Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/13/2020: Oh Oh! The Oscars Are Racist And Sexist Again!


“I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

1. Thoughts on the announced Oscar nominations. Well, very few African Americans made it, and no female director despite all the blatant lobbying for “Little Women” director Greta Gerwig.  Thus I have to conclude that the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences DOES have a measure of integrity after all,  because it will catch all sorts of hell for this. Even after adding many voters “of color” and kicking out some ancient, unwoke voters members, it’s still a mostly white field, maybe because the most deserving candidates happened to be the wrong color this year. It doesn’t matter: the Academy will be beseiged again for implicit racism. Watch. And it will seek “reforms.” The problem is that race-based categories looks like apartheid. The only other alternative is to have secret quotas, which is what I thought were already in effect.

It doesn’t help that both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were nominated as Best Supporting Actors for, in Pacino’s case, standard issue Al, and in Pesci’s case, an embarrassingly  flat performance. If the Academy is going to give out legacy nominations, why not some token nominations for minorities? I bet there were 50 “of color” performances this year objectively superior to these two from the dead-fish “The Irishman.”

2. It amazes me that so many Americans defend Meghan Markle’s “Megxit.” I know, I already wrote about this, but her conduct appears to be a continuation of the Obama phenomenon, where a prominent individual exploits her race to declare all criticism as based on racial bias. “Black Britons” as the New York Times calls them, are lining up to support Markel because they allege she was “savaged” by the British tabloids because of her race. Similarly, the Times finds dark implications in the fact that the Royal Family didn’t rally to her side when she came under fire: they must be racists too. All the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they didn’t support Markel because she’s an annoying jerk: Occam’s Razor applies.

If she really married into the Royal Family and didn’t know that the tabloids would be dissecting her every word and move, she was negligent and foolish. Did she consider chatting with Sarah Ferguson, or did Markle think the Duchess of York was attacked because of media bias against redheads?

For once I agree with ex-CNN talking head Piers Morgan, who wrote, “I’ve seen some disgraceful royal antics in my time, but for pure arrogance, entitlement, greed and willful disrespect, nothing has ever quite matched the behavior of the ‘Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’

She has provoked a crisis in the monarchy to further her own goals of unearned mega-celebrity. I have a Facebook friend who argues that since royalty is unethical, Meghan should be praised for setting out to bring it down in England. (Yes, he’s a Communist.) The real Markle is already becoming more apparent. She has said that she will only move back to the U.S. after President Trump is out of office, already pandering to the Angry Woke. Disney announced that it had a voice-over deal with her, with her compensation to be donated to a charity….but she made that deal as a Royal, not a rebel. Disney has the right, but not the guts, to void the arrangement.

3. I was just accused in a comment of having a double standard regarding Presidents Trump and Obama on exploding the national debt. The commenter has a point, in that I have written very little about that topic since 2017, as important as it is. As with the other worsening crisis, our crumbling infrastructure,I need to remember to repeat myself at regular intervals, I guess.

I last wrote about the infrastructure in 2018, saying in the course of the post,

I’ve been writing about this unethical nightmare of irresponsible leadership and government for years, here and elsewhere. Nothing has changed. Where necessary, as you read these excerpts from 2010 and 2011, just change the name of the President or the parties. The situation hasn’t changed, other than getting worse…

On the debt, I wrote this just last July:

“When the U.S. becomes Greece, think of these days, these unethical leaders, and the incompetent public that supported them. The recent budget deal between the President and Congress to explode the budget, ignore the deficit and bring the national debt even closer to a suicidal level is bipartisan betrayal. Although it is especially galling for a President with a “bottom line” orientation to capitulate, Trump is no worse in this respect than Obama, or any of his predecessors going back to Lyndon Johnson. At some point, the American public can only look in the mirror and admit that it has had the power to demand responsible fiscal government, and refuses. We will regret this.

I voted for the late Ross Perot in 1992 for many reasons, but the main one was that I felt he deserved credit for making the debt his signature issue, and for his courageous and clear explanations of the crisis. Since his candidacy, there have been no serious political leaders who have tried to muster consensus that spending has to be cut, that so-called entitlements are out of control, and that our debt is unsustainable. Rand Paul was recently savaged for simply insisting that a new expenditure–expanded assistance for 9-11 first responders–be paid for. Our economy is suffering because of a ridiculously antiquated infrastructure, but it will take trillions to repair. Politicians are waiting for a crisis, like when city sewer systems break down all across the East Coast, or bridges start collapsing with cars on them–and this is coming. Social security is nearing the point where someone’s going to have to give up something. California could have retrofit its buildings in anticipation of the Big One, but would rather play Russian Roulette. I’m just picking these out of the air randomly—I’m impaired, after all—but I could go on and on.

While the President rammed through tax cuts without cutting expenditures, his likely opposition tried to buy the votes of the fiscally idiotic with promises of expensive goodies, like “Medicare for All” (more trillions), guaranteed income and free college. The absurd Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (who has no chance, but really how much worse is she than Warren, Sanders, Harris and the rest?) has proposed a thoroughly irresponsible “climate change” plan with about a 10 trillion dollar price tag, and it is mostly made up of Authentic Frontier Gibberish, virtue-signaling and unsupportable assumptions. Before a public even slightly aware of the dangers of the exploding debt (or a public that has anything but the vaguest notion about what real science is and the uncertainty of climate change projections,) such a proposal would be political hara-kiri. Gillibrand considers it a last ditch effort to rescue her campaign….”

Nonetheless, it is an important ethics issue, and I shouldn’t neglect it.

4. More Facebook ethics. And here is additional  evidence why Facebook is correct not to try to “factcheck” political ads. Pastor Ken Peters of Covenant Church in Spokane, Washington, posted this self-evident truth on Facebook:  “The LGBTQ supporting Iran, is like chickens supporting KFC.”

His Facebook account was suspended. He surmises that the line “violated Facebook community standards” because it was interpreted as comparing a human group to animals. Yes, that sounds like the kind of mistake a stupid algorithm would make.

5. And anti-Facebook fake news in a Times headline, which reads, “In Keeping Status Quo, Facebook Opts To Influence 2020 Election.” This is a dishonest slap at Facebook’s correct and ethical call to avoid factchecking political ads in 2020. The idiocy of the Times headline should be apparent: why is not censoring ads influencing the election any more than censoring them? Since we know that alleged “factchecks” are usually biased, isn’t avoiding them and letting the readers beware far less “influence” than deciding what a Facebook user can be trusted to see?

9 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/13/2020: Oh Oh! The Oscars Are Racist And Sexist Again!

  1. The problem is that, every time someone proposes reducing the rate of growth about spending, let alone cutting spending, some politicians, using the media as their megaphone, about how the deficit hawks want to starve the elderly and the poor.

    I wonder which political party these politicians belong to.

    • Michael,
      I fully agree. The real interesting thing about the budget and fiscal irresponsibility is the blame shifting. Nancy will tell us that the House and Senate decide what shall be appropriated and authorized yet they everyone in the media holds the President responsible if the government shuts down when their largesse is called into question. Trump in his first year said that omnibus spending bill would be the last one he signs but if that is all he is presented he has little choice but to go along or be pilloried. This dovetails with my comment on Trump’s penchant for shading the truth. We the people train these elected “leaders” to tell us what w want to hear and give us what the majority demands. In the immortal words of Pogo “we have met the enemy and we are it”.

      • Nancy will tell us that the House and Senate decide what shall be appropriated and authorized yet they everyone in the media holds the President responsible if the government shuts down when their largesse is called into question.

        Indeed, the media is the foundation of our problem.

        Note that when the state of California cut water usage during thre drought, no one in the media, not even George Skelton, accused Democrasts, let alone the state, of wanting the poor to die of thirst. Instead, they extol these mandatory cutbacks on water usage as a way to conserve water, to ensure there is water for futurwe generations.

        And yet, conserving money results in cries of wanting to starve poor people to death, instead of ensuring there would be money for future generations of the poor.

        They set the narrative, the narrative that keeps deficit hawks from actually being elected.

  2. Re: Nos. 4 and 5; Facebook’s facebookery.

    Not completely on point or even close to on point, but I don’t know what to think about this: I saw this report on Zero Hedge (and I have no knowledge of the website, its veracity, thoroughness, or anything else about it) about St. Greta’s Facebook presence. Here is a link to an article about the page:

    According to Zero Hedge, Greta doesn’t publish or control the content about global environmental collapse. Apparently, her father, who resides in India (?) controls and updates her site, making it look like St. Greta is at the helm, steering us away from total universal implosion – without St. Greta, what would we do?!!!!

    My question is this: Many celebrities, businesses, movie stars, musicians, don’t actually post the content on their pages. They have people doing it for them, probably with tacit approval of the page owner. If that is the case, then why is St. Greta’s case so special? Is it because she constantly tells us about how we should run our lives, that this revelation shows who is behind the big, red curtain, who just happens to be her activist dad? Is it confirmation that she is being manipulated by awful adults to promote a theory she does not have the depth of experience or intellectual maturity to understand? Is it showing she is a puppet?


    • Saw it: it missed the Warm-Up cut. She has a long explanation for what happened, claiming that she doesn’t post on Facebook, and the page is operated by her father, who uses it to take her posts from Instagram and put them up for Facebook users. It could be BS, it could be true. Would I be surprised if all or most of her social media pronouncements were written by her puppeteers? Not at all, but this story wasn’t conclusive.

  3. Re: No. 1 and the Waning Days of the Oscars:

    Well, as luck would have it, there is a nod toward diversity in the awards nominations. Apparently, American Factory, an original documentary distributed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions in partnership with Netflix, has been nominated for an Oscar. Yes, it has; yes, it can, and yes, it will win – count on it.

    That’s some luck, there. Barack and Michelle must have the Midas Touch.

    Can imagine it losing? Who in his/her right mind would want to beat the Obamas out of an award. I mean, their first foray into presidential politics earned them a Nobel Peace Prize and all. Think about it. Would you want to beat them in the category? You would forever be remembered as the lout who took St. Barack’s rightful award. Yeah, no.


  4. 2. Meghan knew the job was dangerous when she took it. Unlike Diana the kindergarden teacher (and minor member of the aristocracy), Meghan – by virtue of her pre-royal celebrity status in the United States – surely had photos taken of her, with or without her permission, before she married Harry. She was a celebrity. That’s part and parcel of the celebrity life here, like it or not. This should not have been a surprise to her.

    All members of the royal family are criticized to some extent, even the Queen. Every last one of them is white, so I’m not sure why Meghan thinks she’s being hassled because of her skin color. It does rather appear that she thinks she should be immune from criticism for that reason, though.

    So, yes, the Obama Phenomenon seems to be part of it.

    I also think she wants to have her cake and eat it, too. She got the fancy wedding, but now bristles at having photos taken of her? She’s got royal status, but doesn’t want the responsibilities that come with it? Surely, she’s familiar enough with Diana’s and Fergie’s stories to know this life is not a cake walk.

    I can’t imagine the Royal Family didn’t make that clear to her when vetting her to see if she was an appropriate wife for Harry, a man still apparently so traumatized over his mother’s death that he can’t help seeing parallels between her unhappy fate and his wife’s bristling over unwanted photo ops.

    She’s closer in comparison to another divorced American woman who sank her claws into a royal, only to have it not end as she would have liked. It’s only a mystery as to whether or not Elizabeth II will toss Harry and Meghan out on their collective ears as she did her uncle, the Duke of Windsor, and Mrs. Simpson.

    I’ve read reports that Buckingham Palace fears the two will go on a press tour and reveal deep dark family secrets if they don’t get their way. If ths is true, the Queen could do worse than strip them of their royal status and exile them to Canada.

    • There’s always The Tower!

      “Have her cake and eat it too” is exactly right. She wanted the wealth, status and celebrity, but not the work, duties and stiff upper lip that went with it. It’s too bad Harry appears to be whipped, but that was also the case the last time a Royal married an American woman. By all accounts, she made his life hell until the bitter end. I suspect a similar fate is in store for Harry.

  5. Perhaps there’s hope.

    An NYT opinionista wrote a very predictable piece ( about the lack of ‘Latinx’ representation in the Oscar nominations. And here’s how commenters responded:

    @Dave BX
    As a Latino I find the word Latinx imposed on my culture by the “woke” elite paternalistic and offensive. Thank you.

    @Dave BX And if Latinx was a word the plural would be Latinxi. You’re welcome.

    @Dave BX I am latina and I’m so with you. LatinX sounds like a cleaning product to our ear, not to mention so Anglo! There is a gender neutral ending in spanish: libre, grande, firme, perenne, estudiante. They could have come up with Latine but they were too lazy to think about how latinos would feel about this word.

    @Iris Arco and the NYT constantly allows it use, I thought they had editors.

    @Dave BX Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, and French) use the masculine and feminine. Using Lantinx seems to me as though academics want to change an entire language so it gender neutral. Weird. Get a grip.

    According to my quick internet research, it seems that the term originated within the Latino/a community itself to include those people of Latin descent possessing a gender identity outside the male/female binary. But interesting about a gender-neutral ending already existing in Spanish.

    @Dave BX Why couldn’t the woke world just use “Latin”?

    @Dave BX The NYT has heard in the comments section from many Latinos who share your opinion (including me) and they just don’t care. They like Latinx, so we’re going to have to get used to it. Except that it’s not sticking with anyone I know in the real world.

    @Dave BX they cant even be consistent in the article.

    @Dave BX
    No big surprise, National Public Radio insists on using it too. The addition of an ‘x’ sounds more masculine—or gendered—than the ‘o’ it replaces. The Linguist John McWhortle wrote a good article in the Atlantic describing why this bit of wokeness isn’t catching on.

    @Dave BX Amen, brother! Hispanic, Latino, Latin American…..same difference. This whole “Latinx” thing has gotten way out of hand.

    @Dave BX couldn’t agree with you more. Even amongst Latinos, Latinas, and Hispanics there is disagreement and confusion as to how we are to be addressed. Latino/na and Hispanic are two separate distinctions. Look it up, not going to get into it here. I refer to myself as Hispanic meaning all my ancestors (grandparents and beyond) were from Spain. Romance languages have gender specific words for things: la lampara, el telefono, la cama, el plato, la computadora, el zapato…what we gonna do change the language too? el telefonoX, give me a break.

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