Ethics Quiz: The Cancelled Coach’s Video Game Avatar

kyle-pitts

This is almost too stupid for Ethics Alarms to comment on, but as regular readers here know, very little is too stupid to interest me.

We discussed earlier the fate of Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who was always a pretty revolting character (and everyone knew it) but who was brought down when a bunch of his old emails were made public. One seemed pretty clearly racist; some were sexist, some were homophobic, and some were just politically incorrect to the Progressive Mob the NFL is kowtowing to these days. Gruden was forced out of his job, and now the woke brigade is in the process of making him a non-person, because the Soviet Union understood these things, I guess.

Now we learn that Gruden will be removed from the popular “Madden NFL 22” video game, as developer EA Sports announced last week. Gruden’s image will be replaced with a generic, imaginary coach who never sent emails that insulted Joe Biden.

EA Sports explained: “EA Sports is committed to taking action in maintaining a culture of inclusion and equity. Due to the circumstances of Jon Gruden’s resignation, we are taking steps to remove him from Madden NFL 22. We will replace him with a generic likeness via a title update in the coming weeks.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Is this really “doing the right thing”?

Continue reading

No, It’s Not “The Worst Lawyer Advertisement Ever”…But It’s Bad Enough

Medows site

A lawyer sent around an ad by a Brooklyn, NY., traffic ticket lawyer (that’s his website above) that read,

October 13th is National Herpes Awareness Day!

This is an opportunity to raise awareness around the causes, risks, and treatment of different types of herpes infections.

Question: What is the difference between your traffic ticket and herpes?

Answer: Your traffic ticket doesn’t have to affect you forever!
We here at the Law Office of James Medows would like to bring awareness to

National Herpes Awareness Day!

To celebrate this day, we are offering

$100 OFF your next traffic ticket.

Use Promo Code: Herpes100

Expiration: The sale ends 10/19/2021 and cannot be combined with any other promotions.

Call: 845 – TICKETS or 845-842-5387 now to redeem this offer!

The lawyer who sent the copy of the ad to ethics specialists asked, “Is this the worst lawyer advertisement ever?” The answer is easy: it’s not even close. Nor is the ad unethical under the legal ethics rules of any jurisdiction, including New York. Today IS National Herpes Awareness Day, so the ad isn’t misleading. Unethical lawyer ads are misleading ads. It’s certainly a tasteless ad, but the Old Guard in the legal profession believed all lawyer advertising was in bad taste. Bars know that punishing lawyers because their ad copy is obnoxious risks having the advertising ethics rules struck down as free speech violations.

It might even be an effective marketing ploy for the lawyer, encouraging reckless drivers to go to his website.

Since Ethics Alarms Appears To Be The Only Source Trying To Publicize This Problem, Here, For The Third Time, Is “The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profit” [Corrected]

I re-posted the early Ethics Alarms entry from 2010, titled “The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profit,” in 2016. As I explained then, the original post “raised an important and shamefully under-reported topic, one that despite my exhortations then has yet to be adequately examined in the media.” In 2016, when I googled various combinations of “mouthwash,””Listerine,”‘alcoholism,” and “alcoholic,” the first result was my post. “Most people who are not afflicted with the disease of alcoholism have no idea that mouthwash is a popular stand-in for liquor, or that is used to deceive family members who think an addict is no longer using or intoxicated,” I wrote. On that occasion I was prompted to re-post the essay after I had been shocked to hear a physician friend who treated alcoholics plead complete ignorance of the links between mouthwash and alcoholism. Today, it was the reaction of my own physician, who is usually up-to-date on all medical research, and he had treated alcoholism sufferers at the VA. He had never heard anything about the problem.

Google would seem to indicate that there is some publicity about the issue. (Interestingly, while in 2016 Ethics Alarms came up first in any search for the topic, today it doesn’t appear in the first five pages. Why would that be, I wonder? Well, this is another issue.)

This section of my 2016 intro is still valid:

“Despite my frustration that what I regard as a true exposé that should have sparked an equivalent article in a more widely read forum has remained relatively unknown, I am encouraged by the effect it has had. Most Ethics Alarms posts have their greatest traffic around the time they are posted, but since 2010, the page views of this article have increased steadily…More importantly, it has drawn comments like this one:

‘Am looking after my twin sister who is a chronic alcoholic. She has been three days sober and then she just walked in and I couldn’t work out what the hell happened. She was in a stupor , but there was no alcohol and I am dispensing the Valium for detox period and she smelt like mint!! Found three bottles of it !!! This is my last big push to help her and she pleaded innocent and no idea it had alcohol in it! Hasn’t had a shower for two days but keeps her mouth fresh and sweet !! Thanks for the information. Much appreciated XXX’

“Most of all, I am revolted that what I increasingly have come to believe is an intentional, profit-motivated deception by manufacturers continues, despite their knowledge that their product is killing alcoholics and destroying families. I know proof would be difficult, but there have been successful class action lawsuits with millions in punitive damage settlements for less despicable conduct. Somewhere, there must be an employee or executive who acknowledges that the makers of mouthwash with alcohol know their product is being swallowed rather than swished, and are happy to profit from it….People are killing themselves right under our noses, and we are being thrown of by the minty smell of their breath.”

Here again is “The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profi,” lightly edited and updated. Maybe the third time’s the charm.

*** Continue reading

Ethics Verdict: “Surrenderer-In-Chief” Is Unethical And Inexcusable

Yes, the newly-released video makes many fair and legitimate points. Yes, Donald Trump has every reason to feel that this is tit-for-tat and “what goes around comes around” after the way his Presidency was ruthlessly undermined and sabotaged with the assistance of leaders of the Democratic Party.

Yes, he fights back and that is admirable, though responsible leaders know where to draw the line and Trump does not (and never has). Yes, Joe Biden and Democrats have virtually asked for this, and in many respects deserve it. Nobody should trust Biden or his party (or its current leaders) ever again. Yes it serves Joe Biden—Hillary Clinton—Nancy Pelosi—Chuck Schumer—Kamala Harris right, they and all of the liars and enablers in the news media who told the public that Joe Biden was a competent, able, trustworthy leader when he was not.

None of that matters. No President can function and do his job as leader of the United States if former Presidents second guess him, attack him and seek to turn the public against him while he is serving his term and is not running for office.

Continue reading

The Baby On The Album Cover: Dumb Lawsuit, Valid Ethics Point

Naked baby cover

Thirty years ago, Spencer Elden, age four months, was photographed by a family friend naked and floating in a pool at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, California. The striking and cute photo was then sold by his parents to be the cover of “Nevermind,” the rock band Nirvana’s second album that shot the Seattle band to international fame. (Never could stand Nirvana myself.)

Through the years Elden pretty much exhausted the opportunities to exploit his accidental celebrity, recreating the wet, wild and adorable moment for the album’s 10th, 17th, 20th and 25th anniversaries (but not with his naughty bits exposed, of course) “It’s cool but weird to be part of something so important that I don’t even remember,” he said in an interview with The New York Post in 2016, in which he posed holding the album cover at 25. Eldon even reportedly has “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest.But this year he needs money, or has a change of heart, or met up with an unethical lawyer, or something. Now Elden is suing Nirvana for damages, claiming his parents never signed a release authorizing the use of his image on the album, and more provocatively, that his nude infant image constitutes child pornography.

“The images exposed Spencer’s intimate body part and lasciviously displayed Spencer’s genitals from the time he was an infant to the present day,” legal papers filed in California claim. Lasciviously? The album cover indeed showed Elden as a baby with his genitalia exposed. Maybe it also made tiny Spencer seem greedy, since the graphic artist added a digitally added dollar bill on a fishing line, leaving the impression that the tot was trying to grab the dollar.

Of course, he IS greedy now.

Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Booster, 8/7/2021: Looking For A Hero…

I hate to inflict that song on you (the singer/composer was the late Jess Cain, once the most popular disc jockey in Boston) but I have limited options. The 2021 Red Sox, who were sailing all season to what looked like a certain play-off slot , are suddenly in freefall,  with the hitters not hitting and the pitchers not pitching. They face a double-header today, and a double loss would be disastrous. After the 1967 Red Sox “Impossible Dream” season, the best summer of my life, when a team of virtual kids won the closest pennant race in baseball history by a single game after finishing in a tie for last place the year before, WHDH, which then carried Boston’s games, put out the cheesy but wonderful commemorative album above, containing clips from broadcasts of the most memorable games and Cain’s song, tied together by Sox play-by-play announcer Ken Coleman reciting one of the worst pieces of doggerel ever heard by human ears. At one point, Ken recounted a desperate point in the team’s underdog quest, and, having set up the rhyme with “zero,’ intoned, “We have to have a hero.” Cue the Yaz song!

I’ve been thinking about the need for a hero, indeed more than one, quite a bit lately, in matters more consequential than the Red Sox season (well, for normal people anyway.) The Sox sure need one today. If he shows up, maybe it will be an omen…

Incidentally, Yaz deserved the song. Modern metrics show that his Triple Crown, Gold Glove, MVP 1967 season was the second best of all time. (Babe Ruth had #1, naturally.) Anyone who followed that 1967 season knew it before the numbers were crunched.

1. More free speech threats in the Biden Era, but Donald Trump was a threat to democracyThe Baltimore Symphony fired Emily Skala, 59, the orchestra’s principal flutist for more than three decades, because she shared social media posts expressing doubt on the efficacy of vaccines and facemasks. Fellow musicians, audience members and donors complained, so it was bye-bye Emily. Skala, no weenie she, will challenge her dismissal, and accuses the orchestra of creating a hostile environment where she was being attacked for expressing unpopular views. I’d say that is likely. Musicians as a group are about as progressive and open to conservative views as college professors.

Skala angered many of her colleagues for sharing posts questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election—Oooh, can’t have that! She was also criticized for saying that black families needed to do more to support their children’s classical music studies. Wow, this woman is a veritable Nazi! Amusingly, the New York Times cites as among the examples of social media “disinformation” that got her fired were “false theories suggesting that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory in North Carolina” and posts “raising concerns about the safety of vaccines.”

That’s funny: it wasn’t too long ago that suggesting that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab was considered disinformation. And didn’t Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats raise “concerns” about any vaccine produced under the Trump Administration?

I’m just spitballing here, but if only we had some heroic organization that defended free speech, regardless of what side of the political spectrum it came from. It could call itself…let’s see…the National Civil Liberty Protection Alliance, or something like that…

2. Believe it or not, this Russian lawsuit isn’t frivolous, just mind-meltingly stupid. Thanks to Curmie for passing along the saga of Ksenia Ovchinnikova, an Orthodox Christian in Omsk, Russia, who is suing McDonald’s on the theory that its ads made burgers seem so yummy and irresistible that they made her break her fast for Lent in 2019 after years of successfully avoiding meat. She wants 1,000 rubles ($14) as damages for “sustained moral damage.”

The reason this isn’t frivolous (at least not in the US) is because a lawsuit clears the bar if it seeks a new interpretation of existing law, no matter how wacky. Of course, a heroic lawyer would tell the woman, no matter what she offered to pay, “You’re out of your mind, and I’d rather eat my foot than disgrace my profession by taking such a ridiculous case. By the way, would you like this  corndog?” Continue reading

Monday Mid-Day Ethics Considerations: Megan Rapinoe, Harvard, Pelosi And Double Standards

Thinker

1. I have some ethics observations on this thing that was sent out to white parents in the Highland Park area of Texas by a Black Lives Matter-affiliated group:

Sacrifice memo

Here they are:

  • As long as white individuals hesitate to push back on BLM’s outrageous assertions and demands, the group will continue to grow more audacious and arrogant
  • The logic of this demand can only make sense to someone who has no concept of right, wrong, and fairness. “We want you to handicap your own children in order to clear the way for our children, who can’t compete and who shouldn’t have to work especially hard to overcome obstacles that you and your children are not responsible for placing in their path.”
  • The screed is an excellent example of how the concept of equal opportunity has been warped into “equity,” meaning not just equality of results, which life never guarantees, but punitive measures to ensure advantages of  favored groups over those that are disfavored, aka whites and males.
  • The extension of the argument in the letter would require athletes fortunate to have advantages of strength, speed, and skill to pledge not to compete against those not so “privileged” as to be born with these advantages, and job applicants of superior talent, intelligence and character to refuse to place themselves in a position where they would be chosen for a job over less fortunate job-seekers.

Continue reading

Let’s Play “Only In America!” Today’s Quandary: The Gorilla Glue Girl

“Only in America!” isn’t exactly an ethics quiz. It’s more of an “Is this a great country of a sick country?” game that focuses on the values and strengths of the culture….or otherwise

Incidentally, June 17 marks the date when, in 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 pieces. The copper and iron statue was reassembled and dedicated the following year in a ceremony presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland. The statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, who modeled it after his own mother, we are told—that woman was BIG!—with assistance from engineer Gustave Eiffel, later famous for, well, you know. It was supposed to be up in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, but financing took longer than expected. Even ignoring the pedestal and assembly process, he statue alone cost France an estimated $250,000, or $5.5 million in today’s money). It, or she, finally reached her forever home on Bedloe’s Island nine years late. At the dedication, President Cleveland, said, “We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected.” At more than 305 feet from the foundation of its pedestal to the top of its torch, the statue was taller than any structure in New York City at the time.

In 1903, a plaque inscribed with a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by American poet Emma Lazarus was placed on an interior wall of the pedestal. Lazarus words, especially “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ have caused a lot of confusion over the years, as many people and even some under-educated elected officials seem to think they represent official U.S. policy, hence “Welcome, illegal immigrants!”

None of which has anything to do with the issue at hand, which is this: In February, Ethics Alarms examined the weird story of Tessica Brown, who decided that the the perfect hair product for her needs was Gorilla Glue adhesive spray. Then, after the predictable result, she posted a video showing the world what an idiot she was, and threatening Gorilla Glue with a lawsuit, an idea the company quickly knocked down for the count. She lost a lot of hair, and even needed plastic surgery. Here’s angry Tessica in the video:

Continue reading

KABOOM! New York City Endorses Racial Division And Distrust Of Whites In A PSA [Revised And Updated]

jackheadexplosion

I’ve never had my head explode while driving before.

It’s scary, but not as scary as what made it explode. There I was, driving along after picking up some stuff at the 7-11. I was listening to the first game in a Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees double-header, and was cheered to find the Yankees losing with just a half-inning left to go. Then an ad came on right before the Yankee 7th. (Baseball has this hideous rule this season making double header games only seven innings, but my head had exploded over that long ago.) When I first posted this, I wrote that I couldn’t quote it exactly, and that I couldn’t find it online. But commenter Here’s Johnny did, and here it is.

The rest of the post now reflects the actual message, and not my fevered efforts to recall it.

Continue reading

Unethical Billboard Of The Year

Billboard

Observations:

1. What kind of community allows this kind of eyesore? Are there no ordinances about appropriate billboard content?

2. Sure, it’s constitutional speech, but it is as articulate as a grunt and as persuasive as a fart. This is what four years of Congresswomen calling the President of the United States a “mother fucker” and comediennes holding Donald Trump’s rubber severed head in the air have done to public discourse. We should never forgive progressives for this (social media is also responsible.)

3. Only because the Democrats, media and the Biden administration have no fairness, sense of responsibility or shame is there any valid political message on the thing at all. That message would be “Don’t blame Trump!” Like the previous Democratic President, President Biden seems to think he can duck accountability for his own failures and botches by blaming them on his immediate predecessor, apparently forever. It’s the mark of a coward and a weak leader, if not a “shithead.”