Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/13/23: “It’s All Over! What’s The Point?” Edition

“Republicans pounced” on the discovery that aging juvenile climate scold Greta Thunberg had deleted the above tweet since, you may have noticed, either humanity has not been wiped out five years after her warning, or, if doom is imminent, we might as well be comfy and have fun while we wait for the inevitable. No, it’s not a “gotcha!”; it’s a mandatory “you’re a demagogue, a fake dealing, you traffic in fraudulent science and hysteria, and we’re on to you” statement that is long overdue.

This is an example of the kind of ethics-related items that get lost when I go too long without warm-ups and similar collection posts. Last week I inadvertently deleted a file of topics on the metaphorical Ethics Alarms runway, and I’ve been trying to reconstitute the file since.

Jane Fonda, who now sports pink hair as befits her finally unmasked little old lady status, provided another nearly-missed item, when she told the fawning idiots of “The View” that her solution to the proliferation of anti-abortion laws around the country”, the communist, anti-American activist declared that “does involve murder,” in addition to “marching and protesting.” After it appeared that some people, even from the progressive camps, had a problem with this, Jane resorted to Rationalization #55,The Joke Excuse, or “I was only kidding!” Whether she was kidding or not (the women on “The View’s” panel weren’t laughing) similar “jokes” aimed at progressive policy-makers have been used to justify censorship and even criminal investigations. I think her earlier comment in the segment was even more telling, when she said,

“We have experienced many decades now of having agency over our body, of being able to determine when and how many children to have. We know what that feels like. We know what that’s done for our lives. We’re not going back. I don’t care what the laws are. We’re not going back. It’s true. It’s the truth. We’re not going to do it. We’re going to fight.”

Talk about insurrections! When hard-liners on gay marriage like Mike Huckabee suggested that “God’s law” dictated defiance of the Supreme Court, critics (like me) correctly condemned that approach. On “The View,” Fonda’s unethical rejection of  the judicial system prompted Sunny Hostin to say that Fonda was set to “get a Nobel Prize very, very soon.” The frightening thing is that the way the Nobel Peace Prize is deteriorating, she could be right.

If “The View” was a legitimate public interest news show and not a coven of biased dim-bulbs, someone should have asked Fonda to clarify her position. Is she saying that “agency” over her body justified taking an innocent human life? If not, is it that she regards unborn children as not human, or not lives? Or does her advocacy of “murder” to reinstate that “agency”apply to the unborn? Anyone making extreme statements like Fonda’s must be required to defend them, but they seldom are.

1. While we are on the topic of “insurrections”: I noted yesterday that the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences choosing smug leftist asshole Jimmy Kimmel as the Oscars host contradicted the stated goal of avoiding political polarization and luring the alienated half of the country back to the broadcast after years of insulting it. I read that Kimmel had been sternly instructed to go light on politics—you know, because he’s such a trustworthy guy. Predictably, this ass went ahead and snarked anyway, in his introduction to the Best Editing category, “Anyone who has ever received a text message from their father knows how important editing is.  Editors do amazing things. Editors can turn 44,000 hours of violent insurrection footage into a respectful sight-seeing tour of the Capitol. Their work is underappreciated.” Not to belabor the obvious, but in an actual insurrection, the man designated by the judge at sentencing as its symbol won’t be found in any footage being led around by police.

2. More Oscars ethics. I used to do a separate post every year on the important film figures the Oscars disrespectfully left out of its “In Memoriam” segment. It’s not worth my time any more, especially since Academy has apparently decided to base its snubs on selective disapproval of some of the deseased’s off-screen conduct and comments. Imagine: Hollywood denizens daring to make critical judgments on anyone in their ethics-free world! First, Kimmel decided it would be classy to mock Robert Blake, who had died just three days before, saying, “If you think Robert Blake should be part of the In Memoriam montage, text ‘GIMME-A-Blake’ to the number on your screen.”  Blake had stood trial for the murder of his wife and was acquitted. He also had a distinguished acting career dating from his time as child in the “Our Gang” comedies. He certainly belonged in the montage more than Olivia Newton-John, a recording star who could only be called an actress with generous hyperbole but who somehow was deemed worthy of a special tribute by “Grease” co-star John Travolta. Others who appear to have been cut from the tribute for transgressions real or imagined:

  • Ann Heche, who had the poor taste to die in a drunk-driving episode
  • Tom Sizemore, the effective tough-gut character actor (“Saving Private Ryan”) whose career cratered because of drug and alcohol addictions
  • Paul Sorvino, a prominent cast member in “Goodfellas,” and “The Firm” as well as in many TV dramas, had been undiplomatic in his condemnation of Harvey Weinstein and the Hollywood community that enabled him
  • Marsha Hunt, whose career was effectively ruined by the Hollywood blacklist.
  • Stella Stevens (a personal favorite), who had been publically critical of the industry’s refusal to give her an opportunity to break out of her sex-symbol type-casting to do serious roles and direct.
  • Comic Gilbert Gottfried had roles in dozens of films, notably as the voice of the Iago the evil parrot in “Aladin,” but became persona non-grata by making jokes about the Japan tsunami (which also lost him his job as the AFLAC duck)

And speaking of ducks, the Academy ducks responsibility for snubbing such performers by saying that they are listed on the Oscars website.

3. Since I’ve been so critical of Georgetown Law Center dean William Treanor, It is only far to highlight his statement regarding why the school has opted out of the U.S. News and World Report law school rankings [Pointer: MM]:

“Georgetown Law is one of 40 law schools that have “dropped out” of U.S. News & World Report rankings because we believe its analysis is deeply flawed. U.S. News has since engaged in an aggressive PR blitz, including claiming in “Why Elite Schools Can’t Stand U.S. News” (op-ed by Eric Gertler, March 1) that law schools have withdrawn because they want to ignore or hide grades and standardized test scores. This simply isn’t true; in fact, this decision has been a long time coming.

I have been communicating for a decade with the U.S. News staff about their methodology, with which I have two principal issues. First, its algorithm wasn’t designed by anyone who is familiar with law schools. You can’t be an umpire if you don’t know baseball. Second, the algorithm is a closely guarded secret. The primary purpose of rankings is to help students make wise choices. But if they don’t know what U.S. News is basing its ranking on, they can’t make well-informed decisions.

We aren’t trying to hide anything. The median LSAT score of our current first-year class is 171 and the GPA is 3.86. We could cause our median to increase, which would push us up the rankings, but numbers don’t tell us anything about a student’s potential. We look for qualities that will enable our graduates to contribute meaningfully to the world.

The solution to the rankings problem isn’t to eliminate rankings but to encourage them. U.S. News shouldn’t be the only one in the market. Many prominent U.S. publications put out business-school rankings. I urge them to create their own law-school rankings, with transparent methodologies, so students can easily determine which schools emphasize the factors that are most important to them.”

He’s exactly right. The rankings have always been arbitrary and misleading.

4. Of course it did…No matter how low the New York Times sinks, the Washington Post sinks lower.  In a Friday profile about a fired transgender diversity officer at New College of Florida, the Post really and truly used “zir” (  (“zir recent termination”)in reference to Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez because she  “uses ze/zir pronouns.” 

5. See? Fox News can be ethical, sort of ! It just needs reminding now and then...Yesterday, Fox News management finally allowed its media watchdog Howard Kurtz to report on the Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against the network. On a broadcast last month, Kurtz revealed that he had been banned from covering Dominion’s defamation allegations against Fox. Kurtz said then he “strongly” disagreed with the decision. But the host was allowed to air a four-minute report on Sunday, though it seemed to be over-balanced toward the network’s defense. A requirement for Kurtz to be able to mention the case at all? “I’m not sugarcoating the allegations in this $1.6 billion suit or the fact that Fox has taken a hit in the court of public opinion,” Kurtz protested.

I seem to recall that there’s a Shakespeare quote that’s applicable….


17 thoughts on “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/13/23: “It’s All Over! What’s The Point?” Edition

  1. Regarding the Prologue:

    Don’t delete that tweet Greta. There are still a few months left for everyone to die! You just have to believe!

    Regarding Robert Blake, I found Kimmel’s jokes halfway amusing. Blake’s death was so recent that it COULD cause a logistical problem. The solution: the In Memoriam segment should deal with only those who died in the year under consideration; in this case, these are the Oscar’s for 2022 and only those who died in that year would be included.

    Blake should be included—next year. That way, there would be less of a chance for snubs and deaths like Blake’s from disrupting preparations at the last minute.


      • What exactly is wrong with Greta’s assertion?

        We can definitely 100% believe that her conclusion is wrong. I don’t think humanity will be wiped out by climate change even remotely. But everyone is jumping on a claim that Greta said humanity would be wiped out in 5 years.

        But she didn’t assert that. She’s the dummy for deleting the tweet.

        What she asserted regards the ending the usage of fossil fuels in 5 years. If that wasn’t met, humanity would be doomed.

        When the iceberg breached 5 of the Titanic’s watertight compartments and Thomas Andrews informed the Captain that the ship can float with 4 compartments flooded, but it sinks if 5 are breached, the Captain didn’t wave his arms “HA YOU’RE WRONG! 5 COMPARTMENTS ARE BREACHED AND WE’RE STILL ABOVE WATER!!!!”

        That’s not what he did — rather he recognized the point of no return was met regardless of how much the ship was still apparently afloat.

        Same goes for Greta’s tweet. She’s wrong about the doom of humanity, but the wording of her tweet has been wrongly interpreted.

        • She deleted it because if it were correct, then she has no more relevance. If we’re doomed, we might as well party. By deleting it, she admits that the prediction and her tweet were just scaremongering. The point of no return must always be on the horizon, to justify draconian policies. It’s useless once that imaginary point has been reached. That’s her game, Al Gore’s game, the UN’s game. Nothing’s wrong with a prediction that doesn’t come true…if it was a genuine prediction and the prophet is willing to accept responsibility for it. But it wasn’t a good faith prediction. It was a calculated falsehood, and having been proven false, needs to be forgotten so the next fake deadline can be set.

  2. No doubt the “In Memoriam” segment was already filmed when Sizemore and, certainly, when Blake died, but can’t you just see the Powers That Be wiping their brows and breathing sighs of relief that they could use that as an excuse not to honor Blake? “Maybe, by next year, they will have forgotten?”, they probably hoped.

    Well, I’m going to call them out next year when they inevitably leave Blake out of that “In Memoriam” segment, too. Blake was a troubled figure. He was the victim of early fame and bad parents, a toxic combination. But he was talented and he worked in the film and television industry for decades. He was not an insignificant figure. He deserves better than to be ignored.

  3. I would like to know how Dominion believes they took a 1.6 billion dollar hit to their top line based on Fox reporting. Fox News was and still is ridiculed by the MSM and virtually every progressive on the planet. I am unaware of any lost sales or cancelled contracts because of the claims made.
    These numbers seem way out of line for a relatively small firm with a capitalization of a mere fraction of what they are asking in damages.
    Finally, after all the claims, does anyone – who are decision makers in choosing voting system-believe Dominion’s products are faulty in the manner claimed in Fox News reports.

  4. “Is she saying that “agency” over her body justified taking an innocent human life?” Absolutely that’s what she’s saying. I’ve been told just that by women.

    “Is it that she regards unborn children as not human, or not lives?” Yes, she does. I’ve had a woman liken a fetus growing in the womb to a cancer. (She’s had a daughter and now has two grandchildren. Ghoulish, non?

    “Or does her advocacy of “murder” to reinstate that “agency” apply to the unborn?” See above. A fetus is not a life, therefore, abortion is not murder. It’s an optional medical procedure.

    “Anyone making extreme statements like Fonda’s must be required to defend them, but they seldom are.” I’d say the vast majority of women agree with her wholeheartedly. Why would they challenge her?

  5. I was busy working when our early teen kids were watching “Grease” on the Betamax machine over and over and singing along to all the songs. I watched it a few years ago. It’s a terrible, really raunchy movie not suitable for tweens.

    • One of those rare shamelessly crummy movies that somehow struck a chord and was a huge hit. The musical itsself was lousy, but it ran on B-way absurdly long. The movie—from its 30-year-old highschoolers to its bananas ending with the car flying off into the air–shows that sometimes pure audacity wins out over quality.

      • Stockard Channing as a high school student was especially embarrassing, and to induce great old 50’s-60’s comics like Eve Arden and Sid Caesar to sully themselves by participating was just cruel. Frankie Avalon, as the Teen Angel, escaped unscathed.

        But “Summer Nights” is a great number. My revue group did it for years.

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