Open Forum, Most Ethical Time Of The Year Edition…

Hit it, Andy!

It’s the most ethical time of the year!
With the generous giving
As people start living like everyone’s dear
It’s the most ethical time of the year!

It’s the Gold-Goldenest Rule time of all
When the ethical virtues call us to assert news

That Hope is on call!
It’s the Do Unto-est season of all…

There’s epiphanies coming
And carols for humming
Reminding us how to be kind
There’ll be joyful surprises
As Man realizes the good will a Christmas can find…

It’s the most ethical time of the year
With Emanuel Kanting
And wishes for granting
When loved ones are near
It’s the most ethical time of the year!

22 thoughts on “Open Forum, Most Ethical Time Of The Year Edition…

  1. The results of the Jussie Smollett trial establishes two (2) things:

    *The person responsible for the RAYcist Hate Crime against Smollet has been found guilty, and
    *In an unprecedented “Tail Wags Dog” manner, an American has scammed not just one (1), but two (2), Nigerians…

  2. I’ve been on this before, but I’m still pulling away from the whole streaming to make money by donations. I was watching a streamer the other day whole was telling a story about the time someone gave him $10,000. It turns out it was a kid who had stolen his mother’s paypal password. Palpal refused to give the money back because they said it constituted a ligament login. The guy was nice enough to refund the money but he had every right to keep it according to paypal. A system that encourages this type of behavior seems to be rife with abuse.

    I don’t know. This could be more ick than ethics. Perhaps my problem is people are just being irresponsible with their money.

    • I would say “ick” more than ethics. I’ve never donated to streams, but I can see the appeal. Streamers are essentially the new street performers. In some ways I think they’re better, because they are not taking up physical public space. Streamers also serve as advertising vehicles for the games or other products they use. When I’m looking into a game, I will often search for people playing that game to see how it handles outside of the official advertising. And of course games that are played by streamers I like are more likely to get my attention. And while there are plenty of things to dislike about streamers (foul language, gaming while underdressed, etc,) there is, I think, a certain skill that goes into crafting a style that people want to follow and donate money to. Streamers that get TOO obnoxious or greedy tend to lose followers pretty quickly, while the more popular ones are good sports, and interact positively with their fans.

    • I always struggle with where to say someone is irresponsible with money and how that is my problem. To be more precise, people have the right to spend their money however they choose and it is generally wrong of me to comment on whether or not that fancy dog collar, patreon support, trip to the casino, PS5, magic cards, another horse, or $5,000 to a political candidate is using the money poorly. That being said, I can think of a great many times when some people have wrecked their families with their financial irresponsibility.

      However, where is the line drawn on what is and isn’t irresponsible. To take an example that I feel a little guilty about, I like to buy a certain type of game that can only be played once, over the course of a little more than an hour. The game pieces are destroyed in the course of playing the game. I can justify this game to myself because it is a unique date night that doesn’t take up any additional space for less than half the cost of a babysitter.

      Another example is that of alcohol. My husband and I spend quite a bit of money on alcohol, that we enjoy on occasion. On the other hand, we have seen people spend less on alcohol and get sloshed every single night and ruin their lives as alcoholics.

      Nearly any expenditure someone makes, except for perhaps carrots, will cause someone to say, “that was irresponsible” and I suppose even carrots are going to get the “those have too many carbs to eat in a healthy manner” from someone. This comes down to giving people the benefit of the doubt. Yes, many if not most people are going to spend irresponsibly, but unless we are in charge of lending them money, I’m not sure that we can make judgements about how someone else spends their money. This seems more ick than ethics to me.

      However, I am open to being convinced otherwise.

      • I collect figures of knights, some very pricey and made to order. One very religious friend told me it was “unbiblical” to spend money on those kind of collectibles, and it would be better to send it to charity than buy “expensive paperweights.” Well, that’s nice, but unless I get to the point of poor stewardship of resources, I decide what I do with what I earn, and I do not decide to donate it.

        Too many charities pay 6-figure salaries to executives and have overhead that uses up 90% of what they take in. Too many charities come knocking again too soon after you donate. I still remember when one of the PBS channels in eastern PA came knocking in November after I’d bought a concert ticket through them in September, saying they were facing “an unexpected shortfall” and hoping I would “dig a little deeper.” I folded up the letter and filed it.

        In the circular file.

        • Steve-O

          In regard to your friend, I am reminded of Pope Leo’s statement that “once the demands of necessity and propriety have been met, the rest that one owns belongs to the poor.”

          That being said, I agree with you mostly. Indeed, even if one were to take the Pope’s words (non-binding as they were not ex-cathdra) at face value, a great deal of ink has been shed on “propriety”. I do give to charity (my favorite is almost opposite your example for percentages spent, but identical in the continued pleading for more) and think everyone should, but what charity, when, and how much (stewardship is the combination of time talent AND treasure, not just treasure) is between you, your spouse/family, and God. I think that while we should all give to those who through no fault of their own have nothing, I’m not going to demand someone else do it for me or force anyone else to. Our money is, within reason, our own to do with as we see fit.

      • “To be more precise, people have the right to spend their money however they choose and it is generally wrong of me to comment on whether or not that fancy dog collar, patreon support, trip to the casino, PS5, magic cards, another horse, or $5,000 to a political candidate is using the money poorly.”

        Quietly pushes my extensive magic card collection under the bed…

        Yeah, its not so much about having a hobby. I know plenty of people who spend quite a bit on a hobby and those hobbies can be expensive. I play golf, board games, and MTG none of which are exactly cheap, but streamers seems to exploit people on a different level especially people who think they might get something out of it, the younger generation, who has no concept of money who would otherwise really need it.

        It bothers me even more when it has to do with people who are just talking, mostly in skimpy outfits. They aren’t saying or offering anything profound, but then these people are getting money from people in hopes of maybe a chance for something else.

        • “I play golf, board games, and MTG.”

          Two wins and an awful third hobby. Shame on you, golfer. /teasing/

          I love MTG and board games.

          I understand your concern, I am just not sure it is exploitative. I’ve watched the occasional stream (I like Super Mario Speedrunners) but never paid. I would almost think that most apps with in app purchases are more exploitative than those.

          That being said, the goal of many people has been fleecing people of their money, whether or not they can afford it. Vegas is just as guilty of this as movie/TV show/Toy companies. The numbers have gotten bigger, but I’m not sure it is different than when we as kids spent all out allowances on the latest and greatest. (My age is strictly a secret so I cannot talk about those cheap plastic discs with stickers that were the rage back when I was a kid , or perhaps I just am so embarrassed by spending money on them that I cannot remember their names.)

          • I cannot talk about those cheap plastic discs with stickers that were the rage back when I was a kid..

            Are you talking about Pogs? And you gave me grief about golf?

            Yeah, I agree with you on in app purchases. My son constantly ask me for something called Roblox. I have constantly told him its a scam. If you have to play to win, you aren’t really playing. I agree with you on Casinos, but I kind of figured that as low hanging fruit. I don’t go to those because I’m pretty sure I would get addicted it.

            Unrelated: What was the game you were talking about that was a one and done thing that can be played in an hour? I’ve never heard of games like that. Personally, I think if you can’t spend 8 hours conquering Mecatol Rex the game isn’t worth it, but I’m up for trying new ones (if you get the reference you might be my new best friend).

            • Yeah…Pogs. I was young and impressionable.

              I’ve never played Twilight Imperium. I was referring to Exit The Game and/or Escape the Crate (an every other month subscription box). They are “escape rooms” in boxes. Exit is about $15 on sale (when I get them) and the crates are around $35, but they have two one-hour sessions in them. As a note, it only takes one hour if you are good. We have spent much longer on these when we just didn’t get anything figured out. Both have adequate hints and solutions if you want, but my husband is stubborn.

      • Sarah
        Every consumer buys only what they believe will yield the highest level of value or satisfaction at a specific point in time. Everything bought is a subjective value judgement which no one other than the individual can assess. We can believe that some purchases are irresponsible by others but the level of utility for the other person may be astronomical right at that second of purchase. People seek to maximize utility so unless those we believe are making irresponsible purchases begin demanding other’s subsidize their “needs” directly or indirectly do we have need to concern ourselves with what people buy.

    • So I have recently decided to support one of the streamers that I watch extensively via Patreon. He is an expert on a particular factory game that I also play and has posted many many You Tube videos on that and other games, as well as streaming on Twitch 6 days a week. You can see just how he built his following bit by bit over the years with consistently excellent commentary and advice.

      Were there people who made a living by touring and giving lectures and many venues? This might be somewhat similar, or you might liken it to a street busker. Perhaps one difference is that streamers provide education, tips, and tricks for people who play these sort of games.

      I also think that it is not too hard to sift out the person who is just in it for money, without really provide much value. From what I’ve seen a lot of the audience for such streamers are pretty sophisticated and tend to be knowledgeable. If someone feels free to point out the minutia you’ve gotten wrong, you need to also know what you’re doing.

      Personally, I’ve bought a lot of games for my computer over the years, to the point where I’m not able to play all of them. But it’s my hobby — I used to collect board war games back when SPI was in business, if anyone remembers that name.

  3. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/charlottesville-african-american-museum-will-melt-down-robert-e-lee-statue-create-work-of-art/vi-AARBARF

    Something is dead wrong about a museum, which is by nature dedicated to the preservation of the past, even out of the general public view, instead participating in the destruction and rewriting of the past. You know where they did things like that? The USSR, where art was harnessed to be a propaganda organ of the state, and every museum, gallery, orchestra and dance company was dedicated first to pushing forward the State’s narrative before anything else, and anything that didn’t do that was pushed into the background or destroyed. The world is damn lucky that Russia was able to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Savior that was blown up (!) to make way for a “Palace of the Soviets” that never materialized due to WWII. The world is also damn lucky that the Soviets were nothing if not practical, and repurposed most other buildings (including churches and synagogues) rather than destroying them outright, and still didn’t quite dare to destroy things like the tomb of St. Alexander Peresviet (maybe useful as a nationalist hero) or the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov (though they hid them away for a time). Otherwise, the physical link to all that history would be lost. Know where else they did things like that? Reformation England under the bigoted rule of Henry VIII and later Cromwell. You can still go to Canterbury Cathedral, but you can’t see the jeweled shrine of St. Thomas Becket. In fact I think the only one of those shrines that didn’t get trashed was the one of St. Edward the Confessor, which no one was brave (or hateful) enough to destroy, and still rests in Westminster Abbey. Know where they’re doing things like that now? Afghanistan under the Taliban, and up until recently the parts of Iraq that were controlled by ISIS.

    This won’t be the first, you mark my words. I really don’t like the idea of every city now raising honors to George Floyd as almost all of them did to MLK, who was on a much higher lever. I’m also going to be very disgusted if statues of Columbus, some raised by Italian-American communities by public subscription and donation as a thank-you to the communities where they got their start, begin to be melted down and reforged into either apologetic native statues or statues from the new pantheon of martyrs. It’s not about apologies, it’s not about correcting the historical record, and it’s not about righting long-standing wrongs (which it’s never too late to right, especially if you’re on the left). It’s a modern-day attempt to erase the past and erase what came before, so that those who come after will never know things were any different, or will believe the past was wrong, and be that much easier to feed whatever the government narrative is. It’s disgusting, unethical, and WRONG for institutions supposedly devoted to the preservation of history and the past to become parties to destroying it.

    This also raises the question of ethical use of a gift. It’s one thing for you and me as individuals to quietly re-gift bottles of wine we don’t care for, or put a painting or vase that doesn’t fit with the décor in a back room where few see it. Public repudiation or destruction of a gift is something else altogether. If you reject a thoughtful gift that someone went to a lot of trouble to get and give, or you destroy it, or you melt it down and make it into something else, then you are sending a message. That message is that I reject what you gave me, I reject you, and I don’t think the effort you put into this or what it stands for is worthwhile, so much so that I want to make sure the world knows it. Maybe giving a gift back that is no longer usable or keepable is one thing, which is why it’s not as bad to relocate controversial statues or give them back to the organizations that gave them for display, but even that smacks of public disfavor, something that isn’t supposed to be passed out on the basis of one group over another. It makes me think of a twice divorced friend who took her engagement ring and had the diamonds (it had three, one large, two smaller) reset into a necklace and earrings. In effect she was publicly showing her ex she was done with him, and all he gave her was being repurposed just for her. It’s definitely NOT like my dad taking Mom’s rather plain engagement ring and resetting it with the diamond that had belonged to her mother (she had died) and one that had been in a rather gaudy pinky ring he’d been given (the giver was long dead) for their 30th. Gifts should not be weaponized to hurt the givers.

    On a slightly lighter note, of course none of this applies if someone has given you a joke gift (i.e. giving the female intern a sweater two sizes too small and pressing her to try it on) or intentionally offensive gift (i.e. giving someone who collects something you think is stupid a garbage can and saying “it’s a place to put all that stuff you collect.”). In that case you’re well within your rights to say “no thanks, I won’t play the “let’s embarrass me and call it a gift” game.” It’s also not ethical to weaponize gift-giving to hurt or embarrass the recipient. So, as we move toward the holidays, think twice before you give. Don’t give someone who’s put on weight a gym membership (unless asked for), don’t give a relative you think is too gruff a Dale Carnegie book, don’t give books of the opposite political persuasion to the recipient, and, if you are about to leave for a celebration and realize you forgot to get a gift for someone, don’t, I repeat DON’T, just grab some unused something from your dusty top shelf or guest room so you don’t show up empty-handed (everyone can see what you did). Trusting you’ve taught your kids ethically about presents also, so they don’t, as my cousin’s kids did one year, count guests, then count boxes, and loudly say they’re however many boxes short, and wonder who didn’t come through for them, or, as I have to admit some of my generation did, rate the gifts we received and comment on how cool or how lame they were…before the guests had left.

    • Your reference to Cromwell reminds me of perhaps my absolute favorite piece of statuary anywhere. When Cromwell’s forces conquered Galway, Ireland, as a special insult to the overwhelmingly Catholic city, he ordered the 14th century Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas to be used to stable the army’s horses, and had his men take hammers and chisels to literally de-face all the statues, friezes, etc., of saints, angels, and church benefactors.
      But they missed one. A little over head high, on a pillar near the center of the church, remains the image of an angel with a beatific expression. He’s now known as the Smug Angel, and no trip to Galway is complete without visiting him.
      Years ago, I came across a quotation attributed to Francis Bacon (the 16th/17th century courtier and philosopher, not the 20th century painter): “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of one small candle.” Sometimes we need a reminder.

    • I read a different report of this same news story, and I found it interesting that the city council gave the Lee statue to the museum, specifically for the purpose of being melted down, after receiving thirty (30?) letters of support from individuals and groups. This in a city of 46,000 that is over 70% white and less than 19% African American. This is, as you said, a targeted message about who is in charge of defining the culture and what we can expect in the future. Message received and rejected!
      Wilmot Robertson told the tale almost 50 years ago in “The Dispossessed Majority,” but since all white people (especially men) are now supposed racists and white supremacists, we can’t put any credence in those ideas, you know.

  4. Recently we had reliably self-confessed career Lefty Sarah Silverman calling out reliably self-selected career Lefty imbecile Joy Reid.

    Then we have this, from not only career Indian Lefty Debasish Roy Chowdhury, but posted in the reliably Lefty Time.com:

    Joe Biden’s DEMOCRACY SUMMIT Is The Height Of Hypocrisy

    Quoth the talented Herr Chowdhury: “Having recently abandoned Afghanistan to an Islamist autocracy and famine, and now finalizing a $650 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden thought it would be a fine idea to hold a two-day virtual gathering on democracy, WHERE SOME OF ITS WORST OFFENDERS COULD POSE AS RESPONSIBLE UPHOLDERS OF FREEDOM AND DISPENSE HOMILIES ON HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD FROM THOSE LIKE THEMSELVES. (bolds/caps/italics mine)

    Is the worm turning?

    • I wonder if he really understands the conflicting and confounding messages he is sending to the nation and the world. Is he that astute or simply clueless? I mean, the other day he told the middle class to pay its fair share of gasoline prices. Really. He did. Here is the comment: “We’re making progress. We’re going to keep at it to ensure the American people are paying their fair share for gas — not being gouged for gas.” What does that even mean?

      jvb

      • It means, “If I don’t read what these kids put on the teleprompter for me to read, I’m going to get in trouble and they won’t let me have ice cream.”

  5. As usual, the Babylon Bee is on the job. Some current headlins:

    “Biden sends two guys holding horse reins to help defend Ukraine border.”

    “Beto surges to the lead for Governor of Texas in poll of Californians.”

    “Hilary Clinton to teach Masterclass on losing elections.”

    “Cruel: Jussie Smollett will be forced to share a jail cell with his attacker.”

    Just brilliant.

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