Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/6/2020: It’s An Ethics Outrage STAMPEDE!!!

I don’t know whether to say “Good morning!” or “ARRRRRGHHHH!”

I’m not sure I have ever had so many ethically provocative events, issues and quotes on my list. I would spend all day discussing and analyzing this stuff, if I didn’t have to pay the mortgage and eat.

1. Relatively trivial, but still disgusting and wrong. The Discovery Channel is using Mike Tyson to promote “Shark Week.” The former heavyweight champion, habitual felon, convicted rapist and lifetime sociopath is having a grand time in the promotional spot, which he ends it by smiling at the camera, as his gold tooth twinkles, and saying “Someone’s gonna get BIT!” HAHAHAHA! Get it? Mike Tyson bit part of Evander Holyfield’s ear off in what should have been his last fight, getting him temporarily banned from boxing—why not permanently, nobody can explain—and costing Tyson 3 million dollars in fines. He also should have been locked up.  The Discovery Channel thinks mayhem is funny!

Next, let’s see David Berkowitz do promotional spots for the Westminster Dog Show.

2. OK, I officially do not understand what the rules are. Here is a celebratory video about Freeman Vines of  Fountain, North Carolina,  a black man who makes guitars from wood taken from a tree used to lynch blacks. His work is called “deeply moving” and is the subject of a new photography book, Hanging Tree GuitarsRyan Reynold and Ashley Tinsdale felt they had to fall all over themselves apologizing for using  a former plantation as the venue for their wedding, but this guy openly profits from lynchings—after all, there would be nothing unique about his guitars without them, and that’s OK? And Reynolds, presumably, could buy one of those guitars and have everyone dancing and clapping as he played “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead!” (but not “Swanee”!) on a musical instrument deliberately made from an instrument of racism?

The nation has agreed to a game of Calvinball with the Woke and Angry Left.

I won’t play.

3.  Golden Rule? What Golden Rule? Arlinda Johns was kicked off an American Airlines flight for boarding dressed like this:

That’s reversed, for some reason, and blurred, because the news media  treats us like children. Her mask says “Fuck 12” and the T-shirt says, “Black Lives Matter.’”

The self-described activist initially changed masks (“Fuck 12” means “Fuck the police”), but kept the shirt, and later put the obscene mask on again. The plane returned to the terminal, and she was escorted off by marshals.

Good. The shirt’s message alone should have been enough to eject her, since it is racist by design. “I think I got taken off the plane because I’m black,” says Johns, who may try to sue American. “ I am an abolitionist. I believe that we need to defund and abolish the police.”

Ah! You’re an idiot, then! Good to know! However, you were not removed from the plane because you’re black, you were removed because you are an inconsiderate asshole, and have the manners of a goat.

4. Well, so much for the “Biden should pick Oprah as Vice President” argument...The thing most people get wrong about Oprah is that contrary to rumor, she’s neither well educated nor especially bright. Thus we get periodic displays like her release of a crazy video, part of Winfrey’s series “The Oprah Conversation,” in which she  encourages white guests to confess their racism as she asserts that all white people have a “leg up” because of their skin color.

“There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people — the caste system that’s been put in place — but they still, no matter where they are on the rung, or the ladder of success, they still have their whiteness,” Winfrey says in the viral video. [Whites have a] leg up. You still have your whiteness. That’s what the term ‘white privilege’ is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter. It is the fundamental issue.”

Hmmm. What about that “billions in the bank” privilege? I’ll trade!

The billionaire talk and empathy huckstress made her fortune substantially by currying favor with white women—and no, I do not believe that Oprah would have been nearly as successful had she been white— and now that she senses a shift in the market, she’s sucking up to the systemic racism mob.

I am tired of writing this, but we all have advantages and disadvantages. Being a member of the majority is always an advantage and always will be an advantage most of the time. Being a member of a minority in a country, ironically, is one of the few disadvantages of birth that an individual has the power to change. I can’t make myself taller, better looking, healthier or smarter, but any African American who wants to be part of a majority has many options in the world where that would be the case.

I’m not going to feel guilty because they accept the “privilege” of living in the United States.

5. Twitter, Facebook, speech suppression and the Streisand Effect. Social media is clearly planning on placing its fist on the scales during the campaign. This is a warning, not to the President as much as to the rest of us.

Yesterday, Facebook and Twitter claimed that President Trump was  spreading misinformation on the Wuhan Virus. Facebook removed from Trump’s official account the post of a video clip from a Fox News interview in which he said children are “almost immune” from the virus. Twitter required his Team Trump campaign account to delete a tweet with the same video, blocking it from tweeting in the interim.

In the blocked video, President Trump can be heard in a phone interview saying schools should open, and says, “If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely — but almost immune from this disease.”

This is typical “fact check” game-playing. There is no way that statement can be taken as anything but a typical Trump-speak opinion and hyperbole. What does “almost” mean? Here’s National Geographic on the topic:

[C]hildren have been largely spared the worst health impacts of COVID-19. The same SARS-CoV-2 virus capable of killing a 50-year-old might leave a four-year-old unscathed. Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending K-12 schools reopen this fall, saying the health risks should be weighed against the detriment of being kept home—which disproportionately impacts low-income and minority children and those with disabilities who may rely more on programs like school lunch and after-school care. When those children are kept from school, their grades grades slip, mental and physical health suffers, key times to socialize are lost, and many are falling behind on their routine vaccines….

However, scientists are still struggling to understand how the virus affects children and whether kids can spread it to their older caregivers. Overall, scientists don’t fully understand why multiple kinds of coronaviruses—including COVID-19 and its viral cousins SARS and MERS—have different levels of severity across age ranges, says Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Graham, who first spoke with National Geographic in March about COVID-19’s effects on children, says our understanding of why the virus seems to go easy on kids has not fundamentally advanced since then. Even with increased testing showing that more kids are capable of contracting the virus than we previously thought, experts can only theorize as to why children are largely spared the intense version of COVID-19 that strikes so many adults.

According to the CDC, only 2 percent of domestic COVID-19 cases have occurred in children under 18…So far, 20 children under age five in the U.S. have died from COVID-19.



Is “almost immune” really so misleading that the statement should be censored? ( Hey, what do I know: Facebook decided that everything I write should be censored.) Still, how can Facebook and Twitter argue that Trump’s opinion is so false that it must be taken down when “scientists are still struggling to understand how the virus affects children” and “our understanding of why the virus seems to go easy on kids has not fundamentally advanced”?

Meanwhile, both platforms played into the Streisand Effect nicely. I never would have known about Trump’s statement without Facebook and Twitter trying to suppress it.

The Trump Campaign was not exactly honest in its response to the censorship, however. “The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus,” a Trump campaign spokeswoman said in a statement. “Another day, another display of Silicon Valley’s flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth.”

The second part is accurate, but the first sentence is a lie. “Almost immune” and “less susceptible’ are not the same thing. If the President had said children were less susceptible to the virus, Facebook and Twitter wouldn’t have had any excuse to silence him.

9 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/6/2020: It’s An Ethics Outrage STAMPEDE!!!

  1. 1. (eyeroll) No different than WrestleMania using G. Gordon Liddy as a referee, and having him say that he learned to judge a fight in a prison yard. Tyson is a piece of garbage, and the Discovery Channel is going low by using him.

    2. I guess there’s some kind of thinking to the effect that he is redeeming the tree by making it into something better, as thought items carried some moral taint from what they were used for. It’s the same idea as turning a police precinct into an African-American heritage center, or melting down a statue of Columbus and recasting it into something honoring the local Indians. Maybe it’s based on the Biblical idea of “beating swords into plowshares.” I for one never put much stock in it, believing instead that those who beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks will plow and prune for those who do not. Pardon me while I go switch my 343 lapel pin out for a 1619 one.

    3. She’s an idiot, and twice an idiot for wearing a mask featuring profanity which she should have known was going to be a problem. The shirt alone she would be ok, since that slogan is considered untouchable at this point.

    4. Oprah is a guilt pimp, plain and simple. You’ve heard of grief pimping, where a gun control advocate parades the families of victims, or a peacenik parades the families of fallen servicemen? This is guilt pimping, where white people are spooned out a great dollop of our race’s sins and told it’s now on our shoulders to make it right, and the first step is bearing witness to our inherent badness because of our privilege. Supposedly every day I add to that burden. The only way I can expiate it is to live, eat and breathe anti-racism. Change my brand of coffee, swap out the patriotic lapel pins for anti-racism ones, turn my formidable gifts with a camera and a pen to the service of anti-racism, etc.

    5. More game playing by the woke children in charge of big tech.

  2. I think ‘almost immune” is a lot like “sort of pregnant”. You either are or you aren’t. Pretty much anybody should be able to figure this out.

  3. 4. To be fair I never said Oprah was bright. I actually don’t know that much about her. I just know she is very popular which makes her useful. Though I still don’t think she would want to use it if she was asked.

  4. #5 Facebook, twitter, et al. have basically self proclaimed themselves to be Truth. It would be funny, if they were officially recognized as electioneers for Democrats, so they would have to have FEC reporting, to say they fact checked Trump X amount of times per week, etc.
    To quote Lindsay Graham, “Boy y’all want power. God, I hope you never get it.”

  5. Oprah’s use of “caste system” is really disgusting. Educated or not, she should know enough about the world to know what it’s like for people who actually live in a caste system.

    If India had America’s “caste system” dalits would be given preference over brahmins for the best university spots and careers out of an abundance of compassion for how their ancestors were treated. The historic and cultural achievements of “lower castes” would be so celebrated that some brahmins would try to tan their skin and pretend to be dalits just to be cool. Higher castes would be tripping over one another to renounce their status and tell everyone how they defer to their dalit friends in everything. That’s some caste system. I’m sure the actual dalits in India (who are regularly subject to beatings, discrimination, and rape, with entire police departments looking the other way) would never want to trade places with Oprah and have to live under our oppressive American system. America was never great, you know.

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