Thanksgiving is, at least in this country, the traditional kick-off of the holidays and all the madness, music, traditions, literature, art, fun, reflection and controversies that accompany them.
Slightly off topic: I just looked in on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast.
Oh. My. God.
What is a parade without anyone watching and cheering along the route? What’s the point? All the energy, all of it, is gone. Worst of all are the live—are they really live?—performances of numbers from various Broadway shows in the middle of the street. These are always weird, but without any ambient sounds or people in the background, they are creepy and weird. The look like a post-nuclear apocalypse freak-out by community theater survivors. Also creepy: the networks’ socially distanced “hosts” now resemble those old Soviet news shows where the anchors were separated by about 15 feet at a long desk.
Where was I? Oh, right, the holidays…
With all the commercializing and vulgarizing of Christmas, the unlistenable “modern” Christmas songs, and the cynical “Christmas is horrible” movie comedies (like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”), the culture relies on the Christian religious institutions to provide context, continuity, seriousness and dignity to the season lest the ritual cease to have any meaning at all. With that duty in mind, here is the just-revealed Vatican Nativity scene:
Several of these items could support stand-alone posts, I suppose, but I have bigger metaphorical fish to fry. I’ve also figured out that traffic would look better if I broke some of these 800-1000 word posts into multiple 400-500 word bites, but to hell with it: a post should be as long as it has to to make the points I want to make. Traffic has also been excellent lately: from Election Day through yesterday EA has had the best extended streak since 2017. As usual with such surges, this has involved some quirks. For example, the post about Margaret Thatcher’s favorite poem has been leading all posts in clicks for three days. I didn’t see that coming…
1. Ethics Quiz:Which is more unethical, the creep who offers such tales out of school, or the publication that gives her a platform?
The entire genre of former school mates coming forward with unflattering and ancient anecdotes about political figures is unethical. Now that Ivanka Trump’s father is likely to be out of the White House next year, her seventh grade friend Lysandra Ohrstrom decided it was a safe to reveal what a creep the First Daughter was as a 13-year-old, because so few of us lacked a functioning ethics compass at that age. She also decided that she would enjoy being interviewed on various Trump-hating TV shows, I assume.
Why the woman continued to stay friends with someone she now says was an elitist snot is a mystery; yes, some of Lysandra’s tales impugn adult Ivanka as well as the child version.
One of her earliest memories of Ivanka is her blaming a fart on a less popular classmate. The monster! In their twenties, Ivanka asked Ohrstrom for a book suggestion and when her friend suggested “Empire Falls,” replied, “Why would you tell me to read a book about fucking poor people?” Ohrstrom also recalls Ivanka once telling her “You’ve really turned into a Marxist” during a discussion about affordable housing in Manhattan.
Is there anyone who has ever lived who doesn’t have embarrassing incidents that occurred early their lives and that they trust that the family and friends who witnessed them have the decency and loyalty not to inform the world? Ohstrom’s ignorance of the Golden Rule and her pathetic lunge for 15 minutes of fame tell us more about her character than reveal anything relevant about Ivanka Trump.
When Linda Spangler asked her mother, in a video chat, what she would like as gift for her 92nd birthday, the response came promptly.
“I’d like a dog,” Charlene Spangler said. “Is Wolfgang dead?” Wolfgang, a family dachshund, had indeed died long ago; so had all his successors. Ms. Spangler, who lives in a dementia care facility in Oakland, Calif., has trouble recalling such history.
So Linda, who is a doctor, got her mother a dog.
Well, Mom thought it was a dog, anyway. It was a robot dog. Sensors allow it to pant, woof, wag its tail, nap and awaken, and users can feel a simulated heartbeat.
…because I honestly don’t have the slightest idea.
Hunter Ashleigh Shackelford describes her non-binary self/themselves as “a Black fat cultural producer, multidisciplinary artist, nonbinary shapeshifter, hood feminist, and data futurist” who “illustrates the relationship between Blackness, fatness, desire, queerness, afrotechnology, and popular culture.” She says she is the creator and director of a Southern body liberation organization, Free Figure Revolution, which focuses on decolonizing antiblack body violence.
I have no idea what that means.
She does trainings, lectures and workshops, and gets paid for them. Ashleigh’s website says that New York University, the University of Richmond, Pendle Hill Quaker Retreat, The Movement for Black Lives, and the City of Richmond, among others, have contracted with her to “share her brilliance” on such topics as the body, antiblack violence, hoeism, sociopolitical issues, consent, fat hate/ shame, racial justice, body liberation, empowerment, healing antiblack misogyny, reproductive justice, and Black feminist thought.
The arrival of Spuds, our new dog, was postponed a day. While chatting with his foster owner, she told us that had had decided to to report Spuds’ previous owner for animal cruelty. Good. The woman neglected the dog outrageously, as I wrote about here.
But for some reason, my mind flashed back to this post from 2013, involving a more complex animal cruelty case. It’s an ethics quiz, but I’ll be adding a poll at the end. The comments to the original post were very good.
Ethics Quiz: The Harley Tragedy
I’m sure PETA thinks this is fair; I’m not sure that I do.
Tammy Brown,47, a disabled Moon Lake, Florida woman trying to make ends meet on her $508-a-month government check, argued that she was not able to afford veterinary care for Harley, her 14-year-old dog who had a painful ear infection as well as skin problems, periodic tumors, heartworms and ear mites. Because she did not get treatment for Harley, however—the fact that she tried to treat the dog’s problems with over the counter ointments wasn’t enough to mollify the judge— Brown was convicted of felony animal cruelty. She spent more than a month in jail awaiting sentencing, and then received six months of house arrest, 300 hours of community service, three years of probation, and $1,000 in court costs. Circuit Judge William Webb also commanded, “I don’t want you to own any animals. Not even a goldfish!” (Hartley had been euthanized.)
Apparently Harley’s physical condition was shockingly poor, so much so that jurors found photos hard to look at. An Animal Services officer testified that Harley couldn’t stand up without support. The prosecutor wanted Brown imprisoned.
Has society become so animal-sensitive that it has lost its priorities?
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz…
Assuming that Harley’s lack of treatment was due to lack of resources and neglect rather than malice…
Was Tammy Brown’s sentence fair, or was it excessive and cruel?
Deforestationcoupled with the rampant destruction of natural resources will soon have devastating effects on the future of society as we know it, according to two theoretical physicists who study complex systems and have concluded that greed has put us on a path to irreversible collapse within the next two to four decades, as VICE reported.
The research by the two physicists, one from Chile and the other from the UK, was published last week inNature Scientific Reports. The researchers used advance statistical modeling to look at how a growing human population can cope with the loss of resources, mainly due to deforestation. After crunching the numbers, the scientists came up with a fairly bleak assessment of society’s chance of surviving theclimate crisis.
“Based on the current resource consumption rates and best estimate of technological rate growth our study shows that we have very low probability, less than 10 percent in most optimistic estimate, to survive without facing a catastrophic collapse,” the authors write in thestudyabstract.
From all the issues that the climate crisis raises like rising sea levels, increases in extreme weather, drought, flooding, and crop failures, scientists zeroed in on deforestation since it is more measurable right now. They argue that forest density, or its current scarcity, is considered the cataclysmic canary in the coal mine, according to the report, asThe New York Postreported.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quizto conclude this weekend pf nonsense and frustration:
Is this story responsible to report as news without a lot more context? Continue reading →
Roenick, Lipinski and Weir. Wait…Johnny Weir is gay?
Ex- pro hockey star Jeremy Roenick has sued NBC Sports for wrongful termination, claiming the network discriminated against him as a heterosexual. At issue is his firing in February of this year for saying, during a Barstool Sports podcast called “Spittin’ Chiclets”, while discussing his wife and Kathryn Tappen, a coworker,
“I’m swimming with my wife and Kathryn, and they’ve got their bikinis on, and they look fuckin’ smokin. Ass and boobs everywhere. It’s great.”
I suppose I should mention by way of context that sports fans do not listen to ex-hockey players blather on “Barstool Sports” to be enlightened on the writings of Marcel Proust. Nonetheless, NBC quickly suspended Roenick, and though he issued an apology, his NBC supervisor, Sam Flood, subsequently informed him that he was fired.
[Notice of Correction:I originally wrote that Barstool Sports was an NBC production, It isn’t. So Roenick was fired for comments made when he was not under the auspices of NBC.]
What sparked the lawsuit now was the absence of any discipline levied by NBC sports after NBC Sports commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir participated this May in a leering promotional video for the At-Home Variety Show on the Peacock streaming service, joined by “Pitch Perfect” actors Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Continue reading →
Remember this post about the woman who called the cops on a bird-watcher who told her to leash her dog?
At the end of May, right before a vicious Minneapolis cop (but not necessarily a racist one) knelt on Georg Floyd’s neck and set off a series of events that are too insane and serious to describe in a long introductory clause, the pundits and social media were buzzing about Cooper vs Cooper, the confrontation in Central Park that prompted Amy Cooper to dial 911 and say that “an African American man” was threatening her life. Christian Cooper, the black bird-watcher, videoed the whole exchange, posted it, and Amy was quickly relegated to Cancelled For Racism Hell, losing her dog, her job, and maybe getting banned from Central Park.
I assumed that Amy’s public shaming had been truncated by the George Floyd Freakout, but no: yesterday we learned that New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has charged her with falsely reporting the confrontation, a misdemeanor. She was ordered to appear in court on Oct. 14. Continue reading →
I owe commenter Benjamin Ethics Alarms’ gratitude for the inspiration of today’s ethics quiz.
The acronym for the grouping of the various and growing number of gender and sexual orientations that vary from the heterosexual norm was relatively recently the unwieldy LGBTQUIA. At an earlier time, I was comfortable with my understanding of what the letters designated: L was for Lesbian, G was for Gay, B was for Bi-sexual, T was for Transgender, and Q was for Queer, which seems redundant to me, but I’m sure an activist could explain its inclusion. After that, my limited ability to remember sequences of letters and numbers (I can’t remember phone numbers either, and never could) made the expanding acronym beyond my capacity to either recite or explain.
I am happy to say that I am not alone: there is even a website devoted to deciphering the sequence, which it describes (as of today, May 9, 2020) as “LGBPTTQQIIAA+Alphabet Soup.”
Well, that’s hopeless. Psychologists tell us that the typical human being can only easily recall unrelated letters, numbers, names or words up to seven; longer than that, and one either needs a lot of practice (as in learning the components of the Boy Scout Law: “Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent,” which, I assure you, I will be able to recite without hesitation until the moment I die, and quite possibly after), or a good mnemonic.Continue reading →