Evening Ethics Edition, 8/15/2022: Where Else Can You Find Underground Cannibals, The ABA, “Leave It To Beaver” and Joan of Arc In The Same Post?

I decided it was time to finally see “C.H.U.D.,” the cult 1980s horror movie about mutant cannibals running around under Manhattan. What horrified me most was a conversation between the film’s hero, played by John Heard (he was Kevin’s father in the “Home Alone’ films) and his girl friend, When she announces that she is pregnant with his child, he asks, with all the emotion of someone asking if she plans on getting her nails done, “Well, do you want to keep it?” She replies, “Do you want me to?,” and he literally shrugs. “Hey, it’s up to you: your body and all. I have no say in the matter,” he says disinterestedly. She then says, “If I wanted to have it, would you be want to have it then?” And he lights up with a smile and says, “YES!” Then they embrace, because they are going to have a baby. The completely off-hand manner in which these two characters discuss whether an existing human being in a vulnerable state will live or die is chilling, or should be. It represents the casual denial of reality by everyone involved, and, of course, the audience as well, that the Roe v. Wade decision cultivated.

1. St. Joan is non-binery now. Should you care? The Globe Theatre in London, will open their production of “I, Joan” on August 25 in which the historical figure and Catholic saint will be portrayed as a non-binary character who uses they/them pronouns. Joan is certainly an androgynous figure, so it makes as much sense to pull this stunt with her, ah, “them” as with anyone, I guess. I’m seeing a lot of conservative blogs fulminating about it. Here’s Joan, by the way:

There can be several ways to justify this. One is if there is a spectacular actress/actor/whatsis who can make the interpretation work. Another is to get publicity, sell tickets, and make enough money to help the company thrive. I don’t care if Joan of Arc is played as an anteater if it results in good theater: a non-binary Joan is less of stretch than a Hispanic Alexander Hamilton, and that worked out pretty well.

2. A major and long-standing ethics breach, being remedied slowly but surely…A grouping of three life-size terra-cotta figures dating to 300 B.C. that was seized from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles by the Manhattan district attorney’s office is being returned to Italy, from whence they were stolen.  The museum agreed that the perfectly preserved sculptures had been illegally excavated and obtained through the work of notorious Italian antiquities smuggler, Gianfranco Becchina. The three pieces are valued at $8 million.

3. A note on Tony Dow, aka. Wally Cleaver. The iconic child star died this month after a long illness. I always thought Dow was terrific; he was unmannered, natural, believable, and the kind of older brother every kid wants. I was surprised that he never had an adult career as an actor, but that is the fate of so many child juvenile actors. It’s a cruel profession.

Paul Petersen, who played another brother on sitcom in the same era and has been an advocate for abused child stars as his post-acting career, wrote that Dow was a mentor to him in dealing with the stress and weirdness of being celebrity at such a young age. “Tony gave a lot of thought to this business of adolescent notoriety,” Paul wrote on Facebook. ” He would not let me dwell on the unceasing demands to ‘Excel. Be Nice, and know your lines.” What do I have to prove, Tony? I’ve got the damn job! He would patiently explain…

“They stole our ambition, Paul. We were already so far ahead of our classmates there was nothing to prove. We had the girls. Jay Sebring cut our hair. We picked up the dinner checks and knew enough to respect the men and women who invented this Business. The fight was over for us. Turned into museum pieces before 15. Live with it. Celebrate the favor shown to you.”

But most important of all he got me to recognize that not all former kid stars are stratospherically talented. “Earn your pension and learn to do other stuff.”

Paul concludes, “I would not have survived this long without him.”

4. The ABA is too woke to be trusted, but occasionally pulls back from the precipice.…American Bar Association delegates failed to pass a requirement that law schools implement a racial quota system lest they be denied accreditation. The proposal, first released in May 2021, would have required law schools to submit annual progress reports on minority enrollment to the ABA, and those that failed to boost the enrollment of “underrepresented groups” would risk of losing their accreditation. After three contentious revisions the thing was finally withdrawn by the association’s house of delegates. An early draft had stated that U.S. anti-discrimination laws were “not a justification” for “non-compliance” with the diversity mandate, thus signalling Full Woke Crazy. The reaction from law professors was not positive.

10 thoughts on “Evening Ethics Edition, 8/15/2022: Where Else Can You Find Underground Cannibals, The ABA, “Leave It To Beaver” and Joan of Arc In The Same Post?

  1. 2)So, didn’t we illegally buy Manhattan island from the Indians? Maybe the Manhattan district attorney’s office should seize it and ship it back to the rightful owners.

    They can start with their own office building.

    I’m sorry but isn’t this the same DA’s office that’s decided not to bother keeping people who attack cops in jail? That most crimes committed in NYC don’t warrant prosecution?

    Yeah, give ’em an ethics crumb for this matter. Then tell them to start doing the rest of their jobs.

    • The Dutch traded with the tribe originally living there, purchasing Manhattan for 60 guilders worth of trade goods. The English bought it from the Dutch, who then reconquered it, and then later ceded it back to the English. Unless one thinks that buying land in kind instead of in cash, or if one believes the Revolutionary War to have been illegal under late 18th century international law, there was nothing illegal about Manhattan’s transfer of ownership.

  2. I have suggested to many people that we give Detroit back to the tribes (maybe the Potawattomi) to fix it. Maybe do the same thing to NYC. Just remember, the Constitution does not exactly apply on tribal land.

  3. (1) One criticism of this is that it is lazy. Everyone is doing this. The Chrysler PT Cruiser was neat when it came out because it was different. But then everyone was putting out Chevy HHR’s (OK, the same guy put out the PT Cruiser and the HHR, but different companies) and it was just boring by then. Where is the originality? Is there any creativity left in the arts? It is obvious Hollywood is out of ideas, they can’t even use older ideas. I come up with better movie ideas misreading movie titles than Hollywood can.

    • The problem with suggesting that Joan of Arc might not have been a woman isn’t that it’s historically inaccurate (historical accuracy isn’t always necessary, especially in art). It’s that it’s a continuation of the erasure of women from history. They could have picked ANY MAN from the past 2000 years for a non-binary interpretation. Instead, The Globe Theatre picked one of the pitifully few strong female stories in the whole of Western history to be non-binary.

      “When young women of today are told these inspirational, trailblazing, heroic, talented, gender-defiant women were really men, they’re losing a very important source of pride regarding what women are capable of. In its place, they’re getting the message that women who don’t perform femininity, who want to be more than sex objects, wives, mothers, and Barbie dolls, can’t possibly be real women.” https://4thwavenow.com/2016/10/31/transing-the-dead-the-erasure-of-gender-defiant-role-models-from-history/

      Thus, “transing the dead” by making Joan of Arc non-binary is misogynistic.

  4. 2. Lost in this is the idiocy of using “their” pronouns in a play. It will sound like an Abbott and Costello routine.

  5. Pretty sure the English are still a bit upset at their loss in the siege of Orleans. So if the British theater can snub a French hero and make a few pounds, why should anyone be upset?

    In seriousness, I don’t see an issue with it. Plays aren’t historical assertions. If the people involved think they can make a good play by portraying Joan of Arc as a they instead of a she, best of luck to them. Although, riffing off of I, Claudius does seem a bit stale.

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