Week-Opening Ethics Warm-Up, 5/20/2019: On Life Competence, Gender Math, Lying Stars, And Civil Rights Legislation That Isn’t As Good As It Pretends To Be

Ah, Monday…

1. Weekend Update: I am going to make a habit of flagging what I consider important issues from the weekends on Monday, since from late Friday to the end of Sunday these days, Ethics Alarms is populated by just a handful of stalwarts and tumbleweeds rolling down the deserted information super-highway. This time, I point your attention to…this.

2. Today’s baseball ethics note: Yesterday, the falling New York Mets lost their second straight game while getting less than three hits (that’s bad, for those sad members of you  who don’t follow baseball) in part because their recently acquired superstar, Robbie Cano, didn’t run hard to first base to try to avoid hitting into a double play. This, in turn, has placed the continued employment of Mets second year manager, Mickey Callaway, in jeopardy, as loafing players on losing teams always will. This is the Star Syndrome (or Rationalization #11, the King’s Pass) in operation: if Cano gets to do what lesser players would be fined, benched or released for doing, then the double standard threatens team unity and respect for the manager.

Cano’s excuse was that he thought there were two outs when there was really only one, because the scoreboard was wrong. A player is supposed to know the number of outs without having to check the scoreboard, but now photo evidence seems to show that the stadium scoreboard was correct, and showed only one out.


3. On the matter of life competence: Bravo to “Social Q’s” advice columnist Phillip Gallanes for the exactly right response to “Katy.” who wrote,

“My brother gave my 24-year-old son a gift certificate for a suit at a men’s shop. It didn’t specify an amount; it just said “one suit.” The salesman had my son try on several and helped him pick one. After it was pinned for alteration, my son went to the register and was asked to sign a receipt. He saw that the suit cost four times the amount of the certificate! He was embarrassed, so he signed the receipt and left. Now he’s received a bill for the remainder. I can afford to pay it. But should I mention this to my brother or the store owner? This feels like a con job to me”.

Gallanes answered in part,

Funny, this seems like a man-child problem to me. …Twenty-four is not 10!…I totally sympathize with your son’s embarrassment in that moment. It’s awful to be surprised at the register. But to just sign the bill and walk out? No! Part of being an adult is applying the brakes before transactions go off the rails. Next time, make sure he knows to say: “Whoa! Let’s find a suit in my price range, please.”


4. Civil rights protections should be legally mandated for LGBTQ Americans, BUT...as long as they signal that they will use such a law to infringe on other Americans’ legitimate liberty, such a law will never be passed. The House, by a vote of  236-173, passed sweeping legislation last week that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Times report says that the bill will die in the Senate, and then shows why with statements like,

Since taking office, President Trump’s administration has enacted a sweeping deconstruction of policies and rules intended to protect gay and transgender individuals. In 2017, the Justice Department sided with a cake shop owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, filing legal briefs arguing that a landmark 1964 civil rights law did not ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Jeff Sessions, then the attorney general, also rescinded guidance for schools that was intended to protect transgender students in bathrooms and locker rooms.

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Those are examples of “sweeping deconstruction”?  A baker who had stated up front that he would sell any kind of cake to a same-sex couple, but not a “gay wedding cake,” which was arguably an artistic product, in a protest upheld by the Supreme Court? The administration’s decision that merely identifying as a particular gender despite the biological markers of the other gender should not give free access to the imagined gender’s locker rooms and bathrooms? These may be debatable, but are hardly examples of pernicious discrimination. The  legislation, which amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964, would almost certainly require that competitors who were born male  could compete in women’s sports, to name one current and obvious problem House Democrats chose to ignore.

Like so much the House Democrats are doing these days, the bill appears to be more  pre-election grandstanding than serious law-making.

5. And on the Yellow Brick Road...”Rocketman,” the new biopic about Elton John, features actor Taron Egerton in the lead role. He is straight, Elton, as we all know, isn’t. Naturally, the LGBTQ Mafia is up in arms, because, you know, gay rights. They would love such casting to be illegal. Sir Elton, 72, has no patience for this, and has called the criticism “bullshit,”  which, in truth, it is. He is also looking out for gay actors, though the  critics are too dim to comprehend why. A strict rule declaring that actors and actresses could only play characters who match their own sexual orientation would be a bonanza for the straight minority that make up the male acting pool. Most characters in films  are and will remain, heterosexual, not bi-, not gay, not trans. Most professional actors and models–I would estimate 60-70%, maybe more–are gay.

The “Rocketman” can do the math, even if the critics can’t.

25 thoughts on “Week-Opening Ethics Warm-Up, 5/20/2019: On Life Competence, Gender Math, Lying Stars, And Civil Rights Legislation That Isn’t As Good As It Pretends To Be

  1. 5. Jack, Jack, Jack. Get a grip. Gay actors must play gay characters but of course gay actors can play straight characters. “Gay actors” is almost a redundancy. The drama industry is dominated by gay guys the same way the Catholic church’s hierarchy is. You expect the clergy to look like America? Come on. Corporate officers’ suites and boards have to look like America, as do elite college student bodies and graduate programs, but come one, baseball and basketball teams don’t have to look like America. Are you kidding? Next you’ll expect the rap industry or even TV ads to look like America. Come one.

  2. A strict rule declaring that actors and actresses could only play characters who match their own sexual orientation

    And if the actor does not wish to divulge their sexual orientation? Would they be forced out of the closet via some law or policy? I can’t fathom how that could go wrong. Are these people intentionally being idiots, or is that just an added bonus?

  3. Re: No 2, New York Mets, Robbie Cano.

    Perhaps said Sr. Cano should watch a few games featuring Jose Altuve. If you want to see hustle, determination, and commitment, it doesn’t get much better than that.


    • Until Altuve gets back to playing regularly, as an alternative exemplar of hustle, determination, and commitment, I recommend watching Josh Reddick. The man emanates a fire and intensity that I can only wish I was still young enough to emulate on the ball field.

      • Son of a Commie ND professor. Read diaper baby. He should be Bernie’s running mate. Two red diaper babies.

        • “He should be Bernie’s running mate.”

          Feel The Bern has his own set of problems, OB, without adding another novelty.

          To wit:

          Former National Justice Director (whatever seat-stuffing position that is) Tezlyn Figaro (who is reportedly black):

          Bernie’s Movement is RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!

          Sometimes this stuff just kinda writes itself, am I right?

      • Thanks for the context, Kyjo, though I don’t detect any natural stop between deciding that it’s “the right thing to do” to stop honoring the founder of both the Democratic party and the voice of the Founders and eliminating his memorials, named universities, streets and statues. Hewitt should have asked the obvious next question.

        • I don’t think there is a natural stop between them. Buttigieg may not take the next step, but it seems to follow logically.

          As for Hewitt, it appears he was running out of time for the interview.

          • Progressives and totalitarian socialists (but I repeat myself) ALWAYS take the next step.

            Remember Hillary being against the War after she was for it? Obama being against gay marriage then being for it?

  4. #3: The life competency the son showed himself to lack goes beyond the need to find an affordable suit. Just off the top of my head I can think of a number of ways this situation arose:

    – The son didn’t notice the price ranges

    – The son thought the gift card was carte blanche for any suit regardless of price (and may or may not have thought the uncle MEANT for him to go all-out)

    – The uncle would have put more on the gift card if he’d known more about the prices of suits at that store, but would want to give permission first

    – A predatory salesman pounced on the chance to double-dip on a naïve young man out of his depth, charging both the uncle and the mother for the suit

    All of which become completely moot points as soon as the dumb-yet-legal-adult son puts his signature on something. For any number of reasons, from the cynical to the mannerly, parents need to teach their kids the golden rule of “NEVER SIGN SOMETHING WHEN YOU’RE CONFUSED, FLUSTERED, OR UPSET”

    • As an aside, I now understand how reasonable, level headed people end up buying the ‘stainless steel casket in a concrete bomb bunker and we will cut the grass over the grave with nail clippers’ funeral contract.

      My father’s recent passing was expected, prepared for, and without fanfare. Yet, in dealing with his affairs, sometimes I found my emotions clouding my better judgement. I KNEW it was doing so, and still could not think straight (my lovely wife was the voice of reason, saving me from a costly mistake)

      For the record, dad was cremated and will be buried at an undisclosed location, after a handful of ashes are scattered upstream into the Brazos river, “where he could gaze upon Aggieland as he floats by.”

  5. The administration’s decision that merely identifying as a particular gender despite the biological markers of the other gender should not give free access to the imagined gender’s locker rooms and bathrooms?

    This is not even discrimination!

    When locker rooms are sex segregated,

    it applies equally to the black and the white,

    it applies equally to the Mormon and the Scientologist,

    it applies equally to the gay and the straight,

    it applies equally to the Eagles fan and the Steelers fan,

    it applies equally to the Halo cosplayer and the Star Wars cosplayer.

    it applies equal to the normal and the trannie.

  6. 3. I agree. Being an adult means living with the decisions you make no matter how embarrassing. Two weeks ago, I took my two kids to the dentist.The younger one couldn’t do certain xrays. The tech asked me if it was ok to do different ones. I asked what the difference was. She said, just a different kind of picture. I said ok. Turns out, they were $80 more. I feel like she should have told me that, but I didn’t bother asking.

    Frustrating and I said something about it, but still paid the bill.

    • Everyone’s insurance being different, she might not have known. I bet she would have found out if you asked the price difference; she still should have thought to ask the obvious question.

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