Category Archives: Etiquette and manners

Marilyn Mosby Secures Her Reputation As One Of The Most Shamelessly Unethical U.S. Prosecutors Of All Time

The other shoe dropped: prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray,  following the acquittals of three other officers  by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams. He was expected to preside over the remaining trials, and, as the Bible says, the writing was on the wall.

Make no mistake: this result was completely and entirely the result of the incompetent, unethical conduct of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who vaingloriously announced charges against the officers in the immediate wake of rioting in Baltimore, following the dictates of a mob. She did this without sufficient investigation, evidence or, despite the ethical requirements of her office, probable cause. She had the city of Baltimore agree to a large damages settlement for Gray’s family before any of the officers were tried, prejudicing their cases. She spent millions on the prosecutions, and shattered the lives of all six officers, and yet never made a case that justified any of it.

There are more unethical things that a prosecutor can do, and they certainly do them. Some prosecute individuals they know are innocent, which is a bit worse than prosecuting someone who might be guilty because a mob wants blood. Those unethical prosecutors, however, try to cover their tracks. Not Mosby: she’s proud of being unethical, because its the kind of unethical conduct that African-American activists think promotes justice. Justice is when someone pays with their life or liberty if an African American dies, regardless of law or evidence.  That’s the theory, anyway. Continue reading

25 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

Photojournalism Ethics: The Faces Of Hillary

Clinton fair

Long ago, a Pennsylvania governor named William Scranton ran for the Republican nomination. He wasn’t a bad-looking man, but he was given to extreme facial expressions, the most grotesque or silly of which always seemed to be captured by photographers and put on front pages. I was a kid, but just reading my dad’s Time Magazines was sufficient to make me feel sorry for Scranton. The photos made him look like lunatic or a drunk. Yet on TV there was nothing unusual about Bill Scranton at all. He had an expressive face, and a fleeting look that might pass his countenance in a nanosecond, barely visible to observers, could make him appear frightening or ridiculous when captured and frozen in time. I wondered then why editors chose and published such misleading and unflattering photographs.

Now I know. They do it because they can, and because they are mean and irresponsible.

As a victim of this tactic, Scranton got off easy compared to Hillary Clinton. Camera technology now permits even more fleeting expressions to be captured, and while the largely Clinton-protecting newspapers shy away from unflattering Clinton photographs, the web is teeming with them. Like Scranton, Hillary has a very expressive face, and one that has become more expressive with age. Unfortunately, this means that she has left a damaging trail of photos of her split-second facial reactions that make her look crazy, sinister, or ridiculous. Matt Drudge, in particular, revels in them. Yes, I have used them myself; like Clinton or not, they are almost irresistible. I’m not proud of it. I’m not doing it any more.

I have concluded, belatedly, that using these misleading and unflattering photos of Mrs. Clinton is very unfair, and the visual equivalent of an ad hominem attack. I know all the rationalizations: The camera doesn’t lie (but we know it does), the camera captures the soul (suuure it does), it’s a joke, and she can take it ( a double rationalization there); everybody does it.

None of them are persuasive. Doing this to anyone, celebrity or not, funny or not, is cruel and  unfair; I think most people know it’s cruel and unfair.

It is also conduct that violates the Golden Rule. Your host knows this as well as anyone: I’m not hideous in real life,  but photos of me often make me looks deranged or worse. Like these, for example: Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

From An Ethics Dunce Playmate Of The Year, A Full Pazuzu!

dani-mathers post

Dani Mathers is a former Playmate of the Year. On the left below, you see Dani as she appears to unknowing bystanders; on the right, the oil portrait of herself that she keeps in the attic.

Dani+Mathers

Befitting the character and soul accurately portrayed by the portrait, the skin-deep beauty took a cellphone photo of an unaware naked female member of LA Fitness in the gym’s shower. Then Dani posted the pic on Snapchat with the caption, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

The actual photo does not have the victim’s body blotted out.

Said LA Fitness of  Dani:”Her behavior is appalling and puts every member’s privacy at risk. We have handled this internally and also notified the police.”

Of course cell phone photography is prohibited in locker rooms. Doing what Mathers did may also be against the law.

Caught with her ugly soul exposed to the world, the model reverted to full Pazuzu mode. Pazuzu was the demon who made poor Linda Blair say all those horrible things in “The Exorcist,” and the Pazuzu Excuse is what Ethics Alarms calls apologies for horrible statements or conduct that include such incredible statements as “Those statements do not express my real beliefs,” “That doesn’t reflect who I am,” and the always popular “That wasn’t me.” Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Rights, Social Media

“Bewitched” Ethics: A Startling Lesson In How Increased Sensitivity To Other Cultures Constitutes Progress

The Sixties witchery sitcom “Bewitched” is a guilty pleasure, mostly because of the superb cast and unabashed silliness of the enterprise. (I do avoid the episodes with Darrin 2, Dick Sergeant, who took over the role of Samantha’s befuddled mortal husband—without any explanation in the series—after the Definitive Darrin, Dick York, became unable to perform.) A new cable channel is running the series in the morning, and today I saw an episode that delivered a series of shocks that never would have registered in 1968, when it first aired. Some of them should have, though.

The episode, “A Majority of Two” (the title evokes the stage and film comedy “A Majority of One,” about a romance between a middle-aged Japanese man and a Jewish widow from Brooklyn)  involves Darrin’s boss, the weaselly Larry Tate, conning Samantha into hosting a dinner for important advertising client Kensu Mishimoto, who is flying in from Japan. Sam agrees—after all, a nose twitch or two is all it takes—but asks Larry what to serve, Japanese or Western cuisine. Larry is prepared: he gives Samantha a note with the name of what Mishimoto’s secretary told Tate was the businessman’s favorite  dish: Hung Ai Wan Goo Rash. There being no internet, Sam worries about how she will get the recipe.

Let’s count the insensitivity jolts here: Continue reading

21 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Popular Culture, Race, U.S. Society

Unethical Website Of The Month: “Above The Law”

above-the-law

Stay classy, Above The Law!

Above The Law, which styles itself a legal profession gossip site and half-baked professional ethics watchdog, has been a useful resource for me on occasion, though the commentary of its writers, particularly lead writer Elie Mystal, has often left a lot to be desired ethically and logically. My last four posts regarding Above the Law, going back a year, have been Ethics Dunce entries, and there easily could have been more.

I used to get Above the Law’s stories sent to my in box, as I had subscribed several years ago. Then I noticed that I wasn’t getting them any more, so I subscribed again. I got notices for a few days, then they stopped. Again I subscribed. Again, my subscription vanished.

I just re-subscribed today, and expect that I will again be cut off.

Ethics Alarms has, it seemed, been “unfriended” by Above The Law, because I have had the impertinence to point out the increasingly lunk-headed ethics confusion and partisan bias of the site. Wow, that’s petty!  That’s also cowardly: the site seems to think that if I don’t know about their frequently misguided posts, I wouldn’t be able to criticize them. In fact, they are mostly right. I have now more than once gone many weeks without noticing the lack of the site’s notices in my e-mail. Life without “Above the Law’ is still rich and full of joy.

I did check today, however, which is when I discovered my latest subscription was gone with the wind. While I was responding positively to the site’s invitation to me to subscribe (for the 4th time), I checked the most recent posts, and saw this, from Elie, naturally…

Praising a recent post by a professor who was criticized for openly supporting Black Lives Matter—a group that declares on its website that the deaths of “Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police” were “murders” before any investigation or assessment of the events leading up to the shootings has been completed—Mystal’s post, titled “To Be Honest, I’m In No Mood To Explain #BlackLivesMatter To White People Today” reads in part… Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, The Internet, Unethical Websites

Of Course Gretchen Carlson Was Sexually Harassed At Fox News….So Why Didn’t She Sue Before She Was Fired?

Ex Fox Blonde Gretchen Carlson and Fox stud-muffin Roger Aisles

Ex-Fox Blonde Gretchen Carlson and Fox stud-muffin Roger Ailes

Gretchen Carlson is suing Fox News Chair Roger Ailes for retaliating against her for refusing his sexual advances. I don’t know whether her allegations, which are disturbing to say the least, are true. The most sensational of them is her claim that Ailes, when she came to him to complain about sexual harassment from her co-hosts on “Fox and Friends,” said, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.”

Cowabunga.

Ailes denies her account, but then, he would whether it was true or not, for that statement is pure, unadulterated sexual harassment by all by itself.

Indeed, a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox by Carlson once would be such a slam dunk that it is interesting that she never brought one. I stopped watching “Fox & Friends” in part because Carlson was harassed almost every day by co-hosts Seven Doocy and Brian Kilmead, and it made me angry, and to some extent angry at Carlson for putting up with it.

In 2009, Carlson  complained to a supervisor that Doocy “had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating her in a sexist and condescending way, including by putting his hand on her and pulling down her arm to shush her during a live telecast.”  Indeed he had. You can see examples of this repeated and juvenile conduct here and here. In her suit, Carlson says that her co-hosts had been “mocking [Gretchen] during commercial breaks, shunning her off air, refusing to engage with her on air, belittling her contributions to the show, and generally attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful journalist rather than a blonde female prop.” To this, Ailes reportedly told Carlson that she was a “man hater” and “killer'”and said  that she needed to learn to “get along with the boys.”  Continue reading

11 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

More Culturally Subversive TV Advertising: FarmersOnly.Com’s Bigotry

Farmers Only

The latest strain of divisiveness to become virulent in American society is resentment and anger against “elites,”  those pompous know-it-alls who have money, education, power, influence, go to work wearing suits, and listen to NPR. Certainly the Elites have asked for this backlash for a long time and in many ways, deriding “fly-over” country, mocking religion, demonizing communities that are slow accepting sudden cultural shifts like gay marriage, and reflexively using accusations of racism and xenophobia to mark conservatives as a blight on mankind. Nonetheless, the backlash is taking the form of outright bigotry, with elites now under cultural assault as “the other” in some shockingly blunt ways.

A dating service called FarmersOnly is running a series of national TV commercials that portray “city folk” as unfit for human association. These ads started off  as benign—my initial reaction that it was just strange to be slicing the dating pool this thin. Here is an example from the first wave…

I can understand Christian Mingle, which aims for a market of singles who regard religion as central to their lives, but occupational dating restrictions seemed like a Saturday Night Live skit. What’s next? PlumbersOnly? AccountantsOnly? TerroristsOnly?

Then the ads turned nasty. First there was this, trading in pure negative stereotyping: Continue reading

20 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising