Introducing The Ethics Stooges: Bristol, Geraldo, And Dan


They are the perfect  2015 replacements for Larry, Moe and Curly. So diverse! Bristol Palin, a conservative woman; Geraldo Rivera,a Hispanic liberal who works for a conservative news network, and Dan Savage, a progressive gay scold!

Too bad they aren’t funny.

In fact, they are pathetic, and, of course, ethically inert. They also make “Porcupine” and the Howard Boys look classy by comparison, and they showered in their clothes.

First, yecch, Bristol Palin. She is the epitome of a worthless celebrity. Arguably, she is worse that a Kardashian. Her claim to fame is embarrassing her mother by turning up pregnant and unmarried in the middle of the 2008 Presidential campaign. That’s it. That got her a slot on “Dancing With The Stars” and a reality show where she became the poster girl for unmarried motherhood as a clever career move. Then, mind-blowingly, she became a paid advocate for teenage abstinence before marriage, that is, unlike her. In 2011, Palin was paid more than a typical Hillary Clinton college speaking fee—over a quarter million dollars—to be the abstinence spokesperson for the Candies Foundation.

Naturally, she got pregnant sans wedding ring again.

Soon after her engagement to former Marine and Medal of Honor awardee Dakota Meyer ended, Palin announced on her blog this week that she was once more with child, but without husband. “I wanted you guys to be the first to know that I am pregnant. Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one,” wrote Palin. “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you,” she wrote. “But please respect Tripp’s and my privacy during this time. I do not want any lectures and I do not want any sympathy.”

Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck!

No sympathy? Deal. But here’s the lecture: you owe the Candies Foundation—which, frankly, deserves this embarrassment for hiring a feckless reality star as a role model for impressionable teens–every cent you accepted as part of your con. But then your life is a con. You have no talent, no integrity, and no excuse for your conduct. Get an education, grow up, and go away. You degrade the culture and America’s values by your very existence. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Month: Dan Savage

“If being gay is a choice, prove it. Choose it. Choose to be gay yourself. Show America how that’s done, Ben, show us how a man can choose to be gay. Suck my dick. Name the time and the place and I’ll bring my dick and a camera crew and you can suck me off and win the argument.”

—Columnist and gay rights advocate Dan Savage, responding to Dr. Ben Carson’s assertion on CNN that being gay is a choice, and that men choose to become gay as a result of prison experiences.

"Hmmm...I'm straight, but that Dan Savage looks mighty good. Maybe I should choose to gay...."

“Hmmm…I’m straight, but that Dan Savage looks mighty good. Maybe I should choose to be gay….”

Some observations:

1. Savage works in shock rhetoric the way Rodin worked in marble. Yes, the response to Carson is uncivil and vulgar. As such, it is as good an example as one could find of the importance of not banning words, even the obscene, ugly and hurtful ones. They are certainly subject to abuse, like all words. Still, they have legitimate and valuable uses.

2. Unfortunately, because Savage’s own conduct in the gay rights wars has been unyieldingly abusive, contemptuous and hateful, he only amuses his own constituency, and persuades no one who needs persuading. Yet his comment deftly unmasks the absurdity and ignorance of Carson’s. If it had come from a critic who was regarded as objective and not habitually offensive for the sake of being so, Savage’s attack would have impact beyond those who already have made up their minds about Ben Carson.

3. Thus the lesson of Savage’s assault is that incivility’s effectiveness, like its justifiability, is inversely related to its rarity. Continue reading

“It’s A Cook Book!”

Nobody listens to me...

Nobody listens to me…

The issues at the core of the Anthony Weiner debacle—which is not the conduct of the ex-Congressman/absurd NYC mayoral candidate/sick puppy, but the fact that so many, like Dan Savage, Huma Abedin (Weiner’s wife, Hillary’s apprentice, carrier of the Clintonian ethisc virus),  Andrew Sullivan, and apparently 16% of New York Democrats still argue that his conduct doesn’t disqualify him from elected office—-are ones which I am especially passionate about, because they are the very issues that launched this blog’s predecessor, the Ethics Scoreboard:

1. There is no division between private unethical conduct and public unethical conduct. It is a false construct designed to assist scoundrels in getting elected. Private conduct is as reliable an indicator of trustworthiness as other prior conduct.

2. Leaders in a democracy should be held to an exemplary level of conduct, not the average or common conduct of those they seek to lead.

3. Some instances of unethical conduct have “signature significance“for the individual involved, meaning that contrary to the common rationalization that “anyone can make a mistake,” there are some things that ethical people never would do even once, and thus the fact that an individual does do it is persuasive evidence that they are generally untrustworthy.

Thus I believe Weiner’s story is more important than the mere sordid political drama involved: if people pay attention, if people learn, if people can get by their partisan biases and convenient ethics misconceptions, maybe we can begin establishing a better, more sensible, beneficial standard for our elected leaders, who, perhaps you have noticed, are, as a group, an embarrassment to the legacy of July 4, 1776. I don’t have illusions that I have any influence, and it is unseemly to say “I told you so,” but sometimes I feel like one of the doomed heroes in science fiction/horror scenarios who end up screaming “They’re already here! You’re next!” or “It’s a cook book!” to unheeding crowds blithely proceeding to their own destruction.

Yesterday the news surfaced that should be the smoking gun on Anthony Weiner’s corrupt character that readers of this blog, at least, did not require to render a verdict—that Weiner’s conduct was not just an irrelevant personal quirk, that his initial lying about it was proof of a corrupt character, and that he is no more trustworthy than John Edwards, Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun or anyone else who lies to the public to keep its trust. Maybe it will convince Dan, Huma, Andrew and the rest that Anthony Weiner is too corrupt—never mind sick—to lead. If it doesn’t, I think that is signature significance about them. Continue reading

Savage Nightmare: Into the Valley Of Spin, Deceit and Lies

When Perez Hilton is the MOST ethical participant in a chain of internet lies, spin and deceit, you know you’re in trouble.

The dishonesty in the world of blogs and partisan websites is so pervasive, the determination to deceive so great, and the willingness to distort, confuse and misinform so ingrained and shameless, that an objective understanding of some politically-charged events become literally—and I mean literally literally, and what Joe Biden means when he says literally, which is “figuratively”—impossible. Does this fuel the destructive partisanship that causes public discourse to be about “gotchas” and point scoring rather than collaboratively addressing societal problems? Absolutely.

I fell into this muck today when I made the mistake of visiting the Breitbart website for the first time in months, to see what it was evolving into now that Andrew has left us. Eureka! Here was a post by Ben Shapiro saluting Perez Hilton, the petty and reliably ethics-challenged gossip columnist (there is no such thing as an ethical gossip columnist) for breaking ranks and criticizing Dan Savage for his anti-Christian, abusive rant to high school journalists in what was supposed to be a speech about anti-bullying initiatives. This signaled to me that Hilton had an Ethics Hero designation in his immediate future, for properly chastising unethical conduct by an ally: like Savage, Hilton is gay and active in anti-bullying efforts.

Shapiro wrote:

“Hilton has long been an advocate of anti-bullying, and it is heroic of him to stand apart from the rest of the media, which has buried Savage’s bully tactics or brushed them off as unimportant. Savage, as Hilton points out, has lost his credibility as an anti-bullying advocate with such actions. And yes, Hilton has cut a video on behalf of the It Gets Better Project.

“It wasn’t any of the big time celebrities who have endorsed and supported Savage’s It Gets Better Project who stood up against him. It wasn’t folks like Jane Lynch or Neil Patrick Harris or Josh Duhamel or James Marsden or Janet Jackson or Jennifer Love Hewitt or any of the dozens of other stars who could have done so. It wasn’t the folks in the mainstream media, who have completely ignored the story, or justified Savage’s behavior. It wasn’t the elected leaders who have used government resources to direct traffic to Savage’s program who stood up to Savage’s bullying here. It wasn’t President Obama or Vice President Biden or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack or the Department of Justice or the White House Staff or Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

“It was a gossip columnist.”

The Perez quote cited by Shapiro to justify this extravagant praise was this:

 “UGH ….Savage later called the walk-out “pansy-a**ed” which, from someone who helms an anti-bullying campaign, is obviously a very negative thing to say ….Can’t we just be good and kind to each other? Isn’t faith in love and honesty and kindness all any of us really need?” Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: The Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association

Savage being Savage.

Now some of you will wonder, when a speaker addressing a national conference of high school journalists on the topic of anti-bullying measures starts a hateful rant against the Bible, religion, and any students in the audience who believe in either, why the speaker wouldn’t be the designated dunce. The speaker in this sorry case, however, was Dan Savage. Savage is a talented writer, a gay rights advocate, and a gifted humorist; he is also a very angry, self-righteous, arrogant gay man with a tendency to be unapologetically vicious. While it is true that angry, “take-no-prisoner” activists have their uses on the road to social change, lecturing about the evils of bullying is not one of them, because these people are themselves prone to bullying. No, the ethics dunces are the organizations that inflict such individuals on young, idealistic student journalists who didn’t travel to a conference to have a speaker call them “pansy-assed.”

That’s what the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association did when they irresponsibly invited Dan Savage to speak to the students, about 100 of whom walked out as Savage launched into an angry, but thoroughly Savage-like diatribe against Christians and Christianity. Continue reading

Tardy and Biased Ethics Half-Hero: National Organization for Women (NOW)

Well, better late, confused, ineffective, biased and hypocritica than never, I guess.

Well, what do you know! The National Organization for Women, after sitting back and tolerating (or perhaps enjoying) comedian Bill Maher’s repeated use of misogynistic language to denigrate women as long as the women—Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin—were anti-abortion and conservatives, finally spoke up and followed their mission when Maher’s show, as it was bound to do, went too far even for NOW.

NOW issued a release condemning Maher and his guests on HBO’s “Real Time” for endorsing rape and sexual abuse, or “angry fucking,” as proper punishment for Bachmann for the crime of not seeing the world as Maher and guests Dan Savage and Marc Maron do. While discussing Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus’s controversial gay Christian therapy clinic, the panel and Maher discussed “Mr. Bachmann’s” sexuality and marriage with Michele.  Marc Maron declared that he hoped Marcus “takes all that rage that comes from repression and denial and brings it into the bedroom. . . I hope he fucks her angrily, because that’s how I would, and I’ve thought about it.” Continue reading

Dan Savage’s Curse on Rick Santorum: Funny! But Wrong.

Former Senator Rick "Frothy Mix"

Rick Santorum, the former GOP senator and stalwart of social conservatives, recently announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Santorum’s chances of becoming president are somewhere between Newt Gingrich’s White House prospects and an ice swan’s odds of being a centerpiece in Hell, but they aren’t helped any by the results of a devastating prank inflicted on his image by syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage.  When you Google “Santorum,” the first result listed is this:

Santorum 1. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex. 2. Senator Rick Santorum. Continue reading