Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/15/2019: Of Ficks, Flicks, Fairness, And. Yes, “Fuck”


Suffering from low blog traffic hangover…

I know I complain about traffic here too much, but it’s the only place I where can complain about it. Either because of Trump Derangement, ethics apathy in a Nation of Assholes, my exile from NPR (for telling an undeniable truth that was accused of being a defense of Donald Trump), Facebook’s sabotage, or sunspots, Ethics Alarms readership is down significantly since the high point of 2016. Yesterday, the usually lively day of Tuesday did a credible imitation of Saturday, when tumbleweeds roll through here, and I can’t find any reason why. Kept me up much of the night, so now I’m going to be slow, cynical  and cranky all day….

1. Speaking of a nation of assholes…Stephanie Wilkerson, the certifiably awful human being who kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of the Red Hen restaurant, was given a forum (disgracefully) by the Washington Post to boast about her “resistance.” Of course she frames herself as a victim, then celebrates the fact that she received support from many Americans who are as hateful, bigoted, and un-American as she is. Depressingly, many of my Facebook friends “loved” or “liked” her nauseating column, which is nothing more nor less that a hard tug on the loose threads on the seams that hold our nation together. These phony advocates of “inclusion” actually favor discrimination and prejudice based on political affiliation and personal viewpoints, which is no less unethical and destructive than discriminating based on race, gender or creed.

Stephanie Wilkerson’s Post column marks her a fick, an individual who is unethical and proud of it.

But I would still serve her in my restaurant.

2. Here’s another topic I’m sick of writing about: We TV, that august cultural institution that features the beneath the bottom of the barrel reality show, “Mama June, From “Not” to “Hot.” is the latest product to use the hilariously clever device of implying variations of “fuck” in its marketing, because saying but not quite saying “fuck” is inherently witty and memorable. The word being so used by We is “flicks.” Get it??

3. Golf ethics. Casey Martin, a now -retired pro golfer who had a leg condition that made walking difficult, won a lawsuit against the PGA to compel it to allow him to use a golf cart in tournaments, even though other competitors were required to walk the course. He cited the misbegotten Americans With Disabilities Act, and the ruling demonstrated what’s misbegotten about it. Applying that law to professional sports is Bizarro World stuff, and Martin’s victory was a text-book example of the maxim, “hard cases make bad law”—except this shouldn’t have been hard.

If a physical handicap makes it difficult to play a professional sport, then the ethical approach is either to do the best one can, or do something else for a living.  Forcing the sports organization to give you special accommodations to make it easier for you to play is unfair to the other players.

Nonetheless, for the first time since Martin retired, the PGA granted another “disabled” golfer to use a golf cart. This time it was problematical John Daly, the aging, alcoholic and now obese pro who qualified for  this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black because he won this  tournament way back in 1991. Daly is arguably self-disabled, as he destroyed a promising career by his lifestyle and addictions. This is, as it was with Martin, a misapplication of the ADA, and Daly is unethical to take advantage of a bad precedent.

I see that Althouse also wrote about this (from a different angle) and a couple of the comments on her post depressed the hell out of me:

I don’t think it a big deal given that Daly is likely no threat to even make the cut, so I think the PGA can defend this on that alone.

See, it’s thinking like this that make me want to hurl myself into a woodchipper.

This is that idiotic and unethical “no harm, no foul” rationalization, # 8. The Trivial Trap  or“No harm no foul!” to be precise. As it happens, I was watching a very old “Law and Order” episode in which a judge took a bribe to dismiss a murder prosecution. The District Attorney, Adam Schiff (Steven Hill) confronted the judge, an old friend, who said in his defense, “That family has so much money the defendant would have walked anyway.”  Schiff looked at him in disgust and said, “That’s hardly the point,” and stalked out.

So many people, however, think that IS the point.

Here was the other quote:

“Babe Ruth had a kid to run the bases for him, well I knew somebody who knew somebody who knew Babe Ruth, and John Daly, you are no Babe Ruth.”

This is why disinformation and false narratives in the media and popular entertainment matter. Lazy, ignorant people believe them, and then spread them to others. No, you idiot, Babe Ruth did NOT have anyone run the bases for him. The rules of baseball don’t permit that, and never have. This was one of many outrageous gaffes in the awful Babe Ruth biopic “The Babe” starring John Goodman.

4. Don’t suspend it—burn it to the ground. Alpha Epsilon Pi, a fraternity at Hofstra University,  has been placed on suspension after a video was posted on social meais showing members holding a puppy the dog upside down while they poured beer into his mouth.

Yes, the university is investigating and the national organization is investigating—never mind. This is signature significance. Any frat where such a horrible example of animal cruelty could take place has been infested with sufficient cultural rot that it cannot be trusted nor allowed to continue to exist. Fraternities and sororities too often degenerate into adaptations of “Lord of the Flies.” Little would be lost and much would be gained if all colleges just banned them.

38 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/15/2019: Of Ficks, Flicks, Fairness, And. Yes, “Fuck”

  1. Well, I told you before Ethics Alarms is my start page. I’m a retired engineer and read all your posts and the majority of the comments. I seldom comment on the posts because putting my thoughts into words is, let’s say, not one of my strengths. The commenters here also make each post much more enjoyable; there are so many great contributors here at Ethics Alarms. So, it’s also disappointing to me when the traffic ebbs.

    Thanks again for maintaining this blog and to all the contributors for enhancing the subject matter.

    • Thanks, Edward. My concern is less for the blog itself than what the declining traffic might signify, which is fewer people willing to think critically and ethically rather than to just jump on a bandwagon.

  2. I think traffic is down because Collusion Fatigue has played itself out. Lots of internet active people seem to have really believed we had a president who was Putin’s cockholster and it was just a matter of time before he would be frog marched out of the White House and Hillary and Bill Clinton would be ushered in to finally begin The Restoration. Except for Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff and Debbie Wasserman, I think people have really given up on this and have just taken a break and are playing Candy Crush or something. Maybe Donald Trump can finally get a bunch of things done. The Resistance really seems to have run out of steam and everyone seems to just be taking a break. At least that’s my theory. The air has been let out of a very large balloon.

  3. 1. I receive email alerts from the Washington Post about their stories. I subscribed to the Post online when it was free for a while. I can’t believe a newspaper would publish something like this from a person involved in a story that is months old. When I read the alert about this “op-ed(!)” I pretty much assumed Sanders had been hounded out of yet another restaurant. Whew, it’s a good thing Jeff Bezos is not out to get Donald Trump!

  4. On point 1
    Would Ms. Wilkerson serve any of the top three members of the Virginia government, Northam, Fairfax, or Herring? I wonder just how strong hwe principles are. My suggestion is to bus the asylum seekers to her restaurant to see how truly generous she is.

    Given her location in Virginia it was highly doubtful that she would have suffered economically for her actions. She might have had a different outcome businesswise if she were in Pennsacola Florida..

    She is as much a bully as those she condemns.

    • Chris, call me crazy, but I think most any Southerner would consider this woman and her business unspeakably rude. Funny, Virginia used to be in the South. I guess the D.C. area is a demographic unto itself. More Brooklyn or San Francisco.

      • The Red Hen is in Lexington – a pretty fur piece from DC. “Democrats” like Wilkerson are everywhere. They’re on the increase in Texas, too. Beware.

      • Lexington is a college town home to 3 universities and Virginia Tech and UVA are short drive away. The demographic in the area is more reflective of the resistance than say the Norfolk area and more rural Southeastern VA.

        • Lexington has two institutions of higher learning, Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute. Both have relatively conservative student bodies. However, W&L’s faculty and staff, and its law school (including student), certainly help make Lexington decidedly more Democratic-leaning than surrounding Rockbridge County, which has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1980.

        • In fact, I think Lexington isn’t quite as left-leaning as Norfolk, and Norfolk’s metro area is definitely more left-leaning, on the whole, than Lexington’s. Rockbridge County is otherwise culturally and politically like most of the rest of Virginia’s western counties.

  5. Jack, I read Ethics Alarm daily, if not more. I am overwhelmed by the sheer number of things I could comment on, and their implications, resulting in a combination of anxious existential depression that usually ends in temporary mental paralysis, and no comment. However, I will do better! I appreciate what you do.

  6. I am a very occasional commenter, but I read all your blog posts, even when I’ve been gone a couple days and have to page back a dozen or so posts.

    I don’t agree with you on all things, as you know, but I appreciate you taking the enormous amount of time you do to make these posts.

  7. 1. Yep. Stephanie Wilkerson = fick = asshole. I saw that WaPo article – I believe, after a fellow EA commenter linked it. The ultimate tone of Wilkerson’s boastful piece was:

    NYAAA-NYAAAA!! I gave Sarah Huckabee Sanders the Unwelcome Nigger treatment in my restaurant (“We don’t serve your kind here; I have to ask you to leave. You should know your place!“), and I’m still getting away with it! See how social justice WORKS?! Let this testimonial be a richly deserved bitch-slap to anybody and everybody like Sanders, or anyone who thinks she should feel free to dine in my restaurant while supporting a monster like TRUMP! And now, back to my obscene profits and TRUMPer-hating assholery…”

    You know, if the Red Hen burns down now, or if Red Hen employees including Wilkerson begin losing other nice things, I (1) wouldn’t be surprised, and (2) wouldn’t think any more about it than, well, this is the life you (Wilkerson) have chosen (Sicilian ethics) – keep sticking your ridiculously proud neck out, and eventually, it’s gonna get cut.

    I would still serve Wilkerson in my restaurant, too. That is how to heap flaming coals on a bigoted asshole’s head. But, if I knew she was dining there, I can’t promise what else she might (or might not) experience. After all, she knows her place.

    Fantasy: Dozens of MAGA hat-wearing nonwhites lining up at the Red Hen before it opens, intending to dine there ahead of all other wannabe customers, with t-shirts that say, “Worry about yourself.”

  8. “Ethics Alarms readership is down significantly since the high point of 2016.”

    I like your old graphics format. Is it ever coming back?
    (This current format has not affected my attention to the blog. Other things have.)

    Borrowing a line from “Chinatown:” “Forget it, Jack…it’s a Nation of Assholes.”

      • This one is a complete mystery to me, even compared to most reality shows. She was the crude, gross, trailer trash mother of inexplicably popular “Honey Boo Boo,” who has grown way out of cuteness. Mama isn’t likeable, smart, or interesting. Who watches people like this? Does it make them feel superior? This family makes the Duck Dynasty guys look like the Algonquin Round Table. I guess I’m glad Mama June’s pathetic family has lucked into some windfall income to keep them off Welfare, but what kind of sick culture is amused or titillated by someone like her?

  9. On the golf cart issue I do not understand the need for a rule that players must walk the course. Just eliminate the rule and let anyone use the cart. I am not a golfer so I maybe there is a need for the rule other than making tournaments take longer giving more time for commercials

    • It’s tradition, Chris, and appearances. If you’ve ever played, walking the whole course is no easy matter, and considered part of the demands of the sport. Golfers are already mocked as non-athletes—if one looks like John Daly, for good reason–and in what other game of skill do competitors ride around the field in little carts?

      • >>in what other game of skill do competitors ride around the field in little carts?


        :ducks quickly to avoid the flack: Just kidding.

  10. On the fraternity incident at Hofstra, you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general?

  11. With respect, Jack, this is a battlefield where the battle has been won. Most of the liberal voices, both the jerks and the scholars, are gone. The discussion’s just not going to be that lively without both sides represented, any more than a Civil War reenactment with no Confederates present would be.

    BTW, I was in Lexington in September 2017, watching the VMI cadets do their thing. It’s a WAYS away from DC, actually it’s the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley, for those here unfamiliar with the area. It’s a seven hour drive from my home in NJ, while DC is about four, both of which I am starting to get too old for (but that’s another story). I visited the museum at VMI that morning, then decided to pay my respects to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, both of whom are buried there.

    Lee’s tomb is still accessible, although Washington and Lee University had removed a lot of the Confederate flags and bunting that used to be there. Jackson is buried in the local cemetery, with a monument similar to that you’d see in a town center. When I paid my respects the local police were guarding his tomb on the down low (plainclothes officers in an unmarked car nearby). The surrounding area is similar to Winchester at the northern end of the valley, where an espresso bar might be next door to a preserved Confederate headquarters or a yoga studio might be across the street from a gun shop and the community bulletin board might have a flyer for a Tea Party meeting next to one for a feminist discussion group at a bookstore. My question about statuary at Jackson’s house was met with a sneer and a remark about Janey-come-latelys, while a barista asked me to zip up my windbreaker to cover my USAF polo shirt from earlier in the vacation while she made my pre-parade iced coffee so it wouldn’t disturb her peaceful state of mind.

    It comes as no surprise that a place like this gave birth to the Red Hen and its attitude that it’s some kind of stronghold for the woke in the shadow of the Confederacy’s two greatest military leaders and within earshot of 3000 gray-clad cadets who parade carrying the Newmarket flag, which celebrates a Confederate victory (though they no longer sing “Dixie” or salute Jackson’s statue on campus [they salute the flag next to it instead]). It should also come as no surprise that the Washington Post should dredge up this now more than a year old story, though whether it’s to tell liberal readers to keep up the fight or to thumb its nose at conservatives I do not know. Make no mistake of it, America’s current left is no different than the Weathermen or the Bolsheviks. Tyranny and intolerance are still tyranny and intolerance whether they wear a brown shirt or a tie-dyed tee that says “smash the patriarchy,” whether they yank down a statue of Nicholas II or a statue of Columbus, and whether they crack a hipster over the head for entering the wrong bar or throw a brick at a guy in a MAGA hat. Not to get repetitious, but I’d remind the left types who want to embrace hate and violence that the IRA did the same kind of thing in The Troubles. The RUC and the Protestant community did not go gently into the night.

    • I’m not sure if this comment is optimistic or pessimistic. The Sixties Left was imbedded in the culture—entertainment, the news media, education, academia, until thirty years later. Now it is, and it will take another 30 years, or a cataclysm, to weed it out So who is it who’s “won”?

      • For the moment, we on the right have won on this site. Chris is gone, Charles is gone, Valky and Sparty are both gone. Fatty is long gone. There are no strong voices on the left on this site. My first paragraph is about this site, nothing else, sorry if I wasn’t clear. This comment isn’t meant to be optimistic or pessimistic. It’s a statement to the left that they are acting like would-be-tyrants, and a warning to those on the left who think they are going to strut around like they have conquered this nation by acting like brownshirts that the right isn’t going to let them go too far before it comes back at them.

  12. Jack,

    I read everything on this site, even when life prevents me from reading it promptly, as in this case. I keep the notices and revisit as time allows. Your effort here is important!

    Like Steve O, I have noticed that we have only heard from left-ish voices when a particular hot button is pressed, as in Trans or Gay genetics. Sad, but if you got no facts to debate… they were bringing dull nail clippers to a gunfight.

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