Ethics Alarms Presents…Mrs. Q’s Corner

Frances Quaempts

[ Frances Quaempts, originally known to Ethics Alarms visitors as “Mrs. Q,” rapidly established herself here as a commenter of outstanding perception and precision. Impressed with her original and ethical perspective, I offered her a regular place on Ethics Alarms as a contributor, and was thrilled and honored that she accepted. Frances has no set schedule for her commentary, and can contribute what she wants, when she wants. Please join me in welcoming her. Below is her inaugural blog; the next one will be following right along—JM ]

Telling the Truth in an Age of Expendable Avatars

by Frances Quaempts

My name is Frances Quaempts.  You won’t find me on social media.

Jack Marshall’s blog Ethics Alarms, lovingly called “EA” in my home, is my social media.  For the last two years I have sharpened my rhetorical skills in the Ethics Alarms comments sections.  Ethics Alarms has also been my go-to source for learning about current events while exploring the ramifications of what happens when “the twinges in your conscience” also known as ethics alarms, are adhered to or ignored.

My comments on Ethics Alarms have been under the penname Mrs. Q because I have not felt safe to comment publically under my name.  Living in Portland, Oregon after the 2016 election became at times scary, particularly for those of us who qualify as “intersectional” but don’t tow the political line here.  Our car was keyed, my wife has been harassed on multiple occasions, and as we have seen in the case of people like Andy Ngo, wrongthink became physically punishable.  At the same time, the internet and social media became the main conduits to make manifest threats to those who don’t conform.

As Jamie Kilstein mentioned in a recent article, “It’s easy to join a Twitter mob. You take zero risk if the takedown doesn’t work, but you pretend you’re Rosa Parks if it does.” Instead of seeing others as humans capable of both right and wrong and constantly in need of discerning our intentions – a new and bitter activist movement treats certain others as “expendable avatars.”  The truth is, no one is expendable and I’m done pretending to be an avatar.

It is my honor to have been asked to write for Ethics Alarms.  While I’m not a professional ethicist, I seek to live ethically by thinking about and questioning not only what others say and believe, but my own conclusions and actions as well.  My objective in writing for Ethics Alarms is to offer commentary and correspondence that encourages nuanced thinking beyond the loudest voices in our current milieu.  In order to do this, I will apply data from books, articles, and Jack’s many links in the sidebar.

Topics will be eclectic and pieces will reflect my varied interests and hard won experiences.  I also hope to bring a sense of lightheartedness at times utilizing music, movies, and comedy.  Due to a limited amount of energy from health issues, I simply cannot respond to all comments but will try to engage when able.

The commentariat here at Ethics Alarms is some of the best out there because people here are willing to explore their own biases, defend decency, and engage in exploration of differences and disagreements.  I hope to not let you guys down and thank you for your sharp insights and rational discourse that has helped make me a better woman.


Frances Quaempts lives with her wife and dog in Portland, Oregon.  Her professional background includes management, event planning, the book industry, and advocacy in the non-profit sector.   She has been an activist and volunteer for over three decades including being an HIV/AIDS educator, grant writing specialist, campaign spokeswoman and Chief Petitioner.  She’s currently a dog wrangler as well as a staff writer and community liaison for a local community newspaper.  Frances is a bibliophile and ardent Svengoolie fan.

18 thoughts on “Ethics Alarms Presents…Mrs. Q’s Corner

  1. And, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, resides another Svengoolie fan. I read your comments admiringly. EA is also an important part of my life since social media is not part of it. Without EA, I would not be able to offer to my millennial employees a different take on life–especially from an ethical perspective. Looking forward to your expanded role.

  2. “I’m done pretending to be an avatar.”

    I commend you for that and look forward to following this next phase. I’ve enjoyed watching the progression of comments from the the very short earlier comments to well thought out sharing of your personal experiences. You’ve added a lot to conversations at EA.

    Thank you.

  3. Always enjoy your comments, so glad to see you with a recurring gig here. Downside: more information I’ll feel compelled to consider. Upside: It’s certain to be more worthwhile than most.

  4. Welcome Mrs. Q! (It will take a while to get used to your real name.)

    Looking forward to your contributions. And if you ever brave crossing the Columbia River, let me know so we can buy you and your family a beverage of your choice. We sane West Coasties need to stick together. 🙂

  5. Mrs. Q – I was so glad when Jack announced that he had asked you to be a “guest” columnist here and that you had accepted. I have read your comments since you began here and have found great value in much of what you write. Thank you.

    As an aside, if that is your actual photo above, you look almost exactly how I had pictured you in my mind.

    • That photo was taken this year at my uncle’s home in Minnesota. It was one of those perfect moments where life feels as rich and beautiful as it can. Thank you for the kind feedback.

  6. Mrs. Q, I welcome you. You have some serious courage, revealing so much about yourself. Especially living in Portland. I live in South Texas, and I’d still be very uncomfortable doing so. But, I’m very happy to see you here, and I hope to continue to learn, now from you as well as Jack.

    • I’ll be continuing to learn from you guys and Jack as well! I’m not exactly comfortable…my wife and I spent many hours contemplating this decision. I also spoke with writers and friends, progressive and otherwise. One actually said he was worried for my safety. But I didn’t do everything thing I did in the past to hide and be afraid. Thanks for the support!

Leave a Reply to A.M. Golden Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.