Ethics Dunce: Gary Garrels

The carnage of the George Floyd Terror, aka George Floyd Freakout, aka George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, claimed another victim yesterday, and Ethics Alarms is designating him the Ethics Dunce. We really need a new category for people like Gary Gerrels, the now ex-senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Placed in a position where he could take a strong  position against unhinged woke bullying, when every element of common sense, integrity, fairness and reality was aligned in his favor, he prostrated himself to the mob. “Ethics Coward,” perhaps? “Ethics Weenie”? “Ethics Fool”? “Useful Ethics Idiot”?

Garrels  triggered the process of his cancellation by concluding a presentation on how to diversify the museum’s holdings by saying, “don’t worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists.” In a ZOOM meeting of museum employees, Garrels  voiced a similar position, saying  that the museum could not avoid collecting the work of white men, which he described as “reverse discrimination.” Shortly thereafter employees created and began signing an online petition demanding that he leave the museum.

“Gary’s removal from SFMOMA is non-negotiable,” read the petition in part. “Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?”

Yes, the art curator’s statement that the museums’ collection would not be driven by race alone, and that the works of white artists would not be deemed unacceptable purely because of the artist’s color, was deemed a racist attitude born of white supremacy.

The petition’s assertion is nonsense on its face; there is no valid argument for it that obeys the laws of language and logic. It might as well claim that Garrels’ had outed himself as a cleverly disguised cannibalistic lizard-man from the planet Zoltar. The fact that people may sincerely and deeply believe utter garbage does not make such garbage stink less, or dictate that idiotic accusations be treated with respect. Garrels, and the museum’s management, had an ethical obligation to rebut (which a relative articulate child could do), reject and condemn the petition’s endorsement of a racist art acquisition policy. Instead, Garrels apologized and resigned.


“I want to offer my personal and sincere apology to every one of you,” he wrote. “I realized almost as soon as I used the term ‘reverse discrimination’ that this is an offensive term and was an extremely poor choice of words on my part. I am very sorry at how upsetting these words were to many staff.”

No, it is an accurate and fair choice of words. Your pals on the Far Left frequently believe that truthful characterizations of their objectives are offensive because such description make it more difficult to con the gullible, uneducated, ignorant and dumb. This  does not make the characterizations wrong. It makes them dangerous

“I do not believe I have ever said I do not believe I have ever said that it is important to collect the art of white men,” he continued. “I have said that it is important that we do not exclude consideration of the art of white men.”

Well, you should have said  that it is important to collect the art of white men, you craven twit, because it obviously is. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Van Gogh were white men. This is not a difficult argument to win, unless you have the spine of a cauliflower jellyfish (that’s one, or maybe Garrels, above).

Ethics Jellyfish?

That’s a promising option, except that jellyfish have more integrity than Gary Gerels and the large number of people like him.

7 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Gary Garrels

  1. My problem with the phrase reverse racism: It implicitly accepts the nonsense re-defition of “racism” made by critical race theory. It’s simple racism to exclude groups of artists because of their skin color.

    As near as I can tell, they redefined racism into “prejudice plus power” so they could ignore all anti-white racism and created the phrase “systemic racism” so they could justify anti-white racism based on systems which happened to have a disparate impact when no actual racist policies or decisions could be found. The rhetorical nonsense serves no other purpose which I can find.

  2. What can one say? I am reminded of a Star Trek (original series) episode, “This Side of Paradise.”

    In it, the Enterprise is ordered to visit a far world to document it’s supposed destruction by deadly radiation unknown at the time the colonists went there. As they were on a ship traveling sub-light, they could not return to Earth, so it was assumed they had all perished by reason of the radiation.

    When a number of the colonists were found to be alive and thriving, some of the surprised crew beamed down to investigate. They were introduced by the colonists to a flowering plant, which, when an unaffected organism was close to them, expelled spores which provided immunity from the deadly radiation.

    Unfortunately, the spores also rendered the victim euphoric, and presumably as a reproductive response from the plants, desirous to remain on the planet forever and infect as many others as possible. The upshot of the story is, in return for an idyllic, agrarian, safe, happy life immune from most threats, all the humans had to do was trade away their freedom to roam the stars and stay on the planet.

    So it is with Garrels. He has been “spored” by the Pod People of the woke Left. This is the fate they would have for us all.

    Archimedes famously said, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” The woke Left understands this principle well. The lever that moves most public figures is now tried and true — a public accusation of racism, however vague and unprincipled. Its victims are willing to become Pod People at the very sound of a petition being signed, or a Twitter mob being formed, in return for not being permanently canceled and sent to the Gulag Anonymous Untouchable.

    If we aren’t careful, that fate awaits many. Check your job security, folks, and decide what’s most important.

    • Opal, I think the gay rights movement is well into the “eat its own” stage. Clearly the curated art museum “community” is eating its own.

      I think I’d give this guy a bit of a break. He’s most likely retirement age and knows full well the industry has moved on without him. Let all these vicious younger people have their way. Life’s too short. Go fishin’.

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