Tag Archives: cruelty

From An Ethics Dunce Playmate Of The Year, A Full Pazuzu!

dani-mathers post

Dani Mathers is a former Playmate of the Year. On the left below, you see Dani as she appears to unknowing bystanders; on the right, the oil portrait of herself that she keeps in the attic.

Dani+Mathers

Befitting the character and soul accurately portrayed by the portrait, the skin-deep beauty took a cellphone photo of an unaware naked female member of LA Fitness in the gym’s shower. Then Dani posted the pic on Snapchat with the caption, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

The actual photo does not have the victim’s body blotted out.

Said LA Fitness of  Dani:”Her behavior is appalling and puts every member’s privacy at risk. We have handled this internally and also notified the police.”

Of course cell phone photography is prohibited in locker rooms. Doing what Mathers did may also be against the law.

Caught with her ugly soul exposed to the world, the model reverted to full Pazuzu mode. Pazuzu was the demon who made poor Linda Blair say all those horrible things in “The Exorcist,” and the Pazuzu Excuse is what Ethics Alarms calls apologies for horrible statements or conduct that include such incredible statements as “Those statements do not express my real beliefs,” “That doesn’t reflect who I am,” and the always popular “That wasn’t me.” Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Rights, Social Media

Ethics Quiz: Satirical Baby Hate

scary baby

I’m still getting hate comments about my verdict on the Bon Jovi DirecTV commercial that extols the virtue of erasing one’s children from existence, so this piece of New Yorker satire, by real parents about a real newborn child, gave me pause. Here is how  “An Honest Birth Announcement” starts…

Dear friends and family,

Jen and I are utterly horrified to announce the arrival of our son, Jasper Heusen-­Gravenstein, born May 21st at 4:56 A.M. For nine long months, we’ve wondered who this little creature would be. Well, now we know: he’s the living embodiment of our darkest imaginings, with a nefarious agenda and Grandpa Jim’s nose.

At seven pounds four ounces, Jasper may be small, but he’s large enough to have triggered our most primal fears. We’ve already been driven to the brink of madness with unanswerable questions such as: How can we sustain the life of a creature whose incessant, blood­curdling screams communicate nothing but blind rage and indeterminate need? What if he senses our fear and, like a wild hyena, is instinctively triggered to attack? Will we ever finish the most recent season of “House of Cards”?

It goes on in that tongue-in-cheek-but-you-know-we’re-half-serious-right-fellow-parent-vein…

But it names the child, who is, or course, helpless, blameless and defenseless, and creates a permanent record of parental faux-hate for Jasper to read…when he’s a parent, and old enough to get the joke, or when he’s 8, and a classmate sends it to him.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Even as obvious humor, would it be ethical for Rob and Jen Heusen-­Gravenstein to have this published?

Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Family, Humor and Satire, Love, Quizzes

Final Thoughts On The “Turn Back Time” DirecTV Ad, The Response To My Post, And Callousness Toward Life

It’s not on TV any more, but to refresh your memory:

I’m usually a poor judge of the posts that attract controversy here.  The Ethics Alarms commentary about the Jon Bon Jovi DirecTV ad showing the fading rock star singing the virtues of a “turn back time” feature that will allow subscribers to the satellite service to watch shows from the beginning after they have already run is now five weeks old, and it is still drawing traffic and–I also didn’t see this coming—abusive responses. I haven’t changed my mind about the ad being gratuitously and smugly callous and promoting societal indifference toward children, but I have learned some things from the responses to my pointing it out, especially the angry ones.

This blog isn’t called Ethics Alarms for nothing. Its objective is to help people be more sensitive to ethical issues and the right way to handle them, as well as to give them tools to keep their ethics alarms in working order. My ethics alarms were always unusually sensitive–being raised by my father will do that—and have become progressively more sensitive with attention, trial and error, and study. They aren’t perfect, but when they go off, they go off. If I can find out what they are ringing…training and experience help with that…then I will often write a post about the reason they rang out. My alarms went off every time that DirecTV ad came on, but it took me about four viewings to analyze why.  Then I wrote the post.

The commercial has Bon Jovi explaining what’s so great about being able to “turn back time”: in addition to letting you watch the show you missed, he notes that you can have the mild salsa you turned down for a spicy variety, and retroactively decide not to have that second child you now regret. The child is shown drawing on the wall with crayons, and he vanishes as the crayons he was holding fall to the floor. The parents smile. Bon Jovi smirks.

I wrote,

“Why isn’t it immediately obvious that this shows antipathy to children, boys, and human beings generally? The human being who was made to go away because he was inconvenient and burdensome couldn’t have been a girl, because it would be a “war on women,” and the family couldn’t be Hispanic or black, because that wouldn’t have been funny, but a white couple erasing their son from existence because he misbehaves—now that’s comedy gold.”

The comments to the post made me realize that there is antipathy to children, and the concept of turning back time to eliminate an unwanted life is acceptable, and thus no big deal, to a large portion of our culture. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Fair, Accurate, And Devastating: A Hillary Super-Pac’s Anti-Trump Ad

Donald Trump has said and done so many outrageous things since his November, 2015 mockery of a disabled journalist that many have probably forgotten how ugly, cruel and undignified it was. Trump also, you may recall, denied that he even knew the journalist was disabled—one of his many Jumbos (“Elephant? What elephant?”) since that accursed day that he entered the presidential race. Now a super-PAC supporting Hillary Clinton has taken that moment and employed it to make a vivid point, easily summarized as, “This guy wants to be President?”

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Jumbo, Leadership, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

From The “I’ll Take My Tiny Victories Where I Can Get Them” Dept., A DirecTV Update

DirecTV is now running a new version of the “Turn Back Time” ad featuring Bon Jovi. It looks just like the earlier one, except that now turning back time re-unites the female side of the satellite TV-watching couple with her old boyfriend, as her current partner looks on in horror. This is a major improvement over the first version, as it doesn’t make a wall-drawing kid vanish into the ether as his parents smile at ridding themselves of an unwanted child.

Maybe this is just an effort to vary the theme. I’d like to think, however, that enough ethics alarms went off among viewers and maybe even DirecTV executives that they realized that the original ad was more ugly than funny, and pulled it for a more ethical version that doesn’t tell us that this corporation thinks vaporizing children is hilarious.

Don’t disillusion me. I can’t always feel like I’m screaming in the wilderness here.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture

Faking The Unicorn: The Hoover Institution’s Victor Davis Hanson Explains Why Republican Will Vote For Trump

unicorn2

Loyal reader and frequent Commenter “Other Bill” sent me this essay by conservative writer Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Intstitution, with the note that it is “Probably as close as you will get to what you’ve been looking for.” I think he’s correct, but since what I’ve been looking for is a single rational reason to vote for Trump, and Hanson’s essay consists of irrational beliefs, rationalizations, terrible logic and skewed values that many Republicans will adopt, it is like sending someone searching for a unicorn this…

horned woman

It’s interesting but disgusting, and not what I’m after.

Hanson’s piece begins…

If Donald Trump manages to curb most of his more outrageous outbursts by November, most Republicans who would have preferred that he did not receive the nomination will probably hold their noses and vote for him.

How could that be when a profane Trump has boasted that he would limit Muslim immigration into the United States, talked cavalierly about torturing terrorist suspects and executing their relatives, promised to deport all eleven-million Mexican nationals who are residing illegally in the U.S., and threatened a trade war with China by slapping steep tariffs on their imports?

A number of reasons come to mind.

Hanson has already invalidated his essay at the outset by material omission. If the items he mentioned were the only reasons to oppose Trump, his subsequent arguments might make sense….well, more sense than they do. But to even try to list the reasons Trump is unfit is to understate the case. In addition to what Hanson mentions,

  • Trump reduces all debates to ad hominem attacks, which would degrade the standard for all debate, culture wide, with devastating effects should he become President.
  • He has advocated the virtues of bribery, while mocking the virtue of integrity.
  • He sees nothing unethical about conflicts of interest.
  • He has endorsed the use of doxxing to retaliate against critics, indicating his disregard for privacy and confidentiality.
  • He endorses vengeance.
  • He is a misogynist, a sexist, and a sexual harasser.
  • He has lied repeatedly, and then lied about lying.
  • He refuses to apologize even when he has been exposed as engaging in reckless wrongdoing.
  • He has refused to engage in serious study of the issues, preferring instead to improvise answers to policy questions, showing laziness and a lack of seriousness.
  • He is a clinical narcissist, meaning that he is unstable and suffering from a crippling personality disorder.
  • All of the individuals he has appointed to represent him in the media have been exposed as incompetent, indicting Trump’s judgment as well as his claim that he’ll “appoint the best people.”
  • He has endorsed the views of white supremacists.
  • He is incapable of giving a dignified, articulate, coherent speech.
  • He does not understand the difference between rationalizations and ethics.
  • He has no military experience.
  • He has no government experience.
  • He would probably be the least intelligent President in U.S. history. (There are a few we could have a legitimate argument about. Those Presidents, however, had other virtues Trump not only doesn’t have, but doesn’t care about.)
  • This.

Is there more? Of course there is more…much more. Pages and pages more. Hanson gives five policy-based reasons to object to Trump, plus the fact that he is “profane.” (This is equivocation: Trump isn’t just profane; he is vulgar, boorish, undignified and crude.) That’s misleading. That’s deceit. That’s how the supporters of Hillary Clinton, if they were Trump supporters, would falsely try to mislead critics.

Here are Hanson’s “reasons” that “come to mind”—I may not be able to resist an occasional bolded remark before I’m through quoting—: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, U.S. Society

DirecTV Apparently Thinks Promoting Child-Killing Is A Cool Way To Sell Subscriptions

Six years ago, I flagged an ugly series of DirecTV commercials. One showed police casually tasering people, yet another approved of stealing stamps from one’s employer. Then there were a series of commercials promoting the satellite company’s NFL package, with the theme that hate is hilarious. Among the incidents featured:

  • In Wisconsin, a Green Bay Packers fan welcomes her 49er fan neighbor by leaving a cake on his stoop. The cake reads “DIRT BAG.”
  • A group of Patriots fans in wintery Foxboro, Mass. grumble about the Miami Dolphin fan next door (“Moron!” says one woman). One of them throws a shovelful of snow on the Miami fan’s door.
  • A Dallas Cowboy fan sends her dog to trash and pee in her Redskin fan neighbor’s house.
  • In another Dallas setting, a diner, the waitress expresses her contempt for Philadelphia Eagles fans by secretly squeezing her dishrag into their beers.

That was mild, however, compared to the vicious sentiments being sold in a new DirecTV commercial.  A married couple sits down in their living room to watch some television when the husband realizes he forgot to record the show. Jon Bon Jovi appears behind them and sings about the power to turn back time with DirecTV, with its new feature that allows viewers to track down and watch  shows after they have been broadcast. to  That’s not the only magic they can accomplish by turning back time, the aging rocks star sings.  For example, they can go back in time and reconsider having their second child, who looks about 7, and is drawing on the walls.

Poof! He’s gone! His crayons fall to the floor. The boy is erased, and the two parents smile at each other as Bon Jovi smirks. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture