Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Indigestion,11/26/2020: A Whole Lot Of Shaky Ethics Performances Going On

1. AstraZeneca! In Jurassic Park’s control center, as the first tour of the park begins having technical glitches, creator John Hammond turns with contempt to tech guru Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight, aka “Newman”) and spits, “Our life is in your hands and you have butterfingers?” That was the first thing that jumped into my head when I read this:

The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. “Get yourself a vaccaccino,” a British tabloid celebrated, noting that the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, costs less than a cup of coffee.

But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine’s apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing.

Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results.

Competence. Diligence. Responsibility. The duty of care. Trustworthiness.

2. Butterfingers II: The case of the premature obituaries. Radio France Internationale (RFI) mistakenly published online the obituaries of about 100 public figures who were and are still alive.Among those declared dead were Queen Elizabeth II, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Carter, Yoko Ono, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot. Google and Yahoo then picked up the fake news, which was, of course, spread on social media.

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The Inexcusable Big Brotherism Of Governor Phil Scott [Revised and Corrected]

Tim Scott

Just so I’m clear: it isn’t only Democratic governors and mayors who have revealed themselves as Big Brother wannabes in the pandemic, just mostly. They also win hypocrisy prizes over their GOP counterparts for their party’s pushing Big Lies # 3 and #6, which are both dependent on the verdict that the President is an autocrat. Yet when a gift-wrapped excuse arrived for totalitarian edicts, it was Trump’s critics, not the President, who eagerly began squashing rights and crossing lines. Thus, to evoke the last line of today’s post, the Democrats are the bigger assholes, though both parties’ tin despots can bite me.

Vemont’s Republican Governor Scott, for example, should be impeached. Luckily for him, he is the governor of the state with arguably the least American values-friendly state in the union: Vermont, where the citizenry have elected such strange creatures as Howard Dean, who thinks hate speech isn’t protected by the Constitution, and Bernie Sanders, who admired the Soviet Union.

Scott informed Vermont via Twitter that schools will be adding new questions about how students spent their holiday to daily health checks. If the answer shows that a family didn’t toe the line, kids may have to take online classes for a two-week period or quarantine for a week. Or the Vermont State Stasi may drop by and take Mom and Dad to a re-education camp. You never know. Businesses are being instructed to similarly9nquire into employees’ private lives:

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2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update: Well THIS Doesn’t Bode Well…

spelling problem

That’s the embarrassing first sheet of the more than 100 page lawsuit filed by lawyer Sidney Powell asking that 96,000 ballots (“at minimum”) in Georgia be disqualified. This is apparently the attack on the Georgia election that Powell referred to as releasing “the Kraken.”

Nobody seems to feel it’s necessary to explain that “Release the Kraken” is a reference to the semi-cheesy Ray Harryhousen stop-action film “Clash of the Titans,” which starred “LA Law’s” Harry Hamlin as Perseus, the Greek mythological hero. In the movie (though not in mythology), Perseus defeats the monstrous Kraken, which is released by the bad guys to kill him and Andromeda (it’s complicated). For some reason Perseus, in addition to carrying around Medusa’s head (which turns the Kraken to stone), rides the winged horse Pegasus. Pegasus was the transportation of a different Greek myth hero, Bellerophon. Neither Bellerophon nor Perseus had anything to do with the Kraken, which is not even a Greek myth monster. It’s Scandinavian, and is basically a giant squid.

Observations:

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Thanksgiving Ethics Quiz: The Vatican’s Cool Nativity Scene

I don’t understand this at all.

Thanksgiving is, at least in this country, the traditional kick-off of the holidays and all the madness, music, traditions, literature, art, fun, reflection and controversies that accompany them.

Slightly off topic: I just looked in on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast.

Oh. My. God.

What is a parade without anyone watching and cheering along the route? What’s the point? All the energy, all of it, is gone. Worst of all are the live—are they really live?—performances of numbers from various Broadway shows in the middle of the street. These are always weird, but without any ambient sounds or people in the background, they are creepy and weird. The look like a post-nuclear apocalypse freak-out by community theater survivors. Also creepy: the networks’ socially distanced “hosts” now resemble those old Soviet news shows where the anchors were separated by about 15 feet at a long desk.

Where was I? Oh, right, the holidays…

With all the commercializing and vulgarizing of Christmas, the unlistenable “modern” Christmas songs, and the cynical “Christmas is horrible” movie comedies (like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”), the culture relies on the Christian religious institutions to provide context, continuity, seriousness and dignity to the season lest the ritual cease to have any meaning at all. With that duty in mind, here is the just-revealed Vatican Nativity scene:

vatican-2020-nativity-730x487

Your Ethics Alarms Thanksgiving Ethics Quiz is…

WHAT THE HELL??

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I’m Thankful That So Many Americans Will Refuse To Comply With Pandemic Orders From Arrogant And Contemptuous Elected Officials Like These

Thanksgiving plus US

Elected mayors and governors across the country have simultaneously demanded obeisance to their burdensome orders constraining American rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while showcasing their belief that they are above the obligation to live by their own rules.

I’m grateful for this disgusting phenomenon. It vividly exposes a political class that thinks Americans are marks and fools, or perhaps some kind of human-sheep hybrid. These elected dictators’ not-so-secret desire is to dominate and rule. They have but a faint concept of what a representative democracy means, and have contempt for it and us. Members of the public who can’t see the unethical double standards these nascent totalitarians would inflict on the nation, or worse, those who accept and tolerate the double standards, are the intended victims. Fortunately, there are still a critical number of citizens who recall this nation’s origins as a rebellion against tyrants.

The open contempt these leaders have for us is staggering. Perhaps they expected their allied propagandists among news media to hide the hypocrisy, which so far it has been unwilling to do. Actually, considering the embargo on stories that might reflect positively on President Trump during the run-up to this months election, it is surprising our aspiring dictators haven’t been provided with more cover. This is something else to be thankful for.

From the Thanksgiving section of the Dead Ethics Alarms files:

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No, Pete Davidson Is NOT Starring As George Bailey In A Remake Of “It’s A Wonderful Life”

toy train derailment

Here we have a fine example of that annoying American pop culture phenomenon, the teensie-weensie ethics train wreck. From beginning to end, everything about this episode evinces some lack of ethical values, but in the final analysis, the consequences are negligible.

Let’s examine the trivial Pete Davidson Casting Ethics Train Wreck:

1. Clickbait. Numerous friends and Ethics Alarms readers emailed me with the horrifying news that Pete Davidson, the slimy, possibly mentally-ill Saturday Night Live  cast member and stand-up comic, would be playing George Bailey in a “remake” of the beloved Frank Capra classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The reason for their alarm were headlines like this one, from Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller: “Pete Davidson To Take On Role Of George Bailey In ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’” The conclusion reached by those who contacted me was completely reasonable, but the headline was deliberately misleading.

2. Casting a creep like Davidson as George Bailey in any version of that movie including a Cub Scouts skit  is a slur on the film, the beloved character, James Stewart, the holidays, Capra, what the film stands for to many Americans, oh, pretty much everything. Davidson infamously mocked Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s eye-patch when he was running for Congress in 2018, and has generally proven himself to be a smug, shallow jerk of the sort that has flourished during the Trump years. Crenshaw lost his eye in combat, and Davidson has made it clear, despite various insincere mea culpas, that this warrants no respect in his world view.  For Davidson to stand in the shoes of James Stewart, a World War II veteran and hero, is nauseating, and an insult to all veterans. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Distracted Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2020: “’A Website, Two Governors And An Actress Walk Into A Bar…’”

I hereby vow to straighten out the Comment of the Day backlog over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, especially since the sinister alliance of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, The Great Stupid, the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck and the Axis of Unethical Conduct has kicked Thanksgiving in its metaphorical groin, perhaps crippling it forever. THanksgiving has benn on the Left’s hit list for a long time. You know: religion, Native American genocide, white supremacy, evil Pilgrims. “First they came for Columbus…”

But I digress. Sorry.

I’m hopping Humble Talent’s past other earlier and deserving COTD candidates because, first, it’s a thoughtful and moving piece, but also because it is not about politics—a rare commodity of late—and because it is a pure ethics reflection, at a time of year, especially this year, when such shared reflections are much needed.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Distracted Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2020: “’A Website, Two Governors And An Actress Walk Into A Bar…’”

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Distracted Ethics Warm-Up, 11/24/2020: “A Website, Two Governors And An Actress Walk Into A Bar…”

distracted

I’m writing this while simultaneously watching an Ethics Rock Extreme Zoom replay and answering typed-in questions from participants. Boy, I hate watching and listening to myself….

1. Unethical website? www.everylegalvote.com is labeled by the New York Times as “promoting claims of fraud, built on fantasy.” I’d call the big map showing Biden with 214 Electoral votes and the President with 232 misleading. I also find the Times’ constant refrain in headlines and stories that the President is “trying to subvert a free and fair election with false claims of fraud” an outright lie.” The 2020 election was not “fair” because of biased and manipulated reporting by the Times and most of the media, and there is no question that many of the allegations of fraud are accurate, with legitimate reasons to suspect broader corruption.

The site is also serving valid purpose since the news media isn’t reporting the current controversies objectively.

2. And this is why most celebrities and actors should shut up, because they make people stupid. Here is actress Kristen Stewart’s response to a interviewers question on how she feels about gay activists demanding that only gay actors should be allowed to play gay characters (Stewart decided she was gay mid-career. Whether she stays gay —think Ann Heche—is an open question. It’s all about branding…) :

I would never want to tell a story that really should be told by somebody who’s lived that experience. Having said that, it’s a slippery slope conversation because that means I could never play another straight character if I’m going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law. I think it’s such a gray area. There are ways for men to tell women’s stories, or ways for women to tell men’s stories. But we need to have our finger on the pulse and actually have to care. You kind of know where you’re allowed. I mean, if you’re telling a story about a community and they’re not welcoming to you, then fuck off. But if they are, and you’re becoming an ally and a part of it and there’s something that drove you there in the first place that makes you uniquely endowed with a perspective that might be worthwhile, there’s nothing wrong with learning about each other. And therefore helping each other tell stories. So I don’t have a sure-shot answer for that….Sometimes, artfully speaking, you’re just drawn to a certain group of people. I could defend that, but I’m sure that somebody with a different perspective could make me feel bad about that — and then make me renege on everything I’ve just said. I acknowledge the world that we live in. And I absolutely would never want to traipse on someone else’s opportunity to do that — I would feel terrible about that. So my answer is fucking think about what you’re doing! And don’t be an asshole.

Thanks for that clarification, Kristen..

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Cat Hands Ethics

witches hands

Having gone to great lengths to make comedy impossible, the political correctness police are now working to make drama impossible as well. Yesterday Ethics Alarms again visited this issue as it considered the brain-meltingly idiotic demands by progressives and group identity activists that only autistic performers should be cast as autistic characters. This is a subset of the disingenuous, contradictory and pragmatically impossible demand by the Army of the Woke that only performers with the same physical, gender, racial and ethnic characteristics should be cast in movies, plays and TV productions as characters with those traits….although minority actors should be cast as characters written as or traditionally played by whites whenever possible.

This nonsense has received new gusts of wind beneath its wings in The Great Stupid, which descended upon out culture hand-in-hand with the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck. It is old nonsense, though. The white cartoon voice actors who announced this year that they wouldn’t give voice to cartoon characters of color hailed from the same progressive nut house as those who criticized the “Lord of the Rings” movies (and others) for using special effects to allow actors of normal height portray fantasy dwarves, or who chased Dwayne Johnson away from his planned “John Henry” film because he’s not black enough.

Critics of film remake of “The Witches” have even bigger and more stupid metaphorical fish to fry, it seems. Now the attack is focused on the tendencies of human beings to be frightened or wary of those who look or act different from what they are used to, and, by extension, artists’ exploitation of that hard-wired human reaction to move, entertain, and communicate with audiences.

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