Nice, Regan. You can dance. Now get a sense of humor…
There was an unanticipated side benefit of visiting Alas! A Blog, cartoonist Barry Deutsch’s home for the furious left-addled, as I researched the previous post. I also caught Barry giving space to fat-activist (not fat activist, for that would be rude) Regan Chastain as she fulminates against an Esquire U.K. feature by writer Giles Coren called ““I Don’t Care What My Son Becomes… As Long As He Isn’t Overweight.” Chastain is furious, and apparently Barry agrees. I presume he’s signed her Change.Org petition that demands that Esquire pull the post as “hate speech” (sigh!) and fire Coren.
For in her petition Chastain says that Coren…
Calls his 4-year-old son a “fat little bastard” and a “chubby fucker”
Says that “to bring forth upon the world a fat son is indeed a shame before God”
Says that he would rather his son be a “crackhead” than be fat.
Says about fat people: “I’d kill them all and render them down for candles.”
He ends the piece by saying that he “tries to look at the positive” but “other times I think, “I’d best get the chubby fucker’s jaw wired before he’s old enough to stop me.”
Read the article. Is there anyone out there who can’t tell that the article is satire, and intended to chide parents who obsess over their kids’ weight? How about the photo he posted with the article, showing his “fat” son? This…
Does that not constitute a sufficient clue? Continue reading
To be fair, the Justice wasn’t much of a cartoonist…
In today’s warm-up, I briefly discussed the acquittal earlier this moth of NYPD officer Wayne Isaacs in the shooting an unarmed black motorist. It was a weird case. Isaacs was off duty, and prompted a driver to apparent road rage by cutting him off in traffic. The motorist, according to Isaacs, walked up to his car and struck him, and fearing that his assailant was armed, the officer drew his pistol and fired.
I don’t know if it was a coincidence or by design, but on the day of the acquittal progressive cartoonist Barry Deutsch, who once did battle (and well) at Ethics Alarms, posted this cartoon at his blog:
In the same post, he also called the late Justice Rehnquist a racist, which he was not, and made the demonstrably false statement that most police shootings involve blacks, but never mind that.
You have to really detest police and the principle of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to regard such a cartoon as fair or enlightening. (Ethics Alarms is on record as declaring political cartoons an inherently unethical form of punditry.) No cop has been acquitted of shooting an unarmed 9-year-old kid in self-defense, and the cartoon is factually wrong that such a claim by a police officer would get him acquitted. Moreover, the case Barry is apparently referring to, Graham v. Connor, does not involve a shooting, and Rehnquist’s opinion for the majority doesn’t say what the cartoon says it does. In addition, the opinion in the case primarily relied upon by the majority in Graham, Tennessee v. Garner, wasn’t written by the Rehnquist, but by Justice Byron White. It also specifically involved police shooting at fleeing suspects.
Thus the cartoonist a) doesn’t know what he’s talking about b) misleads his readers ( the blog is an echo chamber if there ever was one), and c) smears Justice Rehnquist. Continue reading
A ridiculous and offensive example of misuse of legal process and interference with free speech was just flagged by self-exiled Ethics Alarms star, Barry “Ampersand” Deutsch on his blog.
In her one woman play Thatswhatshesaid, playwright Courtney Meaker cherry-picked lines from the female characters in the eleven most-produced plays of past theater season, according to one list, anyway. She mashed them up for effect, the effect being to show how “society forces women to conform to certain harmful and paradoxical gender stereotypes, and America’s most popular plays reflect those stereotypes. Playwrights perpetuate the patriarchy by creating roles for women that reduce them to one version or another of male fantasy or fear, and playhouses make sure those plays have a home.”
Okaaay, I think I’ll be passing on that one! Nevertheless, re-arranging bits and pieces of other copyrighted works to create a different work and message from any of the components is such a well-traveled and obvious tool of the modern arts that to say this play’s content is fair use, legal and ethical should be completely unnecessary. Collages that do this (see above) have been accepted as routine; musical works and videos too. Here’s a favorite of mine…
But law, ethics and art didn’t stop Samuel French, the theatrical publishing company which licenses some of the plays quoted in Thatswhatshesaid. The company sent a last minute cease-and-desist notice right before a performance, demanding the play not be presented, and also left a threatening message on the voicemail of the show’s sole performer, Erin Pike, promising to “go after” her, “the presenter and the theater and all the folks connected to it.” Despite being warned by the theater not to defy the mighty French, Pike made sure her show went on anyway, like any good and courageous artist should.
What’s going on here? Continue reading
Those links to other websites on the left are seldom accessed, I suppose because most blogs accumulate them on a quid pro quo basis: link to me, and I’ll link to you. Ethics Alarms doesn’t do that. If the link is there, it’s because I use the site to identify ethics issues or as an information resource. I don’t remove links because a site has removed mine or refuses to link to this one; I don’t take revenge on bloggers who write nasty things about me, either.
This isn’t personal, it’s just ethics.
I’ve been meaning to highlight some of the links for a long time, so readers might be moved to check them out. I assume you are familiar with the news aggregation sites, right, left and center, that I use the most: Mediaite, Politico, Drudge, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Google News, Think Progress, memeorandum, and Fark (great for teacher scandals!), as well as the ones that I don’t use, because they are either too biased to trust or have proved untrustworthy, like Breitbart, Buzzfeed, Gawker and The Daily Kos. (I am close to abandoning the Daily Caller as well.) Here are eleven links you should explore; I’ll have other lists of links for you now and then: Continue reading
One litmus test I have for whether individual Democrats, liberals and progressives have integrity and can be trusted is whether they will admit that the left-leaning bias in the mainstream media is wrong and intolerable….and is real. It is amazing and depressing how few pass that test. For until liberals demand fairness and objectivity from journalists, the chances that the mainstream media will see the importance of reforming and actually following their own codes of ethics are nil.
The self-exiled Barry Deutsch, a perceptive and intelligent leftist cartoonist/blogger (it’s a good blog) who once was a prolific commenter here, flunked the test repeatedly, which I found perplexing. Barry is an honest man. Why couldn’t he see it? Was it because his own bias is so strong that what the news media produced as slanted reporting seemed fair and accurate to his similarly slanted worldview? Was it that he is so far left that the news media seemed conservative to him, so the frequent, throbbingly obvious examples of the news media being left-biased—the cheerleading for Obama’s election, the relentless savaging of Sarah Palin, the open lobbying for the ACA, climate change legislation, gay marriage and gun control, the embargoes on coverage of scandals that would have attracted Watergate-level scrutiny in a GOP administration, like the IRS scandal, and much more) didn’t compute?
I still don’t have an answer, and Barry is gone, without ever supplying me with a plausible answer.
I have to think, however, that even Barry would have a hard time denying this example, neatly flagged by Elizabeth Rice Foley. She writes, on Instapundit this afternoon: Continue reading
“You can unzip it, Patricia, when you work somewhere else….”
Apparently I missed another “media firestorm,” so allow me to catch up, particularly since the analysis of this story has been muddled beyond comprehension.
Patricia Jannuzzi, a religion teacher at Somerville’s Immaculata High School, posted this on her personal Facebook page:
This being the internet, after all, someone sent it far and wide, with resulting embarrassment to the school. Jannuzzi, a theology teacher with Immaculata for 33 years, was ordered to de-activate her Facebook page after an online petition demanded that she be punished. Jannuzzi was placed on administrative leave, and the school administration notified alumni, parents and students, in a letter that said in part,
“This episode has reflected not only on this teacher but, by extension, on Immaculata High SchoolWe regret deeply any hurt this has caused to any individuals and the negative light in which it has cast our school….Although these were posts to a personal social media page, Immaculata High School recognizes the need to ensure that our faculty, staff and students full understand the behaviors expected of them as members of our community and recognize our intolerance of discriminatory behaviors of any kind.”
Points: Continue reading
I’m an ethicist who often writes on college controversies, and I make no secret about my double life in professional theater, so it figures that my inbox would include more than one query about Mt. Holyoke College’s decision to end its annual student performance of Eve Enlser’s “The Vagina Monologues” on the grounds that it is now admitting women without vaginas—I know, it’s confusing–who would feel excluded from what was supposed to be an inclusive experience and statement for the all-women’s school.
From Campus Reform:
The annual production of the play is part of a country-wide tradition to perform Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about gender-based violence and usually coincides with the V-Day campaign. The proceeds are donated to sexual assault prevention organizations or women’s rights organizations. This year, however, Mount Holyoke’s Project Theatre Board is defying tradition by permanently retiring the play. In a school-wide email from the Theatre Board, a representative from the group, Erin Murphy, explained the problems with the play and the reasoning behind its discontinuation.
“At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman…Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform, said.
Replacing the play will be Mount Holyoke’s own version that will be trans-inclusive and fix the “problems” supposedly perpetuated by Ensler. Murphy also claims that there are problems with race, class, and “other identities” within the play. The new production, comprised of students’ monologues, will be performed in a fashion reminiscent of the feminist classic. The program will be performed alongside the College’s Peer Health Educators, an on-campus student-led group that provides education and workshops for students, including a workshop on how to use sex toys properly.
There is no reason in the world, other than Hollywood’s endless racism and lack of imagination, for this movie (or the original play, alas) to have an all-white cast. Why do movies feel like they’d rather die than show us a diverse cast? (And please don’t say “they cast the best people for the roles.” I thought the whole cast was good, but Streep was the only one who turned in a performance so unique that you couldn’t imagine anyone else doing the role.)
—–Ampersand, a.k.a. Barry Deutsch, opining on the assets and deficits of Rob Marshall’s film adaptation of “Into the Woods” on his blog
I hate to pick on Barry—OK, that’s not true, I enjoy it immensely—but this statement could stand as the distillation of knee-jerk liberal thinking on race, and it is wrong in so many ways that I hesitate to start counting. The sentiment, however, poses a nice counterpoint to the discussion here about the black James Bond controversy, so I can’t resist taking aim at it.
1. So casting a mega-million dollar film—-in a dicey genre (Have you heard? Big budget Hollywood musicals died in the Sixties…) and a limited audience—with actors who comport with that audience’s expectations of the musical the film is based on is racist, eh? More unfair words and inexcusable race-baiting were seldom uttered in word or written in ink. If a director had a vision that supported casting African American actors in traditional Grimms’ fairy tale roles and could make it work, I would salute him, but Rob Marshall had other priorities. He knew that every cut would be scrutinized and attacked by the Sondheim fanatics (which, by the way, are as white as a dove convention in a blizzard); he knew that the show itself was seriously flawed; he knew that every single adaptation of a Sondheim musical (“West Side Story” doesn’t count) has been a critical and box office bomb. He had every reason to keep his casting choices as close to the traditional images of the characters and the way they were portrayed on Broadway, and none of those reasons were racism.
2. It’s impressive how casually a race-obsessed progressive will accuse a professional of racism as a first response. Irresponsible, unfair, disrespectful, and in this case, ignorant of both commerce and art. Continue reading
In my post on the matter, I called out to Barry Deutsch, a.k.a. Ampersand, an accomplished political cartoonist and blogger who has graced this space in the past, for his professional reaction to the controversy over the Boston Herald’s Jerry Holbert suggesting, in a cartoon about the recent Secret Service debacles, that President Obama would use watermelon-flavored tooth paste. He was kind enough to register a rapid, and typically thoughtful, response.
Here is his Comment of the Day on my post, “9 Observations On The Boston Herald’s “Racist” Cartoon”: Continue reading
I am fascinated by deceit, and not just because I live near Washington, D.C., where it is the official tongue. It is fascinating because deceit is often the most effective kind of lie, tricking a listener or a reader using their own assumptions, desires, misplaced trust or inattentiveness against them by stating a literal truth to imply an actual falsehood. Most of all, deceit is fascinating because so many people, including those who employ it habitually, think that it isn’t a lie at all.
This morning I found three wonderful examples of deceit, brought to our attention by three distinguished bloggers, so let’s play the challenging, exciting and never-ending game that’s sweeping the nation…
Spot That DECEIT!
Let’s warm up with something easy…
1. The NFL Deceit
Law prof-blogger Ann Althouse found it difficult to believe that the NFL hadn’t seen the videotape showing Baltimore Ravens stat Ray Rice knocking out his fiancee with a well-aimed punch before it gave him his first, absurdly light punishment, though the official spokesperson yesterday said…
“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator.That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
Spot That DECEIT!