Christmas Eve Ethics Gift Wrapping, 12/24/22 [Corrected]

Ever heard that one before? It’s the late Art Carney, best known for his reliably brilliant portrayal of sewer worker Ed Norton as Jackie Gleason’s foil on “The Honeymooners” pioneering Christmas rap. Carney also won an Oscar, like a lot of comics managing a successful late career pivot from clowning to drama, and had another Christmas credit on his CV. Art starred in “The Night of the Meek,” a memorable “Twilight Zone” episode in 1960 that aired on December 23. Carney played a drunk and depressed department store Santa who, through wishes, fate and the regular “Twilight Zone” magic, becomes the real Santa Claus in the show’s climax. Rod Serling, who wrote the episode, ended it thusly,

A word to the wise to all the children of the twentieth century, whether their concern be pediatrics or geriatrics, whether they crawl on hands and knees and wear diapers or walk with a cane and comb their beards. There’s a wondrous magic to Christmas and there’s a special power reserved for little people. In short, there’s nothing mightier than the meek.

Some politically correct idiot at CBS deleted Rod’s Merry Christmas wish from the episode in the 1980s. Can you believe that? “And a Merry Christmas to each and all” is not heard in reruns, VHS releases and the five-DVD set “The Twilight Zone: The Definitive Edition.”

1. Here’s as good as an apology as you can make when you are videoed trying to kill someone.  New England Patriots great Willie McGinest, a three-time Super Bowl winner, issued an abject mea culpa on  social media after an ugly incident in which he attacked someone in a restaurant this month in California turned up streaming  on the web. The onetime star linebacker was seen on video obtained by TMZ Sports  punching a man in the face and then attacking him with a bottle. McGinest was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, then was released on bond. He wrote on Instagram:

This apology would rate a #1 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale, as it hits all the marks. It also convinces me that the scale needs to be revised, something that has been suggested by several commenters over the years. There has to be a special category for professionally-crafted public apologies designed to avoid the natural consequences of outrageous conduct. Can one adequately and credibly apologize for attacking someone in a restaurant? Should they be trusted again? Attacking someone with bottle in a public place is signature significance, is it not? Someone with adequate ethics alarms doesn’t do that even once.

Oh, I’m sure Willie is sorry: that video can cost him a great deal…much more than he paid his PR firm to draft it. [Pointer: Arthur in Maine]

2. Speaking of “hate speech”Inspired by a Pew survey that found a majority of Americans believe there isn’t any agreement on what language is considered sexist or racist because the boundaries keep shifting, the New York Times had the Morning Consult conduct a poll asking 4,423 subjects whether they would say various words and phrases. Here are the terms more Americans would say than not…

Gee, I’m sure glad slightly more Americans than not would say “illegal aliens,” since that’s what they are. That figure is testimony to the power of repetition, euphemisms and brain-washing inflicted by the media.

Here’s the words or phrases that a majority won’t say (or claim they won’t):

Who picked these? Where are“grandfather,” “stupid” and “blackball?” Heck, where are”nigger,” “fuck”, and “retard?” Ten percent of the public will use “chestfeeding”? Kill me now. What’s the matter with “primary bedroom”? What’s the matter with “low-income” to describe low incomes? Who talks about “spirit animals” who’s worth talking to? I don’t know what the hell “AAPI” is…I guess I’ll google it when my Christmas Eve sock drawer duties are done. “Global South?” [Pointer: Ann Althouse]

3. This is why governments have deficits.…San Francisco, where human feces on the sidewalks is a major problem, spent $550,000 designing a new trash can over a four-year-long process including a design contest and testing. The city chose the super-keen-o model because, it says, the can is tamper-resistant, easy to clean, durable, and makes rummaging through it more difficult. It has openings for trash and recycling (gotta have that), a curved top to discourage people from leaving items on top of it, and is mostly transparent. Sounds worth the money to me! And besides, what else important does San Francisco need that would put a half-million dollars to better use?

It looks like each can will cost between 12,000 and $20,000 each. Let’s have a pool to guess which end of that range is more likely to prevail. Here’s Supercan!

4. There’s nothing like pandering when you have no clue what you’re pandering about. Nancy Pelosi ended her final speech as Speaker of the House by wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and a Happy Shwanza.”

5. Finally, a Kristmas KABOOM! City-Journal reports that at Thomas Jefferson High in Fairfax, Virginia (not to be confused with Thomas Jefferson Junior High and Community Center in Arlington Virginia, where I directed the theatrical production that I am perhaps most proud of: “Follies”—and confusing them is what I did originally, both being called “TJ” locally), two administrators have been withholding notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s students awarded them, most of them Asian. This denied those students the chance to use those awards to boost their college-admission prospects and earn scholarships. The author believes that this was intentional, a part of “the school district’s new strategy of “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.” School administrators, for instance, have implemented an “equitable grading” policy that eliminates zeros, gives students a grade of 50 percent just for showing up, and assigns a cryptic code of “NTI” for assignments not turned in. It’s a race to the bottom.”

The school’s leadership is acting as if it was just an oversight—for at least three years. Read the article. [Pointer: Mark Metcalf]

And a Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Good Night!

30 thoughts on “Christmas Eve Ethics Gift Wrapping, 12/24/22 [Corrected]

  1. Jack,

    Regarding number two, I think I would want to see how the questions were posed. I can easily imagine that the questionnaire could be asked in a way that would find words used and not used put in questions that lead to weird correlations.

    I, for instance, am hesitant to use the phrase primary bedroom. I suspect, for many, the answer is similar to mine. “For crying out loud, it is a master bedroom, not a primary bedroom, so why would I use primary bedroom? I already said yes to master bedroom…”

    I also do say the words “spirit animal”. I have recently said that Character X from media Y is my spirit animal. This phrasing is actually fairly common in the groups I have been part of. It is essentially saying that a particular character represents your personality.

    I also would be unlikely to say “low income”. I’d probably just say poor and get it over with.

    As for “person of color”, or “non-white”, if I already said I’d say black, white, and Asian, why would I use those. Hispanic vs Latinx…I have friends who are Hispanic, who have opinions on the phrase Latinx, not repeatable in polite conversation. This is similar to the fact that I will never use “Native American” and will always use “Indian”. I won’t offend the Indians I grew up around with the hated term Native American. I value having all my teeth still in my head, thanks. I also will use powwow, especially when I go to one. I’ll also use terms like jingle dancer and fancy dancer…

    As a note, AAPI means Asian American Pacific Islander. (I saved you the Google search by doing it myself out of misplaced curiosity.)

    I doubt that this is anything more meaningful than a “which Disney Princess are you” poll, and I suspect the questions were phrased…poorly. Some of the word choices given suggest that to me.

  2. “AAPI” is Asian American Pacific Islander; that one I knew. I had to look up “Global South” which is evidently a woke euphemism for countries in the Southern Hemisphere. “Primary bedroom” is the PC substitute for “master bedroom,” which offends all those former slaves out there. All the home building / improvement shows now use “primary bedroom.” I guess my all-access keys are now “primary keys.” And I have a “Primary degree.” Good grief!
    Merry Christmas to the Marshalls!

  3. 1. Willie could very well be showing significant signs of CTE. Reminiscent of the sad case of the late Junior Seau. As was Willie, Junior was a tremendous linebacker. Or he may end up like the aged Nick Buoniconti, another linebacker whose brain turned to mush in late life. Good luck, Willie.

  4. The apology strikes me as a number 6 on the scale. The line about “decades of community service…” seems
    like a subtle attempt ad deflection: “I’m a good person, look at all this other stuff I did!”

    • I also noted there was no direct apology to the person beaten, although the passage might have been an excerpt from a longer apology letter.

  5. #1. I too feel uneasy about that apology. What bothers me is the passive voice – he regrets ‘what occured’, which ‘should never have happened’. How about regretting what he did, and saying he never should have hit that guy with a bottle? That would be more like a real apology, especially if he dropped the ‘but I am a good guy really (apart from that one lapse)’ defence.

  6. Merry Christmas Jack and family! Thank you so much for all your hard work always.

    Merry Christmas to everyone here. I haven’t had time to comment much lately but I read here every day and enjoy the discussions very much.

    Thank you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  7. There’s nothing like pandering when you have no clue what you’re pandering about. Nancy Pelosi ended her final speech as Speaker of the House by wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and a Happy Shwanza.”

    So that last is Yiddish, or a close approximation thereof (I will let others provide a translation). Do you have a problem with that?

    And Merry Christmas, whether you like it or not.

  8. Regarding #1: in all of that genuflecting and apologies for potentially degrading public opinion about the NFL, and himself, and anyone who knows him, nowhere does he apologize to the man he assaulted.
    If he’s facing criminal charges and intends to enter a plea “not guilty,” I can understand why someone wouldn’t publicly apologize to his victim, but I think there are ways to apologize that don’t amount to admission of guilt.
    I don’t know enough to craft an acknowledgment of the person he attacked that wouldn’t be an admission of guilt, but the PR people who wrote his apology should have.
    He’s on video, and I would expect a better outcome if he showed contrition towards his actual victim and threw himself on the mercy of the court.

  9. Prologue: The Twilight Zone is my all-time favorite TV show. I cry every time I watch “Night of the Meek”. I expect stupid cuts made from syndicated reruns (such as what happens on Sci-Fi’s annual New Year’s Eve “Zone” marathon) but a definitive edition should have everything. I have the entire Five Season Definitive Edition. That set has wonderful graphics, interviews, commentaries from guest stars (Mickey Rooney’s from “The Last Night of a Jockey” has to be heard to be believed), it has bumper ads that include ones for cigarettes! I just popped in my DVD of that episode to be sure this information was correct and you are right! They have excised the “Merry Christmas, everyone!” What kind of idiocy is that? John Fielder’s character says, “God bless us” at the end, for Heaven’s sake and they didn’t cut that!
    How can any set be a Definitive Edition if you cut things out?

    I am on the warpath now. I buy the DVD sets so I don’t get capricious cuts.

    1. Clearly, points must be docked for apologies that are obviously not the work of the apologizer.
    2, I have a headache now. Who would not say Grandfather?
    3. I think those cans are not equitable. If they make rummaging hard, those poor homeless people will lose an option to gain resources.
    4. I am constantly mispronouncing words I know perfectly well. They come out of my mouth like that and I think, ‘What the…?” I’m also not Speaker of the House.
    5. I just don’t get it. Asians are not brown people unless they are the victims of white supremacy. Is that the argument here? We can only consider Asians minorities when they’re being attacked by black people spurred on by hateful white rhetoric or when we blame the Chinese government for its mishandling of the COVID virus?

    Merry Christmas to you, sir, and your entire family. And God bless us, everyone!

  10. I think #5 is absolutely a cause for civil action against the school administration. The parents should get lawyers immediately an institute a class action.

    This is utterly intolerable and ought to be criminally actionable. Alas, I can’t think of a statute deliberate malfeasance in public education might violate.

    Finally, and not to be minimized, Merry Christmas to everyone on behalf of Petra and I. May it be blessed.

  11. Jack,

    A very Happy Christmas to you and your family. Thank you again for your work on this site. I appreciate it every day.

    And a Merry Christmas to everyone who responds here. Be safe and know that I’ve learned an awful lot from all of you.

  12. Regarding the language poll, why does the green bar representing 52% on “illegal alien” extend to about the 75% mark? Intentional graphical deception or incompetence at the Times?

    I find it at least a little heartening that the poll shows people aren’t quite as malleable on language as the PC shitheads seem to think. All of the PC replacement euphemisms on that list are way less popular than their “offensive” predecessors.

    Old habits die hard.

    • Oops, I meant to say “chronologically advanced routines pass away with great difficulty”.

      I apologize unreservedly for the pain my words have caused. Harmful language is unacceptable in today’s world, and I’m planning to take some time to step away from this public forum and reflect on my role in perpetuating oppressive language constructs that continue to marginalize people and communities.

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