Tag Archives: Elizabeth Taylor

Presenting the Ethics Alarms Heroes’ Hall Of Honor

remember

Today, the anniversary of September 11. 2001, American minds should be occupied with thoughts of gratitude for heroes, the often anonymous and unknown people we may pass in the street every day, as well as the justly famous and celebrated, who make our lives and many others better by living their own selflessly and well. They are our salvation, role models and neighbors, and they teach us the lesson that all is never lost, and hope is always thriving, as long as there are good and courageous people who will do the right thing, no matter what the cost, when fate turns to them.

This seems like a propitious time to dedicate the Ethics Alarms Heroes Hall of Honor, the list of the Ethics Heroes Emeritus whose stories have been told here (and on this site’s predecessor, The Ethics Scoreboard.) Every current member of the Hall is now deceased, like the brave men and women who died this day, 12 years ago. Each of them, in a unique way, teaches how human beings can rise above the vicissitudes of mere survival, self-interest, personal benefits and the base desires of the species  to live  meaningful and virtuous lives. Some accomplished this over decades, some with one brilliant and transforming act of distinction.

There are currently 32 members enshrined in this virtual Hall. Obviously, it is far from complete. They are just symbolic representatives, worthy ones, of millions more who once breathed the same air we do today, and like those who perished twelve years ago, face the prospect of being forgotten over time, as we all go about the consuming task of getting from one day to another. Each one of us, I believe, is capable of emulating their example.

Here are the thirty-two members and their stories, as of this date,

September 11, 2013... Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Heroes, History, Leadership, Sports, U.S. Society, War and the Military

“Liz and Dick,” The Ethics Train Wreck Movie

The real producer behind "Liz and Dick"?

The real producer behind “Liz and Dick”?

There was another movie I watched on TV when I was too sick to move, think, or, in this case, change channels: “Liz and Dick,” the infamous Lifetime Movie Network bio-pic starring Lindsay Lohan. Was it lousy? Sure it was lousy; there was no way such a film could have been anything but lousy. Lousy cable movies, however, are hardly news or uncommon, especially on LMN. Indeed, this one was probably in the upper 25% for the outfit that regular creates starring vehicles for the likes of Erika Eleniak and Kellie Martin. This one, however, was an ethics train wreck quite apart from its aesthetic flaws.

The whole project begins with a lie, albeit a popular and elaborately supported one, which is that Elizabeth Taylor was anything special as an actress. She was not. Taylor parlayed uncommon beauty, public sympathy, and later sexual notoriety into mega-celebrity status that drooling male movie critics disgracefully interpreted as genuine talent. She had a thin, unpleasant and brittle voice that made her already limited range even more so. She couldn’t play comedy, and didn’t have the chops for hard drama either. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Popular Culture, Professions

Liz Taylor’s Ethical/Unethical Final Joke

Liz's last laugh

Screen legend Elizabeth Taylor, who drove husbands, producers, directors and co-stars to distraction by her habit of being late to appointments. meetings and film sets, played a joke on her mourners when she arranged to be “late for her own funeral,” scheduling it to start 15 minutes after the announced time.

Anyone who plans a joke for their own funeral generally has my respect and approval. This one, however, is ambiguous as well as funny. Tardiness is disrespectful to those who have to endure it, and often is a sign of arrogance and lack of empathy. Movie stars like Taylor who keep crews and actors on the set fray tempers, inflate budgets and undermine shooting schedules. Being habitually late is being habitually unethical. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Daily Life, Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire

Ethics Star and Ethics Hero Emeritus: Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

 

You did good, kid! Thanks.

I appreciated Elizabeth Taylor, who died yesterday, as a movie star, though I was never a fan. That she was astonishingly beautiful, there is no doubt, an actress who defined the word “voluptuous” when it didn’t mean”implants.” Like many of the Golden Age stars, acting was secondary with Taylor, who had such on-screen presence that she could steal a movie ( “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) from the likes of Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson, and yes, Tennessee Williams by just lounging around in a slip. Her best adult performance was probably her first, “A Place in the Sun”; her Oscars were more or less frauds, the first (“Butterfield 8”) as a film community gesture of sympathy for her health problems, and the second, for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” as one of those nods for playing against type without embarrassing yourself that Hollywood likes to bestow on its favorites. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Heroes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Leadership, Popular Culture, Research and Scholarship, U.S. Society

Cowardice Trumps Duty: The Oprah Bio Freeze-Out

Sometimes professionals reveal the flaws in their ethical armor in their handling of the little things.

Celebrity shark Kitty Kelley, who has wounded other celebrities with dirty-linen airing, unauthorized biographies (supposedly her hatchet job on Frank Sinatra caused Ol’ Blue Eyes to consider having her whacked), has sunk her teeth into Oprah Winfrey. The usual, well-worn method that get such bio-trash sold is a media tour, and Kelley is a veteran of it, having used interviews and talk-show experiences to make best-sellers out of her bios of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, and the Bushes. But these were just icons, super-stars, idols, royalty and world leaders; now that Kelley is taking on the Big O, all bets are off. It has been reported in multiple sources that the usual facilitators of Kelley’s book plugging efforts have been turning Kelley’s publicist down. They don’t want to cross Oprah. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Professions, The Internet, U.S. Society