Presenting The Head-Exploding Left-Pandering Virtue-Signaling Of The Year!

There really needs to be some kind of societal consequences when virtue-signaling gets this sickening.

I suppose Major League Baseball still will win the prize for the most unethical and irresponsible virtue-signaling of the decade with its craven and ignorant abandonment of the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta because Stacey Abrams told them to (and later criticized MLB for doing exactly what she had advised). In that case, businesses were hurt, the city lost money and commerce, and there were real and substantial detrimental effects on innocent, normal citizens, and all because a bunch of millionaires want to protest a new voting law that they hadn’t bothered to read. OK, now I’m mad about that fiasco all over again, so no, The Oregonian’s vomit-inducing mea culpa to the world is an unethical virtue-signaling as that of Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and his minions.

Nevertheless, the paper’s announcement from its Weally Woke editor Theresa Bottomly today is disgusting in a far more visceral way.

In a a special editorial called ‘I unreservedly apologize,’ Bottomly grovels an endless apology on behalf of her paper for…well, everything bad it hasn’t furiously opposed since its founding in 1861, and everything good it hasn’t promoted. Never mind that neither she (I assume, but she could be 150 years old I guess) nor anyone else connected with the paper were in a position to do any of the vast majority of what she’s apologizing for, she wants everyone to know that by not anticipating the natural and unavoidable evolution of cultural and societal values in the United States—an example of necromancy that would have exceeded the abilities of the Amazing Kreskin—the Portland paper was exactly as the Crazy Lady in “The Birds” pronounced Tippi Hedren in “The Birds”.”…

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Autumn Afternoon Ethics Leaves, 10/25/2022: Hope, Harvard, Fakes, And Weenies.

So far, at least, Biden’s spectacularly incompetent and unethical Cabinet hasn’t seen anyone indicted, though there are good arguments that at least two of them should be impeached. This date in history, October 25, marks the day in 1929 when Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, was found guilty of accepting a bribe while in office. Fall was the first Presidential cabinet member to be so humiliated. There would be others.

Fall accepted a $100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company in exchange for Interior granting him a valuable oil lease in the Elk Hills naval oil reserve, which together with the Teapot Dome naval oil reserve in Wyoming, had been transferred to the Department of the Interior as part of Fall’s scheme to profit by receiving bribes. The Senate Public Lands Committee launched an investigation that revealed not only the $100,000 bribe that Fall received from Doheny, but also a $300,000 bribe that Harry Sinclair, president of Mammoth Oil, had given to Fall for use of the Teapot Dome reserve in Wyoming.

Yet Fall was only sentenced to a year in prison. It’s comforting to know that laws were only for the “little people” 100 years ago too, don’t you think?

A Cabinet member who betrays the public trust like that belongs in prison for decades, if not life.

1. There is hope! At least one committed progressive activist of note has the integrity to be revolted at what her party of choice is doing. Susan Sarandon, a charter member of the Hollywood Left, posted this on Twitter:

Good for her.

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2022 Mid-Term Elections Panic Report: The New York Times Editors Endorse Terrorism

There are a lot of signs that the Woke, the Left, the Resistance, Democrats and the news media that filters reality for their objectives are collectively losing their grip in theincreasingly unavoidable realization that their dreams of societal transformation in America are going to be significantly hobbled by the upcoming vote-fest. We saw this stage coming (or should have) some time ago, with perhaps the most striking confirmation arriving when Joe Biden decided to channel Der Fuhrer while calling half the population fascists. Yet I didn’t see this coming, because I am a sap, and persist in my childish idealism telling me that as wacko as they seem right now, these are all traditional, ethical Americans at heart who are just having a bad six or seven years.

In the span of less than a week, the New York Times editors thought it responsible to publish two op-ed columns extolling the virtues of terrorism when not enough people want to do what the Good, Wise, Smart People—you know, like them—have decided is best. Jamelle Boiue, whose usual specialty in Times punditry is anti-white racism, actually lionized John Brown, whose body not only lies a-moldering in the grave but was an engine of random murder and terrorism.

Channeling W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1909 ode to Brown (the populists of that era often admired the lunatic: Clarence Darrow was also an admirer), Bouie agrees that Brown was motivated by “social doctrines of the French Revolution with its emphasis on freedom and power in political life” (Speaking of terror!), and his “inchoate but growing belief in a more just and a more equal distribution of property.” He continues in part,

“Has John Brown no message — no legacy, then, to the twentieth century?” asks Du Bois. “He has and it is this great word: the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression….Viewed in this light, Du Bois says, the memory of John Brown stands as a “mighty warning” to the United States and its peers. To wait to rectify the sins of the present — to sidestep justice in favor of comfort — is to make the final price of liberty all the more expensive…

“What Brown decided, Du Bois continues, was that he had to strike a blow for justice in his time. “It will cost something — even blood and suffering — but it will not cost as much as waiting…Du Bois’s broadside against hierarchy and exclusion still lands with as much force in 2022 as I’m sure it did in 1909. His warning that the tolerance of injustice will only lead to darker places and “darker deeds” is still relevant. And his closing reminder that without real “equality of opportunity” the best in humanity cannot be “discovered and conserved” remains as true now as it was then.”

Who’s advocating civil war now?

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Ethics Quiz: The Cartoon Quote

I would, left to my own instincts, categorize this as a “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” episode. But Legal Insurrection, a conservative commentary blog that I find to be usually reasonable, feels otherwise, so I’ll frame this as an ethics quiz.

Robert Ternansky, a lecturer at UC-San Diego, was interrupted by loud speaking  from the hallway outside his classroom. Ternansky walked into the hallway and seeing students he took to be Hispanic, immediately quoted the signature catch phrases of now politically incorrect Warner Bros. cartoon character Speedy Gonzalez, “The Fastest Mouse in All of Mexico”: “Sí, sí señor! Ándale, ándale! Arriba, arriba!”The video of the class also catches Ternansky  asking his students, “How do you say ‘quiet’ in Mexican?” One replies, it seems, “Caliente,” and the lecturer says,  “Caliente, huh? Help me. All I knew how to say was ‘Ándale, ándale, arriba, arriba.’ I don’t think that was — to be quiet? That’s like hurry up? Did I insult them?”

Apparently! Students complained, and the school responded with this statement:

UC San Diego officials were recently made aware of offensive and hurtful comments that a professor made in a chemistry class when video of the comments was posted to social media. At that time, the professor was engaged about his comments, and it was made clear to him that they do not reflect our community values of inclusivity and respect. The professor has since apologized to the students and will be doing so to others involved.

As a reminder to our community, and as was shared with media outlets who inquired, UC San Diego is committed to the highest standards of civility and decency toward all. We are committed to promoting and supporting a community where all people can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of abusive or demeaning treatment.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is, in the words of Legal Insurrection writer Mike LaChance…

“Does this strike anyone as a bit of an overreaction?”

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Baseball, The Play-Offs, And Integrity

If the New York Yankees lose to the Cleveland ‘What’s Their Names?’ —Oh, right, “Guardians”…I forgot—tonight, it will eliminate New York and mean that only one of the teams proven by the 162 game regular 2022 season to be the best in Major League Baseball will have survived the early rounds of the play-offs to have a chance at the World Series. Over the weekend the L.A. Dodgers, owners of a record-tying 111-51 record in winning the National League West, were eliminated by the San Diego Padres, who finished a distant second in that division, not even winning 90 games. It took just three defeats (out of four games played) to sink L.A. Before that, the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that had been so mediocre for the bulk of the season that its manager was fired, eliminated last year’s World Series Champions and the winner of the Phillies’ division (over a 100 game winning runner-up: Philadelphia was a distant third).

If the Yankees go down (I’m rooting for that to happen, but I shouldn’t be), only the Houston Astros of the five teams that were objectively baseball’s best will have a chance to make the World Series, and that’s an ethical disaster. The World Series was devised to decide the best baseball team in the game, and for about seven decades, that’s what it did. Unlike all the other professional sports teams that polluted their post-season with multiple play-off levels, baseball alone had integrity. The teams with the best records in the American and National Leagues met for the first and only time in a season at the very end, in a best of seven, winner take all series. The system was meaningful, it was exciting, and it had integrity. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “For Some Strange Reason, The Playwright Didn’t Think ‘N-Word’ Carried The Same Dramatic Punch…”

Confession: before I wrote the post that Curmie fashioned into his Comment of the Day, I emailed him the underlying story in advance, given his unofficial position as the Ethics Alarms dramaturg. I almost asked him to write a guest post on the head-exploding tale of a university banning a black playwright’s work about the civil rights movement because it has white characters using the word “nigger,” but I guessed, fortunately correctly, that he would provide a Comment of the Day on the topic whatever I wrote.

And do he did, very well indeed.

Here is Curmie’s Comment of the Day on “For Some Strange Reason, The Playwright Didn’t Think ‘N-Word’ Carried The Same Dramatic Punch…

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The first comment on this post, by JutGory, is especially apt. [ JutGory wrote: “The Woke Paradox: We must teach ‘real history’ even if it might hurt the feelings of white kids/We can’t teach ‘real history’ if it will hurt the feelings of black kids.”]

But, as someone who taught college-level theatre courses for over forty years and continues to do some scholarly writing in the field, I’d like to take the analysis a little further.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I have directed two plays which contain the word “nigger.” Both, Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Athol Fugard’s ”Master Harold”… and the boys, are widely anthologized and both are regarded as among the greatest works of 20th-century drama. The latter, which includes a particularly crude racist joke, is also unquestionably an anti-racist play, as Down in Mississippi appears to be (I confess I haven’t read it or seen it).

I was also asked by a recently-graduated black student a decade or so ago to play the role of a slave-owning plantation owner in a short film he had written and was directing. The character probably used the dreaded epithet at least a half dozen times in a four- or five-minute scene. I agreed to play the role, but for whatever reason the film shoot never happened.

My first question, unanswered by the linked article, is precisely who made the decision to cancel the performance. It certainly wasn’t the (black) playwright, who said that “maybe you should be less fragile. And try to listen to what your former generations are trying to teach you for the well good being of all of us,” and it’s unlikely to have been the theatre department, given that they were the ones who decided to produce the play to begin with.

Administrators above the level of department chair are almost never involved in the process of selecting a production season. But they will stick their noses into the process if there’s a potential controversy, even a fallacious one. We can reasonably surmise that it’s a dean, a vice president, or a president who is the Designated Weenie in this case. It certainly wasn’t the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Glenn O. Lewis, himself a black man, who points out that censorship is not a solution, and that “you don’t learn anything new until you get out of your comfort zone, and I think that is what Mr. Brown intended for this play to do.”

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Comment Of The Day: “It Looks Like Donald Trump Was Betrayed By Another One Of His Lawyers, Someone Else…Or Himself”[Corrected]

I really don’t want to contribute to the Donald Trump glut in the media and the web, and if everyone else would just ignore the guy like ex-Presidents, non-elected officials currently in office should be ignored, I wouldn’t have to post about him at all. This video from the Ethics Alarms clip archives is relevant..

But the news media won’t stop, simultaneously fueling Trump’s continued influence and prominence and claiming that he is an existential evil who must be destroyed. This obsession was excusable, sort of, when he was President, but now it is pure hypocrisy. Trump, of course, publicity junkie and narcissist that he is, loves the attention, and it makes him stronger. The other side of this weird coin is that he has also been grievously mistreated politically, journalistically  and by the culture, to a historical degree. As with Bill Clinton when he was beleaguered by the Monica scandal, I have to grudgingly admire Trump for his resilience, endurance, and resolve. Clinton, however, only went through such travails for a year or so. With Trump, it has been constant since 2015. His defiance is Churchillian.

In his Comment of the Day, Steve-O-in NJ came up with something I’ve been searching for: a good analogy for the hate that Donald Trump has been subjected to. Tellingly, Steve’s analogy is a nation, not another human being. But in Steve’s example, only one man was demanding destruction, not whole institutions and sectors of society: Cato the Elder, also known as Cato the Censor and Cato the Wise.
Boy, I would much rather write about Marcus Porcius Cato ( Born: 234 BC, Tusculum, Italy; Died: 149 BC, Rome) than Trump. His best quotes alone should pique your interest, among them:
  • “After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”
  • “An angry man opens his mouth and shuts his eyes.”
  • “Anger so clouds the mind that it cannot perceive the truth.”
  • “Grasp the subject, the words will follow.”
  • “He is nearest to the gods who knows how to be silent.”
  • “He who fears death has already lost the life he covets.”
  • “I can pardon everybody’s mistakes except my own.”
  • “I prefer to do right and get no thanks than to do wrong and receive no punishment.”
  • “If you are ruled by mind you are a king; if by body, a slave.”
  • “Patience is the greatest of all virtues.”
  • “The hero saves us. Praise the hero! Now, who will save us from the hero?”
  • “The worst ruler is one who cannot rule himself.”
  • “Those who are serious in ridiculous matters will be ridiculous in serious matters.”
  • “‘Tis sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.”
  • “Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise.”

Here is Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on the post, It Looks Like Donald Trump Was Betrayed By Another One Of His Lawyers, Someone Else…Or Himself”:

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Serial Killer Ethics

Like the questions discussed today posed to “The Ethicist,” I view the dbate over whether a community should create a public memorial to the victims of a serial killer, in this instance Jeffrey Dahmer, an easy ethics call. Unfortunately, for people who can’t distinguish between emotional reasoning and common sense, determining what is “the right thing’ is remarkably difficult.

Toward the end of the Netflix series “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” the actress portraying a Dahmer neighbor is shown inquiring at a Milwaukee city office regarding a proposed park memorial to be built at the former site of the Oxford Apartments, where Dahmer committed most of his grisly murders. A sober message appears on the screen stating, “No park or memorial to Jeffrey Dahmer’s victims was ever built on the site of the Oxford Apartments.” 

To which the appropriate response is “Good!”

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Ethics Quiz: The Crystal Flute

The strange episode has everything: history, a President, music, bad taste, fat-shaming, historical ignorance, and more.

Lizzo, the defiantly obese pop singer, rapper and all-around musical whiz who is also a classically trained flutist, was permitted to entertain her Washington, D.C. concert audience this week by playing a crystal flute that a French craftsman and clockmaker had made for President James Madison in 1813. She was handed the sparkling instrument from Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford, a curator at the Library of Congress, then, as described by the New York Times, “played a note, stuck out her tongue in amazement, and then played another note, trilling it as she twerked in front of thousands of cheering fans. She then carried the flute over her head, giving the crowd at Capital One Arena one last look, before handing it back to Ms. Ward-Bamford.”

“I just twerked and played James Madison’s crystal flute from the 1800s!” Lizzo told the crowd. “We just made history tonight.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is...

Was that an appropriate and ethical use of the historical artifact?

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Storm Ethics

I have to ask: is scientifically absurd climate change hype from the media now in Julie Principle territory, meaning that it is so predictable that it isn’t even worth noting of complaining about? CNN village idiot Don Lemon has been injecting climate change propaganda into his coverage at every opportunity, as have (going even lower down the intellectual scale) the Ladies of the View and others. When I read that Ian had been downgraded to a tropical storm, I wondered, “Hmmm…does that now mean this storm isn’t the result of climate change, since we’ve been told that we are facing more and more destructive hurricanes (which so far have not materialized as predicted, mirabile dictu)?” Then Ian was upgraded to a hurricane on the way to South Carolina—so Ian again owes his existence to climate change? Someone ask Don or Whoopie, quick. Continue reading