Catch-Up Ethics Warm-Up, 10/22/2019: Updates, Word Policing, And The World Series

Late start to the day…

…in part as a hangover from the lively Smithsonian Associates presentation on cross examination with my sister last night. The event was completely sold out, a first among my five Smithsonian programs, and it was an intense two hours, followed by lively questioning from some participants who stayed for nearly an hour to grill us.

1. Good ethics news follow-up: Marlon Anderson, the black security guard who was fired from Madison’s West High School last week for protesting being called “nigger” by  a student, thus triggering an unreasonable, brain-dead and indefensible “no-tolerance”  policy, is being reinstated.

Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore  rescinded the termination less than a week after Anderson was fired. The dismissal triggering intense criticism here and elsewhere, including a student walk-out.  One nice thing about incompetent bureaucracies is that their lazy, thoughtless, unethical actions seldom are accompanied by any real logic or conviction, so they will usually back down, following the path of least resistance.

Still, as Ethics Alarms has asked dozens of times, how can responsible parents trust educators whose judgment is so wretched?

I also want to note that most publications reporting on the story emulated the Wisconsin State Journal, which wrote, “A black security guard who was fired from Madison’s West High School last week for repeating a racial slur a student had hurled at him, in an attempt to correct the student, will get his job back.”

Gee, which racial slur? Isn’t the particular slur an essential part of this story? Was it “negro”? “Uncle Tom”? When is it ever competent journalism to withhold relevant information from readers? Is the theory that the mere word will upset some readers more than the tales of carnage the same publications include daily without censorship? Do we read stories that report, “Someone did something really terrible to 26 people in a church using a weapon of some kind”?

In this case, withholding the crucial word at issue supports the “logic” behind the no-tolerance policy that led to the whole fiasco.

2. In more news of progressive word-policing:  Massachusetts state Rep. Daniel HuntGuess what party he belongs to. Come on, guess!  Hey, you have a 50-50 chance of being right!—-has submitted a bill to the legislature that would criminalize use of the word “bitch.” There will be a hearing today on Beacon Hill. Of course the bill is unconstitutional, but why should we expect elected representatives to be able to figure that out?

Meanwhile, the Boston Herald, supposedly the city’s conservative paper (meaning it’s not as left-biased as the Boston Globe) didn’t dare publish the word, writing instead, “the B-word — the term for a female dog that is commonly used to slander women.”

Someone should  tell the Herald that calling a woman a “bitch,” no matter how unjustified, cannot possibly constitute slander.

You know, I can’t stand this idiocy much longer. I’m seriously considering finding a wood-chipper and buscemiing myself…

3.  Yet another update! Naomi Wolf’s book “Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love,” has finally been canceled by the publisher, after an interviewer in Great Britain publicly confronted the feminist author with her  gross research error that rendered the entire thesis of her book questionable.


4. And Another! Rachel Mckinnon, the trans athlete who has successfully used the strength and size that going through puberty as a male endowed her with to crush born-female cycling competitors on the cycling track, won a women’s world championship last week.

Representing Canada, the transitioned male won gold for the sprint event in the women’s 35-39 age category at the 2019 Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester, England. She also set a women’s world record in the qualifying event,  and with no asterisks, either.  McKinnon, a philosophy professor at the College of Charleston, won the same event in 2018. Here she is with a typical competitor…

Looks fair to me!

How much of this will female athletes and sports governing bodies take before common sense and survival instincts overcome “woke” biases?

5. The obligatory World Series note. The 2019 World Series begins tonight, and since the Red Sox aren’t involved, I can observe as a baseball fan without a true rooting interest.  The Nationals have had a season reminiscent of the Boston “Impossible Dream” pennant of 1967, the best summer of my life. As with the Sox that year, making the Series alone will change the culture of the team forever. The Nats had buried themselves with poor play by late May, and another season of failed expectations seemed certain. Remember, neither this franchise nor its earlier incarnation, the Montreal Expos, ever reached the World Series. The previous D.C. team, the expansion AL Senators, moved to Texas before they got to the Series, and the previous Senators, now the Minnesota Twins since they moved after 1960, hadn’t won a pennant since 1933.

The odds and the rosters suggest that The Houston Astros will defeat the Nationals, but even if they do, it doesn’t matter. The D.C. team has thrilled the city, and brought it together. There are so few shared community touch points in this strange, tense impersonal city. This is a gift.

The only sour note, and I’m sorry to have to mention it, is that Washington’s majority black population is never in evidence at Nats games. It would be better, and healthier, if the Nats miracle of 2019 were a shared joy for all. I am used to the unfortunate baseball apartheid in Boston, which has always been weirdly segregated,  but in D.C. it is harder to explain. The Nats have no African-American stars, and unjustly fired their black manager after the 2017 season. As in all of baseball, the costs of attending games are prohibitive, and African American interest in baseball has declined everywhere over the last 30 years.

Once the current euphoria has run its course, Major League Baseball and Nationals management should make turning the District into a multi-racial baseball town a priority.

27 thoughts on “Catch-Up Ethics Warm-Up, 10/22/2019: Updates, Word Policing, And The World Series

  1. 2. Word policing is the fad of the day and it’s applied so arbitrarily that policing it has no meaning. In the Massachusetts word-banning, is it just when the word is directed at a woman? What if a woman directs it to another woman (even in jest or camaraderie – the way “nigger” is used between some blacks)? What if someone bangs his thumb hammering a nail and yells, “Son of a bitch!” in pain?

    Today, the President is getting “owned” (or “schooled” or whatever word Twitter favors today) because he had the nerve to suggest that the impeachment efforts that have gone on since before he even took office constitutes lynching. Of course, certain identity groups own specific words now so the word “lynching” can only refer to the historical experience of people with black skin in the United States.

    I wouldn’t have used the word lynching myself to describe this coup attempt, but the President has so often demonstrated an inability to communicate effectively that using hyperbole is his forte.

    Speaking of hyperbole, Rachel Maddow is seriously trying to argue that a defamation lawsuit filed against her by a media outlet after she stated the following about One America News Network: “In this case, the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda,”

    Maddow’s argument is that she was engaging in hyperbole. First of all, should anyone on a nationwide network responsible for reporting news ever engage in hyperbole? Secondly, the words, “really literally” negates the whole hyperbole argument. That’s a fairly definite statement.

    It’s all in the words, you see. And some people get more leeway with words than others. Imagine if President Trump had used the words, “really literally” to characterize a political opponent.

    • Actually I thought the lynching term was quite appropriate. Extrajudicial hangings and the term “lynching” have been around long before the period following reconstruction.

      If we compare the term’s use we find a lynching occurs because one group that holds the levers of power can conduct a non judicial proceeding with the accused tried in absentia in order to exact revenge for a perceived affront to their status or place in society. Upon conviction the mob carries out punishment with impunity.

      How is that different from what has been occurring since 2017?

      • “Actually I thought the lynching term was quite appropriate.”

        You’re not alone Chris, although some of the more vociferous are probably wishing the past had stayed right where it was.

        To wit:

        HoR Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) tweeted today: “The highest officeholder should think about these words. The rural south where I was born has a tarnished and painful history,”

        HoR Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) tweeted today: “I don’t expect Trump to be sensitive to the weight of that word, or see how insulting and hurtful it is to invoke it here,”

        Tarnished and painful? Insulting and hurtful? How soon they forget.

        (bolds/caps mine throughout)
        On the day before he was impeached (12/18/1998), BOTH referred to the Former Serial Sexual Predator In Chief impeachment proceedings a “LYNCHING.” Not to be outdone, then-HoR Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) “(It’s a) lynch mob mentality, that says this man has to go.”

        It gets worse.

        HoR Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) 09/13/1998:“We shouldn’t participate in a lynch mob against the president.” Five days later “no evidence that the Republicans want to do anything other than organize a lynch mob,” and three weeks later “(Republicans were) running a lynch mob” against Clinton.

        And worse yet.

        Then-HoR Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) 09/12/1998: “This feels today like we’re taking a step down the road to becoming a political lynch mob […] FIND THE ROPE, FIND THE TREE AND ASK QUESTIONS LATER.”

        Probably taken out of context, right…?

          • Ah, but Joe has apologized, in what may be the most ridiculous way possible:

            “This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that. Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily.”

            Yeah, Joe, if we’ve learned one thing in the last three or four years, it’s that Trump chooses his words with extreme care. “Vote for me, I’m even more reckless about the shit I say than Donald Trump!” is an odd campaign strategy.

        • But that’s just another demonstration of how specific words are being restricted by social pressure to certain identity groups. Only blacks can use “nigger” with each other; only women can use “bitch” (or “ho”, as the case may be); Democrats may not be able to use “lynching” anymore or at any time in the past, apparently, but it’s okay because Democrats just goofed up while we all know the articulate and coherent Donald Trump used it with deliberate malice. They get the benefit of the doubt; others do not.

          So who is allowed to use what word, under which circumstances and how long ago in the past without being vilified on social media? Take the case of Gina Rodriguez, star of the now-ended program, “Jane the Virgin” who posted a video of her singing..singing, mind you…a song that used “nigger” in the lyrics and has released more than one apology for doing so.

          Are non-blacks not allowed to sing rap or r&b songs out loud anymore? Even if they are singing the words as written?

          It all ties into this ridiculous concept of cultural appropriation. We have a Presidential candidate who literally appropriated Native American culture for her own benefit for decades. Yet, the social media furies fixate on sombreros worn by gringos.

          The ridiculous article above dissects Halloween costumes that white people (even kids) can’t wear without permission.

          Without permission? From whom?

          If I decide to open a gyro stand, will Jack Marshall’s cred as a Greek-American suffice as permission or will I have to produce Socrates himself to say it’s okay? Do I have to go find a Latinx person to give me permission to watch Speedy Gonzalez cartoons? What if other Latinx persons object anyway? Whose permission trumps whose and how many persons have to give me permission before it becomes acceptable? I have a feeling that, regardless of whose permission I get, the social justice warriors will still rake me over the coals.

          Is this really what our country is about now? If so, pass the Hemlock.

      • Actually I thought the lynching term was quite appropriate.

        Accuracy is irrelevant. Trump could have reasonably foreseen that he would be unreasonably attacked for using this term. Providing ready ammo to race baiters in a self-inflicted wound.

  2. I am a bit confused by your call to the MLB and the Nats to make DC a multi-racial baseball town. I have no problem with MLB and the Nats seeking to expand market share through target marketing but the purpose should be to build the franchise’s audience and not based on merely increasing participation by population demographics that are defined by race.

    You said that the team has no African American all stars. Are you suggesting the scouts are focusing on non African American talents or should we consider normalizing all star votes in order to ensure adequate representation reflecting America’s racial demography? Does the need to bring more African American talent to the Nats trump the business element of the ball team?

    Washington DC claims to be the host city to a number of sports franchises from which the DC sports consumer can choose. If one racial demographic group chooses to favor one sport over another with their dollars and attendance that does not make such choices invalid simply because another person’ s preferred sport appears to not have enough of that segment.

    If you want more consumers of X persuasion to show your wokeness you are doing for the wrong reasons and that group will see through such feeble attempts. Winning will bring the fans and yhe commensurate income from those fans.

    • I don’t know what wokeness has to do with any of this. All teams market to their whole community, and the Nationals are doing a particularly crummy job of it, that’s all. Seattle, with a large Asian-American and Japanese-American contingent, has led the way in hiring Japanese and Asian baseball stars, cloely followed by the LA Angels. When baseball returned to D.C., its first manager was Frank Robinson, one of the greatest A-A stars and the first black manager. When I went to Nationals Park recently, I saw as many little people (2) as blacks, other than the ushers. That’s ridiculous.

      Teams sign local players, and often local broadcasters, to appeal to the community. The Nats broadcasting teams are all white. Their most accomplished young black player is just not an all-star (I’m assuming that was a typo), he’s not even a regular player. MLB has a serious race-divide, and D.C. is a good place to start addressing it.

      • Jack
        The goal of the team is to win. The goal of the owners is to make money. To make the most money the team must win.

        You speak of a racial divide in MLB. I think you are casting a very broad net to make the point that Baseball is not competing well in the DC marketplace to capture A-A sports dollars.

        The fact is that sporting events have become the province of corporate season ticket holders and highly paid professionals. The DC marketplace is one of the most expensive in the US so for average earners with families a day at the park is a luxury. There is no such thing as cheap seats only cheaper seats. The no bag policy effectively precludes bringing your own snacks. The last time I was at Camden Yard I wound up spending nearly 20 -30 bucks on a couple of sodas and some munchies just for me. Add in the ticket cost and parking and it quickly becomes 60 bucks a head. I can’t afford that any more when I can watch at home or splurge at a Buffalo Wild wings for a whole lot less

        No one suggests a racial divide in the pro basketball team which has only one white player on the roster. Every other player is A-A. Does this mean that the Wizards are doing a crummy job of creating a team that reflects the needs of the whole community. I don’t think so.

        So what hot A-A local prospects has the team foregone in favor of a white equivalent? Wasn’t Brice Harper a local kid and he bailed for bigger bucks in Philly. Player salaries and caps along with holes in offense or defense affect the decision matrix of who is signed and who us not. You may want the best A-A hitter that commands a 7 figure 10 year deal but your bullpen is like mothballed battleship, functional but hardly a threat so you opt for two lefties and a righty to shore it up for now.

        The racial characteristics of the team should not be a factor in fielding the team. The goal is to field the best team that will win enough to generate buzz which translates to ticket sales and ad revenue..

        When the local team needs to look like the general population of the community so some parts feel represented I think we all lose when such standards must apply. Imagine having to socially engineer teams to reflect the broader overall population. Why stop at baseball. Should we apply the same standard to Morton’s Steakhouse; they serve the same community too. Or, do we simply assume that such products and services are allowed to consumed by one demographic segment.

        As someone who understands matketing you first have to understand your competitive position in a given market with specific demographics. You may never become competitive so you cede that segment to a different competitor. Until someone gives me real data on why A-A choose to buy something instead of a Nats ticket I am witholding judgement on whether the Nats are doing a crummy job of marketing to a given segment.

        I don’t know all there is to know about baseball but I do understand that not all segments buy the same things which is not a reflection on the quality of the matketing, product or management.

        Juan Williams is a regular at Nats games based on his statements. As a very vocal progressive you would think he would have raised the issue if he felt it exists.

        • It exists. In a city that is 47.1% black, and where that is the largest single ethnic group in the city, a tiny percentage of that group attends the city’sbaseball games. I don’t know how one can argue that this is good public or community relations, or good business, and certainly not good for baseball’s development and long-term future. Except for the superstars, MLB players are fungible. The lack of enough black players to be fungible is an acknowledged problem: black kids aren’t playing baseball, hence teams don’t have black players, hence black kids don’t see people like them playing the game on TV, thus they don’t play. In a city like DC, not making an effort to appeal to your largest demographic group is suicidal.

          Attendance is not the biggest income source for baseball—broadcast rights and merchandising both dwarf that. But people who have no interest in going to games are unlikely to buy T-shirts, caps and jackets, or to want to watch games on TV. It’s all linked, as you know.

          • Just checked: the lack of black attendance at Red Sox games has long been criticized, but the % of blacks in Boston is about 28%, and in Massachusetts—the Sox are a regional team—its about 8%.

    • Taylor’s testimony is critical of Trump and apparently contradicts Volker and Sondland. Bad news for Trump, but we have different witnesses with different accounts, all from closed-door hearings tightly controlled by Rep. Schiff. And, frankly, Taylor’s bias seems self-evident to me from reading his opening statement; why should his many inferences about what he “understood” be accepted at face value? But allowing, for the sake of argument, that things went exactly as Taylor’s testimony describes, do we really have a clear-cut case of an impeachable offense? Is it not within the President’s constitutional authority to request that a foreign government investigate possible corruption and illegal acts, and to condition aid on such a request? Is it unacceptable to make such a request, period? Only when it’s made to a foreign government? Only when it involves a person who is, to whatever extent, a “political rival”? Only when strings are attached? The Democrats desperately want this to be seen as clear-cut, but I don’t think it’s obvious at all, and I’m less inclined to trust them considering all the BS they’ve tried up to this point.

      • But allowing, for the sake of argument, that things went exactly as Taylor’s testimony describes, do we really have a clear-cut case of an impeachable offense? Is it not within the President’s constitutional authority to request that a foreign government investigate possible corruption and illegal acts, and to condition aid on such a request?


        Is it unacceptable to make such a request, period? Only when it’s made to a foreign government? Only when it involves a person who is, to whatever extent, a “political rival”? Only when strings are attached? The Democrats desperately want this to be seen as clear-cut, but I don’t think it’s obvious at all, and I’m less inclined to trust them considering all the BS they’ve tried up to this point.

        Of course not.
        Recall that Jack Marshal;l’s first blog was the Ethics Scoreboard, and he started it because of the Clinton impeachment saga, to counter the unethical rationalizations Bill Clinton, Lanny Davis, and company were handing out.
        Recall that Clinton was accused of committing perjury, suborning perjury, and obstructing justice for his own personal gain.

        And these same Democrats who demand Trumps’ impeachment today are the same one’s who defended Clinton, saying “it’s just about sex”, “everyone does it”, “gentlemen are supposed to lie about sex” “this is a coup” “this is a lynching”.

        finally, note that their side absolutely has no issue with using criminal prosecutions (let alone invesatigations) for political purposes when it suits them. See this post from Maraxus.

        Their side has no credibility complaining about Trump using a criminal investigation as a re-election campaign tactic, not after what they had supported.

    • The Guardian wrote, “Bill Taylor leaves Capitol Hill after nine-hour-long deposition”
      And the paper shows a twitter picture with the caption, “Bill Taylor does not respond to questions as he leaves Capitol Hill following a deposition that lasted 9+ hours”

      Just wondering, Can a person who has to testify make a deal regarding the testimony, for instance, max 6 hours a day?

  3. Regarding #2, Rep. Hunt might not have a good handle on what his job is supposed to be:

    “Any time a constituent approaches me with something that is of concern to them, I follow through with it. In this instance, someone asked me to file a bill that they deemed was important and I thought it was a good exercise to let that bill go through the process.”

    So any clown or mentally-ill weirdo in his district can bring him an obviously, indisputably unconstitutional joke of a bill, and he’ll waste taxpayer time and money running it “through the process”? I hope my use of crude language here doesn’t spawn another bill from Danny, but it sounds like he might be a fucking moron.

  4. Good to know.
    Regarding “Bitch”, being a word>that is commonly used to slander women.

    There is also a common use of man on man using the term bitch.

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