Six Ethics Problems With This Picture….And You Should Be Able To Find More

“Scratch” is a New York Times cartoon feature  in the Sunday Business section. This was the most recent installment. I’ll save my (disgusted) comments for the end…

  • The breathtaking leap of logic in the introduction represents such flawed logic that the Times Business Section destroys its credibility, such as it is, by permitting such an illogical statement on its pages. ‘Since companies have been foolishly pandering to hyper-woke complaints about, for example, the picture on a box of rice and the artwork on a package of butter, and statues of important and influential historical figures who were honored in their times are being vandalized and toppled by people who barely know who they are, it’s a ‘perfect time’ time to consider dishonoring the Founders and others without whom we would have no nation at all.’


There are so many rationalizations underlying such an idiotic statement that I can’t list them all (One of them is #22, “It’s not the worst thing”), but one that immediately leaps to mind is #23, The Dealer’s Excuse. or “I’m just giving the people what they want!”

  • The next statement is almost as obnoxious: this is a good idea because other countries put relatively trivial figures on their currency. (“Everybody does it!”) This an ideological tell: those who use the “why can’t the U.S. be like other countries?” lament are letting us know that they don’t like this country, and don’t understand it, usually because they have been badly educated.  The United States was created in its unique and daring form because the Founders believed other countries did not respect human liberty and the right of self-determination.

They still don’t.

  • The “75 people” with an “outsized influence on the history of the United States” is a lie. Most of the names had some influence on history; most are worthy of at least a cultural footnots. Only a few had “outsized” influence on the course of history, and not one had influence exceeding any one of the individuals currently on the currency. I do not believe for a second that Grandma Moses, Fred Rogers, Julia Child, Nora Ephron, Michelle Obama or, not to be cruel, but facts are facts,Justice Sotomayor have had much impact on American history at all, just to name a few.

How would America be different today if someone else anchored a PBS cooking show in the Sixties? I can’t wait to hear the answer.

  • Another lie: the implication that this list is inclusive and unbiased. In fact, nearly all the  figures allowed on it are women, blacks, Jews and “people of color.” There are a couple of inexplicable exceptions, perhaps as tokens–why Thoreau and not Emerson? Why Rogers and not Bob Keeshan or Jim Henson?

It’s an anti-white list. If that’s the idea, the authors had an obligation to say so.

  • Angela Davis is on the list!  Angela Davis is an unequivocal villain, a terrorist and an accomplice to murder, and about as worthy of a place on our currency as John Wilkes Booth. Her presence instantly renders the whole exercise as a deliberate anti-America insult.

If John Wilkes Booth had been black, he might have made the list…

  • Finally, the entire cartoon is disrespectful of the Founders. The suggestion that Aretha Franklin is as deserving of a place on our daily currency as Benjamin Franklin is offensive. We owe these men our lives, and their images are  on the currency because we must never forget what their courage and innovation gave us, the world, and civilization.

Like so much of the propaganda aimed at rotting American values and minds, this deceptively “light-hearted” cartoon advances a poisonous misconception that our history, and particularly the history of our nation’s founding, can be warped and redacted to suit extreme ideological goals without existential harm.

36 thoughts on “Six Ethics Problems With This Picture….And You Should Be Able To Find More

  1. I’d love to see a coinage classics collection but with a switch of the denominations for each picture. How about a year run of the walking liberty nickel, the draped-bust dime, the indan-head half-dollar, the morgan quarter and the mercury penny.

    I know a lot of people liked the Barber dimes but I’m meh on them and think the Franklin half-dollars and standing liberty quarters are the stuff of nightmares.

    • Using coinage for more current honors makes sense, and I’d support it. Especially the penny and the nickle. No need to have George on both the quarter and the $1 bill. Good idea!

    • I like your idea. There actually was a “draped-bust” dime, but none of us are old enough to ever have likely encountered one in circulation.

      • Or out of circulation but
        *looks around*
        *waves Willem Reese over*
        Did you ever notice that British coins are much much cheaper to collect than American ones?
        *produces a small pouch and digs past a handful of Victorian coins*
        Check this out.
        *Holds out a 1806 half-penny*
        George III, kind of beat up but it only cost me $5 including shipping from Britain. I challenge you to find an American coin from when Thomas Jefferson was president that won’t cost the pound of flesh nearest your heart.

        • Sidles over….
          “I’ll take a look, but if they’re counterfeit, it’s the Minneapolis police for you, girlie!”

          Don’t know much about British collectible coins (as in “next to nothing”), but do like that they still have a big fat copper tuppence (son has a fun anecdote about that…he gets the best travel incidents…). I am old enough to remember When the U.S. still had silver coinage, and that it wasn’t all that unusual to find a buffalo nickel, Indian head penny, etc. in your change, and sometimes even older things like “V” nickels. Coin collecting “on the street” in America must be a dull affair now…looking for minutely variant misstrikes & such. The Euro has done the same to much of Europe…no more Greek drachmas with the bust of Alexander w/ ram’s horns. 😦

          • They’re not particularly collectible, the 1860-1960 bronze farthings ha’pennies and pennies are especially not particularly collectible, hence cheap.

            And cool. Take them out, play with them, use them as conversation starters, let kids handle them, let a kid keep a big old worn near-smooth bun penny and you’re out a dollar. Take one someone drilled to put on a watch chain and actually put it on a watch chain.

    • I’d like to see an America’s Most Villainous series. Mobsters, counterfeiters, swindlers, notorious pimps, America’s famous madams.

      Or a series of the America’s Totally Unknown. A plumber in a town of 230 in Idaho. A railroad bum. ‘Just Some Guy, date unknown’.

      How about a series of America’s Most Treasonous? Like the Rosenbergs.

      What about a 50s TV series? Or America’s Beloved TV Pets?

      I’m warming to change!

  2. Angela Davis is on the list! Angela Davis is an unequivocal villain, a terrorist and an accomplice to murder, and about as worthy of a place on our currency as John Wilkes Booth. Her presence instantly renders the whole exercise as a deliberate anti-America insult.

    Unequivocal villain? Her actions and actvisim comparable, even remotely, to the killer of a presdent?

    What I find interesting is your viewpoint in comparison to other viewpoints. When the POC Revolution completes itself, when the New America emerges, and when the new ideologues have the reins of power, it could well happen and it would have a certain logic that Angela Davis be given her due. She is a heroine for many. A rôle model.

    You are not taking into consideration that there is a new, rising demographic and they will eventually supersede. The European American will become, in just a few years more, a minority. This is known and it is understood by planners.

    Those who opposed the English king 250 years ago were also described as unequivocal villains.

    It is not that I could not bring myself to agree with you. In fact I could. But what you are not grasping is that you — though you cannot identify in this way — are being replaced and superseded.

    It is not you who will choose the heroes and heroines of tomorrow. They shall do this.

    This is a dusk for some . . . and a dawn for others.

    • Unequivocal villain? Her actions and actvisim comparable, even remotely, to the killer of a presdent?

      Willful misunderstanding. The point is that once you put a terrorist and an abettor of the murder of a judge on the bills, I see no way to draw a line at Booth. But in fact they are certainly “remotely” comparable. Both sought the overthrow of the government, for example.

      • You often focus on some smaller part in what I write but fail to address the whole.

        You misunderstand my perspective. But I think this is true for almost everyone on the blog. I do not justify Angela Davis, I understand Angela Davis. And I also understand the connection between her activism 50 years ago to the evolution of that activism in the present, which has now become systematized. I can also — I have — made efforts to grasp her activism for George Jackson. And to understand how the prison system is part of a larger social-control machinery.

        She was trained by Herbert Marcuse and in her you can see the power and influence and will of the Frankfurt School activists. Who were invited into the very heart of the United States. They were cultivated and encouraged. They should have been exiled.

        The thing that I point out you do not address. As things go forward, as one demographic increases and the other shrinks away to minority status, other people with different viewpoints and different justification- and rationalization-sets will make decisions as to what heroes and heroines they will build monuments to and put on their currency. They are telling you now who they wish to remove. And their are also intimations of who they will elevate.

        All of this makes sense to me. Because that is what cultures do. When there are revolutionary stages and changes, as there is taking place now, the Old Order is challenged and toppled, and the New Order imposes itself.

        What I find curious is how unequivocal you are in your decisions as to who is and who is not a villain.

        My position is that I do not see how a reconcilliation between two distinct and very different peoples will ever be worked out. It is now and will always be the position of the Black nation to be in struggle against the white overlords. That results from the core act (as Angela Davis herself says) *being robbed from the shores of Africa*. And I go further when I say “. . . to labor in the empire of the white man’s will”.

        But you see none of this! You seem to me to fail to understand the essential dynamic that must operate. It is an inevitability and it is demonstrated ipso facto.

        I ‘believe in’ a far more strident level of awareness about the present situation.

        • Actually Angela Davis should have said she was “fenced” on the shores of Africa by her Ashanti bretheren and the Kings of Ghana. The robbery took place well inside Africa.

          • Chris writes:

            Actually Angela Davis should have said she was “fenced” on the shores of Africa by her Ashanti bretheren and the Kings of Ghana. The robbery took place well inside Africa.

            As an illustration to the point I will make, I recently received these titles that I wish to eventually read:

            1) Everything You Were Taught About African Americans and the Civil War Is Wrong, Ask A Southerner by Lochlainn Seabrook

            2) Authentic History of the Ku Klux Klan 1865-1877 by Susan Lawrence Davis

            3) Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement by Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page

            The second one I am rather uncertain about, still I am interested in those narratives that are *corrective* to what are described as the ‘official narrative’.

            The first one though goes into many details that are quite inconvenient to the official narratives, and your comment reminded me of one element: the forced march from the interior of Africa to the coast where the slaves were sold and shipped was an African affair. The Middle Passage may indeed have been a hell, but equal to it, and worse, was the first leg of their journey, entirely at the hands of their brethren.

            The third one describes that American Saint Lincoln’s concerted efforts to devise a plan to round them up and ship them off . . . Doesn’t get much play on the history channel, does it?

            But my larger point is this: you, all of you, all of those who write on this blog, all of you in one way or another, in one degree or another, in specific areas, are invested in lies. You have distorted images of the value of your own selves (in the larger, general sense), you create stories that build yourselves up in a sort of self-aggrandizing way. You have false and romantic ideas about an America that was but is not so much now. You have (often) substantially incorrect and distorted historical views that can be, and should be, reviewed and corrected.

            But even more than that, and more importantly, you cannot make any sense of the PRESENT that impinges on you. Why?

            You are seeing the point I try to make, right?

            It is true that Angela Davis and the Black Liberation Movement that is still in motion in this country is invested in mis-truths and distorted views on many points. And you have located one and you use it to earn yourself some points evidently.

            But for Heaven’s sake you would gain so much more, and move so much further ahead if you would turn your Special X-Ray Vision directly onto and into yourselves! Kill the hypocrisy. Murder it when it sleeps! Sell coupons to its hanging Invest the earnings in reading material!

        • You often focus on some smaller part in what I write but fail to address the whole.

          There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that have neither the time nor inclination to write 3000 word replies.

    • No it’s dusk for all. Night falls quickly in the jungle. See Zimbabwe and South Africa. Once they were pioneers in heart transplants now they’re using lemon juice to “cure” AIDS. When they’re not raping virgins(meaning infants) because the witch doctor says that’ll work also. From nuclear power and a space program to not being able to desalinate water. From feeding a continent to using a rubber stamp to add zeros to the currency. Coming soon to a Detroit near you!

  3. I am learning of Angela Davis for the first time. Looking over her Wikipedia page, in addition to her hobby of supplying guns to domestic terrorists, she is apparently an idiot:

    She praised the Soviet Union, while advocating for the abolishment of prisons???

  4. I appreciate how they’ve gone through the effort to make readers aware of some fascinating and admirable people. I can’t say whether or not it’s skewed one way or another, but at a glance Fred Rogers and Henry David Thoreau were male gentiles and people of pallor, so it’s not 100% anti-white.

    Also, the author has evidently done no research on United States Currency, or they would know that only deceased people can appear on it. Unless they’re suggesting that Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder, and Sonia Sotomayor would be amenable to martyring themselves for the sake of becoming candidates for a redesign?

    I like the idea of people being more aware of role models throughout history. However, as far as redesigning currency goes, this seems like a trivial issue that’s liable to distract from solving more important problems (no offense intended to numismatists in the audience). The limited number of symbolic places of honor on U.S. currency is an apple of discord which will foster all kinds of pettiness and spite while accomplishing nothing meaningful.

    That said, there are several people on the list I wouldn’t object to placing on special commemorative bills or coins.

  5. One of the real obvious “tells” in that list is the inclusion of Michelle Obama, but not including the reason that anyone even knows her name: Barack Obama. I don’t think Mr. Obama deserves a spot on the currency either, but certainly the first black president would qualify for such an honor before a First Lady with no significant accomplishments to her name, no?

  6. In what universe is Sonia Sotomayor of more note than almost any other Justice in the history of ever? Even if you required a check in some progressive diversity boxes, how the hell isn’t the choice between Thurgood Marshall or Sandra Day O’Connor?

  7. Am I the only one who never liked the format of Mr. Rogers? Why am I supposed to be waiting in this guy’s house for him to get home?

    • The show was intended for pre-schoolers and premiered at a time when most children were not in daycare. The home was the most familiar place for most young children so Mister Rogers created a familiar home setting with a neighborhood of familiar types of people so that the kids could figuratively visit a kind “neighbor” who used words and concepts they understood.

      It wasn’t for everyone, but Mister Rogers meant a lot to many children growing up in the ’70s.

  8. Benjamin Franklin is the originator of many inventions such as the lightning rod, and the Franklin stove. He was a well-known publisher. More importantly, he developed the concept of positive and negative electric charges. Until this concept had been developed, the observed electrical behavior was incomprehensible. This made him famous and made American Colonists seem less backward and primitive.

    He put his life on the line during the Revolution. He was the rebellion’s ‘ambassador’ to the British early on. He also was intercepting the British military communications, copying them, and sending them on. He got caught. That was treason and should have resulted in a gruesome death. Luckily, he was Benjamin Franklin, so the King just sent him home. As ambassador to France, he was treated like a rock star and had unprecedented access to the French King. He also raised a pirate fleet to attack British shipping.

    Benjamin Franklin was the originator of the American rock-star lifestyle. It is really difficult to top that.

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