Ethics Signs And Portents, 5/10/2022: Langella’s Lament, Kellogg’s Indoctrination, Lightfoot’s Incitement, And Yellen’s idiocy.

That photo of the dueling signs in my neighborhood (Alexandria, VA) is from the Washington Post last week. Ethics Alarms first noted this obnoxious phenomenon here in 2016, with several updates since.

That’s some scoop there, Lois Lane!

1. Now here’s an even more obnoxious sign of the times: cereal boxes presuming to indoctrinate kids. What possible excuse is there for this, on the side of this Kellogg’s box:

I don’t care about the box design or the cereal: it’s a product, and if a parent wants to buy it, swell. It’s a marketing gimmick. Yuck, but so what? However, this, on the side panel, steps over the line into the culture wars and indoctrination. Not on my breakfast table…

2. Oh, fine: the Treasury Secretary is an idiot as well as an Ethics Dunce. Janet Yellen is now on record as endorsing one of the more offensive and cretinous arguments in favor of Roe v. Wade: snuffing out more children in the womb is good for the economy! “I believe that eliminating the right of women to make decisions about when and whether to have children would have very damaging effects on the economy and would set women back decades,” she said in response to a question at a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Ugh. Women always have the right to decide not to have children: they can make sure—permanently— that doesn’t happen any time they want to make that commitment once they are adults. They can put themselves in exactly the same situation as men, and be free and clear of the problem forever. If the women are juveniles, they can give up the child once it’s born and not have their career plans disrupted at all. On the other hand, the human lives who are prevented by abortion from having any careers at all are “set back” permanently. Yellen’s statement either expresses a brutal ends justifies the means philosophy or supports the “non-existent fetus theory,” which itself either intellectually dishonest, or proof of obstinate ignorance. Either way, she’s untrustworthy.

And what are these “women” of which she speaks?

3. Someone explain to me why this isn’t a public official inciting violence against the United States:

President Trump was impeached for supposedly inciting the January 6 Capitol riot. If he had used the phrase “a call to arms,” the Democrats would have had a legitimate case.

Boy, this race to be the Worst Big City Mayor is thrilling; neck and neck, with the lead changing places constantly. Oddly, none of the competitors are Republicans…

4. I’m sorry Frank. I got blackballed from NPR by saying that a lot of the late hit sexual harassment accusations against older politicians and celebrities were unfair too…. Actor Frank Langella was fired from the new Netflix horror series “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Here’s his account:

On March 25 of this year, I was performing a love scene with the actress playing my young wife. Both of us were fully clothed. I was sitting on a couch, she was standing in front of me. The director called “cut.” “He touched my leg,” said the actress. “That was not in the blocking.” She then turned and walked off the set, followed by the director and the intimacy coordinator. I attempted to follow but was asked to “give her some space.” I waited for approximately one hour, and was then told she was not returning to set and we were wrapped. Not long after, an investigation began. Approximately one week later, Human Resources asked to speak to me by phone. “Before the love scene began on March 25,” said the questioner, “our intimacy coordinator suggested where you both should put your hands. It has been brought to our attention that you said, ‘This is absurd!’” “Yes,” I said, “I did. And I still think so.” It was a love scene on camera. Legislating the placement of hands, to my mind, is ludicrous. It undermines instinct and spontaneity. Toward the end of our conversation, she suggested that I not contact the young lady, the intimacy coordinator, or anyone else in the company. “We don’t want to risk retaliation,” she said. When I mentioned that it was certainly not my intention to … she cut me off politely and said: “Intention is not our concern. Netflix deals only with impact.”

When you are the leading actor, it requires, in my opinion, that you set an example by keeping the atmosphere light and friendly. Nevertheless, these were some of the allegations: 1. “He told an off-color joke. 2. “Sometimes he called me ‘baby’ or ‘honey.’” 3. “He’d give me a hug or touch my shoulder.”

“You cannot do that, Frank,” said our producer. “You can’t joke. You can’t compliment. You can’t touch. It’s a new order.”

On April 13, the following item appeared on TMZ: “Frank Langella has been fired by Netflix for fondling a young actress between takes and she stormed off the set.” That is demonstrably false. That is a total lie. The actress was mentioned by name. The same young woman who had accused me of “touching her leg” on camera in the love scene. The next day the item was corrected to read: “Frank Langella has not been fired but is under investigation.” In this version, the actress’s name was deleted.

That afternoon, I was fired. I was not given a hearing with Netflix. My request to meet one-on-one with the actress was denied. The directors and the producer stopped answering my emails and phone calls. Within 30 minutes of my firing, a letter went out to cast and crew and a full press release was sent immediately. My representatives and I were given no opportunity to comment or collaborate on the narrative.

I cannot speak to the intentions of my accuser or Netflix, but the impact on me has been incalculable.

Langella is 84. I’m tempted to say either that he has been  a part of Hollywood’s hypocritical, knee-jerk woke and absurd culture long enough to be estopped from complaining about it when it finally bites him, or to evoke Hyman Roth: “This is the life you have chosen…”

35 thoughts on “Ethics Signs And Portents, 5/10/2022: Langella’s Lament, Kellogg’s Indoctrination, Lightfoot’s Incitement, And Yellen’s idiocy.

  1. “Boxes are for cereal not for people.” Who decided to start creating all sorts of boxes for which people can self identify. Hell, LGBTQIA+ is more than seven distinct boxes. Add to those badges a racial or identity badge and the permutations of boxes in which people can find solace in their own sense of victimization. The only boxes I might put someone in are male and female, friend or foe.

    • Am I to understand that the cereal is some kind of amalgamation of each and every Kellogg’s sugary cereal all rolled into one? That is either really, really awesome or really, really NOT awesome. I am afraid to think about it


      • I think it’s just rebranded Froot Loops. Your idea would make more sense for a product called “Together”, but then actual melting-pot togetherness is definitely not what this sort of thing is about.

        I’ve always wondered if the spelling “froot” was for marketing purposes, or because the synthetic chemicals in the cereal can’t legally be called “fruit”. Kind of like how most cereal uses the adjective “chocolatey” because “chocolate” is a specific food term with certain required ingredients, and most cereals don’t qualify.

  2. When same-sex marriage became legal (remember folks trans people could marry then) we never got any cereal. We didn’t tell kids in kindergarten that they should decide their sexuality. We didn’t have commercials during RuPaul’s Drag Race telling parents to call hotlines.

    Yes, there was the crazy cake couple and the florist situation or two but nothing like this.

    Yet somehow, because modern rainbow bureaucrats decided they could continue to make money by piggybacking off of the rights of gays and bisexuals, now this whole LGBTQ++++ Pride product bonanza is our fault and we are part of “cereal enlightenment” of the US.

    Personally, I think it’s time consumers take their cereal back. But let’s really go there. I propose the following cereals:

    -Not Tempted by the Apple Jacks
    -Grape Not-so-Nuts
    -Thorny Flakes (with a crown of thorns on the box)
    -Chocolate Monogamy Pebbles
    -Tricks (Are Not for Kids)

    I can taste the sugary GMO’s already. 😋

  3. Wait, wasn’t Gina Carano fired from Lucasfilm for, in part, because she decided to “add [her] own” pronouns (The oh-so-horrible “beep/bop/boop”) to her Twitter profile?

    If it weren’t for double-standards . . . .


    • Don’t forget that she also “appropriated” Holocaust metaphors for her own out-of-favor ideological cause while co-star Pedro Pascal appropriated it…appropriately…to spread the kids in cages lie.

      Because you can appropriate the Holocaust so long as the Left approves.

  4. Senator Tom Scott’s response to Janet Yellen was priceless. I don’t recall the exact quote but the gist was his mother is a be of those black and impoverished women Yellen spoke about and she is proud that he is now a Senator.

    Yellen’s testimony could have been written by Margaret Sanger

      • From Wikipedia;

        “Margaret Sanger opposed abortion and sharply distinguished it from birth control. She believed that the latter is a fundamental right of women and the former is a shameful crime.[135]: 36–37 [23]: 125  In 1916, when she opened her first birth control clinic, she was employing harsh rhetoric against abortion. Flyers she distributed to women exhorted them in all capitals: “Do not kill, do not take life, but prevent.”[136]: 155  Sanger’s patients at that time were told “that abortion was the wrong way—no matter how early it was performed it was taking life; that contraception was the better way, the safer way—it took a little time, a little trouble, but it was well worth while in the long run, because life had not yet begun.”[16]: 217  Sanger consistently distanced herself from any calls for legal access to abortion, arguing that legal access to contraceptives would remove the need for abortion.[137] Ann Hibner Koblitz has argued that Sanger’s anti-abortion stance contributed to the further stigmatization of abortion and impeded the growth of the broader reproductive rights movement.[138]: 182–188 

        While Margaret Sanger condemned abortion as a method of family limitation, she was not opposed to abortion intended to save a woman’s life.[139] Furthermore, in 1932, Margaret Sanger directed the Clinical Research Bureau to start referring patients to hospitals for therapeutic abortions when indicated by an examining physician.[23]: 300–301  She also advocated for birth control so that the pregnancies that led to therapeutic abortions could be prevented in the first place.[140]”

        Imagine what she would think of Planned Parenthood now.

    • Senator Scott’s first name is Tim. After his “America is not a racist country” rebuttal to something about systemic, pandemic, existential, structural racism, “Uncle Tim” trended on Twitter for around 24 hours. Anti-racism at its best.

  5. They used to run those “what if you couldn’t marry the person you loved?” ads during the Prop 8 debate here in CA, and it was just the weirdest thing to me. Everyone who ever wanted could always get married. You don’t need to involve Uncle Sam. I consider marriage to be something instituted by God. I understand why the government might want to extend certain benefits to married couples, but by and large they can stay out of it altogether. Their rejection or acknowledgement of my marriage means NOTHING. If they refused to recognize heterosexual marriage tomorrow my wife and I would be unaffected.

    The LGBTQetc. push for more and more government and corporate recognition is a sign of a weak and unstable worldview with no courage of conviction. If you need constant validation, buildings lit up for you, holidays foisted on people all year long in your honor, parades in every city, and every large corporation letting you know how totally right and good you are at all times, then whatever you’re about probably isn’t very self-sustaining.

    In my city there’s a drag show every Sunday at brunch advertised as “church done right!” A drag queen who plays a pregnant nun is the host and the entire premise is mocking Christianity and church. This overt hatred is frankly not reciprocated in kind by the church community. Miles McPherson, the pastor of probably the biggest “megachurch” in town, hosted people involved in LGBT controversies and respectfully attempted to build bridges while politely explaining points of difference. The truth is that the church, by and large, just wants to be left alone and allowed to live and teach according to the ancient teachings of Jesus and the apostles. Those teachings have endured through state persecution and hatred, through the centuries, around the world. We’re okay if we don’t go back to lighting up buildings with crosses in New York on Easter. We don’t need it. It’s the lack of endorsement that seems to anger the alphabet people. They demand validation even if they have to get it from impressionable kids who aren’t their own.

    • Nice comment, Isaac. Thank you. I’d say the same things go for current anti-racists, so called: If you need white people to tell you black lives matter, you’ve got some issues.

    • I am beginning to wonder whether we’re reaching a crossroads as a civilization. There was an experiment done in the 60’s where a mouse colony was essentially given a utopia (search “mouse experiment utopia” to read about it). After a few generations of mice were born, this happened:

      “Other young mice growing into adulthood exhibited an even different type of behavior. Dr. Calhoun called these individuals “the beautiful ones.” Their time was devoted solely to grooming, eating and sleeping. They never involved themselves with others, engaged in sex, nor would they fight. All appeared [outwardly] as a beautiful exhibit of the species with keen, alert eyes and a healthy, well-kept body. These mice, however, could not cope with unusual stimuli. Though they looked inquisitive, they were in fact, very stupid.”

      The mice became so self-obsessed that they stopped procreating and the colony died off.

      An ever-increasing percentage of our population identifies as unable or unwilling to be in a heterosexual relationship. Society itself has stopped encouraging or giving precedence to heterosexual relationships. Mental health issues appears to be skyrocketing, especially anxiety and depression. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man (I’m not old), the kids these days are so self-obsessed. I don’t have numbers (and frankly wouldn’t trust them anyway), but I’d imagine narcissism is also skyrocketing.

      I think the birth rate dropping below the replacement rate is just the tip of the iceberg. I foresee, in a generation or two, social studies about the plunging birth rate, massive changes to social policy to encourage birth, and people trying to figure out what went wrong. This is what happens when there aren’t real problems in people’s lives. It messes with our minds, probably prevents certain neurological connections from forming or something, but makes us profoundly unhealthy, mentally. Ironically, the very thing we strive for most of all–making our lives easier, more comfortable, and less painful–appears to be very bad for us.

      I’m gonna go make my kids dig some holes in the backyard or something.

      • Wasn’t aware of that experiment, but it makes sense. You might infer that societies (at least successful ones) are inherently aware of this potential danger. It seems to be reflected in adages like “necessity is the mother of invention” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Good parents allow their children to be challenged, or set tough challenges themselves, even if they could easily provide everything for their offspring and relieve them of any effort to solve problems and overcome adversity on their own. Go ahead & hand out those shovels.

  6. Frank: You’re 84, right? What are you doing working? Go fishing. A love scene between an 84 year-old and a young actress? What is anybody thinking? (I can’t stand Poe.)

    Life’s too short, Frank.

  7. 1. Cereal has become something for the elite, I suppose. It’s priced itself out of my grocery cart anyways and I wouldn’t buy a box like that, ever.
    2. That the treasury Secretary says little humans are bad for the economy… wow. Just wow. That’s incompetence at its finest. Ick.
    The whole Roe argument reminds me of when they raised the car seat age to 8 years. “Pretty soon they’ll be in a car seat until they’re 16!!” People need to remember there has to be a general public approval for something to happen. It’s nearly impossible for a nationwide consensus. The two week lockdown was, but it quickly devolved into what the local public had tolerance for. I live in a deep red rural area. The idea that banning contraception or interracial marriage is a possibility is asinine. Not even here would that be acceptable. Just like the idea of a 15 year old being put into a car seat is asinine, the idea that contraceptives and interracial marriages would be banned is ridiculous. The fact that this is the argument for keeping Roe shows how shaky that ruling was to begin with.

    • 2. What Yellen said, if true, is a bleak departure from historical economics.

      If we’re actually at a place where population growth is not good for the economy, not the environment, not whatever social issues du jour you care about, but the economy, then we’ve completely upturned the applecart. Usually, adding a person was generally good for the economy, they’d consume things their whole life, they’re productive for better than half of it. Population growth meant that generally, there were more productive people than not, and it’s easy to manage through growth because you can lose inefficiencies in volume.

      It’s miserable to manage through decline.

  8. #3 What Lori Lightfoot wrote is constitutionally protected free speech and under the law it’s not illegal or incitement in the exact same way that President Trumps speech on January 6, 2001 was not illegal incitement.

    My understanding of the law is that actual incitement must literally be egging on illegal actions while those illegal actions are actually taking place, or something along those lines.

    I think the supreme court has been really clear on this point.

    Is my understanding correct?

    • Are you talking about a “true threat”? That’s a different issue. “Call to arms” is literally an exhortation to violence, and for an elected official to use it while specifying the group she’s talking to raises a rebuttable presumption that the intent is to cause a riot.

      • I don’t know, Jack. “Call to arms” is often used as a rhetorical device indicating that people should be alert to something, not (necessarily) grab their gun or pitchfork or whatever. “Arms” in that context could as easily be the pen or sign as the sword or gun.

        Obviously, your complaint is about the double standard applied here, and I agree. Of course, Twitter censors agree with Lightfoot and wanted any possible excuse to censor, support the impeachment, indictment, or any other method of getting Trump out of office regardless of the ethics involved.

        To Twitter censors and their apologists, ethics is a nullity — something to be appealed to at convenience, but otherwise ignored. It has become de rigeur for the left to be unabashedly hypocritical at need.

  9. On the one hand, part of acting is the ability to evoke emotions despite constraints on one’s behavior. It blends semantics and empathy. How else would a person create the impression of spontaneity while reciting a prewritten line? If they can do it with speech, they can do it with actions. Actors don’t all get to improvise. If Langella agreed to the restrictions, he should be able to play a convincing lover without violating them. Otherwise, the producers could find another octogenarian to play the husband of a young woman.

    Simultaneously, how did this person playing his character’s wife get to be a professional actress if she has a nervous breakdown when someone touches her leg during a love scene? (Her leg, seriously? Maybe Langella’s fudging some of the details.)

    I don’t think the actress should have to put up with being groped. If it was really just her leg, though, and actually got a hangup about people touching her legs, that seems a bit puritanical to me, and she shouldn’t be playing intimate roles. Or maybe it’s only when old men do it? At the very least she should have given Langella a warning instead of walking off set. (For all I know, she’d already done that. I’ll bet there’s more to this story than what Langella says.)

  10. I’ve had women press their sizable breasts into my chest on more than one occasion while at work.
    I knew I was smack dab in the middle of a double standard but I also did not retreat. It wasn’t that bad.
    Then, after looking directly in their eyes trying to ascertain their motive, they walked away without either of us saying a word. I was being tested. I passed.

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