1. Evidence that The Great Stupid was upon us in 2019 if only we had been paying attention...My wife, a World War II history buff, was watching the ending credits most recent movie version of “Midway”(2019) when I heard her emit the sound of a wounded animal. This message had flashed across the screen:
“The film is dedicated to the American and Japanese sailors who fought at Midway. The sea remembers its own.”
What…The…Hell? Those Japanese sailors wouldn’t have had to fight at all if their nation hadn’t killed 3,000 American servicemen is a sneak attack six months earlier. Since when do American films salute those who killed Americans? Now I have to check and see whether there was a tribute at the end of “Flight 93” commemorating the brave Al Qida terrorists who died trying to crash a plane into the Capitol.
Equally disturbing is that I recall no mention at all of “Midway’s” offensive coda in reviews of the film, and could find only one mention of it online. I know, I know, American film studios are desperate to pander to foreign markets. That’s not a good enough reason for that disgusting suck-up to a ruthless and racist enemy.
2. This reminds me of my ethical objection to “bucket lists”...Susan Montoya, 65, an assistant principal at Georgia O’Keefe Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, died when the hot air balloon she was riding in hit power lines and crashed. It was reported that the ride was an item on her “bucket list.” I don’t know who first came up with the idea that human life was just a collection of enumerated experiences and accomplishments like getting a merit badge, or how it became popular, but it’s a narcissistic and wasteful mindset. If you can’t think of anything more productive to do with your life than to treat it like a grocery list, you’ve missed the point.
3. Museum ethics. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York holds one of the largest collections in the U.S. of Benin Bronzes, a group of objects looted by British soldiers in 1897 from the Kingdom of Benin in what is now Nigeria. The museum announced this month that it will return to Nigeria two of the bronzes, like this one,
….along with a brass head produced in the ancient Yoruba city of Ife, also in Nigeria. It is rare for U.S. museums to commit to returning Benin Bronzes, and it is hoped by ethicists that other institutions may follow the Met’s lead….like the Met itself. It is believed to hold around between 160 and 300 works from the Court of Benin. I don’t know why, if the right thing to do is to return a few of them, it it isn’t more ethical still to return them all. Then they can move on to returning artifacts stolen from Greece, Italy, Egypt, and other nations.
The only excuse for not doing so offered through the years doesn’t even rise to the level of a rationalization: “We don’t want to.”
4. How did California become so ethically warped? William Golding, the novelist most famous for writing “Lord of the Flies,” wrote a very different but still disturbing novel in 1959 called “Free Fall,” in which the narrator tries to trace through his life to discover when he lost control. “Was that it?” he keeps asking? “Was it then that I lost my way?'” California should consider the same kind of retrospective. The state’s Attorney General, Rob Banta, announced the addition of five states to the list of places banned from state-funded travel because they dare to disagree with the Great Arbiter of Right and Wrong, California, regarding their policies. Specifically, the new states on the black list—can you use “black list” in California? —have recently passed statutes prohibiting male to female trans athletes from competing against biological women in sports competition. You know…
..like that. Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the now 17 state list, saying, “Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it.”
No, in fact we’re not, and making the decision that former men who have gone through puberty as males should not be competing in women’s athletic competitions is neither bigotry nor discrimination. It is a reasonable resolution of an ethical dilemma, and states should not be punishing other states for not agreeing with their positions.
5. How ironic. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the African American law and order candidate in the Big Apple’s Democratic primary for mayor, maintained a lead in the preliminary vote count but has called the preliminary results into question, saying yesterday,
“The vote total just released by the Board of Elections is 100,000-plus more than the total announced on election night, raising serious questions. We have asked the Board of Elections to explain such a massive increase and other irregularities before we comment on the Ranked Choice Voting projection.”
Obviously, this is a lie and he is trying to sow civil discord. After all, as he wrote last November, “It shouldn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on — if you believe in our Democracy and in the peaceful transition of power, then you have an obligation to speak out against Donald Trump’s dangerous, unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.”
In related news, Al Gore went on CNN to try to cement the false narrative that he gracefully conceded the 2000 election when he did nothing of the sort. He challenged the results for more than a month, and several Democrats in Congress refused to certify Bush’s victory. After finally issuing a momentarily gracious concession after the Supreme Court gave him no choice, Gore (and his running mate Joe Lieberman) continued to tell partisan audiences that he was swindled out of the Presidency. His actual posture is preserved, fortunately, in his 2006 climate change propaganda film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which he introduces by saying, “I’m Al Gore, I used to be the next president of the United States of America.”