1 There is another one of those hybrid ethics stories coming out of Oregon. Cross oppressive political correctness with racial-offense hypersensitivity with Lena Dunham-like totalitarian-minded progressives itching to report “wrong-thinkers” to authorities with organizations punishing individuals for private speech they did not intend to make public and what monstrosity do you get?
This: a white conductor and festival artistic director fired by a music festival after he was overheard talking to a black friend in a fake Southern accent and saying, “Do you want some grits?” or words to that effect.
A white woman standing nearby reported to Oregon Bach Festival officials that British conductor Matthew Halls had made a racist to his black American friend, classical singer Reginald Mobley, who grew up south of the Mason-Dixon line.
The festival immediately fired Halls, despite the fact that Mobley protested that there was nothing racist in the exchange (grits aren’t racist, Southern accents aren’t racist, joking between friends isn’t racist…) that the two frequently mocked each other’s accents, that Halls was not a racist and didn’t intend the remark as a racist slur, and that Mobley didn’t take it as such. Never mind! Halls’ four-year contract with the festival as its artistic director was terminated, with a spokesman saying in part,
“The University considers many factors when deciding whether to continue a contract. Regarding Reggie Mobley, it doesn’t appear he was involved in the University’s decision. Having said that, it would be inappropriate for the University to disclose details about a personnel matter.”
I’m not going to explain in any detail what and who are unethical in this fiasco, because I shouldn’t have to. Halls is a victim. The woman who reported him after eavesdropping is worse than merely unethical: she is an evil-doer, someone who sets out to hurt other people to feel powerful. She either never heard of the Golden Rule or doesn’t accept it. (Maybe she IS Lena Dunham!) The festival’s conduct is unfair, uncaring, cowardly and irresponsible. It deserves to have its artists boycott the festival in support for Halls, but since artists tend to be leftists of the knee-jerk variety, addicted to virtue-signaling and with the depth of analysis exhibited by the typical dachshund, I wouldn’t expect any colleagial support if I were the conductor.
If you have functioning ethics alarms, it will be obvious that the episode was disgusting and unjust, and why. If the festival’s conduct makes sense to you, then I’m afraid you’re hopelessly corrupted.
2. Morning Warm-Up may yet morph into “stories that are so irritating I can’t stand writing full posts about them.” Take this one, for example: at small liberal arts school Reed College, a mandatory humanities course on ancient Mediterranean civilizations was canceled after student protesters kept interrupting the class to protest “Eurocentrism.” Western culture has been, like it or accept it or not, the beacon of world civilization, and even those who (idiotically) choose to deride or reject it need to understand the history and forces that brought us to where we are today—where we are today being a time when weak and incompetent college administers refuse to assert the indispensable fact that students are there to learn, not dictate to their elders.
My favorite part of this story: to accommodate protesters, the Reed administration agreed to allow adverse students to stand surrounding lecturers in the course. “The general understanding was that the protesters would be allowed to continue as long as they didn’t interfere in the lecture period”…as if forcing lecturers to teach under such circumstances isn’t inherently interfering, as well as intimidating to the teachers and other students.
Colleges and universities that cannot respond more effectively and professionally to such unethical bullying by extremists don’t deserve to exist at all. If you don’t want to learn about Western civilization, go to another school, probably in California. If you disrupt the learning experience of other students, you should be expelled. Continue reading