Afternoon Ethics Points, 4/30/2019: New Developments In Old Stories

Pardon if I sound distracted—I’m still giggling about Kate Smith.

1. Kate, Robert E. Lee and the King of Pop. It’s ironic that this comes up as I am debating on Facebook with rabid Robert E. Lee statue-topplers, because this episode perfectly illustrates why they are wrong, and not just wrong, but stupidly and obnoxiously wrong. No historical figure is honored for everything in his or her life. They are honored for their importance, influence, good deeds, finest moments and best traits. The growing totalitarian mob on the Left wants to erase the memory of anyone who failed to meet their current standards of virtue decades or even centuries before those standards existed, when many of the standards  are unreasonable even now.

Great achievers are, with the tiniest sliver of exceptions, flawed, strange, obsessed and abnormal people, and those who would hold them to impossible levels of perfection guarantee a hollow culture, a sanitized and boring history, and a shallow society.

Thus I found myself surprising myself by sympathizing with the decision of an elementary school in Hollywood to keep Michael Jackson’s name on its auditorium, despite the growing likelihood that he was a child molester, as the Los Angeles Times reported. The majority of parents and staff of Gardner Street Elementary School, which Jackson briefly attended, voted to keep his name above the auditorium. Ick, but maybe that was the right decision. Jackson was a great and influential performer, and that’s what he’s honored for.

2. Uh, where exactly have you been for the last 20 years, Mrs. Biden? Jill Biden told ABC’s “Good Morning America” today she’s been victim of  men “invading her personal space,” and that her hubby the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate “is going to have to be a better judge of when people approach him and how he’s going to react.” This because, she says, Joe “connects with people” through physical contact, especially from “men and women looking for comfort.”

Quick question: How were these women “looking for comfort”?

Jill Biden says she kept silent in the past when men were “in her space.” “Women are in a different place now,” she says. “We have to honor that.”

One more quick question: when was it ever appropriate for men to assume they could touch, hug, kiss and otherwise grope women without their consent? My sister told a handsy uncle to back off in 1961, and he was less aggressive than Joe was in these photos.

Are these the new rules? If a Democrat acts like Joe to women he barely knows, it’s “invading their space,” but if a conservative, Republican or male Democratic official who might challenge a woman for the Presidential nomination, like Al Franken, but not Joe Biden for some reason, then it’s called sexual assault or sexual harassment? Do I have it right?

3. I guess it’s what historians call”scorching”.. The Deadline headline was “Ron Chernow Scorches Trump At White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” Really? The author of acclaimed biographies of Alexander Hamilton and U.S. Grant delivered vicious ad hominem attacks on the President just like the Leftist comics he was replacing? Here are Chernow’s most notable “zingers,” as Deadline called them:

“As best I can tell, Washington committed only one major blunder as president: He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding. Clearly deficient in the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle for the lowly title of Father of His Country. A very sad story”

Oh, wow. That’s going to leave a mark.

“On Tuesday, the president let it be known he wanted members of his administration to stay away from this dinner. At first, I was puzzled by this news. But then I learned a rumor was circulating in Washington that I was going to be reading aloud from the redacted portions of the Mueller report and everything was explained.”

Stop! Stop! You’re killing me!

“Our founders were highly literate people. And perhaps none more so than one Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant who arrived, thank God, before the country was full. Frankly, I don’t know why they let the guy in. Clearly somebody had slipped up at the southern border.”

Who needs Michelle Wolf?

“I applaud any president who aspires to the Nobel Prize for peace. But we don’t want one in the running for the Nobel prize for fiction.”

But seriously, folks, none of these mild jibes would have been inappropriate with the President in the audience. Chernow sees where the line is. Why can’t anyone else?

4.  That Buttigieg accusation was faked. Just as I was settling in to write last night’s scattered post. the news came across the web about an alleged sexual assault claim being made on the mass blogging site, Medium. By the time I was half-way through  post, it had already been debunked as  fake, and apparently was the work of some right wing idiots.

This time. I’ll stand by my statement in the earlier post that any white man who looks like he’s going to lap Kamala , Kirsten, Amy, and Elizabeth in the race for the nomination will suddenly face #MeToo. I found The Daily Beast’s headline, “Far-Right Smear Merchants Try to Slime Pete Buttigieg with Bogus Sex Assault Claim.” juust a bit aggressive, since the various fake accusations made against Bret Kavenaugh were never referred to there with “Far-Left Smear Merchants Try to Slime Bret Kavanaugh with Bogus Sex Assault Claim.” The Far Left Smear Merchants at ThinkProgress were even more ridiculous, making this argument:

“The speed with which their scheme fell apart — a matter of minutes — suggests one of two things: either conservatives are comically incompetent, or fabricating credible sexual assault allegations against public figures is nearly as impossible as it is reprehensible.”

No, this single episode proves absolutely nothing about other sexual assault accusations, pro or con. Indeed, TP itself was happy to accept the second and third accusations against Kavanaugh, eventually discredited, and their own assumption that Blasey-Ford’s accusation was true,  just because it seemed credible to them, doesn’t mean it was true or credible. Their logic is exactly like saying that because Jussie Smullett’s hate crime hoax was unsuccessful, successful hate crime hoaxes are impossible. (Interestingly, ThinkProgress hasn’t seemed the Smollett story worthy of any coverage at all in more than two months, treating the still unfolding scandal of a the charges being dropped as if it didn’t happen.)

5. Regarding Facebook’s rejection of Ethics Alarms posts..It seems that Facebook can be reached the old-fashioned way, via snail mail. Please help me make as loud a protest as possible by joining me in writing Marks’ minions. I’ll take legal action if I have to, but only as a last resort. The address:

Facebook, Inc., Attention: Community Support, 1 Facebook Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025

14 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Points, 4/30/2019: New Developments In Old Stories

  1. Getting tired of beginning my posts with, let’s face it, but let’s face it…anyone to the right of AOC must be destroyed by any means possible, so it then can be heralded from the Stalinist rooftops of CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, in addition to all the others. If some right wing nuts falsely accused Mayor Pete, let them suffer any and all consequences; but note, their idiocy is immediately used to paint anyone to the right of AOC as stupid. Oh, the fuzzies I feel from the civility crowd!

    My next door neighbor is as crazy a leftist as they come, but just because he has a Pete 2020 sign in his yard doesn’t mean Pete should be painted with the same crazy brush. Pete’s Green New Deal stance, on the other hand, is another matter.

  2. Regarding #1, my city is wrangling over a recent court decision that said Lake Calhoun, named for John, not Rory, was improperly changed to the “original” Dakota name Bde Maka Ska.

    Progressives can’t (or refuse to) grasp that employees might have named the lake after their boss, the Secretary of War (?pretty sure?), not the Senator or Vice-President if the same person, or even the obnoxious slavery-defending human being who would have been two peas in a pod with Andrew Jackson, if they did not despise each other.

    John Calhoun was a horrible person, but that is no reason to change the name of a Lake that has had that name for more than 150 years (and that Calhoun never even saw (I believe)).


      • They probably deserved each other.

        On the bright side, progressives despise them both. If they ever comprehend the adage that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the cognitive dissonance will be too much for them to handle.

        Sadly, that would require them to know a tad more about history than the fact that Calhoun owned slaves and Jackson caused the Trail of Tears. For all they know, Calhoun and Jackson passed by each other like strangers in the night.


  3. I learned that the accusations against Mayor Pete were bogus by conservative pundits calling out the plan and criticizing the attempt as sleazy. It was a stupid idea and the perpetrators deserve scorn.

  4. It’s a funny thing, this world.

    We talked many months ago about Carl Benjamin, also known by his YouTube handle; “Sargon of Akkad”. An MP in the British Parliament, Jess Phillips had just stifled a debate about male suicide saying, and I quote, “You’ll get your debate when I get equal representation”, and had bandied the idea about censoring the internet because she was getting rape threats*. In response to this, Carl Benjamin, a humble shitposter, tweeted out; “I wouldn’t even rape you.” @her.

    This set the usual suspects to gyrating at a sufficient speed so as to vibrate themselves through their office chairs as they rushed to the keyboard, insisting that Benjamin had threatened to rape her, Phillips included. This case was, I think, a very small iteration of the “It’s OK to be white” campaign. I think you could reasonably infer that Benjamin was saying that he thought Phillips was too ugly to rape, so it’s almost certainly an insult, but reading a rape threat into it seems like a bridge too far for most people able to rub two neurons together..

    Which was, if you believe Benjamin, exactly his point; if Phillips was going to treat something that wasn’t a rape threat as a rape threat, then how could she possibly be trusted to censor the internet of rape threats?

    Now I only bring this up because now…. Christ… Four years later, Benjamin is in the news again, Carl Benajmin is running for elected office, as an MEP in UKIP**. He’s running an interesting campaign, and one that I think people ought to pay attention to, basically forgoing all media attention and interviews in favor of giving online appearances to podcasts, making YouTube videos and setting up booths in public locations and inviting people to talk to him. I have no idea if that’s viable, and UKIP is currently the most fringey of fringe parties, so it’ll be interesting to see how this goes…. But the reason I’m writing all this is that UK politics apparently DOES seep into the American political sphere, because the term you quoted above; “Far-Right Smear Merchants” only started trending recently, about a week ago, after Benajmin gave this presentation at a UKIP rally:

    “Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves!
    Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.”

    *As an aside; listening to Boomers who have no idea how the internet works talk about censoring it as if they were Chinese politicians trying to disappear Tienanmen square is always fucking chilling.

    **For people that have a hard time understanding that life exists outside the lower 48: An “MP” is a Member of Parliament, they sit in “Parliament”, which is kind of like the House of Representatives, except different, “MEP” Is a “Member of the European Parliament”, which is kind of like the same thing, except for the “EU” which is the European Union. UKIP is the “UK Independence Party” and their entire platform was Brexit, which they successfully got a referendum for… I can never remember if Americans get referendums… They’re kind of like a ballot measure, except they can happen at basically any time. Now, damn near three years later, and still with no Brexit, UKIP basically plans to send interference candidates to the EU to say nasty things to their leadership. Because that seems healthy.

  5. #1 – I didn’t like Michael Jackson when he was alive and popular. I think he had too much of an ick factor back then.

    I don’t quite get the recent change now to think he’s a child molester. There’s nothing new that’s come out, except a movie that’s rehashing territory that’s already been covered. We’re letting history be written by popular culture, and I don’t like to see that. Hollywood distorts people’s perception too much as it is.

  6. #5 – What legal recourse is there against facebook? I figured since they are a private website, they get to decide the content.

    • If they have a virtual monopoly, a claim that they are arbitrarily setting out to harm a business by not giving it the same service as other businesses based on viewpoint animus has a chance of prevailing. There’s suit against Twitter on this basis. Mostly Facebook doesn’t want to chance such suits, and the easiest thing to do would be to just stop the blocking.

      • Also there’s the issue that if they are exercising editorial control of the content of the site, then they are violating the “Safe Harbor” part of the law that establishes them as just a PLATFORM and in no way responsible for the content on the site. They’ve been doing a funky dance to have it both ways for a long time now. (Same for Twitter and certain elements of Google.)


  7. It’s easy to make an accusation of sexual assault that can’t be debunked.

    1. Don’t remember what day, month, or year it was when it happened.
    2. Make sure it happened way back in an era before there was internet, cell phones, or ubiquitous cameras.
    3. Don’t be a complete psycho. That makes you “credible!” Somewhat to mostly psycho is okay.

    That’s really it.

  8. 1. Michael Jackson

    If you’re gonna tear down Stonewall Jackson memorials, Michael Jackson’s namesake things have gotta go as well.

    Jacksons are all guilty by name association, you see.

    2. Biden

    Are these the new rules? If a Democrat acts like Joe to women he barely knows, it’s “invading their space,” but if a conservative, Republican or male Democratic official who might challenge a woman for the Presidential nomination, like Al Franken, but not Joe Biden for some reason, then it’s called sexual assault or sexual harassment? Do I have it right?

    Yep. That’s it. Unless, of course, you are a disfavored Democrat who objects to one of the pillars of the New Socialist version of the Democrat party:

    – LBGTQ8#!&4 are morally and ethically superior to heterosexuals;

    – Minorities are morally and ethically superior to whites;

    – Health care and post-secondary education are absolute inalienable rights and must be paid for by the government and provided to every person;

    – Women are morally and ethically superior to men;

    – Firearms belong only in the hands of the police, military, celebrities, and Democrat politicians;

    – Orange Man bad, guilty, criminal;

    3. Chernow

    Indeed, this was a far cry from Samantha Bee and Michelle Wolf.

    We all see what was done here — the dinner was trying to make the case Trump was a cowardly man incapable of taking a little good-humored ribbing.

    Had he committed to attend, we would’ve gotten Samantha Bee, Michelle Wolf, Michael Moore, Robert De Niro or some equally strident #Resistance celebrity with an intemperate, profane tongue.

    This was a setup, and everyone with a functioning brain knows it.

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