Evening Ethics, 8/19/2021: Those Were The Days…

Ah, those heady days when the U.S. felt ethically justified in toppling governments it didn’t approve of, and “nation building” was still considered practical and virtuous. Today marks the anniversary of the U.S. overthrowing the government of Premier Mohammad Mosaddeq and reinstalling the Shah of Iran in 1953, The Shah was a torturing, oppressive autocrat, but he was our torturing, oppressive autocrat for 26 years, a dependable anti-Communist ally of the United States until a revolution ended his rule in 1979. You should know the rest. Wonder why Iranians aren’t crazy about the U.S.? Today is one big reason. Also on the ethics regrets list is the release of the West Memphis Three on this date in 2011. I wrote about that one here. An excerpt:

“In an ethical system, prosecutors would have made certain the wrongfully convicted men were freed, without any further adversary action. But this was not an ethical system. Instead, prosecutors insisted on a bizarre plea deal in which the Memphis Three agreed to take an Alford plea, a strange, dishonest and much criticized guilty plea in which a defendant essentially lies to avoid an otherwise unavoidable unjust punishment. With an Alford plea,  the prisoner or defendant asserts he or she is innocent, but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus acknowledges legal, though not actual, guilt.   Prosecutors insisted that all three men plead “guilty” in this fashion in order to agree to release them with time served. The judge accepted the deal. Now Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley are free, their lives all but ruined by 18 lost years, thanks to a rotten system. The news media for the most part didn’t bother to explain why the terms of their release was just one more gratuitous assault on their existence by Arkansas legal hacks.”

I’m sorry today reminded me of this case. It still upsets me to think about it.

1. Here’s evidence that the current complaints of antiracism propagandists is a crock: Denzel Washington. I’ve been watching a lot of his movies lately, and a comparison with Sidney Poitier is unavoidable. Poitier was the ground-breaker, the black man who became a genuine movie star in a majority white market, and more than that, did it by holding up the racism and discrimination in American culture for all to see. Nonetheless, he was limited by his race. Poitier always played character’s whose race was central to their roles in the plot. He never played a villain: like many stars, like John Wayne, Cary Grant and Clark Gable, he regarded his career as a continuous work exploring a particular archetype in all of its facets. For Poitier, it was that of the outstanding black man as an outsider in American society. In Poitier’s amazing year of 1967, he was in three hit movies: “In the Heat of the Night,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?,” and “To Sir, With Love.” All three featured Poitier as a black man thrust into a biased white environment, and gradually earning respect and some measure of equality. Today the #1 black star is Denzel, and he doesn’t have to play such sanctimonious roles. Race plays a part in many of his movies; he has even played black civil rights activists, like Malcolm X and Hurricane Carter. Washington, however, in part because of Poitier’s work, often plays parts that were written for white actors, and nobody cares. He isn’t afraid to play flawed characters and even brutal ones, like in “The Equalizer.” Washington’s success, and the versatility and range he is allowed to explore in his movies, would have been impossible in Poitier’s prime years. His body of work is proof of how far American attitudes toward race have advances and how unfair and dishonest the Black Lives Matter/ Critical Race Theory narrative is holding that the Jim Crow culture still rules America.

Denzel is also better than Poitier, although it is fair to say that Poitier never had the option of being as versatile as Washington. If Sidney Poitier is cinema’s Jackie Robinson, Denzel Washington is its Willie Mays.

2. Speaking of archetypes, here’s a variety of dishonest advocacy we are seeing more and more frequently from progressive propagandists:A New Way To Think About The Minimum Wage” (the print title) by New York Times paid activist Peter Coy. When basic reality interferes with ideological cant, the solution is to think of it in a “new way” so the obvious problems with and ethical objections to the policy disappear in a puff of metaphorical smoke. Some academic somewhere can be counted upon to create a scholarly paper to allow anyone to appeal to authority about anything. The new way to think about illegal immigration is that its the same as legal immigration. The new way to think about freedom of speech is that speech Democratic Party interest groups find offensive isn’t speech. The new way to think about racism is that calling all whites evil isn’t racist, because its true. And the Democrats decided in 2016 that the new way to think about impeachment was that it was justified if their party hated the elected President enough and had the votes. Redefining reality to get around inconvenient truths and principles is as Orwellian as it gets.

3. Baseball ethics meets pandemic ethics! Marcus Walden, a relief pitcher with the Red Sox who has been successful in the majors, was released by the team this week despite a good record in AAA and the team’s need for relief reinforcements. Why? The story is that he is a vocal anti-vaccine advocate, and was discouraging Sox minor leaguers from getting vaccinated.

4. You see, people need to be fired for this kind of thing, and the fact that no one is explains why we as a society get increasingly sloppy, irresponsible and incompetent. The Farmingdale Public Library included a pornographic comic book in a free giveaway bag it distributed to families on August 14, during Free Comic Book Day, an annual nationwide event.

The cover of the comic, “Tales of a Grown-Up Nothing,” shows a teenage girl skateboarding and makes no allusion to the pornographic material inside, which includes pictures of people in various sexual positions and one woman using a sex toy. It also features a picture of a man appearing to kill a police officer with the words “The Antifa Super-Soldier Cookbook” above it. Nice!

How could this happen? It happened because nobody on the library’ staff bothered to examine the contents of the bag. “I’m glad that the parent brought it to our attention,” library director Debbie Podolski said. “It was a mistake. It slipped through.” It slipped through because you are bad at your job, Debbie. Once it was alerted. the library removed two other comic books it received from Diamond Comic Distributors, which sponsors Free Comic Book Day. Podolski said the other comics featured foul language. In the six years the library has participated in Free Comic Book Day, Podolski said, the library never received mature material from Diamond Comic Distributors.

Well, that’s just moral luck, isn’t it? Since apparently checking the comics thoroughly was never part of the procedures, so this could have happened at any time.

Head explosion warning ahead!

Laurie Rozakis, Vice President of the library’s Board of Trustees, praised Podolski’s handling of the situation, saying, “I think our library handled this masterfully.” [Pointer: JutGory]

5. More reasons why Americans don’t trust health authorities. This is weird. Dr. Michelle Fiscus served as Tennessee’s medical director of vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization until she released she released a memo citing a state law that she suggested allowed minors to get medical care without their parents’ permission. Fiscus was accused by some legislaators of trying to undermine parental authority in health matter, and Fiscus was fired not long after the controversy began.

Fiscus then claimed that a dog muzzle was delivered to her home a week before to her termination, and she regarded it as a threat. The Tennessee Department of Health officials contacted the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security (TDOSHS) about the incident, and Fiscus told investigators she had no knowledge of who sent the muzzle.

The investigation has been completed. She sent the muzzle to herself. [Pointer: JutGory again!]

11 thoughts on “Evening Ethics, 8/19/2021: Those Were The Days…

  1. How long would it take for a librarian to scan through a comic book and just make sure it’s not pornography? Two minutes? Are they really that busy down at the Farmingdale Public Library? It’s freaking pictures.

    Best part of that story is the last line: “Podolski said the library will not participate in Free Comic Book Day again.” Well, there you go. If it’s too hard to do something (a thing that is very easy, it should be said) with a minimal level of competence, just stop doing it. Presumably, the library thought participating in this program had been a benefit to its patrons and community for the previous six years, but they screwed up in a totally preventable way, so everyone gets deprived. Excellent work all around.

    • The article said it was a promotion by a particular company. It’s fair to say the company broke the library’s trust. The only difference in response should have been the library firing the company before they distributed the dirty comic to children.

  2. #5: Some wags suggested her husband actually ordered the muzzle. Listening to her, I wouldn’t entirely rule out that possibility.

  3. 1. Denzel is also better than Poitier, although it is fair to say that Poitier never had the option of being as versatile as Washington. If Sidney Poitier is cinema’s Jackie Robinson, Denzel Washington is its Willie Mays.

    That was an excellent comparison/contrast, and I think it is as spot on as it can be. Now you’ve motivated me to go back and watch some Poitier movies, which I haven’t seen in multiple decades.

    2. Redefining reality to get around inconvenient truths and principles is as Orwellian as it gets.

    Perhaps this deserves it’s own ethics rationalization? “It isn’t what it is” doesn’t quite seem to fit. To me, this seems novel, redefining reality to avoid running afoul of obvious societal stop signs. Kind of like evading traffic control devices by going through parking lots.

    3. The story is that he is a vocal anti-vaccine advocate, and was discouraging Sox minor leaguers from getting vaccinated.

    The new scarlet letter — opposing the vaccine.

    4. Laurie Rozakis, Vice President of the library’s Board of Trustees, praised Podolski’s handling of the situation, saying, “I think our library handled this masterfully.”

    More redefinition — incompetence as a virtue.

    5. The investigation has been completed. She sent the muzzle to herself.

    Obviously, we have seen a lot of this. If you don’t have enough [pick among racist/murderous/hateful and probably others] out there to fill your immediate need, create one out of thin air.

    Miscellaneous: He never plaid a villain: like many stars…

    Ugh. That one grates, might want to fix it.

  4. “No Need to Know, but I’m curious just the same” Dept.: What does Jut Gory read or is he just reading very, very carefully?

  5. 4. Man, am I old. My Aunt Catherine was a long-time librarian in various schools and my mother ran our parochial grade school’s library as a volunteer while my brother and I attended. When did librarians and teachers stop confiscating comic book and start distributing them for free the way the military gave out free cigarettes to combat troops? Kids can get comic books anywhere. They can get books at libraries and should be encouraged to do so. This is pathetic. Talk about lowering standards. Why not simply turn them on their collective head?

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