1. Is this fair? Houston-based freelance photographer Bill Baptist shared a meme on his Facebook page that parodied the Biden-Harris campaign logo. It read, “Joe and the Hoe.”
Former WNBA star Sheryl Swopes saw Baptist’s post, shared it on her own timeline and demanded that the NBA to fire the photographer. So he was fired. Baptiste tried the inevitable grovel, writing,
“I deeply regret posting on my Facebook page a phrase that I saw and copied from others as a sample of some people’s reactions to Biden’s selection of Senator Harris as his choice for VP. The phrase I posted does not reflect my personal views at all. I should not have been so insensitive to post the statements by others. I sincerely apologize to all of those who have rightfully been offended and I have taken the post down from my FB page. It was a horrible mistake on my part.”
It didn’t save his job.
- Does sharing a tweet or a meme necessarily mean “I agree with this”? Can’t it mean, “Look at this”?
- What kind of person actively seeks to have people fired for words or conduct that have nothing to do with their jobs? My answer: cruel people.
- In this episode, Sheryl Swopes showed herself to be a worse human being than the photographer.
- Kamala Harris exploited a sexual relationship with power-broker Willie Brown to advance in her career. The meme could be considered legitimate satire if she were white. Is it illegitimate because she is sort of black?
2. And the Ed Wood Award goes to...The Orpheum Theater in Memphis. Ed Wood, bonkers director of such camp classics as “Plan Nine From Outer Space,” was creative, courageous, indefatigable, and passionate. He was also completely incompetent, and not smart enough to realize it. That brings us to the Orpheum, which installed a nine-hole miniature golf course on its stage to create a revenue stream during the pandemic.
“We are standing on the only Broadway-themed mini golf course that we know of in the world!” said CEO Brett Batterson. “We have an enormous amount of air. When you think of being indoors, you think of a small space. We have 75 feet above us and the whole house,” he said. Groups of four or less can play by appointment only, totaling a maximum of 36 people on stage at a time. Masks are required at all times.
You see, Brett, there’s a reason why there are no other Broadway-themed mini-golf courses.
3. Zoom Ethics. This is a controversy that never should have occurred. A handbook provided by the Springfield School District in Illinois states that students who are enrolled in remote learning must follow the dress code that applies to students on school property. One parent complained, “I made the decision for my kids to be at home and I don’t really see how any district can come in and say what my kid can’t wear in my house. I don’t think they have any right to say what happens in my house. I think they have enough to worry about as opposed to what the kids are wearing. They need to make sure they’re getting educated.”
Verdict: Everyone’s wrong. If parents made sure their kids were at least minimally respectable for public interaction, schools wouldn’t be temped to shift into totalitarian mode, where they are tending lately anyway. A dress code for home is an over-reaction, and as a parent, I would fight it on principle. Students should appear clean, groomed, and not be distracting to others in the class. That, however, is enough.
4. Here’s advice from an ethicist, since your employer has no ethics, and you appear to be clueless.Karen Tumulty is a long-time columnist at the Washington Post. A recent column was a puff-piece on Joe Biden’s campaign manager. She wrote in the middle of it, “Disclosure: My adult son works for the Biden campaign.”
When critics suggested that she had a conflict of interest, Tumulty tweeted,
“Fuller disclosure: My adult son has been working for the Biden campaign for a week as a research assistant. I have been covering politics for 40 years. Should I give up covering politics? Or tell my adult son not to pursue a career he wants? Would love advice from other parents.”
This isn’t hard. The Post should forbid her from covering the Biden campaign in any respect. She has an irremovable conflict of interest, just like George Stephanopoulas has a permanent conflict that should have stopped him from engaging in commentary regarding the Hillary Clinton campaign. There are plenty of political stories that don’t involve the Biden campaign.
Conflicts of interest, however, only are problems for organizations that care about integrity, independence and objectivity, The Washington Post doesn’t, and apparently neither does Tumulty.