Ethics Quote Of The Month: Carol Roth

“I am so sick of the media trying to create celebrity politicians. Public service should be about representing us as citizens, not creating stardom for the person in office. Nobody “deserves” to hold an office. The focus should be on policies, principles, experience, etc.”

—Radio host and author Carol Roth on Twitter, commenting on the recent Washington Post puff piece on Stacey Abrams

Yes, that ridiculous photo above really accompanied a Washington Post magazine profile on Stacy Abrams. It really did. A few excerpts from the article:

  • “Whether or not she’s chosen as Biden’s running mate, she has moved into a unique space in American politics. DuBose Porter, former chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, told me she is “brilliant,” praise that comes in spite of what some view as a relatively thin political résumé”

Some view!” It’s a ridiculously thin résumé for someone who, we are told,  predicts that “she’ll be elected president by 2040.” It was a thin résumé for someone running for governor of Georgia.

  • “When she is finally introduced the women shout and leap to their feet. Young women stand on chairs, camera phones flash. Abrams, who appears both amused and slightly disturbed by the fuss over her, takes control of the chaotic scene. I’ve witnessed this level of affection for very few political leaders in the Democratic circles I’ve been in since the 1980s. They have the last names Clinton (both Hillary and Bill), Sanders, Warren, Jackson and Obama (both Michelle and Barack).”

Con artists all.

  • “Pandemonium ensues as she walks to the far left of the stage, like a runway supermodel, stops on a dime, poses, tilts her head slightly and smiles. Camera flashes explode. She next pivots and walks slowly to the center of the stage, freezes there and repeats the pose. Again, the flashes explode. Abrams is summoning her inner actress, and she is both enjoying the moment and getting through it to get to the conversation. She then pivots and walks to the far right of the stage, same. You wonder whether she has done this before, because it is not necessarily what one would expect from a 46-year-old politician who was nearly elected the first black female governor in U.S. history.”

Yup, that’s the first thing that leapt to my mind when I saw that photo: supermodel! Continue reading

Alyssa Milano Gives Us A Sad Reminder That Celebrities Are Usually Over Their Heads When They Try To Opine On Policy, Law, Or Ethics [CORRECTED]

This raises the disturbing question of why anyone in their right mind is influenced by such celebrities. Presumably it is mostly those who are even more limited intellectually than the celebrity in question, or, in this case, big fans of “Who’s the Boss?”

Milano’s guest column in Deadline explaining why the #MeToo shill still supports Joe Biden is signature significance for someone who desperately needed to get a better education, or at least read a lot more before trying to “explain” anything, much less hang out a virtual shingle as an opinion-maker.

She outs herself as a victim of the Dunning-Kruger Effect right off the bat (I miss baseball). There’s no need to read on after this becomes obvious, by the third paragraph of her essay:

“As an activist, it can be very easy to develop a black and white view of the world: things are clearly wrong or clearly right. Harvey Weinstein’s decades of rape were clearly wrong. Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults were clearly wrong. Brett Kavanaugh’s actions, told consistently over decades by his victim (and supported by her polygraph results), were clearly wrong. So were Matt Lauer’s, Bill Cosby’s and so many others. As we started holding politicians and business leaders and celebrities around the world accountable for their actions, it was easy to sort things into their respective buckets: this is wrong, this is right. Holding people accountable for their actions was not only right, it was just. Except it’s not always so easy, and living in the gray areas is something we’re trying to figure out in the world of social media. But here’s something social media doesn’t afford us–nuance. The world is gray. And as uncomfortable as that makes people, gray is where the real change happens. Black and white is easy… Gray is where the conversations which continue to swirl around powerful men get started…. It’s not up to women to admonish or absolve perpetrators, or be regarded as complicit when we don’t denounce them. Nothing makes this clearer than the women who are still supporting Joe Biden even with these accusations. Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, Nancy Pelosi, and Elizabeth Warren have all endorsed Biden and like me, continue to support him…. This is the shitty position we are in as women….  Believing women was never about ‘Believe all women no matter what they say,’ it was about changing the culture of NOT believing women by default…. I hope you’ll meet me in the gray to talk and to help us both find the way out.”

Wait..what? Obviously—well, “obviously” if you know what the words you are using mean—“Donald Trump’s alleged sexual assaults” are not “clearly wrong,” because they are alleged and unproven, so we don’t know if they occurred. If they didn’t occur as claimed, they aren’t “clearly wrong.” Continue reading

Fredo Snaps

Chris Cuomo is a fascinating case. Maybe someone will write an opera about him.

He’s the younger, less ambitious, less accomplished son of a popular and (in some circles) revered governor of New York. If the term privileged has any meaning at all, it applies to him. He graduated from elite schools, including law school, but as he has proven again and again, he neither acquired any skill at critical thinking, nor at legal reasoning and the basic principles of law. He’s emotional, and not very bright. The younger Cuomo was blessed with good looks, a usually amiable nature, and charisma, and these, along with some excellent contacts, were enough to get him an anchor’s position on CNN. In this position he has embarrassed himself repeatedly; fortunately for him, the news organization he works for has become immune from embarrassment, as evidenced by the fact that it also  employs Brian Stelter and Don Lemon, among others.

Every now and then his amiability is cracked open to reveal the traditional frustration and anger of the lesser son. Cuomo erupted a while back when he was first referred to as “Fredo,” alluding to the elder but mentally deficient son of Vito Corleone in the “Godfather” saga. The nickname is mean but apt, and frankly, as long as CNN allows someone of Chris Cuomo’s limitations to pretend to inform its audience, it is also useful. Cuomo is a fraud, and by presenting him as a trustworthy journalist, CNN is mistreating its audience. Yes, I’m sure Cuomo does the best he can, but then, so did Fredo Corleone.

Cuomo is ill with the Wuhan virus, and quarantined. I’m sure this is hard for him, but his stresses are still less than those of most Americans. He’s broadcasting (and making a fool of himself) from home; he’s getting a 7-figure salary; his ordeal is relatively minor.

Apparently a confrontation with  someone Cuomo considers one of the little people  on Easter Sunday caused the CNN anchor to snap and reveal the turmoil within, much like Fredo in his famous lament to Michael in “Godfather II.” On his Sirius-XM  satellite radio show, Cuomo vented about the incident, in which a stranger on a bicycle confronted him on Easter Sunday for being outside his Southampton home with his family despite the positive Wuhan virus diagnosis. Continue reading

Life Competence Note: There Is No Way You Will Look Smart Or Competent Quoting “Imagine”

I would think that would be screamingly obvious, but apparently not. Then again—actors.

As regular readers here know, John Lennon’s pompous, simple-minded and hypocritical (a mega-millionaire extolling “no possessions”) anthem to the joys of anarchy is a lifetime irritation for me, and anyone who argues that it’s profound or moving has provided signature significance that they can’t be trusted with moderately complex tasks or, for that matter, to prevail in Trivial Pursuit games against 4th graders.

Now, as you can see above, a group of Hollywood celebrities, including Gal Gadot, who apparently organized it, Will Ferrell, Mark Ruffalo, James Marsden, Lynda Carter, Jamie Dornan, and Amy Adams , all mansion-bound,  made a video with each of them singing bits of  John Lennon’s disgrace.  People are guessing that the intended message was “we’re all in this together,” or “it will all be OK” or “if society is destroyed and nobody has any jobs, that’s a good thing” or “Ramalama ding-dong” or something.

Predictably, the “imagine no possessions” line  attracted the most venom on social media, considering the average income of this group, but that’s unfair. Personally, I’m happy to have any celebrity publicly announce, “I’m an idiot!” on the web. It’s useful information, especially when these same deluded dufuses start telling us about the Green New Deal.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/16/2020: Zugswang!

Good morning, inmates!

I’ve been reading that social isolation may be deadly. Zugswang!

Last week “ethics zugswangmade a return to Ethics Alarms, and you can expect to read a lot more of it. The chess term describing the dilemma is which the only safe move is to stay still, and staying still is impossible, seems to be applying to increasing numbers of dire situations recently, especially in the ethical sense, in which all choices are unethical.Upon reflection, several posts involved ethics zugswang even when I didn’t use that term. The woman whose student loan debts topped 900,000 dollars is in zugswang. Progressive feminists who use gender-baiting as a partisan weapon are in self-condemned zugswang when political allies use misogynist terms against conservative women.

It’s really fun saying “zugswang,” but I will try to touch on some matters that don’t involve ethics zugswang….like…

1. “Hogan’s Heroes” ethics. I never thought it would happen, but a cable channel is re-running “Hogan’s Heroes” episodes. The very popular Sixties sitcom about POW prison camp and the wacky and inept Nazis running it has been thoroughly excoriated as outrageously tasteless and politically incorrect. My father loved the show because anything that made the Nazis look ridiculous was aces with him. Is it tasteless and offensive to show “Hogan’s Heroes” today?

It was clearly satire, in the same spirit as Larry, Moe and Curly playing Hitler and cronies, or Charley Chaplin in “The Great Dictator”—or, to pick a recent example, the child’s view of Hitler as an imaginary friend in “Jo-Jo Rabbit.” The show obviously took its inspiration from “The Great Escape,” of which it is virtually a parody (without the executions, of course.) WW II vets like my father were accustomed to the Nazis being ridiculed and trivialized in the process. In an age that has seen the Holocaust Museum’s exhibits and widely distributed documentaries about the full barbarity of Nazi Germany, the satire may no longer work.

There are other reasons why “Hogan’s Heroes” is no longer funny, despite the very talented cast. Its laugh track is annoying now, especially when the jokes are old and repetitive: how hard can you keep laughing when Sgt. Schultz (John Banner) says “I know nothing! NOTHING!” for the thousandth time? Perhaps the kiss of death for the series is the ubiquity of series star Bob Crane as Hogan, Crane was always smarmy for my taste, but knowing his fate—Crane was bludgeoned to death by a likely participant in his sick S & M porno ring that involved, among other revolting activities,  secretly videotaping women engaged in sex—make watching the show a painful experience. Continue reading

Yes, It’s Another “Ick Or Ethics?” Quiz: Sarah Palin’s Surprise

Believe it or not, that’s Sarah next to the bear….

To be absolutely transparent, my mind’s made up on this one: I think it’s unethical. However, I admit to be a hard-liner on this issue, which is “The duty of leaders not to debase their positions or former positions for personal gain or ego gratification.”

Let me introduce this  horrific cultural episode by saying that I regard the TV show involved, “The Masked Singer,” among the Top Ten Stupidest Shows in the history of network television, and I’ve seen a LOT of network television, far more than is good for me. Its existence is an insult to the public, its taste and intelligence, and the United States of America. Maybe the species too. Adam and Eve.

Now here is the video clip. Consider yourself warned: it cannot be unseen or unheard:

Yes, Sarah Palin dressed up in a rainbow teddy bear suit and rapped “Baby Got Back” on national television.

The lyrics from Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Noel Cowardesque 1992 hit:

Oh, my, God Becky, look at her butt
It is so big, she looks like
One of those rap guys’ girlfriends.
But, ya know, who understands those rap guys?
They only talk to her, because,
She looks like a total prostitute, ‘kay?
I mean, her butt, is just so big
I can’t believe it’s just so round, it’s like out there
I mean gross, look
She’s just so, black
I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung, want to pull up tough
‘Cause you notice that butt was stuffed
Deep in the jeans she’s wearing
I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring
Oh baby, I want to get wit’cha
And take your picture
My homeboys tried to warn me
But with that butt you got makes (me so horny)…

Nice. Classy!

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Was Palin’s appearance on “The Masked Singer” icky, funny, or unethical?

Continue reading

Ethics Nosegay,2/14/20: A New Ethics Train Wreck For Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love to all!

What does the Easter Bunny sing on Valentine’s Day? Every bunny loves some bunny sometime…

1. Yes, I think the Roger Stone sentencing mess is an Ethics Train Wreck now. As usual, several cars have been reserved by the President, whose dumb tweeting raised the appearance of impropriety and fed his ravenous critics, who will read anything he does in the worst light possible. Good for AG Barr for saying that such public White House word-barfs make it difficult for Barr to do his job.

The President really and truly does not seem to understand how his own job works: if he makes it known what his personal policy desires are, that’s potentially going to influence policy-makers who are supposed to be independent. Why is this so hard to grasp? True, it would be beyond moronic, if the President wanted to interfere with Barr’s handling of the Stone matter, for him to use Twitter rather than to pick up the phone. Also true: Trump has done things equally dumb.

Do you think the President knows the story of Thomas Becket’s murder, triggered when  King Henry II’s shouted out, to no one in particular, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” Two knights decided to make King Henry happy, though they had received no orders. Imagine if President Obama had tweeted—we know he would have been smart enough to just have an aide whisper in Lois Lerner’s ear— “Boy, these tea party groups are a scam! How do they warrant non-profit status?” before the IRS scandal unfolded.

Nonetheless, as is usually buried in Trump Derangement Enabling articles like this one, there are no knights in this case who can do Trump’s wish-fulfillment. “Just as he used US government power to smear Joe Biden in the Ukraine scandal, he succeeded in getting favorable treatment for a friend in the Stone case — though the final sentence will be up to a judge,” the CNN article reveals (let’s see) eight paragraphs in.  Trump can stand on his head shouting “Free Stone!” through a megaphone; he has no leverage with the judge. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/13/2020: Oh Oh! The Oscars Are Racist And Sexist Again!

 

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning!”

1. Thoughts on the announced Oscar nominations. Well, very few African Americans made it, and no female director despite all the blatant lobbying for “Little Women” director Greta Gerwig.  Thus I have to conclude that the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences DOES have a measure of integrity after all,  because it will catch all sorts of hell for this. Even after adding many voters “of color” and kicking out some ancient, unwoke voters members, it’s still a mostly white field, maybe because the most deserving candidates happened to be the wrong color this year. It doesn’t matter: the Academy will be beseiged again for implicit racism. Watch. And it will seek “reforms.” The problem is that race-based categories looks like apartheid. The only other alternative is to have secret quotas, which is what I thought were already in effect.

It doesn’t help that both Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were nominated as Best Supporting Actors for, in Pacino’s case, standard issue Al, and in Pesci’s case, an embarrassingly  flat performance. If the Academy is going to give out legacy nominations, why not some token nominations for minorities? I bet there were 50 “of color” performances this year objectively superior to these two from the dead-fish “The Irishman.”

2. It amazes me that so many Americans defend Meghan Markle’s “Megxit.” I know, I already wrote about this, but her conduct appears to be a continuation of the Obama phenomenon, where a prominent individual exploits her race to declare all criticism as based on racial bias. “Black Britons” as the New York Times calls them, are lining up to support Markel because they allege she was “savaged” by the British tabloids because of her race. Similarly, the Times finds dark implications in the fact that the Royal Family didn’t rally to her side when she came under fire: they must be racists too. All the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they didn’t support Markel because she’s an annoying jerk: Occam’s Razor applies.

If she really married into the Royal Family and didn’t know that the tabloids would be dissecting her every word and move, she was negligent and foolish. Did she consider chatting with Sarah Ferguson, or did Markle think the Duchess of York was attacked because of media bias against redheads?

For once I agree with ex-CNN talking head Piers Morgan, who wrote, “I’ve seen some disgraceful royal antics in my time, but for pure arrogance, entitlement, greed and willful disrespect, nothing has ever quite matched the behavior of the ‘Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’

She has provoked a crisis in the monarchy to further her own goals of unearned mega-celebrity. I have a Facebook friend who argues that since royalty is unethical, Meghan should be praised for setting out to bring it down in England. (Yes, he’s a Communist.) The real Markle is already becoming more apparent. She has said that she will only move back to the U.S. after President Trump is out of office, already pandering to the Angry Woke. Disney announced that it had a voice-over deal with her, with her compensation to be donated to a charity….but she made that deal as a Royal, not a rebel. Disney has the right, but not the guts, to void the arrangement. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Authors Stephen King And Don Winslow

Winslow, King, and their extortion target

Wow. Talk about having defective ethics alarms.

Bestselling novelists Stephen King and Don Winslow (he’s a best-selling detective novelist; I assume you know who King is) have offered to donate $200,000 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital if  White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham will finally hold a press conference, something the Administration stopped having ten months ago.

I assume you can quickly assess what is wrong with this, even though these successful, wealthy, adult men cannot:

  • They seem to think their wealth entitles and empowers them to manipulate the President of the United States,

   What hubris. What arrogance.

  • The two writers are using sick children as their hostages to try to bend the White House to their will.

Nice. Continue reading

“Megxit,” A Royal Ethics Mess That The Brits Should Have Seen Coming

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have essentially resigned from their duties as British Royals . The Duke and Duchess of Sussex—remember, Harry is one of Price William’s backups,  likely to become King, if ever, in his dotage, if at all, and only if some catastrophe befalls his his brother’s offspring.   The couple announced  on Instagram yesterday,

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”

What this means is a matter of great debate, but whatever it means, it’s unethical.

Prince Harry and Meghan are members of the Royal family, who are ridiculously compensated by British taxpayers to be living flags and cultural icons of Great Britain’s days of glory long past. That’s what they are. Being members of the Royal Family are their only claim to celebrity and significance, and, to Americans and anyone else who isn’t confused, that’s one wan claim at best. The Windsors are neither especially bright nor accomplished, though Harry’s great grandfather, the last King George, did play a part in helping to defeat Hitler in World War II, and his grandmother, the apparently immortal Queen Elizabeth II has done a respectable job assisting in Great Britain’s decline from a world  power to nation whose status outweighs its power and influence.

For senior members of British royalty to declare that they will be “progressive” royals is like a Pope announcing that he’s going to be a swinger. The Royal Family isn’t progressive by definition; it’s anachronistic.  It can’t be progressive, because the only progressive approach to the Royals is to jettison them, say goodby and thanks for fish and chips, and add their vast wealth to the national treasury to pay for national health care for a few years. Continue reading