New Week Ethics Jolt, 2/24/2020: Uncivil Gravestones, Conflicted Zamboni Drivers, And Unintelligent Intelligence Experts

Hello, mates!

That hilarious novelty song, a big hit in the same year Kennedy was shot, is now too politically incorrect to play in the U.S. Is it also song non grata Down Under?

1. Unethical Headline of the Day. From the Washington Freebeacon, a conservative news site: Dem Megadonor, Gun-Control Activist Harvey Weinstein Convicted on Rape Charges. This unethical device is used a lot now, though seldom this flagrantly. It’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale gamesmanship, attempting to smear positions that the headline-writer opposes by linking them to conduct that they have no relationship to.  There is no logical reason why gun control or the Democrats should be implicated in a headline to Weinstein’s rape conviction. I’m not even sure the connection belongs in the news story at all.

2. Gee, I wonder why the President doesn’t trust his intelligence specialists. The Russian collusion conspiracy theory flared up again among the Trump Deranged after Shelby Pierson, the official in the intelligence community charged with election security, apparently botched her briefing to Congress.

Three national security officials told CNN that the briefer falsely (wrongly, mistakenly) said that Russia was planning to help Trump win re-election:

The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia’s interference this cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump, the officials said. “The intelligence doesn’t say that,” one senior national security official told CNN. “A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it’s a step short of that. It’s more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he’s a dealmaker.”

Since this comes from CNN, otherwise known as Bash The President Central, it cannot be dismissed as administration spin. My Facebook Friends reacted to the original story with utter glee, gloating that they knew Russia viewed Trump as a Russian asset.

If Trump fired her, and I wouldn’t blame him, he’ll be accused of a “purge.”

3. What’s happened to Australia’s sense of humor? Enfield Memorial Park, an Australian cemetery, removed the headstone on the grave of of Peter “Pete” Robert Bridge (April 1, 1986 – April 7, 2019) without informing the deceased’s family. The reason? His grave marker  featured a photo of Bridge telling the world off as his final gesture for posterity:

When Arthur Bridge, the deceased’s father, was informed by a friend that the stone has been removed, he immediately contacted cemetery staff and was told there had been complaints about the photograph.

Boy, I would have thought a raised middle finger to the cosmos would be regarded as the most Australian thing imaginable. In the U.S., epitaphs like this one…

…are not forbidden. Cheeky epitaphs are a welcome change from the solemn bare bones (sorry) variety. My dad would have loved to have a snarky comment on his headstone, but such is not permitted in Arlington National Cemetery, and being laid to rest there was more important to him than giving an amusing or defiant sign-off. Dad was especially fond of Winston Churchill’s message, “I am ready to meet my Maker.  Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” 

I have many favorites, including this classic…

… but I think my new favorite is actor Jack Lemmon’s gravestone:

Regarding Peter Bridge’s “up yours” photo, count me in with the argument on the family’s petition, which says in part,

“…the picture of Peter is so small, you’d have to be standing right in front of it to even see it properly. If his picture did offend someone, why is it anyone’s problem but theirs? That is our son’s personal resting space.”

4. This is a wild story and has a happy ending, but I don’t understand it at all. A weird NHL rule requires the home team to have a designated emergency goalie available in case either team loses both of their goalies during a game. For a recent game, the Toronto Maple Leafs, apparently not taking the rule very seriously,  had designated David Ayres, a Toronto Zamboni driver.

When Carolina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer went down with an injury, to be quickly followed to the bench by Carolina backup Petr Mrazek, Ayres, who had been watching the game in Scotiabank Arena with his wife, was told to suit up, because he was going into the net. Ayers went on to make eight saves in helping his team- for-a-day to a  6-3 victory over the  Leafs. He received a standing ovation from the 19,414 fans in the arena and  was doused in celebratory beers by players on the Hurricanes.

Wasn’t this a looming conflict of interest? I guarantee that if a Fenway Park groundskeeper was brought into a game as an emergency relief pitcher for the Yankees and he struck out the Sox in the ninth inning, he wouldn’t get an ovation. He would have to leave the city in the dead of night, wearing a mask.

14 thoughts on “New Week Ethics Jolt, 2/24/2020: Uncivil Gravestones, Conflicted Zamboni Drivers, And Unintelligent Intelligence Experts

  1. 4. I bet HT can help us out here, but I also bet Canadians and Canadiens, being more British certainly than Red Sox or Yankees fan, have a very deeper and wider sense of fair play and sportsmanship than most of us south of the border. The game’s the thing. Then you go have a beer, eh? Hoser.

    • I think hockey fans can appreciate a guy getting called out of the stands to play and doing well. They just wish they were the one doing it. Why would you boo a guy who just did what you always wished you could do? It would be like booing someone for winning the lottery.

  2. “Zamboni driver” is actually well within the occupational norm for emergency goalies; two seasons ago, the Blackhawks’ emergency goalie turned out to be an accountant (who actually did pretty well, blocking all seven shots hit his way). Apparently, the reason why hockey doesn’t have the equivalent of position player pitching is because the equipment for goalies are so specialized (particularly the skates) that people with only college/beer-league goalie experience are actually better at using them than professional (non-goalie) players; perhaps a better comparison would be catcher. Also, apparently Ayres actually grew up a fan of one of the Boston Bruins, one of the Maple Leafs’ main rivals.

    • Julian Hung:
      No, no, no, not catchers. Over the years, in all its manifestations, I think I have played every position in baseball (2nd base being the one I least recall). Catching is deceptively difficult. It requires a patience you do not find in the other positions.

      Every other position has you go for the ball; the catcher has to wait for it. The catcher has to be more poised than the other players. They are relaxed; the catcher has to go from complete restraint to immediate reaction.

      Maybe I am glamorizing the catcher because I sucked at it. When the pitch is coming and the base runner is stealing, it is really difficult to WAIT for the ball to get to you. It was extremely difficult for me, because I was so used to other positions.

      Throwing an amateur into catcher is bad news. I would expect many catcher interference calls. Anyway, that is my thought.


      • You completely misunderstand me; what I was saying is that like being a hockey goalie, being a catcher is such a specialized position that an amateur with some actual experience behind the dish is likely going to be better than a professional player who’s never actually caught. Heck, I grew up in St. Louis, and Yadi is still a god here even in his decline.

  3. If Trump fired her, and I wouldn’t blame him, he’ll be accused of a “purge.”

    I think a “purge” was one of his campaign promises. I wonder if there’s a word for when your opponents fire a criticism which functions as an effective praise.

  4. 1. Unethical headline

    This unethical device is used a lot now, though seldom this flagrantly. It’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale gamesmanship, attempting to smear positions that the headline-writer opposes by linking them to conduct that they have no relationship to.

    Exactly. Honestly, I see it every day, often in conjunction with groups unpopular with the Left like the NRA.

    This is the fallacy of composition by inference (in this case, a multiple offense) and has become de rigeur in political advertising and “debate,” and has bled over to news headlines for ideological news sites. It’s so passé, I barely notice it anymore. But you’re certainly right to highlight it’s unethical and inaccurate nature.

    2. Intelligence specialist

    If Trump fired her, and I wouldn’t blame him, he’ll be accused of a “purge.”

    There is some reporting that suggests her failure was the result of Democrat badgering and pressing for this conclusion. It is possible she did not intend this to be the conclusion drawn. It is also possible she is an anti-Trump deep-state agent provocateur. Adam Schiff is also suspected of involvement in the initial reporting of this, which seems likely to me. He is shameless and will not allow irrelevant things like the law interfere with his Quixotic jihad against the Great Satan Donald J. Trump.

    3. Gravestone

    God save us from the perpetually offended. Perhaps more cogently, God save us from those who cave to the perpetually offended’s idiocy.

    4. Some things are just too crazy for a meaningful comment.

  5. I think the Freebeacon’s headline was meant as a snarky commentary on the Reuters article that it was slapped onto. The point being that the article, which was fairly long, didn’t say a single word about Weinstein’s connections with the Clintons and Democratic causes, but that Reuters would doubtless have prominently featured his connections with Trump and Republicans if he had had any.

  6. #3. Can objections to the gravestone be simply because a photograph on a headstone is tacky? It’s almost as bad as tattooing a baby picture onto your calf.

    I hope he was aware enough to position his hand property in time for the rigor mortis, since it apparently can’t be set in stone.

  7. Tie Me Kangaroo Down — I may be too far gone to understand the “real” meaning of the lyrics, but I just read them through and they agreed with what I thought I’d heard so someone please tell me what is non-PC about them? Of course, I thought Mairzy Doats was pretty straightforward too until I learned the horrible truth!

      • Ah, of course: I should have checked Wikipedia first. And I like your “Bruce” better than the wikiwebsite’s “Lou.” No, not that!…I didn’t mean I liked, no, the ver….. Oh, hell. I can think of dozens of songs that have lyrics (or part of) that I might find objectionable (and that others might find horrifying) if I insisted on taking them apart … I’m Just a Girl Who Caint Say No, for instance … but I’ll defend to the death of my voice my right to enjoy the truth or the humor or the plain audacity of it. Now that I know it was there in Tie Me Kangaroo, I can appreciate it as one of the latter.

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