Suffering from low blog traffic hangover…
I know I complain about traffic here too much, but it’s the only place I where can complain about it. Either because of Trump Derangement, ethics apathy in a Nation of Assholes, my exile from NPR (for telling an undeniable truth that was accused of being a defense of Donald Trump), Facebook’s sabotage, or sunspots, Ethics Alarms readership is down significantly since the high point of 2016. Yesterday, the usually lively day of Tuesday did a credible imitation of Saturday, when tumbleweeds roll through here, and I can’t find any reason why. Kept me up much of the night, so now I’m going to be slow, cynical and cranky all day….
1. Speaking of a nation of assholes…Stephanie Wilkerson, the certifiably awful human being who kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of the Red Hen restaurant, was given a forum (disgracefully) by the Washington Post to boast about her “resistance.” Of course she frames herself as a victim, then celebrates the fact that she received support from many Americans who are as hateful, bigoted, and un-American as she is. Depressingly, many of my Facebook friends “loved” or “liked” her nauseating column, which is nothing more nor less that a hard tug on the loose threads on the seams that hold our nation together. These phony advocates of “inclusion” actually favor discrimination and prejudice based on political affiliation and personal viewpoints, which is no less unethical and destructive than discriminating based on race, gender or creed.
Stephanie Wilkerson’s Post column marks her a fick, an individual who is unethical and proud of it.
But I would still serve her in my restaurant.
2. Here’s another topic I’m sick of writing about: We TV, that august cultural institution that features the beneath the bottom of the barrel reality show, “Mama June, From “Not” to “Hot.” is the latest product to use the hilariously clever device of implying variations of “fuck” in its marketing, because saying but not quite saying “fuck” is inherently witty and memorable. The word being so used by We is “flicks.” Get it?? Continue reading
1. Update: The Obama Presidency Ethics Train Wreck
This has been a week dominated by Ethics Train Wrecks old and new: the Ferguson Express, which will presumably slow down for a few months until we find out what the grand jury does and why; the previously dormant Donald Sterling choo-choo, which came around another bend in its tracks, and, predictably, the Ethics Train Wreck that is the entire Obama Presidency, highlighted by the President more or less intentionally refusing to act like an engaged leader, happily going back to fun on the links after making a statement regarding an American journalist beheaded on video by terrorists.
Naturally the latter concerns me more than the rest, but I have realized that most of those who are in permanent denial about this leader’s ineptitude simply don’t want to process the truth in this regard. Mention the obvious, or what should be, that this frightening confluence of crises domestic and foreign is an irresponsible time to be perceived as taking a break, and one is bombarded by specious comparisons with Bush or JFK’s home away from home on Cape Cod. Some observers have the integrity to concede what many–you know, those mean Obama critics who are out to get him because he’s black–correctly discerned long ago. Here’s The New York Times, consistently one of the President’s most incorrigible apologists:
“Yet the juxtaposition of his indignant denunciation of terrorists and his outing on the greens this week underscored the unintended consequences of such a remove. If Mr. Obama hoped to show America’s enemies that they cannot hijack his schedule, he also showed many of his friends in America that he disdains the politics of appearance. He long ago stopped worrying about what critics say, according to aides, and after the outcry over Wednesday’s game, he defied the critics by golfing again on Thursday, his eighth outing in 11 days on the island.
It was all the more striking given that Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain canceled his vacation after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released the video showing Mr. Foley’s death because the accent of the masked killer suggested he came from Britain. Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Fox News that Mr. Obama would “rather be on the golf course than he would be dealing with the crisis.”
But the criticism went beyond the usual political opponents. Privately, many Democrats shook their heads at what they considered a judgment error.”
It is not a judgment error at all. It is just another example of Obama’s flat, flat, flat learning curve regarding leadership. Continue reading
“You have to understand that if you seek that office, then you have to be prepared to give your life to it. Essentially, the bargain that I think every President strikes with the American people is, ‘you give me this office, then in turn my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure, is gone. I am giving myself to you.”
—-Barack Obama, running for President of the United States in 2008.
Of course, he was correct. That is, or should be, the deal and the commitment. (He also should have included fundraising.)
Even if he had not made this sweeping declaration that he had no intention of fulfilling, winging off to Martha’s Vineyard while crises are intensifying at home and abroad is irresponsible. It also sends a message of detachment and lack of seriousness to observers abroad, many of whom are happy to exploit the weakness and indifference of American leadership. From Walter Russell Mead:
“The fact that President Obama thought that the day of an Iraqi coup was a good time to hang on the Vineyard and get on the links is bad news. Either the President blew off warnings from his advisors, or the intel community got blindsided again. Both possibilities reflect badly on the management of the nation’s affairs.”
Of course. And Obama, as he said in 2008, knows it. Now he just doesn’t care.
Or, in the alternative, you’re an idiot.
The owner of a Wisconsin golf course has apologized for using a national disaster and the deaths of nearly 3000 Americans as a commercial promotion. Apparently he has done this before and nobody complained. How is this possible? Isn’t this the very definition of exploitive, crass, and disrespectful? Has the golf course owner grown up with fond memories of November 22 sales and December 7 parades?
How could it be that nobody in his family or circle of friends or the golfers at the course alerted him that such a 9-11 promotion was tone-deaf? If I’m about to do something this stupid and wrong, I expect those around me to let me know before somebody, like me, gets hurt. The owner’s associates failed their obligations too: we need to help each other do the right thing, because everyone’s ethics alarms malfunction sometimes.
Facts and Graphic:Channel 3000
Marital fidelity was a previous rule Tiger thought was stupid. Nike must be so proud.
The fact that Tiger Woods finished fourth in the Masters was a stroke of moral luck that will allow, in all probability, the memory of his lack of sportsmanship and the PGA’s lack of integrity to cause a bit less harm to professional golf, at least until the next time Tiger tries to cut ethical corners. He is, after all, a shameless cheater with a deeply flawed character. It was just a matter of time before he managed, as the sport’s biggest name, to corrupt it. Now, he has.
During the tournament, Woods improved his lie after a stray shot by taking an illegal drop, and did so in such a blatant and obvious manner that TV viewers noticed it. Based on his experience and the rules of golf, Tiger should have known that what he was doing was a violation; based on his later statement to ESPN, in which he admitted that he placed his ball “2 yards” behind where it belonged to give himself a better shot at the green, he did know. USGA rule 26-1 says a golfer must “play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot” from which he or she originally hit it. As Christine Brennan correctly explained in USA Today, previous golfers who have committed far less serious infractions have withdrawn from competition to preserve golf’s status as the last major sport that expects competitors to police their own conduct. Golf has an honor code. There is nothing honorable about Tiger Woods. Continue reading
Aspiring professional golfers can’t just join the PGA tour. They have to qualify by completing and passing PGA school. Blayne Barber is one such golfer, and his dreams of winning tournaments and cash prizes will have to wait at least another year, if they are realized at all. He washed out this year. The way he washed out, however, is remarkable, and shows that if he does make it into the PGA ranks, Barber will be a credit to his sport.
Indeed, most pro golfers are credits to their sport, because golf has managed to hold the line against the increasing cultural acceptance of poor sportsmanship better than any of our professional pastimes, with tennis a distant second, and third place too far away to see without binoculars. This is a sport where the honor system is mandatory. One reason the tradition of self-regulation has persisted in golf may be because cheating in contests is so easy, and because there are so many ways to do it. Players find their own balls, and write down their own scores. Anyone who has seen James Bond and Auric Goldfinger take turns cheating each other in the famous grudge match from the movie knows that amateur golf can be cutthroat and nasty. The pros have built a culture that requires exemplary conduct.
Few would be this exemplary, however. Continue reading
Liberty Anderson. Too bad they wouldn’t let her try to win fairly.
Lyberty Anderson, a junior at Manchester High School in Midlothian, Virginia, and undeniably female, won the Virginia state boys Division AAA golf championship with an eagle on the final hole to capture the 36-hole tournament by one stroke. Lyberty is a terrific golfer, having demonstrated her precocious golf talents by winning women’s tournaments before she was in high school. Nonetheless, the boy’s tournament was outrageously slanted in her favor, and against her male competitors, tainting her victory.
Lyberty won, but she didn’t play the same course as her male opponents. She was allowed to tee her drives up on the shorter women’s tee, meaning that while the boys had to play a 6,653-yard course, hers was more than 1,000 yards shorter, almost 20%. As Washington Post sportswriter Fred Bowen pointed out, Lyberty can’t be blamed for this: she played by the rules, and played as well as anyone could ask. She now says if she competes in the boys tournament again next year, she’ll tee of from the same spot as her competitors. That shows she understands fairness. Continue reading