Sunday Ethics Hymnal, 2/23/2020: Bernie Freakouts, And Other Amusing And Unsettling Ethics Phenomenon

It’s a glorious Sunday in Alexandria!

I hope you have the same good fortune wherever you are…

1. What a fun season the Astros are facing...Yesterday, in their first Spring Training game, the Houston Astros were booed by their own “home” fans in West Palm Beach, Florida. They will have an overhwelming amount of pressure on them this year in addition to being  pariahs in every ballpark in te American League. If they don’t win their division again, or approach the 100+ wins the team has amassed ever season since 2017,  the narrative will be that tis proves that it was the team’s cheating, not its superior talent, that had made them champions. Of course that will be a false conclusion, since there are many factors that could diminish the Astros in 2020, such as the loss of their best pitcher, Gerrit Cole, to free agency.

There were other ethically dubious moves by the Astros yesterday. Although teams are required by an MLB directive to include at least some team regulars in Spring Training games, since spectators are paying substantial amounts to attend, manager Dusty Baker had only minor leaguers in the line-up, apparently wanting to delay and minimize the fan abuse heaped on his team. Thus a line-up of players who had absolutly nothing to do with the sign-stealing that marred the Astros’ 2017 season and World Series victory absorbed the anger of the fans intended for the no-shows.

Meanwhile, ball park personnel confiscated signs brought by some fans to express their disapproval. The signs weren’t obscene or vulgar, just critical, like “Houston” with an asterisk,  implying that the Astros’ 2017 World Series title would be forever blemished by the team’s cheating. That sign is telling the undeniable truth.

Can’t have that.

2. Now here’s an old tradition that does not need to be revived...

Yes, it’s the 19th century fad of taking photos of dead family members—that baby above is dead, not napping—a bad habit that lasted into the 20th Century and eventually faded out because, among other things, ick. Reader and periodic Ethics Alarms issue scout Fred Davidson sent along a story that tells us that the practice is making a comeback thanks to cell phone cameras:

In a collision of technology and culture, of new habits and very old ones, we are beginning to photograph our dead again…Family members are sitting with kin in hospice, or taking them home from hospitals, and continuing to care for them after they die, often washing their bodies and then adorning them… with favorite clothes, flowers, cards, books and other totems. They are sending their dead off as their grandparents used to, and recording the event and its aftermath with their smartphones.

Is this ethical? Not unless the deceased consented to have a spectacle made of him or her prior to deceasing.  (The same is true of open caskets.)

3. “When you’re a #MeToo villain you’re a #MeToo villain all the way...from the Twitter attacks to your job’s dying day…” OK, it doesn’t scan, but they could easily be singing that in the opening of new revival of “West Side Story,” which uses huge TV screens in back of the actors for close-ups and atmospherics. [Aside: the way for live theater to fight its decline in popularity due to electronic media is not to become electronic media.]

Last Spring I wrote about an incident where the City Ballet fired two dancers for sharing nude photos of two female dancers electronically and making crude statements about them in the text messages.  Some women in the company complained that she would not feel “safe” dancing with someone who would do that, but one of the dancers,

Now he is playing Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks and a major role, in the “West Side Story” revival, and #Me Too protesters are picketing the theater, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, Ramasar has got to go.” I’m not kidding. They couldn’t come up with a more original chant than that.

So far, the production is standing up for Ramasar, saying in a statement, “There is zero consideration being given to his potentially being terminated from this workplace.” The Times writes that the protests “reflect the continuing debate over what sort of careers should be left to the men accused of sexual misconduct. Should they be allowed to flourish in new roles? Is there a waiting period during which they must remain in the shadows? Since #MeToo prompted a cultural reckoning, men like Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari have begun to re-establish their professional lives, while other public figures accused of more severe acts have seen their prospects buried — likely for good.”

No, the protests reflect the intentionally slippery slope being waxed by anti-male activists who want to increase their power to punish men and ruin their lives for less and less significant misconduct, blurring lines and standards that must not be blurred. Louis C.K, masturbated in front of female colleagues. Azis Ansari’s date didn’t like his attitude and aggressiveness during  their social encounter. Ramasa shared intimate photos without the consent of those pictured. These are different and distinct offenses legally and ethically, and Ramasar’s actions should not be considered to be  in the same universe as the harassing conduct and sexual assaults of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Matt Laurer, Roger Aisles and others, which the use of #MeToo implicity suggests they are.

No, it isn’t determinative that one of the betrayed women defends the dancer; there’s a Rationalization for that: #43. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?” However, the demands of the other woman involved, Alexandra Waterbury, who appears to want to destroy Ramasar’s career as a dancer, reeks of pure vengeance.  “My body was violated,” she tells the Times. Well, metaphorically speaking, perhaps. I recommend a civil suit, not a vendetta.

4. Hey Chris! It’s good to have your brain back again! As the results of the Nevada Caucuses rolled in and the Democratic Party leadership began to have it dawn on them that they were facing another MacGovern-style debacle in November, Obama-worshiper Chris Matthews snapped out of his MSNBC Stockholm Syndrome stupor and said,

“I’m wondering whether the Democratic moderates want Bernie Sanders to be president. That’s maybe too exciting a question to raise. They don’t like Trump at all. Do they want Bernie Sanders to take over the Democratic Party in perpetuity? I mean, he takes it over, he sets the direction of the future of the party — maybe they’d rather wait four years and put in a Democrat that they like.”

Last week Matthews has accused Sanders of being “full of it,” saying he’d be a “miserable president” if he got elected and predicting that Sanders would lose 49 states–like McGovern—if he went up against Trump in the general election.  Matthews also comparing the Nevada Caucus results to France being  conquered by the Nazis.

Naturally, the Bernie Bros, want him fired for not falling into line, with  #FireChrisMatthews trending on social media.


7 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Hymnal, 2/23/2020: Bernie Freakouts, And Other Amusing And Unsettling Ethics Phenomenon

  1. 2. It happened to me. After my mother had some medical problems stemming from a summer cold that went to pneumonia,I stayed as long as I could and left when the doctor assured us she’d be discharged soon, and flew back home, planning to visit again in a month. Within a week she had gotten worse, been moved from the hospital to hospice, and passed away. I flew back for the funeral. I was in the kitchen when the sibling who lived with our mother said, “Here’s how she looked at the end”, and before I could process what they were saying, I found a phone screen in my face with a photo of my mother, either dead or dying, in her hospice bed. I blurted out, “ You ASK me if I want to see something like that before you spring it on me!” “I took it for you because you couldn’t be here!” They were offended at my utter shock.
    Not everything ends to be photographed.

    Social media and instantaneous communication where you don’t have to actually speak to someone else has made so many people emotionally stunted or something, they don’t feel digital communication in the same way they react to in-person communication. The night my mother died I had been told the end was close, and was up waiting. I happened to wander back to my computer to find one line on Skype, “Mom passed 30 minutes ago” and that was it. I called others so they heard it from a family member, out of someone’s mouth, and not on a screen.

    • Four months ago, my father was killed in an accident that made the news. I found out it happened from my mother only thirty minutes before the local television news station was at my door.

  2. 1) Perhaps we who are Astros fans need to procure some bags like, I believe, Philadelphia fans did some time ago. I’m not going to stop being a fan, any more than you will stop being a Red Sox fan, just because they were ……. insert your favorite adjective here.

    I am still excited about baseball fixing to start up again, and I hope that the Astros and the Rangers will have seasons to be proud of.

    2) Ick. Just ick. Let’s burn those cell phones, sow the circuit boards with salt.

    • I am still excited about baseball fixing to start up again,

      I read this wrong at first. You meant “The baseball season is starting soon.”

      I took it to mean the cheating will begin again. As in, “the fix is in.”

      Sadly, both seem to be true

  3. 2. My niece carried an infant nearly full term, knowing he would have only minutes to live, if he lived at all, once he was born. I believe the final outcome was stillbirth, but that is beside the point. She has a picture of him, along with his birth/death date on display in her living room. Many people have said that photos like that are what helps them through the pain, etc., and I know there are photographers who offer services for free to grieving families in this situation. Whenever I visit I am reminded of the family’s pain during that time (and she later divorced the baby’s father), and the picture is not a happy one for me. My niece and her family, however, find comfort in it, much like they would a new baby picture. I’m not sure of the ethics on this one, but if it helps the grieving family, maybe it’s OK.

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