Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/23/2019: Post Emmys Edition [UPDATED]

I’m kidding; I  didn’t watch the Emmys, have not watched a second of the Emmys in decades, and can’t imaging a greater waste of time than watching the Emmys, and that includes the time I spent watching “Tusk,” the Kevin Smith black comedy in which a madman played by Michael Parks traps a jerk podcaster played by Justin Long and surgically transforms him into a human walrus. I kind of liked it, to be honest.

That’s Billy Porter above, by the way, the first openly gay actor to win a performing Emmy, after the many, many non-openly gay actors who have won over all these years. Making a big deal out of this diminishes his honor, since it suggests that his sexual orientation had something to do with his winning the award. I don’t see any reason why who an actor chooses to have sex with should have any relevance to an acting honor.

[UPDATE: Not that it matters, but the Emmy broadcast ratings hit an all-time low. What? People voluntarily passed up a chance to see actresses use their podium time to lecture about acceptance of trans individuals, and basing industry pay levels on gender  equity rather than value?]

1. Country music’s Jackie Robinson. Ken Burns’ documentary “Country Music,” on PBS now, convinced me that Charlie Pride, the first black country music star, deserves more accolades than he has received, as do the white producers and allies, like Chet Akins, Jack D. Johnson, and Louis Allen “Al” Donohue, who made it possible for him to break that culture’s color barrier.

Inspired by Robinson, Pride resolved as a teen to escape the cotton fields. He played minor league baseball, and sang in bars to make extra cash. Then he was “discovered” by two country music figures and advised to go to Nashville.

It’s an amazing story (why Pride’s life hasn’t been made into a movie, I don’t know). Apparently at the beginning of his career, stations played his records without noting his race. In the documentary, Pride describes a Detroit concert where he was introduced to an all-white audience of nearly 20,000 that roared and applauded when he walked out, and then suddenly became silent when they saw his skin color. Do you think that scene might have inspired Richard Pryor to write this one?

2.  Jerk of the Year? Just being the NFL Jerk of the Year is an achievement (there is so much competition), but Antonio Brown, the star receiver signed by the New England Patriots (in their own bid for NFL Jerks of the Year) after he had jerked his way off his previous two teams, then released after two sexual misconduct allegations against him surfaced, went out in a blaze of jerkness.

Immediately after being ditched by the embarrassed Pats, Brown unleashed a torrent of attack tweets, attempting to position himself as a victim.

He announced that he was quitting the NFL (we shall see), and drew a comparison between Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s  arrest for patronizing a “happy endings” massage parlor and his being accused of rape, implying that he was the victim of a double standard.

Brown quickly killed the tweet, but maybe not soon enough. His Patriots contract includes a clause saying that his guarantees “will be null and void” if he “takes any action that materially undermines the public’s respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, Player’s teammates or the Club’s ownership, coaches, management, operations or policies.” Brown’s one-year contract with the Patriots was to be worth up to $15 million and includes a $9 million signing bonus, the first installment of which is due today.

The Oakland Raiders have already informed Brown that they are voiding  $29.1 million in guarantees in his three-year, $50.1 million contract with them, following his demanding his release after a series of disruptive incidents, including an ongoing tantrum about having to use an NFL-sanctioned helmet.  In last week’s tweet-storm, Brown also attacked his old Pittsburgh Steelers team mate, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was suspended in 2010 for after being accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student.

Me, I’m just smiling widely because the Patriots got burned, and deserved to. They committed millions to The King’s Pass, hiring a realeased athlete who had already proven beyond any doubt that he had the ethics of a sociopath and was as trustworthy as your average embezzler, because he plays pro football well.

3. Now THIS is Trump Derangement! Here’s a headline from The Guardian: “Why Ivanka Trump’s new haircut should make us very afraid.” A sample:

The new cut has been analysed to within an inch of its life. The Daily Beast, for example, mused that it “could be an optics ploy to communicate control in a derailed administration”. Salon asked whether the shorter cut was a “nod to her growing ambitions, while an image consultant told Refinery29 that Trump “wants to re-establish credibility because her father’s campaign is coming up … this hair makes her look more grounded and more mature and more professional.” It is possible Trump just felt like cutting her hair. But if the Trumps care about anything, it is image; I wouldn’t dismiss the idea that Trump’s new cut is an attempt to get us to take her politicking more seriously.

4. When ethics alarms don’t ring...also child abuse alarms, common sense alarms, and those “for God’s sake, what am I doing?” alarms. This story also is relevant to the debate here last month over, among other things, the practice of schools calling the police to deal with misbehaving students.

In Orlando, Florida, Kaia Rolle  was arrested and handcuffed  after administrators at the Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy, a charter school, called the police.

Rolle is six-years-old.

A staff member grabbed the girl’s  wrists in order to calm her down when she was in the midst of a tantrum, and Rolle kicked her. When Rolle’s grandmother tried to explain to Officer Dennis Turner that the child  has a sleep disorder that sometimes causes her to be exhausted and irrational, the officer replied, “Well, I have sleep apnea, and I don’t behave like that.”

You’re also not six, you idiot.

Rolle was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center on a battery charge.

Orlando Police Department officials said Rolle was one of two children Turner arrested that day.  The other was 8.  Much better. Department policy requires officers to seek approval from their watch commander before arresting any child under 12, but the procedure wasn’t followed.

I suggest a more ethical policy: Don’t arrest any child under five feet tall unless he or she has a gun, a machete,  a flame-thrower, or her head has spun around.

12 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/23/2019: Post Emmys Edition [UPDATED]

  1. That’s Billy Porter above, by the way, the first openly gay actor to win a performing Emmy, after the many, many non-openly gay actors who have won over all these years. Making ab ig deal out of this diminishes his honor, since it suggests that his sexual orientation had something to do with his winning the award.

    Homage must be paid at every available opportunity to identity politics, regardless of the harm it does to our institutions. These are the new rules, and they are immutable and not subject to challenge by anyone.

    Shut up, they explain.

    1. Charlie Pride is awesome, and always has been.

    2. Antonio Brown is a cautionary tale — he’s what happens when athletic success, money, and insufficient education combine to produce a first-class failure of humanity.

    3. The crazy, it burns! I expect the Left to start muttering “My Precious” any minute. Trump has driven the left so far around the batshit bend you can’t even see it from here without the aid of the Hubble Telescope.

    4. 6-year old miscreant.

    I suggest a more ethical policy: Don’t arrest any child under five feet tall unless he or she has a gun, a machete, a flame-thrower, or her head has spun around.

    Jeez-o-Pete. When I was a kid, you’d have to have more than just a deadly weapon. You’d have to demonstrate you knew how to successfully use it to be arrested. These days, you can probably be charged with a felony for drawing a picture of a gun in school.

    What is it Glenn Reynolds says? “The 21st century isn’t working out as I’d hoped…”

  2. 4. The hysteria over fighting in schools just has to be ended. Expect children to hit each other. Punish them appropriately.

    No, that can’t happen can it? There’s no going back.

    Boycott public schooling. It needs to die. The corpse should be burned and the ashes drummed and buried in a Southwestern salt mine with the rest of the nuclear waste. The public monies saved can be used to fund the construction of walls around sanctuary cities.

  3. 1. Charley Pride must never have heard of micro-aggressions, and he certainly showed grace a number of times in the face of macro aggressions. His supporters were ethical heroes, and, let’s not overlook Loretta Lynn who was told that if Charley won Singer of the Year in 1971, she should step back after presenting the award; instead, she leaned in and gave him a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek.

  4. ” I didn’t watch the Emmys, ”

    Neither did I. I did, however, watch the In Memoriam segment online this morning solely so I could complain about those left out of the tribute so that there’d be more time for movie stars and behind-the-scenes crew.

    For some reason, the contributions to television by the following people were not considered important enough to acknowledge:

    * character actor Dick Miller
    * character actor Eddie Jones
    * Peter Tork of The Monkees…the band and the television show of the same name.
    * Katherine MacGregor, the talented and funny actress who spent nine seasons as the cranky Mrs. Oleson on “Little House on the Prairie”.
    * Ken Kercheval, Ewing rival Cliff Barnes on the long-running night-time soap “Dallas” , plus several reunion movies and a recent spin-off.
    * Max Wright, deserves mention solely for having to work opposite a temperamental puppetmaster on “Alf”.
    * Beverly Owen, the first Marilyn Munster.
    * Richard Erdman, character actor who appeared on the magic stopwatch episode of “The Twilight Zone” and found fame later in life on the NBC sitcom, “Community” (He also played a big part in the classic film “Stalag 17”, but that’s movies, not tv).
    * Singer/Actress Kaye Ballard. She was important enough to appear on an episode of “The Muppet Show”! And she had her own show with Eve Arden, “The Mothers-in-Law”.

  5. 4. The police officer has been fired, according to the Orlando Police Chief, and the State Attorney has stopped prosecution of the kids (both apparently 6, per a correction), so some sanity has set in. Didn’t see anything about the teachers/administrators who called the officer in to arrest the kids, but as much of an overreaction as that seems to be, there might be more to that story. The school appears to have clammed up.

    • Good.

      As to school officials, they will never be held accountable unless the school board suddenly realizes they have allowed them to jump the shark.

  6. 4) As long as our society grows in litigiousness, institutions will be absolutely petrified of handling things judiciously on their own and will increasingly resort to official means of force. I think public schools are garbage, but I also think they behave exactly as expected given the perverse incentives they face.

  7. Regarding Antonio Brown and his forbidden love for his old helmet: one might be tempted to accept his behavior as concrete proof that the old helmet didn’t work so good.

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