End Of Day Ethics Sighs 1/21/2021: Here’s Kamala! Here’s Batwoman! Here’s Your Newsmedia! And “Heeeere’s Johnny!”

sigh

A very good friend who is married to another very good friend posted yesterday that Kamala Harris’s swearing in as Vice-President moved him to tears, and the Facebook post instantly harvested about a hundred “likes” and “loves.” As God is my witness, as Scarlett used to say, I had to fight to restrain my self from writing on his page (since there is no “What the FUCK is the matter with you?” icon to click on), “Why, because she’s a woman with no qualifications to be President or Vice-President? Because she’s the first Indian-Jamaican VP, and you’ve always wanted one of those? Because she’s just the right skin-shade to pretend to be an African-American, when she’s not? Does it choke you up because she slept her way to political power, then locked up a lot of black men for drug crimes, then accused the U.S. of being racist because of “over-incarceration”? Or does any Democrat, even phonies and rank incompetents, getting power make you feel all misty inside and out? Really, I’m curious.”

Well, he’s a nice, good-hearted guy who has the political sophistication of a cheese, so I just shut up. However, his reaction is just incomprehensible to me.

1. Oh, look, now there’s black Batwoman. Yay. Isn’t this a little cliched and formulaic by now? Will every fictional character eventually have to be made black or have his or her race switched, and every male character get virtual transexual transitioning, to satisfy the Woke and Wonderful? Mikey (who liked Life cereal), is now a girl. Jake from State Farm is now black. Perry Mason’s Paul Drake in the new reboot is black. Inspection Lestrade, Sherlock Holmes’ ally, is black on the Netflix Holmes spin-off. (Watson became female in the TV show “Elementary.” And Asian!) A really bad movie made Ralph Kramden from “The Honeymooners” black; Norton too. On Broadway, when there was a Broadway, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr were black, and they aren’t even fictional. Of course.The whole Ghostbusters team was turned female for the reboot (but still had only one black member). There is much, much more. Isn’t this lazy? Isn’t this boring? Don’t women, blacks and other minorities want to have their own popular and iconic characters rather than just taking over white or male ones? Why isn’t such fake “diversity” an insult? Aren’t hand-me-down characters like hand-me-down clothes?

2.Nah, there’s no educational indoctrination! On December 22, 2020 a single-mother and her son, a high school student at a public charter school, filed a civil rights lawsuit in the US District Court of Nevada.  The student and his mother argue that he was coerced, under a “Critical Race Theory / Intersectionality”-based curriculum, to make statements contrary to his personal conscience and beliefs, and he was retaliated against when he objected. The complaint states that this “coercive and intrusive behavior compelled [the plaintiff’s] protected speech and invaded his privacy, violating his constitutional rights under the First Amendment and his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.” Here is how the complaint starts…

Lawsuit

and here is a link to the whole thing.

3. Gee, I wonder why that would be? Axios has a story about how public trust in the news media is at an all time low. For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in legacy media, according to data from Edelman’s annual trust barometer.

Media trust

Trust in social media has also hit an all-time low of 27%. Some details:

  • 56% of Americans agree with the statement that “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
  • 58% think that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.”
  • When Edelman re-polled Americans after the election, the figures had deteriorated even further, with 57% of Democrats trusting the media and only 18% of Republicans.

The really alarming part is that a majority of Democrats DO trust the media, despite the massive evidence that they should not. And the 18% of Republicans who trust the media must be genuine mouth-breathers.

This vanishing trust is a big problem, the Captain Obviouses at Axios observe. “Faith in society’s central institutions, especially in government and the media, is the glue that holds society together,” they tut-tut. It’s not that the public lacks trust, it is that the institutions, like the press, have squandered that trust be behaving in a grossly untrustworthy fashion.

The reactions of the journalists commenting on this completely earned ignominy are not encouraging. Heidi Larson shrugged, “We don’t have a misinformation problem, we have a trust problem.” No, you have a misinformation problem, and until journalists admit that and pledge to do better, public trust will and should continue to decline. Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan writes that “our goal should go beyond merely putting truthful information in front of the public. We should also do our best to make sure it’s widely accepted.” BOY, she’s a hack! How about starting with putting “truthful information”—by my definition, meaning without your partisan spin—in front of the public? To me, “We should also do our best to make sure it’s widely accepted’ sound suspiciously like “we have to make our propaganda more believable.”

4. And now for something completely different…but funny! Bank robber Damon Williams’ note to the teller read, “Please, all the money, 100, 50, 20, 10. Thank you.” What a polite young man! But in his closing argument to the jury, the prosecutor’s Powerpoint presentation used this slide,

the-shining-2

captioned “ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS,”while telling the jury,

“If you’ve never seen the movie, “The Shining,” this is creepy but not scary, right? You’ve never seen it. All right. This guy looks creepy, and he’s saying some very unthreatening words, ‘Here’s Johnny.’ But if you have ever seen the movie “The Shining,” you know how his face gets through that door. So, again, I just point that out to illustrate. It’s not just the words; it’s what you do before and what you do after the words that matters. And that’s what makes this a robbery.”

The defense lawyer objected but to no avail. The New Jersey Supreme Court declared a new trial was necessary, because the PowerPoint slide and the prosecutor’s comments amounted to prejudicial error.

“Prosecutors must walk a fine line when making comparisons, whether implicit or explicit, between a defendant and an individual whom the jury associates with violence or guilt,” the state Supreme Court said. “The use of a sensational and provocative image in service of such a comparison, even when purportedly metaphorical, heightens the risk of an improper prejudicial effect on the jury. Such a risk was borne out here.”

Well, of course. The prosecutor’s ethics alarms fizzled: how hard is it to figure out that comparing a defendant to a horror movie maniac is not fair or ethical?

15 thoughts on “End Of Day Ethics Sighs 1/21/2021: Here’s Kamala! Here’s Batwoman! Here’s Your Newsmedia! And “Heeeere’s Johnny!”

  1. Oh my gosh! This is probably the best post I’ve seen anywhere regarding our current Vice President. Being a California resident I’m very familiar with all the antics and shenanigans involved in getting her to where she’s at now, but I’ve never heard it expressed so perfectly. I’m forwarding this to all my friends. They’ll get it too:))

      • #MEEEETOOO only applies to men. If men ask women for sex in return for career advancement, it is an complete, unforgivable crime. If a women offers sex to a man for career advancement, it shows she is a strong, empowered woman.

        This also presents a good #MEEETOOO defense. If a man can credibly claim it was HER idea, and that he followed through with payment…I mean…he gave her the career advancement agreed upon…I mean…that she deserved…, well that is OK.

  2. “Well, he’s a good guy who has the political sophistication of a cheese, so I just shut up.”
    That’s an unpalatable choice, but one I have made a number of times on social media and (less often) face-to-face. There’s not much point arguing with an idiot nor with a true believer, and, when the person is in the overlap area of the Venn diagram for those two characteristics, no point at all. But, it still leaves an uneasy feeling because of the ethical need to confront wrongheadedness.
    (Love the image for the bank robber bit.)

  3. I think your friend who was moved by tears by Kamala Harris taking the oath on Wednesday needs a little talk with Lee Ermey’s ghost to straighten him out. We don’t need a country of weepy wusses who get emotional over Karmala.

  4. #4. Not knowing how the robbery went down in this case, I will resort to my earlier in life times of interviewing robbery victims. I will say that the “shining” scene would have made a lot of sense to them.

    Maybe people should think about what they do. If you don’t want gory photos of your victim shown at your trial, don’t hack them to pieces with a machete. Or don’t threaten to kill people when you ask for money.

    • And he will become the same cultural icon as Moon Knight did. Reboots and imitations lack that creative originality of the originals 99% of the time.

      I don’t have to see the coming cable redo of Lord of the Rings to know how it will follow the authentic and lasting themes of the classic novels in today’s Hollywood. It won’t, because trying to make it ‘more relevant’ to today’s audience actually makes it less relevant due to a shortage of hobbits, dwarves, and elves to boost the ratings above human-only audience identity bias. (that 1% is for times when the first attempt at the story was not successful, like the Rankin Bass Lord of the Rings musical movie)

  5. 1. Nearly every television commercial seems to have been reshot over the last few months with largely or exclusively black people in it. They all seem to be living in the wonderful houses and drive the new cars of the world of commercials. They all seem happy and prosperous. They’re taking vacations, buying cars and appliances, eating lots of food. Who needs reparations? Where’s the income inequality exactly? If they’re systemically discriminated against, they seem to be flourishing notwithstanding.

    • Well, you can’t have the narrative of systematic racialism and also have happy successful Black people pictured on TV can you. I imagine nobody in the Biden administration actually believes the narrative but it’s useful in making whitie ashamed of their white privilege so they will knuckle under.

  6. 1. And Maxwell Lord, the villain in the new Wonder Woman film, has an Asian son!

    Oh…and, if you happen to catch the movie, tell me who you think Lord is supposed to remind you of. I lost any investment in his character the minute he described himself as a “TV personality/businessman”. Check out his hair, his facial expressions and his hand gestures.

    That wasn’t an accident.

    3. She’s a fool. It’s not her job to make people accept it. If her organization reports facts without an ideological bent, it will develop a trustworthy reputation and people will accept what is reported as true.

  7. (1) I have heard it called white erasure. As you note, why don’t they come up with new black superheroes? They could if that is what they wanted to do. Their point is to get rid of all the white ones. If whenever they say some program or policy is for BIPOC, replace for BIPOC with ‘not for whites’ (which is the same thing) and you get a slightly less ‘fuzzy’ vibe.

    (2) Every time one of these suits comes up, why don’t the lawyers demand that the school district pay the tuition at the private school of the parent’s choice? It is obvious these school cannot be trusted. No monetary or judicial punishment isn’t going to make them retaliate against this kid. If such judgements were handed down, all the Republican parents could claim the same treatment. We could actually get the school choice that is the best option for fixing this problem.

    (3) Heidi Larson is correct. The misinformation isn’t the problem, it is the point. She never intended to inform people of the truth. The news media are Pravda and have been for decades. Their problem really is the mistrust. They need people to trust them so they can deceive them. Dishonesty is not a problem to a con artist. Lack of trust by their victims is the problem.

    • Michael R said: “(2) Every time one of these suits comes up, why don’t the lawyers demand that the school district pay the tuition at the private school of the parent’s choice? It is obvious these school cannot be trusted. No monetary or judicial punishment isn’t going to make them retaliate against this kid. If such judgements were handed down, all the Republican parents could claim the same treatment. We could actually get the school choice that is the best option for fixing this problem.”

      That is absolutely the best idea I have heard about how to combat the school problem. If schools across the country were flooded with lawsuits and these demands perhaps we could finally make progress against this indoctrination.

  8. M.R, your Item (3) above is in and of itself a comment of the day. “Dishonesty is not a problem to a con artist. Lack of trust by their victims is the problem.” Amen. That’s a Ben Franklin worthy observation.

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