I’m still getting hate comments about my verdict on the Bon Jovi DirecTV commercial that extols the virtue of erasing one’s children from existence, so this piece of New Yorker satire, by real parents about a real newborn child, gave me pause. Here is how “An Honest Birth Announcement” starts…
Dear friends and family,
Jen and I are utterly horrified to announce the arrival of our son, Jasper Heusen-Gravenstein, born May 21st at 4:56 A.M. For nine long months, we’ve wondered who this little creature would be. Well, now we know: he’s the living embodiment of our darkest imaginings, with a nefarious agenda and Grandpa Jim’s nose.
At seven pounds four ounces, Jasper may be small, but he’s large enough to have triggered our most primal fears. We’ve already been driven to the brink of madness with unanswerable questions such as: How can we sustain the life of a creature whose incessant, bloodcurdling screams communicate nothing but blind rage and indeterminate need? What if he senses our fear and, like a wild hyena, is instinctively triggered to attack? Will we ever finish the most recent season of “House of Cards”?
It goes on in that tongue-in-cheek-but-you-know-we’re-half-serious-right-fellow-parent-vein…
But it names the child, who is, or course, helpless, blameless and defenseless, and creates a permanent record of parental faux-hate for Jasper to read…when he’s a parent, and old enough to get the joke, or when he’s 8, and a classmate sends it to him.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…
Even as obvious humor, would it be ethical for Rob and Jen Heusen-Gravenstein to have this published?
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, the quiet, Ivy League-educated manager of the struggling Detroit Tigers in the American League, snapped in frustration during last Monday’s game. He cursed, he raged, he threw dirt, he threw his cap, he took off his hoodie and draped it over home plate. Some of his X-rated remarks were captured by microphones and broadcast to the nation. Naturally, such conduct is frowned upon by MLB umpires, so he was thrown out of the game, suspended and fined.
Now he is auctioning the hoodie and cap from his tirade on the web. Here’s part of the description:
” Neither item has been washed since the May 16 game and both items show dirt consistent with being placed or tossed on the field.”
Bidding is approaching $5000. The auction website adds: “Neither item has been washed since the May 16 game and both items show dirt consistent with being placed or tossed on the field. Both items feature the #7, as seen in the photos.” Bidding will close on Wednesday.
Your annoying Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is….
Is auctioning the items used by Ausmus in his on-field tantrum as unethical, more unethical, or less unethical than George Zimmerman’s auctioning the gun that he used to defend himself against Trayvon Martin, resulting in the teen’s death?
Let’s see if I can through this to the Ethics Quiz portion without shorting out my laptop.
Maverick Schutte, a 6-year-old from Cheyenne, Wyoming, has required over 30 surgeries, including five open chest procedures, to treat a heart condition.He still must be hooked up to a ventilator most of each day to allow oxygen to reach his lungs, and more surgery will be needed, as he is in constant danger of heart failure.
The child’s greatest joy is baseball, and he has adopted his father’s team, the Boston Red Sox, as his passion. The Children’s Miracle Network put the family in touch with former Red Sox player Kevin Millar, now an MLB host and broadcaster, and Millar contacted Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, Maverick’s favorite, after the family explained that Maverick was in the hospital again and needed a morale boost. With Millar, Ortiz made a video for Maverick, ending with Ortiz promising to hit a home run that night, just for him. I didn’t believe it when I heard the story, but it was true. “Stay positive, keep the faith, and I’m going to hit a home run for you (Friday night),” Ortiz says in the video. “Remember that.”
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz for today before, as Paul Harvey would say, you learn “the rest of the story”…
Was it ethical for Ortiz to make such a promise to Maverick?
Filed under Character, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, History, Humor and Satire, Love, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Popular Culture, Professions, Quizzes, Sports
“Boy, its a good thing nothing human is living in there!”
This one is so rich with chewy ethical dilemma goodness that I had to interrupt writing another post to get it to you.
New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has ruled that bars and restaurants that refuse to serve alcohol or raw fish to pregnant women are committing discrimination. Such a policy by bars and restaurants violate protections for pregnant women in the city’s Human Rights Law, and constitute illegal bias.
“While covered entities may attempt to justify certain categorical exclusions based on maternal or fetal safety,” the commission said, “using safety as a pretext for discrimination or as a way to reinforce traditional gender norms or stereotypes is unlawful.”
Interestingly, eighteen other states have laws that declare that the use of alcohol during pregnancy is child abuse.
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:
Is it ethical to refuse to sell liquor to a pregnant woman, when the establishment is doing so to protect the fetus from the toxic effects of alcohol, or is it unethical discrimination?
Chicago recently became the fourth city—Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco—to enact a ban on using smokeless tobacco in sports stadiums. I initially ignored it, in part because I never use the stuff and have never known anyone who did, and in part because I knew that Major League Baseball has been trying, with some success, to discourage its ballplayers from chewing and especially spitting on camera, since it is a) disgusting and b) encourages impressionable tykes to take up an ugly and perilous habit. I’m inspired to make the issue an ethics quiz because of the pronouncements of law professor-blogger Jonathan Turley on the issue and the vociferous debate his comments sparked on his blog.
This is a lawful product like smoking tobacco. People have a right to make choices about their lifestyle so long as they do not harm others. That is why I always supported the bans on smoking in public areas due to the second-hand smoke research. That is an externalized harm. What is the externalized harm of smokeless tobacco?
…I happen to deeply dislike smoking and I find chewing tobacco disgusting. I also do not question the link to serious health problems like cancer. However, that should be the subject of an educational campaign by the government and MLB. Yet, in the end, people need to be able to make choices in our society rather than go down the path to paternalistic legislation regulating our good and bad choices.
His supporters on the blog were typified by this comment by Beth (not our Beth, I presume)…
“Tobacco, in all forms, is NOT a singular activity that affects no one else. Tobacco use weighs very heavily on the public at large in the form of health care costs, higher insurance premiums, toxic litter, poisoned air and ground spit. To suggest that limiting tobacco, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes should not be controlled substances goes against all manner of policy for the public good. Wrong stance, Mr. Turley.”
This comment, from “wonderer,” is a fair summation of the other side, which mostly came from the libertarian side of the metaphorical aisle:
And speaking of Donald Trump…
In South Orangetown, New York, the school superintendent stepped in and cut the swastikas from Tappan Zee High School’s student production of “The Producers” less than a week before the production. Of course, the Mel Brooks musical satire based on his film “The Producers” employs swastikas on Nazi flags and armbands during its famous campy “Springtime For Hitler” number and at other points in the show. Before someone posted a picture of the swastikas on the stage on a Facebook page, this aspect of “The Producers” had somehow escaped the attention of school administrators.
Some parents were shocked, and complained. After checking out the stage, the superintendent cut the costume details and set dressing.“There is no context in a public high school where a swastika is appropriate,” South Orangetown Superintendent Bob Pritchard told CBS. Pritchard consulted with local rabbis before making his decision.
Rabbis, of course, would be a natural audience for “The Producers.” (Reports that the rabbis suggested a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” instead have not been confirmed.)
Your spring-is-in-the-air Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…
Is this example of school censorship of the performing arts fair, responsible and ethical?