1. This thing above. How can anyone take these people, or the entire industry they represent, seriously? Was someone challenged to come up with the most nauseating, self-indicting example of narcissistic grandstanding and virtue-signalling imaginable? Among the more recognizable celebrities are Kristen Bell, Kesha, Aaron Paul, Stanley Tucci, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Debra Messing, though I’m sure I would have recognized more if I hadn’t been retching so violently. This PSA is supposed to launch a new project by entertainment production company Confluential Content, in partnership with the NAACP. So earnest (and as performed, manifestly phony) that it hurts, the stars—I’m assuming they are all stars—take turns reading a wildly hyperbolic and deceitful script:
“I take responsibility for every unchecked moment, for every time it was easier to ignore than to call it out for what it was. Every not-so-funny joke. Every unfair stereotype. Every blatant injustice no matter how big or small. Every time I remained silent. Every time I explained away police brutality or turned a blind eye. I take responsibility. Black people are being slaughtered in the streets. Killed in their own homes. These are our brothers and sisters. Our friends. Our family. We are done watching them die. We are no longer bystanders; we will not be idle. Enough is enough.”
Who is it who will decide what’s a stereotype, an unfunny joke (what if the joke is funny?), or a blatant injustice? You silly people? Right.
I hereby take responsibility for calling out you clowns as the arrogant, smug, hypocritical social censors you are. Meanwhile, black Americans are not “being slaughtered in the streets,” any more than “black people are passing counterfeit 20 dollar bills.” Black people are not being “killed in their own homes”—I assume these white actors aren’t taking about black family members, friends, and members of their own communities killing black people in their homes, right? This is a a plural reference to a single tragedy, the death of Breona Taylor, designed to represent a single event as a regular occurrence.
Why would I trust anyone who intentionally distorts the truth like that, especially when they are so hilariously over-the-top theatrical while doing it? “Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul wins the prize, I think; he appears to be channeling James Franco’s Super Ham reading of “Stella!” in “The Disaster Artist. ”
More than anything else, however, the video is a fraud. Responsibility implies accountability. Saying one is responsible when there will be no consequences if what one claims to be responsible for turns out horribly wrong is little better than a lie.
This video is signature significance for people who aren’t intelligent or perceptive enough to be taken seriously, so their involvement in any serious issue is distracting rather than constructive.
2. Disturbing, but hardly surprising, is the news that Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School has informed the readers of his blog Legal Insurrection that “there’s an effort to get me fired at Cornell for criticizing the Black Lives Matter Movement o r if not fired, at least publicly denounced by the law school. Student groups plan to demand the law school “critically examine the views of the people they employ as professors of the law.”
Prof. Jacabson is one of many law professor bloggers whose work I review regualraly and whose insights are invaluable to Ethics Alarms, along with Ann Althouse, Jonathan Turley, Glenn Reynolds, Alberto Bernabe, and Paul Caron.
Professor Jacobson writes in part,
From Saturday, June 6, through Monday, June 8, over 15 emails from CLS alumni were received by the Dean of the law school, demanding that action be taken against me ranging from an institutional statement denouncing me to firing. ..The effort appears coordinated, as some of the emails were in a template form. All of the emails as of Monday were from graduates within the past 10 years.
Only one of the emails was shared with me, with names removed, on the condition that I not post it or quote from it. I am permitted to characterize the complaint: My views are not consistent with the law school Dean’s public statement on police violence and my writings were hurtful and divisive, and the person could not understand why I am still on the faculty….
My clinical faculty colleagues, apparently in consultation with the Black Law Students Association, drafted and then published in the Cornell Sun on June 9 a letter denouncing “commentators, some of them attached to Ivy League Institutions, who are leading a smear campaign against Black Lives Matter.” While I am not mentioned by name, based on what I’ve seen BLSA and possibly others were told it was about me. ..None of the 21 signatories, some of whom I’d worked closely with for over a decade and who I considered friends, had the common decency to approach me with any concerns. Instead they ran to the Cornell Sun while virtue signaling to students behind the scenes that this was a denunciation of me. Such is the political environment we live in now at CLS.
…The plan is to call for “the law school to unequivocally denounce his rhetoric, acknowledge the harm caused by subjecting students to his racist pedagogy, and critically examine the views of the people they employ as professors of the law.” They plan to circulate the petition to the law school community and to “inform incoming students” of the situation….
Open inquiry and debate are core features of a vibrant intellectual community. This has been the way Cornell Law School operated for the 12 years I’ve been here, until now. In this toxic political environment in which intellectual diversity and differences of opinion are not tolerated, trying to shut down debate through false accusations of racism seems to be the preferred tactic.
…Throughout my legal and academic career spanning over three decades, there has never been a single instance in which I have been accused of discrimination toward any student, client or colleague. … I condemn in the strongest terms any insinuation that I am racist, and I greatly resent any attempt to leverage meritless accusations in hopes of causing me reputational harm. While such efforts might succeed in scaring others in a similiar position, I will not be intimidated.
We are living in extraordinarily dangerous times, reminiscent of the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution, in which professors guilty of wrongthink were publicy denounced and fired at the behest of students who insisted on absolute ideological orthodoxy. It’s a way of instilling terror in other students, faculty, staff, and society, so that others shut up and don’t voice dissenting views. We are seeing monuments destroyed in Taliban-fashion because they represent an uncomfortable history, movies and TV shows cancelled, and individuals disappeared from employment due to even the slightest deviation from the prevailing political culture.
This is not going to end well unless people of good conscience, who support black lives but not the Black Lives Movement as it was founded and currently operates, to speak up and refuse to cower in fear.
The professor is correct, and I will support and and stand with him in every way I can, beginning with publicizing this despicable effort to silence him. We are witnessing, as I have already written, an outbreak of McCarthyism from the Left that must be vigorously opposed by all ethical Americans, regardless of partisan views.
3. And now for something completely stupid...the episode of John Cleese’s “Fawlty Towers” that is widely regarded as the immortal British sitcom’s best (with the phrase, “Don’t mention the war!”) has been removed the BBC’s streaming service, apparently because at one point the stupid and misanthropic Basil Fawlty makes offensive comments about a black doctor, and Major Gowen, a regular (and senile) guest at Basil’s hotel, uses what some consider racist language in relation to the West Indies cricket team.
The only value the United Kingdom has, as defenders of free expression try to fight the virulent outbreak of censorship and thought control stateside, is to remind us that we still haven’t sunk as low as everywhere else.