I would not have expected mysterious veteran commenter Extradimensional Cephalopod to be the one to score a Comment of the Day regarding the idiotic and offensive “trigger warning” HBO Max felt it had to append to “Blazing Saddles.” Mel Brooks’ satire (and fart jokes) would not seem to the kind of thing a squid from another plane of existence would be able to appreciate. Shows what I know.
But seriously folks, this is the first ethical analysis of “Blazing Saddles” I’ve ever seen, heard, or imagined. And as usual with EC, it is thoughtful and enlightening.
On the one hand, I agree with the people ridiculing the disclaimer. On the other hand, if it gets more people to watch the film and learn to appreciate satire, I’m in favor of a little message at the beginning that says, “It’s okay, you’re not a bad person for watching this film.” I’d like to get to the point where we don’t need the disclaimer, though.
When you mention hate and contempt, it makes me realize that most of what people refer to as “hate” is actually contempt, and that sloppy language prevents them from realizing what they want and what they need to do to get it. People don’t just want to eliminate “hate”—they want to be respected. Continue reading →
HBO Max thinks people are so stupid and shallow that they must have “Blazing Saddles” explained to them, lest someone—one will do–think it’s intended to advance “systemic racism” rather than to ridicule it. I do not believe in hating people, but it takes every bit of principle and energy I can muster not to hate both the political correctness dictators who believe in “trigger warnings,” and the hoards of dim bulbs and sheep-human hybrids who appreciate them. I’m still looking for the complete text of the introduction HBO Max has slapped on Mel Brooks’ masterpiece, but I know enough.
It is intoned by University of Chicago professor of cinema studies and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart, who also delivered the disclaimer added to “Gone with the Wind.” I like Stewart, who is smart and knowledgeable, but I would have liked her better if she refused to participate in this insulting exercise.
“This movie is an overt and audacious spoof on classic Westerns,'” Stewart says. This, writes Kyle Smith in the New York Post, is to “set things up for anyone who might be clicking on the Mel Brooks comedy thinking they’re in for Swedish drama about the lingonberry harvest.” “It’s as provocative today as it was when it premiered back in 1974,” she says. No, tragically, it is more provocative. Thanks to the racial politics of censorship and ruthless power-seeking that has metastasized on the Left in the George Floyd Freakout, professors are losing their jobs and being “cancelled” for mentioning the word that Blazing Saddles uses repeatedly as a punchline. Any professor who analyzed the use of racist language in “Blazing Saddles” would risk being called a racist by the student body. Continue reading →
I detest memes, but like all other rules, there are exceptions. Sometimes, only a meme will do.
Of the many warpings and distortions of a healthy culture we have seen emanating from the ideologically extreme, one of the more insidious is the antagonism towards humor. This episode speaks for itself.
Fisayo Eniolorunda, the club’s event organizer, wrote in an email, “Attached is a short behavioural agreement form that we will ask for you to sign on the day to avoid problems.”
Problems like actually being funny, apparently.
The “behavioral agreement” states,
“This comedy night… aims to provide a safe space for everyone to share and listen to Comedy. This contract has been written to ensure an environment where joy, love, and acceptance are reciprocated by all. By signing this contract, you are agreeing to our no tolerance policy with regards to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism. All topics must be presented in a way that is respectful and kind. It does not mean that these topics can not be discussed. But, it must be done in a respectful and non-abusive way.”
Respectful of whom and not abusive in what way? Oh, never mind. The agreement is a joke itself. What does “love and acceptance” have to do with humor? Does Fisayo Eniolorunda know what “Comedy” is? Of course comedy doesn’t have to be cruel or mean, but then an audience that would lay out such rigid standards can’t be trusted to judge what cruel, mean, respectful, non-abusive, safe—lordy, especially “safe”–or funny is. These are subjective standards being judged by people who are so besotted with ideological mania, virtue-signaling addiction and political correctness that they can’t be trusted. Continue reading →
“This thing I just feel that all these various diseases that we have and all these things that are happening in the world in part is because there are those who don’t believe in global warming, don’t believe that what we do affects the world. what we eat affects the world. and affects us.And I just hope that people will grow up and grow out of the foolishness and know that we all by how we think how we do how we treat others we will never unlock the key until we truly let go the hatred the bigotry the evilness the selfishness when we do that then we can unlock some of those things that keep us in this place.”
Why is this unethical? It’s irresponsible for celebrities with the education of prunes and the critical thinking facility of baby ocelots to make their fans and anyone else afflicted with the delusion that being famous equates to being wise dumber than they already are. Shut up and sing, Stevie. Aretha died of pancreatic cancer, and if you can prove that this deadly disease is linked to global warming, let’s see your research data.
It is also unethical for any TV news host who listens to a guest utter incoherent nonsense like this not to respond, “What the hell are you babbling about?” or words to that effect. Opinions are fine, and, withing limits, can be endured without rebuttal. Non-factual crap, like global warming causing cancer—actually, Stevie literally said that people not believing in global warming causes cancer, like not believing in fairies kills Tinkerbell.—has to be fixed, on the air, immediately. If you have dolts like Wonder on camera, you better be prepared to clean up the messes they leave.
Sad to say, Gabby Johnson made more sense than Stevie Wonder.
1. Less than two weeks after social justice bullies on social media chastised actor Mandy Patinkin for agreeing to take the place of a black actor in Broadway’s “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,” causing the politically impeccable Mandy to withdraw with humble mea culpas, and the “woke” creator of the the Tony winning musical to humbly kowtow to the new show business principle that it is better for a show to close entirely, putting everyone out of work, than for a white actor to take over a role from a black actor who took over the role from a white actor in the first place, “The Great Comet’s” producers announced that the show will close in September.
Good job, everybody!
2. First Amendment incursions are creeping in from all sides and all angles so fast it’s hard to slap them down. Cowboy Joe West, the major leagues’ longest-serving umpire,was just suspended for three days for comments he made a in an interview with USA Today published on June 20, to mark the umpire’s 5,000th regular-season game. Asked which player beefed most frequently about his calls, West said “it’s got to be Adrian Beltre.” Beltre, who recently punched his own ticket into the Hall of Fame by getting his 3000th hit, is apparently something of a human Bermuda Triangle for ethics controversies.
“Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!,'” West was quoted as saying. “I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, ”That ball is outside.’ I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.'”
MLB suspended West for three days, telling the umpires union in a letter that the discipline was in response to an “appearance of lack of impartiality.” Beltre has said that he never assumed West was being anything but facetious. The umpires union is livid, and West is likely to file a grievance.
There are two theories about this strange episode in the Marshall household. I think it’s more evidence of slippage on the societal slope to speech suppression. My wife thinks baseball is laying the groundwork for replacing umpires on balls and strikes with robo-calls. After all, robots aren’t biased.
Why does Ohio want to de-register voters who don’t vote for two years, then are sent notices asking that they confirm their voter registration, don’t respond to the notices ,and continue to not vote for another four years? I assume it is because the state doesn’t want dead people on the voter rolls. Why do Democrats want the names of dead people listed as eligible voters?
I have noted more than once what an excellent ethics movie the original 1960 Western classic “The Magnificent Seven” is. Occasional Ethics Alarms contributor and apparently retired ethics blogger Bob Stone made an excellent case for what he calls his favorite ethics movie here, but the screenplay makes its own case with exchanges like this one:
Harry (Brad Dexter): “There comes a time to turn mother’s picture to the wall and get out. The village will be no worse off than it was before we came.”
Chris (Yul Brenner): “You forget one thing — we took a contract.”
Vin (Steve McQueen): “It’s not the kind any court would enforce.”
Chris: “That’s just the kind you’ve got to keep.”
or the very first scene, where gunslinger Chris volunteers to drive a horse-drawn hearse to Boot Hill where a group of armed bigots are threatening to shoot anyone who tries to bury a recently deceased Indian, who lived in the town, in the town’s cemetery along with “decent white folks.” Steve McQueen (Vin) goes along as Chris’s wing-man, and the first two of the seven team up for an act of pure altruism.
The remake of the film opened over the weekend, and in part because I’m doing a program for the Smithsonian about the lore surrounding the movie, I saw it. And took notes.
It’s not bad. I enjoyed it. It is yet another example of how Hollywood no longer trusts the Western genre or its traditional trappings: the heroes in this and the heroes in most modern Westerns are now portrayed as super-heroes, ridiculously fast on the draw, absurdly accurate with every shot, and able to ride like circus performers. At a certain point, this silliness leads to a damaging loss of suspension of disbelief. The intrusion of gratuitous diversity was also annoying: the end features three heroes riding into the sunset, and they consist of an African-American, a Native American, and a Mexican. How they missed including a handicapped gay woman is mystifying, and somebody should organize a protest. Well, at least all the whites and the Asian guy were killed. That’s something. Continue reading →
False flag operations are dirty politics, dishonest, unfair, and thus unethical. Funny, though, when done this incompetently, as the highlighting in the photo above shows. I guess its possible that these are real black KKK members, but somehow I doubt it.