Saturday Ethics Blowing In The Wind, 7/9/2022: Dead Ethics Alarms All Over

Bob Dylan recorded “Blowin’ in the Wind” on this date in 1962. It’s one of my favorite ethics songs, and I have written several parody versions of it focusing on legal ethics issue that the legal profession has not quite figured out yet.

Which reminds me: I heard a wretched Dylan imitation in the background of a movie last night. The increasingly common cheap-out of using a fake version of a famous recording to fool inattentive or ignorant audiences while avoiding paying for the original version is, I feel, both insulting and annoying as well as unethical. Even shows that use oldies as a unifying theme do it, like the “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” fake the records; the closed caption will read “Bob Dylan sings “Blowin’ in the Wind” when it obviously isn’t Bob. Kudos to the directors like Martin Scorsese, who have the integrity and the respect for both their audiences and the original artists to shell out the extra bucks and get rights to play the real thing.

1. President Biden’s failure to urge Americans not to harass officials and judges at their homes or when they are in public as private citizens shows his hypocrisy, lack of integrity, and failure as an ethical leader. ..or it shows that he’s a puppet and his puppeteers are anti-democratic thugs. Note:

2. In related developments: Thousands of people–you know: assholes— are booking fake reservation at Morton’s Steakhouses, because the DC branch of the restaurant chain served Brett Kavanaugh and defended his right not to be harassed in public. Got that? Abortion activists want to harm a business and its employees for simply defending  patron’s efforts to have an ejoyable dinner without being harassed. Then, when Morton’s started canceling the Open Table reservations made by protesters in order to prevent the steakhouse from doing business, the foes of objective legal review whined, “Morton’s is reportedly cancelling reservations and filing false reports with OpenTable, claiming no-shows for reservations which haven’t occurred yet!” Next, the race card, naturally: “People of color & other minority groups are reporting that they may be being *targeted* by Morton’s Steakhouse with reservation cancellations.”

These are bad people. Not because of what they believe or because of their political positions, however wrong-headed. These are bad people because of the unethical way they behave, and how they make productive debate and discourse impossible.

3. Today’s Kamala Harris incompetent rhetoric: When Harris was asked during a CBS News interview,  “When you look back, did Democrats fail – past Democratic presidents, congressional leaders – to not codify Roe v. Wade over the past five decades?” Let’s pause to note that the question is itself inept: they didn’t codify Roes, so obviously they failed to do it. What the interviewer probably meant to ask was whether Democrats and Harris acknowledge that they should have codified Roe when they had the chance.

Which reminds me of this:

But I digress. Here is Harris’s Hariss-y answer:

I think that, to be very honest with you, I do believe that we should have rightly believed, but we certainly believe that certain issues are just settled. Certain issues are just settled.

When Costa said, “Clearly not…,” she answered,

“No, that’s right. And that’s why I do believe that we are living, sadly, in real unsettled times.

Ya think? Why would Harris or anyone think the question of abortion was “settled” when approximately half the country opposed it and a large number of legal experts have opined that Roe was wrongly decided?

4. I’m old enough to remember the news media and Democrats mocking Ronald Reagan for citing unsupported anecdotes to bolster his policy positions. Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist and a pro-abortion activist,, claimed a  doctor referred  a 10-year-old patient to her who was pregnant and seeking an abortion a few days past Ohio’s six week limit. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the story, which recounted the child having to travel to Indiana  to obtain a legal abortion. Politico, The Washington Post, CNN, Teen Vogue, The Hill and numerous other outlets reported the story; none of them had confirmed it.  Then Joe Biden repeated the story as fact, though Bernard’s account did not mention  the name of the referring doctor, any of the towns involved, whether charges were brought against the child’s alleged rapist and whether Bernard or the referring doctor contacted the authorities regarding the child rape.

Absent such details, or evidence that the episode occurred at all save for the word of an abortion activist, the story should not have been reported, and the President definitely should not have repeated it as fact. When abortion is involved, however, the ends justifies the means of the media and its clients, the Democrats.

5. If California was Great Britain...Gov. Gavin Newsom would be in big trouble. You will recall that what greased the skids for now-lame duck Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the revelation that he and his staff violated his own pandemic restrictions, partying while ignoring such niceties as social distancing and masks. The Brits don’t like “laws are for the little people.”  Gavin Newsom also breached his state’s pandemic regulations, and seems confident that no amount of hypocrisy will turn his pathologically woke electorate against him. His latest: the Governor is on vacation in Montana visiting family, though the state is on the list of places California won’t send government workers on official business, because it’s evil, as in “doesn’t agree with California’s policies.” Now, technically, his travel is personal, not official, but evil is evil: he’s spending money in a state that his government is boycotting.

Meh, he knows Californians have had all the ethics alarms brainwashed out of them. Newsom is now exploring a run for President.



26 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Blowing In The Wind, 7/9/2022: Dead Ethics Alarms All Over

  1. I, personally, would love to see a Newsome-DeSantis General Election.

    I would even more love to see the Presidential Debates.

  2. Wait, why is it unethical to use “fake” songs in a tv show or movie?

    The sets are usually fake too ya know. Budgets are also a thing.

      • Let me be clearer: the sets and actors are part of the fantasy story-telling. Placing a classic song in the soundtrack is not part of the action or the story. Trying to deceive the audience into believing Fake singer X is Doris Day or Dean Martin is undermining the real singers’ reputation, as well as the number itself. If the director want the song, use a cover that is clearly a cover. If the director wants the recording, pay for it. I don’t like a movie insulting me by trying to fool me with a cheap facsimile, and I am far from alone.

        • Why are sets part of the story telling but songs aren’t?

          And following your logic, wouldn’t an actor pretending to be Elvis also undermine Elvis’ reputation?

          • No. A show is a show. The audience knows it’s a show. They know that the actors aren’t the characters that they are playing. They also know that the music, if it isn’t playing in the context of the story, is a background effect for mood and nostalgia purposes. If the production included a fake version of an actual recording when its intent is to evoke nostalgia and the memories signaled by the real recording, then it’s just a cheap effort to cut corners, like using an obvious toy gun in place of a realistic prop gun, which would typically be a real gun that can’t fire. Do I have to explain to you why using a cheap toy gun that anyone but the idiots in the audience will recognize isn’t the same as having an actor portray Elvis? It’s called artistic integrity and respect for the audience. I probably do have to explain, but I’m not going to waste my time on this any more because you obviously just want to be obstinate. Move on to better arguments, or say goodbye.

            • So you think it’s unethical for a tv show or movie to “cut corners” i.e., not go over budget, and use cheap looking props that the audience can tell is fake (or use fake songs)…because it shows lack of respect for the audience?

              Following your logic, it’s unethical to use bad/cheap/unrealistic CGI.

              That’s an absurd argument.

              • None of the films or show I was referring to were low budget productions, so the analogy with less-than-state of the art CGI or other special effects is inapplicable. “Mrs. Maisel,” for example, purports to be a period piece that accurately evokes the late 50s-early Sixties. It goes to great lengths evoking styles of hair, costuming, furniture and and interior designs. But it cheaps out on the songs that are similarly part of that “meticulous” recreation. If the show was a cheap sci-fy production with rubber monsters, it wouldn’t matter: it wouldn’t be presenting itself as something other than it was. It wouldn’t be as if they didn’t care enough to do it right; they couldn’t care enough to do it right.

                It’s called artistic integrity. That’s why it matters as as ethical matter; that’s why Scorcese and Spielberg, to name two, don’t fake records, they use the real ones. And that’s why audiences trust them.

                • Does Scorsese lack artistic integrity because he didn’t spend the extra money to go film in NYC instead of a set for The Irishman?

                  I could tell it wasn’t really NYC.

                    • I mean, no I’m not trolling, it’s a legitimate question and it follows the logic of your argument.

                      But it’s okay, I know why you won’t answer.

                    • But to address your point, it was good enough. I live in Washington DC, and the geography of the city as routinely represented in movies is hilariously wrong, But most of the time, it’s non-material, and doesn’t matter, and there are legitimate trade-offs, like clarity of the story, saving screen time, etc. There is a controversy over, for example, the use of very un-Arkansas/Oklahoma-like locales in the original “True Grit,” but the director decided that the beautiful scenery compensated for the inauthentic presentation of the “Indian Country”..and I agree. There is no upside, in contrast, to a film presenting a bad Ella Fitzgerald imitation as the real thing. Only negatives: it hurts the suspension of disbelief, it undermines the mood, and the imitation is never as good as the original. The only plus is money, and it’s not that much money anyway.

                    • Why are fake sets and fake wigs everyone can tell aren’t real “good enough” and non-material and don’t matter but fake songs playing in the background aren’t?

                      I don’t understand the logic here.

                    • No you haven’t explained.

                      Why are badly done cover songs unethical but badly done costumes or wigs or sets aren’t?

                      You never explained the difference.

                    • Again, there are many reasons, and you are moving the goal posts. Careless, lousy art is always unethical, but poor art by learning or underfunded artists can in many cases be excusable. It’s a learning process. The productions I am talking about are by professionals, well-funded, at a high level. They don’t have the excuses Ed Wood did. The use of a particular recording and artistic performance in a movie or TV show isn’t like a set or make-up, because the original artist isn’t a character. But the artist’s work is being exploited and used for the era it evokes and the memories and atmosphere it triggers. Presenting an imitation of the work essentially undermines that objective in a way a not-quite-spot-on set does not, though all careless errors—like the anachronistic license plate in “Field of Dreams” or the Pacific Bell phone that shows up in Dulles airport in “Die Hard 2”—are incompetent. They were mistakes. The fake recordings are not mistakes. They specifically aim at the people familiar with the art, but insult the very same audiences by assuming they can fool them, because it’s in the background, and might be covered by other sounds. Film-makers never dare try this when a particular performance is truly central to the plot. “Sea of Love” used the original version of “Sea of Love.” Blue Velvet” used the Bobby Vinton “Blue Velvet.” And on that slope, the directors with artistic integrity never fake songs, even in the background. “American Graffitti” used the originals—Lucas. Coppola does. Spielberg does. I mentioned Scorcese. The ethics values are respect, integrity, honesty, and competence.

  3. 3)I am reminded of a mystery/thriller by Sharon McCrumb entitled “If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him”

    The title was based on a comment heard from a battered woman: “If I’d killed him when I met him, I’d be out of prison now.”

    Unlike Harris, that statement makes sense.

  4. I believe the Newsom story gets worse: although his travel was personal, the state did pay for his security detail to travel there with him, so it’s not just a bit of personal/official hypocrisy, he’s actually breaking the policy he himself instituted.

    There will of course be no consequences for this.

    And I have to say, this bit of Kamala’s where she does an impression of a fifth-grader doing a book report on a book she didn’t read is getting better every time. She really nailed that deer-in-the-headlights, vamping for time, word-quantity-over-quality thing perfectly this time around. “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a book about a boy named Tom Sawyer. Everyone calls him Tom, but his full name is Tom Sawyer. He is an adventurous boy who lives in the old timey times and has many adventures. This books tells you about his adventures that he, Tom Sawyer, has. The adventures are numerous and adventurous, and they all involve Tom Sawyer. ”

    I’m starting to think that somewhere, a coven of witches cast a spell to embody the concept of using triple-spacing, a large font and two-inch margins to reach a term paper’s assigned page minimum into the shape of a human being. The result is Kamala Harris.

    Either that or she’s a predictive text algorithm that became sentient.

    • Jeff, that’s quite the funny analogy about Kamala. Just goes to show, how far one can get via the one party state environment, particularly of CA, even though one is not ready for primetime. I guess like management theory goes, you get promoted until you reach your level of incompetence.
      My alternative theory is, that this is all part of the Faustian bargain Biden made to become president and get Democratic control of Congress. But as Faustian bargains go, you don’t quite get what you wanted. Biden’s wellbeing is precarious, his advisors are fools, his VP is a dummy, his son a walking embarrassment, the Senate has a hair thin majority, and the Democrats’ own policies are making the ship sink faster. It’s tragic, farcical, comical, tense and suspenseful.

  5. 5. I have seen a number of people point out that it is likely he is using state funds to pay for his security. If this is true, wouldn’t it be in violation of the rule and not just the principle?

  6. #5: I forget where (if it was here, I apologize) but I saw it noted that besides the hypocrisy, Newsom and his ilk demonstrate that they don’t really believe in the underlying rationale for the regulations that they’re forcing on everyone else. If they really thought masks and other restrictions kept them from significant danger, they’d be complying even when they thought no one would know.

    • Re: #5 (Jeff, JP, WR, et al.) I don’t follow the follies of the CA legislature or its hair-gelled Gov (my assumption), but I think that they enacted a law prohibiting use of State funds to travel to States that don’t follow the CA line, and they add selected States by rule, thought I could be wrong and freely admint it. Nonetheless, under CA law, his detail should not have been paid using State funds, and probably couldn’t have been reimburse by the Gov or a third-party, either.

      Re #4: There is a writer for RedState (Megan Fox) who has made trying to get to the bottom of the pregnant 10-year-old story, without much success as I read earlier today. It’s worth doing a search for RedState, Megan Fox, and Indiana Abortion. At its base, Ms Fox is loudly and unflinchingly pointing out (on RedState, Twitter, and probably other places I don’t know about) that the MD who purportedly performed the abortion is a mandatory reporter of child abuse (rape, generally qualifies) and should have under law and the IN Code of Ethics for Physicians probably has a legal obligation, at risk of her license to practice, to make such a report if she had a reason to believe the story. This one ought not be difficult, ethically, but it seems to have become notorious due to the Dobbs decision, and there’s a suggestion that this MD is trying to influence the IN legislature in its deliberations post-Dobbs regarding what the IN law regarding abortion should be. By report, the MD is a full-time OB-GYN at IU School of Medicine and specializes in abortions.


  7. 1. Wouldn’t it he great if the three liberal judges would condemn such harassment. After all, they are at risk should the tables turn at some point.

  8. #3

    The Democrats feared legalizing abortion at the federal level would hurt them politically. So they didn’t. Now they are throwing a temper tantrum because Republicans are “policizing” the issue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.