Where did the morning go?
1. Men don’t matter, so apparently this isn’t worth worrying about or criticizing... The same kind of body dysmorphia that has had feminists and psychologists attacking the media and popular culture for warping women’s concepts of acceptable and desirable body types is affecting men just as negatively, it seems. It’s just that nobody cares.
From Barbie to “Baywatch,” the culture’s emphasis on absurdly proportioned and gorgeous, never-aging women has been blamed for poor self-image, anorexia, breast implants, botox, obsessive dieting and exercising, and weight loss scams. The culture’s relatively recent obsession with male physiques that once would have been regarded as freakish, however, is seldom criticized.
Where once he-men and heart throbs like Clark Gable, John Wayne and even Tarzan himself, Johnny Weissmuller, didn’t hesitate to appear in films looking fit but hardly muscle-bound, like this
..now even minor minor male characters on TV, in ads and movies have to show bulging pecs, swollen delts and a rock-like six pack, despite the fact that such bodies, unlike those of Gable, the Duke and Johnny, are impossible for most men to attain while maintaining a healthy and productive life-style.
A study published in June found that 22% of men aged 18-24 reported muscularity-oriented disordered eating. Lead researcher Dr Jason Nagata of the University of California says, “The drive for a bigger, more muscular body is becoming very prevalent. Their entire day is spent at the gym trying to bulk up. They may also be taking illicit supplements like steroids.”
Men, however, seldom seek treatment for the problem, and media and social critics continue to concentrate on the pop culture’s unhealthy effects on the body images of girls, not boys.
2. More reason to detest Tom Brady. Here’s father Tom Brady forcing his 6-year-old daughter to jump off a cliff:
Hey! I get to use three favorite Ethics Alarms terms in one mini-post! This is res ipsa loquitur for irresponsible parenting. It is signature significance as well, because no good parent would do this to so young a child, even once. And it is moral luck: if Brady’s daughter had been injured in the jump, and she easily could have been, Brady would be widely and justifiably condemned, and possibly charged with child endangerment. That she was not hurt was just moral luck: it doesn’t change the ethics verdict on his conduct at all.
3. Do you know who Bill Dahlen was? Of course you don’t. Dahlen was a great 19th century baseball player whom Bill James, the stats guru who changed the way the game is analyzed and played, recently determined was the greatest player not to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He was better than over a hundred current members, and with no other non-members (not counting special cases like Pete Rose) better than he was.
Then James, in his Hall of Fame essay in the 2019 Bill James Handbook, makes a series of ethically questionable statements. He doesn’t see what purpose it would serve to elect Dahlen now, he writes, The Hall exists to preserve memories, and, James reasons, there is no memory of Dahlen now to preserve.
It pains me to challenge one of my intellectual, ethical and philosophical heroes, but that’s nonsense. James is arguing that when the culture loses someone who is worth remembering, it’s waste of time and effort to resuscitate what has been lost. That’s literally a rejection of historical research and the ongoing process of cultural rejuvenation. Pioneering French film-maker Abel Ganz was forgotten, until his masterpiece “Napoleon” was restored and given a spectacular revival. Gettysburg’s Little Round Top hero, Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, had even escaped mention in the Battlefield exhibits, until “The Killer Angels” rescued him, and his story, from obscurity. Here on Ethics Alarms, we discussed the recent resurrection of the amazing story of Julia Sand, the President Whisperer, and we are better for knowing it.
Bill Dahlen is no more obscure than Hughey Jennings, Tommy McCarthy or Candy Cummings, except that they are in the Hall of Fame, and he isn’t–and he is more deserving than they are. Like Julia Sand, Abel Ganz, and the less well known individuals in the Ethics Alarms Heroes Hall of Honor, Dahlen did remarkable things in his life, shined in his chosen pursuit, deserves to be remembered. Our society should do what it can to try to keep his memory alive.
Here’s Bill Dahlen:
4. Tennis tries to deal with an endemic ethics problem. Here’s tennis’s dilemma: since it awards significant prize winnings to players who lose Grand Slam matches and tournaments, what’s to stop players from just entering to collect the money? Yes, yes, integrity, honesty and all that, except that these are athletes, a group that tends to have the ethical values of Mako sharks. Thus pro tennis installed the First Round Performance rule for the 2018 season, prompted by an epidemic of players quitting midway through first-round matches at major tournaments because of existing injuries. The rule allows injured players who enter Grand Slam events simply to claim prize money to be fined and sanctioned.
Anna Tatishvili was the first player to be fined under the rule who had finished a match. After a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Maria Sakkari in the first round of the French Open in May, Tatishvili was fined all of her first-round prize money, about $51,500, for failing to “perform to the required professional standard.” The player filed a 40-page appeal to the Grand Slam board, and after reviewing it and video of the match, Bill Babcock, the board director, informed Tatishvili that her prize money would be returned. Babcock wrote that “there is no evidence that your movement was restricted [she had just returned from a serious ankle injury] or that you were not using your best efforts.”
Not so fortunate was Bernard Tomic, who was fined all $56,600 of his prize money after a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 defeat against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the first round of Wimbledon. He also appealed, but was told only that he will get 25% of his prize money back two years from now if he can play eight Grand Slam events without receiving a single code violation.