“Sunday Evening Ethics With Ethics Alarms,” 2/5/2023: But Wait, There’s More…

I want to start next week out with as little inventory as possible, so I’m going to go to the potpourri format a second time today. This morning’s installment is here.

1. My current quest is to locate as many popular songs and records from the 1950s (and early Sixties, which were the Fifties in spirit, pre-British Invasion.) that are effectively “cancelled” today for being politically correct. As I note in a comment earlier today, I am trying to persuade Pat Boone to do this as a “theme” for his weekly Sirius show on the Golden Fifties Channel. He’s a terrific host, by the way—great voice still, smooth, fascinating comments on the songs. Pat also likes playing his own hits, understandable enough, and one of them was the infamous “Speedy Gonzalez,” which traffics in more Mexican stereotypes than you would think could be packed into a song. ( I wrote about the Chuck Jones cartoon character here; Mel Blanc even does “Speedy” on Pat’s record.) That song above from “The Most Happy Fella” is another. Boy, it’s creepy, with lyrics like,

Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by
Standing on the corner underneath the springtime sky
Brother, you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking
Or for the “Woo!” look in your eye
You’re only standing on the corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls
Go by!

I first paid attention to the song in the 70’s, and they bothered me then. How cute: a bunch of guys ogling women and thinking about illegal things to do with them or to them. As you might discern, I see no reason to censor these songs. The Fifties was the most lively, varied, experimental and interesting time in U.S. pop music, with Broadway, jazz, rhythm and blues, country, Doo Wop, and orchestral all vital, the iconic rockers like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Elvis on the way up, and the old-style crooners like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Frankie Layne and Tony Bennett still knocking out hits. Hundreds of that era’s songs are still worth listening to, including “Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah” by Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a Phil Spector-produced American rhythm and blues trio from Los Angeles. You know, I’m sure, that Disney has purged that Academy Award-winning song because it came from the allegedly racist “Song of the South” animated film. Among the platters I’ll suggest to Pat are “Please Mr. Custer,” “Ally Oop,” “Johnny Get Angry,” “I Told the Witch Doctor,” and Tex Ritter’s “Deck of Cards” song, which is openly Christian, so might “offend” someone. Please pass suggestions along, as well as the best way to contact Pat, who claims to have an email address. Twitter works, but I haven’t returned to that platform yet. I can’t tell if Pat himself ever checks his Facebook page.

2. I’m pretty sure I posted these before, but I was stunned to learn today that the British army is still using these humiliating (and wrong) pandering recruitment posters to reach Millennials who should be kept out of the military at all costs;

talk about “it isn’t what it is”! Selfie addicts don’t have “confidence;” they are insecure narcissists. “Snowflakes” aren’t “compassionate,” they are hyper-sensitive weenies—just the kind you want in a foxhole with you with your life on the line. “Self-belief” is a euphemism for selfishness. Aren’t there any Millennials with positive character traits that might actually be assets to the military?

3. Morgan Freeman understands what’s wrong with Black History month! In a “Sixty Minutes” interview of yore with now-long dead Mike Wallace, Freeman said, when asked about “Black History Month,” “Ridiculous. You’re gonna relegate my history to a month?…I don’t want a Black history month. Black history is American history.” When the surprised Wallace,  reliable mouthpiece of the Left that he was, replied, “Oh, come on!”, this exchange ensued:

“What do you do with yours? Which month is white history month?” Freeman asked. “Come on, tell me.”

“I’m Jewish,” Wallace replied.

“Okay, which month is Jewish history month?” Asked Freeman.

“There isn’t one.”

“Oh, oh. Why not? Do you want one?”

“No, no,” Wallace answered.

“I don’t either,” Freeman said. “I don’t want a Black history month. Black history is American history.”

Then Wallace asked Freeman how are we “going to get rid of racism.”

“Stop talking about it,” Freeman said.  “I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman.”

In today’s environment, Freeman would be called a brainwashed white supremacist. NBA superstar Lebron James, who likes to pretend to be an activist but doesn’t have the brains for it, tweeted out Morgan’s exchange with Wallace, and then took it down.

4. And all these years, I thought Jonathan Capehart was a disgracefully incompetent and dimwitted white partisan pundit, like, say, Jonathan Alter. But no! Capehart had this outburst on PBS last week:

“What Ron DeSantis is doing is deeply, deeply insulting. What he’s basically saying to the nation and to African Americans, in particular, it’s that your role in the building of this country, the maintenance of this country means nothing, that, without you, we could have gotten along just fine. And that’s what’s so — it’s insulting. It’s hurtful. And think about this, Geoff. The fact that you and I are sitting here right now, you in an anchor chair, me as a guest, on television, could that have happened 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 1619? No, it couldn’t. It couldn’t have. And one thing I like to remind people, particularly young people, history is not really history when you’re talking about African Americans in this country. My cousins and I are the first generation in my family to not have to pick cotton. We are the first generation that did not have to live under Jim Crow. I’m 55 years old. That’s how long this has been a democracy.”

Yeah, it would have been hard to be on TV in 1619, or a hundred years ago, since TV wasn’t invented then. Fifty years ago? The first national news anchor (Max Robinson, then a D.C. news anchor) was a few years away, but there were several local black anchors, notably Bill McCreary. But Capehart never lets facts get in the way of his narratives. The pit about picking cotton in New Jersey, where his family resided, has attracted quite a bit of mockery. I’ pretty sure Capehart meant that his was the first generation of American blacks not to have any fellow member have to pick cotton (is that true?) but he’s so inarticulate without an editor that he botched it.

5. As if its “the” debacle weren’t enough, The Associated Press  style guide  tells its journalists to put the term “crisis pregnancy center” in scare-quotes, and to use “anti-abortion center” instead. The guide describes the centers as “set up to divert or discourage women from having abortions” —The Horror! Imagine that!—-and warns writers against “potentially misleading terms” like “pregnancy resource centers or pregnancy counseling centers.”  “If using the term anti-abortion center, explain later that these often are known as ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ (with quotation marks) and that their aim is to dissuade people from getting an abortion,” the style guide says. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! At least the AP doesn’t require reporters to say that the centers exist to deny women a “choice.” How the mighty have fallen

6. Bias makes you stupid, after all: Here’s a genuine tweet from MSNBC’s perpetually angry and ridiculous Lawrence O’Donnell:

7.  Bias or just quality control? DirecTV, which I am about to cancel as soon as I figure out how I’ll get the Red Sox games broadcasts, is being accused of partisan censorship because it has removed NewsMax from its line-up. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has condemned the Newsmax cancellation by AT&T/DirecTV and promised action, whatever that means. GOP Senators Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, Mike Lee, and Tom Cotton have also demanded an explanation. But NewsMax is terrible. It’s not just biased, its hackily biased. It makes Fox News seem like Lowell Thomas by comparison. True, MSNBC is no better.

12 thoughts on ““Sunday Evening Ethics With Ethics Alarms,” 2/5/2023: But Wait, There’s More…

  1. I nominate Fats Domino’s “Little School Girl,” Bill Hailey and His Comets’ “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” Floyd Dixon’s “Girl Fifteen,” and The Crystals’ “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss).”

  2. 5) If they are going for accuracy they should label abortion centers as “baby killing centers.”

    6) MSNBC says it all.

    7) Sigh. I don’t know what option is worse, that they are pandering to voters, or that they actually believe they need to approve of TV channel line ups. It’s like Republican leadership can’t help but say stupid things when the chance arises. And worse, what advisers are telling them that the terrible (I am conservative and can’t stand it) NewsMax is a hill to die on?

      • Speaking of “TV Lineups”. The windchill was -25 F the other day, which means I have to use the &*%#@ treadmill instead of walking outside. So, while walking on the treadmill, I turn on TVLAND to watch a Gunsmoke rerun. Then I saw this “trigger warning” for the first time:

        “This program contains outdated cultural depictions.
        Viewer discretion is advised.

        Wow. Apparently, they flash this before Bonanza too. If they start running Lassie reruns they better keep it handy because we wouldn’t want anyone to be scarred by seeing outdated cultural depictions.

  3. The British Army, in its defense, is not attempting to recruit selfie-addicts; rather, they are attempting to recruit those who feel mischaracterized as such by “boomers” (itself a mischaracterization of the older generation). The army of any nation is, of course, not a place you should expect to feel “seen” in, so the ads are inherently deceptive trying to represent itself as such, and are thus unethical pandering.

  4. #1. A little after your requested time period (1967), but the Tom Jones hit “Delilah” has been much in the news east of the Atlantic of late. It’s the sort of unofficial anthem of the Welsh national rugby team, but the Welsh Rugby Union officials have removed the song from their choir’s playlist because it is about a man who stabs his cheating lover to death, although most people only tune in to the chorus, so the storyline goes unnoticed.

    Needless to say, and as anyone could have predicted, the Welsh fans (as opposed to the official choir) just sang the song loud and proud before the first match of the Six Nations tournament to be held in Cardiff.

    (I wrote about this story in a potpourri post last week.)

    • Great minds—I thought of “Delilah” in this regard last week. I was not aware of the controversy. It’s probably my favorite Tom Jones song—so hilariously over-wrought, and a perfect match to his style. “So before— they come to break down the door….”

  5. Just today I thought of 3 songs that may have been cancelled. Hope this helps.

    Rocket 88. considered the first Rock and Roll song.
    “ Everybody’s gonna take a little nip, boozing and cruising along”

    Take a letter, Maria.
    To his secretary after he dictates a letter to his unfaithful wife.
    “I’ve never really noticed how sweet you are to me.
    It just so happens I’m free tonight. Would you like to have dinner with me?”

    In The Summer Time by Mungo Jerry.
    “In the summertime you got women, you got women on your mind”
    “have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find.

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