Trans Activist Ethics Train Wreck Update: The Dave Chappelle “Hate Speech” Hypocrisy

From the New York Times front page today:

“Netflix…the tech company that revolutionized Hollywood, is now in an uproar as employees challenge the executives responsible for its success and accuse the streaming service of facilitating the spread of hate speech and perhaps inciting violence.”

Observations:

1. It’s time—way past time, in fact—to emphatically define what “hate speech” is. First of all, hate speech, whatever it is, is 100% protected speech. It is Constitutional, First Amendment, lawful, beyond all argument speech. Second, I use “whatever it is” because the phase is deliberately vague and subjective so those seeking to censor discourse, advocacy, non-conforming points of view, satire and insults can place the expression of ideas by someone else into a category that suggests malign agency and intent.Then, those crying “hate speech” can advocate silencing whatever it was they are labeling.

We’re on to them, or should be by now. Calling something “hate speech” is like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s dishonest “hate group” label. It’s a cheat.

2. Hate is not a good thing in human relations (there are exceptions), but it is legal and, like all emotions, not unethical. Acting on the hate may be unethical, but not hate itself.

3. I have watched “The Closer,”Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special now under fire, twice. There is nothing hateful in it, unless one thinks that all mockery, satire and jokes with an edge are hate.

I don’t think “The Closer” is very good, especially by Chappelle’s standards. It’s not especially funny, for instance. It’s also not very smart, and Chappelle, if nothing else, is smart and usually shows it. It’s not smart because the controversy over how society should regard transgender individuals is interesting, perhaps difficult, raises interesting ethical and practical issues, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s just not as important as the attention paid to it makes it seem. This is a tiny minority: yes, these issues are important to them. But Chappelle’s show is like a deliberate employment of the Streisand Effect: he’s obviously annoyed about having to deal with trans issues, so he spends a whole, high-profile special complaining, explaining, and riffing regarding it. Since he’s a comedian, this could be justified if he mined it for comedy gold, but he doesn’t.

If he isn’t going to be funny, then he has to be profound, or he’s wasting our time. Not only is the thing not profound, it’s barely coherent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: stand-up is a high wire act, and the best comics sometimes fall hard. But the contrived controversy over “The Closer” is giving the performance more significance than it deserves, and allowing Chappelle to accept accolades for a performance that was really subpar.

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Thank God It’s The Friday Ethics Warm-Up For The Weekend, 10/8/2021, Dedicated To Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow

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Mrs. O’Leary’s cow may be the most unethically maligned animal in U.S. history. On October 8, 1871, something caused flames to spark in the Chicago barn of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. The resulting two-day conflagration killed 200-300 people, destroyed 17,450 buildings, left 100,000 homeless and caused about $4 billion of damage in today’s dollars. While the fire was still raging, The Chicago Evening Journal reported that it all started “on the corner of DeKoven and Twelfth Streets, at about 9 o’clock on Sunday evening, being caused by a cow kicking over a lamp in a stable in which a woman was milking.” Then a verse to a popular song was added; pretty soon it was the only verse anyone remembered:

Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Mrs. O’Leary lit a lantern in the shed.
Her cow kicked it over,
Then winked her eye and said,
‘There’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight!’

There was never any convincing evidence that a cow started the blaze. The O’Learys had five cows, and they didn’t have names. It’s not even a sure thing that the fire started in the barn, but Mrs. O’Leary was a Catholic woman and an Irish immigrant, and Chicagoans were eager to have a scapegoat, or rather scapecow. One prominent historian who has studied the inquest transcripts believes that the true culprit was an O’Leary neighbor named Daniel ‘Pegleg’ Sullivan, who hobbled into the O’Leary barn to smoke a pipe, which then fell into a pile of wood shavings and subsequently started the fire. Nonetheless, Catherine O’Leary was ostracized, and became a recluse. In 1997, the Chicago City Council officially exonerated Mrs. O’Leary and her cow, which did just about as much good for Mrs. O’Leary as for the cow.

1. A new book shows that I have not lived in vain! Yesterday, a line from a depressing movie called “Kodachrome” sent me into one of my funks. During one of the many arguments between a dying artist and his middle aged son who hates him, the father (Ed Harris) sneers that he may have been a neglectful father, but at least he would leave something of importance when he died, unlike his son, a failed rock band recruiter for a record label. By purest luck, today I received a complimentary copy of “Reginald Rose and the Journey of 12 Angry Men,” a fascinating and thoroughly researched account of how the TV screenplay and the film came to be the iconic works they are. Author Phil Rosenweig also tells the weird story of how Rose lost control of the stage version of his work, and how for years the only script one could legally perform was a hack adaptation of the movie by a writer who didn’t understand it. Well, I’m part of that weird story, as is my old theater company, “The American Century Theater,” which became the first professional theater in the U.S. to present the screenplay on stage. Many were involved in the success of that production, including my wife,Grace, who produced the script by meticulously typing the screenplay from a recording of the movie (this was before the internet), and NPR critic Bob Mondello, who traveled by bus, in the rain, to a converted school auditorium to see the production, which he gave a sensational and much circulated review. There were many twists and turns after that, but eventually Rose’s version of “12 Angry Men” became the play most theaters produce. He got the respect he deserved, the endurance of the play, which is a genuine classic (I directed it four times) is assured, and yes, I was part of the reason why. Rosenweig, who interviewed me, accurately relates my role in the off-stage drama. You can find the book on Amazon, and here.

Now I can die in peace.

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Let All Good And Objective Americans Deride And Mock San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Those Who Voted For Her, And Anyone Who Dares To Defend Her…

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What a ridiculous excuse for a mayor.

What an embarrassment to her city and party.

What an arrogant, silly, clueless fool.

The usual Ethics Alarms tag I would consider in this kind of story, “Incompetent Elected Official of the Month,” just doesn’t do San Francisco Mayor London Breed justice. Letting her astounding explanation for why she violated her own mask mandate simply brand her as incompetent would be a cruel insult to all previous incompetent elected officials. Previously, Ethics Alarms wrote about Breed being videoed unmasked, singing, and dancing with a largely unmasked crowd inside a jazz club in the Tenderloin last week. This made her the latest Democratic mayor, governor or other official—and there have been a ridiculous number of them— to regard themselves as immune from their own pandemic restrictions on “the little people” they deign to govern. However, none of these hypocrites have come within miles of Breed’s mind-melting hauteur. Here’s what she said:

“We don’t need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should or shouldn’t be doing. My drink was sitting at the table, I got up and started dancing because I was feeling the spirit and I wasn’t thinking about a mask.”

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New Category! “Most Innocent And Fair Quote Of The Month That Gets Used To Tar The Speaker As A Racist And Destroy Her Career”: Former ESPN Rachel Nichols

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“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”

—-ESPN sideline reporter Rachel Nichols in a phone conversation nearly a year ago after learning that she would not host coverage during the 2020 N.B.A. finals, as she had been expecting.

The phone call, unbeknownst to her, was being recorded, and someone leaked it to the ESPN brass and the public. The ethical issues raised by that conduct are clear and have been discussed here often: it is a dastardly thing to do, a breach of basic Golden Rule ethics, and indefensible because it creates harm to all involved. But that’s not the issue at hand.

After the video was leaked, many black ESPN employees told one another that it confirmed their suspicions that outwardly supportive white people talk differently behind closed doors. Nichols, seeing the ominous handwriting on the wall, tried to apologize to Taylor with texts and phone calls. Taylor did not respond. Meanwhile, ESPN employees turned against Nichols, whom they perceived as indulging in a “common criticism used by white workers in many workplaces to disparage nonwhite colleagues” when she suggested that “Taylor was offered the hosting job only because of her race, not because she was the best person for the job.”

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Ethics Hero: Prof. Jonathan Turley (And The Indefensible Whitewash Of The Shooting Of Ashli Babbitt)

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Ethics Alarms already noted Jonathan Turley’s accurate and searing condemnation of the outrageous and sinister double standard applied to Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt on January 6. Incredibly, the blatantly partisan wound on the illusion of our justice system’s integrity got worse after Turley’s first post on the topic. The investigation of the mind-meltingly stupid riot concluded that it was not coordinated, was not incited by Donald Trump, and was not an “insurrection,” just as any objective and reasonably informed citizen could have figured out by themselves. Then Byrd, whose identity had been shielded from the public (and oddly unrevealed by the mainstream media, who could have discovered and published it if they were still practicing journalism), gave a nauseating NBC interview in which he pronounced himself a hero, made the absurd claim that he had saved untold lives by shooting an unarmed woman, and, most significantly, revealed that he had no legal basis to use deadly force. (He also revealed himself to be unfit to be trusted with a weapon.)

This prompted Turley to write his second attack on the politicized cover-up. Turley, despite the names he is called by the aspiring totalitarians of the Far Left and the Trump-Deranged, is a Democrat and a lifetime liberal. Because of what can only be an abundance of character, he has not had his values warped by being marinated in the campus culture of his typically uber-woke institution, George Washington University. Not had he shied away from disparaging the illiberal and anit-Democratic antics of the Axis of Unethical Conduct (“the resistance,” Democrats and the mainstream media) during their four-plus year effort to destroy Donald Trump. He has been remarkably consistent, legally accurate, fair, and right in this, and has paid the price.

In the Virtues, Values and Duties page here (Have you ever visited? You should you know…) I list what I call “The Seven Enabling Virtues.” These are character traits that often are necessary to allow us to be ethical:

  1. COURAGE
  2. FORTITUDE
  3. VALOR
  4. SACRIFICE
  5. HONOR
  6. HUMILITY
  7. FORGIVENESS

Turley annoys me sometimes with his professorial reserve (developments that should send American screaming into the streets are just “troubling” or “problematical” in his typical lexicon), but he is well-girded in all of the seven. Every time he goes against the prevailing progressive narrative, he is called a Trumpist, a phony, a Nazi, and worse. His integrity and dedication to truth-telling has undoubtedly cost him speaking gigs, book sales and TV interviews on any network but Fox. Yet Turley has not backed down.

Turley’s recent article in The Hill regarding the Babbitt shooting is superb.

Highlights:

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The Ashli Babbitt Cover-Up

Someone please explain how the closing of the investigation of the shooting of Ashli Babbitt can be reconciled with the sentence just handed down in the case of the Alabama officer who shot an allegedly suicidal man who would not drop his gun.

The US Capitol Police officer who shot and killed pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2020 will not face any disciplinary action. “USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury,” the department said in a statement. The department will not name the officer out of consideration for the officer’s safety, although his name has been unofficially on the web for quite a while. If this is not a USCP double standard, it is certainly a journalism and political double standard. A black officer who shot an unarmed white women is protected with official anonymity while one white officer after another in police-involved shootings of black men have had their names not only released, but published and made the targets of attacks by elected officials.

Prof. Jonathan Turley, hardly a rabble-rouser, writes in damning prose:

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Biden Lied And People Died..Now What?

Former VP Joe Biden Addresses Chicago Council On Global Affairs

The New York Times front page this morning has a disheartening story revealing that President Biden’s assertion to the American people that the collapse of Afghan forces was considered unlikely (but possible!) by U.S. intelligence was untrue. He must have known it was untrue too, or they really are keeping poor Joe in a closet and pulling him out for public appearances with a secret ventriloquist doing his voice. The Times:

Classified assessments by American spy agencies over the summer painted an increasingly grim picture of the prospect of a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and warned of the rapid collapse of the Afghan military, even as President Biden and his advisers said publicly that was unlikely to happen as quickly, according to current and former American government officials. By July, many intelligence reports grew more pessimistic, questioning whether any Afghan security forces would muster serious resistance and whether the government could hold on in Kabul, the capital. President Biden said on July 8 that the Afghan government was unlikely to fall and that there would be no chaotic evacuations of Americans similar to the end of the Vietnam War.…”

The Times is perplexed! The existence of these reports “raise questions about why Biden administration officials, and military planners in Afghanistan, seemed ill-prepared to deal with the Taliban’s final push into Kabul, including a failure to ensure security at the main airport and rushing thousands more troops back to the country to protect the United States’ final exit.” After all, there must be some legitimate reason a good, progressive Democratic President would “seem” to screw up so completely and lie about it! It would never be that he is completely incompetent and evil, like that last President! “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Even when it is forced into reporting a total, massive, historic botch by the party it works for, the Times cannot be objective or approach the same tone and attitude it would apply to an equivalent blunder by that other party.

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A Show Of Hands, Please! Who Is Surprised To Learn That “Time’s Up,” Like #MeToo, Is Partisan, Hypocritical, And Tainted By Double Standards?

I assume only those so gullible that they are constantly falling for Ponzi schemes and hanging on Chris Cuomo’s every word have their hands up.

The #MeToo brigade that screamed that Justice Bret Kavanaugh was a “rapist” based on the weirdly vague “discovered memories” of an alleged victim who knew the SCOTUS nominee before he could vote went on to overwhelmingly vote for a Presidential candidate whose serial sexual harassment habit was a matter of photographic record. Now we learn that the leadership of Time’s Up, an organization formed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations (well, revelations in the sense that all of the Democrats and Hollywood stars who had willfully ignored them finally had to give in) that has the started mission of fighting sexual harassment and sexual assault—at least when Democrats aren’t involved, were involved in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to stifle the women accusing him of — sexual harassment and sexual assault!

The report issued last week by the New York Attorney General’s office found overwhelming evidence that Cuomo of sexually harassed eleven women. The report, also revealed that Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of the anti-harassment group as well as a co-founder, reviewed a draft of an op-ed letter that was designed to discredit Lindsay Boylan, the first woman to accuse Cuomo. The group’s CEO, Tina Tchen, also advised Cuomo and his staff, according to the report. Nice.

Today a group of victims of harassment t and sexual assault published a letter on Medium accusing that Time’s Up of betraying “the very people it was supposed to champion. The board continues to fail to heed the outcry from survivors. TIME’S UP is failing all survivors.”

Now Kaplan has resigned as chair, writing that as a lawyer, she could not answer questions about her involvement with Cuomo. “I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” she wrote. So far, Tchen is still with the group.

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President Biden Does His Andrew Jackson Impression, And It Is Not Becoming

Andrew-Jackson

President Jackson is quoted as saying, after learning of his rebuke by the U.S. Supreme Court in Worcester v. Georgia, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” That was “King Andy,” though and through, whether he actually said it or not. Jackson’s contempt for the ruling, which supported Native American sovereignty, contributed to its violation by other courts and Georgia laid the groundwork for the unlawful removal of Cherokees from the state in what became know as “The Trial of Tears.” Jackson did some important things as President, and has a strong argument as a great one, but his willingness to violate the Constitution when it suited his convictions is hard to justify, even when his desired end seemed to be worth his illegal means. Jackson (a Democrat) was Donald Trump’s favorite President, but it is Joe Biden who is openly channeling him now. The difference is that few Democrats, mainstream media journalists and pundits are screaming that Joe is a threat to Democracy. Yet what he is doing really is such a threat.

This spring, a court struck down the nationwide eviction moratorium adopted by the Trump administration last September at the height of the pandemic lockdown, ruling that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had no statutory authority to extend it. The case was appealed, and five justices of the Supreme Court signaled that they agreed with the lower court as they simultaneously voted to allow the eviction freeze to stand because it was set to expire just a few weeks later, on July 31, anyway. Any fair reading of the opinions make it clear that the SCOTUS majority holds that the eviction freeze cannot continue beyond that date without an act of Congress.

Never mind! President Biden announced his support for extending the eviction moratorium, unconstitutional or not. It was later preserved by a divided Supreme Court despite the view of a majority that it was unconstitutional. Though he acknowledged that his administration’s legal experts overwhelmingly told him that any extension would violate the Constitution, he said it was worth extending the moratorium because it would take time for a court to intervene, giving his administration time to “get $45 billion dollars out to people who are in fact behind on the rent and don’t have the money”despite the lack of constitutional authority to do so. In other words, they would have time to break the law before they had to stop.

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Questions, Theories And Observations On The End Of The Simone Biles Affair [Corrected]

Biles medal ceremony

Well, the last on Ethics Alarms, anyway, I hope. I wish I could justify not dealing with the “rest of the story,” but I can’t: too much metaphorical ink has been spilled here, there and everywhere over this annoying Ethics Train Wreck.

To bring you up to date, Biles returned to Olympics competition on the balance beam today (well today in Japan) and did well enough to win the bronze medal. She performed back handsprings, flips, split leaps and a double back flip for her dismount, but it was a safe routine not calculated to win. She did not, for example, dismount with the signature move named after her.

What’s going on here? Damned if I know. After debating a number of Biles defenders and reading the relentless spin being offered up by the mainstream media, it is clear to me, at least, that whatever Biles did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, these people would stick to the established compassionate narrative. Biles, meanwhile, would follow a scripted effort to salvage some of her value as a celebrity cash cow after an Olympics disaster that would have sunk any similarly acclaimed male athlete, and most female ones.

Here’s how the New York Times began its story about Biles, the Greatest Of All Time, aka GOAT, not being able to be better than the third best in a single Olympics gymnastics event:

“Simone Biles didn’t want her Olympics, and perhaps her career, to end with her in the stands and not on the competition floor. It couldn’t end that way, after all, considering everything she had sacrificed to make it to the Tokyo Games. She suffered through years of self-doubt as a sexual abuse survivor after realizing that Lawrence G. Nassar, the longtime U.S. national team doctor, had molested her. And she had endured an extra year of training on aching muscles and painful ankles and dealing with U.S.A. Gymnastics, the entity that failed to prevent her abuse.”

Such shameless framing of an elite athlete’s failure in order to ensure minimal accountability has surely never appeared in print before in a reputable publication. Did any account of Babe Ruth failing to come through for his team in a big game ever begin with a reference to his traumatic upbringing in a shabby Baltimore orphanage? Was Ty Cobb excused for attacking a fan during a game because of the trauma he suffered when learning about the tragic death of his father? [ Notice of Correction: In the original post, I wrote that Cobb’s father had committed suicide, which is what I thought I knew. I was wrong, and should have checked. I apologize for putting more misinformation into the web. Much thanks to LoSonnambulo for alerting me.] No, because the various traumas and tragedies athletes have suffered on their way to triumphs, celebrity, fame, and wealth are irrelevant to their performance in their chosen sports—except for Simone Biles.

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