Category Archives: Workplace

The New “Ben-Hur” And The Casting Ethics Double Standard

Thank-you, O producers of the new “Ben-Hur,” for so quickly after my post ridiculing the new politically correct casting ethics in Hollywood—according to Turner Movie Classics, it’s just soooo wrong to cast an Anglo Saxon like Charlton Heston as a Mexican, for example—-coming out with the official trailer proving that the new, enlightened casting ethics really only applies when it means it takes jobs away from white actors. Okay, just American white actors. Or something….actually, this casting ethics rules are  kind of made up as things shake out.

Which was what I thought all along.

In the 1959 Ben-Hur (starring, ironically, White Guy Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur ), the plum part of Shiek Iderim was played by brilliant Welsh character actor Hugh Griffith, whose performance rightly won him an Academy Award. Yes, he wore dark make-up, because actors wear make-up. Ah, but these are enlightened days, and now we know, because it has been decreed by Ben Mankiewicz and the rest of the heralds of politically correct casting, that the casting of a master comic actor of unique gifts who was an audience favorite to play the sheik was insensitive and essentially racist, not to mention unfair to all of those unemployed but equally adept Arab actors qualified to play the part. So who plays the sheik in the new, improved, enlightened “Ben-Hur’?

Morgan Freeman.

Who looks as much like an Arab as Bruce Lee. Continue reading

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Perhaps The Best Baseball Ethics Story Ever: The Chris Sale Uniform Freak-Out

White Sox uniforms

Last night, incomplete fragments of news came through the baseball media that Chicago White Sox pitching ace Chris Sale had been pulled from his scheduled start against the Tigers. Was he about to be traded? No, we learned that there had been a “non-physical” altercation with someone in the White Sox front office. Huh? What did that mean?

It turned out that the truth was stranger than any speculation. Sale, we learned, had refused to wear a retro White Sox uniform during a “Turn Back The Clock” promotion that nigh, and to ensure that he wouldn’t have to, he cut up all the vintage uniforms, using a scissors and a knife, while the rest of the team was taking batting practice.

As soon as I heard this, I told my wife,”I bet I know exactly which uniforms the team was supposed to wear.” I was right: the White Sox promotion involved giving out free facsimile 1976 uniform jerseys to the first 15,000 game attendees, with the team wearing the infamous fashion abortion perpetrated on baseball by puckish former White Sox owner Bill Veeck, the same iconoclast who sent a midget up to bat in a real game.

Here are those uniforms, almost unanimously agreed-upon by all critics as the silliest baseball garb ever to appear on a Major League player (that’s Veeck in the middle; the ones on the left are the uniforms in question):

1976-white-sox-uniforms_mtqjliw57ekb1e3fkjxj4grkj

It is recorded that the players and the fans hated the 1976 uniforms, which were quickly discarded, especially the version with the shorts, which only appeared in one game. No wonder Sale was upset.

Now to the ethics issues: Continue reading

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Ethics Alarm: In Memphis, Facts Are Now Racist

Infamy. I hope.

Infamy. I hope.

This truly upsetting story is in part about headlines, and I had a hard time deciding on one for the post. It makes my head explode—I am trying out a new Swiffer now—but it really shouldn’t have exploded, considering recent developments. I could name Commercial Appeal’s editor Louis Graham (left) an Ethics Dunce, which he certainly is (in addition to being a fool, a coward, and a disgrace to journalism), but that doesn’t do him justice. I thought about making his editorial apologizing for stating facts in a headline as an Unethical Quote of the Month, but this was worse than a bad quote. This was surrender.

The Memphis, Tennessee newspaper the Commercial Appeal, a Gannett publication, headlined its front page story about the attack on police in Dallas “Gunman targeted whites.” Here it is:

memphiscom headline

Indeed, African-American gunman Micah Xavier Johnson specifically said that his objective was to  kill white police officers. Nonetheless, protestors attacking the paper for publishing a “racist’ headline gathered outside the paper’s office in downtown Memphis last week. Black Lives Matter signs were in evidence.

Commercial Appeal editor Louis Graham met with protesters, and apologized with a front page editorial titled “We got it wrong.” He wrote in part… Continue reading

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No, Don’t Fire Jesse Williams; Just Mark Him As The Ignorant, Racist Hate Merchant He Is

He may be a racist asshole, but he doesn't play one on TV...

He may be a racist asshole, but he doesn’t play one on TV…

African-American actor Jesse Williams attracted national attention at the BET Awards last month as he accepted the  BET Humanitarian Award. Williams launched into the racist black activist version of Authentic Frontier Gibberish, sending out sufficiently loud anti-white dog-whistles that he received a standing ovation from the throng. In response, a petition was placed on Change.org demanding that he be fired from his role on the inexplicably long running ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy”:

“Jesse Williams spewed a racist, hate speech against law enforcement and white people at the BET awards. If this was a white person making the same speech about an African American, they would have been fired and globally chastised, as they should be, but there has been no consequences to Williams’ actions. There’s been no companies making a stand against his racist remarks and no swift action condemning his negative attitude. Why was Burke’s character fired from Grey’s Anatomy after his inappropriate homophobic slur, but nothing for Jesse Williams? Why the one-way street? Why the support for a hater? Why the hypocrisy? #AllLivesMatter All humans bleed the same color. #EqualConsequences4RacistBehavior”

The reference to “Burke’s character” ( Helpful Tip: When you are making a pitch in a petition, take the time to check your facts so people know what the heck you are talking about) was a reference to African-American actor Isaiah Washington, who was fired from his role as Dr. Preston Burke on  “Grey’s Anatomy”  in 2007 for using homophobic slurs in public, including The Golden Globes telecast, and on the show’s set.

Petitioning to have someone fired for their political opinions is an ethically-dubious enterprise at best, but the allegation of a double standard is apt, because it is a double-standard. The culture nourished by Barack Obama and his political-correctness obsessed regime accepts anti-white rants as legitimate and honorable, but holds the expressing of anti-gay sentiment as grounds for shunning and destruction. Writes professional gossip columnist, celebrity worshiper  and silly person Perez Hilton:

“True, Isaiah Washington did ultimately get fired for saying hateful homophobic slurs — but comparing that to Williams’ uplifting speech about equality (that had everything to do with why he was on stage accepting his humanitarian award in the first place) doesn’t make much sense at all.”

Let’s clean that up a bit, shall we? Hilton, who is not only gay but incredibly gay, thinks that homophobic slurs are disgusting and therefore should forfeit the right to make a living, but anti-white diatribes are “uplifting,” so the comparison doesn’t make sense to him.

Here is what Williams said at the BET Awards; let’s see if you find it uplifting. I’ll interject the comments I might have shouted out during the speech had I been there and was willing to be pummeled to death, including notes, probably unnecessary, where Williams descends into Authentic Frontier Gibberish (AFG), social justice warrior dialect class: Continue reading

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When You Consider The Wisdom Of Obama’s Campaign To Destigmatize Felons, Please Also Consider Felicia Menge Kelley

Portrait of a justice-involved individual...

Portrait of a justice-involved individual…

As it attempts to bolster its political support by sucking up to convicted criminals and their families, the Obama administration has been incrementally making it more difficult to distinguish felons from law-abiding citizens, arguing that once they have paid their debt to society, maybe they are no different. HUD, carrying out the Obama administration’s new theory that felons are just plain folks,  has decreed that landlords risk federal investigations if they reject rental applicants based on the applicant’s undisputed criminal record in newly-released guidelines. 

The Justice Department and the Department of Education are now using a euphemism to make convicts and those with rap sheets sound like they have a hobby: the new cover-phrase is “justice-involved individuals.” (Hillary Clinton is apparently a justice-involved individual.)

The problem with all of this is that being convicted of a felony is not like catching a cold, and often provides a strong clue that the individual involved is not quite as trustworthy as the boy scout or girl scout next door. Take, for example, this story:

From the ABA Journal:

A woman with a history of financial crimes in multiple states got a job as an office manager and bookkeeper for a North Carolina law firm, after a background check failed to pick up her earlier convictions under a different name.

That resulted in a loss of more than $150,000 to the firm, Yow, Fox & Mannen, District Attorney Ben David of New Hanover County told the Port City Daily. The firm’s now-former employee, Felicia Menge Kelley, 44, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of embezzlement and was sentenced to a prison term of between 82 and 111 months, the newspaper reports. She will also be required to pay over $145,000 in restitution.

Kelley, who has previously worked for other law firms in the Jacksonville area, was convicted earlier under the name of Felicia Dawn Menge…

But I’m sure she’s just an exception to the rule…and gives a bad name to decent, hard-working, justice-involved individuals. It’s not like they are criminals or something.

 

 

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Ethics Quiz (Extra Credit!): The Sexist, Satirical, Stupid Sign

Stupid sign

Ryan Sullivan, a Salinas High School math teacher, picketed Hillary Clinton’s campaign visit to Hartnell College in Salinas May 25 while holding a sign that said: “Hillary Clinton not fit to be President. President equals a man’s job.”

The sign, naturally, was photographed and quickly went viral on social media, where I encountered it. All of the respondents to the sign’s posting on social media pronounced Sullivan a vile, sexist fool who was unqualified to teach. There is a “fire Sullivan” hashtag on Twitter. I immediately guessed that the sign was probably intended as satire: it was just too stupid. Sure enough, satire is what Sullivan, with the social media screaming for his metaphorical head and to end his teaching career, claims the sign was. It was a joke! Don’t you get it?

He wrote,

“Disgusted by the statement on my sign? Good! I’m happy to hear you disagree with such outlandish statements.Unfortunately, I have several family and friends who express the point made on my sign (mostly behind closed doors), I wanted to bring their message into the public forum to show how ridiculously outdated it sounds in 2016. Glad to hear it bothered so many—opinions like that should.”

Of course, if Sullivan meant every word of the sign, he could still say the same thing, and if his job was on the line, he probably would. Sullivan reportedly wrote his thesis on the gender gap in high school mathematics classrooms to help teachers create a more equitable environment for students. Does that prove his sign was a joke?

Did he hand out his thesis at Hillary’s speech?

Your nearly impossible Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

What should the school do with this guy?

Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: “Above The Law” Creator David Lat

The guy on the right feels happy and safe with everyone knowing he's gay, so the guy on the left is a fool for not wanting a sleazy website to tell the world that HE'S gay. Wait..WHAT?

The guy on the right feels happy and safe with everyone knowing he’s gay, so the guy on the left is a fool for being angry at a sleazy website for telling the world that HE’S gay. Wait..WHAT?

Every now and then, the Washington Post publishes an opinion piece from a guest commentator that crosses the line  distinguishing eccentric from irresponsible. Today’s essay by David Lat, the founder and CEO of the legal industry gossip site Above the Law, is an example of this bad habit. How wrong do one’s logic, values and message have to be before the Post deems them unworthy of promotion and wide consumption? Apparently, there is no limit.

Lat’s essay flagged its obtuseness immediately in its title: “Being Gay Isn’t Shameful, Do Why Does Outing Matter?” (The online version is “Peter Thiel had no reason to be angry at Gawker for writing that he’s gay.“)

The impetus for the article—it is so ethically deranged that I almost think it has to be a joke: who thinks like this?—is the news this week that  wrestler Hulk Hogan’s devastating and perhaps fatal lawsuit against Gawker Media was bankrolled by Peter Thiel,  the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and an  early Facebook investor.  Gawker outed him in a 2007 story, and Theil is using Hogan’ suit over Gawker revealing a sex tape to try to put the ethics-free celebrity-abusing site out of business. Thiel is just being petty and unreasonable, says Lat. Lat is gay and proud of it, so  Thiel should be too!

Writes Lat—whose own gossip site is not above revealing embarrassing facts about well-known figures for its readers’ titillation: Continue reading

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