Sunday Morning Ethics Sing-Out, 12/4/2022: Search Engines, Harvey’s Junk, Another Confused Actor, And More

In my view, this is the gold standard of Christmas carols. Nobody know for certain who write the soaring melody. It might have been Handel.

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I apologize for the various WordPress glitches of late. They are fooling around with the software again. Now, on every draft post, I have to put up with idiotic suggestions from the platform on what to write about. Just now, it was, “Are you more of a night or morning person?” Get off my screen, you meddling fools! I don’t need your pedestrian input to find inspirations for an ethics blog’s content.

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The Twitter censorship story reminded me again of how biased, cowardly and dead wrong the left-ish commenters and silent readers here were over the past few years to flee Ethics Alarms because it accurately, fairly and objectively figured out how unjustified and sinister their favorite party’s treatment of  President Trump, how contrived and rigged the Russian collusion investigation was, how destructive the two partisan impeachments were, how dangerous the mainstream media’s transformation into a propaganda weapon had become, and how ethically rotten their favorite party was. Ethics Alarms was right, they were wrong, and if even one of the self-exiled who pulled themselves up to their full height, stuck their defiant chins in the air, and accused me of “drinking the Kool-Aid” had an atom of courage or integrity, they would apologize and ask to have their commenting privileges restored. Instead, they remain enablers of the attacks on individual rights and democratic institutions by their apathy, acquiescence, and denial. People are always accusing me of being “upset” about the ethics issues we cover here. I almost never am. This, however, pisses me off.

1. Hopeless, but admirable.…Since Google has traveled from “Don’t Be Evil” to Big Tech ethics villainy, a new search engine has been launched, Freespoke, as a non-totalitarianism-enabling alternative.  The problem with all of these competitors, like DuckDuckGo, is that they just aren’t as reliable. Still, I’ll give this one a chance. Here’s a good sign: a search for”ethics blog” turned up Ethics Alarms on the first page, 7th in line. On Google, the same search placed Ethics Alarms on the sixth page, after many sites that receive far less traffic and several that are functionally dead, like the Legal Ethics Forum, which once was one of my favorite resources. Its last post was last January, yet its two pages ahead of  EA. Gee, I wonder why that would be? Looks like I can’t blame all of the reduced traffic here on pusillanimous wokesters…2. Ew. It will be interesting to see if Harvey Weinstein gets a fair trial, as Derek Chauvin did not. If so, I would think that the jury will have to acquit him in his current travail, in which several women have accused him of rape and sexual assault. Several of the alleged victims  testified about the appearance of the disgraced Hollywood producer and Democratic Party patron’s genitals, saying that he made them ‘put his testicles” in their mouths or “suck his balls.” Harvey, we have now discovered (TMI! TMI!) HAS no scrotum any more. (Good!) Weinstein underwent surgery in 1999 for Fournier’s Gangrene, which required doctors to remove some of his scrotum. “That surgery caused pretty noticeable scarring … Because of an infection, his testicles were actually taken from his scrotum and put into his inner thighs,” prosecutors told the jury. I bet Johnny Cochran could have come up with a killer rhyme for that.

3. Got it, John. You’re a good actor, but a dim bulb bigoted hypocrite. John Leguizamo in 1993 up-and-coming gangster Benny Blanco opposite Al Pacino as Carlito Brigante, a Puerto Rican criminal. Leguzamo now thinks casting one of the three or four greates American actors in that role was a problem. “You know, it was a thing of the times. Before then he played a Cuban,” Leguizamo  told Insider, referring to Pacino’s boffo turn in “Scarface”  as Tony Montana. “Yeah, in that he’s kind of doing like a Cuban/Mexican accent. I know he’s trying and he’s a great actor, so brilliant, he was my hero. But it was odd, man,” Leguizamo continued about  “Carlito’s Way.”  “It’s an odd experience to be a Latin man in a Latin story written by a Latin man and the lead guy’s a white guy pretending to be Puerto Rican. I’m not going to lie, it’s surreal.” I guess you’ll be turning down any white character roles, then? It’s only Hispanic parts for you? Pacino “tries”? Pacino’s metaphorical bunt singles are more impressive that your home runs. His failed “tries” are more entertaining than your successes. Shut up and act.

4. I’m sure it’s a coincidence. Mediaite lists 27 derisive tweets from various pundits and journalists attacking Matt Taibbi for tweeting out the Twitter files on how the platform ran interference for the Biden campaign by blocking the Hunter Biden laptop story. Strangely, all of them dismissed the revelations as the substack journalist doing “PR for the world’s richest person.” That’s a lame a rebuttal as I have ever seen, and yet someone—go ahead, guess where that someone works—actually sent that  bon mot around the left-bent news media world as a “Use this line!” talking point, and they did.

5. No, David French doesn’t understand ethics and what the Constitution signifies. The Atlantic’s Trump-Deranged conservative David French has an essay up titled, “Elon Musk and Tucker Carlson Don’t Understand the First Amendment.”

When I saw the title, I immediately thought, “Oh no, please don’t let this be another ‘it’s okay to censor opinions and facts on social media because the platforms are private companies’ argument!” But it is. French is a lawyer and should know better, because when lawyers don’t comprehend the difference between law and ethics, they do bad things or, as in this case, say stupid and misleading things. French correctly calls Carlson’s and Musk’s unequivocal statements that the Twitter/laptop affair proves a First Amendment violation as hyperbole, but he wrongly brushes off other facts. The Democratic Party is too closely aligned with government actors not to carry quasi-governmental power. Twitter is not the government, but its censorship of speech to advance political ends on a platform that is a crucial tool of access to public debate and information is still wrong, and a violation of the core principles the Founders identified in the Bill of Rights. Among other legal scholars, Prof. Turley who, I think it’s fair to say, is a bit more conversant with the First Amendment than David French, has repeatedly returned to the point that while the First Amendment only forbids laws restricting individual speech, it also established the importance of the right to free speech as foundational to democracy. Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story was unethical, anti-democratic, destructive and wrong. The defense that the censorship wasn’t a technical violation of the First Amendment so it was OK is either ignorant or dishonest.

16 thoughts on “Sunday Morning Ethics Sing-Out, 12/4/2022: Search Engines, Harvey’s Junk, Another Confused Actor, And More

  1. Not an active twitter user because I don’t understand who has time to “follow” others, but I did recently post a few Ethics Alarms posts to relevant threads. Since I am basically a nobody who has somehow gathered 4 followers (????) and don’t understand where posts go once sent, I have no idea whether the EA items are getting read – or HOW to get them read. So far, no comments on any, but they are out there somewhere. If you get an influx of new users, I’ll gladly take credit. 🙂

  2. Regarding #4, this happens a lot, and it never ceases to amaze me that “journalists” and pundits, who write for a living, always regurgitate the talking points verbatim. Why not at least paraphrase it, so you don’t look like such an obvious hack parroting someone else’s lines? I don’t get it.

    Regarding #2: How about, “If the scrotum has been evacuated, my client is exonerated!”

  3. RE: #3
    With his inane comment, Leguizamo really takes the prize for “bias makes you stupid”.
    The very same year he was in Carlito’s Way, he also starred in “Super Mario Brothers” as Mario’s brother Luigi…an Italian. I guess Pacino (who is of Sicilian descent) was unavailable for such an august role.
    Zero self awareness. What a boob.

    • Oh, it’s even dumber than that. A couple months ago, he was loudly criticizing the newest Mario Brothers movie for not casting any Latino actors… I can’t even begin to map out the “logic” of this dolt’s thinking process.

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