Tuesday Ethics Tidbits, 8/18/2020: Michelle Lies, The Convention Dies, An Ethicist Is Unwise, And A Red Sox Fan Cries

1. Loyalty dilemma. I have deliberately refused to watch the last two Red Sox games against the Yankees. This, for me, is high treason. For more than 50 years, I have supported the team through its darkest hours, thus entitling me to take special pleasure during its greatest triumphs. There was stretch of 15 years, many of them with dreadful Red Sox teams,in which I watched, attended or listened to every game, even when it required standing on a chair while holding the radio to the ceiling, as Lithuanian folk music broke into the broadcast without warning. However, the current edition looks like it has quit. I get it: the team lost its manager, Cheatin’ Alex Cora. It had to trade its best player, Mookie Betts, to the Dodgers because he was determined to sell his services to the highest bidder after this season.  The team’s ace, Chris Sale, is out for the year after arm surgery; last season’s biggest winner got a heart infection from the Wuhan virus and has to sit out the season as well. The team traded last season’s #2 starter because he was absurdly overpaid, and let the #3 sign with the Mets because he was a poor gamble at 20 million a year. Even with all that, the team figured to be competitive because it had, or was supposed to have, a dominant offense. Yet the Red Sox have the worst record in baseball, even worse than the Marlins, who lost half its squad to the pandemic, and with only 40 games left, things aren’t going to turn around.

It’s not the losing I mind: I’ve endured that before. I love baseball: watching your team  lose games can still be exciting and fun. But the Red Sox players look like they’re just waiting for this strange, shortened, season without fans and with piped in crowd sounds to end. Why should I watch that, when it take three hours out of my day, the team is behind by 5 runs by the fourth inning in every game, and watching is less fun than “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”?

And I’m not even considering the giant “Black Lives Matter” banner across the Fenway Park center field bleachers…

Or, having derived so much wisdom, perspective, diversion and joy from Boston’s iconic team throughout my life, am I obligated to stay the course, even if it is just one more thing to make me miserable?

2. No. Just no. Ethics professor Parker Crutchfield is troubled that everyone won’t follow Wuhan virus protection measures, writing,

“COVID-19 is a collective risk. It threatens everyone, and we all must cooperate to lower the chance that the coronavirus harms any one individual. Among other things, that means keeping safe social distances and wearing masks. But many people choose not to do these things, making spread of infection more likely.”

Crutchfield, therefore, who teaches at Western Michigan University, argues that we need  to “morally enhance” citizens using hormones and drugs. He’s a totalitarian, in other words.

If you need an explanation of why the ethicist’s solution is unethical, not to mention scary, impossible, and bats. Richard Weikart provides such an explanation here.

You shouldn’t need one.

I don’t.

3. Stop making me defend the Democratics! The Democrats are getting lots of ridicule over their virtual convention, mostly focusing on how dull and enervated seemed on Day #1  Here’s my old friend and former American Century Theater board member John Podhoretz:

Few major American events in my lifetime have been as low energy as the Democratic National Convention’s first night….It was the opposite of stirring, motivating, thrilling, exciting. By the time the two hours were over, America was so dehydrated it needed a saline drip….So what is going on? What does it mean to have a convention without conventioneers, a political rally without the rally, a populist speech that is not interrupted by applause? Think of this as the political version of caffeine-free diet soda…What we learned last night is that when you sever the last connection to the conventions of old—the people—you divorce them completely of any meaning, even vestigial meaning.

Stephen Kruiser snarked, “Let’s be honest, the real fun at every DNC and RNC is watching the freak show of people covered in buttons and weird hats. Bernie in front of a cord of winter wood just isn’t bringing the magic. John Kasich in an empty field is a cry for help.”

All true, but unfair. Conveying energy in an viral  event via remote online streaming is impossible. I’m one entertaining and energetic speaker, and on Zoom, I feel like a dud. If I pushed the energy to compensate for the lack of direct evidence contact, my presentation would be unwatchable. This is why stage plays look phony and forced when they are filmed. It is why the most successful TV performers tend to be low-key.

There’s plenty to criticize the Democratic National Convention for—a party that is nominating a woman who disgracefully suggested that Brett Kavanaugh was a rapist featuring serial sexual predator Bill Clinton as a speaker while Sen. Harris runs on a ticket headed by accused rapist Joe Biden is my personal favorite—but on lack of energy, the Democrats deserve a break.

4. Combine hypocritical speakers with the previous post’s reference to “kids in cages” and you get.. last night’s speaker, Michelle Obama! From the Seattle Times:

MICHELLE OBAMA, on Americans: “They watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages.”

THE FACTS: The reference to cages is misleading and a matter that Democrats have persistently distorted.

Trump used facilities that were built during the Obama-Biden administration to house children at the border. They are chain-link enclosures inside border facilities where migrants were temporarily housed, separated by sex and age.

At the height of the controversy over Trump’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, photos that circulated online of children in the enclosures generated great anger. But those photos — by The Associated Press — were taken in 2014 and depicted some of the thousands of unaccompanied children held by President Barack Obama.

Not surprising, though, when one remembers that the entire Democratic Party has endorsed Facts Don’t Matter.

16 thoughts on “Tuesday Ethics Tidbits, 8/18/2020: Michelle Lies, The Convention Dies, An Ethicist Is Unwise, And A Red Sox Fan Cries

  1. 1. No. A sixty game college season played in front of no fans, followed by a college world series, in front of no fans, by a bunch of healthy guys who are terrified by a flu of probably not very significant virulence is not major league baseball. This has given me the push I needed to stop wasting so much time watching televised professional (which includes college, of course) sports. I’d broken the basketball and football habit previously but now I’m free of baseball and golf. Hooray! Go Wuhan Flu!

  2. In the absence of sports, I’m getting a LOT more reading done. My annual reading of “The Hobbit” / “The Lord of the Rings” is well underway. Biographies of James Monroe and JQ Adams are done and a pair of bios of Andrew Jackson are partially completed. I might even step back and read Chernow’s work on Washington before forging ahead to Martin Van Buren.

    1. As a long-time Atlanta Braves fan, I feel your pain. I remember watching in the 80s, when Skip Carey would begin the night with statements such as, “Like lambs being led to slaughter, the Braves take the field…” I miss the good old days, even when the Braves were awful.

    4. Yeah, that President Obama loved stuffing little children in cages…Joe Biden, too. I can’t wait to hear all about it at the RNC and watch as the media trashes the former President and VP for their cruelty.

  3. I dunno, Jack. The DNC has had a lot of time to prepare for this. They broad out old hippies to perform songs with the flavors of the month, in video, which should not have looked like a Che rally, Red Stars and all. The media have been fawning over Michelle Obama’s speech as if it was the singular most important oratory since we last heard from St. Barack the Salvador. Yeah, it is hard to connect on Zoom but many of the speeches were pre-recorded. Also, of your party is going have pop stars interviewing the candidate, those pop stars should know what the hell they are talking about. If your platform is Orange Man Bad is a poopyhead, you should expect to get hammered in November.


  4. 1. My perspective on baseball is different from yours, Jack. I’m not the fan you are. You’re a bit down on the Sox, yet you know the details of what’s going on. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you recite the complete roster in reverse alphabetical order. And, while I’m less of a fanatic, I am a fan, and we both should have been looking forward to the 4-game series just completed. I should be thrilled with the sweep. Yet, meh! It’s just this war (COVID) and that lying son of a bitch Johnson (Trump). We’re all in a bit of a funk.
    Part of me thinks that the people and the organizations are doing the best they can, given the circumstances. This includes MLB and most of the players. But, then, there are the politicians, an unavoidable diversion from MLB. I’ve been paying attention to presidential elections for 60 years, and this one, and the last, I find appalling, the worst. And yet, the little voice on my shoulder says, “You sure? It’s been pretty bad before.”
    So, I come back to the words of wisdom from Eleanor Roosevelt (or was it the constipated philosopher) who said, “This, too, shall pass.”
    The country will survive, and, in fits and starts, we will progress toward a more perfect union.
    The Bosox will be great again, nearly as great as the Yankees. Baseball will be fun. You will not give up on the Sox. You will be at ease with that decision.

    • Well, I am a baseball fan, but I do not have access to the TV broadcasts of either the Texas Rangers or the Houston Astros. I listen to their games every day, though (Rangers first and the Astros as well if they aren’t on at the same time).

      The broadcasters for the Rangers (Eric Nadel especially) make it always interesting, even through ups and downs, which the Rangers have already experienced this year. Nadel, in particular, has a dry humor that I especially appreciate — he has had a lot of fun with the Doppel Rangers (as the Texas club calls them) as well as checking out the cardboard spectators in other parks. Not seeing them in action, I cannot tell for myself just how engaged the players are, but the broadcasters make them so on the air. And, of course, I imagine the Houston players are engaged since they have real prospects for the pennant.

      In another sport — hockey — I have been following the Carolina Hurricanes (who, as we know, are a ‘bunch of jerks’ and proud of it) as they play the Boston Bruins. I was shocked when the Boston goaltender withdrew from the playoffs in the middle of their current season, wanting to be with his family. His teammates, of course, verbally supported him but I cannot but imagine they are dismayed, if not feeling betrayed. Boston was one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, I believe — and you just don’t get that many chances to play for a championship. Think of Ernie Banks or Dan Marino. I just cannot fathom that mentality.

    • Has Taylor Swift ever not been mad or whining about something? Usually it’s old boyfriends but the President is so “du jour.” She’s made a very healthy living – most of which stands to be taken from her if the politicians she supports gain power – crying over the milk running on the floor.

      If VP Biden wins the election, it will be so refreshingly nice to finally see her with a big smile as she makes that *ninety-percent-of-her-income” contribution to the gaping maw of government.

      I think I feel a song coming on…

    • This is a interesting one. The post office, like so many “Union” paid labor with retirement has discovered it’s very difficult to pay people who don’t work for another 20-30 years. Plus from 1997ish to present the volume has become less and less. That said, republicans and democrats should both agree that universal mail in voting is a bad idea. People move too much and the last person to get an address change is voting. Ben Shapiro did a good analysis of it on his podcast. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ben-shapiro-show/id1047335260?i=1000488382722
      That said, dude, now isn’t the time.

  5. 3. This is “art” that Tucker Carlson discussed on the air tonight at Fox News:

    Hey! It’s a “Number One hit!”

    Here is one take on Carlson’s coverage of the “work.”
    Sheesh! Those conservative-haters “work” fast!


    Here is another take on the “song” (I mean, I guess that’s what the “performance” is):


    Here is a link to what I understand are the lyrics. It’s only my humble opinion, but, I think my alternate lyrics to “God Bless America” in worship of God [namely, the late Congress member John R. Lewis] are better – plus, they come with a TUNE – plus, my BLM-referencing alternate lyrics to “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You,” as an anthem to sing at University of Texas football games, are better still.


    I can’t verify this, but supposedly, Joey B. (Biden) interviewed the “artist.” Since Biden is getting the coronation vote for his nomination for President tonight, I can’t help but wonder how much the “song” will be praised by his Supreme Court nominees.


    It is perfectly OK with me, if you do not even allow this comment and the content at the links I have provided. Please continue to dare to “defend Democratics.” I just could not resist giving you some more ammo.

    • I didn’t mean to click my own Like. [snickers] I really did mean to click Reply. The comments on the Mediaite post, about censorship, are among the most hilarious (for their hypocrisy) that I have seen and read in a good while – like, in the past 30 minutes (since I’m watching the convention on CNN).

  6. All true, but unfair. Conveying energy in an viral event via remote online streaming is impossible. I’m one entertaining and energetic speaker, and on Zoom, I feel like a dud. If I pushed the energy to compensate for the lack of direct evidence contact, my presentation would be unwatchable. This is why stage plays look phony and forced when they are filmed. It is why the most successful TV performers tend to be low-key.

    You make a great point here.

    The infamous Dean Scream of 2004 is a perfect example of the different dynamics between watching something on site and watching something remotely.

  7. I understand the desire to be a loyal fan, but when the organization and it’s employees (the players) are signalling as hard as they can that they feel no loyalty whatsoever to the fans (or even to the organization’s own history, in the case of the Red Sox), it’s okay to reciprocate their indifference and disdain.

    This is a garbage season that will have the world’s biggest asterisk next to it, so feel free to ignore it, especially if it’s bringing you no joy at all.

  8. 1. I enjoy watching “Star Trek”. Many years ago, Paramount was mining the franchise for all it was worth with show after show after show. By the end of “Star Trek: Voyager”, some of the actors were clearly no longer into it. When “Enterprise” came along, it was a chore to watch. Episodes we recorded to watch later piled up for three or four weeks as we came up with so many more pleasant things to do. Finally, we decided that, once it became a nuisance, there was no point in continuing.

    So we stopped watching it. By all accounts, it apparently got better as time went on, but it never enjoyed the same success as the other shows and ended after only four seasons. I pretty much have the same philosophy with any show now. If it becomes a chore to watch, stop watching it.

    Only you can decide if the Sox still got it or they’ve become a nuisance.

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