Daybreak Ethics Warm-Up,12/4/2020: An Ancient Judge, A Non-Binary Actor, An Idiotic Team, An Icky Teacher, And An Absurd Columnist Walk Into An Ethics Bar…

1. Political, not logical, honest or competent…Actress Ellen Page, 33, best known for her performance as the pregnant teen in “Juno,” announced this week that she was “non-binary” trans. “My pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life,” she wrote. Immediately, Netflix began changing Ellen Page’s name to Elliot in the credits all Netflix movies and series she had participated in. Now, for example, the IMDb page for the Netflix original series “The Umbrella Academy” says Elliot Page was in the cast. This is being called an “update.” It isn’t an update. It’s a lie, and airbrushing history.

When Al Hedison starred as “The Fly” in the original horror movie, that’s who he was. Later, Al changed his name to David Hedison for some reason, and that was the actor we watched in “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” Irwin Allen’s wonderfully cheesy Sixties TV sci-fi series, and as one of the many Felix Leiters in the James Bond films. They didn’t change his credit on “The Fly.” Nor do you see the name Jack Palance in the credits as the evil gunslinger in “Shane” In that film, the actor we now know as Jack was going by “Walter.” And that’s who he was…then.

Identities are not retroactive. Actress Linda Day had a substantial career in television before she met and married actor Christopher George in 1970. Thereafter, she performed under the name of Linda Day George, but no one changed her credits on the shows she had previously performed in as Linda Day, because Christoper George was barely a twinkle in her eye then. This isn’t hard. Netflix is rushing to retroactively alter history not because doing so is accurate or true, but to demonstrate that the company is “woke,” and thus supporting Page as well as trans people everywhere. It’s virtue-signaling, and a particularly dumb and misleading version of it.

Oh, I should mention that Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner was not Caitlyn Jenner when he won his Gold medals in male events. Olympic records were not changed to claim a falsehood and an impossibility.

2. “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?” The New York Daily News reports that a Staten Island high school teacher, so far unnamed, was seen naked and masturbating during a Zoom conference this week.

Apparently he tried to invoke Rationalization #3, The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing,” pointing out that “Jeffrey Toobin did it!” (Kidding!)

As with Toobin, I don’t understand the thought process, if you could call it that, that could produce such conduct. I also don’t understand the various statements in the aftermath of the Staten Island incident as described in the story. It wasn’t clear if the teacher intentionally exposed himself or if the video call involved students, the Daily News noted. So what? The conduct is nuts and requires firing for cause either way. I suppose intentionally behaving like this on Zoom is a crime, or more likely, evidence of mental illness.

I also enjoyed the Captain Obvious aspect of the statement by the school:

“This extremely disturbing alleged behavior has absolutely no place in our schools and was immediately reported to the NYPD. The teacher was immediately reassigned away from students pending the outcome of an investigation.”

3. Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s idol! The country’s oldest sitting federal judge, Thomas Reavley of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Louisiana, has died at age 99. Of course he was sitting because he couldn’t stand up! HAR!

I hate to disrespect the dead, but it was wildly unethical and irresponsible for Reavley to be still hearing cases at his age, indeed at his age 20 years ago. The ABA Journal story quotes the judge’s former clerk and the Journal’s current columnist Bryan Garner as saying that the late jurist “had complete integrity…He was the epitome of what you would want a judge to be: knowledgeable, thorough, hardworking, fair and deeply compassionate.” How can anyone say he had integrity if he didn’t respect his profession, the law and the public sufficiently to retire? I know I want a judge to be knowledgeable, thorough, hardworking, fair and deeply compassionate, and not an age-diminished shadow of his former self.

4. Krugman being Krugman, the Times being the Times. There are several New York Times columnists I just can’t read any more without my head exploding. Prime among them is the disgraceful economist/blowhard Paul Krugman, who has used his inexplicable 2008 Nobel Prize to claim authority and hornswoggle gullible readers into believing his extreme partisan opinions and routine misrepresentations are trustworthy. He was in fine form last week, when he asked, in his most recent column, “How will Biden deal with Republican sabotage?”

When Joe Biden is inaugurated, he will immediately be confronted with an unprecedented challenge — and I don’t mean the pandemic, although Covid-19 will almost surely be killing thousands of Americans every day. I mean, instead, that he’ll be the first modern U.S. president trying to govern in the face of an opposition that refuses to accept his legitimacy. And no, Democrats never said Donald Trump was illegitimate, just that he was incompetent and dangerous.

This had heads exploding across the country. Not only did Democrats repeatedly say that Trump was illegitimate for all four years of his term, Krugman himself said so, and more than once. One industrious Twitter user assembled the evidence:

Kurgman caught

I get sick of writing this, but where are the editors? Surely everyone on the Times staff, unless they refuse to read this creep too, had to know that Krugman’s claim that no Democrats ever said Trump wasn’t a legitimate President is a Jumbo (“Elephant? What elephant?”) Why didn’t someone stop him? Was the paper trying to embed that false narrative? (I have had many, many Democrat-defending friends claim that there was no Democratic effort to sabotage President Trump or to tar him as illegitimate.) Wouldn’t such a statement immediately set off ethics alarms for anyone of any political persuasion who isn’t in a coma?

After all the hilarity ensued, the Times, as reported by “Sister Toldjah” at Red State, quietly changed Krugman’s words to “And no, Democrats by and large were not claiming Donald Trump was illegitimate, just that he was incompetent and dangerous.”

Oh yeah, that makes it fine. That new statement is also false. The only ethical remedy for Krugman’s column is to fire Krugman out of respect for readers

5. Why do we tolerate this? After not playing for nearly nine months, the United States women’s soccer team, in its first game since the George Floyd Freakout, began their game with the Netherlands’ national team by going onto the field wearing jackets reading “Black Lives Matter,” and then did Kaepernicks during the playing of the American national anthem. The team also released this fatuous statement:

We love our country, and it is a true honor to represent America. It is also our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms that our country was founded on extend to everyone. Today, we wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency. We protest against racial injustice and police brutality against Black people. We protest against the racist infrastructures that do not provide equal opportunity for Black and brown people to fulfill their dreams, including playing on this team. As the United States Women’s National team players, we collectively work toward a society where the American ideals are upheld, and Black lives are no longer systematically targeted.

Black Lives Matter.

Utter, irredeemable BS:

  • If you “love your country,” why are you embarrassing it on foreign soil?
  • No, it’s your duty to play soccer as well as you can. You are no diplomats or politicians, and if you want to shoot off your mouths, do it on your own time.
  • Our liberties and freedoms do extend to everyone, even when they abuse them—like the women’s soccer team.
  • Wearing Black Lives Matter “to affirm human decency” is a contradiction in terms. Black Lives Matter has participated in riots, encouraged attacks on police, and spread its own brand of racism. It distributes lies and propaganda, uses intimidation and extortion to further its political agenda.
  • There is no evidence that “racist infrastructures,” if there are any, have any effect on the composition of sports teams. Are our soccer players aware of the NBA? The NFL?
  • Claiming that black lives are “systematically targeted” is a flat-out lie.

The U.S. men’s soccer team, earlier this month, wore pre-game jackets with the words “Be the Change” emblazoned on the front and various messages on the back including, “Black Lives Matter,” “Be Anti-Racist,” and “Unity,” according to ESPN.

I don’t want ignorant, racist-sloganeering, anti-American fools representing me or my country abroad. Does anyone?


19 thoughts on “Daybreak Ethics Warm-Up,12/4/2020: An Ancient Judge, A Non-Binary Actor, An Idiotic Team, An Icky Teacher, And An Absurd Columnist Walk Into An Ethics Bar…

  1. 1. I have given this a lot of thought since the news came out, but I’m still not sure what to think. My reflexive responsive to the credits-changing was an eye roll — as you mentioned, retroactively changing someone’s acting credits seems intuitively wrong and to say that Elliot Page did x/y/z seems to be untrue.

    On the other hand, I think it’s a nice show of support. In addition, I’m sure it could be argued that Elliot always FELT he was Elliot and that it would be worse to not have him credited by his true identity. There’s still the whole technical untruth thing and the slippery slope thing, but in this case, I can see how the benefits at least balance the harms.

    If I consider the cases you cited, if the actors/actresses/athletes requested that their credits be retroactively changed, I don’t think I’d find it a big deal. Going in a different direction, even if Elliot or somebody else decided to change their name to or identify as something bizarre, I might roll my eyes harder, but I’d live and let live.

    It’s usually not a good sign when I need to do mental gymnastics like this, but how to deal transgenderism is still an open question in so many ways. I think this gets a pass from me…!

    • I’d imagine it causes Christian Bale a significant amount of emotional distress every time he thinks about being in Newsies.

      It’d be awfully supportive of Disney to agree to digitally wipe his presence from Newsies, don’t you think?

        • Gays are known to be late bloomers in terms of maturity.

          There is also so much pressure on lesbians who have any semblance of masculinity, to identify as male or non-binary today. And I’m sure Hollywood doesn’t help. I can’t tell you how often people ask if my wife goes by male pronouns. Worse, her parents gave her a boy’s name at birth so people get really confused.

          It wasn’t this way until the last four years or so. In LGBTQ+!?$ circles, being lesbian and female and a little butch is considered “uncool.” You’re either supposed to be trans or open to men who identify as lesbians. Many women you see detransitioning these days have come to understand and accept their sexual/romantic orientation after losing friends and overcoming social pressure (or body parts).

          The sad thing is that some don’t understand that butch/femme is as much an orientation as being gay. And as someone who can literally spot a butch in a room full of people, it’s sad to see them not get the honor they deserve for staying embodied in a time they are hated by the very rainbow mafia that claims to be “inclusive.”

  2. Did they change the credits, or just the name in the database? If you search “Ellen Page”, are there no longer credits under that name?

    • I took the challenge, Rich. Using IMDB’s advanced person search, there were no listings for Ellen Page, but there were for Elliot Page. Some of the credits that I saw had “(as Ellen Page)” to indicate the name in use at the time. IMDB also uses the annoying (to me) they and their when referring to one person.

  3. Many of Krugman’s ilk also denied the legitimacy of the election.

    After The Intercept published an anonymous, evidence-free document in June, 2017, allegedly sent by NSA employee Reality Winner, which led that site to claim that “Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials,” Tanden returned to pushing this bizarre conspiracy theory, demanding that I “retract” my post-election criticism of her for peddling this Russia-changed-the-votes madness — as if this NSA document published by The Intercept proved vote-changing hacking by Russia.

    This conspiracy-mongering led by Tanden and other prominent liberal activists had a corrosive effect on the ability of Democrats to perceive basic reality, to put that mildly. A 2018 poll from Economist/YouGov — conducted more than a year after Trump’s inauguration — found that a large majority of Democrats (66%) believe that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

    To quote the film Joker, Krugman and his ilk should get what they “fucking deserve”.

  4. 1. Ellen Page

    Jack said:

    Political, not logical, honest or competent…Actress Ellen Page, 33, best known for her performance as the pregnant teen in “Juno,” announced this week that she was “non-binary” trans. “My pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot…”

    Absolutely right, but:

    a. Hollywood has no choice but to do this. If they fail to do so, the trans/LBGTQZDERF/woke activists will cancel them for insensitivity to politically-correct speak.

    b. They will get around to changing Bruce Jenner’s references, or qualifying them. Just give them time.

    3. Old judge

    I guess this is just something we are going to have to live with. I agree, it can’t be ethical for a judge that has gone into his/her dotage with the concomitant loss of mental acuity to continue in the role, but alas, the precedent was set long ago and far away. I fear we will never be rid of it.

    Ethics aside, this has become a kind of tradition among judges in America — that is, the ability to, if desired, continue in the role until they drop dead. It is neither desirable, fair, or ethical but it is, at least, something that applies equally to all and hasn’t been yet subjected to partisan abuse.

    I’m tempted to make a “But there are worse things” rationalization, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll simply agree with the caveat that there seems to be no political will anywhere to change it. I suppose we’ll have to therefore live with it, but your objection is absolutely worthwhile. Who knows, maybe one day, somebody will listen?

    4. Krugman

    Jack said: I get sick of writing this, but where are the editors?

    They are in their office, nodding their heads as they read his column.

    5. Women’s soccer team

    Jack said: Why do we tolerate this?

    Because “There are worse things.” This needs to be moved up in the hierarchy of rationalizations — perhaps not to the level of the Golden Rationalization, but it is used arguably more frequently than any except the GR.

    Jack said: If you “love your country,” why are you embarrassing it on foreign soil?

    Because they know that foreigners, especially in developed countries, will embrace it.

    Also, it may embarrass you and me but it’s difficult to argue, since we just “elected” Biden, that it embarrasses the United States. I am confident the Biden administration, whenever it assumes power, will wholeheartedly agree. I think that the majority of the House would also agree, which leaves only the Senate in likely dissent. I’d argue that’s close enough.

    Jack said: Wearing Black Lives Matter “to affirm human decency” is a contradiction in terms.

    The counter to this is to separate the sentiment from the organization, but the problem even with that is the implicit argument that non-black lives matter less.

    Jack said: Claiming that black lives are “systematically targeted” is a flat-out lie.

    Yes, it is. It is also now Holy Writ in the catechism of the Woke Religion, and is a mandatory position of all sports teams who don’t want to be subjected to Leftist cancellation. Again, I expect most of the incoming US government would agree.

    Jack said: I don’t want ignorant, racist-sloganeering, anti-American fools representing me or my country abroad. Does anyone?

    Speaking only for myself, absolutely not. But alas.

  5. 1. At last report, my pronouns were vacationing in The Maldives.

    5. Okay girls. Why don’t you all resign your places on the team and let players of color take your respective places?

    • “My pronouns are ….” Whatever happened to the society I grew up in where people were expected to stop being silly and begin to act like full grown adults by the time they were twenty-one?

      • At this point, Bill, I’d be happy if we could set the cutoff at 40 and then work at lowering it. One sort of expects young adults to behave somewhat foolishly, but we have far too many people who are well into their golden years acting just as childishly these days. I wonder if this is what Rome felt like in its waning days…

  6. 1. Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold Thomas….remember when she just dropped the last names altogether and went by plain Roseanne? The examples are numerous. Tons of actors have had name changes, fake middle initials added and then dropped (heard the name Harrison J. Ford lately?) or just went wacky and declared their names to be symbols (ala Prince). Their names were never changed in IMDB credits, though there are a few, for clarification purposes, that use the above-mentioned “under the name” or “as”.

    2. I have video-conferencing capabilities on my work computer and I have never ever even accidentally appeared undressed or half-dressed on camera, though there is a clothes closet in the room where the computer is kept. This is not a hard thing to avoid doing. Any professional who appears on camera naked, especially a teacher, should be fired immediately. This is negligent behavior. It is a literal Naked Teacher Principle issue.

    3. I have nothing to add that you haven’t already written. Rather than parrot you, I’ll just comment, “Rawwwk, I agree!”

    4. Nothing new here. The Democrats continue their strategy of accusing the Republicans of doing everything the Democrats themselves are doing. It isn’t what it is, remember? Who are you going to believe – us when we tell you we don’t do those things and that Trump does or your own eyes?

    5. There is some evidence that we aren’t tolerating it. The ratings of sports programs aren’t super great right now, though, apropos of what I wrote in #4 above, the powers that be will deny that lower ratings during a pandemic when no one can actually attend live games aren’t because of political posturing at all. One thing about Americans – besides hating being told what to do, we also grow bored pretty quickly. Over time, Americans will get tired of this playacting on the field.

  7. 1. I think it’s a career move for E. Page. How dare anyone deny a professional actor opportunity to play diverse roles!

    3. But, but…what was Judge Reavley’s dying wish? That he draw his last breath in a courtroom? In a judge’s robe? Was there a provision in his will for a special bonus for the lucky lawyer to bang the gavel upon the judge’s death and exclaim: “Court is adjourned!”? Isn’t there an unwritten rule of courtroom procedure, somewhere, that says the first lawyer to control the gavel and bang it wins the case?

    4. It astounds me that ANYONE still reads even just one word of anything Krugman puts in op-ed pieces.

    • 4. Agreed. When one looks up “wild-eyed lunatic” in the dictionary, there’s Paul’s publicity shot next to the definition.

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