Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2020: Wherein My Head Explodes At Least Once

head-explode Calvin

1. KABOOM! Just when I thought 1) Georgetown could not embarrass this alum more thoroughly and 2) my head had been immunized from exploding comes the astounding news that Georgetown University has hired former FBI agent Peter Strzok as an adjunct professor. Strzok is now listed on the university’s staff page and he mentioned the Walsh School of Foreign Service on his Twitter profile. An alumnus, he will be teaching a “Counterintelligence and National Security” in the fall semester.

While engaged in an adulterous affair with then FBI lawyer Lisa Page in 2016, Strzok exchanged suspicious anti- Trump messages that called into question the legitimacy and fairness of the Mueller investigation. The FBI fired Strzok  in 2018 for  undermining public confidence in the non-partisanship of the bureau and federal law enforcement.

Stay classy, Georgetown! I already have my law school diploma facing the wall; I guess I can coat it with some kind of noxious substance…

2. The villains here is the professor. This is no time to be a weenie. Actually, there is never a good time to be a weenie. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law used “nigger” (referred to in infantile fashion by the law school’s announcement as “the n-word,” since “poopy badspeak” hasn’t caught on yet) in the context of discussing an offensive language case. But of course a student or six reported him, because they could, and it is an easy way for young progressive cowards to justify puffing up their pigeon chests because they get to cause trouble for someone who did absolutely nothing wrong.

The adjunct professor has not been identified, but in an email from law school administrators, including Law Dean Amy Wildermuth, it was announced that the professor has resigned.

“The instructor apologized and expressed his deep regret to the class, and informed the class at 1 p.m. today that he was resigning immediately from teaching at Pitt Law,” the announcement said in part.  “We condemn the use of this word, and we believe that saying this word and words like it, even in an academic context, is deeply hurtful,” the note concluded.

Words are not hurtful. Meanings are hurtful, when they are intentional. This is virtue-signaling and language policing of the most indefensible sort. The professor, whoever he is, had an obligation to the school, the culture, his profession, common sense and himself to fight, not surrender.

3. Can someone explain to me why Pressley Pritchard lost her job for being a sexy firefighter but Samantha Sepulveda, who doubles as a lingerie model while serving as a police officer in New York, has faced no such discrimination? I was checking on the status of Prichard’s lawsuit for wrongful termination (nothing new to report) when I stumbled upon the case of Sepulveda, seen here:

Police model

She said in one profile,

“I’ve been under the microscope since I started,” she admitted. Her photos “celebrate a woman’s body,” she said. “I don’t think they’re offensive. “If people find them offensive, close your eyes!”

4. Oh, great: now they are coming for “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.” The Washington Post uncritically reports that over the summer, some University of Texas football players requested that the song be replaced by “a new song without racist undertones,” but the university president it would continue to be used at football games and other events.

Jay Hartzell, the interim president, outlined steps UT would take to “recruit, attract, retain and support Black students,” but said in a statement that he preferred to “acknowledge and teach about all aspects of the origins of ‘The Eyes of Texas’ as we continue to sing it moving forward with a redefined vision that unites our community.”

Wait, why does the song have “racist undertones”? Here are the lyrics, sung to the tune of “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad”:

The Eyes of Texas are upon you

All the livelong day

The Eyes of Texas are upon you

You cannot get away

Do not think you can escape them

At night or early in the morn

The Eyes of Texas are upon you/

Til Gabriel blows his horn.

What’s racist about that? There’s nothing about race in the lyrics. Oh! The Post informed us that the song was frequently performed by musicians in blackface decades ago! So the standard is now that a song becomes racist not because of the song, but because of who performed it a hundred years ago or more? By that standard, we might as well ban any song written before 1990, just to be on the safe side. Frank Sinatra snubbed Sammy Davis Jr., his black freind and fellow performer, after he married May Britt, a white woman. By the “racist performer’ standard, I’d say that eliminates all of the so-called “Great American Songbook,” and every major ballad of the Forties and Fifties.

On a side note, Ann Althouse indulged her annoying pedantic linguistic streak to conclude that the song was creepy because “it speaks of surveillance and endless oppressive work…Eyes that you cannot escape.”

Oh, take a pill, professor. The song means that Texans should make Texas proud, that’s all. It is neither oppressive nor racist. 

36 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2020: Wherein My Head Explodes At Least Once

  1. I would say Strzok’s private communications with two judges in the Michael Flynn case are even worse, since his testimony is really the only evidence against Flynn. When the main witness sends a file to the judge and the judge himself enters the file into evidence, is that a problem?

  2. American politics is going to give me an epileptic seizure. Apparently, the polls have closed, giving Biden a 6% lead over Trump nationally, and made a whole lot of states competitive again. Jesus. Couple that to the Bradley effect, and maybe I was overeager in writing Trump off this cycle.

    Then again, he has another debate to flub.

    • HT, I don’t think people who support Trump thought he “flubbed” the first debate. I think he was put in an untenable situation and struggled mightily (in a very cat fight way) to defend himself. What other line of action would you have suggested? I think he and his supporters are on the same wave length. You may think this is parallel universe type thinking, but he won one election against all alleged odds. I think anyone who counts him out does so at his or her peril.

      • I think that Trump has his base hogtied on the table with an apple in their mouths, his base is unimportant. The people he has to convince to vote for him, and make no mistake, he does have ground to make up here, are the moderates. And while the base might have loved the debate, moderates didn’t. And while most moderates at this point probably have their minds made up, a particularly good showing by either candidate, or either candidate falling off the stage, will make all the difference.

        • I wasn’t listening very closely, but today I had Rush Limbaugh on the radio in the background while I wrote other stuff. I thought I heard a caller to his program, a lady, say that if Trump acts like he did in the first debate, he would lose (she was determined to vote for Trump in any case). That would be fitting – for Trump to lose because of his boorish ways, that is. So, we’d ALL get stuck, like homeless little pigs in Big Bad Wolf country, by being figureheadedly ruled over by an only slightly less boorish, but polished (and infinitely more dangerous and duplicitous) veteran DC pol.

          • Lucky, I still think people who were angry enough and fed up enough to have voted for Trump in 2016 (I was not one of them) aren’t going to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in 2020. That just doesn’t compute, at all. I suppose there are a few outliers, but I’m sure as hell voting for him this time. It’s column A or column B. He’s done a lot of good things policy wise. Is he any more uncivil than Nancy Pelosi or Adam Schiff or Jerry Nadler? No. All the people who are all upset by him would never vote for any Republican presidential candidate. Who cares what they think?

        • HT
          Your description of Trump’s base is at best without basis. To suggest they will support him no matter what is incorrect. What the base will do is tolerate a man who speaks like an iron worker who stands in the way of Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of the United States.

          Would his base prefer an erudite speaker who actually will absolutely not bend over and say to those wanting to dismantle our Constitution “thank you sir may I have another”. I suppose but you take what you can get.

          I was not a Trump supporter because I too wanted a sharp skilled political tactician and Constitutionalist. Unfortunately my choice came in second. Nevertheless, I found myself unable to stomach the relentless and unfounded attacks on Trump from the time he took office. If being Presidential means being an articulate obfuscating prevaricator then I will take an inarticulate bastard who will do what he promises and preserves our Constitution and heritage.

          • I think that is right. Many things Trump does make me crazy but I think it is a testament to his character that he fights back and fights back hard. Pence during the VP debate made a point of stating that the Trump-Pence Administration has been under relentless attack, not just on policy issues, but at the very legitimacy of their election. What else is he supposed do? Play nice in the sandbox? With people who want to kill him off, people from both sides of the aisle? That is just not who Trump is. He made his mark in the Lower Manhattan real estate market which is about as cutthroat as you can get. Trump, though, has pretty astute current culture instincts.

            jvb

            • Look, I said that he can ignore his base, because his base is going to vote for him and he needs a certain amount of independent support to close the gap. I’ll ask you the same question I asked Chris: Am I wrong? What could Trump possibly do to lose your vote? If he goes onto the stage a little more prepared, and gives Biden the room to fall over himself, are you going to vote Jorgenson? Biden? What possible downside would there be to not even moderating his positions, but moderating his tone, long enough to court some suburban women who might not be sold on a movement that burns down neighborhoods?

              • I don’t disagree with your comments, HT. I wish he would temper his behavior. For example, I see no reason to crush Fauci. Let Fauci’s incompetence speak for itself. He needs to be above the fray; but Trump is Trump and he is never going to change.

                If I were advising him on debate preparation and demeanor, i would tell him to take the high road, keep the “Sleepy Joe” comments to a minimum, not to interrupt, and let Biden sink himself by prattling on the way he does. He should talk about his successes on the economy (that 11 million of the 22 million jobs lost are coming back and he is working to bring the conditions for the other 11 million out of work; that economy during a CoronaVirus pandemic exceeds Obama’s best years; that he forced NATO partners to honor their commitments; that the US embassy is now in Jerusalem, and that illegal immigration is at the lowest its been in 20 years, etc.) and in foreign relations (talk up the USMCA) and the reasons he pulled out of the Paris Accords and trashed Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Those are important factors.

                jvb

          • So… I’m right?

            Seriously. What could Trump possibly do to lose your vote? If he went into this debate and courted independents and suburban women by being less Trumpy…. You’ll… What? Vote for Jo Jorgenson? No… You know who you’re going to vote for. Trump has nothing to prove to you. Continuing to throw red meat to the people who are going to vote for you while alienating the people you actually need to close the gap is electoral malpractice.

            Do you actually think I’m wrong, or are you just upset with how I framed it?

            • I’m not sure he has to close any gap or mollify any alleged swing voters. That’s what the Democrats are saying, HT. He won last time by doing his thing, whatever it is. Why won’t it continue to work? Am I the only erstwhile HRC voter who’s going to vote for Trump this time? Who knows?

              • Sure, it’s possible that the polls are wrong, and sure, it’s possible that Trump can win with what he’s got….

                But it’s also possible that the polls are right and he’s going to lose. It bears note that while some state polls were wrong, the national ones were basically right on the money, and Hillary did get the popular vote, the votes were just very concentrated in California and New York. This time around, Trump is actually polling much higher in California and New York than he was in 2016, and the national polls are about the same. Take it with a grain of salt, but I’m pretty sure that he’s got ground to make up.

                The question here is “What if you’re wrong?”

                If you’re wrong, and Trump doesn’t have the base to win, then ignoring everyone outside his base means he loses.

                If I’m wrong, and Trump does have the support to win, what is the harm in doing a debate that might win him extra support? Do you actually think his base is so fickle that a single debate where he doesn’t emulate an anthropomorphized dumpster fire will turn them off?

      • I have read several threads on Free Republic about early voting and how Republicans are dfoing at least as well as they did four years ago.

        Make no mistake, the DNC is watching the early voting results.

      • We voted early (don’t cyberyell at me!). I truly don’t understand the Republican party. At all. I can’t speak to other counties/cities but if Harris County/Houston are any indication, the RNC has abandoned local policy. In Texas, state court judges are elected. Do you know how many judges ran without a Republican opponent? The HISD school board didn’t have Republican candidates. Why?! If “all politics are local”, and that is where policy decisions should be made, then why would Republican concede those down ballot races to the Democrats? They did this in 2016 and 2018 and now we have incompetent judges releasing accused murderers on PR bonds. We have accused spouse abusers released on minimum bonds. Now, we have an incompetent 30 year old Colombian immigrant as the County Judge (really, the county mayor but I guess “judge” sounded way cooler way back when the created the job) who thinks her primary obligation is bail reform and jail reform. She issues CoronaVirus orders as if she is the lord of the manor and her subjects bow to her commands. The mind does boggle.

        jvb

        • Right there with you jvb. I also voted early and was appalled at the many unopposed Democrats in the elections for judges. Afterwards, I mentioned that strange non-participation to family in the area who had not voted yet. One young buck in my clan just might run for one of those courts, next time around! He has the smarts to do very well there – if he can keep his passions and biases under control.

          I don’t understand WHY there are (and were) so many of those unopposed judge elections. Back in 2004, it was exactly the other way around: a whole page of unopposed Republicans. Maybe that year it was Bush 43’s popularity, or something, that incentivized the Red and disincentivized the Blue. Even that does not compute. The clean sweep by Democrats in the Houston area in 2018 was equally baffling.

    • So here is what I see, looking at the presidential election. When I look at Real Clear Politics, they show Trump with 125 electoral votes basically ‘in the bag’, Biden with 216 EV but we’ll ignore him for now.

      I look at these states which are listed as ‘toss ups’, but which in any sane world Trump is bound to carry: Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio. That is 116 electoral votes, which gets him to 241. I think it very likely he’ll carry Pennsylvania — another 20 so he would then be at 261, only 9 away.

      Given those assumptions — which I don’t think are outlandish — all he needs to do then is to win Michigan or Wisconsin or Minnesota or Arizona — any of those states would put him over the top and all of them would give him well over 300. Most of those states he won in 2016, some by substantial margins.

      You can argue with this reasoning, to be sure, but if Trump isn’t carrying Texas and Georgia — there’s no hope anyway.

      I will also say that I had the TV tuned to a sports channel yesterday and the litany of political ads was nonstop and neverending. Trump, Biden, Cunningham, Tillis, Cooper, Forest — one after the other all different races and parties. The TV stations are not hurting this fall.

  3. #2 – A major issue with this is these students will be woefully unprepared for going to court. You know, something that many lawyers aspire to do.
    Something that many going into a courtroom are unprepared for is that the court insists on accuracy of testimony, and euphemisms are not acceptable substitutes. The court isn’t going to tolerate “the n-word” nor wiener nor pee-pee. Childish names for body parts don’t fly. If they can’t handle this in college, how are they going to handle it later in real life.

  4. 4. Ironically, the lyric evidently grew out of Robert E. Lee’s telling students at Washington & Lee (AFTER the conclusion of the disastrous Civil War) that “the eyes of the South are upon you” when addressing southern students at the school. You know, when Lee was intent upon discouraging an endless and futile and destructive insurgency by Confederate “dead-enders,” to use Dick Cheney’s term. The speech was overheard by a student who would go on to be the governor of Texas.

    If this is the kind of crackpot, wrongheaded scholarship coming out of African American Studies departments, they should be dissolved.

  5. 1. I try very hard not to think of the entrenched government employees in D.C. as “swamp creatures” inhabiting “the swamp,” but when a school within the swamp hires creeps like this to credential future generations of government employees, what else can I think? There were no other former government employees available with comparable experience? None?

    • I checked his bio and future classes to be taught. Nothing. Not a word about being fired for his behavior in the Mueller Investigation and not a word about his goings-on with the fair and fetching Lisa, all the while being a married fellow. Nope.

      jvb

  6. 4. Once again (weeks after posting in EA an obviously obscure comment-to-a-comment, after reading a Houston Chronicle article that mentioned how the old song had been made a target for its “racism”), I offer the following new, BLM-centric lyrics for “The Eyes of Texas” – now, of course, re-titled “The Ize of BLM” – with a few updates to the lyrics, but still, basically the same meaning. These lyrics express what I believe are all the essential, even obligatory, correctnesses for such a revised song; I highly recommend that it be sung in the “jive-y-est,” thickest Texan (or even faux-Texan) accent achievable:

    The Ize uv BLM R on U

    All the mu-tha-fuckin’ day

    The Ize uv BLM R on U

    U shall not have a say

    Do think every whitey’s racist

    Whiteys deserve eternal scorn

    The Ize uv BLM R on U

    Till no whiteys R born

  7. In the eyes of the Ranger
    Any unsuspecting stranger
    Had better know his wrong from his right
    Because the eyes of the Ranger are upon you
    Any wrong you do he’s gonna see
    When you’re in Texas look behind you
    ‘Cause that’s where the ranger’s gonna be

    (Just thought since it’s been stuck in my head all day now, I’d share)

  8. Happily, I never knew the full lyrics to ‘The Eyes of Texas’ before this. I wish I still didn’t.

    Sheesh. My alma mater’s lyrics are corny but they’re a heck of a lot better than that.

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