Animal Crackers Ethics

Yes, PETA really did protest the mistreatment of “Porgs” in “The Last Jedi.” Of course it did.

The Animal Crackers box has been re-designed in capitulation to a really silly campaign by PETA, though not silly by PETA standards. Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, revealed the new packaging this week. The old packaging, which harmed no animals living or doughed, looked like this:

PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals, the all-time  most unethical group with ethics in its name) has been harassing Nabisco over the box design since 2016.  “Given the egregious cruelty inherent in circuses that use animals and the public’s swelling opposition to the exploitation of animals used for entertainment, we urge Nabisco to update its packaging in order to show animals who are free to roam in their natural habitats,” PETA said in a letter obtained by the New York Post.

I know, I know, packaging is redesigned all the time. The old Animal Crackers design was both clever—see, the cookie animals are in those boxes, just as real circus animals were kept in those wagon-cages long, long ago—and a touchstone with the past, something that the Left finds increasingly unbearable if values have changed and mind-control can be achieved. The new inoffensive design…

is self-contradictory. Continue reading

Casting Ethics: A Black Joan Of Arc?

Sure, why not?

From Playbill:

Manhattan Theatre Club has announced a Broadway revival of “Saint Joan” by Nobel Prize and Oscar winner George Bernard Shaw with direction by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan. Heading the cast as the famous heroine will be Condola Rashad, fresh off her Tony-nominated performance in “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”

Superficially, at least, the casting of Rashad, an African American actress, as the famous “Maid of Orléans,” the French teenager who gained political and military power as a self-proclaimed messenger of God and who was burned at the stake, would seem like precisely the kind of stunt non-traditional casting that I have condemned by subjugating the intent and art of a playwright to affirmative action and virtue-signaling. However, this is not a legitimate objection to this casting choice, and in fact the upcoming Broadway production is as close to a perfect example of how creative casting can enliven a production and deepen its ability to make an audience think.

Joan of Arc, of course, was not black. Nor was she Swedish, though Ingrid Bergman played her memorably enough in the most famous Hollywood version of  Shaw’s play, She also didn’t speak English, and certainly not Shavian English. She spoke French. Ethnicity, race and color are not part of Shaw’s drama, however, nor are they relevant to what Joan of Arc did in life, and what she meant to her nation, its history and our shared Western culture.

How many public schools teach anything about Joan of Arc? How many U.S. students graduate completely ignorant of the historical Joan, not to mention Shaw’s version? Yet hers is one of the most remarkable stories in recorded history.

Joan of Arc was born around 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer, Jacques d’Arc, from the village of Domrémy, in northeastern France. She was illiterate, as were most  of her class and gender, but also was indoctrinated into the teachings of the Catholic Church by her mother.  France was engaged in what we now call the Hundred Years’ War with England, and England had France by the throat.  A forced  treaty in 1420 disinherited  Charles, French crown prince, and England’s King Henry V—there’s a famous play about him, too– was made ruler of both England and France. Upon his father’s death, Henry VI succeeded him as king in 1422. At this point England occupied much of northern France, and many in Joan’s village, Domrémy, were forced to abandon their homes under threat of invasion.

Thirteen year-old  Joan began to hear voices in her head. Today we think the cause was tinnitus, but she was certain God was assigning her the mission of  saving France by defeating the English, and installing Charles as its the rightful king. Joan took a vow of chastity, as part of her bargain with God; this allowed her to reject a marriage her father arranged for her when she was 16.

Around this time, Joan traveled by herself to  Vaucouleurs, a nearby stronghold of those loyal to Charles. With her faith and her persuasive claim of being a holy messenger, she attracted a small band of followers who were convinced her sudden appearance was the the result of a popular prophecy coming true, and that she was destined to save France. Joan cut her hair short and dressed in men’s clothes to make an 11-day journey across enemy territory to Chinon, where the crown prince’s palace stood. She met with the young man, and convinced him that she was the Real McCoy (they didn’t use that phrase in France, of course)  by allegedly telling him things only God would know. She also  promised Charles that she would see him crowned king at Reims, the traditional site of French royal investiture, and asked him to give her an army to lead to Orléans, then under siege from the English.

Charles granted her request. Think about this for a bit. A strange teenage girl, dressed like a boy and claiming to hear voices, meets with the leader of a nation at war and convinces him to put her in charge of an army.

Amazing. Continue reading

Anti-Abortion Deception And The Saint’s Excuse

Family Planning

Both of the extreme positions in the abortion war use the Saint’s Excuse, the historically destructive rationalization that roughly translates as We know what’s right, so we will shamelessly lie, cheat, steal, and commit mayhem to make certain our virtuous position prevails.” Prominent employers of the Saint’s Excuse past and present include Mao, the Spanish Inquisition, ISIS, and Ted Cruz’s marketing consultant, among others.

From the pro-abortion side, we saw NARAL embrace The Saint’s Excuse when, in the middle of its orgy of self-humiliating political correctness during the Super Bowl—NARAL said this ad was “transphobic” (the word they were looking for is “silly”)—

—it condemned a Doritos ad for “humanizing fetuses.”

Imagine that! Humanizing a growing organism with human DNA, created by two human beings that will, unimpeded, grow up to be a human being itself! The Horror.

That was just intellectually dishonest, however. What anti-abortion Pat Lohman is doing in her battle against abortion is far, far worse.

Until a few months ago, Amethyst Health Center for Women, one of Northern Virginia’s few abortion clinics, helped women considering abortions in Manassas. Lohman moved her crisis pregnancy center, AAA Women for Choice, right next door. Does “Women for Choice” sound like an anti-abortion organization to you? No? Well, that’s the idea, you see. Pat Lohman wants women seeking abortion to wander into her operation by mistake, where they will be told horror stories about abortions gone wrong and be pressured into changing their minds with “pamphlets, pleas, prayers, promises of help, used baby gear, bloody imagery, [and] God” until they either capitulate or leave.

Now, however, this unethical deception by the pro-life activist has moved to a new and even more dishonest stage. The operator of  Amethyst Health Center retired and the service closed.  Lohman and her allies bought the property using a surrogate (According to property records,  it now belongs to the Indiana-based Blessed Virgin Mary Foundation) so the abortion provider didn’t suspect their purpose before the title passed. Today everything about the abortion clinic seems the same as ever, except there is no way to get inside. The clinic’s Google ads are still live, and the phone number is still connected. When women dial that number, however, the call is forwarded to AAA Women for Choice.  If a woman seeking an abortion comes to the abortion clinic directly, she will try the door, find it locked, then go right next door, into the clutches of lying Pat Lohman and her devoted, virtuous, saintly minions.

Gotcha! Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Time Magazine

“(CLARIFICATION: Palin did not, in fact, say this. It was a tongue-in-cheek link to an article that was intended as a joke.)”

Time Magazine, dishonestly claiming one act of unethical journalistic conduct to cover for a worse one.

Maybe I owe blogger TBogg an apology. I thought only left-wing Palin-haters could be so disoriented by ideological fervor that they could  believe the satirical story claiming that the former Alaska governor had told Sean Hannity that Christina Aguilera should be banished for botching the lyrics of the National Anthem. But no: Us Weekly, the celebrity gossip magazine, and Time Magazine (!!!) both fell for the same spoof. Us, at least, had the integrity to admit that it had made a mistake and to apologize. Time, disgracefully, issued the above dodge, claiming that a fabled news magazine suddenly decided to start printing “tongue-in-cheek” fake stories that portray national political figures as fools. Continue reading

News Flash! Satire Confusion Syndrome Epidemic Spreads to the Left!

The headline reads:

Palin Says She’d Deport Christina Aguilera for Botching the National Anthem

Although nothing Sarah Palin has ever said or done suggests that she would ever advocate such a ridiculous thing, and despite the fact the headline appeared on a clearly labeled comedy site, with the story including such over-the-top statements as…

“Palin also levied criticism on the Obama administration for allowing “spicy Latin princesses” to do the jobs of American pop divas. “Unemployment is at nine percent, yet we have to suffer through a performance by a foreigner with a poor grasp of the English language? If I were president, I’d deport Ms. Aguilera back to wherever it is she’s from and give Amy Smart a call.”

..despite all this, prominent Angry Left blogger TBogg took the story completely seriously, and so did many of his followers, who piled on in a “boy-is-that-woman-ever-stupid-like-all-the-other -Tea-Baggers” orgy of contempt. Continue reading

Ethics and the San Francisco Pet Ban Proposal

San Francisco is considering accessing its inner PETA by enacting a ban on a the sales of any pet with fur, hair or feathers, meaning that little Scotty will have to make do with a boa constrictor, an iguana or a guppy if he wants a non-human companion to cheer him through grade school. The measure began as a ban on pet store sales to stick it to unscrupulous puppy mills, then gradually morphed into a nearly China-like proposal  to ban almost all pets. True, the city’s proposal would still allow the adoption of dogs and cats from shelters, but don’t bet on that being the final result. PETA-ism, once it gains a foothold, won’t be satisfied until we are all tofu-sated and pet-free.

A Los Angeles Times story on the public debate over the ban concentrated on the business angle, for pets are big business. This is, however, an effort by the city government to set ethical values and standards, a legitimate government role when  necessary and reasonable. Protecting innocent and vulnerable animals is an important government function; the question is whether it is necessary to protect animals from those who love them as well as those who abuse them.

Well, why not? There are slippery slopes all over this issue, in all directions. Laws ban the sale of exotic animals like tigers, wolves and chimps in many jurisdictions, because keeping them in private captivity is viewed as inherently cruel. Hmmmm…more cruel than keeping Shamu in that small tank? More cruel than keeping a polar bear in a Washington D.C. zoo? The logic for banning birds and small mammals as pets is pretty much the same: it’s inherently cruel. Does the life of a hamster deserve as much protection as the life of a leopard? Why stop at hamsters, then?

Are ant farms cruel? ( I know what happened to mine, and I don’t want to talk about it…) Continue reading