Is The NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck The Dumbest Of Them All?

It would seem so. Gladys Knight agreed to sing the National Anthem at the Soper Bowl, and is getting criticized. Why? “The legendary singer is being criticized for agreeing to take the gig in light of some fans boycotting the National Football League over its treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.”

One of the thinks that makes the NAPETR so mind-numbingly stupid is that the point of the pointless protest keeps changing, because the protesters just want to protest. Kaepernick, when he was a back-up quarterback of fading skills, claimed he was kneeling during the national anthem to protest “bodies in the streets” and “ people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” That was inarticulate, and also vague Black Lives Matter propaganda paired with a direct assault on the anthem, since he began by saying that the U.S. flag didn’t deserve his respect. Then other players began kneeling in “solidarity,” but claiming that the protest during the anthem had nothing to do with the anthem. When they were all justly criticized for bringing (incoherent, half-baked, virtue-signaling racial) politics into football games, the said they were protesting to exercise their First Amendment Rights. (There is no right for employees to protest in the workplace), Then when President Trump attacked the protesters and the NFL teams for putting up with them, the kneeling was explained (by some) as a protest against President Trump, a nice safe default these days. Now the kneeling is partially justified as a protest against no NFL team hiring a mediocre quarterback whose grandstanding created a huge public relations problem for the league and who cost it many millions of dollars.

Now a pop singer, whose job is to entertain people, is being told she should not entertain people and should refuse to honor the anthem and the flag with her talents because these topics are too important. Of course, whatever Kaepernick thought he was protesting, there was not an electron of a chance that it would accomplish anything positive , particularity since what he was protesting–-you can’t just assume that any police officer is guilty and stop paying him, you moron—was based on bias, racism and ignorance. So why should Gladys withhold her talents from a national sports event that brings Americans of all races and creeds together? Oh, that’s right: because Amy Shumer says so.

This is like a bad Ionesco play.

Ann Althouse’s four reasons that the attacks on Knight are wrong are…

1. Don’t criticize Gladys Knight.

2. Don’t make singing the National Anthem into a bad thing,

3. The question of protesting the National Anthem is separate, and if you want to defend the players who have been protesting, you’re making a big leap if you go from arguing that the protest is respectful, respectable, and permissible to saying that protest is required and anyone not protesting is to be disrespected,

4. Those who are making that big leap are confirming the fears of the kind of people who worry that once something is permitted we’re on a slippery slope to its being required.

Here are mine: Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintrich

“On Friday, June 16, 2017, Laura Loomer, a patriot activist and journalist, took the stage at Shakespeare in the Park’s performance of “Julius Caesar”, a performance where liberals applaud as President Trump’s assassination is shown in full bloody detail. Laura was arrested for speaking out against this performance.”

Lucian Wintrich on the right wing blog Gateway Pundit, describing the disruption of the Shakespeare in the Park “Julius Caesar “production

What makes a blog post especially unethical? Oh, many things: misstatement of facts, ignorant analysis, sensationalism, incompetence, not being able to distinguish right from wrong and good from bad, appeal to bias and stupidity. Wintrich’s post, absurdly called “Proud Conservative Woman Was Arrested Friday at Trump Assassination Play – Help Pay Her Legal Fees *HERE*!” has all of this and more.

The conservative woman, along with her conservative male partner in attempted censorship, has nothing to be proud of. She’s proud of emulating the leftist crypto-fascist students who have been using intimidation and riots to prevent conservatives from speaking? She’s not a patriot, since patriots don’t intentionally ignore core American principles like freedom of expression and speech whenever they feel like it. The word Wintrich is looking for in his limited vocabulary is “hypocrite.”

She was also not arrested for “speaking out” against this performance. This can only be a lie, or Wintrich is too stupid to be allowed to put his shoes on by himself. You cannot be arrested in the U.S. for “speaking out,” and nobody ever is. He is trying to inflame the stupid and ignorant, or he is stupid and ignorant. Laura, the jerk, was arrested for interrupting a theatrical performance that she had absolutely no right or justification to disrupt. Just so there is no mistaking his dishonest, inflammatory and ignorant description as entirely deliberate, Wintrich, the hack, repeats it, writing,

“The left keeps calling President Trump a fascist dictator, but speaking out against assassinating a Democratically elected President apparently gets you arrested in New York City.”

Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Right-wing activists Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, Plus The Instapundit And Anyone Who Applauds Them.

Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, adopting the censorious and antispeech tactics of those they despise,  disrupted yesterday’s evening showing of the  Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar” that features a graphic assassination of  a President Donald Trump version of Caesar.

Loomer rushed the stage shouting that the scene was an “act of political violence against the right,” and said the play was “unacceptable.” The play was briefly halted, and the crowd appropriately jeered as Loomer was taken away by security. Then Posobiec stood up and shouted, “You are all Goebbels! Goebbels would be proud!” He also also shouted that the blood of wounded Republican Congressman Steve Scalise was on the audience’s hands.

A play is free speech and performance art, in this case, political performance art. The actors have a right to present the play, and the audience has a right to watch it. Nobody has a right to disrupt the performance, no matter what the subject matter is, and no matter what the motives of the disrupters may be.

Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer are hypocrites. Glenn Reynolds, law professor and USA Today columnist, disgraced himself by writing,

“Is this dumb? Yeah, but that never stopped lefties and now they’re getting to see what it feels like to have your hair pulled.”

…thus endorsing a pure tit for tat, mob ethics, “you do it to us so we’ll do it to you” ethics death-spiral. A law professor. He should be ashamed of himself, especially as the Instapundit, an icon of the Right, a status I have seen him abuse too often already. Continue reading

Hillary Gets A Standing O On Broadway

standing-o

Well, good.

Last night, Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton attended the closing performance of “The Color Purple” on The Great White Way. The audience gave Hillary a standing ovation.

This profoundly annoyed the conservative media and blogosphere, which contrasted the warm reception with the booing Vice-President-Elect Pence when he want to see “Hamilton” just down the street. It was a contrast, all right: the audience at “Hamilton” were rude jerks, and the audience at “The Color Purple” treated Hillary Clinton like every audience of fair and respectful citizens should treat anyone willing to endure the rigors and abuse of a Presidential campaign for the privilege of being burdened by one of the most difficult and all-consuming responsibilities on earth, in order to serve and protect the United States of America.

Kind and respectful gestures are never unethical.

I would have stood.

Dear Rockettes: You Are Professionals And Americans…Act Like It.

rockettes

Asked about whether he would perform at the January 20 Inauguration or its subsequent official celebrations in Washington, D.C., country music super-star Garth Brooks said, simply, “It’s always about serving. It’s what you do.”

Right answer. This marked him as a professional, a patriot, and an adult (or perhaps as a lying hypocrite, since for whatever reason, he is not performing). The opposite reaction of so many of his show business colleagues mark them, in contrast, as divisive, arrogant, ignorant and unprofessional jerks.

Performers fit all the requirements for being regarded and respected as professionals, who are those who use their skills and talents for the benefit of humankind and society. The traditional definition adds that professionals do this service at some personal sacrifice, a virtue that most doctors and many lawyers can no longer claim. Performers, however, are largely impoverished, devoting their lives to making people gasp, laugh, weep, cheer or most important of all, think, because they love what they do, and understand the importance of art to society and civilization.

It is as unprofessional for a singer, dancer, juggler or actor to refuse to entertain audience members whose politics or character they oppose as it is for a doctor to refuse to treat them, for a lawyer to refuse to represent them, or a clergyman to  withhold from them spiritual guidance. The problem unique to performers as professionals is that they are not educated to appreciate their responsibilities like typical professionals, nor do their professions exercise any ethical oversight. As a result, we get the current display of divisive and ignorant grandstanding over performing—or not performing— at Donald Trump’s inauguration.

In Honolulu, Hawaii, yet another partisan and bigoted establishment has ordered anyone who voted for Trump to take its business elsewhere, as a local cafe posted a sign that reads: “If you voted for Trump you cannot eat here! No Nazis.” It has become clear that if many progressives have their way, their efforts to divide the nation into the Good and the Bad, with the fairly elected President of the United States as the defining feature of the latter, will shatter societal bonds coast to coast like nothing the U.S. has seen since the Civil War. The sooner the Angry Turned Vicious Left comes to its senses, the safer and healthier we all will be.

Performers, as professionals, are supposed to understand that they have a higher calling than restaurant owners. They are here to bind society together, for what we all experience in a diverse audience brings us closer in sentiment, emotion, empathy and enlightenment. For performers to decide to excise certain audience members from that process is madness, as well as a betrayal of their mission and art. Continue reading

Sign Language Interpreter Ethics Epilogue: “A Christmas Carol”

Gavin Alvedy rehearses a scene from the Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center's "Miracle on 34th Street" as DYPAC alum Emily Zaleski signs alongside him. Zaleski, who grew up performing on DYPAC’s stage, now is a certified American Sign Language interpreter with Synergy on Stage and will interpret during the Dec. 8 performance.

Sign language interpreters and their advocates descended on Ethics Alarms in indignation aftert  my March post about “showboating sign language interpreters for deaf audience members.” It took until December for my commentary to reach this passionate interest group, but when it did, I was called many names, including “ablist,” and had to put up with comments like this one from the ironically named “Danny Who Knows About Stuff”:

I would take this “ethics” person seriously if he/she seemed to know anything about the ethics that guide sign language interpreting. And, I suppose it would be helpful if the person understood anything about linguistics, sign language, Deaf culture, or audience response theory. This article is more about the individual than than the issue. In short, this person is no more an ethicist that is Donald Trump.

How I love the quote around “ethics.”

Danny was pretty typical. See, I don’t need to know about any of Danny’s “stuff” as a director of a play or musical. All I need to know is whether a feature of the performance detracts from it by foiling the focus that the staging was designed to facilitate. Every competent director knows that. The needs of the signer and the signer’s much, much smaller audience cannot be permitted to wag the dog, or make the dog trip on its tongue.  or perish of neglect.

“Danny Who Knows About Stuff” became “Danny Who Is Banned From Ethics Alarms,” in case you didn’t guess.

If I had already experienced what I experienced yesterday with a “professional” signer, that March post would have been much tougher. I directed an staged reading of “A Christmas Carol” with a cast of 30 terrific actors for a single free performance for D.C.’s Martin Luther King Library, and was told that the library would be sending a signer. Now, a signer for your usual staged reading is like having a signer for an oil painting. It makes no sense. In readings, the actors mostly read. Presumably the deaf can read “A Christmas Carol” themselves. You could say they would want to see the performers, but  in readings the performers’ acting mostly consists of vocal expression, which the deaf audience can’t hear, and facial expressions, which they won’t see if they are watching the signer. As it happens, I don’t do staged readings like that; there is a lot of movement and staging, so a signer makes some sense.

But they didn’t know how I would stage it.

By the time we got to the final rehearsal, I had forgotten about the alleged signer, who was supposed to at least attend one rehearsal so I could fit her onto the stage where she would be seen and not get in the way. She arrived, for the first time, 15 minutes before the performance, and immediately announced that she didn’t know whether she would be signing or not.  That’s helpful. She also complained that the script was very well adapted for signing (Why, thank-you!) and that the show, at 90 minutes, was impossibly long for a single signer to do: she was waiting to see if a second signer was coming, as she had assumed. Now, nobody warned me that I had to make room for two signers in the small performing space, neither of whom would deign to attend a rehearsal. ( Her complaint about length was also nonsense. I have had single signers for many shows longer than 90 minutes, and they didn’t collapse from exhaustion or finger cramps.) Continue reading

Sign Language Interpreter Ethics

Let’s see, I haven’t gotten disability advocates angry at me in a while. It might be time.

Jonathan Turley posted the video above in a blog post titled “You Decide: Which Is The Greater Draw – The Singer Or The Signer?” The title, and especially the video, reminded me of a live entertainment phenomenon that has annoyed me for decades. I had forgotten about it, because producers learned long ago that I wouldn’t tolerate it in shows I was involved in. The ethics issue: showboating sign language interpreters for deaf audience members.

I have no objection to having signers at special performances of live stage presentations, as long as those signers understand their purpose and obligation. Their purpose is to communicate the words to hearing-impaired audience members. Their obligation is to do so as unobtrusively as possible, so as not to draw focus from the performance itself, or  interfere with the integrity of the production.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of the sign language interpreters who specialize in signing plays and operas don’t see their job this way. They think they are supposed to be as flamboyant–that is, obtrusive–and demonstrative as possible. Well, they’re not going to do that in one of my shows.

I’m not going to work over a grueling six week rehearsal schedule to perfect audience focus, the arc of the show, the lighting, sound, stage picture and all the other artistic elements that need to be coordinated to fully realize a work of live performance art  only to have someone show up who I have never seen before and improvise his or her own act in competition with the performance on stage. If I thought it would enhance “A Steetcar Named Desire” or “The Music Man” to have Marcel Marceau or Red Skelton jumping around and waving their arms next to the performers, I would have staged the shows that way. Continue reading