Saturday Ethics Jaunts, 1/22/2022: Feeling Much Better, Thanks!

Just a bit of fatigue hanging on from whatever it was that laid me low this week, so now I have no excuse at all for all these half-done posts lying around…

1. Here’s a Lack Of Self-Awareness classic from the Huffington Post: “My Gentle, Intelligent Brother Is Now A Conspiracy Theorist And His Beliefs Are Shocking.”

To begin with, writer Sue Manchester’s “intelligent brother” doesn’t sound very intelligent, since she says he believes that

“…there’s a tunnel from Washington, D.C., to LA that takes half an hour on a bullet train. There’s a whole fucking society that lives underground. In Australia, there’s [a tunnel] all the way around the continent and it’s being used for human trafficking and organ harvesting and basically using human beings like cattle. JFK found out about it 50 years ago, and it’s taken 50 years to drive them out”

Not to be nit-picky, but 50 years ago JFK had been dead for 9 years, and Bro sounds to me like he needs psychiatric help. Sis, however, uses him as a symbol of all conservatives, and after blaming his delusions on cognitive dissonance, tries to slip a cognitive dissonance trick by the reliably woke and deranged Huffington Post readers, writing that  “leaders who spread conspiracy theories to the ‘captive minds’ of their followers.. take[s] pleasure in both self-aggrandizement and the destruction of others….” like Hitler and Jim Jones and guess who? Yes, Donald Trump, of course, all who “appeal to masses of people who feel powerless, deprived and downtrodden…terrifying half of us but emboldening the other half.” It soon becomes evident that Manchester just subscribes to different imaginary theories than her brother, like the belief that the National Rifle Association employs “fear and conspiracy and hatred of ‘the other'” to “drive and win political races, as well as drive record sales of unhealthy firearms” like all those “automatic weapons” flooding the streets. Winchester tells us she (unlike her brother) is “balanced” because she’s a Libra…yes, she believes in Astrology. Her conspiracy addled brother, in contrast, believes that the news media hides things from the public!

2. Lesson: You just can’t win! British Vogue is under fire for a cover celebrating the rise of black models, once a rare category, with this photo:

Vogue says: “The nine models gracing the cover are representative of an ongoing seismic shift that became more pronounced on the SS22 runways; awash with dark-skinned models whose African heritage stretched from Senegal to Rwanda to South Sudan to Nigeria to Ethiopia. For an industry long criticized for its lack of diversity, as well as for perpetuating beauty standards seen through a Eurocentric lens, this change is momentous.” But critics say the photo makes blackness seem creepy and threatening.

The photographs were taken by black Brazilian photographer Rafael Pavarotti, who specializes in such dark compositions. Undoubtedly if a white photographer had presented the group this way, it would have been condemned as the product of a racist bias, like the infamous TIME cover making O.J. Simpson look darker than he was. Even with a black artist behind the lens, it’s still not good enough to avoid accusations of racial injustice. CNN, which specializes in race-baiting, asks, “Was this the best way to celebrate Black beauty?” [Pointer: Althouse]

3. Message delivered. Monica Rozman, a Clemson University undergraduate admissions counselor, wrote on her personal Snapchat recommending that applicants avoid noting that they are Republicans but

…if you’re gonna talk about being Republican (1) don’t act like it’s an oppressed group bc it’s not and (2) unless you ACTIVELY DENOUNCE the white supremacy and misogyny, etc., within your party, you are going out of your way to identify with an oppressive group. Like? Don’t,”

Grilled by Campus Reform about the post, Associate Vice President for Strategic Communication Joe Galbraith said that Rozman’s statements “are not consistent with the admissions policies or practices” of the university. Oh, yeah? Why did she feel secure writing that, then? Galbraith emphasized that Rozman didn’t make admissions decisions, but she’s obviously reflecting the culture of her workplace, I assume. I’m pretty sure that an applicant stating that she’s a progressive or a supporter of Black Lives Matter doesn’t receive a similar negative reaction.

When I applied to college, my political views and affiliations never occurred to me to be relevant in the least. They still shouldn’t be.

4. Speaking of Big Lies and conspiracy theories, I have now read several non-conservative pundits (and a lot of conservative ones) pointing out that the Biden/Harris/Schumer narrative about Republicans threatening “voting rights” and “access to the polls” is fiction—a conspiracy theory in fact. (I bet Sue Manchester believes it!). In Andrew Sullivan’s latest “progressives and Democrats are being outrageous but I can’t afford to be too critical or they won’t like me” post on substack, he writes,

If we are in a crisis of voter suppression, it’s a very strange one. The evidence that Republican vote-suppression tactics actually work in practice is absent; the assumption that higher turnout always benefits Democrats is highly dubious; and many Democratic states have appallingly cumbersome electoral systems, like New York’s. Does that make Chuck Schumer a “white supremacist”?

More to the point, laws — like that recently passed in Georgia — are far from the nightmares that Dems have described, and contain some expansion of access to voting. Georgians, and Americans in general, overwhelmingly support voter ID laws, for example. Such laws poll strongly even among allegedly disenfranchised African-Americans…

The conservative New York Post editorial board writes,

Biden & Co insist this is Jim Crow 2.0, with the prez Wednesday complaining of “how hard they make it for minorities to vote,” followed by Harris’ “blatant erosion of our democracy.” Ridiculous: By this standard, Biden never won a legitimate election in all his decades in the Senate, because Delaware made (and still makes) it far tougher to vote than what the prez now says is the only standard for “legitimate.” Oh, Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York’s entire delegation to Congress aren’t legit, either, since the Empire State has never met the “legitimate” standard.

It would be reassuring to see the New York Times or Washington Post editors be equally clear on this point. Why won’t they? (It’s a rhetorical question.)

5. Here’s another rhetorical question: Why does MSNBC employ an outright racist like Joy Reid as host? Interviewing transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, on her show, Reid asked him about the wisdom of passing the infrastructure bill, saying,

Do you think it was a mistake, looking back? Because the infrastructure bill that was passed was cleaved apart from what’s now being called Build Back Better. And in a sense, it’s a bill that’s like a white guy employment act. Right? There is going to be a lot of working-class men that are going to get employed by that bill. But that’s the very cohort that is much more likely to reward Republicans for that. That’s who they vote for. Most working-class white guys vote Republican. Meanwhile, all the stuff for the women, for moms, for people who need childcare, for people of color, that’s going to affect climate, which young people really care about, you know, extending the child tax credit, all the stuff that helps families and women and younger people and people with college debt, all that got dropped. Do you think it was a mistake to split those bills?

I would have given my left testicle to hear Buttigieg answer, “Wow, you really are a dumb racist, aren’t you?” Instead, he politely pointed out that maintaining and improving the infrastructure benefits the whole nation up and down the sociology-economic scale, regardless of race. He at least could have noted that responsible public policy should not be dictated by partisan election strategy, and that linking infrastructure bills to unrelated social programs is one reason the nation’s infrastructure is in such desperate shape.

6. I missed this…sorry. Prof. Turley posted about a what appears to be another outrageous example of “Facts Don’t Matter.” Leftist legal gossip site “Above the Law”—I am proud to remind everyone that ABL imaginatively labeled me a sexist few years back—claimed that William H. Pryor Jr., chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, had hired a racist law clerk based on “reports” on what she had said to others and written on social media in posts nobody could recover. In quick succession other news sources picked up the claim, including Ruth Marcus (you remember Ruth, don’t you?) who wrote a column in the Washington Post asking “Why is a prominent federal judge hiring a law clerk who said she hates Black people?” But when the Court did an investigation, it found no evidence of racist statements or conduct by the clerk.

Turley goes into great detail on the question of whether a successful lawsuit can be brought against ATL. Marcus, of course, was using another source to write her opinion. But it is one more piece of evidence, as if any more were needed, that the bias of the mainstream media is no “conspiracy theory.”




6 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Jaunts, 1/22/2022: Feeling Much Better, Thanks!

  1. Glad you’re feeling better, Jack!

    2. Well, I do agree that the photo isn’t a very good one. Specialist in dark compositions or not, I can barely make out what their clothing is supposed to look like. Did they have to make the models wear all black? It’s not clever, it’s not flattering, and it just makes them all blend together into a giant blob. They’re individuals, so how about letting them wear unique and diverse outfits?

    Especially since three of them appear to be wearing oversized men’s suits. I realize high fashion has to look ridiculous to hide that it’s out of ideas, but that just looks goofy and awkward.

    Oh, and are they all required to straighten their hair as models? I can see why people complain about Eurocentrism if they’re hiring models from diverse ethnic groups while still making them conform to European appearance conventions.

    Then again, conformity is what fashion is all about. I suppose if they started using more African influences it’d be cultural appropriation, instead of representation. And even if the designer were African, people without African heritage couldn’t be allowed to wear African-inspired clothing, because… it hurts people’s feelings. It seems like that would limit the potential market for such clothing. “Learn but don’t participate,” that’s the ticket. I’m getting off track… I’d better hurry up and finish those articles so I can finish the article on cultural appropriation.

  2. 1.) Oh, is that all? I thought it was going to be something truly insane, like denying that Jan 6th is the most consequential day in U.S. history in the last century or some such thing.

  3. 3. Clemson? Clemson? Winner of how many ACC football championships and National Championships? In football? You know, the sport where you get a bunch of bereft black kids who are barely able to read and write to “play the football” for a few years before they are injured or age out for your crazed white redneck fans who can run faster or otherwise beat the shit out of the bereft black kids employed by the University of Alabama or some other white supremacist outfit? That Clemson University? All I can say is “Go Tigers! And where’s my bourbon?” That woke Clemson University?


  4. 1. I am a charter member of the skeptics club when it comes to conspiracy theories. I believe 9/11 was NOT an inside job, that Lee Harvey Oswald was a crackpot who acted alone, that Area 51 is what it is, an area for testing new aircraft designs away from prying eyes, and that anyone who believes otherwise is either in denial or an idiot. I believe there are no such things as lake monsters, Pacific Northwest primates, or valleys that time forgot in Africa. Oh, and the legend of Atlantis is just man’s tendency to take facts, in this case the Thera eruption, and make them bigger and better. I also take stories of religious visions with a grain of salt – children looking for attention or hallucinations.

    This woman’s brother is an idiot, there’s no question of that. She is just as big of an idiot, it’s just that her kind of idiocy is in fashion now. The idea that an organization that focuses on the freedom to keep and bear those icky guns or that a loudmouth, right wing populist might have hit a chord with people who felt ignored after eight years of Obama’s incompetence and arrogance are just things she can’t comprehend, so she fills in the gaps with her imagination.

    2. Lousy editing that makes some of the models look like space aliens out of Avatar. However, this time they can’t blame racism because the photographer was himself black, so they fumble for something else.

    3. Well, they say college is supposed to prepare you for the real world. I guess they are doing you a favor by establishing from the get-go that when you get out in the real world, it’s going to be “if you don’t have something liberal to say, then shut up, bigot!”

    4. Voting rights is quickly becoming another one of those issues, like Ireland, homosexuality, etc., that causes people’s brains to turn to liquid and trickle out their ears. But hey, sometimes that works to certain folks’ advantage, so they are happy to make their followers’ heads as empty as they possibly can, so they can stuff them with their own lies.

    5. Because she’s the good kind of racist that demonizes white people, sorry, shines a spotlight on and calls out white privilege, not the eeeeevil kind that killed George Floyd.

    6. Nah, it’s not bias, just diligence in making sure anyone who might have held some out of fashion views before 2020 gets locked out of society, after all, better safe than sorry, right? Oh, and about that post you made back in 2014? The Division of Equity is going to want a word with you. If you refuse, your internet access will be cut off.

  5. Regarding #1, this quote is very helpful in evaluating the author’s general argument:

    “As a Libra, I pride myself on finding balance.”

    This statement makes the prepositional phrase that opens the very next sentence all the more frightening:

    “As a local politician,….”


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