Comment Of The Day: “Comment Of The Day: ‘Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?’

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It’s a gift to your host when I can start out with a Comment of the Day, especially on days like this, when I wake up feeling like I lost a bucket of IQ points overnight.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the Mrs. Q’s discourse on the meme/poster above, and the chiding of pundit Andrew Sullivan, who criticized it:

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Comment Of The Day: “Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?”

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Mrs. Q—I’m still beginning 2021 hoping that she will re-activate her personal column on Ethics Alarms!—delivered a characteristically sharp and thoughtful commentary on the meme/poster above, thus earning the Comment of the Day.

In related news, Andrew Sullivan had this exchange with a trans activist who accused him of being a bigot. (Andrew, as he tells us at every opportunity, is gay):

Sullivan-trans

A brief on-topic digression: I find it amazing how really terrible reasoning and stunningly lame arguments find their way onto public forums to make the public even more ignorant and incompetent than it already is, meaning dangerously ignorant and incompetent. Consider that last tweet: Molly begins by saying that her assertion that Sullivan is bigot is bolstered by her own self-proclaimed status, or in other words, “It’s true because I saw so.” Next, she cites a personal anecdote as if what she thought and she chose to do proves anything about anything other than what she thought and she did. Finally, we get the non-sequitur that “Foucoult had sex with transwomen,” a twist on #32. The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing.” There was nothing wrong with Foucoult having sex with transwomen if indeed that is true, but that still doesn’t mean that not having sex with transwomen is proof of bigotry, and who made Michael Foucoult the arbiter of sexual preferences?

Ann Althouse, who found that Twitter exchange, was sufficiently perplexed by Molly’s argument that he hypothesized that it has to be a joke. She also found this, for which I am grateful:

Schrödinger’s Douchebag: A guy who says offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him.

That’s funny, but in real life the process is that someone makes a statement that offensive or stupid, means it, but retreats to Rationalization #55, The Joke Excuse, when they are criticized.

Here is Mrs. Q’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?”:

Welcome to the world lesbians have been subjected to for at least 6-10 years.

Please take a gander at TERF is a Slur. A “TERF” is likely defined as Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist. However this term has been used specifically against lesbians who object to sleeping with or dating men who identify as lesbians. Ask any lesbian what being a part of the LGBTQ+ “community” is like if you object to a born-male partner personally.

The sad thing is there are plenty of queer and bisexual identified women (and men) who are more than happy to date men who identify as women and/or lesbians. For a long time in history, men have viewed “bedding real lesbians” as a badge of honor or conquest or something. For some lesbians the energy from these born men feels the same. Now straight men are finally getting the same treatment.

Gay men are also being pressured to be an ally by sex act. The whole LGBTQ+ solidarity idea is a myth pushed by lobbies hungry for money and power. This queercraft – as I call it – pushes a message that gay is whatever you decide but also that gay is old-fashioned and to be transcended by being an all encompassing “queer.”

And queer, mind you, increasingly means heterosexuals (often white, progressive, and middle class or above) who want to facilitate both “gender variance” in fashion/personal expression, and playing with “sexual edges and norms.” Basically some kinky straight folks want to get points for donning more than rainbow socks but also rainbow identities.

Gays who don’t have an interest in transgender partners are at times vilified for having a “genital fetish” and I suppose the TRA’s, aka trans radical activists (or trans rights activists – but I like to separate those who want equal rights from those who perpetuate false equity through eradicating sex-based rights), are finally coming for the straights.

But I want to say something else regarding why this issue became something I came to pay attention to for a while.

It began when my wife, a “gender non-conforming” lesbian, was harassed multiple times by FtM’s. Each time she was literally just minding her own business when one shoulder-checked her and called her a “fucking dyke.” This happened a couple more times in different ways by two others assailants. Worse, at her former workplace, a bizarre campaign to remove sex-segregated bathrooms went out of control.

When a six foot two person in heavy boots and too short of skirts claims online to “love blood” and “body horror” while identifying as a “leather dyke” who is into children’s books and anime, it’s understandable some women may be uncomfortable around such a person, especially one who clearly shows, by the fit of clothing, to be an intact male. The bathroom felt like a war zone when this person and others began publishing various workplace bathroom photos online.

And the lesbian bars in cities across the country closed, many after being targeted for being “transphobic” for simply calling themselves “lesbian bars.” Some were cancelled because enough women at such venues rejected born-male advances.

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Query: How Many Ways Is This Poster Unethical Or Ethically Obtuse?

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Here’s my preliminary list:

1. It deliberately or ignorantly confounds bias with hate. Bias is a preference that may or may not be rational. There is no evidence that those men who would not choose to date trans women hate them. Do short men choose not to date tall women because they hate them? Do educated men prefer not to date high school drop-outs because they hate them?

2. Thus the poster denies the human right to choose who we want to have romantic relationships with. If it’s hateful not to want to date women who used to be men, then it’s hateful to choose only to date attractive women, thin women, strong women, Jewish women, women of one’s own religion, nationality or race. Personal preference is itself unacceptable if it does not advance the current definition of social justice.

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Ethics Dunce: Tavis Smiley (Tavis, Please Pay Attention: The Workplace Isn’t Your Dating Bar)

“I’ll consent to your annual raise, if you’ll consent to going out with me…deal?”

(Now this is why companies and organizations that want to avoid sexual harassment problems need effective training sessions, ideally run by me.)

Tavis Smiley, the PBS talk show host suspended from the network and currently in the process of being erased from the culture due to allegations of sexual harassment, was asked by Tucker Carlson on the latter’s Fox News show about the propriety of a supervisor having sexual relationships with subordinates in the workplace. Smiley responded with this jaw dropper:

I certainly understand that there are persons who believe that there is no such thing as a consensual relationship in the workplace. I hear that. I can respect that point of view. But there are other opinions on this. In my employee handbook we do not encourage interoffice relationships but we don’t forbid it either because I don’t know how things are going to turn out in your life and you start hanging out with our company. I don’t know who you’re going to meet. And let’s face it, nobody’s working 40-hour weeks anymore. We are working 40-, 50-, 70-, 80-hour weeks. Where else are you going to meet people in this business?

His answer was self-indicting, deceitful, ignorant, stupid, and redolent of rationalizations.

Carlson didn’t ask about “consensual relationships in the workplace.” He asked about whether relationships between women and the men who have the power to fire them, promote them, give them raises or make their working lives a living hell are appropriate. The answer is no. Of course no. Nor can they possibly be called consensual. Quite apart from that aspect, such relationships, even if they are initiated by the subordinate, constitute per se unethical management. They undermine morale. They undermine respect for and the authority of the manager. They create suspicion and distrust of the staffer. They create a hostile work environment for all the women in that workplace. destroy staffs and organizations. They are the organizational equivalents of incest. They are wrong. Always. This isn’t a new discovery either. It should be obvious.

“Where else are you going to meet people in this business?” Well gee, Tavis, it sounds like you have a choice to make. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “More Culturally Subversive TV Advertising: FarmersOnly.Com’s Bigotry”

Shutup, in contrast, DOES get it, whatever it is...

Shutup, in contrast, DOES get it, whatever it is…

A delightfully articulate and analytical reader with the intriguing name“Shutup” sent along today’s Comment of the Day, on the post on the Farmers Only.Com ads, which encourage the bigotry and divisiveness we are increasingly seeing in our country. In his trenchant commentary, reminiscent of Shaw or Mencken, he interestingly labels your humble host a “libtard,” and perhaps as a result, seems to misunderstand the purpose of an ethics blog. For Ethics Alarms never tells anyone what to do; it just explains what one’s ethics are when one does it, and why it may not be wise.

I also offer the comment, which is of the stripe that usually does not make it out of moderation, console disconsolate Hillary fans that the sightings of free range deplorables may be more than mere rumor after all.

Here is Shutup’s Comment of the Day on the post, “More Culturally Subversive TV Advertising: FarmersOnly.Com’s Bigotry”

We will not be hearing from him again.

And welcome to my world… Continue reading

New York Fashion Blogger Brittny Pierre—-Fick!

Brittny, spelled F-I-C-K...

Brittny, spelled F-I-C-K…

Ethics Dunces are a dime a dozen, but ficks, thankfully, are rare. Ficks, regular readers here know, are warped people who not only engage in unethical conduct, but who take pride in it, publicize it, and show no shame or remorse.

Meet New York fashion blogger Brittny Pierre, who just wrote a piece for the feminist blog XOJane titled “I Was a Dinner Whore.” Actually, that title dishonestly enhances the ethical nature of what she did, which was to regularly pretend to be interested in men and date them for the sole purpose of having them pay for her meals. In contrast, men who pay for prostitutes have been candidly informed what they are getting.

In the article, Brittny (nice spelling, there, Britt–is there any goofy  spelling of Brittany we haven’t seen yet? Brytnnyy maybe? ) relates her experiences earlier in her career when she was short of funds, comely of face and figure, and willing to use random men as marks. She met her victims on the dating site OKCupid or Craigslist, and after some on-line exchanges  to screen out serial killers and convince the gullible fools that she was interested in them and not just a steak,  successfully managed to get a free  dinner at least three times a week with different men. “I just had to go full throttle and just see who was willing to take me out,” Pierre writes. “A meal is a meal!”

The Femifick also posted her own ad on CraigsList, carefully crafting her message to use men’s egos to entrap them by saying that she was searching for her own Ryan Gosling. In the article, she reveals such charming details as her practice of punishing meal tickets who didn’t measure up to her standards of conduct by ordering the most expensive meal on the menu. How dare they disappoint her while she was exploiting them?

Yechh. Continue reading

Case Study In “When Ethics Fail, Law Takes Over”: Harvard’s Prof-Student Romance Ban

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Harvard used to just say “it’s wrong,” but left it up to the faculty’s ethics in the school’s infinite faith in its own superior virtue. My Freshman Humanities professor, poet William Alfred, was married to a former student. As is usually the case in this matter, ethics alone often wasn’t enough to restrain the lust of  many aging, prestigious, powerful professors facing a veritable cornucopia of luscious, young, ambitious co-eds they could court using brains, worldly wiles, charm and the promise of good grades. Now the profs have more to bolster their self-control…from the New York Times:

Harvard University has adopted a ban on professors having sexual or romantic relationships with undergraduate students, joining a small but growing number of universities prohibiting such relationships. The move comes as the Obama administration investigates the handling of accusations of sexual assault at dozens of colleges, including Harvard.

The ban clarifies an earlier policy that labeled sexual and romantic relationships between professors and the students they teach as inappropriate, but did not explicitly prohibit professors from having relationships with students they did not teach.

Harvard said in a statement released Thursday that the change was made after a panel reviewing the institution’s policy on Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education, determined that the university’s existing policy language on “relationships of unequal status did not explicitly reflect the faculty’s expectations of what constituted an appropriate relationship between undergraduate students and faculty members.” It said the committee revised the policy “to include a clear prohibition to better accord with these expectations…Besides banning sexual and romantic relationships between professors and all undergraduates, the policy also bans such relationships between teaching staff, such as graduate students, and the students who fall under their supervision or evaluation.

Good. Long overdue.

This is also an excellent use of Harvard’s status and leadership, as the oldest and most famous institution of higher learning. Other universities will now suddenly be responsible as well.

Gee, do you think Harvard took my advice?

Nahhh.

Is It Ethical For Professors To Date Students?

teacher-student datingProfsBlog asks the question regarding law professors and law students, but the question doesn’t change by narrowing the definition. The question is really, and only, “Is it ethical for teachers to have romantic relationships with students?” The answer is, has been, and forever shall be, “No.”

The answer to an ethics question sometimes becomes obvious when it is apparent that every argument on one side is either a logical fallacy, an unethical rationalization, or the application of an invalid ethics principle. Such is the case here, and thus I somewhat question the motives of the author of the post, Kelly Anders. Wishful thinking, perhaps? Asking the question creates the illusion that there is a real controversy. In this case, there isn’t.

I addressed this question a long time ago, in an early post here barely seen at the time but among the most frequently visited since. I wrote:

[P]rofessors [are] obligated to maintain a position of authority, objectivity and judgment as mentors and teachers of the whole student body, and [have] a duty to their schools not to allow their trustworthiness to be undermined by having intimate relationships among the same group that they [are] supposed to be supervising and advising. Dating a student is a professional breach of trust, and one that adversely effects the integrity of the entire educational institution…. The appearance created when a supervisor/manager/leader indulges in intimate relations with someone over whom they have authority, status and power—and every professor has authority over every student, in class or out— undermines the institution and the profession, by sending the false message that such relationships are standard, approved, and implicitly desirable in the culture where they occur…A professor has a potential teacher-student relationship with all students at a university, not just those in his or her classes.

Dating a student who happens not to be in one of those classes is what lawyers call “a distinction without a difference.” Many students and professors will reasonably assume that the pairing arose out of the student-teacher relationship, and in some ways it almost certainly did. A teacher always has superior power over any student by virtue of his or her position of authority, and it is an abuse of that power to use it to entice students into dates or bed…

[It] is naive to ignore the extended conflicts such relationships create. Might the professor’s best friends on the faculty be more generous when grading their friend’s significant other if he or she is one of their students? Will the professor consciously or subconsciously be easier on the friends of his student lover if they are in his class? The fact that the question can be asked shows that the situation should not occur where it can be asked.

Students, all students, must be off-limits as romantic partners for professors and administrators in universities, regardless of what rules are in place.Professors who date students risk their jobs because a student body is not their sexual smorgasbord, and it is a breach of trust and duty to treat it like one.

I wouldn’t change a word, except that typo I just noticed, and just fixed in the original. Nor is anything I wrote then revolutionary or new. These are the realities of authority, professionalism, leadership and power. It’s just that sometimes people really, really wish they were not. Continue reading

Now THIS Is An Unethical High School Coach…

Troy Hennum, "genius"

Troy Hennum, “genius”

Juicy ethics topics are stacking up, but this story that just arrived in my email was too jaw-dropping to resist. A spectacularly clueless young man set a new record for open and blatant abuse of authority and irresponsible, unprofessional conduct, though in a novel way.

At  Roosevelt High School in Seattle, the new women’s softball coach, Troy Hennum, ordered members of his team to use their practice time to spread out around the city, take photos of “cute girls,” get their telephone numbers, and bring them back to him. This is colloquially known as “pimping.” He would follow up with date requests via text message, naturally. “Genius, great way to meet a girl, use my girls lol,” he wrote one of the candidates his team flagged as suitable date-fodder.

Come on! What’s the matter with that? Lighten up!

The Seattle Public School District had hired the 25-year-old even though it knew he had been investigated by his former school district for sending inappropriate texts to an athlete in 2012. Well, at least the district did its due diligence. Then it shrugged its metaphorical shoulders and hired this guy anyway. I see the argument: he wasn’t using his team as his own personal dating pool any more, he was using it to recruit other girls. That’s progress!

Hennum was suspended once his human Easter Egg hunt was revealed, and resigned his position, after being on the job for only six days. So sad. Imagine what this genius would have come up with if he had a chance to settle in.

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Pointer: Legal Blog Watch

Facts: Seattle Times

Graphic: Z101.1

 

Ethics Quiz: Is Beautifulpeople.com An Unethical Website?

"But I'm beautiful INside!"

Your ethics quiz today involves the dating site beautifulpeople.com, which is in the news for culling 30,000 applicants from its rolls because they were just too darn ugly for a site that promises qualified members that they can…

  •  “Connect with beautiful men and women in your local area and from around the world!”
  • “Chat live with other beautiful men and women!”
  • “Meet REAL beautiful people who actually look in real life as they do online!”
  • “Attend exclusive parties and events!”
  • “Be discovered!”
  • “Be part of the largest most exclusively beautiful community in the world!”
  • “Browse beautiful profiles of men and women without sifting through all the riff raff!”

Last month,  Beautifulpeople.com suffered a cyber attack in which the Shrek virus, named after the popular animated troll, disabled the software that screens applicants, allowing an invasion of new, troll-like members, or at least members not up to Beautiful People standards. Continue reading