First Snowfall Ethics Accumulation, 12/16/2020 [Corrected]

For the record, I believe that Dean Martin’s is the definitive version of this holiday favorite. It’s the perfect vehicle for his inimitable style, which always makes me smile. I miss Dean; indeed I miss all of the great singers whose Christmas offerings come up on the Sirius-XM “Christmas Traditions” channel, because they are all dead, every one of them. In one short trip, I heard Bing, Dean, Rosemary Clooney, Burl Ives, Nat King Cole, and Karen Carpenter. All gone. Christmas songs shouldn’t make you sad.

1. No, “doctor” doesn’t mean “teacher.” The disingenuous nonsense defenders of Jill Biden and anyone else who insists of being called “Dr.” because they have a doctorate is stunning, and the hypocrisy is hilarious. When the pompous one was a Trump White House aide, the biased media mocked him. Now that the insecure title-wielder is a Democrat, the rules are different. Got it.

One particularly off-base defender of the non-medical “Dr.” in the comments writes, “Doctor means teacher.” No, it obviously doesn’t, or all teachers would be called “doctor.” My best high school teacher, Miss Rounds, who taught Latin, actually had a PhD but never asked her students to call her “Dr.,” because, you see, that would be stupid. Funny: none of the lists of synonyms for “doctor” include “teacher,” and none of the lists of synonyms for “teacher” include “doctor.”

But mirable dictu! The embarrassingly Orwellian Miriam Webster Dictionary, as it showed in this episode, has as its #1 general definition of “doctor” is “a learned or authoritative teacher.” I thought it had changed the definition to cover for Jill, just as it had changed a definition to follow the Democratic narrative in October (and as did this very month). But no, Commenter Phlinn found that Miriam Webster has its outlier definition at least since January, hence this correction.

Now, if only on-line dictionaries were trustworthy and didn’t pull their partisan games, I wouldn’t suspect them. But they do, I am, and I am not wrong to be.

2. Re: The Parkland shooting, a law vs. ethics lesson. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta ruled last week that 15 survivors of the 2018 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, cannot sue school officials and law enforcement for failing to protect them in a December. 11 opinion. The suit had alleged that the response to the shooting was so incompetent that it violated the students’ constitutional rights.

You will recall the school security officer cringing outside as shots were being fired. The suit claimed that the security guard allowed alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz to enter the school before the shooting began, despite recognizing him as potentially dangerous. The suit also said the police officer in charge of school security did not enter the building to try to stop the shooting, allowing Cruz to murder 17 people while injuring 17 others.

The 11th Circuit ruled that the students couldn’t sue because they weren’t in the custodial care of the defendants as defined in cases of incarceration or other involuntary confinement. The presence of armed school-safety officers on the grounds, “whether by itself or in combination with truancy and compulsory attendance laws, does not restrain students’ freedom to act in a way that is comparable to incarceration or institutional confinement,” the appeals court said. When there is no custodial relationship, conduct by a public official doesn’t rise to the level of a substantive due process violation unless the act is arbitrary or “shocks the conscience.” Because the Parkland shooting “called for split-second judgments,”an official’s conduct doesn’t shock the conscience unless it stems from a “purpose to cause harm.”

3. Why is Cleveland dumping its “Indians” nickname? This isn’t a case like the Washington Redskins, currently without a name, which were saddled with an admittedly problematical moniker though neither Native Americans nor football fans seemed to mind it. But as David Marcus points out at The Federalist,

“The term “Indian” to indicate a Native American is not even remotely racist. Just to cite just one example, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is named what it is named precisely because American Indian is the term preferred by many Native Americans.”

In fact, the only reason to change the Cleveland baseball team’s name is to capitulate to progressive bullying that stems from a need to project its power. American sports team names honor the characteristics of what the name refers to, and yes, that even applied to the Redskins. This is all about groveling and virtue signaling, but ironically, the ultimate losers will be Indians, or, if you prefer, Native Americans. Writes Marcus, correctly,

“If we have now reached the point where the word “Indians” cannot appear on a baseball jersey, then clearly everyone from teachers to content creators will have to tread very carefully in engaging the subject. The upshot may very well be that many people don’t think its worth the risk, and just avoid the subject…at its best, the example of the American Indian has imbued the American psyche with a respect for this land that is unique in the Western world. That is a legacy that we should continue to cherish and we can’t do that if people are afraid to even utter the word “Indian.”

Ultimately this is always the problem with the concept of cultural appropriation. When told often enough that one is misusing or should not be engaging with aspects of a culture many inevitably throw up their hands and just say, “Fine, then I’ll ignore it.” In this particular case that would be a terrible result for the very concept of what being an American is.

This decision by the brass of Cleveland’s ball club does the country a great disservice….Now they will have to settle on a new name, one that causes no controversy, one that embraces our new culturally segregated reality.

He concludes, “I’m sure the search for a new name will be exhaustive and exhausting, but I’ll throw out an idea. The Cleveland Cowards has a nice and truthful ring to it.”


4. Well, that’s the end of THAT skull…The University of Texas at Austin J-School announced The Dan Rather Medal for News & Guts. No, I wouldn’t kid you; it really did.

Rather Medal

Well to be fair, I guess it takes a lot of guts to use fabricated evidence and a forged document to try to influence a Presidential election when you are a supposedly trustworthy news anchor.

5. Annnnd there goes what was left of that skull: San Francisco Unified School District will be renaming the Abraham Lincoln High School, because, you see, Lincoln “did not demonstrate that ‘black lives mattered to him.’ These are the people who are teaching our children. If you let them, you will deserve what you get.

I would move out of the state rather than allow my child to be taught be people that ignorant and politically warped.

29 thoughts on “First Snowfall Ethics Accumulation, 12/16/2020 [Corrected]

  1. 3. Call them “The Wasps”, if it’s offensive and it’s ok to offend white people…

    4. Best explanation for the thing came from someone I know who’s brain was mush even before the next-to-last election: “What the document alleged is true, but someone fed Rather an obviously forged document to discredit him.”

    5. I have a suggestion for the new name. You see, there was this obscure actor from the Civil War era…

  2. 5) My wife was born in China in 1961 and lived through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution under Mao Zedong. She has said many times this year that these types of events remind her of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She’s a lot more worried about where the US is headed than most US citizens it seems.

    1) Since, I’m here – My wife also has a PhD in physical chemistry and I’ve never heard anyone call her Dr. and she has never used that title since I’ve known her. There’s no “Dr.” in front of her name on her personal checks or her business card for that matter. She’s a research scientist and goes by her first name with everyone.

  3. 1. As I read this segment, I was musing ruefully, “I wonder when Mirriam-Webster will change the definition of doctor?”.
    4. “News and Guts”, huh? Who came up with that name? A third grader?
    5. I would love to know what sainted individual will be deemed worthy enough to replace Abraham Lincoln? We should be afraid.

  4. My suggestion is that Cleveland’s baseball team simply adopt the Indian subcontinent as their mascot, and continue to use the name. That would be the greatest act of trolling that is humanly possible, I think.

  5. 1. How does Miriam Webster rationalize the issues in point 5. How are all these people deemed “authoritative”

    Jill Bowden’s dissertation was on student retention in community colleges. No one except community college personnel care about such matters so the only people seeking her authoritative credentials are those in academia. They can call her doctor while they gaze at their navels in their ivory tower.

  6. “My best high school teacher, Miss Rounds, who taught Latin…” – Jack Marshall
    “In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college.” – Joe Sobran
    It seems it’s even less than 100 years. Quia ego amare Americae.

    • Poor Miss Rounds. I hated Latin, and she loved it, dedicating her life to keeping it alive in high school. I goofed off and scraped by, having to take advanced Latin to keep my record of only taking AP (AT in Arlington) classes in everything, and to be able to skip mandatory language courses at the colleges I was seeking by having 4 years of Latin and getting at least a 550 on the Language Achievement Test.

      When I scored almost 700, Miss Rounds called me to her office and excoriated me. “You had the ability to do well in my class, and you just didn’t bother. Your whole conduct the last two years was a direct insult to me personally, and showed you don’t think my life’s passion matters.”

      • Would you do it differently if you could? In life, regrets are both large and small; is your Latin experience a regret at all, not due to insulting Miss Rounds by your conduct perhaps, but for any reason?
        I’m curious because of a similar situation I had with French, which resulted in a teacher comment that has stayed with me: “Joe seems to do well in French WITHOUT MAKING ANY EFFORT AT ALL.” (Emphasis not added by me.) I thought that was pretty cool, at the time. Some years later I found myself in a business situation with French people…ah, oops.

  7. Re: No. 1; Teachers are Doctors.

    Thanks, Merriam. I needed a fresher to keep up with social movements. I do note, though, that in definition No. 2, it does not say that “doctor” also means “to teach.” Keep up, Merriam.

    Re: No. 3; Indians ain’t Indians no more.

    If their logic holds, then Indian motorcycles will change their name to “The Motor Cycle Formerly known by a Racial Epithet.” Nice. Keep up, Merriam. You’re lagging behind.

    Re: No. 4; Rather Dan.

    I attended and graduated from South Texas College of Law in downtown Houston in 1990. As luck would have it, Dan Rather attended the same law school before he got a call from the networks to move to Washington, DC, which meant he had to abandon his love of the law in pursuit of fame and fortune, thereby not graduating from the school. Because it was an anniversary year of the school, which one escapes me, they asked prominent alumni to speak but settled for Dan Rather. My parents attended the graduation and were excited to see a famous news guy up give the commencement address.

    Dan can give a good speech. He extemporaneized (sp?) for about 45 minutes, telling tales of mystery and imagination, chasing down the lede, and fighting to spare democracy from the snares of darkness. Cool stories. Yet, he gave all of us sound life advice: apparently, you had not had to go to law school for 3 or 4 years, destroy what was left of your tenuous grasp on reality and incur a mountain of debt to be successful. He said lots of successful people were not lawyers. Hell, he said, “take a look at me! I don’t have a law degree but I make tons of money reading cool stories into a television camera every night and every once in a while, I do a special thingy or two and they pay me even more. And do you watch me on election nights? I am quick with a deep Texas witticism and can quip with the best of them, usually on the spot. Yeah, that’s right, suckers. I don’t owe a dime in student loan debt, I am rich beyond your wildest dreams, and my nerves aren’t shot because I have to worry about some stupid filing deadline. My statute of limitations ends with my bank account. ‘So long and thanks for all the fish!'”

    My father was amused; my mother, though, a teacher (though not a doctor) that she was, thought he was rude, arrogant, and insulting. And she told him so, right to his face at the fawning reception the school gave him for his pearls of wisdom. My mother did not suffer fools lightly.

    Re: No. 5; San Francisco Kills Off Abe.

    It appears that Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s neck is on the Chopping Block. First, there is the nagging question about her mental acuity. Granted.. But, she’s still a sitting senator, so she can tell them to bugger off. I didn’t think this through, though. See. Harris is going to the first Jamaican Indian American President (yeah, I know; I give Biden a year), so that leaves a vacant California Senate seat open and Gavin Newsom has to appoint someone to fill her spot.

    According to Erika D. Smith at the LA Times, that seat belongs to an African American woman. But, Latinos want a seat at the table, too, because, hell, they are far more numerous in California and helped keep the state blue. So, Newsom is in a pickle. If he appoints an AAW, then Hispanics are going to be pissed, but if he appoints a Hispanic, then AAW and Alphabet Groups are going to explode, especially considering that Biden is appointing a bunch of California democrat power brokers to the new Harris Presidency/Cabinet and sub-cabinet positions. The intrepid Ms. Smith thinks Feinstein should resign to save the party and prevent bloodshed. And, Californians are mad at her anyway because Trump was able to appoint three justices that rightfully should have been Hillary’s choices. Check out this article if you don’t believe me:

    Oh, and San Franciscans think Feinstein’s name should be yanked off a local elementary school, too. It’s true. According to the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee, “on a local level Dianne Feinstein chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice and inhumanity towards Black and Indigenous people at the City Hall. She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of Black, First Nations and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far.”

    Reread that second to last sentence. It is amazing. It comes from Jeremiah Jeffries, the man in charge of school renaming, whose Nation of Islam parents inspired him. I wonder how Merriam will definie “upliftment”. The Dr. Rev. and Most Highly Esteemed Jesse Jackson would approve.


  8. If the Merriam-Webster dictionary has only just added that to their definition, then they’re centuries behind. In the Catholic church there have been Doctors of the Church (Latin doctor “teacher”) for hundreds of years. “They are also referred to as Doctor of the Universal Church (Latin: Doctor Ecclesiae Universalis), a title given by the Catholic Church to saints recognized as having made a significant contribution to theology or doctrine through their research, study, or writing.” [text is borrowed from Wikipedia] So this would comport with the general idea behind Merriam-Webster’s addition(?), but only in a very narrow usage of the term, and in modern usage conflating it to include “educators” makes no sense at all. So in every other respect you are entirely correct with your analysis.

    • The Church definition is listed first as “Religious” rather than general. I learned about that in “The Pirates of Penzance”: “the doctor of divinity who resides in this vicinity.” It’s wholly archaic. Why do you find this relevant?

  9. Re #1 I would never ALLOW, let alone DEMAND that, any of my clients call me Doctor before I retired. I am, or was, a Psychologist, not a doctor. To be honest, I generally call my array of M.D.’s “Doc”. It’s just from laziness.

    Re #3: So called “Native American’s” are no more native to this continent than I am. The only claim I have to that moniker is that I was born in Texas.

  10. 3)I have a suggestion for the Cleveland Baseball Team. Since they obviously would like to honor people of color, they can adopt a nickname that would touch two of those bases at once. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

    The Cleveland Black and Tans!

    What’s not to like?

  11. 3. Ugh. What is the deal with certain white progressives having to poop on anything they deem as offensive? Living in a town full of Indians, I can definitely say, that’s the term they/we use. In my family we actually collect items that none of us deem problematic. I have a Braves shot glass. My brother in-law has everything from Land ‘o Lakes gear to Redskins clothing.

    Let me answer my own question. As Matthew Crawford noted recently in an Unherd article:

    “The white bourgeoisie became invested in a political drama in which their own moral standing depends on black people remaining permanently aggrieved.”

    Transfer this to any group they wish to identify as “needing their help” including natives/Indians, and it’s game on. Poor natives surely are as offended as white progressives by a sports team name right? So it’s woke elite whites job to make sure everyone, including those they claim to speak for, are as miserable as they are.

    The other day I saw a white woman with uber progressive bonafides chide other whites for buying white sage. Apparently there’s a shortage and it’s up to her to save us…I mean the sage. I can’t think of anything more condescending and self-promoting as this woman’s assertion.

    Quite frankly, as this point, it’s up to minority groups to tell these people to shut up and stop seeking salvation and prestige from “advocating” for them. But let’s be honest, for some minorities, if there’s money and a chance at fleeting popularity, they’ll let these morally superior folks get away with this crap. And that too is a part problem.

      • On the other hand, if you look at, it has the regular definition of doctor as its primary definition. It has several other references, including one from angling before number 7, in all its glory “an eminent scholar and teacher.”

        By the way, I wonder if the WSJ’s news pages conform to the usage of its editorial section, where it reserves the title to physicians. We’ll see.

  12. 3. Call the team the Cleveland Whites. Nice contrast to the Browns, and not a single Caucasian has ever objected to my University of Northern Colorado “Fighting Whities” tee shirt.

  13. You have to wonder if the Cleveland people spoke with any actual Indians at all before making their decision, or just set a course to pander to the woke, no matter what. FWIW, the tribe nearest us officially call themselves the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

  14. #5: Well, a sentence in Lincoln’s 1862 letter to Horace Greeley is certainly more than enough to get him cancelled these days: “If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

  15. #1 I think they’ve got it right in Japan where the honorific “sensei” is used to address and name your teachers from kindergarten through your post grad and professional courses. Of course, you express your respect for your master of martial arts with the same word. And the doctor you are obeying when you bend over and cough, plus your dance instructor or the person who teaches you how to arrange flowers or serve tea. You defer to your seniors with “sensei” and … oops, I almost forgot …. politicians and lawyers, too.

    Your preference for “Dr.”, ma;am, marks you as “Biden 馬鹿” [baku], instead.

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