Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/5/18: Churchill, Philly, Trump, Uma, And The FBI

Good Morning, Philadelphia!

Now sober up and clean up the mess…

1 This has little to do with ethics, except that it proves I wasn’t watching the Super Bowl, but…Here’s my report on “The Darkest Hour,” which my family saw last night in an almost empty theater. Apparently most people would rather see young men risk future dementia than celebrate a great man who may have saved civilization.

[ Aside: On that question, this article in the Federalist says in part, “Super Bowl Sunday seems the appropriate day to bring you the cheerful news that football is doomed. The sport is dying and cannot be saved, at least not in America, its traditional home. The cause of death is science. Simply put, football is a sport in which the audience entertains itself by watching men violently turn each other’s brains to mush…What happens if football becomes a game where white middle-class people pay millions to watch poor and minority kids bang up each other’s brains? I don’t think that’s going to be tenable….That means it’s only a matter of time before participation rates drop off precipitously and it no longer seems like the cool thing to do.The science has turned against football, and it can’t last. So enjoy today’s game, while you still can.” ]

You can skip to the next item if you don’t like your ethics polluted by film reviews.

The film is very good; not “Best Picture” great, I think, but very good. It did a better job making clear what was going on and the stakes at Dunkirk than “Dunkirk,” for which I’m grateful; maybe thay should show the two movies as a double feature. The last fade-out shot was “The Natural”-style over-the-top, out of whack with the style of the rest of the film and it left a sour taste, I thought. Artistic integrity would be nice. It reminded me of ET’s spacecraft leaving a rainbow trail

I’ve now seen four Churchill portrayals recently: Albert Finney’s in the 2002 HBO film “The Gathering Storm,” Brian Cox in “Churchill,” Gary Oldman, and John Lithgow in “The Crown.” My ranking: would also be in that order: Finney, Cox, Oldman and Lithgow lagging far behind. I’m a big Lithgow fan, but he looks and sounds so little like Winston (and so much like himself) that he just can’t measure up to the other three..

Finney, Cox and Oldman were all excellent: it’s very close. Oldman has by far the best part of the story to work with (the chronological order is Finney, Oldman, Cox and Lithgow) and the best screenplay, though “The Gathering Storm” is also strong. Oldman’s scene in the “Tube” is the best scene in any of the productions. It probably didn’t happen, but Churchill was known to wander around London talking to Londoners during the Blitz, so it COULD have happened.

All of the top three Winstons had moments when I forgot the actor and really believed I was watching the historical figure, my test in biographical films. This was something Lithgow couldn’t pull off for a second.  (Actors who could in other historical movies: Paul Scofield as Thomas More, Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln.) Finney’s big advantage over Cox and Oldman, I think, is that he is a star as well as a great actor, and Churchill, as a Great Man, needs to radiate that presence and star quality too. Oldman feels small physically (though he’s actually taller than Churchill was, and no shorter than Finney), and his voice is light; there’s nothing he can do about that. I could make a strong argument that Brian Cox, who is one of the most under-rated actors around, was the best Winston, but the film itself was unforgivably careless and ahistorical.

If you haven’t seen Finney’s performance, which won him several awards, you should. It was probably his final great turn, since he’s in his 80s now and hasn’t made a movie since “Skyfall” in 2012.

Finney’s Clementine, Vanessa Redgrave, wins the award for that role, though her daughter, Miranda Richardson, was also fine in the same role with Cox. Apparently every actor who plays King George is great, but “Churchill”‘s King, James Purefoy, was wonderful (he’s another under-rated actor) and in a fair world, would be looking at an Academy Award nomination for Supporting Actor. The acting in that film is so excellent; it’s a shame its history is so messed up.

2. From the “When Ethics Fail, the Law Must Step In” file: Continue reading

From The “‘Dear Colleague’ Letter Aftermath” Files: Amherst’s War On Men

Once the Obama Education Department sent out its threatening “Dear Colleague” letter that strongly hinted at dire consequences for universities and colleges that did not tilt their sexual assault disciplinary procedures toward a less stringent standard of guilt, horror stories about male students unjustly presumed guilty of sexual assault or rape have been proliferating. This is the worst one I’ve ever seen.

In February of 2012, a male, Asian-American student (“John Doe”) and “Sandra Jones,” as she is referred to in court documents, went back to Jones’ dorm room after a night of hard drinking.  John blacked out, and couldn’t  recall anything about the evening, a claim Amherst deemed “credible” during his disciplinary hearing. At some point, Sandra performed oral sex on John. Nearly two years later, Sandra  accused John of sexually assaulting her.  In his lawsuit, John Doe alleged that his adviser couldn’t speak for him, that he could only write down questions for his accuser or witnesses ( no cross examination)  and that the hearing panel was made up of administrators trained in “social justice education.” You know: Men bad, women victims.

In the school’s hearing, Jones claimed she texted a friend to come over for help because she had been sexually assaulted. The school never bothered to obtain those text messages—after all, they followed the Hillary Clinton directive that “victims of sexual assault have the right to be believed.”  Here’s what she texted to her girl friend: Continue reading

Airbrushing History, Again: If Woodrow Wilson Is At Risk, Can George Washington Be Far behind?

woodrow-wilson

While Paris was bleeding, the predicted anti-white black student power play spread from its origins at Yale and the University of Missouri to 23 other campuses (so far). None of the new outbreaks of victim-mongering, black-dictated apartheid  and outrageous demands had any more justification than the Mizzou Meltdown, but they all entered the competition. Some highlights:

  • Amherst students demanded a crack-down on any free speech in the form of criticism of Black Lives Matters or the protest goals.
  • Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matters members roamed through the campus library, verbally assaulting white students attempting to study.
  • Smith College held a sit-in, and barred reporters-–the new breed of campus freedom-fighters just don’t like that pesky First Amendment—unless they promised to cover the protest positively. There’s one more school that doesn’t teach basic American rights and values….
  • Occidental College is in the middle of a me-too imitation of the Mizzou stunt, with students occupying a three-story administration building all this week, demanding that a series of actions ranging from racist to just unreasonable to oppressive, in the name of “safety” and “diversity”, of course. They are also insisting that President Jonathan Veitch resign. Predictably, the leftist faculty which helped make the students this way are fully supportive. Read the demands here; my favorites: demanding an increase in tenured black professors and black doctors (a racist demand: there is no mention of ability; color is enough); funding for the student group for black men, which is racist and counter-diverse by definition; and “elimination of military and police rhetoric from all documents and daily discourse.”

Freedom of speech is so passe.

  • The crazy is getting stronger: The University of Vermont-–from the lands where Bernie Sanders roams— hosted a three-day retreat for students who “self-identify as white,” called  “Examining White Privilege: A Retreat for Undergraduate Students Who Self-Identify as White.”  The goal was to give students “the opportunity” to “conceptualize and articulate whiteness from a personal and systemic lens”  and “recognize and understand white privilege from an individual experience.” This, I submit, has absolutely nothing to do with education, and everything to do with self-obsession and narcissism.

Ah, but my favorite is Princeton, which finding itself third among its fellow Ivies (as usual), this time in concocting an embarrassing and offensive student protest, decided to go for broke.This week, members of the Black Justice League walked out of class and occupied the building that houses the Princeton administration’s offices. They demanded that the school reject “the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson,” formerly president of Princeton before becoming a President of the United States and Democratic Party icon, by removing his name from anything bearing it. They also demanded “cultural competency training” for Princeton professors and assistants (that is, forced re-education and ideological brainwashing, academia style) teaching at Princeton, courses on the “history of marginalized people,” that is, approved leftist narratives, and  the setting aside of public spaceto be  restricted to the use and enjoyment of black students only, which is properly called self-segregation and racist exclusion.

Continue reading

Comment of the Day: Amherst Students Have Learned The Progressive-Approved Method to Win Political Debates: Intimidate And Censor The Opposition

Those were the days, my friend...

Those were the days, my friend…

Arthur in Maine delivered a suggested administrative reply to the asinine”demands” of Amherst students, who appeared to be either trying to make state school students, like in Missouri, feel better by proving that attendees of elite private colleges could be idiotic too, or attempting to emulate their imagined betters at Yale  I hope Arthur’s form letter gets a workout, because there will be plenty of audiences for it.

Yesterday, there was an especially ugly demonstration at Dartmouth on November 12, with over 150 Black Lives Matter student members accosting white students and chanting, “Fuck you, you filthy white fucks!” “Fuck you and your comfort!” and “Fuck you, you racist shit!,” among other Elizabethan epithets worthy of the culture and and verbal virtuosity they have been imbued with in Hanover. Black Lives Matter is at the root of this uprising by the black privileged against the white privileged; it has been a racist and hate-based movement from the beginning, and the knee-jerk progressive politicians, journalists, pundits and leaders, including Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, who have given it their seals of approval either actively or passively should have this and all the  ugliness to come stamped on their resumes. They worked hard to create racial paranoia and divide the nation by color and ethnicity. This was the predictable result: I predicted it; many did. They intentionally planted dynamite in the nation’s most vulnerable fault-line—race— for political gain, and the tremors have started, where they usually do, on the campuses.

Good job, everybody. Good job.

These things do not happen in a vacuum. The macro-cause is always weak leadership, in the home, in the classroom, in the nation. Students may not know much, but they can tell when their country is in distress, and they want to participate in effort to help. Unfortunately, they have one tool at their disposal—disruption—and it usually makes the distress worse.

For I too am from the Sixties. It gave me a twinge of sympathy for Hillary Clinton when she got so much criticism for saying this during the debate on Saturday, for she only meant that she has experience with this phenomenon, and has seen it up close. (Well, she was also trying to duck the question.)

Arthur’s excellent script for administrators is, I fear, too little too late. These culture-wounding attacks on trust and speech  have been nurtured by parents, demagogues, indoctrinating teachers and cynical political leaders; administrators, the least influential and the most lily-livered of all, have scant chance of stemming it.

It would be a start, though.

Here is Arthur in Maine’s Comment of the Day on the Ethics Alarms post, Amherst Students Have Learned The Progressive-Approved Method to Win Political Debates: Intimidate And Censor The Opposition: Continue reading

Amherst Students Have Learned The Progressive-Approved Method to Win Political Debates: Intimidate And Censor The Opposition

Progressive student propose a new logo for Amherst College.

Progressive student propose a new logo for Amherst College.

Say hello to yesterday’s demands from the new totalitarians in the Amherst student body.

Amherst was once known as an elite place for the expansion of the intellect and critical thinking abilities. The student have just devalued that degree. (My high school friend Peter, who often comments here, lately to assail me for not supporting Donald Trump, is a proud graduate of the institution. He has my deep sympathies.) No critical thinking could produce this. I’ve bolded my favorite parts:

Amherst Uprising – What We Stand For

Submitted by Amherst Uprising – a collective of students on campus who came together as a result of the sit-In organized in Frost Library on 11/12/15.

Preamble: Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Ethics Dunces: Not Only Anybody Who Actually Thinks Donald Trump Would Be Anything But An Existential Disaster As President, But Anyone Who Isn’t Disgusted By His Existence”

Circus

I was looking for an enthusiastic Trump defending comment to post as a comment of the day, and my former math partner from Mrs. Penwarden’s 6th grade class at Crosby School in Arlington, Massachusetts, Peter Canaday, was kind enough to supply a doozy all the way from New Zealand, to which, as a physician of note and significant success, he retired with his latest bride a while ago. Peter’s a smart guy; he also questions Obama’s birth certificate and is a fan of both Pauls, so he is also…complex.

His opening volley is a bit obscure: that college he’s referring to is Peter’s alma mater, Amherst, where I was wait-listed. Actually, it’s a funny story: the letter, which arrived after I had accepted early admission to another school, began. “This is a difficult letter for us to write, for we must inform you that you have been placed on the waiting list and you don’t deserve to be there…” I was shocked—it was bad enough that I wasn’t deemed worthy of admission, and here they were rubbing it in by saying that I didn’t even deserve to be on the waiting list?  Bolstered by the fact that I had an admission in hand, I wrote Amherst a tongue-in-cheek wounded letter of complaint, bemoaning their callousness, lack of professionalism and mockery. I got an immediate letter of apology swearing that they didn’t mean that I didn’t deserve the wait list, only that I deserved better. “It’s too late to retract the insult now,” I wrote back. “My heart was set on your college, but my faith in the institution has been shattered. Please remove my name from your list. I don’t care to attend a school this insensitive and cruel. I’m not sure I want to go to cllege at all any more. I think I will join the Merchant Marines.”

Amherst didn’t get me. It did admit my nephew Ross, however, and he graduated with honors.

I’ll have a rather lengthy response to my friend Peter at the end. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Dunces: Not Only Anybody Who Actually Thinks Donald Trump Would Be Anything But An Existential Disaster As President, But Anyone Who Isn’t Disgusted By His Existence: Continue reading