I just watched “It Follows” for the third time in six years. (That’s why I’m writing this post at 4:10 am.)The 2014 horror film is original and avoids the usual cliches: there is no cabin in the woods, no zombies, no heavy-breathing slasher in a mask, no demonic possession or haunted family heirloom. The first time I saw it, all I could think about was how creepy it was. The second time, my attention was drawn to the writing and direction, which are excellent.
This time, all I could think of was ethics.
Horror, like science fiction, is a genre that frequently lends itself to ethical considerations, creating rare, indeed weird, problems and dilemmas that nonetheless need to be solved by traditional ethical decision-making processes. “It Follows” is a great example.
And the Court is right! But this is a really stupid law. According to Minnesota law, “‘mentally incapacitated’ means that a person under the influence of alcohol, a narcotic, anesthetic or any other substance, administered to that person without the person’s agreement, lacks the judgment to give a reasoned consent to sexual contact or sexual penetration.”
Wait, what? Does that really mean that a woman who is incapable of thinking straight or fighting off an amorous creep intent upon getting some cheap sex is mentally incapacitated and incapable of consent if she has been made blotto by a date who kept telling her she was drinking non-alcoholic punch that was really laced with vodka, but if she drank the exact same amount knowing what was in the punch, she isn’t “mentally incapacitated” even if she can barely speak or move to defend herself?
The tale of Rory van Ulft, the seven-year-old competitive weight-lifter, puts me in mind of Samuel Johnson’s famous quip about a dog walking on its hind legs: “It’s not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” According to one gushing profile, “Rory, who is just four feet tall, started training just after her fifth birthday after she was scouted at a gymnastics class. Fast forward to last week and she was crowned USA weightlifting under-11 and under-13s Youth National Champion in the 30kg weight class. She is the youngest US youth national champion in history and is the best pound-for-pound under-11s lifter in the US.”
I think, like the twin boys of “The Biking Vogels,” Abbie Sunderland, tiny gymnasts and skaters, child actors dragged to auditions and all the other children manipulated, exploited and ultimately endangered or harmed by their parents, Rory needs some responsible adult to step in and rescue her.
She has an Instagram account, managed by her parents [ Cavan and Lindsay] where the videos of her incredible feats are shared. Take a look at one such clip and prepare to get stunned….“I like getting stronger. Being stronger lets me do more and get better at everything I try. I don’t think about what came before, or what will come after. I don’t think about anything. I just clear my mind and do it,” she [said]….“Based on her current Sinclair total, Rory is not only the strongest seven-year-old in the world. She is likely also the strongest seven-year-old girl or boy who has ever lived, for whom there are verifiable competition results,” Rory’s dad told LadBible….
This isn’t the first time I’ve witnessed this situation—I think the first time was in junior high school—but it may be the first time I have thought about it beyond the immediate flash of irritation.
I decided to give Trader Joe’s another chance, as they have better pre-prepared meals, frozen or otherwise, than anyone else, and perhaps because a storm was looming, the line to get into the store was tolerable, and appeared to be moving quckly. By the time I got close to the Promised Land, however, the line was growing behind me rapidly.
An apparently elderly woman approached the entrance from the parking lot. The woman who was first in line waved her to the front of the line, and the senior was able to grab a cart immediately. She thanked the younger woman profusely, over and over.
There were more than ten hopeful shoppers behind me in line at that point. including at least one who looked no younger than the lady who got a pass.
Some are calling it the latest case of American puritanism, “far from French ways,” and reminding the French public that, at least in France, employees and bosses are free to date and protected by their right to privacy… in France, the company’s rule not to date “employees who have a direct or indirect reporting relationship to each other” is seen as anti-freedom, including sexual freedom.Therefore, to exclude sex from the workplace as a means of protecting women is perceived as an exclusion from the sexual realm that they fought so hard to have access to, thereby reducing them again to the status of objects who need protection from men. “We are putting walls in places where it is not necessary,” Rudisuhli said. “The sexuality of people does not concern the company. Women are big enough to know what they want. All women do not dream of marrying their boss. There is contempt for women as if we were venal and we need to protect them. It’s contemptuous.” Rudisuhli voiced the concern that women in France risk being victimized in the wake of the #MeToo movement and reduced to an inferior position of needing protection, in the sexual realm as well as in the workplace. It is through this lens that many consider McDonald’s rules to be patriarchal….
Sure. In reality, it is through this lens that bosses who want to abuse their workplace power to get laid and employees who think they can use sex to get an edge on advancement see a threat to their unethical and destructive agendas.
I get it: the French culture embraces sexual harassment. That’s their choice, but don’t insult everyone else’s intelligence by trying to justify it by using a wave of rationalizations so high it would drown Marseilles. Continue reading →
McDonald’s has either fired CEO Steve Easterbrook or forced him to resign (it’s unclear which) after it was determined that he had a sexual relationship with an employee, and thus a subordinate. The relationship was determined to be “consensual,” to the extent a non-workplace, intimate relationship with a superior who controls your livelihood and professional advancement can ever be regarded as truly consensual. The position of Ethics Alarms is that it can not be; this was once the official position of the National Organization for Women until the principle threatened the tenure of Bill Clinton in the White House, whereupon Gloria Steinem suddenly declared that such relationships were swell.
“Mickey D’s” Board of Directors found Easterbrook had “demonstrated poor judgement,” the company announced today, and had violated written company policy. Easterbrook, 52 years old, had seen the company’s shares nearly double in value since he became chief executive in March 2015. The board therefore definitively rejected the King’s Pass, sending an unequivocal message to other managers that treating the workplace as their personal dating bar wouldn’t be tolerated no matter how important they were or how effective they were at their jobs.
That’s James’ father with him on the left, and his mother, after dressing James as “Luna,” on the right.
A jury in Dallas, Texas jjust ruled against Jeffrey Younger, who is trying to stop his son’s’ mother, Dr. Anne Georgulas, from “transitioning” him—his current name is James–into “Luna,” a female. Dr. Geogulas now can start the boy on puberty blockers and eventually cross-sex hormones.
Eleven of the twelve jurors rejected James’ fathers petition to be granted sole conservatorship over his two sons. In this bitter custody fight, he argued that his ex-wife is “transitioning” James against the boy’s will.
I neglected to mention that James is seven years old. He cannot meaningfully consent to being chemically and eventually surgically transformed into a female at that age. It is astounding that this is legal in Texas or anywhere else. It is child abuse. It is an abuse of parental power. It is abuse that political agendas and cheerleading from the popular culture is inflicting on innocent children without adequate research or cause. Continue reading →
Ethics Alarms master commenter Mrs. Q has the highest ratio of Comments of the Day to comments of any of the erudite participants here. If she would consider it, I’d love to feature her ethical musings in a regular column on the blog. This is the first of two Mrs. Q compositions you will see this weekend; it concerns the issues of euthanasia and consent, which were explored in twoposts this week, and a poll. Regarding that: here is the still live survey regarding the hypothetical I posed in this follow-up to the one about the Dutch doctor:
As you can see, those supporting the opposite position of Mrs. Q (and me) are in a distinct minority.
My God fearing Catholic grandma had the opposite response to yours. She was 102 & 7mo. and after breaking her hip it was too late to even think of surgery. She continued to weaken & lose weight yet she fought by drinking milkshakes & trying to greet her many family/visitors.
Before she got to this point a few years prior, her care coordinator somehow changed her directive to DNR, which as a Catholic she wouldn’t have agreed to, yet this person tried to convince the family that my grandma said yes to the change. If my family hadn’t checked the paperwork, my grandma’s incorrect and unauthorized change would have remained; however our family changed it back. My understanding is such acts are not uncommon in these facilities.
Fast forward to her last days. She was increasingly given higher doses of morphine & we weren’t allowed to even give her sips of water, though she was clearly thirsty. Her last words ever spoken while she gripped onto me, and heard by everyone in the room were “I don’t want to die.” She didn’t want to go and the nursing home was killing her and she knew it.
I still feel complicit in her death, as I tried to “go along” with staff who I assumed knew best. Continue reading →
The Euthanasia Slippery Slope: A Case Study, this morning’s post, has attracted a wider range of opinion than I expected. I considered attaching a poll to the original post; now I’m going to go a step farther, and base that poll on a hypothetical of the kind that I use in my legal ethics seminars.
Speaking of those, on Tuesday, September 17, in Richmond, VA, and Wednesday, September 18, in Fairfax, VA, I’ll be presenting “The Greatest Legal Ethics Seminar Ever Taught!” for three hours of legal ethics CLE credit to Virginia lawyers and others. The title reflects, other than my own warped sense of humor (“The Greatest Story Ever Told” is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen), the fact that the legal ethics hypotheticals being discussed cover what I have found to be many of the most contentious, fascinating legal ethics issues extant over 20 years of doing these things. Moreover, I am being joined by my friend and colleague, John May, who approached these issues from the perspective of a practical litigator as well as one who often defends lawyers accused of ethical improprieties. He’s also one combative and clever pain in the ass who loves disagreeing with me, so I recommend bringing popcorn. The details are here.
Dr. Kevorkian was happy to help you kill yourself…
As health care costs rise and the public as a whole becomes more financially responsible for the care of individuals; as the population ages and the massive increase in health care costs in the final years and months of life becomes an increasing burden on society, and as legal abortion stays front and center as the most brutal form of utilitarianism, where a weaker and “lesser” life is deemed expendable for the well-being of others, I expect the United States culture to be drawn closer and closer to the seductive policy of legal euthanasia. It is now legal in Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Maine (as of next year), New Jersey, Hawaii, and Washington. You may note what these states all have in common….not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I believe that permitting an individual to kill another with the victim’s consent is so ripe for abuse—Dr. Kevorkian comes to mind—that it crosses an ethical line that should be thick, black, and forbidding. The alleged consent can too easily be coerced or manufactured for the convenience of others. A recent case in the Netherlands confirms my strong reservations.
The unidentified patient, 74, had asked in writing for doctors to end her life if she had to be admitted to a nursing home, and if she thought the time was right. When she entered a home in 2016, however, though incapacitated, she appeared to have changed her mind, and gave what prosecutors called “mixed signals” about her desire to die. Continue reading →