Mid-Day Ethics Meanderings, 7/22/2020: Relax, The Duke Is Safe.

1 .Another shoe drops: The Boston Red Sox announced that they would “support” any players who chose to kneel during the National Anthem when The Strangest Baseball Season since World War II, when teams fielded 16-year-old infielders and one-armed outfielders, commences tomorrow. The announcement was no surprise, and this team in particular had little choice.

Boston’s AL team is forever viewed with suspicion on race issues because it was the last major league team to break the color line, and because it passed on opportunities to sign some of the early black stars. Last season a visiting player claimed to hear a racist slur hurled his way from the Fenway Park bleachers, and the Red Sox management has been ostentatiously “woke,” cancelling Tom Yawkey  from the Fenway environs  though the team owes its existence to the long-time owner’s beneficence. He was rumored to be a racist, however, and that was enough to justify erasing his name (except from his initials in Morse Code on the scoreboard).

2.  Bad service only matters for drug stores, apparently. State regulators in Oklahoma cited and fined CVS for conditions found at four of its pharmacies, including inadequate staffing and errors made in filling prescriptions. Staffing just about everywhere is unfriendly to consumers—indeed, most stores were understaffed even before the lockdown, now half-lockdown while the teachers extort the country.

Our local CVS, where I have many ethics adventures, now has minimal staff, including in the pharmacy,  because there are so few customers lately. Hilariously, the store’s auto-scan checkout option is one of the features that requires staff: the damn things don’t work half the time, or a staffer has to lead some confused senior through the process.

3. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to believe sexual harassment allegations. #MeToo so egregiously overplayed its hand and has been so schizophrenic in its standards that I have to look at any high-profile allegations as potentially motivated by politics. In an action that must have been well underway before the Washington Redskins  suddenly caved and agreed to change the team’s name (yet another poll, a new one, has indicated that the vast majority of football fans and Native Americans have no problem with “Redskins”), 15 female ex-employees told The Washington Post that they were sexually harassed while working for the organization. Shortly thereafter, a Fox News staffer and periodic on-air guest filed suit in federal court alleging they had been harassed or raped  by Ed Henry, the Fox News reporter who was fired for “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace,”  The suit also alleges harassment by  Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, the latter perpetually on “the resistance’s” hit list and the target of boycotts, and Carlson recently becoming a force as a pundit. Therefore he must be destroyed.

Do I find it hard to believe that the Redskins, or any NFL team, has a culture hostile to female employees? No. Do I think that Fox News has effectively banished its pervasive workplace sexism and misogyny since the forced exits of the late Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly?  Absolutely not. Do I think weaponizing sexual harassment allegations has become a predictable and unethical tactic on the Left, (See: Mathews, Chris) thus making the timing of both of these sets of complants suspicious?

Is Bismark a herring?*

4. More things  now as predictable as they are indefensible. The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts will remove its John Wayne exhibit as part of the school’s efforts to address “systemic racism” in society with obnoxious, shallow and foolish gestures.

The Duke graduated from USC, of course (he was raised in Iowa), and the justification for his dishonoring was an admittedly dumb interview he gave Playboy in 1971, where he was obviously (to me, anyway, at the time) trolling a liberal and hostile magazine by saying exactly the kinds of things  the Wayne haters expected him to say. (I always assumed he was drunk during that interview.) This move by USC was expected—California, universities: you know, morons. As Spiked noted, Wayne’s importance to the culture and the history of film by virtue of his on-screen portrayals should not be diminished by any interview the actor did.

As an actor and a director,Wayne was careful to portray characters who respected blacks and other minorities as human beings. In “The Cowboys,” for example, he is routinely reprimanded and shown up by his black cook, played by the great Rosco Lee Browne. In many movies, like “McClintock!,” “Hondo” and “Fort Apache,” he demonstrated sympathy and respect for Native Americans; Wayne also prominently featured Chinese-American actor H.W. Gim in his films whenever feasible from 1942 on, notably as his landlord Chin Lee in “True Grit.”

If his character was a racist, Wayne didn’t hesitate to represent racism negatively, as when he opposed his black ranch hand (Woody Strode) learning to read in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” because Wayne’s character is hostage to archaic traditions, or when he seems determined to murder his white niece (Natalie Wood) because she has lived with Native Americans and presumably had sex with a chief.

All of John Wayne’s wives were also Mexican, meaning that his four children are “Persons of Color.”

Never mind. Wayne’s legacy and hold on the culture is unbreakable. Just last week I stumbled about four of his films on cable. They’ll get Mt. Rushmore before they shoot down the Duke. [Pointer: Pennagain]


*Cultural literacy bonus points for identifying the source.

10 thoughts on “Mid-Day Ethics Meanderings, 7/22/2020: Relax, The Duke Is Safe.

  1. Re: No. 3; #MeToo Hath Runneth its Course.

    Agreed as to the comments about the NFL, Fox, and any other business regarding sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. However, that lawsuits against Fox, Henry, Carlson and Hannity are questionable at best.

    The allegations against Henry involve some kind of weird sex play. According to the lawsuit the complainant found herself naked, handcuffed, and tied up, only for Henry to have is proverbial way with her against her will. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I found myself naked, handcuffed, and tied up without some kind of modicum of consent. I get that consent can be withdrawn at any point and perhaps Henry got way too kinky for her liking. It is interesting that this is a civil complaint and not criminal. I don’t know if Henry is liable but it seems that the allegations against him have nothing to do with his employment or creating a hostile work environment.

    Cathy Areu has accused Carlson and Hannity of sexual harassment and retaliation. The basis for such claim against Carlson? She appeared on his show in December 2018 and after her segment, she alleges he asked to stay on set to talk. Now, she was wearing a wired microphone and sitting on deck. She alleges that his statement effectively “tied her to her chair” because she couldn’t disconnect the mic and it would have been unseemly for her to leave a set while the segment was live. After the show ended, Carlson “changed” his jacket and told her he was going to the Fox Christmas party to make an appearance, and that he was alone for the night. She interpreted as a clear invitation to covort in his hotel room. She declined his advances, and as punishment, he never had her on the show again, except for those occasions in 2019.

    Areu also alleges that Hannity harassed her by holding a $100 bill out and offered it to anyone who would take her out to dinner. If true, it’s stupid and obnoxious. Sexual harassment? Not sure. if it was one occasion, then I suspect the lawsuit does not go too far. If more than that, who knows?


  2. Re: No. 1; Professional Sports Loses Viewers.

    I guess every major league sport is going to bow to the BLM nonsense. My father-in-law and I were watching English Premier League soccer. All players’ names had been removed, replaced with Black Lives Matter”. Then, this past Sunday, I watched a women’s beach volleyball match between two women on one side I didn’t recognize against two other women on the other side I didn’t recognize. Well, one group of women had temporary tattoos declaring “Black Lives Matter” on the backs of their right shoulders.

    So, if MLB is not safe, then Premier League in the UK AND Women’s Beach Volleyball had no chance.

    As for women’s volleyball, those players were frickin’ vicious. I wouldn’t play against them They kept trying to bash the other side in the face, hoping to destroy their noses. Overhead spikes into the others’ torsos, knocking them back 5 or 6 feet. The announcers, though, were stupid and boring.


  3. I couldn’t find the other asterick. Hopefully, you are refering to “The Searchers”. One of my late wife’s (and, consequently, my) favorite movies.

  4. 4. It took cancer to find something that could actually kick John Wayne’s butt.

    USC is pretty pathetic by comparison.

  5. I am actually very fond of that interview, seeing it as the words of a man who wasn’t afraid to say what he thought, no matter how unpopular his ideas might have been, and who had no tolerance left for liars, diplomatic circumlocution, or self-serving hypocrisy.

    Critics deliberately misinterpret Wayne’s statements as approved of historical injustices, when his word expressed no such approval: Instead, they indicated that he refused to feel guilt for events that happened before he was born. He didn’t say that the European conquest of North America was right or moral, simply that it was inevitable because a strong culture or nation will always find a pretext for dominating weaker regions. John Wayne appreciated the final result of this: The United States, a nation which “the Duke” would unambiguously call a beacon of liberty and justice.

    Similarly, Wayne saw America’s progress toward racial justice and felt that we had become a nation where people from any background could succeed. When he said that he approved of “White supremacy”, he clearly wasn’t using the term the way it is commonly used. He wasn’t arguing that Whites were innately superior in some way: He was stating that Whites had historic advantages of education, something he felt had been largely eliminated by the time of his interview. Right or wrong, he felt that the removal of institutional roadblocks was already sufficient for people from all sorts of backgrounds would eventually rise to prominence.

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