I’m stunned at how little publicity and outrage has been generated by the just-revealed Triple Crown scandal. I’m hoping it’s because thoroughbred horse racing is such a marginal sport today that nobody cares about it—quite a fall for “the sport of kings,” which was once among the three most popular sports in the U.S. I fear it is because the public has become so cynical about sports generally that ethical breaches don’t surprise of bother them much.
1. Speaking of ethics insanity in sports: A female teen champion swimmer for Anchorage’s Dimond High School easily won the 100-yard freestyle during last week’s night’s meet against a rival school. Then she learned that she had been disqualified, because her swimsuit was exposing too much of her buttocks, according to an official. The swimmer was wearing the exact same suit as her team mates and her competition; the problem was, apparently, her body, which was “curvier” than the typical female swimmer, perhaps because she was a mixed-race competitor in a sport that is almost exclusively white.
Another official who was working during the meet, told the Anchorage Daily News that one of the female refs complained that the bottom of the girl’s suit “was so far up I could see butt cheek touching butt cheek.’’
From the Washington Post: “Anchorage School District officials have announced that they reviewed the incident and concluded that the teenager “was targeted based solely on how a standard, school-issued uniform happened to fit the shape of her body,” and that the referee’s decision was ‘heavy-handed and unnecessary.’ The district is appealing to the Alaska School Activities Association, asking to reverse the swimmer’s disqualification, return all points to her team, and revoke certification for the referee who made the call. The district is also seeking to suspend and eventually revise the guidelines in place for appropriate swimsuit coverage, which officials said were ambiguous and left room for biased interpretation.”
They should also ask that rudimentary ethics alarms be required of all swimming judges.
2. There is hope! Two recent polls—stipulated: any poll is likely to be misleading and worthless–suggest that Ethics Alarms hasn’t been entirely futile in its—to some—excessive coverage of what I believe to be the two most important ethics stories on our times: the Democratic Party’s rejection of its duty to uphold American institutions and respect elections, and the corruption of American journalism. Oh, I have no illusions that this oft-censored little blog has contributed much to enlightening the public, but I’m satisfied that it contributes in a small way to the zeitgeist, which is vital if the nation is going to survive the assault on its values.
The first study comes from the PR agency, Bospar, in collaboration with Propeller Insights. Its survey of 1,010 American adults found that more than 95% are troubled by the current state of the news media, with 53% citing “reports on fake news,” 49% citing “reporting gossip,” and 48% citing “lying spokespeople,” as concerns. 67% believe ethics in journalism will be worse during the 2020 presidential campaign–I’d say that’s a safe bet. I’m amazed that anyone wouldn’t expect this.
Oddly, almost all of my Facebook friends reside in that less than 5% who feel the news media is as pure as the driven snow, and anyone who impugn its objectivity is a Nazi, racist, moronic Trump supporter.
The second comes from the more reliable Pew Foundation. Pew data from last year showed that most Americans had a favorable opinion of the Democratic party, and a negative view of the GOP. 53 % of respondents last September said that they viewed the Democratic party favorably, compared to 42% who said they viewed it unfavorably. In the same survey, 43% had a favorable view of the Republican Party compared to 52% who had an unfavorable view. This September’s Pew survey shows that most Americans view both the Democratic and Republican parties with disfavor, and in exactly equal proportions: 45 % positive, 52% negative.
Good. The Democratic Party has been behaving crazy and irresponsibly for more than three years, a I’ve tried to document; they deserve this result.
Of course it does.
4. From the Ethics Alarms “overplaying your hand” files: Hanisya Massey owns Higher Ground Enterprises, a tiny computer training company in Covina, California. The Obamas seek to trademark their nascent company’s name, Higher Ground Productions, but the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled that it is too similar to the mark Massey registered in 2017. Barack and Michelle are willing to pay a reasonable price for the name, but Massey, sensing an opportunity, wants to drive a hard bargain, including a guarantee that she can have onscreen roles—they don’t have to be big, now!—in the Obamas’ future productions for Netflix and others.
No more Mr. Nice President! The Obamas now seek to have Massey’s trademark invalidated. Their Higher Ground Productions filed a petition to cancel Massey’s trademark on the theory that she was not actively and regularly using the trademark to conduct business. If there is not sufficient use of the mark by Massey, then her registrant’s rights vanish. Higher Ground Productions filed the petition after finding scant evidence of Massey’s company or use of the trademark. The company’s internet presence was dormant for years, and the current website for Higher Ground Enterprises was still “in development” until September 5.
I don’t know why the Obamas couldn’t just shrug and come up with another name. It is also clear that Massey is being greedy. Fox News and others are framing the story as Obama bullying, but I don’t see it. Massey’s demand for parts in their productions is not reasonable, and tells me that she is trying to cash in, while exploiting her underdog status against the Obamas to gains support in public opinion.
5. Credit where credit is due. But before we get to that… let us give a giant raspberry…
…to Hasbro, the current owners of Monopoly, for promoting division in a classic borad game. Pandering to feminists, progressives, and those who still hold on to the 77 cents on the dollar lie, the toy company is releasing Ms Monopoly, a version of the real estate game in which women earn more than men. Female players start out with 1,900 Monopoly dollars, while male players get 1,500. Women also collect more after passing “Go,” earning 240 Monopoly dollars instead of the usual 200.
Yet the game decided not to right a long-standing wrong by revealing that the inventor of Monopoly was not Charles Darrow, who sold the game to Parker Brothers in 1935, but a woman, Elizabeth Magie, a progressive and feminist. In 1904, Magie received a patent for what she called The Landlord’s Game. Players rolled dice to advance along a path composed of 40 spaces around a square board They purchased property along the way, as well as utilities, railroads and a bank. A corner square told players to “go to jail,” and a trip around the board earned each $100. Here are the details from the patent:
A Quaker community in Atlantic City made copies of the game with the property names replaced by local areas, such as Pennsylvania Avenue, Virginia Avenue, Ventnor Avenue and Boardwalk. Charles Darrow was shown the game by a man who attended a Quaker school with Darrow’s wife, made a few changes, and re-christened the game “Monopoly.” Darrow sold “his” game to Parker Brothers in 1935.
The company secured a patent, and George Parker, the company’s founder, realizing that Magie might have a case, visited her in person and persuaded her to sell the patent for The Landlord’s Game in exchange for $500 and his promise to publish it and two other games of her design. That promise was never kept.
In the box of Ms. Monopoly, Hasbro writes,
“The Monopoly game as we know it was invented by Charles Darrow, who sold his idea to Parker Brothers in 1935. However, there have been a number of popular property trading games throughout history. In fact, Elizabeth Magie — a writer, inventor, and feminist — was one of the pioneers of land-grabbing games.”
I rate that statement as deceit, and intentionally misleading. Magie’s 1948 obituary made never mentions Monopoly. You would think that a feminist version of the game she developed would at least give her proper credit.