Stop Making Me Defend Disney!

Disney has a tough job, trying to maintain its roles as a great middle class cultural icon and celebrator of Americana in the midst of social upheaval and culture wars. It couldn’t be doing a lousier, lazier, more destructive job of it, either, but that is, as they say, neither here nor there. The issue of the day is whether Disney deserves to be pilloried for its new teaser trailer for the live-action version of its animated classic “The Little Mermaid.”

It does not.

Conservative media is now resolutely anti-House of Mouse, so it is actively gloating over the detected (but inconclusive) negative reaction to the first look at the film scheduled to hit theaters in May of 2003. Ed Driscoll at Instapundit writes, “Disney in particular absolutely loves …to both gin-up hype, and wave away large scale fan hatred of their latest reboot.” But since fans haven’t seen the film yet, since it hasn’t been finished, “large scale hatred’ is an unwarranted assumption. At The Daily Wire, it is implied that there are widespread objections to the red-headed Ariel of the 1989 animated film being played by Halle Bailey, an African-American, and that fans of the original film who don’t like the color change are being called “racists” by the Woke and wonderful.

Ugh.

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Ethics Quiz: The Interrupted Marriage Proposal

Disney clearly “can’t win for losing,” as a saying I’ve never understood goes. At Disneyland Paris, a couple invaded a stage in the park reserved for performances so the guy could propose to his love with a castle in the background. A Disney cast member then interrupted the romantic moment, snatched the engagement ring, and motioned the couple and guests to leave the forbidden area.

There is some controversy over whether the couple had received permission for the stunt (from someone not authorized to grant it)—an Ethics Alarms principle holds that all public wedding proposals are stunts, and unethical ones—but the intervening Disney employee was undoubtedly correct that the couple and the witnesses were breaking park rules.

So your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

Was it unethical to break up the proposal?

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“Curmie” Comment Of The Day Double-Header #2: “DeSantis Strikes Back: Ethics Dunce Disney Gets The Legal And Ethical Consequences It Deserved”

No “echo chamber” we, so it is appropriate to include as a Comment of the Day Curmie’s vigorous dissent on the current conflict between Disney and Florida, particularly its ambition conservative governor Ron De Santis.

So here it is…in response to the post, DeSantis Strikes Back: Ethics Dunce Disney Gets The Legal And Ethical Consequences It Deserved…

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Unlike you, Jack, I am neither a lawyer not an ethicist. The closest I’ve ever been to the former was being unofficially “pre-law” for about the first two and a half years of undergrad; the closest I’ve ever been to the latter is that you’ve called me ethical a couple of times. So forgive me if I have trouble discerning the line between that which is legal and that which is ethical.

Perhaps the terms of the agreement between the state and the corporation are akin to trademark laws: that Florida must aggressively defend its prerogatives or be in danger of losing them. But this doesn’t seem like something any corporate CEO would agree to. And I think we can take as given that Governor DeSantis would not be criticizing any corporation that publicly supported his position because they didn’t stay in their lane, even though the level of interference in public policy would be the same. No, it would be the progressives who’d have their collective skivvies in a twist in that case.

More to the point, Disney began their dissent, at least, while the bill was still under consideration. They were, in fact, arguing in favor of the status quo—when there was no law—a position that can hardly be regarded as interfering with the state, only with one party’s agenda. That they didn’t suddenly change their position when the bill became law doesn’t seem very problematic.

Moreover, it strikes me that educational policy is literally everyone’s business. I’m semi-retired now and not currently scheduled to teach at all in the fall, so I have no direct personal interest in what’s being taught in 3rd grade—these will never be my students—but I hope to be around long enough to be affected by their ability to vote or even to run for office… or to become doctors, lawyers, artists, or whatever. Yeah, I care what happens in that 3rd grade classroom. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Tune-Up, 2/22/22: A Very Special Episode…

1.  “What’s going on here?” I have not decided what exactly the article “The New Homophobia” in Newsweek (Flagged this morning by Althouse: Pointer for Ann!) means or portends: it is, after all, just one man’s opinion. However, I sense that it is relevant to the issues underlying the Disney vs. Florida controversy.

Excerpts…

I learned about queer theory, an obscure academic discipline based largely on the writing of the late French intellectual Michel Foucault, who believed that society categorizes people—male or female, heterosexual or homosexual—in order to oppress them. The solution is to intentionally blur—or “queer”—the boundaries of these categories. Soon this “queering” became the predominant method of discussing and analyzing gender and sexuality in universities…

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This might not be a concern if, by adopting these new identities, young people were merely playing with the boundaries of normative gender expression—something that gays, lesbians, feminists, most liberals and even many conservatives would welcome two decades into the 21st century. But many young boys do not stop at simply painting their fingernails and wearing dresses, and young girls do more than cut their hair short and play football. With increasing frequency, these children are given drugs to block their puberty, cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries, all the while cheered on first by online communities, then the mainstream media and now the current presidential administration…

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Disney And The LGTBQ Activism Ethics Train Wreck: A Prelude [Corrected]

I have been intending to examine the Disney empire’s misbegotten entry into the battle over Florida’s recently passed “Parental Rights in Education” law for weeks, but postponed the project because it is too complicated to do correctly without involving other complex issues that are closely related to it. Unfortunately, these issues have proliferated during the delay.

For example, Florida is threatening to remove Disney’s special status that allowed it to operate Disney World as an autonomous municipal government because of the company’s political action. Is that kind of punishment for a political opposition ethical? Should Disney have such special status, regardless of why it is being threatened with its removal? If the special status should be removed anyway, does it matter if it is done in response to political speech?

Here’s another: Republicans in Congress are threatening to end Disney’s copyright on Mickey Mouse, also in response to its LBGTQ activism. But that copyright should have ended decades ago, and its artificial endurance has stifled creative works blocked by thousands of other drawn-out copyrights that aren’t Disney. Now I am dealing with copyright law policy, the importance of Disney to the culture, and what, if anything, the government should do to–what? Reward it? Strengthen it? Direct it? Control it?

The Disney LGTBQ advocacy issue also involves, as virtually every issue does now, media ethics, as almost all outlets other than Fox have a clear pro-LGTBQ bias. The New York Times reporter assigned to covering Disney and the Florida law controversy is Brooks Barnes, and he can’t be trusted. In an earlier story last month, the reporter wrote,

Earlier in the week, Mr. Chapek, the company’s chief executive, botched an internal email to Disney employees. He was seeking to explain Disney’s public silence on anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation in Florida that activists have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

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The Freakout To Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law, Not The Law Itself, Will Send LGBTQ Acceptance Backwards

There is nothing discriminatory, bigoted, ant-gay, anti-trans or unethical in the “Parental Rights in Education Bill’ signed into law by Florida Governor Jim DeSantis. Have you read it, or just relied on the hysterical and dishonest characterizations of the bill by the news media and woke activists like the three Oscar co-hosts, who chanted “Gay, gay,gay, gay!’ like four-year-olds in supposed bold and hilarious defiance of what progressives have been calling the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Read the law. It doesn’t prohibit saying “gay” at all (the word doesn’t appear in the law), and as unfortunately vague as the wording sometimes is, no fair interpretation would find that it inhibits free speech.

Here is the closest wording in the bill to an “anti-LGBTQ” provision, in Section 3, page 4:

3. Classroom instruction by school personnel or third  parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur  in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.

The Horror. Only the most committed and unhinged gay activist could find that provision problematic, and the fact that so many progressives do is signature significance: they lave lost touch with common sense and reality. The law isn’t anti-gay, it’s pro-parent (and student). Any parents who really think their 4-8 year olds need to be trained in human sexuality are welcome to do it themselves. I would not want my child introduced to those topic by kindergarten through third grade teachers, even if I had the opportunity to closely examine the teachers’ qualifications for doing so and the way it would be done. This is not their job, and no, I wouldn’t trust them to take it on if it were. They have a hard enough time teaching language, arts, math, science and history. I don’t trust them to teach ethics. Continue reading

It’s Come To This: A Culture War Battle Over Minnie Mouse

Let me stipulate up front: this is a stupid controversy, but not that stupid. I don’t care about Minnie Mouse and never did, I don’t care what she, or it, wears, and I am certain that most of the conservatives now complaining over Minnie Mouse’s “new look”—which isn’t permanent, comes to us from France’s Disneyland, and would probably go unnoticed absent the Streisand Effect triggered by the complaints—care about Minnie either.

However, one of the ways that the extreme Left got such a dangerous foothold in this nation is through ingenious incrementalism…little, teeny-tiny moves to radicalize the culture and indoctrinate rising generations that sane people just shrugged off as not worth making a big deal about until it was too late. Or almost—we shall see.

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Comment Of The Day: “Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21….” (Item #3: Sliming Gina Carano)

Humble Talent provides a perceptive take on the Disney-Gina Carano debacle, just another small piece in the rapidly developing mosaic of of corporate alliance with the purveyors of aspiring woke mind and speech control. I first wrote about the episode here. My suspicion is that the Arrogant Left is wildly overplaying its hand (as it did against Donald Trump: the pandemic rescued them, but they think it’s because they were brilliant, as undeservedly lucky people always do.)

Here is HT’s Comment of the Day on item #3 in the post, “Post-Zoom Hangover Ethics, 3-31-21…”,in response to a comment by E2. Normally I would have a bit of the comment up before the jump, but now WordPress’s inexcusably clumsy “block” system won’t let me do that, at least not easily. Don’t let that stop you: it’s a great comment.

E2 wrote ,“Gina Carano appears to be among the 1/100th of 1% of Americans who know some history. Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust shaped our world — and still is — and to call out totalitarianism of any kind is worthy of praise, not ridicule by a bunch of IQ-80 leftists.”

Kind of. Carano actually retweeted someone who said that, she didn’t write the words herself. She’s given interviews after this whole debacle happened, and what I get from them is that she was actually kind of politically naïve, and provides a case study in how the left pushes people away.

The first landmine she stepped on was following a bunch of Twitter people getting very upset that she didn’t have pronouns in her bio. I want to point out that this is yet another example of mandate creep; these things always start out with “why are you making fun of the things I’m doing, they don’t effect you” and end with “if you don’t also do this thing I’m doing, you’re a bigot.” Carano did what I probably would have, from the safety of my relative online anonymity: She added “beep/bop/boop” as pronouns as a middle finger to them, as opposed to a “fuck you” to internet busybodies, so it was determined that she was mocking pronouns in bios! So she was officially branded a transphobe.

It went downhill from there, Disney’s corporate HR/PR engine took over; they wanted to subject her to struggle sessions, they went back and forth over what her apology was going to look like, and it was all very Orwellian. It would have been interesting instead if Disney had taken a moment to step back and understand that they were dealing with a person. But they didn’t. There were people angry on Twitter, and even though Disney’s main demographic isn’t on Twitter, and even though they were joyfully touching penises with Chinese dictators, and even though Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) has literally killed people with Goop, they decided THIS was where they were going to make a stand and signal their virtue with the force of 1000 stars!

Take a step back and consider: You’re under siege. You made a joke on Twitter, and all of a sudden your career is on the rails, people are constantly misinterpreting what you’re saying when they aren’t outright lying about you, do you think that builds a good impression of those people? Course not. So she started getting support from the right, because the right is actually pretty good at welcoming people the left seem to hate, and she started to post (Dun dun DUUUUUUUN!!!) right-leaning memes. Well! Now she’s an alt-right insurrectionist transphobe. Anti-Semitic too!

One of the memes was about the holocaust (The one mentioned above). So again, Disney, great and mighty arbiter of morality, who airbrushed John Boyega out of movie posters for China because they thought that Chinese audiences were too racist to watch a movie with a black lead, decided THAT was the last straw: a holocaust meme! How dare she! Not taking into account that Pedro Pascal had just posted his own meme comparing Trump’s Kids in Cages™ to Nazi death camps, Disney, in their fair minded and ultimate wisdom, fired Carano, cancelled her planned spinoff, took her action figure off toy store shelves, and then brushed their hands together and called it a job done.

And now…. Gina Carano is working with The Daily Wire’s new entertainment division. We’ll see how that pans out. Like I said: Case study in how the left pushes people away. The leftist political meat grinder took someone who wasn’t politically active, and put her on the Daily Wire.

 

Tuesday/Wednesday Ethics Sandwich, 3/9-3/10/21: Movies, Megxit, Major And More

Dagwood sandwich

1. Worst “review” of the Year, and other Megxit Ethics Train Wreck developments :

  • I hate to end one day (and start another) with something so nauseating, but a Times “Critic’s Notebook” entry by Salamishah Tillet titled “Taking On Royal Life’s Racism” (online, “Prince Harry Finally Takes On White Privilege: His Own”) is both incompetent and dishonest. This is no review. It is a black studies professor with an agenda using a media stunt by Oprah Winfrey and the breakaway Royals to serve as her own soap box. Using a mixed-race American who achieves some success in a difficult profession (performing), then marries a British prince with the automatic money, glamor and influence that status confers as an example of racial persecution is ridiculous on its face. This is a confirmation bias classic for the ages: the black feminist activist saw what she wanted to see in one of the worst possible settings to see it. The “review” could have been written before the interview was broadcast; I bet most of it was.
  • The U.K.’s media regulator ( that is,censor and political correctness enforcer) Ofcom is investigating Piers Morgan because 41,000 people wrote to complain about the then-ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” host stating the obvious about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s joint whine with Oprah Winfrey. On “Good Morning Britain”, which Morgan quit mid-show after being attacked by his co-host, Morgan said he did not believe Markle’s statement that she had approached the Royal family for help because she had suicidal thoughts, and was turned down. “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said…I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report,” Morgan said. Neither would I, especially when such tales were attached to no details whatsoever. Morgan is a media low-life to be sure, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right in this case. It’s a problem, though, when the most vocal and accurate critic of a manufactured narrative is so easily discredited.
  • In the U.S., the Left will sanctify the Duchess of Sussex because she’s female and blackish, thus meaning that to question her word or character is per se racism. (She’s like a Kardashian with superpowers). The Right is mostly anti-monarchy, so any harm she does to the Royals is regarded as a plus. One poll indicates, however, that the British public is less gullible: Meghan is now the least popular Royal, even behind Jeffrey Epstein pal and likely defiler of under-age girls Prince Andrew.

It’s only because the Brits are racists, of course.

2. Is there a media critic in the United States that isn’t a partisan hack? David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun certainly fails the test. Imagine writing a column titled “If Fox News wants to be a political tool, it should be treated as such and not given access meant for journalists” after the performance of all the other news organizations from 2016 on and expecting to be taken seriously. Has the mainstream media ever committed itself to a single partisan political objective more brazenly than the propaganda campaign against President Trump? Zurawik’s claim is either delusional or a lie aimed at the deluded….of which there are many.

3. White House dog ethics. Apparently the mysteriously reported “incident” that resulted in President Biden’s two German Shepherds being banished to Delaware was more than a mere nip: the victim of a bite by Major, a rescue dog, was really hurt. “There Will Finally Be Dogs in the White House Again,” was the headline in Harper’s in January, over one of many stories cheering the fact that the new “normal” President would have a dog, unlike the weird, mean, non-animal lover on the way out. In truth, the modern White House is no place for a dog—too stressful, too many visitors and strangers— and many First Pets have been acquired as PR props rather than out of genuine love for canines. Getting a rescue dog is admirable, but they often come with behavioral problems and special sensitivities that must be addressed, or they can be dangerous. My sweet rescue dog Spuds, for example, has night terrors, and woe be to any human that wakes him up while he’s recalling past abuse.

4. Governor Cuomo is now up to SIX accusers! Who could have predicted…oh, right. I did. But I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding, like the Governor says. Sarcasm aside, I doubt Cuomo is a threat to Bill Cosby’s total, but I didn’t expect the Cos to top 50 either.

Added: Various conservative blogs and commentators are chiding Kamala Harris, who led the unethical smearing of Brett Kavanaugh as a sexual predator based on a vague high-school incident, for not weighing in on Cuomo’s alleged conduct. Harris is a two-faced hypocrite for sure—she agreed to run with a serial sexual harasser whose wrongful conduct is a matter of photographic record—but it is not a VP’s place to get involved with state government issues.

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Mid-Day Ethics Mitigations, 9/8/2020: Flip-Flops, Trust, China, And Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah [Corrected]

1. Stipulated: President Trump contradicts himself, misrepresents facts and exaggerates routinely. But how can Biden supporters use that as their rationalization? Biden and Kamala Harris repeatedly promised to ban fracking during the primaries; now, campaigning in Pennsylvania where fracking means jobs and business, both are suddenly pro-fracking.

On August 13, Biden said that he would call for a nationwide face mask mandate. “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months, at a minimum,” Biden said . “Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately, and we will save lives.” Kamala Harris, like Biden a lawyer, agreed. “That’s what real leadership looks like,” Harris said. “We just witnessed real leadership. Which is Joe Biden said that as a nation, we should all be wearing a mask for the next three months, because it will save lives.”

Biden reiterated his vow in his acceptance speech on the final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. “We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask — not as a burden, but to protect each other,” Biden said on August 20. “It’s a patriotic duty.” Of course, any second year law student and probably some astute college freshmen could have told the Democratic ticket that the government can’t require citizens to wear anything, and that the two were talking Constitutional nonsense aimed at the Bill of Rights-challenged members of the Democratic base, which is most of it.

Then over the weekend,  Biden admitted that his mask edict would probably be unconstitutional. “Here’s the deal, the federal government…there’s a constitutional issue whether the federal government could issue such a mandate, I don’t think constitutionally they could, so I wouldn’t issue a mandate,” Biden said.

Didn’t he and Harris already know this? If not why not; in fact, why the HELL not? Why wasn’t the news media “factchecking” Biden when he made a manifestly impossible pledge?

There is no advantage or ethical superiority in saying things that are untrue some of the time as opposed to doing it more often. Any politician who shows a lack of integrity, whose words can’t be relied upon and who changes his supposed views depending on what audience is listening to him or her is untrustworthy, and untrustworthy is untrustworthy. You are either worthy, or you’re not. Two instances like the fracking and mask reversals are enough to know Biden and Harris are not candidates who mean what they say. (You should have figured that out already, though.)

And, of course, sometimes if they DO mean what they say, it’s disturbing. Continue reading