Assorted Ethics Items, 4/23/2021: I Can’t Talk Or Eat, But I Can Still Write. And Think, Sort Of…[Finally Corrected!]

Well, THAT was certainly unpleasant…made a root canal seem like the warm embrace of a succubus by comparison…

1. An alternate juror in the Chauvin trial gave an interview. She seems like a pretty rational sort, but two comments support the contention that the trial was not a fair one:

  • “I did tell them that I saw the settlement run across the bottom of the screen one day…I was not surprised there was a settlement, but I was surprised they announced it beforehand.” She also said she understood that civil trial and criminal trial standards were different, but the fact that the city essentially announced that its police were liable for Floyd’s death cut the legs out from under Chauvin’s defense.
  • “I did not want to go through rioting and destruction again and I was concerned about people coming to my house if they were not happy with the verdict.” If any jurors feel that way, it’s not a fair trial.

Joy Pullmann writes at The Federalist,

“The jurors knew that the media covering the trial and looking at their faces every day for three weeks knows who they are. An in-state newspaper even signaled to the jurors its willingness to expose them to the violent mobs roving Minnesota over the last year by publishing descriptions of the jurors in advance of the verdict. Those descriptions published in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune contained age, race, location, profession, even immigration history. You think jurors would have been willing to have themselves and their families go into witness protection to venture a reasonable doubt about Chauvin’s potential contribution to Floyd’s death? You think they’d be willing to trade their lives plus nationwide violence for one stranger’s? If you think that, you know nothing about human nature.”

2. From the “Finding racial bias in everything” files. Salamishah Margaret Tillet is the New York Times arts critic who thinks everything is about race.  She’s the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies, so she has an agenda. Her recent essay is bright-line evidence that bias makes you stupid. “Films tend to weigh down Black women whose musical virtuosity should let them soar,” she tells us, beginning with recent films about Billie Holiday and Ma Rainey that have been nominated for Oscars, not that there is any way of knowing whether this was because of their laudable minority actor percentage or their actual quality. Salamishah (can I call you Salamishah?) is still unsatisfied, writing,

As much as Hollywood is changing, the way it tells the story of Black women’s musicality still lags behind. For while Davis and Day should be lauded for their exemplary work, their movies overemphasize the trauma and diminish the artistic genius of the icons they embody, Ma Rainey and Billie Holiday.

Maybe the professor doesn’t watch movies about, yecchh, white people, so I have news for her. EVERY film biography of every musical artist  focuses on their problems rather than their actual performances or process. Isn’t it obvious why? Actors and actresses can’t duplicate the voices of unique performers, so the singers’ “artistic genius” can only be suggested at best. Film is about drama, so the dramatic aspects of an artists’ lives, including relationships, illnesses, tragedies, bad choices and catastrophes are always going to be at the center of movies about them, and if a singer has no traumas, nobody wants to watch a movie about her. It has nothing to do with some kind of racist disrespect or trivialization of black performers.

I guess the professor deserves some credit for writing,

In some ways, this is a genre problem. Far too many films about music relegate actual processes of music-making — song composition and arrangements, studio sessions and band rehearsals, an experimentation with sounds and a honing of craft — to the background, preferring to focus on the psychological and social struggles that artists face.”

But it’s not “in some ways,” it’s in all ways. The fact has nothing to do with race. At all. Tillet is the epitome of the principle that if your only tool is a hammer. everything looks like a nail.

Why do we tolerate universities and newspapers that hire people whose only tools are hammers?

3. And from the Really Dishonest Analogies file...Yesterday, a SCOTUS 6–3 decision authored by Justice Kavanaugh held that judges need not decide whether  a juvenile convicted of a serious crime is incapable of being rehabilitated before sentencing him or her to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. That seems rather harsh, but I haven’t read the decision, and that’s not the matter at hand. This is: Vanity Fair, stretching like Mr. Fantastic, sees great hypocrisy in this for Kavanaugh:

Brett Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee: “If we want to sit here and talk about whether a Supreme Court nomination should be based on a high school yearbook page, I think that’s taken us to a new level of absurdity.” In fact, lawmakers that day weren’t deciding whether or not to confirm Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land based on “a high school yearbook page” but over credible allegations of sexual assault, which he denied. Nevertheless, Kavanaugh’s position that day was that people shouldn’t be held accountable for things they do as minors. But what he apparently actually meant was that he shouldn’t be held accountable for things he allegedly did as kid, while others deserve life in prison without the possibility of parole.

No, in fact nobody should ever be held accountable for what they “allegedly” did, as adults or children. The allegations of sexual assault used to smear Kavanaugh were far from credible, and would not support any criminal prosecution or a civil suit. The teen Kavanaugh was writing about in his majority opinion has murdered his grandfather, and there was no “allegedly” about it.

Whether Kavanaugh’s analysis of the law is right or wrong, there is no hypocrisy involved at all.

4. This one gets a George:

Running for Mayor of New York, Andrew Yang told a leading LGBTQ group,

“I genuinely do love you and your community. You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party. We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” he added. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”

They were offended. Gee, I wonder why? Might it be that Yang’s gushing went far beyond mere pandering to condescension and screaming insincerity?

Any candidate whose ethics alarms don’t go off when statement like that ooze into their brain cannot be trusted.

16 thoughts on “Assorted Ethics Items, 4/23/2021: I Can’t Talk Or Eat, But I Can Still Write. And Think, Sort Of…[Finally Corrected!]

  1. Jack,

    Regarding #2- Val Kilmer did his own singing in “The Doors” movie and I thought he did an admirable job.

    There were some scenes about music-making.

    Mix in the psychological and social issues, and this movie covered a lot of ground rather well.

    Did you see the movie? What did you think of the acting, singing?

    • Well, begin with the bias that I hated the Doors, thought Jim Morrison was an epic asshole and sounded like one, and detest Oliver Stone. (It I never hear “Light My Fire” again, it will be a blessing on my waning days.) I don’t know that most rock singers count from the music artistry side–I could imitate Morrison enough to get away with it. Johnny Cash wasn’t exactly John Raitt. Gary Busey’s imitation of Buddy Holly wrecked any musical consideration of Holly at all; Rene Zellwiger’s singing as Judy Garland was inadequate,but anyone’s would be.I nearly went into that: dubbing the real singer in, like In “The Jolson Story,” is considered taboo now, but if you don’t do it, then making the music central to the film is impossible, or begs disbelief. Why are there no biopics about dancers? Because you can’t fake dancing. A Nicolas Brothers or Donald O’Connor movies would be fascination—Donald had lots of problems, and the Brothers faces all the racist sabotage of all black performers in their period, but nobody can dance like the did, and no one can run up walls like Donald.

  2. 1. I had no doubt. Is she an Ethics Dunce, though, for going on record and making it easier to track down real jurors?
    2. My husband saw Ma Rainey and loved it. He hated the Billie Holliday flick.
    3. Comparing apples to oranges is commonplace among all sides these days. It’s super annoying.
    4. Sigh

  3. 1. I think the Hank Williams family was pretty upset about his bio-pic, which I found kind of interesting. There was also a lot of complaining about the musical interludes, which I found pretty convincing myself.

    4. I read the Yang quote and I still don’t get what anyone was upset about. Isn’t that the correct portion of obeisance that needs to be paid? Didn’t we hear that sort of slobbering from Hollywood people daily during the gay marriage campaign? Gay and lesbian people are superior beings, right? Am I missing something?

  4. On 3:

    “In fact, lawmakers that day weren’t deciding whether or not to confirm Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land based on “a high school yearbook page” but over credible allegations of sexual assault, which he denied.”

    Anyone asserting that the allegations of Christing Blaisey Ford were credible has signalled to you that they aren’t a serious person. Ford’s allegations were *in*credible.

    Ford alleged that sometime in 1988, at a houseparty in the Bethesda area, Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom with Mark Judge, where Kavanaugh pushed her on a bed, dryhumped her, fell off her, laughed and she ran away. She was able to recall one other name of a person at that party: PJ Smith.

    That’s the allegation. That’s giving it the best hearing possible. She didn’t know the date of the party, she didn’t know the address of the party, the two people she said were at the party denied being at *any* party that fit her description. She didn’t mention the experience to her family, friends, or husband until Kavanaugh’s name was floated as a SCOTUS judge under Bush, more than 20 years later. Her story changed several times.

    But if you listen to Democrats, that’s “credible”. All the allegations against Joe, all the pictures he’s in, Tara Read, that’s not credible. But on Kavanaugh: “ThE fBi DiDn’T iNvEsTiGaTe PrOpErLy”! What the actual fuck do you expect them to do? Canvas the entirety of Bethesda for a house with 30 year old hair fibers? No, calling Ford’s allegation “Serious” is a litmus test. Don’t fail.

    • It’s even worse than that. Democratic operatives and reporters tried to bully, pressure, and harass former friends and dates of both Kavanaugh and Ford, trying to get them to lie or make statements supporting Ford. In one phone transcript, a Democrat woman who had once dated Kavanaugh couldn’t bring herself to lie against him because he had always been a perfect gentleman.

      These politically-obsessed monsters have had a over a year now to do their own investigations after claiming that the FBI didn’t do enough looking, and of course, they still have nothing. They always knew there was nothing.

  5. The unanswerable question:

    If racist cops are literally hunting Black people, why do practically all of these headline-grabbing deaths of unarmed Black people occur in deeply Democratic cities?

    Millions of Black people live in rural areas, where the local police forces are overwhelmingly White and Republican. But Blacks appear to be disproportionately safe from being shot by cops in Trump Country. If we assume they are being “hunted down” it’s happening almost exclusively in Biden country. I’d like to hear some sort of explanation for that.

    • I first remember hearing the “police are hunting black men” myth on the news in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014. I was already scheduled to retire at the end of the month, after more than 40 years in local law enforcement.
      I called my boss the sheriff and told him what I had just heard. I could almost hear his eyes roll over the phone. I said, “I guess I have been doing a piss-poor job, because in over forty years I haven’t killed a single black man.”
      He laughed and said, “If somebody changed our mission, I didn’t get the memo either.”
      I figured the facts would soon disprove and discredit this myth, but it has proven to be un-killable in the leftist media and what passes for popular culture these days.

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