Ethics Takes No Holiday, 6/20/2022: Words And Kisses

To my shock and amazement, my 27 year old son appeared yesterday to wish me a happy Father’s Day. He gave me a big hug, and like his father and his father before him, he is not a hugger. It meant a lot more to me than any damn tie…

1. “Evil” is back streaming for a third season, and return of the odd and creepy drama created by Robert and Michelle King of “The Good Wife” fame reminded me of an unethical ploy by the series’ protagonist in its first season that I neglected to note in 2019. Katja Herbers as Dr. Kristen Bouchard was convinced that her professional rival, Dr. Leland Townsend (gradually revealed over the path of the series to be an agent of evil), had a vendetta against her and a young man facing incarceration. She surreptitiously taped a conversation with him in which he made damning statements, but for some reason only her side of the exchange registered on the recording device. To have his testimony in a hearing discredited, she asked a tech whiz associate to “deep fake” Townsend’s missing answers on the tape based on her (truthful and accurate, of course) memory of them. Then she played the altered tape for the judge.

Her rationalization afterwards was that the faked recording was a small wrong, but that without it a young man’s life would be destroyed and the evil plan of her rival would succeed. Since it’s quite possible that Townsend is the Devil himself or at least some denizen of Hell, the incident literally contradicted my favorite exchange from “A Man For All Seasons”…

It also illustrates the seductiveness of extreme utilitarianism.

2. The weekend debut of the latest installment of Pixar-Disney’s “Toy Story” franchise, which I wrote about here, bombed, with about half the box office that its predecessors had in their first outings. As with the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot, the culture wars divide is offering contrasting reasons for the flop that support their respective narratives. Conservative writers argue that parents don’t want to take their kids to see animated films that promote gay relationships, and that Disney’s ham-handed woke politics has over-reached, alienating a substantial portion of the public. The other end of the spectrum blames conservatives for poisoning the market for the film by over-emphasizing “the Kiss.” Me? I felt my ideological arm being twisted uncomfortably hard in “Toy Story 4,” as each of the original’s sequels were more and more aimed at progressive messaging.

Disney has a problem. It successfully rose to domination in part because its products appealed to mainstream American values and aspirations, and was viewed as bolstering and supporting them. Recently, it has been betting, like many corporations, most of the media and of course the Democratic Party, that the Great Progressive Borg will assimilate all, and that resistance is futile. It has to pick sides, because cultural power has always been Disney’s engine. However, Walt had an uncanny understanding of the American zeitgeist. I don’t think his current successors do.

3. And speaking of Disney’s quarrel over Florida declaring that gay and trans teachers should keep their sexual histories, practices and activism out of the classroom, here’s a fun story. Alden Bunag, who described himself as “socialist high school teacher” in Hawaii, had a Twitter rant in which he accused conservatives who agreed with the recent prohibitions in Florida and elsewhere of “projecting.” “You’re fucking acting like we want to show kids porn or something, but something I’ve learned through the years is that whenever right-wingers accuse others of something, it’s DEFINITELY because they’re projecting”, he wrote…and then was arrested and charged with sending child porn pictures and video to another teacher and having sex with a 13-year-old student.

4. Oh no! Not “the p-word”! Ivanka’s chief of staff, Julie Radford, told the January 6 Star Chamber that President Trump referred to Vice President Pence using the “p-word.” What the hell is the “p-word?” Or maybe I should say “What the f-word is the p-word?” I actually thought they were talking about “pansy” until CNN’s Jake Tapper, to his great and glorious credit, said the word they were taking about: “pussy.” Ah! Of course!

“Pussy,” you know, doesn’t have to be “the p-word” if the ones using it are members of the feminist Pussy Squad wearing their pussy hats, but when Donald Trump uses the word (allegedly) not to refer to the female anatomy at all but to mean “weenie,” then it has to be referred to as the “p-word.”

There was a character on “The Sopranos” called “Big Pussy.” Did newspaper critics call him “Big P-word”? I don’t recall.

In its horror of “hate speech,” the emerging crazy Left will have us using so much coded speech that communication itself will be impossible, which is the idea. Lizzo recently released a single called “GRRRLS” with the Yeats-like lyrics,

“Hold my bag, bitch. Hold my bag/ Do you see this shit?/ I’m a spaz/ I’m about to knock somebody out/ Yo, where my best friend?/ She the only one I know to talk me off the deep end.”

A single angry tweeter, disability activist, Hannah Diviney, declared that Lizzo’s use of the word “spaz” was offensive and an ableist slur. Lizzo then immediately removed the word from the song. (Must…Obey.. the Mob…) In her case as well, the word (which many news accounts communicated as “s—“) wasn’t used to mean what the complainer was referencing, but never mind. So is “spaz” now the “s-word”? I thought the s-word was “shit,” which is in the same song. Guess not. Does that also mean that “bitch” isn’t the “b-word” any more?  What is?

We need a glossary of all the words that the Left wants us to never say, unless we have their permission.

On second thought, f-word that.

12 thoughts on “Ethics Takes No Holiday, 6/20/2022: Words And Kisses

  1. I have imagined a comedy skit where a bunch of old ladies in a knitting club are sitting around gossiping and they talk about someone who is the C-word or the F-word, etc. and they get so confused (because there are 2 or 3 different “C-words”) that the only way they can communicate is by using the actual words.

    -Jut

  2. Regarding the poor box office performance of “Lightyear”, has nobody at all considered that maybe it was a poorly-conceived idea from the start? I’m not a Pixar fan, so I haven’t seen any of the Toy Story movies, but I gather from the zeitgeist that this movie is the origin story of a character (the original, “real” Buzz Lightyear) that a different character (the toy version of Buzz) is based on. Maybe audiences just don’t care about digging through nine layers of meta in their cartoon children’s movies.

    What’s next? A movie about the origin story of the real bear that Winnie the Pooh is based on?

    OK, guys, I wrote that previous line, then a little voice told me to look it up. Turns out they *did* make a movie about the real life bear that Winnie the Pooh is based on, in 2004. Fuck you, Hollywood, I give up. I can’t even make an absurd extrapolation, because you assholes already did it unironically. I’m glad your stupid movie bombed.

    • I’m not sure if this is part of what you’re saying, but I don’t get how a tale about future “real” characters serves as the backstory for toys in the present. Is this one of those time travel paradoxes or something?

      • It’s basically world-building. Remember when, in the first Toy Story movie, Buzz realizes he’s a toy after seeing himself in a commercial? “The world’s greatest superhero, now the world’s greatest toy!” After the first Toy Story movie Disney launched a hand-drawn cartoon called “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command”. The intro shows the CGI Toy Story characters gathering around the TV to watch the show. Progressive agenda aside, I honestly like in-depth, “meta” stuff like this; it makes the fictitious world that much more immersive.

  3. Woke comedy and movies are awful.

    Remember Philadelphia with Tom Hanks? You could be against same-sex marriage and still feel for the character because the story itself wasn’t terrible and forced.

    Progressives are not able to turn off politics in any realm. They politicize everything, so plots and comedy are being ruined.

    • They are relentless and obsessed to the point of being unhinged. I guess the condition is what’s known as “revolutionary fervor.”

    • S8728,

      Earlier today I saw a piece about Hanks in “Philadelphia” (his 1st Oscar) and he’s quoted as saying he couldn’t take that role today (because he’s not homosexual), and “righteously so.” Gee, silly me; (Jack, pls check me on this) I thought that was why it’s called, “acting.”

      MB (Tinker AFB, ’87–’93, married to an OUHSC alumna 😉)

      • That’s a dumb argument. Acting is often about playing a role you’ve never actually experienced. That principle would destroy all acting. None of us have been president, so no one can act in that role. People who have never been a serial killer can’t play that role either. Standpoint epistemology is destroying everything.

  4. During the “don’t say gay” flap, several Disney execs admitted that they had been cramming gender minorities into the stories (usually in the background), just for the sake of doing so while serving no plot purpose.
    One claimed to be “…the mother of two queer children, actually, one transgender child and one pansexual child…” (What are the odds? I suspect a sort of Munchausen by proxy grooming.)
    Another declared “Wherever I could I was adding queerness. No one would stop me and no one was trying to stop me.”
    There’s a difference between acknowledging that some statistically fringe behavior is basically unremarkable and just the business of whatever those particular individuals or consenting adults wish to do, and pushing the idea to developing children that it is something to be encouraged, celebrated, and even aspired to.

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