[My mind is made up about this one, but because my brain is fried after my just completed Rhode trip, I’m willing to be dissuaded.]
Nataly Nolastnamebecauseapparentlyshesoldenoughtobeapublicjerk-Buttooyoungtoaccepttheconsequencesofheractions (I wonder what nationality that is?) was the valedictorian at the San Ysidro High School graduation ceremonies. All was going well with the young woman’s speech, which, according to the communications director for the Sweet Union High School District, had been duly approved by the San Ysidro school administration, when her oratory suddenly took a dark and unexpected turn. After expressing gratitude to her friends, family and some teachers at the school, she began using her moment on stage to throw metaphorical bombs and settle scores.
“To my counselor, thank you for letting me fend for myself,” she said. “You were always unavailable to my parents and I, despite appointments….You expressed to me your joy in having one of your students be valedictorian when you had absolutely no role in my achievements.”
Ms. Nolastnamebecauseapparentlyshesoldenoughtobeapublicjerk-Buttooyoungtoaccepttheconsequencesofheractions moved on to attacking the administration staff, for “teaching me how to be resourceful” because, she claimed, they failed to inform her of scholarships in a timely manner. Then she really got down to it, telling the audience about a San Ysidro teacher who , she said,“regularly” came to class up drunk. Natalie thanked the teacher sarcastically for warning students about “the dangers of alcoholism.”
With a final coda—- “I hope that future students and staff learn from these examples”—she left the stage to the cheers of her fellow students.
Here is the Ethics Hero argument, which I expect some, especially some current high school students, to make:
She was courageous. It’s about time a student did this (actually, it’s been done before). Even if the school wasn’t as bad as her one-way perception saw it, this was a wake-up call that should have beneficial results. She seized an opportunity to try to fix some problems that could interfere with the education of other students.
Now here is my analysis:
Natalie is a toxic, narcissistic jerk. The school administrators should have yanked her from the stage; I would have. In fact, that they did not do so is one piece of evidence that the place may have been as bad as she said it was.
The Nolastnamebecauseapparentlyshesoldenoughtobeapublicjerk-Buttooyoungtoaccepttheconsequencesofheractions did not raise their darling daughter to comprehend such concepts as trust, fairness, promise-keeping respect for others, and that there is a time and a place to take action, as well as the crucial life skill of knowing when that is.
When she submitted her speech, that was a promise that the speech would be the one she would delivered. She lied to the school, betrayed its trust, and then took the stage assuming that being given the honor of addressing the proud parents and her fellow classmates included a license to issue insults and accusations. She made the graduation about her, hijacking the event for her own purposes, spoiling it for everyone else, and bringing negative publicity on the school and community. Worst of all, perhaps, she may have misled some of her impressionable fellow teens to believe being a grandstanding jerk and ambushing one’s adversaries is a correct response to disappointment, frustration, or annoyance.
It isn’t. Natalie is an Ethics Dunce.
Here’s a poll, with this requirement: if you vote that Natalie is a hero, you have to offer your reasons, so I and others can mercilessly rebut your flawed logic and mock you without mercy.
That seems fair.