Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 6/22/2020: Lenin, Oliver, And The Troublesome Name

It would be well to consider the fate of that ultimate Sixties folk-pop group the Mamas and Papas, as we watch today’s idealistic anarchists make fools of themselves. By mid-way through their four-year run (during which they sold 40 million recordings), the group was self-destructing with inter-and extra-group sexual affairs and stage appearances where one or more of the group was too drunk or stoned to perform. The group kept breaking up and re-assembling, and fell apart for good in 1969. Mama Cass died of heart failure at the age of 34, after battling heroin addiction and other substance abuse. John Phillips, the creative leader of the group, also was a heroin addict and had emotional and substance abuse problems that he managed to pass on to his daughter, actress Mackenzie Phillips. In her memoir, “High on Arrival,” she wrote that she had a long-term sexual relationship with her father. Papa John also died of heart failure, when he was 66. Tenor Denny Doherty’s solo career flopped after the group ended. He was an alcoholic, but stayed sober for the final decades of his life. An acting career also failed; he finally got a gig as the “Harbormaster,” hosting a kids TV show that was a flagrant rip-off of “Thomas the Tank Engine,” but starring a talking tugboat. Doherty was 67 when he died from an aneurysm.

Michelle Phillips is the lone survivor of the group. She avoided substance abuse problems and after divorcing Phillips, whom she wed at 18, went on to a moderately successful acting career.

As today, these people who aspired to inspire lacked the wisdom, common sense, self-discipline, character, values or perspective to be trusted with their chosen mission.

1. Speaking of...When asked how it was that a statue of Vladimir Lenin was still standing in Seattle when protesters had toppled those of Ulysses S. Grant and others, the Human Rights Campaign’s Charlotte Clymer said, among her reasons, that “Lenin was not a slave-owner, you Confederate apologist fucks.”

To which National Review writer David Harsanyi responded with the obligatory, “Lenin created tens of millions of slaves.”

In related news, a 2015 video  of an interview with Black Lives Matter founder Patrisse Cullors shows her saying, “We actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular, we’re trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super versed on ideological theories…”

Several of the tenets seen on the BLM website are redolent of Karl. Do all these companies and pandering celebrities giving lip service to the group, attaching #BlackLivesMatter to their tweets and proclaiming support, know what they are supporting? I think it’s pretty obvious that they don’t. They are signaling their virtue by ostentatiously endorsing the most simple-minded and deceptive interpretation of the slogan, as if there is anyone who believes black lives don’t matter. I bet the vast majority have never visited the BLM website and read its agitprop.

That, needless to say, is as dumb as it is irresponsible.

2. Him too. In a recent post I mentioned a friend who ridiculed my assertion  in 2015 that the mania to erase the statues and other memorials of important but flawed historical figures would eventually spread to the Founders. And here’s what the insufferable host of the HBO series “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” said in 2017, after playing a video in which the President asked, “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”…

 “I’ll tell you where it stops. Somewhere! Any time someone asks, where does it stop, the answers’ always f*cking somewhere. You might let your kid have Twizzlers, but not inject black tar heroin. You don’t just go, ‘Well, after the Twizzlers, where does it stop?'”

Right as usual, you insufferable jerk. It looks like the President of the United States understands his country and its Angry Left just a little bit better than you do. (A British subject, Oliver finally became a US citizen last year.) So do I.

3. A foreign language Niggardly Principle dilemma! This could have been handled with more delicacy, I think. Matthew Hubbard, a professor in the Laney Community College mathematics department, repeatedly asked a student, Phuc Bui Diem Nguyen, to “Anglicize” her name because it “sounds like an insult in English.” In response, Ms. Nguyen told the professor that his request “feels discriminatory” and that she would file a complaint with the school’s Title IX office if he could not call her by her given name. “I understand you are offended, but you need to understand your name is an offensive sound in my language,” Professor Hubbard replied. “I repeat my request.”

The student’s name is pronounced “Fuck.”

Hubbard has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

“While our mission has been bold and unrelenting, we also recognize that our college and its community is a reflection of broader society, and we must actively fight ignorance with education,” the president of the college  said. “We do not tolerate racism, discrimination or oppression of any kind.”

Question: If the proper pronunciation of a student’s name was “Nigger,” would the professors’ request still have resulted in an investigation?

21 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 6/22/2020: Lenin, Oliver, And The Troublesome Name

  1. Re #1: Lenin/Stalin (and Hitler and Japan): SO, it’s perfectly all right to exterminate hundreds of millions of people. but if your don’t “enslave” them, then that’s all right?

    What’s worse? Certain death or “slavery”? I do not excuse slavery: it is the dark heart of the history of the US.

    But what percentage of Americans know about the Holocaust? What percentage of Americans know about Stalin’s own holocaust, of his own people and military leaders? And do fewer still know about the tens of millions of non-Japanese Asians raped, killed, imprisoned (but mostly killed) by the Japanese on their pre-Pearl Harbor invasion of SE Asia? (Just one reference: a book “The Rape of Nanking.”) And their treatment of POWs during the war? It is politically incorrect to criticize the Japanese: they became allies right after Hiroshima, because they were a bulwark again Red China (stupid) and after all, dropping atomic bombs to save about a million US soldiers if we had to invade was justifiable (actually I agree with that, from an American perspective because the Japanese would have fought to the end, and to be fair, tho it won the war but ushered in an era that could not have been foreseen.)

    We are a nation of morons. No knowledge or understanding of modern history. No perspective. Very frightening. It is “me”, “mine”, and “my ideas” — however stupid — must be respected, no matter how idiotic, how ill informed, and how ultimately destructive.

    Head is exploding. More on the other stuff later.

    • Billions and Billions of … Useful Idiots.

      BLM are Commies. They want to destroy all capitalist societies. So hilarious corporations are backing them.

  2. 2, A British subject, Oliver finally became a US citizen last year.

    Why? And how the hell did that happen? He took the oath of citizenship? Did he cross his fingers behind his back?

  3. 3. I think the student was WAY out of line. Grow the Phuc up, Sweetheart. 50,000 American kids, many of them of color, died trying to save your or your parents’ country from a vicious Commie dictator. Come to think of it, Phuc U.

      • Is his name pronounced Faggots? Is Bilbo Baggins out of bounds?

        This reminds me of Mrs. OB and me moving from the Boston area (her home) to my home (Miami, Florida) in the mid-1970s. Mrs. OB (Betsy) got a job as a sales clerk in a fabric store in downtown Miami. The guys who made deliveries and worked in the warehouse and the stockroom were, of course, Cuban refugees. They were a merry bunch, as Cuban guys are. They tend to nickname each other based on physical attributes: Flaco for Skinny or Slim, Gordo for Fatty or Fatso, Blanco for Whitey. They had a hard time saying “Betsy.” It came out “BASE-ee.” Which they, of course, thought was hilarious because they extended it immediately into “BAY-seal,” and then “EM-bay-seal!” Cuban Spanish for “imbecile.” Did Mrs. OB complain to her boss? Did she file a sexual harassment complaint with the HR director of the company (as if there was one)? Did she sue for a hostile work environment? No. She laughed, poked fun at them for calling a Yale lock a “YAH-lay” lock and the Firestone tire store across the street “FE-AIR-stone-ay,” and went as “Bay-seal” for her tenure there, much to everyone’s amusement. She went on to become essentially a pioneer in women working in IT and became a VP of security audit at American Express and then IBM.

        Maybe Ms. Nguyen can just evaluate how cultural things work and make her way in the real world. Why didn’t she just talk to the teacher and stand her ground if it was that important to her? Why didn’t she explain her name is properly pronounced “FOOK” if that’s the case. If they guy has a problem calling her, phonetically, “Fuck,” try to accommodate his concern. As I said, it’s time for her to grow up.

  4. It doesn’t surprise me that the statue of Lenin remains intact in Seattle. For years the lefties and Marxists on the faculty at the University of Washington have revered Lenin despite his role in beginning the Gulag System where eventually at least 20 million Russians and other nationalities died. But we can overlook that because he was a revolutionary right?

    • If toppling statues is permitted why don’t some in Seattle who find it offensive (anywhere) go and tear it down. Make them show themselves when they protest that.

  5. 1. Did you ever read John Reed’s “Ten Days That Shook the World”? Though Reed was an apologist for the Bolsheviks, there was a snippet in the book that I’m surprised he left in.

    A worker was asked about the philosophy of the Revolution. He answered by relating how there the proletariats and the bourgeoisie. When asked to offer more detail, he went back to the proletariats and bourgeoisie. When asked to explain his own feelings about the issue, he again repeated the same statement. He was giving Bolshevik talking points. He didn’t really understand the philosophy at all. He just wanted what they promised.

    BLM followers reminded me a lot of that worker. They have the talking points, but they don’t really comprehend what the reality will mean for them.

    2. Another tactic of the Left is to minimize legitimate concerns. If you are worried about slippery slope statue-toppling, you’re an hysteric. If you are concerned about violence and sexual content in movies and television, you’re too stupid to realize it’s fiction. The Democrat Party and its allies in the news media and the entertainment industry have created this monster. They are just corrupt enough to think that they can control the monster (kind of like the coalition government in the Weimar Republic thought that it could control Hitler). It will devour them because they are too blind to see that the monster considers them the enemy, too.

    3. He should have left it alone. Her name is her name. If she hasn’t already had stupid college kids making fun of it by now, she will soon. As it is, she’s in for a lifetime of people mispronouncing it or looking sideways at her. His intentions were good, but he should be smart enough by now to know that a white guy can’t give a non-white person any advice at all, regardless of how reasonable it is, without the Social Justice furies being called on him. She gave him a warning shot across the bow by threatening to make a complaint and he still persisted.

  6. 3. I’m not so sure the prof is innocent. The name is not pronounced like the vulgar term for sexual intercourse, the sound is more like fook. She quoted an email from him in which he said her name in English sounds like ‘fuck boy’ which also would be a mispronunciation of Bui. He further said that if his name was “Eat A Dick” that he would change it. I’ve been out of college for a while now, but I don’t think that kind of crass intercourse (verbal intercourse, that is) is appropriate even in the vulgar age we live in.
    Hubbard did issue an apology, apparently after being placed on leave, both in public and to her.
    1. Clymer also used unnecessary vulgarity, and had she been a bit more aware, she might have pointed out that the Lenin statue stands on private property. But, then, she might have had to admit that private property is, in fact, private.

      • I disagree John. See above. Was Dean Vernon Wormer a tool for telling Flounder “fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son?” Honestly, I don’t think so.

    • Clymer also last year said this about the Antifa attack on Andy Ngo:

      “Violence is completely wrong, and I find it sad and weak to allow a sniveling weasel like Andy Ngo to get under one’s skin like this, but I’m also not going to pretend that this wasn’t Ngo’s goal from the start. I mean… let’s cut the shit here. This is what they do.”

      Clymer appears to be gifted in combining revisionism with swearing.

  7. If you say “Black Lives Matter”, you are stating the name of a political organization, and as described above, a marxist one at that.

    If you say “black lives matter”, you are stating that the lives of people with black pigmentation matter.

    If you say “Black lives matter”, you are stating that the lives of people belonging to a loosely defined American community matter.

    • Also, if you say “Black lives matter.”, you are properly capitalizing the first word of your sentence.


  8. From the article:

    In an interview on Friday with KGO-TV, Ms. Nguyen, a freshman, said she used to go by a nickname, May. But after years of using the nickname, she wanted to begin using her legal name

    She knows perfectly well that her name is embarrassing for most people to say. She has always known that and for that reason, she has always gone by the name, “May.” But now that she is a freshman, she has decided to be an ass. For those who don’t want to guess how to say her name, she gets to accuse them of “racism.” For those who do try to guess at the pronunciation, she gets to pompously explain that it’s not pronounced “fuck,” it’s closer to “fook.” (Is that “fook” like “book” or “fook” like “kook”?) But of course it’s not exactly “fook,” it’s somewhere in between “fuck” and “fook,” and you’re a racist for not knowing already, and you’re a racist for not listening carefully to her repeated efforts to school you on proper pronunciation and practicing until you get it right.

    Drama queen freshmen should never get their way, and in a sensible world, college deans would tell them to shut up and stop annoying people.

    • Should have just read your comment before adding mine above, Greg. Funny we both went to a Dean.

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