1. More evidence that social media corrupts everything it touches…In an interview about her hit HBO mini-series “Mare of Eastham” (not bad, if you like being depressed), actress Kate Winslet revealed that actresses are sometimes cast in plum roles by producers because they have more social media followers than actresses who are better suited for the parts. Considering fake Twitter followers can be bought, this is strong incentive for actors to cheat. It isn’t that Twitter itself is unethical, just that it is a catalyst for unethical conduct in so many ways. Again permit me to quote the Amityville House: “GET OUT!!!“
2. Speaking of actors, Frederick March has been cancelled by his alma mater. University of Wisconsin officials have removed the late, great Fredric March’s name from campus theaters. March is one of the greatest and most prolific of American film actors who also had a distinguished stage career, despite the fact that few under the age of 60 today could identify him. (His most acclaimed movie is the iconic “The Best Years of Our Lives,” and the role most would recognize is probably his performance opposite Spencer Tracy in “Inherit the Wind,” where March channels William Jennings Bryan.) March’s artistic achievements and his mastery of his craft certainly make him an appropriate figure to memorialize with a theater, except for one detail: when March was a student over a hundred years ago, he joined an organization called the Ku Klux Klan that apparently had no affiliation with the notorious racist and nativist Southern organization of the same name. John MacWhorter explains the confusion here.
Investigations into March’s beliefs and activities show that, if anything, he was a vocal opponent of racism all of his life, so tarring him as a Klansman is unfair and untrue. But in 2018, the university took his name off the Fredric March Play Circle Theater on the Madison campus, and did the same this year to a theater on its Oshkosh campus. After all, students need to fell “safe” from a dead actor’s naive conduct before anyone had heard of him a century ago because of the accidental death of a petty criminal and drug addict under the knee of a brutal cop. McWhorter quotes a Madison student actor as saying, “I cannot believe that my friends and I have been performing in a space named after someone who would have considered all of us to be lesser beings…I find it so ironic that we are sharing our intersectional stories in a theater that honors a racist.” Ah, yes, the Great Stupid, where Facts Don’t Matter.
But I don’t think the University of Wisconsin had much choice but to consign March’s memorials to Cancel Culture Hell. If the school had to spend tens of thousands to remove a giant boulder that was once called a “niggerhead” because students protested, administrators were only being realistic to conceded that they could only lose if they tried to defend Frederick March….unless and until they did a better job teaching students to think.
3. Thank God the Biden Administration has returned openness and trustworthiness to government! From the New York Times yesterday:
“The Pentagon acknowledged on Friday that the last U.S. drone strike before American troops withdrew from Afghanistan was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, after initially saying it had been necessary to prevent an attack on troops….Almost everything senior defense officials asserted in the hours, and then days, and then weeks after the Aug. 29 drone strike turned out to be false. The explosives the military claimed were loaded in the trunk of a white Toyota sedan struck by the drone’s Hellfire missile were probably water bottles, and a secondary explosion in the courtyard in a densely populated Kabul neighborhood where the attack took place was probably a propane or gas tank, officials said….”
They didn’t “turn out to be false,” they were false, and the Pentagon was lying, just as the Biden Administration has lied about so many things regarding the Afghanistan withdrawal. In this instance, journalists doing their jobs (for a change) made the convenient lies impossible to maintain, but boy, the Administration sure tried. Then again, the memo has gone out from Democratic headquarters to make sure all headlines call this fiasco a “tragic mistake” rather than using the dreaded “C word,” cover-up. How quickly and loudly would Democrats in Congress be demanding investigations and accountability for such a botch if it occurred under Trump’s watch?
4. Why do the victims of the pandemic warrant memorials more than the victims of anything else? “More Than 600,000 White Flags On The National Mall Honor Lives Lost To COVID” says the NPR headline. “Hundreds of thousands of white flags honor the more than 670,000 people in the United States who have died from the coronavirus,” says the Times. First of all, the number is false. We know that all of those people didn’t “die from” the Wuhan virus. Many of them died from other illnesses and conditions while they had the virus, but the CDC decided to call them pandemic deaths anyway. Meanwhile, in 2019, 659,041 actually did die from cancer, and 599,601 died from heart disease. Why were there no flags put up for them? It’s simple, really: there was no perceived partisan, political advantage to be gained. The Axis of Unethical Conduct, the “resistance”/Democrats / and mainstream news media, are committed to spinning the pandemic to blame the deaths on Republicans in general, and Donald Trump in particular. “I’ve been grappling with when it became OK for even one person to die of preventable illness,” the Times story quotes one doctor as saying. In what respect were pandemic deaths uniquely “preventable”?
The memorial is agitprop, and nothing more.
5. Res ipsa loquitur deja vu! my favorite example of the legal principle of res ipsa loquitur, meaning that the existence of something alone is sufficient evidence to prove misconduct, comes from a 1918 court opinion in a lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds. The suit was brought by a customer who had chomped down on a rotting, severed human toe while trying to enjoy a chaw of chewing tobacco. The grossed out man first lost his case based on the theory of “let the buyer beware,” but he won on appeal when a judge ruled, among other things, that the plaintiff didn’t have to prove negligence, in such a case, because, the appellate judge wrote, he could not “imagine human toes could not be left out of chewing tobacco, and if toes are found in chewing tobacco, it seems to us that somebody has been very careless.”
Alert commenter JutGory, no doubt recalling this case (which I have mentioned here before), sent me this story out of Bolivia. A woman bit into a burger at a fast food restaurant and discovered she was eating a decomposing human finger. (She took photos!) After she reported the disgusting garnish, the establishment continued “serving customers like nothing had happened,” she wrote. After her post went viral, a company spokesperson called the discovery an “unfortunate incident” and explained that an employee had lost part of a finger while prepping the meat. He just didn’t bother to tell anybody. The company is being fined, but so far, it is unknown whether the woman will file a lawsuit. I doubt that U.S. cases are considered precedent in Bolivia.
6. Finally, Curmie has provided interesting commentary on the nursing student who was kicked out of a program for doing exactly what she was assigned to do. Ethics Alarms beat Curmie to the web on the story with this post, but only because he sent me a tip. As usual, Curmie’s insider perspective on the weird, weird world of higher education is both edifying and entertaining.