“The Great Gatsby‘s” 1925 copyright expired on January 1, 2021, and right on cue, Amazon announced that it was selling a now-legal prequel to that wildly over-praised F. Scott Fitzgerald novel called “Nick,” by Michael Ferris Smith: “A tumultuous origin story of one of the most famous and unforgettable literary narrators, Nick is a true cross-continental bildungsroman. This emotional novel successfully puts “The Great Gatsby” into an entirely new perspective and era: from the battlefields of World War I to the drunken streets of Paris and New Orleans. Dive back into the world of an unparalleled classic.”
It’s not unethical exactly, I guess it’s just pathetic. This author was waiting to scavenge someone else’s original work, and had his rip-off ready the second the bell tolled. The similarly creatively challenged among you now can repurpose and sell as your own books like Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time,” Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” (in German) Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” John Dos Passos’s “Manhattan Transfer,” and Sinclair Lewis’s “Arrowsmith” (a personal favorite) among others.
1. Nah, the Democrats aren’t turning into totalitarians! That’s going to be the most-used gaslighting reference here in the ordeal to come I fear, as foretold by this screed in the New Yorker (Pointer: Arthur in Maine) by John Cassidy. Its thesis is that there are legislative steps that can be taken to make sure no political outsider like Donald Trump will ever again defeat establishment hacks like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Among the steps to “Trump-proof” the Presidency: require all candidates to sell off any businesses they own (lifetime politicians don’t own businesses), force them to release their tax returns, try various end-arounds the Electoral College (none of which are constitutional, in my view), and adopt ranked-choice voting so third and fourth party candidates have no chance whatsoever (they do it in New Zealand, so it must be better than our system).
I’d take the time to fisk this thing, but it begins falling apart on its own like Captain Queeg on the witness stand about halfway through, descending into standard anti-Trump blather about “norms,” lies, and “verbal assaults on the media” (which thoroughly deserved them).
The author really exposes his bias when he cites Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as his ethics authority, a group that somehow only finds ethics violations in the Republican Party.
2. Senator Tom Cotton’s statement about why Congress mustn’t flip the election is unnecessary since even the Congress members voting against certification of the Electoral College tally know this is not going to happen, but it’s still worth reading:
“If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed [its] power, but also establish unwise precedents.First, Congress would take away the power to choose the president from the people, which would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress. Second, Congress would imperil the Electoral College, which gives small states like Arkansas a voice in presidential elections. Democrats could achieve their longstanding goal of eliminating the Electoral College in effect by refusing to count electoral votes in the future for a Republican president-elect. Third, Congress would take another big step toward federalizing election law, another longstanding Democratic priority that Republicans have consistently opposed. Thus, I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on January 6. I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection. But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term—it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.”
3. Oh, fine, another phone call for the AUC to lie about. The leaked phone call between President Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger does not show the President pressuring him to fraudulently “find” enough votes to flip the state into his column. You can’t read the the transcript —obviously the news media and Democrats assume you won’t bother—-and conclude that. The President clearly states that he believes the vote total as reported was wrong and fraudulent, and argues that it should be set right.
But “Trump pressures Georgia’s Raffensperger to overturn his defeat in extraordinary call” read the headline from the Washington Post. CNN called the recording “astonishing new evidence of a desperate President Donald Trump” trying to “steal the election.” Hilariously, some Democrats want to open an impeachment inquiry now, three weeks away from the Biden inauguration.
The call wasn’t astonishing at all. It was foolish, especially since the President should know that anything he says will be leaked by somebody. It was desperate, because Trump is Trump, and won’t ever stop fighting even after the last dog dies. He has no authority over Raffensperger, and lawyers for the President and for the Georgia state official were on the call. This wasn’t some sinister secret plot, just the President of the United States doing what he’s always done, the way he’s always done it, hurting no one but himself as so often is the case.
4. The Times listed some memorable quotes from 2020’s departed actors, singers, writers and artists. These six have particular relevance to ethics:
“If you start thinking of your image, or what the mysterious ‘they’ out there are thinking of you, you’re in a trap. What’s important is that you’re doing the work that’s best for you.”— Sean Connery
“The older you get, I have to say, the funnier you find life. That’s the only way to go. If you get serious about yourself as you get old, you are pathetic.”— Diana Rigg
“What we don’t need in country music is divisiveness, public criticism of each other, and some arbitrary judgment of what belongs and what doesn’t.”— Charley Pride
“I am allergic to any art related to propaganda. And everything: commercial propaganda, political propaganda, religious propaganda — it is all about propaganda. And the greatness of art, like poetry or music, is that it is totally unnecessary.”— Christo
“I’m horrified at the notion of autobiography because I’m already constructing the lies I’m going to tell.”— John le Carré
“You have got to be tough. Don’t just give up in life. Be strong, and believe in what you believe in.”— Toots Hibbert