Quasi-Apology Of The Month: Attorney John Morgan

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I’m not sure where this falls on the Ethic Alarms Apology Scale.

I admit that I’m never heard of John Morgan, but I am told he is a well known attorney in Orlando, Florida, and like so many trial attorneys, a character. Morgan keeps his name before the public in part by posting self-made videos on Twitter posted ( #Johnin60secs ) videos where he gives spontaneous running commentaries on life in general in the conversational and engaging style that makes him a successful litigator. It is a clever marketing approach: I’m pretty sure it gets around Florida’s strict lawyer advertising rules. For example, in one video he described his head as being “ the size of a watermelon,” which is obviously hyperbole. In a legal advertising, a lawyer can’t me make any false or misleading statement or one that can’t be verified.

But I digress. There is a danger any time anyone, no matter how glib or accustomed to speaking off-script, does so for public consumption, as the late Rush Limbaugh, acres of crushed”shockjocks,” Michael Richards and I, among others, can attest. And so it was that Morgan, in one of his videos, was riffing on fast food franchises, and said about Arby’s,

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Dead Canaries Of The Great Stupid: “The Bachelor” Becomes A Grovel Orgy

Bachelor scandal

I have never watched “The Bachelor” other than to check in, stay for a few minutes, and decide, correctly, “This is more evidence of the decline of civilization and the uselessness of public education: Get thee to you sock drawer!” This has been the case with most reality shows since the invasive breed made network television unwatchable. I do follow accounts of shows like “Survivor” and, in its day, “The Apprentice,” to be aware when ethics issues surface.

To my horror, I realize this is the third mention of “The Bachelor” here in 2021, which does not bode well, but as is often the case, popular culture, even mind-numbingly stupid popular culture, is often where our cultural canaries go to die. This season of that idiotic show is supposedly a marker of racial progress because “The Bachelor” is black, or sort of black (he identifies as black, or Black). He (Matt James) is a hunk who, like every other “Bachelor” in the NINETEEN SEASONS of this blight on human evolution, has the IQ of a brick, and the exciting premise is that 25 beautiful women who might lose to him in Scrabble compete for his affections.

Dead Canary #1: As soon as a female or minority enters a system of environment in the time of The Great Stupid, large number of vile people who have nothing more promising in their lives but to concoct “gotchas!” that will make life difficult for others will find some evidence of politically incorrect bias, prejudice, or insufficient deference to justify crying “Racist!,” “Sexist!,” “Homophobe!,” “Ablest!,” “Anti-LGTBQ-ist!” or something. Increasingly, this is the price organizations pay for “diversity”: immediate conflict, presumed bigotry, and retribution. Nobody wants to be generous, reasonable, or presume good will or intentions. The whole idea is to grab power by putting others on the defensive. This, of course, makes racial harmony (as well as other varieties) less likely and less achievable, but never mind, the victim-hucksters don’t care. They have too much to gain, or think they do.

Thus, when conservative pundit Megan Fox, who regarded the show as a guilty pleasure, learned that this would be The Season Of the Black Bachelor, she opted out, explaining, “It’s the first time a black bachelor was cast on the show. So, if you thought there wouldn’t be any woke baloney to wade through, you’re nuts. It’s why I didn’t watch it this time. I figured that the woke police would be out in full force, and who needs that in their living room? Certainly, not I.

Ah-HA! A privileged white woman stopped watching the show because it had a black “Bachelor” for the first time! Megan Fox is a racist!

See how it works?

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From The Ethics Alarms Sarcasm Dept., Cross-Filed in “Unethical…But Funny!”: Yeah, THIS Sure Engenders Trust In The Competence Of State Law Enforcement

Chucky

The Texas public safety department sent out an Amber Alert asking citizens to keep an eye out for Chucky, the homicidal possessed doll from the Child’s Play movies, who, it said, was a suspect in a kidnapping. The nonsensical message was blasted to people’s mobile phones three times.

It described the suspect as being called “Chucky” and described him as a 28-year-old with red, auburn hair, band blue eyes who stood at 3ft 1in tall and weighed 16lbs. He was wearing blue denim overalls, alarmed Texans were told with a multi-colored striped long sleeve shirt and was presumed armed with a large knife – matching his appearance in the films.

His race was listed as “Other: Doll.”

The department issued a statement saying: “This alert is a result of a test malfunction. We apologize for the confusion this may have caused and are diligently working to ensure this does not happen again.”

Oh, it’s a TEST malfunction! That’s OK then. “May have caused”? There’s no confusion: the Texas Safety Department is run by utter boobs. When a state department starts warning the public about fictional serial killers from horror movies, the best way to ensure it doesn’t happen again is to clean house.

I feel it necessary to post this song, from “Lil’ Abner”…

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Glenn Greenwald

A republic

“Unleash this monster and one day it will come for you. And you’ll have no principle to credibly invoke in protest when it does. You’ll be left with nothing more than lame and craven pleading that your friends do not deserve the same treatment as your enemies. Force, not principle, will be the sole factor deciding the outcome. If you’re lucky enough to have important and famous media friends…you have a chance to survive it. Absent that, you have none.”

Glenn Greenwald, in his post on the attempted “canceling” of writer Will Wilkenson over a facetious tweet.

The “monster” Greenwald is referring to is mob anger and indignation, magnified by social media, and enabled by self-preservation and cowardice. His essay, titled “The Moronic Firing of Will Wilkinson Illustrates Why Fear and Bad Faith Mob Demands Reign Supreme,” was triggered by the recent firing of an intellectual I never heard of by a think tank I never heard of, as well as his looming dismissal by the New York Times. His “crime” was this tweet…

Willkerson tweet

…which a hoard of online cretins and power-hungry wastrels pounced upon, falsely calling it a call to do violence to the ex-Vice-President and thus mandating his public humiliation and rejection.

As Greenwald correctly concludes, no reasonably intelligent reader could think the tweet, posted the night of Joe Biden’s inauguration, was anything but a pointed joke. Extreme Trump supporters were furious with Pence for not taking action to reject the 2020 election results. Anti-Trump extremists wanted Pence to remove President Trump using the inapplicable 25th Amendment ploy, which he correctly refused to do (and could do constitutionally anyway.) Thus lunatics on both sides of the U.S. ideological divide could be unified in their anger and hatred toward Mike Pence, ironically making his mistreatment a potentially unifying act. Wilkinson rueful point was valid (if clumsily made), and he wasn’t personally advocating violence against Pence. But a wealthy hedge fund manager and large-money GOP donor, Gabe Hoffman, condemned the tweet which he claimed “call[ed] for former Vice President Mike Pence to be lynched.” Hoffman asked the New York Times, which employs Wilkinson as an opinion writer, to comment on its ” ‘contributing opinion writer’ calling for violence against a public official,” then tweeted to Wilkinson’s other employers, the Niskanen Center, a moderate public policy think tank, to pressure them as well. The Center quickly fired Wilkinson, while his fate with the Times hangs in the balance. A spokesperson for the paper told Fox News: “Advocating violence of any form, even in jest, is unacceptable and against the standards of The New York Times. We’re reassessing our relationship with Will Wilkinson.”

Naturally, as happens in 99% of these increasingly common episodes, the victim of the deliberate misunderstanding resorted to a grovelling apology, saying in part,

“Last night I made an error of judgment and tweeted this. It was sharp sarcasm, but looked like a call for violence. That’s always wrong, even as a joke. It was especially wrong at a moment when unity and peace are so critical. I’m deeply sorry and vow not to repeat the mistake. . . . [T]here was no excuse for putting the point the way I did. It was wrong, period.”

No, actually it didn’t look like a call for violence, and apologizing for something it wasn’t but was deliberately misrepresented as being for malicious purposes is far worse than the tweet itself.

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Ethics Footnotes, 1/17/21:Well, I’M Reading, Anyway…

Boy, only diehards are on Ethics Alarms today, yesterday too. I don’t get it; it’s a long weekend, but so what? It’s not like everyone is traveling on long weekends while American are still trembling in terror over the Wuhan virus. Must ethics take a holiday? Apparently so...

1. How can anyone have sympathy for New Yorkers? The city is falling apart. Crime is up, the wealthy are fleeing, corporations are fleeing, the mayor has eliminated admission tests for much of the public school system and stated that his goal is to redistribute wealth, Times Square has returned to pre-Rudy squalor, and tourism was falling like a rock even before the pandemic. They voted for a confessed socialist as mayor (and for his communist, conflict-of-interest flaunting wife)—perhaps acceptable as a novelty—then re-elected him after a disastrous first term. Now, six months ahead of this year’s Democratic mayoral primary that will decide who the next mayor will be because the city’s minorities wouldn’t vote for a Republican if he was running against Nero, the natives are getting restless. Polls show that New Yorkers regard de Blasio’s pet issues of combating climate change and pollution on the bottom of their priority list, but only 56% of respondents said they hold a “very or somewhat unfavorable” view of the guy that was the architect of the city’s collapse. Why isn’t it more like 90%? I suppose for the same reason they elected him twice. In democracy, you get what you deserve. Civic literacy is the individual’s ethical responsibility, nobody else’s.

2. Now THIS is an incompetent elected official…Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) actually said in a video posted last week—I wouldn’t kid you!-–“This idea that saying that Pennsylvania was ‘rigged’ or that we were ‘trying to steal the election,’ that’s a lie. And you do not have the right, that is not protected speech.” Fetterman goes on to say that Twitter should have immediately removed any tweet from President Donald Trump that questioned the integrity of the election, and, in the immortal mark of someone who doesn’t know the First Amendment from a Yorkshire Terrier, compared Trump’s claims to “yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is none.”

This idiot is reportedly considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.

To be fair, Fetterman’s view of the free speech,which is to say “there is none unless progressives approve,” appears to be on the way to becoming the predominant one in the Democratic Party.

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos…

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Roald Dahl And The Imaginary Apology

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In “Airport,” the ’70s disaster movie, actress Maureen Stapleton (above) has a memorable and moving moment at the end of the movie, greeting the disembarking passengers on the plane nearly brought down by her disturbed husband’s bomb, and saying, tearfully, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” She received an Oscar nomination for it. But the passengers weren’t going to forgive the man who nearly killed them because his wife was apologizing. What makes the scene so touching is her desperation and guilt when she did nothing to feel guilty about. Her apology, no matter how emotional, was meaningless to those who were receiving it.

Roald Dahl, who died in 1990 at the age of 74,was a famed and critically acclaimed writer of classic children’s books like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,”“The BFG,” “Matilda,” and “The Witches.” He was also, by his own admission, an anti-Semite, complete with a belief in “Jewish bankers” controlling world economies. Now that writers and artists face “cancellation” from the self-empowered censors of the cancel culture, his family has taken to Dahl’s “official website” to offer an apology to the world.

“The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements,” read the online statement.. “Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations. We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”

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Ethics Dunce: Unethical Groveler Kelly Stafford

It’s really simple. If you don’t have the fortitude to stand up for your opinions, resist bullying and tell the social media mobs to go fry an egg, then shelter in your metaphorical womb, check with the Woke and The Wonderful about their latest agenda items and directives so you can parrot them accurately, and shut the hell up.

At least Galileo was threatened with torture by an authority that wasn’t bluffing before he retracted what he knew to be true. What was Kelly Stafford, the wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, afraid of? Yet she quickly followed up her video, which was 100% correct, with a nauseating retraction on Instagram, as she wrote,

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The Plague Of Corporate Weenies: Crackerbarrel Strikes Again!

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When last we left Cracker Barrel restaurants, the chain’s management was flip-flopping like mad as it tried to figure out which “principles” would alienate the fewest customers.

In 2013, reacting to A&E’s craven PC punishment of Phil Robertson of cable’s Duck Dynasty clan for expressing the basic religious convictions of millions of Americans regarding homosexuality in response to an GQ interviewer’s question, Cracker Barrel pulled its products with Phil’s likeness, saying in a statement,

Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture…. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”

My translation of this weaselly screed: :

‘We at Cracker Barrel have no principles whatsoever. We are a blank slate; we go with the flow. There is no right or wrong for us: whatever position we feel we have to hold to get the most people to buy our products, you can count on us. If 51% of America begins worshiping Baal, hey, sacrifice a goat for in our name, because we’re all in. If the majority want to ban, hey, anything or anyone, we’re in full agreement. We aim to please, in any way that helps our bottom line.’

Sure enough, as soon as it looked like the tide of public opinion was turning against GLAAD and other LBGTQ activists in their effort to “cancel” a member of a large religious community for expressing his beliefs, Cracker Barrel turned on a dime, and bleated,

When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you.”

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A “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” Anniversary Retrospective: The Cancellation Of Charlie Rich

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I wasn’t paying attention in 1975 when this episode occurred: it was a big year for me. I graduated from law school, took the bar, moved back to Massachusetts and then back to D.C. Most of all, the Red Sox went to the World Series and I had prime seats to see Carlton Fisk hit his immortal homer in the 12th inning of Game 6, waving the ball fair, but barely. The Country Music Awards (CMAs) were nowhere on my radar. They still aren’t: there isn’t a sock drawer in America I wouldn’t rather color-code that watch that show. But on October 13, 1975, 45 years ago to the day, an ethics drama unfolded with many lessons.

Charlie Rich, the soulful country music singer they called the Silver Fox (Even I had heard “Behind Closed Doors”) had been voted Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association of America one year earlier, and thus was chosen to  announce that year’s winner of the CMA’s greatest honor at the televised 1975 show.  He opened the envelope, appeared to read the name on the slip of paper,  and instead of announcing it, Rich reached into his pocket, took out a cigarette lighter and set the slip on fire.  While the paper burned, he finally announced that the winner was “my friend Mr. John Denver” Denver was only available to accept the awards via satellite linkup, so he made his acceptance speech with no knowledge of Rich’s gesture.

The audience was horrified, and many country music fans—and obviously John Denver fans— were furious. Charlie Rich was blacklisted from the CMA awards show for the rest of his career. His popularity crashed: from that moment until the end of his career in 1992, Rich had only one more #1 hit in those years, though a couple of songs reached #3 on the country charts. By any standard, his career after flaming John Denver was greatly diminished. Denver, universally regarded as a nice guy, was seen as the victim of a jerk. (The “my friend” seemed like a particularly nasty touch.)

What was going on here? The assumption was that Rich was taking a stand for country traditionalists against pop music turf invaders like Denver and Olivia Newton-John, who had won the Most Promising Female Vocalist award in 1973.  To this day, some even see his uncivil attack on Denver as courageous. The Saving Country Music blog opined in 2013:

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Grovel Of The Year: Matthew J. Mayhew, The William Ray And Marie Adamson Flesher Professor Of Higher Education at Ohio State University

This is pathetic.

When I read the Grovel of the Year—presumably you know what a banner year 2020 has been for grovels, as executives, academics and whole companies and organizations desperately try to mollify the Black Lives Matter mobs—-I instantly thought of the Monty Python skit above, as the brilliant Michael Palin portrayed a certified public accountant attempting to be bold and assertive, only to dissolve into a puddle of blubbering doubt the second he was challenged to follow through on his decision.

We are told that Matthew J. Mayhew, the William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Higher Education at Ohio State University, has published more than 75 peer-reviewed articles and is a co-author of How College Affects Students: Volume 3. He recently co-authored an admittedly fatuous piece for the Journal of Higher Education  called, “Why America Needs College Football” that was published on September 24. The cancel/race-baiting/ progressive bully mobs attacked, and it took only four days for poor Mayhew to issue a Palin-worthy grovel, begging for forgiveness and rejecting what he had written just days before.

“Weenie” doesn’t begin to describe the deficits of integrity and character his capitulation represents.

Here are examples of what he and co-author Musbah Shaheen wrote ( Shaheen is an Ohio State Ph.D. student, and hasn’t been heard from. I assume he is on the run, has changed his name and is off the grid, and will soon be sharing an apartment in Antartica with Salman Rushdie):

Essentializing college football might help get us through these uncharacteristically difficult times of great isolation, division and uncertainty. Indeed, college football holds a special bipartisan place in the American heart.

and…

College football reminds many Americans of the community values that underscore higher education and by extension America itself.Americans have lost the united sense of who we are as a nation.

and…

This election season has demonstrated how stifled, polarized and dangerous our political differences have become, and college football can remind us of respect — even in the wake of deep disagreement. We can root for different teams, scream at the players, argue with the refs and question the coaches, but win or lose, at the end of the day, we leave the stadium, watch party or tailgate with a sense of respect for the game and the athletes that train so hard, leaving it all out on the field every time.

and…

Deep difference doesn’t have to lead to disrespect.

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