A Really Late Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2020, In Which I Have A Revealing Exchange With A Woke Sports Journalist

How the day got hopelessly loused up:

  • At 8:30 am, I took my car to the dealer for a 5000 mile servicing. I had asked if I could get a loaner, and was told I could. But I’d have my car back in an hour, I was told, so I passed.
  • Then I found all the doors at the place locked until 9 am. I decided to walk several blocks to get a fast breakfast, but Popeye’s doesn’t have breakfast, and MacDonald’s doesn’t allow you to use the tables. This was a huge McDonald’s: 20 people could eat there and not be closer than ten feet. But Virginia, in the throes of Blue Madness, is catering to hysterics. I ate my sausage biscuit and hash browns and drank my coffee sitting on a curb, like a vagrant.
  • When I returned, I could get into the showroom to sit, but my glasses kept fogging up with the %$#@%!! mask, so I kept going in and out.  My car wasn’t ready at 9:30. It wasn’t ready at 10, or 10:30. They had me, as Beldar Conehead memorably said, “by the base of my snarglies.”
  • I also couldn’t complain, because they had assigned the servicing to my son, who works there.
  • I got home at 11:46 am, the morning effectively shot to hell.

1. The fascinating memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower will be dedicated this week:

Ike was one of my father’s heroes, and the first President I can remember. On a popular Boston kids’ show called “The Big Brother Show,” the host, Bob Emory, would call upon us to get a glass of milk and toast a photo of President Eisenhower as “Hail to the Chief” played. Because, you know, you were supposed to respect the Office of the President.  The New York Times couldn’t even write about a memorial to a Fifties era POTUS without making veiled insults to President Trump:

He was a leader who sought to work across lines toward a common purpose, driven by duty and pragmatism rather than ideology and divisiveness. He steered his Republican Party away from isolationism toward a bipartisan internationalism that prevailed until recent years. He sent troops into the South not to crack down on demonstrations for racial justice but to enforce the desegregation of schools. He ended the Korean War and balanced the budget, presiding over nearly eight years of peace and prosperity. And he pushed through an infrastructure bill that built the interstate highway system.

He also presided over a remarkably homogeneous society, was opposed by a Democratic Party with many selfless statesmen that was barely distinguishable from the GOP (Ike could have been the nominee of either party), and he still was covered by a news media that mostly held to traditional journalism standards.

Ike would have been called a racist and a fascist in 2020.

2. Fairness to Kamala Harris? The conservative media is having fun reading the worst into Biden running mate Kamala Harris’s gaffe referring to the “Harris Administration,” then huminahumina-ing, “together with Joe Biden as the President of the United States.” Proof of the Democratic plot to have Slow Joe elected, then removed under the 25th Amendment so Harris could take over? I doubt it:

  • Remember, Harris is an idiot, and liable to say anything.
  • I bet similar mistakes have been made on the stump many times, by many VP candidates.
  • The public has tolerated a lot of dishonesty from the Democrats already, but I don’t believe they would tolerate that. The more likely scenario is a weakened and submissive Biden being manipulated by many figures behind the scenes, including Harris.

Admittedly, it doesn’t help that Biden also put Harris on the top of the ticket, a day later, telling a veteran’s group.

“It makes it so much harder for military spouses to find good jobs and build their careers. That has to change. A Harris-Biden administration is going to relaunch that effort and keep pushing further to make it easier for military spouses and veterans to find meaningful careers to ensure teachers know how to support military children in their classrooms and to improve support for caregivers and survivors so much more than we do now.”

3. This, I fear, is typical of the quality of thought in the throes of the George Floyd Freakout. I’ll  admit it: this ticked me off, for many reasons.  I assume that these will be apparent.

The Boston Globe alerted me to a sports column by a venerable Boston baseball writer in which he opined that in the wake of this horrible Red Sox season, the team needed to address the alienation of its fans. I wrote the columnista friendly and substantive email, asking if anyone had the guts to address the glaring and obvious issue of many fans, like me, resenting the team’s pandering to Black Lives Matter and polluting the game on the field with political grandstanding. I explained my long dedication to the team, and offered my expertise should he or any other journalist wish to examine the issue of the inappropriateness and divisiveness of the Boston franchise’s rush to signal its virtue at the expense of respect for the game and its fans.

The response by the sportswriter, whose name I would love to divulge but have reluctantly decided against it, fulfilled my most critical assessments of the knee-jerk, woke idiocy that has driven the predominant attitudes enabling the current madness, while disappointing me nonetheless. Yes, I still hold hopes that those who have a platform for their opinions in the news media are better than this. This idiot, however, obviously is not. He responded to my serious and substantive note with:

Thanks for reading. But be advised: I am not on your side on this. I’m against systematic racism. The Red Sox and the players support the idea that Black lives matter, not the group. Nobody in MLB supports the group.They support the idea that a black person’s life is worth just as much as yours. 

Something you should consider: I went to college with a guy named George. He graduated with highest honors, went to Harvard for his grad work and is now the CEO of a large health-care company. He lives in Maryland, belongs to a country club and is politically conservative. He’s also Black.

His son is 16. George is terrified of his son learning to drive because of the odds he’ll be killed over a misunderstanding with police. I’ve been stopped by police 3 times in my life. Not once did it ever occur to me I might get killed. A Black person worries about that every time.

That’s systematic racism. If you think it’s wrong to oppose that, I have no idea what to tell you. Be a better person maybe. 

I won’t repeat my blistering response, but his reasoning and rhetoric is sadly typical.

  • “Your side”? And what side is that? The position that it is not a sports team’s role to be preaching political positions and racial activism isn’t a “side,” and that isn’t what this hack is saying. He’s saying that because I don’t support this divisive and insulting  “movement,” my “side” is opposition to “social justice.” Silence is violence.
  • “The Red Sox and the players support the idea that Black lives matter.” Can you get more facile and infantile than that statement? I’m sure they also  oppose pederasty, pornography in the schools and  rape, and support the ideas of eliminating hunger and war, but there are no banners about those issues across the bleachers in centerfield, for the simple and once universally understood reason that this isn’t the jurisdiction of sports,
  • “Nobody in MLB supports the group.”  If you plaster the name of a group that uses the phrase it devised as its name, you are supporting the group.  This is so self-evident that claiming otherwise is either proof of dishonesty or stupidity.
  • “They support the idea that a black person’s life is worth just as much as yours.” Who doesn’t? The assertion itself presumes what is both insulting and and untrue: that anyone needs to be proselytized that one life is as precious as the next. How do the players and the Red Sox feel about abortion, since we’re on the subject? Are players, teams and sports columnists really equipped to handle that question?
  • Systemic racism is not proven because some black guy has been made paranoid by anti-cop, anti white propaganda. He’s terrified of the odds  that his son will be killed because of a confrontation with the police? If he behaves like a responsible citizen, cooperates, and doesn’t do anything threatening, his “odds” are the same as anyone else, of any race: virtually zero.
  • I didn’t say it was “wrong” to oppose racism; I said it was wrong for a baseball team to serve as a mouthpiece for a racist organization that claims to oppose racism. Such is the clarity of thought and analysis of a columnist for the Boston Globe.
  • “Be a better person.” [Fill in the blank]

 

25 thoughts on “A Really Late Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/15/2020, In Which I Have A Revealing Exchange With A Woke Sports Journalist

  1. 1)”Ike would have been called a racist and a fascist in 2020″

    I wouldn’t doubt it, but I also think that would enrage just about anyone from the ‘Greatest Generation’. It goes without saying that anyone calling Eisenhower a fascist has never opened a history book.

    I don’t know if Eisenhower was a ‘racist.’ I do know that he enforced school desegregation in the South with the Army. I was just a tot, but I don’t think anyone in the rest of the country raised a big fuss about him doing so.

    Eisenhower, as I understand it, was widely regarded as a mediocre president initially, but has steadily improved in historians’ regards as time has passed.

    Isn’t it interesting that probably our two greatest generals turned president were the two who used troops to enforce civil rights in the South? And, of course, both were Republicans.

  2. He’s terrified of the odds that his son will be killed because of a confrontation with the police? If he behaves like a responsible citizen, cooperates, and doesn’t do anything threatening, his “odds” are the same as anyone else, of any race: virtually zero.

    You seem to be implying that this claim is a little bit exaggerated.

  3. The sportswriter is engaging in a motte-and-bailey fallacy. When questioned about the phrase “black lives matter”, a fanatic may retreat to the unassailable position (the motte) that it merely means that black lives are just as worthy as white lives. Then when they’re no longer on the defensive, they spread out into the bailey where they can live comfortably and declare that each and every law and institution created by white people was made for the purpose of oppressing black people, and still does so, and must be destroyed in order that black people may be free.

    Human minds are slippery things, but if you can put them at ease you can explore the bailey with them and get them to reevaluate whether it’s a sensible place to be.

    • That reply had so many markers of critical thinking deficits that it’s clear that bailey isn’t worth exploring. If it only means that black lives are as worthy as white lives, why proclaim a banality? If the argument is that advertising it doesn’t mean supporting the organization, then you’re either facing an idiot or a liar. Saying that questioning the appropriateness of a position in a certain context is the same as disagreeing with the position itself is proof of cognitive inadequacy. Life is too short to argue with fools.

        • If we do, we don’t have as much time to do productive things. This moron argued that massive promotion of the Black Lives matter: slogan didn’t indicate support for Black Lives Matter. He couldn’t distinguish between an objection to political advocacy in an inappropriate forum—baseball games!—and the principles being advocated. He said that a single successful black man’s irrational fear “was systemic racism.” How do you argue with someone whose reasoning is that flawed? It’s like arguing with a 6-year old.

          • The main issue is that his response contains many of the main talking points of the woke. It’s not just him who thinks in this way. It’s many people. People well over the age of 6.

            But you are correct that it is almost pointless to argue with them. How can you argue with someone who won’t even admit that the Black Lives Matter banners aren’t in support of the political group? Its insanity.

    • Human minds are slippery things, but if you can put them at ease you can explore the bailey with them and get them to reevaluate whether it’s a sensible place to be.

      It is interesting, in a way, to explore your assertion. It sounds entirely reasonable of course. As if sitting someone down to examine the way they have structured their argument will result in a light-bulb going on over their benighted head and, all on the sudden, their opinion changing.

      Then I guess after that they’ll be a Russian Kiss and warm embraces!

      There are a few angles I would pursue here and the first one is none to your-plural liking. And yet I must do it for the following reason: you-plural operate with a very definite understanding that you are *right* and that you live in and inhabit the place of correct idea and correct opinion. There is NEVER any doubt expressed. So, to use your own example, I might propose that your mind is *slippery* and then *put you at ease* enough that I could then *get you to evaluate* whether the very structure of ideas you operate with are *sensible* ones. But it doesn’t seem to work that way. We get, I guess, very bound up and attached to our ‘beloved understanding’.

      What I mean is that you have, with your assertion, opened this up as a possibility. But instead of you being the one to define who and what is *slippery* you-plural (that plural is necessary in my larger argumentation, please forgive me though) become the focus of attempts to influence.

      The larger issue is, of course to my mind, not this particular sportscaster who, as you might agree, in one way or another and to one degree or another thinks more-or-less similarly to the sort of thought that is common in American culture. That is, a man who has been informed by all that has informed you and me and Jack and everyone else writing here. The most basic assumptions and understandings are non-different. There is disagreement about certain details. These begin to increase and I admit that a chasm open up between them.

      But can all of this, or even any of this — here I refer to *your ideas generally* — be examined under the possibility that it is ‘slippery thinking’ of a ‘slippery mind’? What is non slippery thinking? Who exemplifies it? How is it determined?

      But here’s the interesting thing: When *yous* are challenged — this according to my perception of course — you do not necessarily show a will to *sit down* and rationally work through contradictory perspectives (you imply that your subject, if put at ease, would do this) but rather you *go silent* or erect defensive walls. Really, most people seem to do just this.

      I am sure that you will recognize that I am speaking to things that extend well beyond the example provided by Jack. It is quite likely that the man cannot be *reasoned with* and that to do so is a waste of time. And I am also sure that you have noted that I tend to explore ideas that are well outside of what is allowed, what is considered politically correct, And of course what is even ‘decent’ American and ethical.

  4. 3. “Systemic racism is not proven because some black guy has been made paranoid by anti-cop, anti-white propaganda.”
    That kind of paranoia extends well beyond some black guy, and, while it does not prove systemic racism, it certainly is one piece of evidence for it. But, the racism is coming from those who shout BLM the loudest, from the left wing activists and the news media and the organizations who join in. Creating fear in a racial group based on a distortion or outright lie certainly should be considered racism; the extent to which it is organized and promoted by those on the left makes it systemic.

    • “Something you should consider: I went to college with a guy named George. He graduated with highest honors, went to Harvard for his grad work and is now the CEO of a large health-care company. He lives in Maryland, belongs to a country club and is politically conservative. He’s also Black.”

      Maybe something for the sportswriter to consider: His friend has flourished within the confines of systemic racism to the extent he’s obtained a college degree, a Harvard MBA and is now a highly compensated Chief (ooops, can’t use that word) Executive Officer of a publicly traded (I assume) corporation and is a member at a (presumably not particularly ghetto) country club? Where do I sign up? Can I get me some of that systemic racism?

  5. “A Black person worries about that every time.”

    No…no we really don’t – and those who do have my pity. The prevailing nonesense surrounding truisms about universal black concerns are so far removed from my life experience as to be a joke. If I am the minority, it is because the majority is mentally and emotionally weak. So what some black CEO decides to take the fearmongering to heart. The statistical facts don’t bear fruit to such anecdotes. Not a single time in my life have I feared for my well-being around the police for being black. The one time I had a slight concern had to do with me being a young woman alone, in pitch night, on a rural backroad.

    I’m sick of woke white knighting and this collectivization of black people in the US. It needs to stop. This goes and has been going nowhere positive.

    • I am old enough to remember reading and hearing about Black people in many parts of the country having to worry about being killed every time they went out.

      Of course, they were worried about being killed by gangbangers much more than by cops.

      This was true even in Chicago, with the police having a reputation for corruption and brutality that predates Al Capone.

      • One of the first times I visited SF before moving to the bay area was for a startup convention in 2012. I was there with my colleague and we were walking and ended up in the Tenderloin. Two young black people in the Tenderloin in broad daylight – and this was before it got as bad as it is now (just moved out of CA last month) – and we were very uncomfortable. Both of us breathed a sigh of relief at seeing a cop car. We laughed at the absurdity, not because we thought it absurd that we felt safer because of police presence but because we were black people afraid in a “black neighborhood”.

        Different times.

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