End Of Week Ethics Regrets, 5/14/2021: Trevor Noah’s Wit, The Yankees’ Great Vaccine Experience, And Other Puzzlements


1. Baseball Ethics notes:

  • Ethics Heroes: The Houston Astros. When I forgive them for cheating their way to the 2017 World Championship, they might be worthy of a full post the next time they do something exemplary. The Astros are providing furnished apartments to minor-league players across all levels this season. According to The Athletic, they are  the only club doing this. Minor league players are obscenely underpaid, and have to find desperation lodging on salaries that aren’t much better than minimum wage. What the Astros are doing should be the industry standard. Is this an attempt by a bad actor to prove it has come into the light? Maybe. It’s still admirable.
  • In the category of “It isn’t what it is,” we have a bizarre statement from New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees have confirmed eight cases of the Wuhan virus this week, with shortstop Gleyber Torres  the first player to test positive. The other seven cases had been among the Yankees’ coaching and support staffs, including pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits. Something is clearly amiss, either in what the team has been doing or in the effectiveness of the Johnosn and Johnson  single shot vaccine, which is what the Yankees provided to the team. Cashman said, in a longer statement to the press,

“The one thing I take from this is I believe the vaccine is working. We can take great comfort, thankfully, that all who were vaccinated with the J&J, provided from two different states, the one batch in New York, the other batch in Florida, at various different times, one in March versus obviously earlier in April, we believe it has protected us from obviously something severe or something much more difficult to be handling than we currently are.”

Or, the fact that so many Yankees who were  “fully vaccinated” got the virus anyway might suggest that the vaccine involved isn’t that great. I would come to that conclusion before “the vaccine is working.” Baseball players are young, athletes, and as far removed from high risk as one could find. Before the vaccine, only one player who contracted the virus last season became seriously ill, and that was from aside effect of the illness rather than the illness itself.

2. Explain those rules again for me, please? In today’s Arts section of the New York Times, we have this note:

“When Brian Bedford took on the role of Lady Bracknell in 2011, Charles Isherwood wrote in The New York Times that the formidable character had “perhaps never been more imperious, more indomitable — or more delectably entertaining.” Now L.A. Theater Works is making the Roundabout Theater Company’s revival of Oscar Wilde’s best play available again…If one gender-reversed Lady Bracknell just isn’t enough, check out the L.A. Theater Works audio production starring Charles Busch.”

OK, I’m confused. I thought the new Woke casting laws were that women don’t have enough good parts, so while you can switch genders in casting to give actresses more opportunities, you can give women’s roles to men. Lady Bracknell is an aging actress’s role of a lifetime. Even before political correctness tainted theater casting, I objected to this particular stunt, which was the result of too many gay directors and actors who liked dress-up indulging their own proclivities to the detriment of the play, the audience, and the playwright’s intent.. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the thrust of the review quoted above that men play Lady Bracknell better than woman do? That sure sounds sexist to me…

3. Wow, that Trevor Noah is hilarious! Hamas—you know, the terrorist organization?— fired a massive number of rockets into Israel in an unprovoked military attack this month, with the missiles aimed at Israeli and its civilians. While many hundreds of the missiles were stopped by Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense shield, those that got through killed innocent Israelis. As is has before, Israel responded with targeted attack on military targets, and the retaliation has escalated. Here is how alleged comedian Trevor Noah, the insufferably smug host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” enlightened his audience:

“If you start from ‘Israel fired rockets into Gaza,’ then Israel is the bad guy, because they’re bombing Gaza. But then you take a step back in time, and you go, ‘Well, but Hamas fired rockets at Israel.’ Then Hamas is the bad guy. But then you take a step back, and you go, ‘But the Israeli police went in and started beating people up in a mosque during Ramadan, the most holy time in the Muslim calendar.’ Well then, Israel is the bad guy. And back and back and back, and who knows how far. The first cavemen who hit each other with clubs were probably Israeli and Palestinian. I don’t know.”

Thank-you for that kindergarten-level analysis of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Trevor, you ass.

If that had been hilarious, it’s stunning ignorance might be a bit more excusable. It’s not Noah’s fault that so many young idiots use “The Daily Show” as a primary news source, but it is his fault when he acts like he knows what he’s talking about, and he does not. Then he had this bit of ethics for his throng: “I just want to ask an honest question here. If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how much should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”

Answer: You retaliate enough so that they never dare try to hurt you again, or rendered incapable of doing do. [Pointer: Christian Toto]

4. Signature significance: President Joe Biden yesterday called for a de-escalation of violence in Gaza, including “a significant reduction” in rocket attacks from Hamas. Not a full stop, mind you. A reduction in rocket attacks. After all, a reasonable number of rocket attacks on civilians is fine, just ask Trevor Noah.

5. And speaking of stupid…here’s a recent Biden tweet in light of the latest CDC flip-flop, saying that one doesn’t need a mask after being fully vaccinated:

Biden stupid tweet

First of all, there is no “rule.” Second, one can choose not to get vaccinated and not wear a mask by not going inside a structure with strangers and others who have not consented to being in the company of the maskless, and going outside without a mask because nobody needs a mask outside if they maintain a reasonable distance from others. If this were President Trump and not the President from the Media Approved Party, such a statement would be added to a “lie database.’

Ann Althouse writes, “It’s incoherent to demand that people follow science and to misrepresent the options. There’s also the choice to avoid both the mask and the vaccination. Everyone knows that. If I had to defend the President, I’d say it’s so obviously not true that no one takes it as true, so it doesn’t count as a lie.”

Hey! That’s the David Manning Lie definition! The problem is that if the individual intended to deceive with it, it’s still a lie. Did anyone really believe that that Trump’s claim that he won the election “in a landslide” was anything but typical Trumpian hyperbole?

Oh—Althouse update: having eliminated reader comments, she now has a comment link after her blog posts, which lead to: “Only members of this blog can comment directly. That means only me and Meade. But if you email me — at annalthouse@gmail.com — I might put your comment down here in the comments section (or on the front page).”

That’s a bait and switch, and thus unethical. The ethical response to Ann’s ego games is “Bite me.”

33 thoughts on “End Of Week Ethics Regrets, 5/14/2021: Trevor Noah’s Wit, The Yankees’ Great Vaccine Experience, And Other Puzzlements

  1. From No. 3:

    “I just want to ask an honest question here. If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how much should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”

    This is a logical outgrowth of the notion that one should not “punch down.” Yes, there may be instances where punching down is wrong, where it is overbearing, where it is undignified, where it is petty, but none of those categories involve rocket-launchers.

    There are instances where punching down is warranted, where it is proper, where it is justified, and where it is mandated. Some of those categories do involve rocket-launchers.


    • My favorite Mike Tyson quote (the only Mike Tyson quote?) may apply here to explain the Israeli position: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    • People like Trevor Noah who demand that Israel “fight fair” clearly haven’t thought that through. If Israel were to reply in kind to these attacks, they’d be launching unguided rockets to rain down on populated areas with no care who they kill. Instead, the IDF conducts targeted attacks with guided weapons, and even sends warnings to evacuate targeted buildings before sending in the ordnance. If Israel were to “fight fair”, a lot more innocent Palestinians would die.

  2. “I just want to ask an honest question here. If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how much should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”

    Follow the example of Harry Truman.

  3. 2. The rule is easy: Gay guys, certainly gay actors, are a protected (to the point of being fawned upon) class. Presumably the casting person and the director are gay, as is the guy playing Lady Bracknell. As a result, everything’s fine because being queer and acting queer is wonderful. And cross dressing and drag is the ultimately camp and cool thing that anyone who “gets” anything has to adore (my least favorite word). Had any of the principals been straight, they would have been “called out” and the part would have to go to a woman, preferably a lesbian or a formerly guy turned woman. Capice? It’s not so hard.

  4. Answer: You retaliate enough so that they never dare try to hurt you again, or rendered incapable of doing do.

    So true, just think about how Operation Demetrius and Bloody Sunday ended The Troubles. *eyeroll*

      • It doesn’t work at all Jack. Every time you harm an innocent to get to the guilty, you make a few new enemies for life. Insurgent groups count on it.

        It’s the whole if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine thing. It works, history is littered with it.

        • Every time you harm an innocent to get to the guilty, you make a few new enemies for life. Insurgent groups count on it.

          Interesting concept.

          How many enemies for life were created on August 6th, 1945?

        • What in any of this involves “harming an innocent”? If the topic is the Palestinians in Gaza. no population that elects a terrorist organization as its representative is “innocent.” It is accountable for the acts of its agent.

          • Gosh, I wasn’t aware that Hamas came to power in a fair, democratic election. Must have been something recent.
            Also, by that logic, we Americans all are responsible for everything that happens during the Biden administration as well as for everything that happened in the Trump administration.

              • This was, if I recall, the same point that sent WindyPundit over the edge. It’s a main trope of pacifists that one can never ethically go to war with a regime that attacks your nation because the civilians who will inevitably harmed are “innocents.” Thus governments can use their own people as human shields.

              • Even if we accept that 2006 election as being valid today for the government of Gaza, and even if we accept that a population as a whole is responsible for the government it has, those two facts would not remove the innocence of every individual, nor would they obviate the responsibility of a military force to protect innocents to the greatest extent it can consistent with accomplishing the mission. Among the worst bombings of Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire, we recognized that (unfortunately) innocents were being slaughtered.
                The point that harming innocents creates enemies is valid.
                The other side of that coin is that being magnanimous in victory (lend-lease, accepting an Emperor) creates friends.

                • I think Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris made a more valid point when he said the Germans could logically bomb the you-know-what out of everyone else and not expect to eventually get it in return. The blood spilled in the raids on Hamburg and Dresden is as much on their own hands as anyone else’s.

    • No, the British Army and RUC holding the line for almost 30 years, while occasionally blunting outbreaks, ended the Troubles, just like the US holding the line (ending with Reagan) ended the Cold War. Sometimes “masterstrokes” win a war. Sometimes, like the Kaiserschlact or the “Bulge,” they fall flat. When “masterstrokes” don’t work then you settle in for the long haul if you have the will and the resources. If the enemy has any sense he will finally figure out he can’t beat you, so there’s no sense in continuing to bang his head against the wall and give himself headaches. Unfortunately religious fanatics, especially Islamic religious fanatics, are not known for their good sense.

  5. Is anyone else on mobile having trouble commenting? The comment field is a tiny strip that doesn’t expand as you type. I can’t see my comment to proof read, hence the weird commas. It’s fine on a desktop.

    • I mostly write my posts on mobile. The text box doesn’t expand as I type, but I can scroll to proofread what I write. I mostly use Brave browser, but Safari works the same way. The text box is about 2 inches tall and an inch and a half wide on an iPhone.

      • It changed suddenly three days ago, from a large comment box to,this strip where I can only see the top half of the line I’m typing, and can’t scroll. It must be on my end then. Thank you.

        • I had the same problem on my laptop, crella. For about two weeks, all I had was the slim, single line window. In the last day or two, it’s healed itself and I have the usual reply box. It’s a mystery.

  6. Regarding the Yankees’ covid troubles: I wonder if any of these guys are exhibiting any symptoms, or if their only symptom is a positive test result. There has been much talk in some circles (but not the mainstream media, of course) about the parameters being used on the PCR tests resulting in a testing regime that is way too sensitive, and prone to producing false positives. The CDC itself is talking about reducing the cycle count for tests conducted on vaccinated people, thus reducing the sensitivity of the test. That seems like either an admission that the current tests are overly sensitive, or a desire to cover up for less-than-effective vaccines. I hope (and believe) it’s the former.

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