But thanks for an excuse to play the #2 most stupid psuedo-profound pop song of all time, #1 being, of course, “Imagine.” Take it away, Barry!
1. Mouse in the house. In the 30 years our home was patrolled by Jack Russell terriers, we virtually never saw a mouse (though Rugby literally wouldn’t hurt a fly). Lately, however, we have seen several, including a really, really cute one who is amazingly bold. This tiny mouse has big black eyes and little pink ears, with reddish brown fur. He also seems to like my wife, whom he crept up on the sofa to sit by repeatedly last night while she was napping. Ethically, we are at an impasse. I keep thinking about “Ben and Me,” the Disney cartoon about Ben Franklin’s apocryphal mouse pal, and my wife can’t bear the thought of killing her new fan. But we can’t have mice running around the house.
2. From the Ethics Alarms mail bag: Guess the rationalization! Steve Witherspoon aks what rationalization General Mattis’s fatuous statement, “We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers,” from his attack on the President evokes. Several, in fact. It’s a clear #22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things,” as well as the suddenly popular #64. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is.” Riots in dozens of cities, arson, looting and attacks on over 100 police cannot be called “a small number of lawbreakers.” It’s also a neat #59. The Golden Rule Mutation, or “I’m all right with it!” As long as those “small number of lawbreakers” aren’t threatening Mattis or his family, he’s willing to accept what happens…to other people being victimized by rioters.
3. This is un-American, illiberal and anti-feminist, but I don’t expect much pushback from Californians. The Los Angeles Galaxy professional soccer team released midfielder Aleksandar Katai because his wife had placed posts unsympathetic to the George Floyd rioters on her social media account. To make the team’s action even more ridiculous, two of the controversial posts were in Serbian. Never mind—in many of soccer’s hot spots around the globe, husbands are deemed responsible for the conduct of their supposedly submissive wives, and that seems to be the ethical reasoning here.
The first of Tea Katai’s posts was a screenshot from a video showing two New York City police officers driving their vehicles through a crowd of demonstrators with a Serbian caption that means “kill the shits!” The second showed a looter with boxes of Nike shoes below English text reading “Black Nikes Matter.” Katai also wrote another post in Serbian that described the protesters as “disgusting cattle.”
Since none of the posts were necessarily criticizing the race of the demonstrators/rioters but rather their conduct, calling her views “racist” is hyperbole. That doesn’t matter however: firing a man because his wife’s social media presence is inflammatory can’t be defended by any ethical theory, or a business one. The Galaxy’s explanation from team president Chris Klein was self-indicting:
“We believe strongly that we’re a club that represents our staff, represents our players, represents our fans and our community. The decision, in that respect, was not a difficult one. We have to hold to those values. This is not a soccer decision.”
No, it was a stupid, cowardly, indefensible decision motivated by absurd virtue-signaling. Firing a man for something he had nothing to do with “wasn’t a difficult one?” Good to know.
Klein further stated,
“There are a lot of things that didn’t make the decision very easy. But we have an obligation to represent the values that we’ve upheld. Everyone makes mistakes. But in the end we have to look at what the club stands for and who were are.”
What was Katai’s “mistake,” marrying an insufficiently “woke” woman? What the team stands for are unethical values and suppression of free speech, and “who they are” is an organization hostile to women, marriage, autonomy, freedom of speech and fairness.
I’d like to hear Megan Rapinoe’s reaction to the Galaxy’s “values.” My guess is that she wouldn’t dare choose a side.
[Pointer: Tim LeVier]
4. I’ll never be able to look at Glenn Ford the same way. We often discuss here the partition between artists and their art, and how as a irrational as it is, in extreme cases cognitive dissonance takes control and it may become impossible for some to continue to enjoy work by artists who are unequivocally revolting in their personal lives. I can’t laugh at Bill Cosby any more, for example, and my wife refuses to watch any film connected to Woody Allen. Glenn Ford’s screen persona for 50 years was that of an ordinary, decent man thrust into extraordinary challenges and dilemmas. Great range was not Ford’s forte, but credibility was: he was always completely believable as the never flashy, unremarkable looking and behaving individual who finds his way to doing the right thing.
Yesterday I learned that that Ford was one of the most notorious Lotharios in Hollywood history, which is saying something. Film musical great Eleanor Powell ended her career to marry him, and was rewarded by Ford’s almost constant infidelity until they divorced. Eventually he had three more wives, but that was nothing compared to the 146 affairs with actresses Ford documented in his personal diaries, including a 40-year, on-and off-again affair with Rita Hayworth. Ford eventually moved next door to Hayworth’s home for convenience.
Not only that, Glenn Ford surreptitiously recorded nearly every phone conversation he ever had with his celebrity lovers and friends for 40 years, including Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, William Holden, John Wayne, Cary Grant, Ava Gardner, Gregory Peck, James Mason, Lucille Ball, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Angie Dickinson, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Charlton Heston, Debbie Reynolds and many others. They, of course, had no idea they were being bugged.