Saturday Ethics Wind-Up, 8/29/2020: Bias Makes You Stupid, Stupid Makes You Incompetent, Incompetence Makes You NBA Commissioner, And My New Dog Makes Me Happy…

“Good eeevening!”

Many TV series from the black and white era seem hopelessly dated today, almost unwatchable. The Westerns hold up well: “Gunsmoke” is still excellent. “The Rifleman” is smart, ethical, and terrific. Of the dramas, “Perry Mason” and “Peter Gunn” among others still work. “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show” at their best, which was often, are brilliant. “The Twilight Zone” is probably the most acclaimed show from that period, and I love many of the episodes, but the duds, and there were quite a few, seem even duddier today. To be honest, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” which ran from 1955 to 1965, may hold up the best of all.

I thought about the show this week, after the story came out about the woman who was delivered to the funeral home and about to be embalmed when they found out she was alive. Now THAT’s incompetence! But it also echoed a famous  “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episode, in which Joseph Cotton played a man  involved in a bad traffic accident that leaves him so paralyzed–eyes open, mouth in a rictus of horror, as Stephen King likes to say—that when help arrives they think he’s really dead.  Cotton narrates his plight in real time, as we hear the desperate man’s thoughts. He tries to signal using his little finger, the only part that works, and the medics move him so he’s on top of his hand. They are zipping up the body bag when…well, you should see the episode.

Another classic is when a young Steve McQueen plays a compulsive gambler whose car breaks down in front of crazy Peter Lorre’s home. Lorre bets Steve he can’t light his lighter ten times in a row. If he can, Steve gets Lorre’s car. If the lighter fails before flame ten, Steve loses a finger. Lorre stands over McQueen’s tied down left hand holding a hatchet. You could not possibly guess the ending. 

1. “Well,” as Elaine would say to George on “Seinfeld,” “That’s because you’re an idiot.” In an interview with Mediaite, Don Lemon said that CNN is not biased. The CNN anchor said in part,

I don’t really understand how people will say CNN is biased and focuses on the negative of Trump.How is being factual, bias? How is taking evidence and someone’s own words and their own actions, and their own policies, and just presenting it back to the public on television or whatever medium, whatever journalistic medium you happen to be in, how is that bias? …

As head-exploding as that statement is, it is only remarkable in that it is such a guileless indication that someone prominent in a profession where objectivity is essential literally doesn’t know what bias is, and is incapable of recognizing it.

Bias makes you stupid, but it is also true that being stupid—and Lemon is a very stupid man—makes it easier to be biased.

2. Since you ask, a Spuds update…Our rescued dog Spuds has adapted to life with the Marshalls beyond our most optimistic hopes. We have concluded, because of a lot of things, that he is what is called a “Great Bull Dane,” a mix of one of the pit bull breeds and a Great Dane. Spuds is small for the mix, but he is also still underweight, and was malnourished by his neglected owners when he should have been growing. Spuds is smart, eager to make friends with everyone. and wants to lean on, lie on and cuddle with everyone. That’s a giant breed trait (we once owned and loved an English Mastiff) and Spuds also moves and barks like a Dane. Watching how much he craves the closeness of family and affirmations of affection, it makes me both sorrowful and furious that any human being could be so heartless as to neglect a sweet and vulnerable creature like this. I just don’t understand it.

At this moment he is lying completely on his back, his hind legs a stretched out the length of the sofa, with his huge head top down on my wife’s lap, breathing deeply with his eyes shut tight. What a miracle that we found each other.

3. This is typical of the management attitude allowing Black Lives Matter to extort America. From a report that many NBA owners did not support the league placing “Back Lives Matter” on its courts and encouraging players to kneel, wear divisive political slogans in games, and generally turn the NBA into a black power activist operation:

Adam Silver told them, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’re going to do to support our players. Our league is overwhelmingly comprised of African American players. This is important. This is a partnership. We need to work together to get through this season and into next year.’

The absence of logic and management competence in that statement is enlightening. Then there is the unconscious hilarity of a sports league of millionaires “overwhelmingly comprised of African American players” protesting that systemic racism has made life in the U.S. unbearable.

4. Oooh, I’m going to have to bookmark this site!  Ann Althouse found a website called “Am I the Asshole,” where people relate their actions in various situations. Her link was a story about a man who discovered that a guest was making a video in their home to show they were racists, because the moron mistook a Union Jack for the Confederate flag. The poster writes in part,

“You think we are racist, yet invite you over to our house, where you have our hospitality and our food/alcohol. In the meanwhile you are getting evidence to ruin our livelihoods? I don’t want anyone like that in my house AT ALL. So I make a scene and get her to leave. Kate and Jess say it was just a misunderstanding. I was, like, no there wasn’t,  its the principle behind it. Some of our friends have came to Ashley’s side but I don’t see how you can support her.”


I don’t either. He’s not the asshole, he’s an anti-asshole enforcer, and the only way the vicious cancel and “gotcha!” culture will be  eliminated is when people like the writers’ (incredibly ignorant, in addition to her other flaws) guest are shunned and exposed as the  unethical, ugly human beings they are.

26 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Wind-Up, 8/29/2020: Bias Makes You Stupid, Stupid Makes You Incompetent, Incompetence Makes You NBA Commissioner, And My New Dog Makes Me Happy…

  1. new reader, love the site. KUTGW

    FYI. AITA isn’t a website, it’s a forum on reddit (which is “the website”, as in, “yeah, i read it”) where people ask this question in regards to their particular situation all the time.

    reddit has thousands of groups – something for everyone! – and is a huge time suck.

    • Time suck indeed. I know many of the questions on AITA are fake. The sad reality is that they are similar to too many people I know.

      I recently had someone ask in horror about a white flag with a red X. Uh, that’s the state flag of Alabama. The X is a crimson St. Andrew’s Cross.

      Then the conversation moved to Bojangles chicken franchise. The name had to be racist. Why? Because of the song. What’s racist about the song? Silence. Finally, “It just sounds bad.“

      • Hmmm, so having musical taste is now considered racist. Good to know.

        I can waffle back and forth on Mr. Bojangles, but it’s at least a decent tune.

        Honestly, 90% of the time it’s the melody that determines whether I like or dislike a song. Among other reasons, much of the time I have no clue what a lot of the lyrics are to begin with.

        I really like the song ‘Waterloo’ by Abba, but until just a few years ago when I watched it on U Tube, I had always thought they were singing ‘Bobbie Jo’ rather than ‘Waterloo’. I swear that’s true. 😦

            • Not to mention the not-as-well-known Heaven 17 “We live so fast, bullshit, bullshit…” (actually “motion motion”)

          • I grew up signing Tom Petty — “don’t act a little like a refugee”. With his southern drawl I still hear it that way. Of course, its “don’t have to live like a refugee.”
            Also, Journey — I thought it was “she loves eleven things”, not “she loves the lovin’ things”

            • More seriously, going years and years singing mis-heard lyrics because you heard it wrong the first time is a pretty good example of bias making you stupid. Is it that much different for people having their political views shaped in school or a university and then being oblivious to information that counters the narrative they were taught at a formative age?

            • Years ago a friend basically ruined a song for me when she confided that she first heard Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets to Paradise” as “Two chickens to paralyze, pack your bags with leaves tonight.”

              • A friend heard, “If you’re among the lucky people” as “If you’re a mungaluki people,” assuming the mungalukis were a little known tribe. As a kid, I heard “Home on the Range” going, “Where ‘seldom’ is heard, [its] a discouraging word.” I pictured cow pokes standing around a corral shaking their bowed heads and kicking dirt with their boots while sighing “seldom.”

  2. “he is lying completely on his back, his hind legs a stretched out the length of the sofa, with his huge head top down on my wife’s lap, breathing deeply”

    When our dear departed Hurley assumed that position (which was often), her only movement was to paw your arm into petting/scratching/rubbing/caressing motion.

    For whatever reason, we called it completely porktonied.

    • I sense in your comment that you wish to draw a parallel between the witch-burners of Salem … and today’s hyper-progressive “anti-racists” now ransacking the streets.

      Am I right?

  3. “You think we are racist, yet invite you over to our house, where you have our hospitality and our food/alcohol. In the meanwhile you are getting evidence to ruin our livelihoods? I don’t want anyone like that in my house AT ALL. So I make a scene and get her to leave. Kate and Jess say it was just a misunderstanding. I was, like, no there wasn’t, its the principle behind it. Some of our friends have came to Ashley’s side but I don’t see how you can support her.”

    Let us suppose that this is a real tale. Though, in fact, it does not have to be to illustrate a very important group of powerful facts about White culture. The first element is that of *treason*. This seems like a simple inter-personal issue but it really has to do with the entire European-American culture. You have been trained to turn against yourself. You ‘sell yourself out’. You hate yourself — your family, your ancestors, even your culture — because you have be trained to do so. That is, the people who represent this ideology of self-contempt have infiltrated themselves with their own attitude of self-hated into the fibres of the culture. Schools, novels, movies, histories, an entire narrative that has been made to be a part of American culture and America’s ‘civil religion’ is what you have absorbed in one degree or another. No one writing on this blog is free of this and indeed some of you are obviously, and yet unconsciously, purveyors of the core attitude that these traitors demonstrate.

    Though these are — deliberately & intentionally — combative and challenging statements, yet they contain definite truths. Now, the most interesting ethical question, the more profound ethical question, Should really revolve around the central question: What degree of responsibility do I have for bringing about, and also allowing to continue, this social religion of self-undermining? For this is a White disease. It is a disease of the mind and of the spirit. It is, as I often say, essentially spiritual. And the reason is because it is distorted Christian narratives that support this attack on the self. The attack on the self — I call it self-undermining — offers a description of what has taken place certainly within American society and which has led, directly, to the outrageous conditions of the present, which each of us has some level of responsibility for constructing. We also have responsibility for maintaining these conditions. That is, we are ‘profoundly complicit’.

    The people who came into their friends house with that intentionality should be hung from a tree in the front yard. I actually am being at least somewhat serious. What I mean is their violation of ethics is so extreme that it warrants their death. That is, if you do such a thing, if you act treasonously with such openness, you demonstrate a fundamental dishonesty. Yet it is much — much — more. You are a traitor not only to your immediate friend (and that is serious enough, or should be serious, in everyone’s book of ethical rules), but what is more important is how widespread this is. The traitors are among us. And in this sense they are us. We are traitors to ourselves. You are traitors. You are despicable traitors to what your fathers (and mothers) have created and bequeathed to you. Now, I put things in such direct terms because I am, genuinely, tired of putting up with *your* lies, your misrepresentations of your *goodness*, and all this unending posturing about yourselves. But do not misunderstand me! One must begin to speak in these terms and we must turn our lens of examination around and make ourselves the object of our critical undertaking.

    Stop conning me please. Stop lying to me. It is disgusting. But more importantly stop conning yourself and lying to yourselves. We have to develop the strength to *tell the truth about what is going on today* because it really does have to do with the salvation of not only our country, which is only a part of the puzzle (and deviant Americanism — this does exist and it can be explained — is partof the problem) but substantially with the preservation of our Occidental attainments and ourselves as what has been bequeathed to us by those generations gone by.

    As I have long said the American Conservative must be taken to task. Challenged. Knocked off his pedestal of righteous self-certainty. As if you had genuinely been *conserving* much of anything at all! You are *slightly right of center progressives through and through!* You are very much part of the present problem. And as I go forward in the next phases of my incarnation here I will talk about this more.

  4. Alfred Hitchcock Presents will probably be one of the black and white TV era shows that will stand the test of time because nearly every one of their episodes was “timeless”. They are timeless because they deal mostly with human nature instead of things that are specific to a specific time period, human nature doesn’t change much over time it just morphs in and out of morality. The same thing can be said of a lot of the earlier The Andy Griffith Show episodes that were teaching young Opie Taylor some things he needed to grow up into a responsible adult, a lot of the snowflakes today could learn a thing or two from those early episodes. There are also a couple of The Twilight Zone episodes that are very memorable in this same way but the one that really sticks out for me is called “Kick the Can”.

  5. 3. Once more, with feeling: I’ve concluded most sports can not survive at any level, from kiddie to pro, without black athletes. The people who make a living coaching, managing, and owning franchises or being ADs and league people (even college presidents) are all terrified of having unhappy black athletes. These people in the business will cower until the cows come in to preserve their salaries and investments. The inmates are running the asylum. Perhaps more accurately, a few of the field hands are running the plantation. The field bosses and the plantation owners are running scared. I don’t see it stopping in the foreseeable future. LeBron James will go directly from the court to owning a franchise AND being the commissioner of the NBA.

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