Comment of the Day: “And The Solution To This Phenomenon Is Simply Ethics. Why Is That So Hard?”

Sir Galahad

Sir Galahad

Reader Aaron Paschall was on a roll today, and his two-part comment on the thread regarding a woman’s lament about the sexual harassment she faces every day constitutes one of the best and most eloquent Comments of the Day Ethics Alarms has ever recognized with the honor. Here is Aaron’s perspective on the post “And The Solution To This Phenomenon Is Simply Ethics: Why Is That So Hard?”:

“Certainly it’s a sad state of affairs when a woman (or man) has to keep to the well-lit areas in order to avoid the dangers lurking in the dark. If Emily’s post is a lamentation that it would be wonderful if people needn’t fear the darkness, then I agree wholeheartedly. If Emily’s post is intended as a screed about how unfair it is that she can’t go walking down dark alleys as she would like because of all the nasty, brutish men lurking in the shadows, I can only laugh and say that I can’t walk down those alleys, either. Nor would I wish to, because I’m wiser than that. Continue reading

And The Solution To This Phenomenon Is Simply Ethics. Why Is That So Hard?

construction_workers_at_voi_bigWith her “Letter to the Guy Who Harassed Me Outside the Bar” , Emily Heist Moss makes me briefly wonder, not for the first time, why all men haven’t been murdered in their beds by an organized feminist vigilante posse. The conduct she describes is disgusting and infuriating just to read about, and I don’t even have to experience it.

The amazing thing is that this kind of ritual harassment would vanish with some slight behavioral additions to our culture, many of which once were the norm, habits of good conduct like etiquette,  manners, consideration, civility, fairness, kindness, respect, and the Golden Rule. They could become cultural norms again, and rather easily, I would think, with an increase in responsible parenting, a responsible popular culture, and the development of role models with integrity. Not featuring serial and unapologetic sexual harassers as stars of sitcoms (Charlie Sheen) and political conventions (William Jefferson Clinton) would help; so would a serious effort by Hollywood not to trivialize workplace harassment as cute or amusing, as in the long-running “Cheers,” or in current TV  dramas like “Criminal Minds” and “NCIS.”

Moss writes, Continue reading

Air Passenger Etiquette: Who Gets the Armrests?

A site called Neatorama polled various ethicists, travelers and air flight experts regarding who should get the armrests when all three seats in a row in coach are occupied.

Actually, the graphic accompanying the column suggests that it also discusses two other flyingetiquette issues as well: do you recline your seat, and if you have a window seat and need to use the rest room when the other two passengers are asleep, what do you do?

Ah, air travel. Such a pleasure.

I can’t find any answers to those in the column, though, and that’s fine I know them already: Continue reading

Mayhill Fowler and The Ethics of Quitting

The internet creates unfortunate opportunities for the fired, rejected, under-appreciated and disgruntled to do all sorts of harm to their previous employers and themselves. Former Huffington Post blogger Mayhill Fowler has considerately given us an object lesson in how not to leave a job, though at some personal sacrifice. Continue reading

Baseball Ethics Confusion: When Respect Is Disrespectful

After the Florida Marlins’ Brett Carroll stole second on Chicago White Sox pitcher Scott Linebrink in an attempt to pad a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning of an interleague game between the two teams, the White Sox cried foul. The Marlins, some members of the team said, had violated one of the “unwritten rules of baseball,” in other words, baseball etiquette. Continue reading

Charlie Crist, Martyr for Civility

Florida’s beleaguered governor, Charlie Crist, has decided to bolt the Republican Party as the only way to continue his quest for the U.S. Senate. Tea Party darling Marco Rubio’s advantage has been “ideological purity,” much prized these days by conservatives who long for a new Ronald Reagan, conveniently forgetting that Reagan was as capable of choosing pragmatism over purity as any other successful leader. Crist, his critics say, is a chameleon, and can’t be trusted to stay in the conservative camp when the poll winds blow west.

Maybe. But what started the downfall for Crist, just months ago a rising star for the G.O.P., was his physical “embrace” of President Barack Obama last year when Obama came to Florida to stump for his stimulus package.  Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Boston Sportswriter Pete Abraham

I try to keep the number of Ethics Heroes and Ethics Dunces in rough balance here, and sometimes I despair of how few of the former and how many of the latter I have to choose from. Perhaps part of the problem is that good conduct is more common than bad conduct, and thus has to be especially flashy before the media notices. Or perhaps I am not giving sufficient credit to small, ethical gestures that in their own way make a difference.

This brings us to Pete Abraham, a writer on the Red Sox beat for the Boston Globe. Pete writes the “Extra Bases” blog, and does something that I have not seen before. At the end of his post every morning, Pete signs off with, “Thanks as always for reading the blog.”

It is a small but genteel exhibition of civility and manners that, for me at least, serves the same purpose every morning as Ben Franklin’s Daily Questions. It sets the ethics alarms for the day and reminds me to not get so focused on work, tasks and problems that I forget to help smooth out the edges for those around me.

I’ve never met Pete Abraham, but I hope I do some day. He is obviously a kind and caring person who understands the importance of civility. He knows how to set his ethics alarms.

And best of all, he’s a Red Sox fan.

Oh—I almost forgot! “Thanks as always for reading the blog.”

Blizzard Ethics and Parking Space Etiquette

The Great Blizzard of 2010 inspired The Washington Post to publish a piece about snow ethics, focusing especially on this touchy question: Is it ethical to park in a space shoveled out by someone else?

The problem with the article is that it doesn’t ask the ethically crucial second question: Is it ethical for someone to hold one of the rare cleared parking spaces on the street open, when other motorists desperately need a place to park? Continue reading

Why Public Flossing IS Our Business

In today’s Sunday New York Times, the City Room column is devoted to the increasingly common topic of public grooming, specifically flossing one’s teeth in public. Lion Calandra recounts an exchange with a young woman doing her dental hygeine on the subway, who finished by throwing her used floss to the subway car floor.

“Maybe you should do that at home,” Calandra suggested. “Maybe you should mind your own business,” the woman sneered. Continue reading