I love it when first time commenters break in with a Comment of the Day, and this is the case with Brad Kent Prothero. Brad offers a different perspective on the Dak Prescott/Skip Bayless controversy discussed in the post, “Psst! Fox Sports! Skip Bayless Is Right. Winston Churchill Says So….”
Here is his Comment of the Day:
If Dak Prescott was talking about how he feels on the field, I would fully agree with Skip and you. However, he was talking about something much bigger than football. Dealing with the COVID situation is drastically different from anything experienced on the football field.
He has spent many years preparing, learning, thinking, and playing football. He has experience that he can call up to help him during a game. The preparation they do before a game is extensive and they are ready for most situations however unlikely.
Compare that to how much time most people were prepared for the ramifications of COVID, let alone an elite sports figure leading one of the most popular NFL teams. No one was prepared for how the shut-down would effect society or the well being of each of us. Continue reading
Fox Sports is trying to show its compassionate and sensitive side by criticizing its own pundit, Skip Bayless, for saying that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott should not not have spoken publicly about his battle with depression.
During a television interview, Prescott said that the pandemic and the suicide of one of his brothers sent him into a bout of clinical depression to the extent that he couldn’t leave his house, and he sought help from family and the Cowboys. Bayless said on his show,“Undisputed,” “I don’t have sympathy for him going public with, ‘I got depressed’ and ‘I suffered depression early in COVID to the point that I couldn’t even go work out.’ Look, he’s the quarterback of America’s team.” His co-host Shannon Sharpe objected, and soon Bayless’s employer weighed in, saying in a statement,
“We do not agree with Skip Bayless’ opinion on Undisputed this morning. We have addressed the significance of this matter with Skip and how his insensitive comments were received by people internally at Fox Sports and our audience,”
Well… Continue reading
“…but just shut the hell up about it, or we’ll have to suspend you.
Love, The Administration”
Episodes like this, coming out of the wreckage we call higher education, raise at least three troubling questions:
1. If universities are this ignorant of the principle of free speech, why is anyone surprised that our younger generations are so willing to sacrifice it for political ends?
2. How can institutions run by administrators this immune to basic ethical decision-making reasoning be trusted to competently educate their students?
3. How many equally outrageous policies do schools inflict on their students that we don’t hear about?
Northern Michigan University installed threatens students with discipline if they share suicidal thoughts with other students.
FIRE, as usual, is on the case, and has written to the school to explain to them why this is abusive and a flagrant First Amendment violation. One student who had received a warning about her discussing about her suicidal feelings with her friends on campus, and was told not to have such conversations. She asked for clarification from Associate Dean of Students Mary Brundage, writing,
Just to clarify, the email said that if I spoke to students about it that it would create a distraction—which could create disciplinary action against me. . . . I was also wondering if I respond to concerned people, is that enough to get me in trouble? I do not want to worry others by not responding and I do not want to have the possibility of getting expelled by reaching out to my friends during this emotionally trying time and I see the possibility of misunderstanding or getting more concerned.
“I find it rather astonishing that anyone would be so naive as to imagine, in this day and Information Age, to think that it is a good idea to simultaneously a) be mentally ill and b) play attack dog on the Internet…if you have a mental illness and you are foolish enough to attack me, then you can be certain that I will exploit your weakness to whatever extent I happen to find useful or amusing…If you are weak, then for the love of God and anything else in which you happen to believe, do not attack the strong!”
This Ted Beale, alias Vox Day. Let us never speak of him again.
—Theodore Beale, writing as “Vox Day” on his blog, commenting on Popehat blogger Ken White’s post about his clinical depression, which was highlighted on Ethics Alarms here.
The whole post must be read to get the full flavor of Beale’s ego-soaked viciousness. It is also a good example of signature significance: only a self-professed “cruelty artist” would produce such offal, even once. Yes, being a cruelty artist is unethical.
Ken’s interest in gaming and science fiction has the unfortunate side-effect of making him aware of Vox Day, a science fiction writer who has built a following based on his espousal of misogyny, homophobia, and other vile causes metastasizing on the dark side of the far right. He also, obviously, believes in encouraging the stigma of mental illness, which marks him as ignorant.
My only guess as to why Ken bothered to scratch this human boil is that he was annoyed by Beale/Day’s sexist, racist machinations regarding the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the.Hugo Awards. It all smelled of Gamergate to me, and like that convoluted mess, my interest in it (and ability to research it sufficiently to comment intelligently on it is best described by reference to George S. Kaufmann’s description of his interest in crooner Eddie Fisher’s love life:
Mr. Fisher, on Mount Wilson there is a telescope that can magnify the most distant stars to twenty-four times the magnification of any previous telescope. This remarkable instrument was unsurpassed in the world of astronomy until the development and construction of the Mount Palomar telescope.The Mount Palomar telescope is an even more remarkable instrument of magnification. Owing to advances and improvements in optical technology, it is capable of magnifying the stars to four times the magnification and resolution of the Mount Wilson telescope.Mr. Fisher, if you could somehow put the Mount Wilson telescope inside the Mount Palomar telescope, you still wouldn’t be able to see my interest in your problem.
I can’t really say Ken White is a friend. We have never met, though we have spoken on the phone. I sent him a copy of my book. He has cited my posts and I have (often) cited his; we have disagreed and argued. I think he’s still ticked off at me for asserting here that well off, smart, educated professionals (like him) who argue for drug legalization share responsibility for the fates of the poor, uneducated or not so smart people who ruin their lives using the junk because the elite have proclaimed that the laws are foolish. (I still believe that, by the way, more today than ever.)
Ken also advised me wisely when I was being threatened with a lawsuit. I am eternally grateful for his kindness. We share a profession and the avocation of blogging, as well as a professional interest in ethics. We are both fervent believers in the First Amendment, but Ken is a true warrior on the front lines, while I just occasionally submit a dispatch from the battlefield. We both adopted children from overseas, and have some similarly warped strains to our humor. One thing I do not share with Ken is clinical depression, thank goodness. He suffers from it, I don’t. Continue reading