Halloween Ethics Shocks, 10/31/2020: Boo!

1. There is absolutely no good reason to kill Halloween this year because of the Wuhan virus, but that appears to be what the fear-mongered flock is going to do. Children as well should know by now, are at about as much risk from this virus as any other, everyone is wearing masks anyway, and how hard is it to find ways to drop candy in bags?

Mark this down as one more little joy young lives are losing out on due to a) adult hysteria and b) partisan scaremanship. We never get many Trick-or-Treaters anyway, but I hereby announce that any costumed kids that drop by 2707 Westminster Place in Alexandria, Virginia will receive extra-generous treats for their spirit of adventure.

2. Not that they haven’t been trying to scare kids out of the tradition long before thisHere, for example, is an article that gratuitously warns us that “marijuana edibles” can look a lot like candy, so parents should be extra vigilant—never mind that pot treats are about ten times more expensive than candy, and the likelihood of any stoners slipping those into the TOT bags instead of peanut butter cups are about the same as the odd of my voting for Joe Biden next week. Poisoned Halloween candy is a hoary urban legend: there are no recorded cases of its, except the monstrous father who poisoned his own son’s Halloween haul to collect on an insurance policy. (That doesn’t count.)

3. And now for something completely non-Halloween:  In Montana, a Flathead County District Court judge granted a petition filed by lakeshore property owners to formalize the lake’s name change to Lost Loon Lake from Lost Coon Lake. It is argued that the name “contains a racist slur for African-Americans.” I would normally argue that this is more “niggardly principle” hypersensitivity, as  “coon” is a perfectly common and acceptable word for a variety of wildlife, and the presumption that the name is a racial slur is like banishing Uncle Ben. However, since the record shows that Lost Coon Lake was adopted after the older name of  Nigger Lake was deemed too offensive, I withdraw my objection.

I do, however object to the fact that news reports wouldn’t print the former name of the lake that caused all this trouble,even though that detail is essential to the story. What was it, “Hunter’s Laptop Lake”?  I refuse to believe any lake was named “N-word Lake.”

Meanwhile, activists for the mentally ill are mounting a challenge to the new name.

Kidding.

Maybe.

4. Here’s a Halloween ethics movie to watch, if you haven’t already: Joss Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods.” It has all of the horror-with-ironic-humor flavor that fans of Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” TV series cherished, plus a climax that may win the award for the most impenetrable ethics conflict ever: a moment when what may the ethical choice in an existential ethics conflict shatters The Golden Rule, Absolutism, and utilitarianism. There’s not much more that I can say about the film without wrecking it for you—I will just say that it starts out as the typical “Horny teens go to an isolated spot for a weekend of drugs and sex that goes horrible wrong” genre D-movie, and spins off into satire, parody, science fiction, horror of course, and social commentary. With ethics! Especially the Ethics Incompleteness Principle.

5. Be very afraid. Last presidential elect, the New York Times can right out and said, late in the campaign, that it would be deliberately favoring the Democratic candidate in its coverage. This time, they are just doing it, and so shamelessly that any reader who isn’t offended and alarms is too Trump Deranged to matter. I have kept most of October’s editions. Nearly everyone contains on the front page a negative article about Trump’s past, as if he were running for a first term. Today it was “How Trump Gained a Real Estate Windfall,” which sounds sinister, but which is really about how nearly 30 years ago, he lobbied Congress to keep some favorable tax provisions in the law. The Times has almost the same front-page headline back on October 10: “Low on Cash on ’16, Trump Generated his Own Windfall.”

As for the Democratic ticket, the Times business section informs us that Kamala Harris is “pragmatic moderate” in her approach to corporations. In the Arts section, the main article is about what a wonderful patron of the arts Joe Biden is. (Translation: he has pushed bills that gives taxpayer funds to arts organizations.) Trump, the article explains, mostly regards the world of culture as the habitat of effete liberalism. (Which, you know, it is.) Did you know one of Joe’s favorite writers is James Joyce? (Do you believe that?) This would explain his use of language of late. Might he have been quoting “Finnegan’s Wake” when Biden said yesterday,  “I’ll lead an effective strategy to mobilize trunalimunumaprzure!

In case you are wondering, the only mention of the Hunter Biden emails, and the mounting evidence that Biden supported and was a party to his son’s profitable influence peddling in China and the Ukraine in today’s paper was this: almost nothing.! No mention of the detailed allegations of Biden associate Tony Bobulinski.

In one article today, about Joe Biden’s anguish over poor Hunter’s misspent life being “weaponized” against him and how this must be affecting his son, we are told that “some of the attacks are unfounded.” In another potpourri article, one section  alludes to the recent allegations relating to Hunter as an “unsubstantiated report” based on “unverified information” without revealing anything else. It also says the story hasn’t t “broken through,” apparently an example of the Times patting itself on its metaphorical back.

The New York Times publishes this in the same week we learned that the Times op-ed it claimed to have “substantiated” as an anonymous whistle-toot from a “senior administration official” was nothing of the kind.

The Times claims to be the nation’s paper of record, and if Joe Biden succeeds in winning the election, the Times will have decisively established itself his government’s Pravda.

Again, freedom and democracy-loving progressives should fear that as much as conservatives.

They don’t.

6. (Cont.) Here is Mollie Hemingway’s essay, Yes, Media Are Rigging The Election Against Half The Country. Here’s How.

I rate it as fair and accurate, and I rate those who would dismiss it as a partisan conspiracy theory as conspirators themselves, or dupes.

19 thoughts on “Halloween Ethics Shocks, 10/31/2020: Boo!

  1. SPOILER ALERT! I had to restrain myself from putting my favorite exchange in “Cabin in the Woods” in the post:

    “I’m so sorry I almost shot you. I probably wouldn’t have.”
    “I totally get it. I’m sorry I let you get attacked by a werewolf and then ended the world.”

  2. We have changed up our routine this Halloween for two reasons: 1) we don’t know how many we will get (last year was just shy of 60) and 2) we don’t know how many houses in the neighborhood are going to be offering candy.

    So, we planned to do a candy scavenger hunt indoors this year, and a neighbor has also invited the kids to do a scavenger hunt in their yard in a few hours.

    Jack already has his dinosaur costume on.

    -Jut

  3. Regarding Number 3, every few years or so, it seems, there is similar hand-wringing over the City of Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

    -Jut

  4. #1 – I suspect there is a strong correlation between those with a light on and handing out candy and those that are casting a vote for Trump.

  5. 1. This morning, we washed our hands thoroughly, put on plastic gloves and sorted two mega-bags of mini chocolate bars into individual sandwich bags. We have a six-foot table we are setting up with us at one end and the candy at the other. The kids will be able to walk up with a six-foot separation between us and them and grab their candy without reaching into a communal bowl. My husband wasn’t sure we would be able to do Halloween this year, but I argued that they’ve had so much taken away from them this year – friends at school, parties, vacations, sports, summer camp and even movies – that there’s no reason to stop them from running around outside wearing masks and getting free candy. My sister knows someone who’s rigged up a PVC pipe-chute that he’s going to slide the candy down to the kids. This CAN be done safely if you use your imagination.

    5. This is why it is important that they be taught that their power to influence is limited. Trump must win the election and not by a small margin. A vote for anyone else, even a write-in candidate is a vote for Joe Biden.

    I wonder if Mirriam-Webster will create a mock entry for “trunalimunumaprzure” the same way it did “covfefe”?

    • We’re out in the country this weekend, where kids don’t come around anyway.

      I’m afraid, at least going by the polls and the mainstream media, which I’m sure is going to hit with a negative bombshell today or tomorrow, that you are likely to be disappointed. I count six headlines just on msn that say don’t expect a repeat of 2016, the numbers just aren’t there.

  6. 5. Wow. Watching Joe trying to read his teleprompter reminded me of being in second grade when we’d take turns reading from our readers aloud. I’m not sure “true international pressure” would have been in a second grade reader, but I’m sure we’d have given it as brave, and non-comprehending a go as Joe did. Yikes.

  7. There’s another version of this done from ‘At Last! The 1948 Show’ with one of the cast members in blackface. Probably why I can’t find it, but many of the other episodes of this show are up…

  8. 3: Will someone tell Biden that he now has a lake named after him?

    1: Halloween operating fairly normal here (north of Atlanta), with a bit of distancing and packaging adjustments. Seems like fewer kids out, though.

  9. Just got back from taking the kids out. In the neighborhoods we visited, maybe 1 in 3 houses was lit up, and other groups of trick or treaters were few and far between. However, that meant the houses we did visit were extremely generous with the candy. My poor son almost filled his pillowcase. It was good to see them sprinting from house to house, even if the night was occasionally punctuated by a mother’s cry of “six feet! Six feet, kids!” Id say those who participated had a grand holiday this year, and everyone else missed out.

  10. #4 I feel so alone in not being fond of “Cabin in the Woods”. I thought the movie was kind of high on its own farts; that it was smugly “deconstructing” tropes that hadn’t been relevant in decades; and that its thesis was insulting to horror creators and audiences alike. Ir was probably also the point when Joss Whedon’s philosophical schtick started getting old for me. That humanist few vs. many dilemma shows up in a lot of his stuff and he’s never really seemed to develop it much.

    On the other hand it could just be me, it’s been a while since I saw it, and I appreciate why people like the monster battle so much.

  11. Love the video … but that’s not the original Monster Mash recording. It’s a cover — beat slower, the Karloff impression not quite as good.

    Nice visuals, though.

  12. Well, we had about 50 kids this year (about average). That isn’t bad considering the coronavirus scare the local news put out (Your Trick-or-Treating Children Could Bring Coronavirus Home And Kill Grandma) and the fact that we had been without electricity for 5 days due to an ice-storm. It is harder for the kids to figure out where to go when there are no porchlights. We gave our generous amounts of candy for the children. As I expected, I saw no one with a mask on unless it was part of the costume, no was was hesitant to come get candy, no one seemed afraid of anyone or anything. It was Halloween. I noticed that despite the media admonishments to cancel Halloween, the churches still had their ‘trunk or treats’, the city still had its 2 big community trick-or-treating events, and all were well attended by the enthusiastic, sugar-high children you would expect.

    We finally got power back last night after 6 days. Some people won’t get power back for another week (about 10% of the town is without power still). I still expect the election to go off without a hitch here.

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