Saturday Ethics Reflux, 3/16/2022: Annoying Song Weekend Continues! [Corrected And Updated!]

Upon reflection, I don’t see how there could be a more annoying song than “Surfin’ Bird” by the appropriately named band, The Trashmen,” in 1963. It covers all the requirements: 1) It is repetitious 2) It has an ugly melody that is still an earworm. 3) It is sung by a soloist with an annoying voice. 4) The lyrics make no sense 5) it goes on and on forever. I think it was intended to be annoying. Incredibly, the song has been covered by other bands many times, and included in the soundtracks of several films, including Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.” It is also a running gag on the deliberately tasteless animated show “The Family Guy,” ever since there was an episode in which Peter wouldn’t stop singing it and drove his family nuts.

1. Abandoned scooters: The birth of an unethical slippery slope. The number of those E-scooters that users just leave wherever they feel like leaving them has multiplied vastly: I can see four from my office window. Some riders leave them blocking sidewalks, driveways and roads. I’d like to see an ordinance making the E-scooter distributors liable for tickets when the damn things are left on private property or city property where they are a hazard or an obstruction. But I digress; here is the slippery slope: children in my neighborhood now think that this is the proper way to care for all scooters. They are leaving their own, non-electric scooters wherever they lose interest in riding them. I saw four while walking Spuds this morning.

2. The Kings Pass/Star Syndrome in action. Wow, what an ethics swamp the NFL is—but you knew that. The NFL’s Cleveland Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson, giving up of six draft picks and paying him $230 million, despite the fact that 22 women, all massage therapists, accused him of sexually harassing them as he used their massage services. He denied any wrongdoing, they were just massage ladies, he was a big football star, they were nobodies, so in the classic battle of “he said/she said,” the grand jury believed the celebrity, as they usually do. As for Watson, his explanation of his obsession with massage therapists was less than edifying. Asked the question, “Deshaun, as details have come out, some people have wondered why you’ve used the number of massage therapists that you’ve used? Can you kind of explain that number?”

The Browns’ latest superstar replied,

“Uh yeah. I can’t get too far into the detail because there’s an ongoing investigation still, but I can say with this day and age, especially with my age group, social media is a big business part that goes into it. So that’s a factor into it, but as far as the details, I can’t get too far into it because there’s an investigation going on . Hopefully, once everything is resolved, I can speak freely on it.”

Oh. Deshaun reportedly used around 40 different massage therapist in a 5 year period, recruiting all of them via social media. Though the criminal charges never stuck, Browns will pay only $1.035 million of his new five-year, $230 million contract this season specifically to minimize the amount of money he’ll have to give up in the likely event of the NFL suspension he’s likely to get as he faces civil suits from all 22 of the therapists.

Yecchh.

3. Why is this even a controversy? A federal jury in Los Angeles has convicted Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) of three felony counts for lying to the FBI about a 2016 foreign campaign contribution. The nine-term  Republican Congressman was found guilty of scheming to falsify and conceal material facts, along with two counts of making false statements to federal investigators. So he resigns! Where’s the problem? The three felony charges  each carry a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for June 28. The news stories today were all about his promises of an appeal and resistance to resigning, and…as I write this, about to excoriate Republicans for not immediately telling this creep to hit the road, I learn that Fortenberry just agreed to resign a few minutes ago. Good! And…

4. In these cases, “a pox on both your houses” is appropriate.  A Maryland judge ruled yesterday that Democrats in the state had drawn an “extreme gerrymander” and threw out the state’s new congressional map. In other states, Republican attempts at gerrymandering have been thrown out. The New York Times recently admitted in an analysis that for the first time in decades, the breakdown of Democratic-leaning districts and Republican-leaning districts was roughly fair considering the likely demographics and locales of the two party’s voters. Why? Well, both parties were trying to cheat approximately as often as the other. For years now, Democrats have been lumping gerrymandering with the other alleged “voter suppression” schemes it claims those racist Republicans are up to, but parties with the power to do so have always attempted to rig districts to favor their candidates, and always will. It is absolutely unethical, but it is also a bi-partisan, traditional, unavoidable unethical practice, and either party claiming that it is unique to the other is lying.

5. UPDATE! Well, I got caught, again. At the end of the post, I even wrote, “The Free Beacon article is so over the top that I find myself wondering if Andrew Stiles, an editor, is being satirical.” He was, in fact, and the artical I was complaining about had a heading that read “PARODY,” which out of haste or failing eyesight, I missed. So for the second time in this post, I must evoke the immortal Emily Littella  and say,

 

However, though it does not excuse my mistake to say so, I do resent an allegedly serious news source suddenly engaging in fake commentary, nor the news aggregator that sent me to the link without suggesting that the piece was not genuine. Moreover, it is a mark of how untrustworthy the news is that the satire was believable. The calls for impeachment by Rep. Ilhan Omar and others are real. I find this to be an unethical parody, even as I apologize by being fooled by it.

Now here’s what I originally wrote:

Hey, look! Now conservatives are trying out the “racism” ploy! This is related to Part 2 of the Clarence Thomas conflict issue (no, I haven’t finished it yet), but it is too ridiculous to include there. Here’s the opening sally of a Washington Free Beacon freak-out headlined, “In Fit of Racially Charged Outrage, Democrats Target Supreme Court’s Only Black Justice for Impeachment: Party’s ugly segregationist past resurfaces as prominent interracial couple comes under attack.”

It begins,

“In an echo of the party’s racist past, prominent Democrats are demanding the Supreme Court’s lone black justice, Clarence Thomas, be fired from his job. The racially charged attacks are made all the more sinister by the fact that Thomas is married to a white woman, Virginia, who has also come under assault as a result of their interracial love.”

“Clarence Thomas needs to be impeached,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) wrote Thursday in response to revelations about the justice’s white wife. In an op-ed titled, “Why Democrats should impeach Justice Clarence Thomas,” MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan cited Thomas’s relationship with his wife as one of the main reasons why the black man should lose his job. The Women’s March, a Democratic-aligned activist group plagued by allegations of anti-Semitism, also called for Thomas to be impeached. The group’s executive director, Rachel O’Leary Carmona, said Thomas was “hopelessly compromised” as a result of his interracial marriage.”

This is truly dishonest, revolting journalism. Democrats and progressives would be similarly attacking any conservative SCOTUS justice whose wife was as active a hard-right advocate as Ginni Thomas. Race has nothing to do with it. The framing of the quote from Carmona is deliberately deceptive: she made no reference to the marriage being “interracial.” Furthermore, using Rep. Ilhan Omar, perhaps the most extreme and unhinged of the “Squad” members and a MSNBC host as representative of “Democrats” is even more deceptive than using Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump as fairly representing Republicans.

The calls for impeachment are too foolish to even to talk about. No Supreme Court Justice is going to be impeached because of the activities of his wife; even Nancy Pelosi isn’t that far gone. The Free Beacon article is so over the top that I find myself wondering if Andrew Stiles, an editor, is being satirical. If not…wow. Republicans really need to work on their race-baiting. Stiles actually wrote,

“Given the party’s ugly history of supporting slavery and Jim Crow laws, these Democratic demands for Thomas’s impeachment are tantamount to committing physical violence against the 73-year-old justice. By suggesting Thomas should be fired over his relationship with a white woman, Democrats are demanding a return to the institutionalized racial segregation the esteemed justice was forced to overcome as a child growing up in Georgia in the 1950s.”

He might as well have written,

A well a everybody’s heard about the bird
B-b-b bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A well a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, well the bird is the word
A well a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word

 

A well a don’t you know about the bird?
Well, everybody knows that the bird is the word!
A well a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a everybody’s heard about the bird
Bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word
A well a bird, bird, bird, b-bird’s the word

A well a ooma mow mow
Papa ooma mow mow
Papa ooma mow mow
Papa ooma mow mow
Papa ooma mow mow
Papa ooma mow mow
Papa ooma mow mow

______________________

I hereby sentence myself as penance to have to listen to that damn song all the way through. That will teach me to be more careful.

13 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Reflux, 3/16/2022: Annoying Song Weekend Continues! [Corrected And Updated!]

  1. Being Begin Slide Show averse, I didn’t click through, but I’d think that any list worth its salt would include Afternoon Delight** and Chevy Van.

    **Part of an amusing scene in the movie PCU, where James “Droz” Andrews (Jeremy Piven) locks a bunch of administrators in a room with it cranked up to 10 and on continuous reel.

  2. I had to endure “Afternoon Delight” in my short stint working at a Radio Shack in the late 70s. The manager had an FM station playing constantly and that song appeared (it seemed) hourly. I do have another nomination: Dang Me by Roger Miller. Yeah, it won a Grammy, but I’d put it on my list of annoying tunes. Jack, I had conveniently forgotten that Bird song, and now you’ve reminded me. Revenge for my mentioning My Ding-a-Ling???

    • 1.Revenge for my mentioning My Ding-a-Ling??? YES.
      2. Roger Miller was a talented performer, a unique artist and a fascinating guy, but his novelty songs like “Dang Me” left me cold. (My father loved them all, especially “You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd.” “King of the Road” is a classic, though.

  3. In your defense, that’s a really bad parody, as it’s unclear whether the butt of the joke is supposed to be the Thomases or the Democrats.

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