Saturday Ethics End Notes, 4/3/2021: “Let it be written, let it be done!”

You can’t blame me for featuring this ethics landmark today: On April 3, 1948, President Truman signed the Economic Assistance Act, commonly known as the Marshall Plan, which authorizing the a program to help the nations of a war-torn Europe to rebuild. The effort was designed to stabilize Europe economically and politically so that the Soviet Union would not be able to spread communism further. U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave the plan its name with a speech at Harvard University on June 5 of the previous year. He proposed that the European states meet to agree on a program for economic recovery, and that the U.S. would would help fund it. The same month Britain and France invited European nations to send representatives to Paris to follow-through with Marshall’s formula. The USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland declined the invitation. The resulting Committee of European Economic Cooperation eventually presented its plan to Congress, which authorized the “Marshall Plan” on April 2, 1948. The next day, it was signed into law.

  1. It’s that time again! The Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Ten Commandments” airs at 7 p.m. tonight on ABC. I recommend renting it for a few bucks on Amazon Prime: commercials now add a full hour to the movie, which is already one of the longest U.S. films ever made. I watch the 1956 jaw-dropper at least once every year. No movie ever blew my mind like that one did when I saw it as a child, and, I noted with amazement last week when I watched it again, certain scenes still blow my mind now, like the Exodus, easily the greatest crowd scene that ever had been or ever will be. My top ethics notes:
  • The screenplay’s direct condemnation of slavery in Moses’ early speech is remarkable for the period, and gutsy for the most expensive movie ever made (to that point) that needed big audiences from the old Confederate states during the middle of a growing civil rights movement.
  • Like Ted Williams’ home run in his last at bat, DeMille bet everything on his biggest challenge at the end of his career when he had already made Hollywood history and was a living legend….and he succeeded. I admit, I’m a sucker for that. The movie killed him, essentially: CB suffered a heart attack while directing the huge scene where Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt, and never recovered. I’m sure he’d say it was still worth it.
  • As a director, I have learned that the greatest and most frightening challenge is trying to top yourself. I admire the artists who attempt it, and especially those who succeed. DeMille had already made a silent movie version of the story that stood as the top-grossing film of all time until his own talkies broke its record.
  • I cannot think of a better example of the ethical principle that if you are going to do something that matters, do it right and don’t cut corners. Like David O. Selznick’s “Gone With The Wind,” TTC is filled with astounding grace notes and details that are the mark of a perfectionist. On this week’s viewing, I noticed for the first time that when we see Egyptian princess Nefertiri primping in a mirror, her image is dark and indistinct. That’s because glass mirrors were unknown in ancient Egypt: the mirror is polished metal.
  • The 1957 Oscars , which largely snubbed De Mille’s masterpiece, show how bias makes you stupid, and how little the movie community understands its own medium. “The Ten Commandments” was the movie of the year and everyone knew it: it was the top grossing film and had scenes that were immediately recognizable as likely to become legendary (like the parting of the Red Sea.) But most of the Oscars, including Best Picture, went to “Around the World in 80 Days,” the over-stuffed “spectacular”—unwatchable now— made by industry darling Mike Todd. DeMille didn’t even rate a Best Director nomination. He was considered a conservative pariah and a dinosaur, and the “new Hollywood” wouldn’t bring itself to recognize an old pro doing his best work.

2. And now, speaking for the arrogant, biased, not as smart as they think they are people who lie to you daily, Lester Holt! At the 45th Edward R. Murrow Symposium at Washington State University, Holt received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, presumably because they had to find a black journalist to give the thing to. Among his comments, which generally proved the stunning lack of self-awareness of himself and his industry, he said, .

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Comment Of The Day: “Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21….” (Item #3: Sliming Gina Carano)

Humble Talent provides a perceptive take on the Disney-Gina Carano debacle, just another small piece in the rapidly developing mosaic of of corporate alliance with the purveyors of aspiring woke mind and speech control. I first wrote about the episode here. My suspicion is that the Arrogant Left is wildly overplaying its hand (as it did against Donald Trump: the pandemic rescued them, but they think it’s because they were brilliant, as undeservedly lucky people always do.)

Here is HT’s Comment of the Day on item #3 in the post, “Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21…”,in response to a comment by E2. Normally I would have a bit of the comment up before the jump, but now WordPress’s inexcusably clumsy “block” system won’t let me do that, at least not easily. Don’t let that stop you: it’s a great comment.

E2 wrote ,“Gina Carano appears to be among the 1/100th of 1% of Americans who know some history. Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust shaped our world — and still is — and to call out totalitarianism of any kind is worthy of praise, not ridicule by a bunch of IQ-80 leftists.”

Kind of. Carano actually retweeted someone who said that, she didn’t write the words herself. She’s given interviews after this whole debacle happened, and what I get from them is that she was actually kind of politically naïve, and provides a case study in how the left pushes people away.

The first landmine she stepped on was following a bunch of Twitter people getting very upset that she didn’t have pronouns in her bio. I want to point out that this is yet another example of mandate creep; these things always start out with “why are you making fun of the things I’m doing, they don’t effect you” and end with “if you don’t also do this thing I’m doing, you’re a bigot.” Carano did what I probably would have, from the safety of my relative online anonymity: She added “beep/bop/boop” as pronouns as a middle finger to them, as opposed to a “fuck you” to internet busybodies, so it was determined that she was mocking pronouns in bios! So she was officially branded a transphobe.

It went downhill from there, Disney’s corporate HR/PR engine took over; they wanted to subject her to struggle sessions, they went back and forth over what her apology was going to look like, and it was all very Orwellian. It would have been interesting instead if Disney had taken a moment to step back and understand that they were dealing with a person. But they didn’t. There were people angry on Twitter, and even though Disney’s main demographic isn’t on Twitter, and even though they were joyfully touching penises with Chinese dictators, and even though Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) has literally killed people with Goop, they decided THIS was where they were going to make a stand and signal their virtue with the force of 1000 stars!

Take a step back and consider: You’re under siege. You made a joke on Twitter, and all of a sudden your career is on the rails, people are constantly misinterpreting what you’re saying when they aren’t outright lying about you, do you think that builds a good impression of those people? Course not. So she started getting support from the right, because the right is actually pretty good at welcoming people the left seem to hate, and she started to post (Dun dun DUUUUUUUN!!!) right-leaning memes. Well! Now she’s an alt-right insurrectionist transphobe. Anti-Semitic too!

One of the memes was about the holocaust (The one mentioned above). So again, Disney, great and mighty arbiter of morality, who airbrushed John Boyega out of movie posters for China because they thought that Chinese audiences were too racist to watch a movie with a black lead, decided THAT was the last straw: a holocaust meme! How dare she! Not taking into account that Pedro Pascal had just posted his own meme comparing Trump’s Kids in Cages™ to Nazi death camps, Disney, in their fair minded and ultimate wisdom, fired Carano, cancelled her planned spinoff, took her action figure off toy store shelves, and then brushed their hands together and called it a job done.

And now…. Gina Carano is working with The Daily Wire’s new entertainment division. We’ll see how that pans out. Like I said: Case study in how the left pushes people away. The leftist political meat grinder took someone who wasn’t politically active, and put her on the Daily Wire.

 

If A Saturday Ethics Warm-Up Posts And Nobody Reads It….3/27/2021

Tree falls

Ah, Saturday! When about 12 people seem to be interested in ethics….when traffic falls off to a trickle here after noon…when it’s even more discouraging posting now than before the post 2020 election crash…when I get to read websites with hordes of visitors post about issues I posted on here days ago….when writing the blog seems even more futile and pointless that it usually does.

1 Here’s some good news…at least one Hollywood star knows her limitations. Aging sex-symbol and “Avengers” star Scarlett Johansson is apparently secure enough, brave enough or dumb enough to tell her colleagues, as they need to be told, “Shut up and act.” She said in interview with “The Gentlewoman,” a British magazine,

“I don’t think actors have obligations to have a public role in society Some people want to, but the idea that you’re obligated to because you’re in the public eye is unfair. You didn’t choose to be a politician, you’re an actor. Your job is to reflect our experience to ourselves; your job is to be a mirror for an audience, to be able to have an empathetic experience through art. That is what your job is. Whatever my political views are, all that stuff, I feel most successful when people can sit in a theater or at home and disappear into a story or a performance and see pieces of themselves, or are able to connect with themselves through this experience of watching this performance or story or interaction between actors or whatever it is. And they’re affected by it and they’re thinking about it, and they feel something. You know? They have an emotional reaction to it – good, bad, uncomfortable, validating, whatever.That’s my job. The other stuff is not my job.”

Thank-you. What she neglected to say was that shooting off their generally under-informed mouths about political matters actively undermines their jobs, thanks to the power of cognitive dissonance. For example, I literally cannot stand watching any film with Alec Baldwin or Robert De Niro in it at at this point. Their characterizations, no matter how well performed, are drowned out by their obnoxious public declarations.

2. As the Star-Tribune attempts to intimidate the Chauvin trial jurors.…the home town paper for the trial published this detailed set of profiles of the jurors, leaving all the cues necessary to doxx them. This just creates one more obstacle to a fair trial. The judge was asleep at the switch in handing out gag orders: with at least one potential juror dismissed because she was afraid of community reaction to a “not guilty” verdict, it was reversible error to allows this much information about the jury to get to the news media, which we know is both rooting for a guilty verdict and doing all it can think of to facilitate one.

The most recent Associated Press report on the case, like most mainstream media stories relating to Floyd, never mentions Floyd’s drugged-out condition, nor his Wuhan virus infection. He was killed by the knee of a racist white cop, and the only question in the trial is whether that racist cop will get the conviction he deserves. This is how most Americans understand the case.

Does the news media want riots?

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Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/20/2021: Trans Swimsuit Models And Powerlifters, And The Purge Of The Stoners

late rabbit

Finally! Back on schedule! I was beginning to have trouble coming up with new names for non-warm-ups that got posted in the afternoon or later…

1. President Joe Biden fell a couple times boarding Air Force One. The video has led many wags to ask if this would prompt Saturday Night Live to give him the Gerald Ford treatment. Those of a certain age recall the running gag in the immortal first season of the now creaky weekend satire show, where then-President Ford was portrayed as a slapstick klutz on nearly every episode.

Of course it won’t, for several reasons, some ethical, some not. SNL is now almost exclusively a partisan vehicle for humor-based propaganda, and after 8 years of seldom daring to target President Obama and four of mocking President Trump, repetitiously and badly, a return to past standards of equal opportunity mockery is unlikely. Biden is a Democrat. Also, in the case of Ford, the gag was just a gag: Ford was a fit former athlete who just had a couple of well-publicized stumbles. Representing him as a clumsy boob was only silly. Biden, in contrast, has been falling apart mentally and physically before our eyes, and is 78 years old. In his case, such ridicule would not just seem cruel, it would be cruel. Biden’s decline is also scary, as the awful Kamala Harris sits cackling in the wings. There is nothing funny about the whole situation.

2. Speaking of the least democratically-chosen President-in-waiting since Gerald Ford, Harris, in one of her many idiotic statements while trying (and failing) to get nominated for President on her merits, admitted to past illegal marijuana use and advocated it, saying, “I have [smoked marijuana]. And I inhaled. I did inhale. I think it gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy in the world.” Heroin and child rape also give quite a few people joy, but never mind: Harris had the right skin-tone and chromosomes, and that’s all that matters, apparently. In light of her confession, this story is incomprehensible:

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3/17/21 Ethics Wind-Down, 3/18/21 Wind-Up…Featuring “The Song Of The Year”

Wind-Up

There’s nothing quite like a flaming tooth-ache to spark an early-morning post…

1. Corporate incompetence, Indian-style: The Cleveland Indians knee-jerked themselves out of their history, traditions and name by somehow concluding that the Black Lives Matter rioting obligated them to abandon “Indians” just because the NFL Washington Redskins had capitulated to political correctness thuggery. Like all of baseball and most of professional sports, the team decided that signaling progressive virtue was more important than their fans. And like the Redskins, the team prepared to to go through the 2021 season without a new name…just nothing, as in “Cleveland Baseball Club,” or something similarly generic. Because of the unseemly, unnecessary and unplanned rush, the Cleveland Whatsis-es also made it difficult to come up with a new name. Changing a team name is a large and expensive mess, because the name and logo are on everything from the team’s merchandise to websites, sponsorship deals, and the ballpark. Trademarks are needed to protect them. “Advice for anyone doing any product: Before you make it public, file,” Andrew Skale, a San Diego-based trademark attorney told the New York Times.

“The U.S. trademark office offers this kind of unique ability to file when you haven’t started using it, so take advantage of that,” Skale said. “Because I’ve seen when people that have issued news releases about new products and haven’t filed yet, and then they have problems later because some idiots decided to squat on them.” Or maybe not such idiots. Because of the Ex-Indians moral panic, many of the names the team could have chosen based on its history and culture will be now be expensive.Trademarks were filed by squatters after Cleveland’s first announcement for “Cleveland Baseball Team” (from someone in Georgia), “Cleveland Baseball Club” (from a company in Ohio), “Cleveland Guardians” (from someone in New York), Cleveland Rockers (from someone in California), Cleveland Natives and Cleveland Warriors (though even the Ex-Indian aren’t so stupid as to wade back into Native American controversies again), and most of all, the Cleveland Spiders, which has been an early favorite. That was the name of the team. That was the name of the team for ten years, 1889-1899, when baseball players looked like this…

Spiders

The No-names are fighting some of these filings, because the Trademark Office tends to disfavor squatters. It all could have been avoided, though, if the team hadn’t wushed to be woke, thus joining The Great Stupid.

I wonder if “Spider McBaseballfaces” has been taken…

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Don’t Be Lulled Into Apathy Because It Involves A Silly Daytime Talk Show Watched By Idiots And A Reality Star Of Negligible Importance: CBS Pulled A TV Show Because Someone Dared To Criticize A Black Woman. It’s Time To Draw A Line In The Sand…

Osbourn

This makes two frightening ethics stories involving the media in a row, the worst back-to-back Ethics Alarms concerns that I’ve seen in ten years here. The seriousness of the previous story is easy to grasp: multiple news organizations deliberately misled the public to suggest misconduct by President Trump that never happened, and “coincidentally” they did so with perfect timing to affect the crucial special Senate elections in Georgia. This second horror is trickier, because it involves what to normal people is trivia layered on trivia. However, it may be the more terrible of the two.

Try to follow this without getting disgusted and turning on “Three’s Company” re-runs, or you can jump to the bottom of this nauseating account for the reason why the episode is important despite all evidence to the contrary…

1. It began with the Oprah interview of the narcissistic and manipulative Duchess of Sussex and her dominated husband last week, during which Meghan absurdly played poor little rich girl and poor princess while accusing conveniently un-named members of the Royal family of being racists. Even the fact that the couple sold the interview to O didn’t dissuade the celebrity-addled Princess Di cult from swallowing every whooper served up by the former actress like it was a culinary masterpiece. Tellingly, the interview went over like a lead balloon, as my father used to say, in Great Britain, where Meghan Markle and Harry are even less popular members of the royal family than Jeffrey Epstein pal Prince Andrew.

2. Then, on a British morning talk show the next day, celebrity muckraker Piers Morgan announced that he didn’t believe the couple’s tale of abuse, and thought it was outrageous for two entitled (literally) individuals of unearned wealth and power to present themselves as victims, and particularly offensive for Markle to be posing as a victim of “systemic racism.” For this he was accused of being biased—he’s white after all—and Morgan, who bottom-feeder though he is does not grovel or back down, quit his co-host job on the spot, walking off the set.

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Gullibility And Media Brainwashing Check: If You Believe This, You’ll Believe Anything

The Washington Post claims that “The first crisis of the Biden administration could be looming: America may have a president, the first in generations, who is impervious to impressionists.”

Riiiiight.

This is a topic I know a little bit about, having written, produced, directed and performed in satirical political reviews both professionally and otherwise for decades. I’ve also followed Saturday Night Live until relatively recently. If I hadn’t already abandoned the show as tired, biased and hopeless, Alec Baldwin’s inept and unfunny Trump impression would have driven me away.

It’s easy to come up with a funny impression of Joe Biden. Hell, I could do it: even if it wasn’t very good, it would be better than Baldwin’s Trump. There is one reason and one reason only that comedians are reluctant to mock Joe Biden: he’s a Democrat, and political satire today goes one way only.

The same hypocrites were afraid to make fun of Barack Obama, who was a cornucopia of mockworthy traits and tics for anyone with the guts to exploit them. The Post would really have us believe that any comics drew blood with an Obama impression, or even tried? Ah, but they were terrified of being called racists. (Has there ever been anyone more easy to ridicule than Maxine Waters? How about Sheila Jackson Lee? Have you ever seen them skewered?) TV comics today are, much like the mainstream media—pure partisan agents. They don’t want to be funny as much as they want to signal their virtue.

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As The NYT Charles M. Blow Desperately Searches For A Topic Worthy Of His Brilliance Now That He Can’t Attack Donald Trump In Every Column, And Settles On A Cartoon Skunk…

pepe

Of course Charles M. Blow quickly jumped on the “Cancel Dr. Seuss” bandwagon. I’m sure he was ticked off that he didn’t think of it first. The really woke publications have to include a race-baiter niche (or several) on their staffs, and Blow occupies that prime slot at the New York Times. Blow is an anti-white bigot in general, but he’s versatile: for the four years in which the Times enabled his virulent Trump Derangement, Blow proved he was also adept in pushing almost all of the anti-Trump Big Lies, not only the one that asserts that he is a racist. His columns were like crack for Trump-Haters. For everyone else, they were, like Blow himself, staggeringly repetitious, predicable, pompous, and boring.

Now, with Trump only intermittently in the news, Blow has a problem, being addicted to anti-Trump crack himself, and he’s clearly foundering. In his anti-Seuss screed—if you’re white like Theodore Geisel, Blow will presume you’re a racist (incidentally, he begins his columns by writing, “As a child, I was led to believe that Blackness was inferior.” That’s odd: I wasn’t!)—he also attacked Warner Bros. cartoon character Pepé Le Pew for contributing to “rape culture,” which is hilarious wokism self-parody.

Pepé Le Pew is one of the lesser Warner Brothers animated stars, an amorous French skunk whose cartoons consisted of a single gag: an incurable romantic obsessed with the pursuit of amorous conquests, Pepé kept mistaking cats and other creatures as female skunks (they somehow got white stripes painted on them in various accidents, hence the species misidentification), whereupon he would aggressively woo them, including hugging and kissing them without their consent.

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Ethics Observations On A Suddenly Ubiquitous Meme

bookswap-600x600

This thing is everywhere, particularly on conservative websites. It was even quoted on Ethics Alarms.

Observations:

1. It’s not true. Try not to embarrass yourself by quoting it, for “Wet Ass Pussy” was not, in fact, the “Song of the Year.” At last year’s Grammys, which gives out the annual “Song of the Year” awards, “Wet Ass Pussy” by female rapper Cardi B was not even nominated in the category. The nominees were…

  • Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Lori McKenna for “Always Remember Us This Way” performed by Lady Gaga
  • Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell for “Bad Guy” performed by Billie Eilish
  • Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth & Tanya Tucker for “Bring My Flowers Now” performed by Tanya Tucker
  • Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris, H.E.R. & Rodney Jerkins for “Hard Place” performed by H.E.R.
  • Taylor Swift for “Lover” performed by Taylor Swift
  • Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey for “Norman Fucking Rockwell” performed by Lana Del Rey
  • Tom Barnes, Lewis Capaldi, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn & Sam Roman “Someone You Loved” performed by Lewis Capaldi
  • Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic, Melissa Jefferson & Jesse Saint John for “Truth Hurts” performed by Lizzo

The winner was “Bad Guy.”

This year’s Grammys have not yet been awarded, so “Wet Ass Pussy” can be called the “Song of the Year” by any measure.

2. Therefore the irony, the dripping contempt for contemporary culture, and the implication of corrupted societal values are only effective if one is ignorant of the topic. Nice.

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And Today In The Attack On Liberty And The Pursuit Of Happiness That Is Known At Ethics Alarms As “The Great Stupid”…

Liberty weeps

Online retailer eBay has announced that it will no longer allow owners of the six Dr. Seuss books eliminated this week from Theodore Geisel’s published children books to sell the books online in its auction platform.

Citing its offensive materials policy, eBay Corporate Communications Specialist Parmita Choudhury explained, “At eBay, we have a strict policy against hate and discrimination to ensure our platform remains a safe, trusted and inclusive environment for our global community of buyers and sellers.We’re currently sweeping our marketplace to remove these items. It can take some time to review all existing listings and provide education to impacted users. We’re also monitoring the newly published list to be reviewed.”

First they came for Yertle the Turtle….

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