High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

As you may (and should) know, the classic Western “High Noon” was and is regarded by some conservatives as anti-American. I think it is, as excellent as it is. The ending, where the heroic law man (played by Gary Cooper in an Academy Award-winning performance) throws his star in the dirt in disgust (imitated by “Dirty Harry” for very different reasons in that conservative film years later), is widely seen as a rejection of American society as hypocritical. (The fact that the screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was a Communist doesn’t help.)

My favorite scene in the movie, where Cooper begs the church congregation to help, plays like a “Twilight Zone” episode, with the whole town rationalizing furiously to avoid helping the desperate law man minutes away from having to face, alone, vengeful thugs determined to kill him. (The whole scene is not on YouTube; I searched.) “Rio Bravo,” one of the best John Wayne Westerns and a personal favorite, was devised by director Howard Hawks as a direct rebuke of the selfish and craven America “High Noon” posits. In the Duke’s movie, the lawman, Wayne, constantly rejects the offers of help he receives, though he knows hired killers are massing to free his prisoner. Yet people go out of their way, at great personal risk, to help him anyway, time after time. “High Noon” is a better movie (maybe), but “Rio Bravo” is a fairer depiction of American values and history.

1. This is why I tell lawyers and government employees that it’s unethical to use Google for professional communication and client matters. Mac programmer Jeff Johnson has discovered that if you set Google Chrome to eliminate all website cookies and site data when you close the browser, the data remains un-erased for YouTube and Google itself.

What a coinkydink!

“Perhaps this is just a Google Chrome bug, not intentional behavior, but the question is why it only affects Google sites, not non-Google sites,” Johnson says. “I’ve tested using the latest Google Chrome version 86.0.4240.75 for macOS, but this behavior was also happening in the previous version of Chrome. I don’t know when it started.”

Bottom line: Don’t trust Google. Like I’ve been saying….

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Here is an article highlighted by AOL from the Associated Press, suggesting that the fact that Amy Coney Barrett was a trustee at a private Catholic school that officially and in its policies disapproved of homosexuality places LGBTQ rights at risk. Some sample passages:

  • “The AP spoke with more than two dozen people who attended or worked at Trinity Schools, or former members of People of Praise. They said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades: Homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage and marriage should only be between a man and a woman.”

Anonymous sources: unethical journalism.

  • “Interviewees told the AP that Trinity’s leadership communicated anti-LGBTQ policies and positions in meetings, one-on-one conversations, enrollment agreements, employment agreements, handbooks and written policies — including those in place when Barrett was an active member of the board.”

100% irrelevant. A judge’s job is to interpret the law, not to advance his or her own religious beliefs. AOL and the AP are advancing the same unethical argument the Democrats used against Barrett when she was nominated as a federal judge: religious beliefs should disqualify judges.

  • “[M]ost of the people the AP spoke with said her deep and decades-long involvement in the community signals she would be hostile to gay rights if confirmed.”

“Some say.”

3. Do I really have to write about this ridiculous issue again? No, actors do not have to be the same race, ethnicity or even gender of the characters they play. (Nor height, if you are Tom Cruise and you want to play Jack Reacher.) This time, the target is Israeli actress Gal Gadot, best known for playing Wonder Woman even though she’s not Greek. Or an Amazon. Or a superhero. Gadot has been cast as Cleopatra, for which she is eminently qualified, having a head, two arms and two legs just like the legendary Egyptian ruler had. But race-hucksters are screaming that Cleo should be played by an African-American, or an Arab, or at least someone “darker than a brown paper bag”  as US writer Morgan Jerkins tweeted. He thinks t that would be more “historically accurate.” Two points on that, you ignoramus: 1) There’s this stuff called “make-up” and 2) Cleopatra was Greek—you know, like me. I’m lighter than a paper bag, though wearing one might improve my appearance. Nobody complained the last time Gadot played a Greek.

Not to be left out, Israeli commentators suggested that the attacks on Gadot were based on anti-Semitism.  The Jerusalem Post journalist Seth Frantzman said it made no sense to exclude Jews from playing roles from the Middle East, “when Jews are primarily a people from the Middle East either with distant or recent roots…. The idea that casting should exclude Jews is shameful and shows a lack of education for the commentators,.”

How things have changed; when Elizabeth Taylor played Cleopatra, critics said she was too fat. (And she was.)

4. Finally, this brief “Brian Stelter is a shameless hack” note. Spinning for his disgraced and probably ex-CNN colleague, that guy I’m not going to humiliate by mentioning him by name any more, Stelter tweeted that the legal analyst

“…has been sidelined at a pivotal moment in the run-up to the presidential election. The reason: He exposed himself during a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues in what he says was an accident…”

Yes, he masturbated during a Zoom meeting by accident! Boy, I hate when that happens! Even Toobin, in his apology, didn’t describe what happened as “an accident.” He called it a “mistake.” It was a mistake all right, just like CNN keeping incompetent, biased, dishonest fools like Stelter in from of the camera is a mistake.

25 thoughts on “High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

  1. 4. ““…has been sidelined at a pivotal moment in the run-up to the presidential election. The reason: He exposed himself during a Zoom call with New Yorker colleagues in what he says was an accident…”’

    Translation: “We need all hands on deck to defeat Donald Trump and you guys are upset about Toobin exposing himself during a professional Zoom call? It’s JUST a penis, folks!” (Sorry, I still get angry about the “Just a boob!” argument apologists made for the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake halftime incident.

    I wonder when this incident starts getting blamed on Trump?

    • You joke, but “it’s just a penis” was the exact phrase circling through some of the moderate-left Twitter I follow. They also compared this situation to that of Chris Evans accidentally posting a picture of his penis on Pinterest.

      I remember a Christmas conversation I had… I don’t know… seven or eight years ago, about how people had to learn “the rules” for social media. Back then, people were still surprised when they got fired for saying or doing something on Facebook that they wouldn’t say or do in the middle of a mall (oh how quaint those times seem now), and I said that as opposed to people backing off social media, they’d lean in, and we’d start to see things like companies skimming social media as part of the hiring process. I’m a prophet, I guess. Similarly, the concept of significant numbers of people working from home is new, again, people have to learn the rules. Actually wearing clothes from the beginning to the end of a camera meeting will be the norm, and no one will be confused.

  2. RE #2: the MSM is all a-twitter today regarding Pope Francis’s support for civil unions.

    Years ago, I did some contract work for a Catholic diocese in a state that was facing a same-sex marriage referendum. I didn’t have a dog in the hunt; the diocese was a client.

    It was an eye-opening experience. I never had reason to question the sincerity of the diocese and the bishop. I never had reason to trust those supporting the law, who were perfectly willing to engage in all manner of unethical behavior, including the most manipulative propaganda and doxxing, in order to prevail (which they ultimately did). And one of the more interesting aspects of the project were the protestant churches that came in on the diocese’s side – a lot of those folks were just plain flat-out nuts.

    And rest assured that the proponents were NOT interested in “civil unions.” For them, it was marriage or bust.

    I honestly wonder how all this will settle out, given Barrett’s very traditional approach to her Catholic faith.

      • Besides which, I thought Church doctrine states that non-heteronormative (Hah!) people can be Catholics and receive the sacraments provided they don’t engage in sex with non-heteronormative partners (which would be a mortal sin). They can be gay, but they can’t have gay sex. Has the Commie Pontiff just changed Catholic doctrine? Is he speaking Ex Cathedra or is this just more of his usual Commie agitprop, such as when he’s denigrating capitalism (How’s the Vatican bank doing these days, Frankie?) or yakking about climate change?

        • Here we go. Papa Francesco is, apparently, quoted out of context and the world convulses.

          Yes, people with same-sex attraction can be Catholic. Yes, homosexual actions are sinful. So are a host of other sinful activities. Pope Francis has not changed Catholic doctrine. I’m trying to understand the full context of the Pope’s words in the film that has been released, and all the articles I’ve read are not fully clear on when, to whom, or in what context he made those remarks. The most clear evidence I’ve seen is that his remarks, made as Pope, referred back to his attempt to make a compromise with the Argentinian government back in 2010. Then, as Cardinal, he proposed civil unions as opposed to legalizing gay marriage to ensure that same-sex couples had the legal protections they needed.

          Pope Francis has been unequivocal in expressing the Catholic doctrine that marriage can only be between a man and woman. He has, though, continued to express how Catholics need to minister to people with same-sex attraction, not ostracize them or exclude them.

          I would also throw out a note that the criticism of Pope Francis as anti-capitalist tends to be very narrowly focused. Pope Francis has expressed, and most recently in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the right to private property, and what he strenuously condemns is any economic mentality that reduces the human person to an object only worth a certain dollar amount. This applies to both the socialist leanings and the ugly capitalism that will exploit people to yoke every dollar possible out of them. The Catholic Church has been consistent over the centuries that the universal dignity of mankind means that the goods of the world are at the disposal of all people. How those goods reach people is a matter of legitimate debate, but you can go all the way back to St. John Chrysostom who spoke of the obligation of the wealthy to take care of the poor. Or you can go to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke’s Gospel.

          • Thanks for this, Ryan. All I’d seen were the headlines, which I found to be real head scratchers.

            I still think he’s a garden variety South American Marxist, a la Che Guevara. Too bad Alizia’s MIA. She could give us the definitive answer on this.

            • And yes, I’m all for religions that encourage faith, hope and charity. I’m not for religions that encourage social justice. To me, it’s a pretty bright line.

              • I’m not a fan of Pope Frances myself. Most of what he says and does falls within Catholic orthodoxy, but the fact that so much of what he says has to be explained is a problem. This may sound oddly familiar, but a world leader shoots himself in the foot when so much of what he says is off-the-cuff and easily misinterpreted. It has been a chronic problem with Pope Frances that liberals and conservatives both have taken his words out of context and used that prove “Pope Frances is changing doctrine!”, which is applauded by liberals and condemned by conservatives, and simply isn’t the case, period.

                Can I inquire about your aversion to encouraging social justice? Is it the distortions to social justice that some have promoted?

          • Ryan, you mentioned something there, about “any economic mentality that reduces the human person to an object only worth a certain dollar amount.”

            That spiked my curiosity about the prevalent thinking in various faith groups: Which groups have what prevalent views about the concept and practice of life insurance? In my group, the subject does not seem to involve much debate or contention. But I don’t know.

            Discussing the “news” about the Pope this morning, wife and I nodded to each other; I believe we were in agreement that the appearance is that the Catholic church is “dumbing-down” or “secularizing” or “microsurgically clarifying” the Gospel Of Jesus. Either way, done or not done, “microaggresses.”

            But of course, that is “historic,” “unprecedented,” “radical,” “fundamental” change, in Newspeak.

            • Which groups have what prevalent views about the concept and practice of life insurance?

              I honestly don’t know what the Catholic Church has or has not taught in an official capacity regarding life insurance. Life insurance would, I think, fall under prudence and charity. We know we will one day die; we don’t know when that will be. Tomorrow is never guaranteed to us. If we have dependents, having some form of care for them were we to unexpectedly shuffle off this mortal coil is a measure of expressing love for them.

              But, given that one of the Catholic Church’s lauded groups, the Knights of Columbus, have as their central focus providing life insurance plans to their members, I think I can confidently say the Catholic Church looks positively on life insurance.

              I believe we were in agreement that the appearance is that the Catholic church is “dumbing-down” or “secularizing” or “microsurgically clarifying” the Gospel Of Jesus.

              The way it is being spun, I would agree that’s the appearance people on either side are trying to convey. However, as I’ve looked a little more into the issue, the question of providing legal rights to households regardless of the arrangement has been bandied for a while, and it doesn’t have to be limited to people in a sexual relationship. I’m not very well versed in the legalities of various situations, but some people argue that there are impediments to visitation at hospitals, inheritance, and a number of other issues that apply not just to same-sex couples in a sexual relationship, but also to situations like where two women live together in a platonic relationship, one caring for and supporting the other. Since you can argue for legal protections for households where the housemates are not married and not in a sexual relationship, then a sexual relationship is not intrinsic to the reason to extend legal protections through a civil union to same-sex couples.

              There’s a lot that apparently needs considered in this topic, and I think any nuances in the debate are lost in the public furor. After all, who has time for nuance?

    • Marriage is interesting. I’ve talked about it with my partner, and we’ve both agreed that we don’t really care…. A civic option would have been more than sufficient for us.

      The problem, as I understand it, is twofold…

      First off: The romanticization of marriage, and the American ethos of it, almost entirely excludes religious iconography. Your experience during the ceremony will invariably diverge from the stories about it. Do your friends talk about the riveting sermon the priest gave at their weddings, or do they talk about how beautiful the bride looked in her dress? Gay people aren’t getting married to reform the church, they want in on the dream.

      Second, America has never been particularly good at actually separating church from state. If you want to argue that marriage is exclusively a religious ceremony, then you’ll have to explain to me why the state has special rules when it comes to things like taxation or other benefits of law for married couples.

      I don’t know where that leaves us, but I think the Pope’s suggestion might have had more merit and meaning 50 years ago than it does now.

      • You’re most likely correct on that last part, HT. One of the fascinating aspects of working that case was the fact that supporters wanted no part of civil unions – they wanted nothing less than marriage, BECAUSE of the symbolism – not that of the ceremony, but the symbolism of marriage itself as a form of recognition in society. How can one not respect that desire, especially when a legally recognized marriage confers a societal acceptance that was denied for far too long?

        But there’s another aspect of this that I can also respect: western societies have made marriage a fundamental institution for quite some time, because it serves a valuable societal purpose: providing a measure of stability and economic security for children. Traditional marriage has been viewed as the best way to provide a successful start for the next generations.

        That’s been the rationale for the tax breaks, etc. One could certainly argue, as does Jack, that civil unions aren’t something the Pope has any reason to weigh in on (I’m not convinced, but I’ve drifted this thread enough already). One can also argue that as our society has drifted away from the traditional model – two hetero parents, one household, with kids – into other models (such as single-parent households by choice, carelessness or divorce, or couples who marry with no intention of raising kids) that model has drifted towards becoming obsolete (and to keep things simple, I’ll note that there are same-sex couples who raise splendid kids).

        If we look at the well-documented studies showing that kids from single-parent households have a higher likelihood of drug abuse, criminal activity, suicidal ideation and other problems, I think there remains enough merit to that stability-for-kids idea that if same-sex or childless-by-choice couples manage to snag a few tax breaks along with the societal acceptance, it’s still well worth it. This is certainly not to say that the reason we see those issues among kids from single-parent households is related to tax breaks – that would be a ludicrous argument. But within reason, helping kids get a solid start is still a reasonable societal goal, as I see it.

      • Thanks HT. I always thought civil union was a great solution. I felt the proponents of gay marriage really wanted to shove gay marriage down the heteronormative (Hah!) culture’s throat just because they thought they could. Civil unions would have been a hell of a lot less contentious.

        • But personally, I’m over it. Gay marriage is fine by me. Probably the most devoted to his spouse married person I know is my piano teacher (a gay guy) who’s married to a now demented older guy. It’s the most amazing relationship I’ve ever seen. True devotion and caring. Ironically, the other gay married couples I knew who got married (four or five in total) are all now long since divorced.

          (Crackpot theory alert: I still think gay marriage was pushed largely by the gay sector of the family law bar to generate lots more divorce work.)

          • For about half a year up here in Canada, the Liberals passed legislation that amended the law to allow for gay marriage, but they’d forgotten to amend the laws that allowed for divorce, so gay married couples were forced (at least for the first 6 months) to live out their wedded bliss. This was actually a bigger issue than you might think, because a not-insignificant number of people got married with the intent of getting immediately divorced, as some kind of quasi-activist thing, just because they could and they thought it would annoy the right people. Condign justice!

    • Beauty, eh?

      I also love the cleaned up, in a coat and tie, clean shaven, short haircut photo of dear Hunter that’s been sent out by the DNC for all media to include in their stories not about Hunter and his dad. Obviously intended to to show him alert, shaven and not with a crack pipe in his mouth.

  3. I find striking parallels between Cooper’s action at the end of High Noon, and the status of policemen today. When the people whom you are sworn to protect cease to back him or her and refuse to help, why should that policeman or policewoman remain loyal. Other than the outward display of disgust on Cooper’s face, how is this really any different for the number of police officers who have resigned or retired this year?

    • I fixed your potentially Toobin-level embarrassing error of mixing up Gary Cooper and Cary Grant, who wouldn’t have been caught dead in a Western. You’re welcome.

      For the love of god.., man!

      • Cary Grant in a western would have been worth the price of admission. It would have been an instant camp classic and won every Academy Award available. Certainly he would have won best actor. Can you imagine him strolling around in one of his Saville Row suits and elegant shoes and perfect hair on a dusty street, or strolling into a bar? Was he still alive and working when they shot “Blazing Saddles?”

  4. Forget that image you saw, the official press account describes this picture as a photo of “Hunter, with drug paraphernalia nearby.”

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