James Gunn fired by Disney as the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3, after he unearthed old tweets in which Gunn made tasteless and politically incorrect jokes. Hundreds of thousands of people signed a Change.org petition asking Disney to reconsider. Of course, Gunn also grovelled sufficiently, saying that his tweets were “stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive and certainly not provocative like I had hoped.”

Cernovich and Posobiec maliciously set out to hurt Gunn after he had criticized President Trump on social media. Now Cernovich has demanded that Media Matters  boycott Disney ,  telling  TheWrap, “Disney’s rehiring of James Gunn presents an excellent opportunity for Angelo Carusone and Media Matters to show they are principled fighters for social justice. I eagerly await joining Media Matters’ boycott of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3.” This is all to prove that Media Matters is biased and hypocritical (like Cernovich), because it has called for a boycott of Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson based on his comments during an old interview with Bubba the Love Sponge.

Ethics note: Kant correctly declared that using human beings as a means to an end is unethical. But no one involved in this episode gave a thought to ethics at all, much less Emanuel Kant.

4.  This is why nobody should read Vox. From Ezra Klein’s website:

President Donald Trump just used similar language to describe immigrants coming into the United States that the alleged mass shooter did to justify killing nearly 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. On Friday, Trump issued the first veto of his presidency to override a congressional blockade of the national emergency he declared at America’s southern border. During the veto signing ceremony, Trump explained why he felt a national emergency was warranted to stop migrants from entering the US. “People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” he said, according to the White House pool report. That is chillingly similar to the language the main suspect in Friday’s Christchurch terrorist attack used to explain why he chose to gun down at least 49 Muslims.

  •  The President has never  called immigrants “invaders.” He has called illegal immigrants, who fit the definition of invaders,  what they are. The victims of the two Mosque shootings were not illegal immigrants.
  • The President never uses the term “migrants,” which is another deceitful language tactic to blur the material differences between legal and illegal He does not want to “stop migrants” from entering the U.S. He wants to stop terrorists from entering the U.S., and he wants to stop illegal immigrants.
  • “Using the same language” as someone who does vile things is a desperately unethical accusation and contrived offense, unless the contexts are identical, the words used mean the same thing, and the intentions are the same. Here, they were not—not even close.

5. Rejecting democracy. Oh, let’s have Stacey Abrams run for President too! She fits. Like her increasingly anti-democratic and ironically named party, she wants to undermine public trust in elections. This week the defeated  Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate  again claimed that she won her November election against Republican Brian Kemp, though the vote tallies say otherwise. “I did win my election. I just didn’t get to have the job.”

She has no proof of this, of course;  just the continuing Democratic Party’s corrosive  Big Lie that the system is rigged against female and minority candidates. Hillary Clinton started this partisan trend of refusing to accept defeat with grace and magnanimity, as the system requires to remain viable, unless you want to count Al Gore. Now Abrams says that she will never concede that she lost. Naturally, Hillary, the worst loser in U.S. Presidential history, backs her up. (Clinton, you might recall, excoriated Donald Trump for trolling that he might not accept the election results as legitimate…when she assumed she would win.) Clinton said during her speech on the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” march,

“We know, don’t we, that candidates both black and white lost their races because they had been deprived of the votes they otherwise would have gotten. And the clearest example is from Georgia. Stacey Abrams should be governor, leading that state right now.”

We just know! Just like Democrats just know President Trump has done something impeachable, and just knew Justice Kavanaugh was a rapist, and just know all sorts of things so intensely that evidence and due process aren’t required.

21 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/16/2019: Smirks, Grovels, Smears, Gotchas And Gracelessness

  1. President Donald Trump just used similar language to describe immigrants coming into the United States that the alleged mass shooter did to justify killing nearly 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. On Friday, Trump issued the first veto of his presidency to override a congressional blockade of the national emergency he declared at America’s southern border. During the veto signing ceremony, Trump explained why he felt a national emergency was warranted to stop migrants from entering the US. “People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” he said, according to the White House pool report. That is chillingly similar to the language the main suspect in Friday’s Christchurch terrorist attack used to explain why he chose to gun down at least 49 Muslims.

    Ezra Klein is just like those students at NYU.

    I doubt that he is getting an apology from Trump.

  2. 1. SPLC

    You were indeed right, or so it seems. Congratulations!

    2. Sandmann

    Nope. Not buying it. Sorry.

    I just don’t see that much resemblance, and I really don’t believe people watching a fictional movie are so impressed by it that they would harbor unconscious prejudice toward a real teenager. Occam’s Razor suggests it was all about the packaging of the original tweet and edited video.

    3. Chelsea Clinton

    But no…lacking integrity and courage, the former First Daughter grovelled to the mob, because that’s what good progressives are supposed to do in 2019, saying, “I’m so sorry that you feel that way. It was certainly never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.”

    Dear God, please save us from this craziness.

    To hell with integrity, just stand up for yourself, lady. I don’t care if she has the integrity of a soap bubble, at least act like you can defend a rational argument, especially one you made yourself, Chelsea dear.

    Was there ever a situation to which the term “snowflake” was more accurately applied? Can we now expect the other Democrats who spoke out against Ilhan Omar to be similarly mobbed?

    As for Beto, well, he’s the all-time example of the feminization of Democratic politicians. If you check his scrotum, you’ll discover an echo.

    Beto and Chelsea together couldn’t summon the fortitude of a baby rabbit.

    4. Hader gotcha

    This is all to prove that Media Matters is biased and hypocritical (like Cernovich), because it has called for a boycott of Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson based on his comments during an old interview with Bubba the Love Sponge.

    Why does anyone care about who Media Matters boycotts? Just asking.

    5. Vox

    These guys exist to create talking points for Democrats. Ethics has no interest to them at all, and every argument raised by Klein and his minions are fraught with the kind of innuendo one expects from MSNBC personalities.

    I salute you for Fisking his comments, as they need to be exposed for the inanity they are. I also commend you for actually reading their trope so I don’t have to debase myself by doing so.

    6. Stacy Abrams

    This week the defeated Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate again claimed that she won her November election against Republican Brian Kemp, though the vote tallies say otherwise. “I did win my election. I just didn’t get to have the job.”

    Well, what do you expect? She has had a lot of Democrats to learn this line from, starting with Al Gore all the way through Hillary Clinton.

    I guess that’s what we should expect. She was never an ethical candidate, so why should we expect her to be ethical in … whatever she is now? Res ipsa loquitur.

    The big question is, why would anyone vote for such a nasty, sore loser? And what should we call those who do?

    • Re: #2. It’s an unproveable thesis, of course. It’s no excuse for how the kid was treated, but cognitive dissonance works in so many insidious ways. I know rational, non-Trump deranged people who said they wanted to slug Sandmann based on that photo, and not based on mainstream media spin. There has to be a reason the expression triggered such a violent reaction

      • I think it’s much easier to make the connection in the direction you did, Jack (seeing the Sandmann furor first, then watching the show) than it would be for someone who had watched the show and then seen the picture/video of Sandmann to draw that comparison (even subconsciously).

  3. On Sandmann: I’ve thought for a while now that the main reason people have a negative reaction to his facial expression is that we know that it is–in fact–a fake smile. Based on the reports and his own “interview”, that moment that was captured in the photo was not a moment where he was happy and enjoying himself. Instead it was a moment where he was desperately wondering what the Hell was going on with this guy getting up close and personal with the drum. In the face of that (literally), he said that he was making a conscious decision to maintain his composure, and try not to escalate the situation by looking provocative . . . to smile and look friendly instead.

    But he’s not happy at all there, he’s confused and nervous.

    So the fakeness of the smile shows through (not his fault AT ALL), and people react to THAT in the photo.

    –Dwayne

    • And for my OWN bias, Sandmann resembles a close friend of mine, one I’ve known since High School (so I know full well what he looked like at Sandmann’s age). That automatically makes ME biased towards seeing the kid as a nice, harmless guy who could, in the fullness of time, be a lifelong friend.

      OTOH, I’ve never watched “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” so I’d never make THAT association.

      –Dwayne

    • John McCain often had a fake smile. So does Trump. Directors often have to point this out to actors: fake genuine-looking smiles can be tricky, but they can be mastered. I loved Steve McQueen’s fake smile, which really was an expression that meant many things, including “Hell, what have we got to lose?”

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