A really boring one.
Zombies would be an improvement…
1. More on my mask photo ethics conflict...I wrote about this in a comment on the post last night about Rep. Lee, but I’m still obsessing about it because I still don’t know what the ethical course is. When I saw that photo of Rep. Lee wearing her mask with her nose exposed (this makes her a nose-breathing idiot rather than a mouth-breathing idiot; it was also upside down), I was going to post it with two other photos showing elected officials doing the same thing. At literally the last second, an ethics alarm sounded. The other two officials, a city mayor and a member of Congress known to be, shall we say, an unlikely “Jeopardy!” contestant, were both black. In the case of Lee, who is the chair of a task force on the national response to the epidemic,the validity of pointing out the visual evidence that she’s an epic boob (we knew that, but still) is unassailable, perhaps even by the race-baiting standards of the Congresswoman herself, who repeatedly attributed any criticism of Barack Obama to racism.
Objectively, however, when accompanied by two other photos of African-American political figures making fools of themselves, would not the array appear to be a racist “dog whistle”? I don’t need to be tarred as a racist—I already have lost considerable income because I dare to oppose the anti-Trump mobs—and this would invite that result. Moreover, as I also commented last night, conservative sites were stinking with racist comments about the Lee photo. (“If you let blacks vote, you get blacks in power over you. This applies to every other non-American race and culture too,” wrote one commenter on Instapundit.) Thus the Second Niggardly Principle seemed to be triggered:
“When an individual or group can accomplish its legitimate objectives without engaging in speech or conduct that will offend individuals whose basis for the supposed offense is emotional, mistaken or ignorant, but is not malicious and is based on well-established impulses of human nature, it is unethical to intentionally engage in such speech or conduct.”
In the narrow context of my post, I’m confident that this is the right call. In a larger context, however, the Third Niggardly Principle seems to apply:
“When, however, suppressing speech and conduct based on an individual’s or a group’s sincere claim that such speech or conduct is offensive, however understandable and reasonable this claim may be, creates or threatens to create a powerful precedent that will undermine freedom of speech, expression or political opinion elsewhere, calls to suppress the speech or conduct must be opposed and rejected.”
Indeed Ethics Alarms has made a recent Third Niggardly Principle stand, refusing to accept the widespread ban on any designation of the virus that references its origins and the Chinese government’s role in turning it into a pandemic. I have done this even though the Chinese connection has led some thugs to attack Asian-Americans. I believe the principle that facts and words must not be suppressed because some may misconstrue them or react irrationally is a crucial one, and a principle that the totalitarian Left is working hard to deconstruct.
So in light of all the factors, what was, or is, the ethical way to handle this conflict?
2. Speaking of polls, here’s where the last one sits. Polling is still open, and you can vote as many times as you want, for different candidates. The poll asks you to choose which Democratic Presidential candidates would endorse withholding online classes from all public school students because poor students didn’t have WiFi access:
3. And speaking of masks, here’s what NBC Washington tweeted along with a photo of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam demonstrating the right way to wear a mask:
Later, it tweeted a “correction” that the mask was really dark green. Still later, NBC removed both tweets, saying, “Correction: We made a misjudgment in a tweet about Gov. Northam’s face mask. We sincerely apologize for the error.”
What “error”? This wasn’t an error. This was someone at NBC deliberately taking a cheap shot—Remember that Northam’s yearbook showed him wearing blackface, for which he had no coherent explanation? Blackface-“black face mask”? Get it?—-just to be a wise-ass. I yield to no one in my contempt for Virginia’s pandering, hyper-partisan and clueless Democratic governor, but he was a victim here.
I have wondered about this: would the years-long practice of journalists being disrespectful jerks to President Trump eventually become a habit that will be routinely inflicted on other elected officials, regardless of party?
4. Good idea! Major League baseball is discussing opening the season with all games being played in Arizona without spectators, essentially making baseball a 100% TV programming event. The baseball seasons were nearly all cancelled during World War II until President Roosevelt urged the sport to play on, even though most of its stars had joined the Armed Services. In his famous letter known now as “The Green Light Letter,” Roosevelt wrote,
“I honestly feel that it would be best for the country to keep baseball going…Baseball provides a recreation which does not last over two hours or two hours and a half, and which can be got for very little cost. And, incidentally, I hope that night games can be extended because it gives an opportunity to the day shift to see a game occasionally…these players are a definite recreational asset to at least 20,000,000 of their fellow citizens – and that in my judgment is totally worthwhile.”
Well, games are over three hours now, but the reasoning still holds. Baseball will be performing a national service if it can find a way to give the public something to think about other than the pandemic. The President would be well-advised to do his best FDR imitation and write his own “Green Light Letter,” but he isn’t well-advised, and he only cares about football.
Now THAT should be impeachable…
5. Finally, a token diversity note...Harriet Glickman, who as a teacher persuaded Charles M. Schultz to add “Franklin,” an African American kid, to the “Peanuts” gang in 1968, had her obituary in the New York Times. Her reasoning, presented in a letter to the cartoonist, was sound:
Franklin’s addition, however, was immediately recognized as pure tokenism. He wasn’t funny; he was only an occasional visitor, and he represented as clear an example of diversity for diversity’s sake as a critic could find. It didn’t help that by 1968, “Peanuts” had largely stopped being funny itself.