A Brief Follow-Up Note On Pop Culture, “The Walking Dead,” Civility, And Related Matters…

Stay classy, AMC...Chris Hardwick...America...

Stay classy, AMC…Chris Hardwick…America…

Last night, at exactly 11:02 PM EST AMC’s “Talking Dead”  host Chris Hardwick had his live audience scream out in unison “Suck my nuts!,”  a quote from the just completed premier episode of  the seventh season of “The Walking Dead, apparently the most popular TV show right now. This occurred slightly after an animated discussion about an actor having to cope with a tick on his penis, or a “dick tick” according to Hardwick (to BIG laughs).

Boy, that Donald Trump sure is vulgar when he doesn’t know he’s being recorded…

I am reasonably confident that this cheery gutter level discourse would have been deemed unacceptable as recently as last year. This is how fast basic levels of decency, restraint and civility are declining, although I give AMC credit for not having another “Flip another man’s meat”commercial during the breaks: maybe that’s just for baseball games.

I eagerly anticipate the explanations of why this nosedive in public decorum is unrelated to having a Presidential candidate talk at length about his penis size (I didn’t intend to have it come out that way, but hell, I’ll leave it; it’s 2016, man!) during Republican debates (you know, the conservative, family values party).

Heck, why not? Here’s that link again.

You see?

Just the campaign was enough…

#BlackZombiesMatter: When The Most Ethical Response To Race Activists Is Mockery

Wait, what color is that hand? I'm keeping track here...

Wait, what color is that hand? I’m keeping track here…

I have no idea what it would like to be black. I accept the truth of  Clarence Darrow’s empathetic words in his defense of Ossian Sweet: I assume being black must be overwhelming at times, all consuming, distorting how everything is seen and experienced. Nevertheless, it does not justify everything, It does not excuse anything. There are some reactions to the black experience that can be fairly labelled destructive, or foolish, or paranoid, or racist. Or ludicrous. When we see these reactions, we ought not to indulge them, nor hesitate for a second to call them exactly what they are. The fact that black Americans are reacting to being black does not mean that the reaction is always worthy of respect, and if there is a mass delusion born of emotion or demagoguery or fanaticism or despair, the best response may well be a bucket of cold water, or to point and laugh. Hard.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and it’s prequel “Fear the Walking Dead” are among the most diverse TV shows on network or cable, filled with villains, victims, heroes and martyrs of all races and combination of races, most of whom are doomed. Yet these shows have become yet another target of the Black Lives Matter movement, an even wackier one than Bernie Sanders. Apparently the shows discriminate against black characters. Well, it does if you are so besotted with racial grievances and suspicion of American culture that you can’t think straight.  Just as the group sees hands upraised when there were none, it sees, along with lunatic race-baiter/author Tananarive Due,  racial bias against black men in two shows that are thoroughly post-racial—you know, when the dead are eating the living, color really, really doesn’t matter. Black men was an essential qualification of this latest grievance, because arguably the most admirable and interesting character oin either show so far is a black woman, Michonne, played by Danai Gurira. Never mind, it’s black men that the show, like America, hates.

I know these shows rather well, in part because they  contain great ethics hypothetical. I’ve been trying to think of any white character that these race obsessed guilt-mongers wouldn’t find offensively-treated if they were black. The putative star of “The Walking Dead,” Rick, is a weak leader, not too bright, and unstable. Make him black, and he’s an insult to black men; right now, he’s just an insult to police, Southerners, fathers, leaders, and American characters played by British actors. If Due and the rest can be insulted by the  fates of the wide variety of black characters that have appeared on both shows so far, they can find a way to be insulted by any characters, plot developments, costuming make-up, or manner of death. Continue reading

Fracking Ethics

The Eric Massa affair quickly revealed itself as the spectacle of a foolish, narcissistic, dishonest man trying to milk every drop of attention out of the well-deserved implosion of a political career that never should have begun in the first place. Fortunately, there was a side benefit: its reporting by the media exposed the dishonesty of the practice of fake civility. Genuine civility is one of the foundations of ethical conduct, though admittedly a shaky one right now. Fake civility, however, is cynical, dishonest, disrespectful and, on top of all that, silly and ineffective.

One of the inappropriate supervisory moments that punched Massa’s ticket out of Congress was that he told a male staffer, in the presence of others, that “I should be fucking you.” Someone at the Mainstream Media High command issued a memo that the gentile and classy way of reporting this statement was “I should be fracking you.” Not that there was any pretense about what the word signified. On the Headline News morning show with giggly news-bimbo Robin Meade (an in-your-face insult to every serious female broadcast journalist in America), Meade listened to the “fracking” account and said—every one of the times the story was repeated during the program— some version of “Gee, I never heard that word before (giggle)!” Whereupon the newsreader replied with some form of “I know (snicker) neither have I!” They were far from the only ones. Dana Milbank used the same code in his account of Massa’s messes in the Washington Post.  “Fracking” is the euphemism of the week. Continue reading