Meat Loaf has died. The hilariously theatrical pop singer with the big voice was responsible for one of the great ethics songs: “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.” It packed almost everything into one epic musical journey: temptation, non-ethical considerations vs. ethics, betrayal, consequences and cosmic retribution.
Absent a last-minute reprieve or a relapse of whatever it is that I’ve been battling, this looks like the final day for our especially lovely, inspiring Christmas tree. I always feel like I’m making the world a little meaner and less hopeful when I take it down. This post, from three years ago, still stands.
In U.S. ethics history, January 21 stands for one of the more significant pardons in American Presidential annals, because in 1977 Jimmy Carter pardoned all those young men, hundreds of thousands of them, who had fled to Canada rather than risk being drafted to fight in Vietnam. (Only half came back. I am tempted to say, “Good!,” but I won’t…) Those who left as a matter of principle and those who ran off because they wouldn’t have fought for their country under any circumstances (this was the era of “Better Red than Dead,” after all) were treated the same. It was a utilitarian trade-off, and whether the President’s decision was unethical (my Vietnam vet friends said it made them feel like suckers) or ethical (it definitely helped heal the national divisions over that misguided conflict), it was certainly brave and consequential. For example, that single act probably killed the draft as much as anything else.
Feel free to debate that issue here; I’m not up to it today myself. There won’t be the usual Friday Open Forum because there was one just two days ago (and it’s still open!). Full disclosure: in my fevered state, I really thought it was Friday when it was Wednesday.
1. This video is worrisome if it’s genuine, and it may not be. A young woman freaks out after getting a positive Wuhan variant test result, and acts as if she’s been sentenced to die on the rack and wheel. I fear this is what two years of politically-driven pandemic hysteria is turning our rising generations into: cowards, whiners, phobics and weenies. Her tearful lament ““The coolest characteristic about myself is that I haven’t gotten it!” is particularly nauseating.
2. Boy, I wish I could trust polls more than I do, but I don’t. A Marist Poll, published yesterday, determined that 71% of Americans support some legal limits on abortion, with 17% feeling that abortion should be illegal and 44% believing that states should be able to decide, which was the pre-Roe situation. The poll, which surveyed approximately 1,000 U.S. adults between January 4 and January 9, undercuts the oft-heard claim by abortion advocates that the public is “overwhelmingly pro-choice.” I’ve never believed that, but this means that confirmation bias makes me prone to believe this latest poll.
In one question, respondents were asked to choose among six options:
- “Abortion should be available to a woman at any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy”
- “Abortion should be allowed only during the first six months of a pregnancy”
- “Abortion should be allowed only during the first three months of a pregnancy”
- “Abortion should be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother”
- “Abortion should be allowed only to save the life of the mother”
- “Abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance”
71% of respondents indicated that abortion should not be permitted past three months of pregnancy.
3. I’m shocked, shocked! that Howard Stern is a jerk! Well, not really. I’m enjoying reading the expressions of betrayal from aging conservative pundits over shock-jock Howard Stern’s support for government vaccine and mask mandates. “When are we gonna stop putting up with the idiots in this country and just say it’s mandatory to get vaccinated?” Stern said on Sirius in September of 2021, “Fuck ’em. Fuck their freedom. I want my freedom to live. I want to get out of the house already. I want to go next door and play chess. I want to go take some pictures. This is bullshit.” These conservatives thought politically incorrect Howard was hilarious back in the days when he was asking guests how they masturbated and getting loud mouth celebrities (like Donald Trump) to make asses of themselves with sexist comments while his female, black Ed McMahon, Robin Quivers, played enabling toady. Yeccch. It was always clear to me that Stern was a cynical jerk; I never found him clever or funny, and I have to say, anyone who told me they were a fan dropped precipitously on my cognitive dissonance scale.
4. Speaking of toxic jerks…Alec Baldwin still hasn’t turned over his cellphone to police nearly a month after New Mexico authorities secured a search warrant for the device following his fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has more trouble of his own making. The family of a Marine killed in Afghanistan during the Biden administration’s chaotic troop withdrawal has sued Baldwin for defamation, $25 million worth. Rylee McCollum was one of 13 US service members killed in the bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghanistan chaos following the Taliban takeover. Baldwin sent a $5,000 check to his widow, Jiennah Crayton, and her newborn baby. But when Crayton posted a selfie on Instagram of her participating in the January 6, 2021 rally at the Washington Monument, Baldwin exploded with rage, as he is prone to do. The actor accused her of being an “insurrectionist” and part of the Capitol riot (she was not), and posted, “Your activities resulted in the unlawful destruction of government property, the death of a law enforcement officer, an assault on the certification of the presidential election. I reposted your photo. Good luck.”
One more time: no law enforcement officer died in the riot, and Crayton wasn’t involved anyway. Publicly asserting a false fact along with trying to sic violent Trump Deranged nutcases (who else would follow Baldwin on social media?)on the woman might well cause Baldwin to lose that lawsuit. His career for some time has been an excellent example of the King’s Pass in action along with Hollywood’s biases: a conservative actor with Baldwin’s miserable character (and without his considerable talent) would have been blackballed long ago.