Friday Ethics Distractions, 10/22/21: Foot In Mouth Edition

foot in mouth Xray

Wow! People sure are saying some stupid things lately!

1. A David Manning Lie of the Month from Joe Biden! The David Manning Liar of the Month was a feature of the old Ethics Scoreboard honoring public figures or corporations that made obviously dishonest statements that they had to assume were harmless because nobody could possibly believe them. Thus Joe Biden really told reporters that he hasn’t gotten around to visiting the illegal immigrant mobs at the southern border because he’s just been too darn busy. All year. And, he added, it’s OK because Dr. Biden has been there. He also implied that he didn’t need to go to the border to see the utter mess his immigration policies have wrought because he’s seen the border

Let’s unpack this, shall we?

  • Joe has had time to go back to Delaware and Camp David, but not where there’s a border crisis of his making because he’s too busy. Does anyone believe that?
  • Let’s be fair: the President shouldn’t have to go to the border if he has competent subordinates to do it and accurately explain what’s going on. However, when President Bush chose not to personally visit the Katrina carnage, he was accused by Biden’s party and its news media of not caring, not doing his job, and, by Kanye West, of being a racist. What’s the standard? Bush felt that all he could do was get in the way. No, said Democrats, he had to go there, see what was happening with his own eyes. If that’s the standard, and I don’t think it needs to be, then why isn’t it also the standard for Biden and the border mess?
  • Talk about the cover-up being worse than the crime: Jen Psaki managed to top herself for mendacity and deflection when Fox’s Peter Doocy asked her why the President felt he had seen enough of the border. Why, she said, because he had been to the border in 2008! She really said that! “And nothing has changed since 2008?” Doocy reasonably asked. No! the President’s paid liar huffed. There’s been no immigration reform since then! And Biden knows President Trump has made everything worse by “separating children from parents” and building a “feckless wall” (whatever that means). So he doesn’t have to re-visit the border to know that, and again, he went there in 2008!

2. Shut up, or start a blog. The dim-bulb royals in exile decided that we need to hear their opinions on two issues. Prince Harry pronounced the First Amendment “bonkers”—yes, Harry, that attitude on the part of your relatives is why England doesn’t govern us any more—and his wife, Meghan Markle, received publicity for advocating paid leave for parents. Neither of these two people famous for being famous have done or said anything that should endow their opinions with any more persuasiveness or newsworthiness than the typical dogwalker’s. Harry was born well; Meghan married someone who was born well. It doesn’t matter what they think, or what they say. It’s not news. Continue reading

Stop Making Me Defend Nicki Minaj!

Minaj

It was only two days ago—less, really—that I highlighted performer/celebrity logorrhea victim Nicki Minaj’s cretinous statements about the Wuhan virus vaccine, which, naturally, have been cheered by various conservative trolls like Tucker Carlson as if Minaj ever gives any thought to what she opines before she broadcasts it to her fans. Now I have to defend the rapper whom I had the misfortune to become acquainted with when she was an American Idol judge and made poor Mariah Carey roll her eyes so hard I was afraid they might pop out of her head when Minaj offered one ridiculous thought after another.

You see Twitter, which I quit a few months ago for exactly this reason, banned Minaj for tweeting her dumb story about her cousin’s friend in Trinidad supposedly becoming impotent after being vaccinated after ”his testicles became swollen.” The theory, I gather, is that Nicki was spreading “misinformation.”

Minaj is angry about this, and in the blunt, crude, self-important stream of consciousness manner for which she is famous, expressed her pique. She said in a video directed at her fans and Twitter followers [Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy read…]:

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New Category! “Most Innocent And Fair Quote Of The Month That Gets Used To Tar The Speaker As A Racist And Destroy Her Career”: Former ESPN Rachel Nichols

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“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”

—-ESPN sideline reporter Rachel Nichols in a phone conversation nearly a year ago after learning that she would not host coverage during the 2020 N.B.A. finals, as she had been expecting.

The phone call, unbeknownst to her, was being recorded, and someone leaked it to the ESPN brass and the public. The ethical issues raised by that conduct are clear and have been discussed here often: it is a dastardly thing to do, a breach of basic Golden Rule ethics, and indefensible because it creates harm to all involved. But that’s not the issue at hand.

After the video was leaked, many black ESPN employees told one another that it confirmed their suspicions that outwardly supportive white people talk differently behind closed doors. Nichols, seeing the ominous handwriting on the wall, tried to apologize to Taylor with texts and phone calls. Taylor did not respond. Meanwhile, ESPN employees turned against Nichols, whom they perceived as indulging in a “common criticism used by white workers in many workplaces to disparage nonwhite colleagues” when she suggested that “Taylor was offered the hosting job only because of her race, not because she was the best person for the job.”

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How Long Will Black Bigots Like Elie Mystal Continue To Get The Benefit Of A Double Standard?

Mystal

The question has been looming for many years, but intensifying of late. The cynical use of the fraudulent term “antiracism” to promote racism—but the good kind, where it’s white people who are the targets of stereotyping, hate and discrimination—has exploded on the culture, with many, many people, businesses and organizations too cowardly to stand up and say, “Enough.” At some point, decent Americans of all races will have to do so in great and overwhelming numbers. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

I was thinking of all this after reading a truly disturbing essay by Elie Mystal. Mystal is a black lawyer and pundit who teems with hate. The last time Ethics Alarms sullied its cyberpresence by mentioning him was in January of this year, when he tweeted this:

Elie Mystal

If you search for Mystal by using his tag here, or just use the Ethics Alarms search engine to find “Mystal,” you can get an even uglier picture of the man, a lawyer who has a double Harvard degree and has used it to spread the maximum amount of racism and racial division such credentials can permit. It is an open question whether Mystal is mentally ill, but if he is, it is a kind of mental illness that the Left now celebrates. And he has a apparently always been this way. In 2016, he advocated black jurors sabotaging the justice system:

Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw “murder” at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”

I wrote, “Mystal is bonkers. There’s no reasoning or fairness in his screed. He’s just fulminating, growling and slobbering like a rabid dog. It’s sad. Nobody can take anyone who expresses this kind of irrational hate as a response to frustration seriously. He’s not accurate, he’s not truthful, he’s not responsible. He has left law and logic so far behind he may never work his way back to them.”

Well, he clearly isn’t working his way back, and won’t. The latest from Elie is a post in “The Nation,” where he is the “justice editor,” which tells you all you need to know about both “The Nation” and its readers. Mystal felt secure in revealing the dark depths of his hate by extolling his favorite video-game, “The Sims,” because it allows him to create the perfect neighborhood, or what he thinks would be one:

“….I picked a neighborhood and moved all the prepackaged Sims out. I moved my Sim family and Sim friends in. I have to be around Sims that I want to be happy, after all. No Republicans are allowed in my game. I’ve even deleted the files of prepackaged Sims that give me any kind of Republican vibe…. The friends I do put in the game are people I really like in real life, people I’m happy to be reminded of as my Sim-self jogs through town… My world is much browner and, well, gayer than what I started with. That’s just what happens when you let Sims flirt with whomever they want and marry people who share their interests. But I do occasionally have to add a family I don’t personally know just to decrease the chances of inbreeding: So, the Obamas are in my game. Sasha grew up and married my grandson. I’m buried in their backyard. Frankly, I couldn’t write a better utopian postscript for myself: a founding member of a brown, gay, rainless world that banished Republicans who is buried under the kiddie swing of his progeny…. Sometimes, I just need the terrible world to leave me alone with my doll.” 

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Return Of The Hedgehog

Angry hedgehog

Recently I have been pondering whether Donald Trump, in the parlance of philosopher Isaiah Berlin in his famous essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox”, is a hedgehog, one who, in words of the Greek poet Archilochus, “knows one big thing,”or a fox, which knows many things. The thrust of the essay (and a later book) is that history teaches that the hedgehogs tend to prevail over the foxes.

In 2019, I announced that I had figured out that Trump was indeed a hedgehog, and that the one big thing he knew was that

“Despite decades of indoctrination to the contrary, most Americans are proud of their country and do not believe it has been a force for evil in the world. They recognize that capitalism has been responsible for the much of the nation’s success, and they do not want to emulate the European nanny states. Most Americans also regard the office of the Presidency as an inherently good institution. The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse, as the President now calls them, do not believe these things, and by clearly opposing a group that is deep, deep in negative territory on the scale, the President is certain to derive a net benefit. Although I have heard the Stage 5 Trump Deranged argue that he does not love his country and does not have its best interests at heart, that is an unsupportable position fueled by dislike alone. Nobody becomes President who isn’t a patriot, and no President wants to go down in history as a bad one. Now the entire Democratic Party is tying itself to these four repulsive, anti-American extremists, which is the equivalent of the party tying itself to an anchor on the [Cognitive Dissonance] Scale.”

For the record, I’m still not completely convinced that Trump isn’t a fox in spiny clothing.

Now the “Fox or Hedgehog?” game has emerged again in an essay by Lance Morrow in The Wall Street Journal. He attributes Critical Race Theory to hedgehogian reasoning. The One Big Thing: slavery was bad. He writes in part,

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Andrew Sullivan

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“[T]he sudden, rapid, stunning shift in the belief system of the American elites…has sent the whole society into a profound cultural dislocation. It is, in essence, an ongoing moral panic against the specter of “white supremacy,” which is now bizarrely regarded as an accurate description of the largest, freest, most successful multiracial democracy in human history.”

—-Blogging pioneer Andrew Sullivan, yet another exile at substack, in his eloquent, brave, important and accurate essay, “What Happened To You?”

That’s probably not the best ethics quote in Sullivan’s latest essay. It’s just the earliest. There is also this bitter truth, as Sullivan’s brief approaches it’s climax:

Look how far the left’s war on liberalism has gone. Due process? If you’re a male on campus, gone. Privacy? Stripped away — by anonymous rape accusations, exposure of private emails, violence against people’s private homes, screaming at folks in restaurants, sordid exposés of sexual encounters, eagerly published by woke mags. Non-violence? Exceptions are available if you want to “punch a fascist.” Free speech? Only if you don’t mind being fired and ostracized as a righteous consequence. Free association? You’ve got to be kidding. Religious freedom? Illegitimate bigotry. Equality? Only group equity counts now, and individuals of the wrong identity can and must be discriminated against. Color-blindness? Another word for racism. Mercy? Not for oppressors. Intent? Irrelevant. Objectivity? A racist lie. Science? A manifestation of white supremacy. Biological sex? Replaced by socially constructed gender so that women have penises and men have periods. The rule of law? Not for migrants or looters. Borders? Racist. Viewpoint diversity? A form of violence against the oppressed.” 

I hate to drop spoilers with a master essay like Sullivan’s but I know a lot of people don’t follow links, and attention, as Willy Loman’s wife said, must be paid. Sullivan writes like an angel, so I quote him in fond hopes that readers will allow his persuasive prose to unfold as he designed it. Andrew begins by writing,

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More Terrifying Tales Of The Great Stupid, Academic Division

The predictable appeal of racist “antiracism” cant to the world of scholarship and academia in the wake of the fraudulent George Floyd Freakout is producing amusing or frightening results, depending on one’s regard for higher education and resistance to despair.

Today’s sample of Authentic Frontier Gibberish, for example, comes from “Confronting “White Feminism” in the Victorian Literature Classroom,” recently published in the scholarly journal, “Nineteenth Century Gender Studies.” The author is University of California Professor Lana Dalley, who complains that Victorian feminists are “problematic” [There’s that word again!] because they promote “white feminism.” In other words, social commentators and writers of over a hundred years ago don’t seem to reflect the current approved woke perspective of 2021. This is, apparently, a surprise. Here’s her first paragraph, an AFG classic:

The transition to virtual learning in Spring and Fall 2020 intersected with international protests for racial justice and, more locally, Ronjaunee Chatterjee, Alicia Mireles Christoff, and Amy R. Wong’s call to “undiscipline Victorian Studies” by “interrogat[ing] and challeng[ing] our field’s marked resistance to centering racial logic” (370).(1) More specifically, they call for “illuminat[ing] how race and racial difference subtend our [Victorianists’] most cherished objects of study, our most familiar historical and theoretical frameworks, our most engrained scholarly protocols, and the very demographics of our field” (370). Since then, numerous virtual roundtables and panels have convened to discuss critical approaches to race within Victorian studies and to ponder the relevance of contemporary social justice movements to a field whose borders are historically drawn. This essay emerged from one such panel and offers practical suggestions for reframing pedagogical approaches to Victorian feminist discourses in order to “center[] racial logic” and “illuminate how race and racial difference subtend” those discourses.(2) Its suggestions are certainly not meant to be exhaustive, but simply to offer one set of practices for making the Victorian literature classroom more responsive to contemporary conversations about race and gender.”

Now who can argue with that?

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Unethical Email Of The Month: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot email

That obnoxious, bullying, uncivil and unprofessional memo from Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, is signature significance. Competent and effective managers don’t write and send memos like that, not even once. As a subordinate, I would resign after receiving such an email. As a supervisor, I would place a staffer who sent that memo on probation after requiring her to apologize to the recipient.

Chicago is one of the most difficult American cities to govern. Lightfoot is currently facing legal problems as a consequence of her discriminatory announcement that she would only do interviews with “journalists of color.” The email, just another of many pieces of evidence showing Lightfoot’s arrogance and incompetence.

This is what happens when voters elect officials based not on their management experience and revealed leadership skills, but on their gender and skin shade.

[Instapundit’s Ed Driscoll had a funny line about the email: “CHICAGO’S MAYOR MORPHED INTO JACK TORRANCE SO SLOWLY, I HARDLY EVEN NOTICED…”

How Do We Stop This? Once Again, It’s Word-Banning Time At An Institution That Should Know Better

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Not only is Ethics Alarms adamantly opposed to the current effort by the rising totalitarian Left to ban words on the grounds that they might be “hurtful,” I have taken a vow on the issue. I artculated it here, concluding,

“My pledge: I will regard all words in the English language as among the tools I have to speak with, write with, argue with, joke with, and most importantly, think with. I will gladly be accountable when I use any words irresponsibly, but I will not submit to efforts to drag me and my society into the world of Big Brother, by accepting efforts to literally eliminate any of my tools, or attempts to decree that some Americans can use certain words, and others cannot. Fuck that.

That was in November of 2019. The post covered several unethical examples of employees, writers and teachers being punished, even dismissed, for quoting the word “nigger” in circumstances where no one could possibly conclude that the word was being used by the speaker to denigrate anyone. This incidents seemed so self-evidently ridiculous and such obvious incursions on the principle of free speech and expression that I, naive Pollyanna that I am, assumed that they were outliers and aberrations. Instead, such episodes have become more common in the year and a half since, and are given increasing validity as the shadow of The Great Stupid covers the fruited plain.

One can track many of the recent examples using the Ethics Alarms tag, “nigger.” And if you think you are “harmed” by a blog tag, I have some psychiatric facilities I can refer you to.

The latest of these has occurred at Rutgers, already a long-standing nest of woke insanity. A white first-year law student student at Rutgers Law School quoted a line from a 1993 U.S.Supreme Court decision, State v. Bridges, 133 N.J. 447. when discussing a case during a professor’s virtual office hours. The student was recorded, while discussing the circumstances under which a criminal defendant could be held liable for crimes committed by his co-conspirators, reading a quote from a defendant that first appeared in an opinion written by a former State Supreme Court judge, Alan B. Handler. “He said, um — and I’ll use a racial word, but it’s a quote,” the student said, “He says, ‘I’m going to go to Trenton and come back with my niggers.’”

In early April, in response to the incident, a group of Black first-year students at Rutgers Law began circulating a petition calling for the creation of a policy on racial slurs and formal, public apologies from the student and the professor, Vera Bergelson. “At the height of a ‘racial reckoning,’ a responsible adult should know not to use a racial slur regardless of its use in a 1993 opinion,” states the petition, which has been signed by law school students and campus organizations across the country. “We vehemently condemn the use of the N-word by the student and the acquiescence of its usage,” the petition says.

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Post George Floyd Anniversary Observations: A False Narrative Kneels On America’s Neck

Floyd white house

I’m sure many readers here feel that I am obsessed with this issue and are tired of my attempts to cut through the fog machine’s belches, but this is an ethics blog—a tiny, increasingly ignored ethics blog that is opposing the full force of a lying news media, a cynical Democratic Party, Machiavellian activists and dead-eyed corporate executives who just want to avoid controversy, and everywhere else, “Good Germans,” cowards who know the George Floyd Freakout narrative is based on falsehoods, but who just want to get along by going along.

So if I have to be a bit repetitious, so be it. There have to be a few oases of truth on the web.

Here are some excerpts from this morning front page story in the Times, insufferably headlined “The First Time The World Stopped And Noticed.” (Noticed what? That a drugged-out career criminal died on the streets as a direct result of his own persistent irresponsible behavior? That Minneapolis had a sadistic, mean cop who should have been kicked out of policing long ago? That a single, perhaps avoidable tragedy occurred in a city as the end result of a confluence of unrelated circumstances, the type of event that happens, has happened and will happen thousands of times every day across the country?)

  • The crowds that gathered in Minneapolis and elsewhere reflected on what has changed, and what has not, in America since Mr. Floyd was murdered by a police officer.” The Times should know better, and I’m sure it does, but just doesn’t care. Until Derek Chauvin’s appeals are exhausted and he loses them—not at all a foregone conclusion—it is not factual to say he “murdered” George Floyd. On the facts, I still don’t see how it can be claimed that he murdered Floyd, since murder requires the element of intent. At most, the episode was negligent homicide, which is not “murder.” But referring to Floyd’s death as a murder became part of the false narrative from the second cell phone photos of the incident hit the internet, and it has hardened into “fact” in the minds of most Americans.
  • “Mr. Floyd’s daughter Gianna was invited to appear at an Atlanta rally titled, “My Daddy Changed the World.” Her Daddy changed nothing. He broke a law, resisted arrest, took drugs that might have killed him, and then had the manner of his death exploited, resulting in many deaths, billions in damage to communities, and mass disinformation.
  • “The battle for the soul of America,” [President Biden] continued, “has been a constant push and pull between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.” This is shameless grandstanding for the rubes. All evidence indicates that Derek Chauvin was an equal opportunity bully. Nobody has been able to show he was a racist. Once again, this is the propaganda of presumed racism. If Chauvin were black and Floyd were white, and every other detail was identical to what happened in Minneapolis a year ago, nobody outside of Floyd’s family and friends would know his name. The incident had nothing to teach abut racism, except that it is a powerful and abused word currently being abused by demagogues and power-seekers.
  • “Speaking after the meeting, one of Mr. Floyd’s brothers, Philonise Floyd, pushed for more action on Capitol Hill. ‘If you can make federal laws to protect the bird which is the bald eagle, then you can make federal laws to protect people of color,’ he said.” Such an idiotic and offensive analogy is not worthy of publication, except to show how emotion rather than reason has dominated the entire fiasco. “People of color” are not an endangered species, and the greatest threat to their welfare is their own conduct, as in the case of George Floyd. Nobody is hunting them, but the paranoia that statement like this creates does lead to the dangerous tendency among blacks to resist lawful police authority.
  • “In New York, demonstrators said that the killing of Mr. Floyd had energized the Black Lives Matter movement that began after the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, but that the country still had a long way to go.” Now there’s a good analogy: Trayvon Martin’s death also had nothing to do with racism, his killer was portrayed as a racist murderer of an innocent, politicians deliberately misrepresented the facts, and politically motivated prosecutors brought excessive charges. In that case, justice prevailed, however.

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