Monday Ethics Mixture, 8/17/2020: Let’s See What I Can Concoct Today…

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.


10 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Mixture, 8/17/2020: Let’s See What I Can Concoct Today…

  1. Re: No. 2; That Great Putt Putt Course in Memphis.

    This maybe a dumb thing to do but it made me laugh, which is in awfully short supply these days. Anyone who can “We have an enormous amount of air” and keep a straight face is simply a great human being. That, in and of itself, confers Ethics Hero status on Brett and the whole crew at the Orhpeum. Good on them!


  2. Kamala Harris is sort of the Evita Peron of our time having slept her way to the top with powerful men. Of course “Ho” is a trigger word for many black folks as well as knee jerk liberals. The guy should have realized that he was walking into a hornets nest.

  3. 1. Without a comment posted along with the meme, there is no way to know for sure. Different people interpret various social media actions in different ways. Some people interpret Like as literally meaning the person likes the post; some use Like to acknowledge it’s been seen by them.

    I think it’s irresponsible to share a meme you disagree with without also posting a comment making clear your disagreement. Without a comment to the contrary, it’s reasonable to assume the person shared it because he agreed with it.

    3. I’ll bet even this guy believes kids should abide by a dress code during remote learning:

    4. No question about it. Neither her nor her employer sees fit to change her assignment which means they either don’t understand conflicts of interest or don’t care. I wonder what would happen if she were to criticize the Biden campaign? What would happen if the Biden campaign were to use her son to court extra positive coverage from her? Would he keep his job if it didn’t happen? Would she expect the Biden campaign to care about conflicts of interests?

  4. Students need clear and specific dress codes because we live in an era when parents can’t be relied on to enforce regular, civil behavior. A general requirement that students be clean, groomed, and not distracting is an invitation for someone to attend wearing body paint and tinfoil (or other outrageous non-attire). Such a student would then complain that the teacher is “blaming the victim” when other students are completely flustered.

  5. 3. (Zoom ethics) That story makes me wonder: How would Sydney Spies (and her mother – Sydney, she of controversial high school yearbook-photo fame, or infamy) respond to a dress code rule like that?

    I mean, we know The Rule of Federal Rules: one sentence of rule instantly immortalizes itself (and its makers) into a metastatic monster of rules, rules, and more rules – and ever more (and immortalized) makers, enforcers, “compliance assurance professionals,” politicians, violators – and “impacted” persons, activities, enterprises, and institutions.

    We also know that federal rules are the model for ALL made rules.

    So, whaddya bet? Eventually, Zoom, and any and all other tools that enable remote social intercourse, will become so rules-bound that they will become completely incapable of enabling the most basic purposes for which they are designed to enable.

    Now: Is it any wonder why I am so picky about my choice and preference of intercourse?

  6. 2. That still doesn’t top the Wisconsin DNR that requires employees to wear masks even on Zoom meetings from their homes, even if they live alone.
    3. I am starting to believe the left feels that conflict-of-interest is a prerequisite, not a disqualifying factor. When she stated that her son worked for the Biden campaign, she probably feels it makes her MORE qualified to write the article. Joe Biden in China, Joe Biden in Ukraine, Mueller investigating Trump right after Trump turns him down for FBI head, all the other FBI people who investigated Trump despite illegally surveilling his campaign, the government employees that investigated Trump’s Russia connection despite the fact that their spouses worked for Russia, all the FBI and Justice Department officials who worked on investigating Trump despite ties to the Democratic Party, the list is just endless.

  7. 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?

    “Black” privilege, anyone?

    And what makes a person “black,” anyway? I have never been able to figure that out, because it isn’t supposed to be figured out, or make sense. It’s all about feelz, and how people “identify.” Well, if I start identifying as “black,” will the Left accept it? Doubtful.

    So what we have here is situational blackness, I guess.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.