Category Archives: Gender and Sex

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

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

DNC Progressives Jump The Shark

Pop Quiz: Name all the ways this photo is appropriate to the post...

Pop Quiz: Name all the ways this photo is appropriate to the post…

[A “Happy Days” reference seems felicitous, since last week saw series creator, writer and frequent director Garry Marshall head off to the Big Malt Shop In The Sky. In addition to having the good taste to be named Marshall, Gary’s myrth-inducing career in TV and movies as a producer, writer, director and actor (Marshall’s turn in “Lost on America” as the incredulous casino boss whom a desperate Albert Brooks tries to persuade to give back the life savings lost by Brooks’ wife in a mad gambling spree might be my favorite comic acting bit of all time) was long and productive, and the culture will miss him greatly. As will I. ]

Attention must be paid to the fact that while the speakers at the Republican National Convention sounded scary (to some), the Democratic National Convention authorities acted scary.

Twenty-one Vermont Democrats have filed an official complaint with the party, protesting that the Democratic leadership ordered  the state party to replace Vermont Sen. Tim Ashe and party member Ken Dean with women, in the name of “gender balance” without adequate due process.

By all means, let’s make sure that gender discrimination in pursuit of the greater good and Progressive Nirvana is done with due process!

I think it’s cute that both political parties are losing their minds at the same time, don’t you? Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: “Hot As Hell” Bikinis For Toddlers

We haven’t had a good “Icky or Unethical?”  issue for a while. Here is one to start off your week…strangely.

Last weekend, as I’m sure you all know, commenced Miami Swim Week 2016, which runs though July 19. During the  swimwear fashion and trade show (now in its 12th year!), designers, buyers and models from around the world come to Miami Beach to promote the latest in swim wear.

This year, the brand Hot As Hell featured adult-style bathing suits for little girls. Tiny models walked down the runway, strutting their stuff. Often they were accompanied by full grown models wearing similar out fits, like this…

Hot as Hell2

or this…

NINTCHDBPICT000252438834

Many observers were horrified, and  pronounced the bikinis, the line, and the runway display disturbing, child porn, titillation for pederasts, child abuse, and another dangerous step into the societal abyss of sexualizing childhood. Others have responded with “Aw, they’re so cute!”, “Oh, get over it” and “You’re the one with the dirty mind!”

Hmmmm.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz to begin this Republican National Convention Week of Shame is…

Are the kiddie bikinis unethical, or just icky?

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

Donald Trump Candidacy Ethics Train Wreck Passenger List Update: Georgetown Law Prof. Paul Butler Scores A Perfect Rationalization #28

We're real sorry about this, but these are not ordinary times...

We’re really sorry about this, but these are not ordinary times…

The human ethics train wreck named Donald Trump is now in the process of exposing how thin the veneer of professionalism is for many alleged intellectuals, scholars and lawyers. On an e-mail list of most of the legal ethicists in the country, one of them posted this in reaction to Justice Ginsberg’s unethical and unjudicial shots at Donald Trump:

“I love RBG way too much to be critical of her in any way . Long may she live!”

This opne expression of willful denial, from not merely a lawyer, but an ethics specialist! It is the epitome of one of my father’s favorite quotes, “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” I responded to the list that it was the most depressing statement I had ever read from any of the list’s participants.

Paul Butler’s op-ed in the New York Times isn’t much better. The Georgetown Law Center professor defended Ginsberg’s indefensible comments by arguing that these times are special, and thus suspend the ethics principles that must govern judges if the judiciary is to engender any respect or trust at all. He writes:

“Normally Supreme Court justices should refrain from commenting on partisan politics. But these are not normal times. The question is whether a Supreme Court justice – in this case, the second woman on the court, a civil rights icon and pioneering feminist — has an obligation to remain silent when the country is at risk of being ruled by a man who has repeatedly demonstrated that he is a sexist and racist demagogue. The answer must be no.”

No, Professor, the answer must be “yes.” Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Research and Scholarship

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

I know this is like shooting fish in a barrel—dead fish, in fact— but I need some levity about now. Of course it’s no joke, and indeed tragic, that a certifiable fanatic like Gohmert can reach a position of influence in our government, and a greater tragedy that there are so many equally unfit officials, from both parties. Few, however, are willing or able to expose their cognitive deficiencies as deftly as Congressman Gohmert.

When a gay, progressive friend posted the story about this, I assumed that he had been caught (again) in a web hoax. Surely Gohmert isn’t THAT stupid. Nobody is that stupid in Congress, surely. Yet he is, and the story was correct and true.

This happened a while back, during the “general speeches” portion of House proceedings on May 26, 2016. It was little noted, because if it had been, I would hope that GOP leaders would have placed him in a padded room and denied him the opportunity to ever speak for the party again.

Here, in part, was Gohmert’s anti-gay, science fiction rant (the video of his whole speech is above): Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials

Further Observations On The Gretchen Carlson Sexual Harassment Retaliation Lawsuit

Fox News

1. I see that six more Fox News employees have come forward in the wake of fired Fox Blonde Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit alleging sexually harrassing conduct from Fox News head Roger Ailes. New York Magazine’s Gabe Sherman published six accounts from women who say they were also harassed by Ailes, and two of them identified themselves by name.

This doesn’t prove Carlson’s case, but it is typical of harassers that they do not engage in such conduct just once, and typically not with only one employee. That ethics alarm doesn’t ring, and thus this is normal conduct for them that their power and control over employees’ lives allow them to engage in without consequences, until something breaks the dam. Familiar examples are Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Joe Biden, Herman Cain, and Senator Bob Packwood. The fact that no other women came out with public accusations that Clarence Thomas had harassed them was strong evidence that Anita Hill’s last-second accusations were a panned political hit.

2. The fact that so many conservative pundits and websites are defending Ailes is revealing regarding both their integrity and attitudes regarding women… and not in a good way. This is one reason the Democratic Party’s “war on women” smear is effective.  The whole sexist vibe of Fox News under Ailes is another reason: I keep expecting Fox to have its female anchors dressed in bikinis and sarongs.

It isn’t just Ailes; it’s Fox. Here are some Fox Sports anchors:

fox-blondes-feature

Don’t get me wrong now: I’m certain all of them got their jobs because of their sterling commentary and analysis, just like Gretchen did.

3. Deluded Ethics Dunce: Greta Van Susteren. Greta, who owes her career to Ailes, pronounced Carlson’s allegations unbelievable, saying, “I deal with Roger Ailes often. I’ve often been alone with Roger Ailes in his office over the course of 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like what I’m reading about in the papers and the magazine.” Ah. So the fact that Ailes didn’t hit on Greta once is evidence that he wouldn’t hit on Carlson. Keen analysis, there, Greta!

It’s  funny: Madeleine Albright and Carly Fiorina said the same thing. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

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

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