The Saturday Evening (Ethics) Post, 9/24/2022: Jokes, Unintentional And Otherwise…

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka. the Mormons has been much on my mind of late thanks to the horrific Netflix documentary “Sins of Our Mother,” about a sensational double child murder in 2019 that will have a presumably sensational trial early in 2023. I have had a great deal of experience with members of the church, almost all of it good. One of my Freshman roommates in college was a devout Morman; a long-time high school crush was a not-so-devout Mormon, and  one of my bosses in my first job out of law school was a Mormon. It’s a fascinating culture with a unique history. On this date in 1890, the Church’s  leaders issued, under duress, the “Mormon Manifesto” commanding all Latter-day Saints to uphold the anti-polygamy laws. Polygamy is unethical, but it never quite vanished among Mormons, just going underground. In the last half-century or so the Sixties mentality hangover pretty much caused law-enforcement to ignore all but the most egregious examples, and it looks as if the acceptance of same sex marriage in the law and culture may eventually slippery-slope its way to making polygamy legal too. That would be a dire societal ethics misfire, but as with the current transsexual mess, feminists will be torn between their “woke” loyalties and the fact that polygamy degrades and abuses women. Based on how feminists have handled the transgender wave so far, I am not optimistic.

1. Sure, these idiots were going to pull off an “insurrection”…Doug Jensen, an Iowa man who was one of the first ten rioters to enter the Capitol ( “during the insurrection” says NBC, thus injecting Democratic propaganda into an alleged news report)  was found guilty this week on seven counts, including felony charges of civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers. The evidence indicates that Jensen didn’t realize until 24 hours after the riot that he had been part of a siege of the Capitol rather than the White House. But he was a supporter of Donald Trump, and that’s crime enough….

2. Speaking of desperate and unethical excuses, disgraced GOP congressional candidate J.R. Majewski, who was outed by the Associated Press as misrepresenting his military service resulting in the GOP pulling his campaign support, now says that there is no evidence of his combat experience because “All of my deployments are listed as classified.” Why was he boasting about them in his campaign literature, in interviews and in speeches, then, if they were classified?

3. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Fox News’ late night talk show “Gutfeld!” has won the ratings battle with Colbert, Kimmel, and Fallon for the sixth straight week.  Christian Toto makes the valid (and scary) argument that the networks had to know that it would be profitable to create a late night show that didn’t spend all of its time bashing Republicans, conservatives and Donald Trump (or at least made fun of all sides) but viewed manipulation of public opinion more important. The lone conservative pundit in Hollywood also points out,

Late-night TV isn’t just a place for yuks…the platforms give stars all the promotional space they need to push their films, TV shows and music. That mutual agreement serves both parties. And, hopefully, gives audiences an entertaining chat along the way. That unspoken pact has served Hollywood well for decades..

Right-leaning stars and comedians lacked access to this promotional bonanza, but now, thanks to “Gutfield!,”

“a platform previously off-limits to conservative talent is now wide open. Plus, the show regularly pulls in 2+ million viewers a night, meaning plenty of folks are exposed to their wit and wisdom… Why is this so important?If a Daily Wire movie comes out and no one hears about it, the web site may roll up its Hollywood-style red carpet. It’s not enough for conservatives to make original content, especially since many critics are openly hostile to their efforts. Audiences need to hear about them and, even better, see them framed in a positive light. That’s the power of a late-night showcase. It explains why traditional platforms refused to air a right-leaning show for so long. The NBCs, Hulus and Comedy Centrals of the world feared such a show would let libertarian stars shine.

Now, they’re seeing that happen in real time, and there’s nothing they can do about it.

Diversity, equity and inclusion!

4. But jokes about Joe Biden aren’t funny! Tim Allen, a comic and actor whose sympathies have always tilted rightward, was savaged by the Twitter mob for daring to make this mild (and obvious) joke about President Biden’s appearance on “60 Minutes.”

The “Home Improvement” star (and the voice of Buzz Lightyear until Disney decided that Buzz needed a more progressive sound)  tweeted ,“Biden was on 60 minutes. I heard he asked how long the show was.”  That kind of gag, and far more insulting ones, were standard fare regarding Reagan, both Bushes and Trump (and poor Dan Quayle) and there was no outpouring of fury from those politicians’ fans. Comedians, humorists, cartoonists and meme-makers are greatly reducing their sources for material by placing Democrats off-limits, but they began strangling humor under Obama, because making jokes about that POTUS was racist. In related news, Lee Enterprises, which owns nearly 100 newspaper companies in the US, terminated the contract with “Dilbert”, reports Fox News. Nobody, including Dilbert creator Scott Adams, knows why, but the popular strip recently added  a character named Dave who is black but identifies as white while poking fun at current day workplace wokisms. Adams, says several newspapers complained that their readers were not happy.   “What I do is I talk about how the employees handle the situation. It’s not about the goal of it. But that’s enough to make people think that I must be taking sides politically,” exclaimed Adams. Oh NO! A cartoonist taking sides politically…like Al Capp, Gary Trudeau, Johnny Hart and Walt Kelly? How dare he?

5. Let’s play “Telling, Clueless or Stupid”! During a speech before a friendly audience at the National Education Association headquarters in Washington, D.C., President Biden stopped mid-speech to call out to an acquaintance in the crowd. ” You gotta say hi to me,” he said.  “We go back a long way. She was 12, I was 30, but anyway, this woman helped me get an awful lot done…” Biden said, and then went on with his speech.

Why didn’t any ethics alarms ring for Biden? He has been justifiably criticized for sniffing and inappropriately touching young girls who have come within his grasp,

…and his daughter wrote in her diary about him showering with her. As usual, the conservative media went nuts, and the rest of the media ignored the episode entirely. Ann Althouse came up with an excuse for Biden:

As an older person, I recognize what went on in the old President’s head. It’s something that used to be very common in the generation that preceded Baby Boomers. There was this deeply embedded cultural norm of acting as if older women are not actually old. There were expressions like “A lady never reveals her age” and “A woman of a certain age” and lighthearted misstatements of age. It was considered rude even to imply that a woman is old. Within that ethic, Biden’s statement “We go back a long way” created an awkwardness that prompted a joke to undo the implication that he had called a woman old. He’d suggested that they were contemporaries. They’d worked together long ago, so she must be about as old as he is. He wanted to cancel the implication, and, long ago, he was about 30, so he made her as much younger as he could — a ludicrously young age 12.

Maybe she’s right (and it’s nice of her to want to give Joe the benefit of the doubt). The episode suggests to me, however, even assuming his meaning was benign, that Biden isn’t paying attention to what’s going on around him. That’s not a good sign at all.

9 thoughts on “The Saturday Evening (Ethics) Post, 9/24/2022: Jokes, Unintentional And Otherwise…

  1. I just wanted to clarify that, as far as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is concerned, polygamy is gone, not “underground”. Yes there are splinter groups that keep up the practice, but they aren’t “Mormon” any more than a Greek Orthodox is Catholic. When I was on my mission (in Utah), we had specific instructions for teaching polygamists. They had to go through same process as any other convert; any baptism they had before didn’t count. Not only that, but they had to be interviewed by our mission president (a step not required for the average convert) to insure they were leaving their old group and its teachings behind. Also, when I applied to Ensign College (a small business college owned by the LDS church) I had to sign that I did NOT belong to any polygamist sect. And lastly, even in cultures outside the USA that openly practice polygamy, converts have to pick a wife and let the rest go. So we may have ended the practice under duress, but we went the whole hog.

  2. I find Gutfeld dry amusing.

    Part of it may be that he has talent.

    Part of it might be that his style of humor is similar to mine; I can predict how many of his jokes will play out.

    And, his format is a bit tongue in cheek. Colbert was funny when he was pretending to be a conservative talk show host. Gutfeld is funny for pretending to be a news show (he has done that in Red Eye and The Five, as well, always acting as a parody of familiar formats).

    To me, it always helps when a comic could be self-deprecating. It shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously. That does not even have to be genuine: that was Dangerfield’s entire schtick Gutfeld has that. Colbert lost that; Kimmel lost that; Letterman had it at one point; Maher probably never had it, except that he did highlight extremist views for the fun of it.

    Gutfeld is just funnier. He takes risks because he has nothing to lose. Kind of like the Chapelle show, except: 1) Dave was hilarious; and 2) Gutfeld is more constrained by his various formats than Chapelle was.


  3. Gee, no idea why newspapers wouldn’t want to contract wit this guy.

    • What an asinine comment from someone who has never had to face such a reality. Society does put legal constraints on parents who try to intervene in a child’s life when that child is bent on self destruction. Some advocacy group always rushes to the child’s aid demanding the child’s rights are being abused. These groups use these kids as pawns – or should I say canon fodder to raise money so the advocates can live large. Being a step parent and having to watch an enabling blood parent ignore or deny the behavior makes the step paren’s ability to intervene impossible.

      • I’m not fully informed by Scott’s story, and how it relates to the two non-options he says are available but it seems to me you’re saying the same thing he is.

        I’m not sure why you imply he’s never faced that reality, the prefatory tweet is literally about Scott speaking from experience. Are you saying choice #2 is much more difficult than Scott can acknowledge, since he chose #1?

  4. “Late-night TV isn’t just a place for yuks…the platforms give stars all the promotional space they need to push their films, TV shows, and music.” I long for the return of less ideological and more talented hosts ala Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno that in fact did this.

    • “I long for the return of less ideological and more talented hosts ala Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and Jay Leno that in fact did this.”

      Antenna T.V. airs Johnny Carson reruns M-F @09:00 p.m. CST.

      We never miss it, and like my Dear departed Father always said: “Paulie, a good laugh’s better’n a pill.” And those shows elicit FAR MORE than their fair share of open guffaws!

  5. 1) Let’s review: Doug Jensen was found guilty of seven counts of criminal charges, “including felony charges of civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.”

    Isn’t there something missing from that list?

    Could it be . . . I don’t know . . . INSURRECTION . . . ?

    There’s the REAL headline, NBC.


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