Black Like Us

 Confirming my own half-baked research, apparently African-American actors are indeed disproportionately represented in TV commercials now. American Thinker records,

In the United States today, the White population (not including Hispanics) is 57.8%….Blacks comprise 14% of the U.S. population but appear in 50% of commercials. White actors now appear to promote health insurance, gold, loans, and some medicines. Moreover, if a White person appears in a commercial, he/she is usually old, sick, a freak, or at the very least, an appendage to a Black partner. If there’s a doctor on the screen, he’s usually Black, while the patient is usually White. Caucasian young men appear in only 4% of the commercials! If some aliens began to study the population of Planet Earth through our TV commercials they would have a somewhat distorted picture of Americans, to put it mildly.

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P.M. Ethics Dispatches, 1/11/2022

We have to keep baseball ethics alive even if baseball itself is in a state of suspension: the owner and players are, for the first time in decades, arguing about how to divide up their billions, everything from roster size to minimum salaries are on the table, and as of now, the two sides aren’t even talking with the season just a couple of months away. One of the issues to be settled is whether the National League will finally capitulate and adopt the designated hitter rule, which was accepted in the American League on this date in 1973, a day which many traditionalist fans then and now regard as an unforgivable scar on the integrity of the game. Baseball has always been celebrated for its equity and balance: as it was envisioned, every player on the field had to both hit and play defense. The DH, which is a batter who never uses a glove, also allowed the pitcher to be a defense-only specialist, never picking up a bat which, advocates of the new rule argued, was a result much to be wished, since the vast majority of hurlers are only slightly better at hitting the ball than your fat old uncle Curt who played semi-pro ball in his twenties. All these decades years later, the National League and its fans have stubbornly maintained that the DH was a vile, utilitarian gimmick spurred by non-ethical considerations, mainly greed. When the rule was adopted, American League attendance lagged behind the NL, which also was winning most of the All Star games, in part because that league had embraced black stars far more rapidly than “the junior league.” The DH, the theory went, would make games more exciting, with more offense, while eliminating all the .168 batters in the ninth spot in every line-up.

I had a letter published in Sports Illustrated in 1973 explaining why I opposed the DH as a Boston Red Sox fan. Since then, I have grudgingly come to accept the benefits of the rule: it gave the Sox David Ortiz, allowed Carl Yastrzemski to play a few more years, and let American League fans see such all-time greats as Hank Aaron at the plate after they could no longer play the field. It was a breach of the game’s integrity, but it worked.

1. At least that’s fixed. The Supreme Court issued a corrected transcript of the oral arguments in the Biden vaccine mandate case, and it now accurately records Justice Gorsuch as saying he believes the seasonal flu kills “hundreds…thousands of people every year.” The original version wrongly quoted him as saying hundreds of thousands, which allowed those desperately trying to defend the outrageously wrong assertions by Justice Sotomayor regarding the Wuhan virus to point to Gorsuch and claim, “See? Conservatives are just as bad!” Prime among these was the steadily deteriorating Elie Mystal at “The Nation,” who, typically for him, refused to accept the correction. Sotomayor is one of the all-time worst Supreme Court justices, though she will be valuable as a constant reminder of the perils of affirmative action. Her jurisprudence makes the much maligned Clarence Thomas look like Louis Brandeis by comparison. Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Week: Pabst Blue Ribbon

Yes, apparently Don Lemon is moonlighting as Pabst Blue Ribbon’s social media flack. This enthusiastically vulgar tweet, an instant classic, appeared this morning because of only one of a few reasons: the low-level schmuck who has the job of tweeting out stuff for the maker of this long-reviled beer couldn’t take it any more and snapped like a dry twig in the wind; he or she picked a highly unethical way to quit after making up and thinking, “Oh god, what am I doing with my life?”; or this was a well planned, brilliant way to get everyone talking about a beer that few thought was still being brewed.

Regardless, its not the kind of thing any company should inflict on social media users, even those who favor Twitter, the bottom of the barrel.

Alas, the that remains on Twitter is this sad remnant of what was…

Ethics Workout, “Get In Ethics Shape For 2022 Edition,” 12/27/21: No Pain, No Gain!

1. On second thought, who needs work? The United States has been a nation that embraced work as a value and a mark of character as no other. Naturally, this core value has been under assault from the Left as part of its cultural overhaul strategy. The pandemic created an opining that has been brilliantly exploited politically, leading to a large part of the work force now unwilling to work. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, the biggest bloc of liberal lawmakers in Congress, has endorsed a bill proposed by Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., which would seek to implement a four-day workweek. Americans work far more than people in most other affluent countries, and we also produce more without using, as some countries do that I might mention, slave labor. But the work ethic is weakening.

The anti-work ethic is the goal on one of Reddit’s fastest growing sites — r/antiwork. The subreddit is “for those who want to end work, are curious about ending work, [and] want to get the most out of a work-free life.” It is up to 1.4 million members, ranking among the top subscribed-to subreddits.

Members discuss tactics workers can use to slack off, cheat, sabotage, and steal from their employers. You would learn there, for example, that April 15th is “Steal Something From Work Day.” [Pointer and source: Linking and Thinking on Education]

2. Observations on the Gallup Poll on public approval of Federal leaders (You can find the poll here).

  • Yes, I know, polls. But Gallup is straighter than most, and while the specific numbers should be ignored, the relative values are interesting.
  • The big finding, and what has been attracting all the headlines, is that Chief Justice John Roberts is way ahead of anyone else on the list, with a bipartisan 60-40 favorability split. This undercuts the pro-abortion strategy of warning that the Supreme Court can’t afford to make its decision on Roe v. Wade cases without considering the potential harm to the Court’s legitimacy. The Court seems to have the most trust of any of the branches, which means that it can (and should) be courageous if legal principles require.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is second. How many Americans know who he is or what he does? 20%? Less? What is it they approve of?
  • Dr. Fauci is third at 52% approval, which shows you can fool a lot of the people all of the time.
  • Mitch McConnell is dead last, even behind Nancy Pelosi. Good.

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Ethics Alarms On The New York Times’ “Most Important Debates” Of 2021, Part 2

Part I set some kind of Ethics Alarms record for reader disinterest, which I much admit, I don’t understand. These are all topics we have covered in some detail here over the last year, and the analysis of them by the alleged “newspaper of record’s” experts is, to say the least, perverse and revealing…yet the post’s first installment inspired just a single comment. Well, the Times’ take on the remaining issues are arguably worse. I find it fascinating, anyway. Here’s the rest of the highlights…

Can we save the planet?

It is embarrassing for a supposedly respectable news organization to frame an issue in such a hysterical and intentionally fear-mongering manner, which assumes one side of a debate is correct without reflection of nuance. The Times’ author on this topic, Farhad Manjoo, is a tech reporter, not an expert on climatology, so he has been given a platform to opine on something he doesn’t understand sufficiently to discuss reliably. On the topic of climate change, this is, sadly, typical. His article contains the kind of sentence midway through that would normally make me stop reading because of the bias, spin, hyperbole and mendacity: “During the Trump years — as the United States tore up international climate deals and flood and fire consumed swaths of the globe — unrestrained alarm about the climate became the most cleareyed of takes.”

There were no “climate deals,” just unenforceable virtue-signaling and posturing like the Paris Accords; the link between present day “flood and fire” and climate change is speculative at best, and unrestrained alarm is never “cleareyed,’ especially when those alarmed, like Manjoo, couldn’t read a climate model if Mr. Rogers was there explaining it. Then, after telling us that the Trump years were a prelude to doom, he says that since 2014, things are looking up. Much of what he calls “bending the needle” occurred under Trump.

Should the Philip Roth biography have been pulled?

This one is so easy and obvious that the fact that the Times thinks it deserves special attention is itself a tell. The answer is “Of course not!,” as an Ethics Alarms post explained. An absolutely competent biography was pulled by its publisher, W.W. Norton, never to be in print again, because its author, who had written other acclaimed biographies, was in the process of being “cancelled” for allegations of sexual misconduct toward women. I wrote,

“…[P]ublisher W.W. Norton sent a memo to its staff announcing that it will permanently take Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth out of print, as a result of allegations that Bailey sexually assaulted multiple women and also behaved inappropriately toward his students when he was an eighth grade English teacher.

If that sentence makes sense to you, The Big Stupid has you by the brain stem.

It apparently makes sense to the Times, although its review of the matter doesn’t answer its own question. Why not? This is also obvious: as journalists, the idea that what a writer writes should be judged by what a writer’s personal life has involved is anathema, but the Times’ readers are so woke that the paper would dare not say so. Integrity! Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2021: Fake News, Fake Religion, Fake Competence…And Maybe Fake Accusations, Not That It Seems To Matter

Tonight, starting at 6 pm, EST, I’ll be facilitating a three hours CLE seminar via (yecchh) Zoom for the D.C. Bar. You can use the credits for other bars’ mandatory ethics requirements, so if you need them, I’d love to have you in the group. It’s all interactive, of course. I’ve been doing a year end legal ethics wrap-up, usually a re-boot of a seminar I present earlier in the year, for, oh, almost 20 years now. It’s not too late to register. The information is here, along with a promotional video I made a few months ago. They say video takes away 15 pounds of hair…

On the Christmas movie front: one Christmas movie that needs no ethics critique is 1947’s “The Bishop’s Wife,” an inexplicably under-seen classic film starring Cary Grant (as a very un-Clarence-like angel), Loretta Young and David Niven. It is as good as any of the Christmas classics and better than most, with a religious undertone that is missing from most of the others. In its time, “The Bishop’s Wife” was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture. Grant’s performance is especially deft, as he walks an extremely thin line, both in the plot and in his interpretation of the character. I was wondering last night why it hasn’t been remade, but it was: there is a 1996 musicalized version directed by Penny Marshall with Denzel Washington replacing Grant, Courtney Vance taking over for Niven, and Whitney Houston as a singing version of Loretta Young’s character. Justifiable remakes of classic films have to have a “why,” and this one’s justification was apparently that every classic with white stars has to be remade with black ones, or something. The reason I had never heard of it is that the film was generally regarded as inferior to the original, but I am going to have to track it down now and see for myself.

1. Believe all women/accusers/”survivors”… And if a career and a life is ruined unjustly, well, you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette, right? Chris Noth of “Law and Order,” “Sex in the City” and “The Good Wife” fame is now out of a job, having been fired from his supporting role on the CBS/Universal series “The Equalizer.” The reason: a Hollywood Reporter story revealed allegations of sexual assault against Noth by two as yet un-named women, one who says Noth sexually assaulted her in 2004 in Los Angeles, and another who alleges he assaulted her in his New York apartment in 2015.

Jeez, you’d think he had been nominated for the Supreme Court or something. Noth has denied the accusations, but never mind: they are enough, before any investigation, any trial, even any identification of the accusers, to get him “cancelled.”

Seems unfair, somehow….

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/21: An Old Treaty, A Bad Dad, Clothes For Seductive Kids, Chris Wallace Trades The Pot For The Kettle, And New York Being New York

I feel like Dean established the standard for this holiday standard, written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne (“Gypsy,” “Funny Girl”) in July 1945. World War II inspired so many Christmas and holiday songs, notably “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

1. Meeting the terms of a still valid 19th Century treaty seems like an ethical imperative, no? Kim Teehee was selected as the Cherokee people’s first nonvoting U.S. House delegate two years ago; now all that is needed is for the U.S. to make good on a deal it struck with the Cherokee Nation in the 1835 Treaty of New Echota, signed by President Andrew Jackson and ratified by the Senate, promising the tribe a non-voting House delegate. There are apparently some details to work out, among them how to respond when other tribes quite reasonably insist that they also deserve this limited representation in Congress, similar to the what D.C. has. One would think that 180 years is enough time for the complexities to be resolved, especially since the Cherokee Nation’s price for the promise of a non-voting House member was The Trail of Tears, when the tribe was forced to move out of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to what is now Oklahoma, with more than 4,000 Cherokees dying along the way. There are an estimated 400,000 Cherokees today.

Why has it taken so long for this to become an issue? Well, as for the U.S., it conveniently “forgot” until historians re-discovered the terms of the treaty 50 years ago. The Cherokees hadn’t pressed the U.S. on meeting its treaty obligations because, as the principle chief of Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin Jr. explains, they had other priorities. “Asserting every detail of that treaty was not on their minds,” he says. “It was surviving.”

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Ethics Dunce: Brooke Shields

Brooke-Shields-barbara-walters

This post pains me. I am a long-time admirer of Brooke Shields. She navigated the perilous waters of child stardom as well as anyone, survived an overbearing (and often unethical) stage mother, and managed to turn her childhood and teen super-modeling career into long and variegated show business success that included several Broadway shows and a successful TV sitcom, all while appearing to maintain at least the appearance of sanity and good sense. However, during a recent interview with Dax Shepard on his “Armchair Expert” podcast, Shields decided to attack legendary broadcast journalist Barbara Walters for an interview she did of the then-15-year-old in 1981.

The podcast was following the trail of an October interview the current version of Shields, the one that is 56, did for Vogue. In that one, Shields expressed anger at the famous Calvin Klein ad that immediately preceded her intense cross-examination by Walters, the naughty TV spot that had the leggy teen clad in skin-tight jeans saying provocatively, “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

In Vogue Shields said of the ad, “I was very naive. I didn’t think it had to do with underwear. I didn’t think it was sexual in nature. I’d say that about my sister, nobody could come between me and my sister… they didn’t explain [the double-entendre] to me.” As for the interview discussing the ad with Walters, Shields described her questions probing Shields’ sexuality as “practically criminal.”

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Ethics And Those Wacky Cuomo Boys, 2: Andrew And His Book

Chris’s scandal may be more embarrassing, but Andrew’s latest problem may be more expensive.

In July 2020, then-New York Governor Cuomo, riding high in the public eye, asked the state ethics panel for permission to write a book about his leadership during the pandemic.

I must interject here that such books are virtually always unethical, often in multiple ways. I say “virtually” because there really may be some instance, buried deeply in the sands of time, when a book written while a popular elected official (or a First Lady) was in office and published with that official’s name as the author was really written by the official in his or her spare time, wasn’t just a government-funded campaign and propaganda tool, and also didn’t provide a way for supporters both individual and corporate to launder contributions. Maybe, but I doubt it.

For one thing, if an elected official spends any time at all writing a book during his or her work day, he or she is getting paid by taxpayers to do work that primarily benefits the official. Books are hard. Books take time. Trust me on this, I’ve co-written one, and would have five more (I have the titles and outlines!) out there if I could get out of my own way. But my time is my own: I don’t bill clients for writing this blog, and any time I spend writing a book is time I don’t get paid for. Governors, like Presidents, are paid to be on-duty every waking hour.

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It Is Time To Get Serious And Boycott Companies Like Mars Foods

large_Mars_Brands_Collage_July_2014.jpeg

The Halloween ad for Twix, manufactured by Mars Foods establishes a new assault on American democracy, using venal and unscrupulous private corporations to do the government’s bidding. Rod Dreher, who is often too far Right for me but spot on in this case, writes of the jaw-dropping ad (yes, I find it offensive, and also scary in a non-Halloween way),

This is an aspect of the weird totalitarianism we are living through today. We have seen harder manifestations in cases where physicians, academics, and others lose their jobs for questioning transgender ideology. Things like the Twix ad cannot be understood as apart from the overall message discipline of the Left: that there is only one permissible opinion to hold, and those who do not hold it are enemies to be crushed.

This is not a one-off, and it is not neutral. The inability of normal people to understand what is happening here is one reason why this garbage is so effective at changing the way people think.

Bingo. The ad is a tool of totalitarianism.  “Weird” is too mild a word for it, indeed a poor word, because it diminishes the significance of what this represents. It represents the indoctrination of children. The ad is an implied threat. It declares that anyone who does not agree with the State is evil, and will be punished, even killed. It is sickness presenting itself as virtue.

I guess it’s time to show the ad. As Samuel Jackson says in “Jurassic Park,” “Hold on to your butts!”

Dreher’s summary is fair:

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