Ethics Alarms has almost 15,000 tags, which means that a lot of diverse topics hard been discussed here in connection with ethics issues. Saddened as I was to learn of the passing of the great Mickey Rooney, truly one of the most talented and versatile individuals in entertainment history and the last of MGM musical stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, I can’t justify honoring his ethics; by all accounts, Mickey was not as admirable a human being as he was a performer. Still, Ethics Alarms has a Mickey Rooney post, from 2011, and when I read it over just now, I still liked it. Thus I will honor Mickey by reposting my defense of perhaps his most criticized performance. For one of his best, watch this. Yes, Judy’s in it too. (TCM has made everyone take down their Mickey clips, but so far, this Russian pirate site still has it. I know, I know—but Mickey would approve. This ethical breach is for you, Mick…) Continue reading
Tag Archives: grievance bullies
Before we leave the topic of the ravages of political correctness and the excessive fear of grievance bullies, let’s pause to ask the administrators of Washington University in St. Louis…What’s wrong with you?
On October 30, several students posted a photo (that’s it on the left) on Facebook costumed as three U.S. soldiers pointing super-soakers at another student dressed as Osama bin Laden, with a fifth student holding a large American flag as a backdrop. Several things are not in doubt. 1. This was a Halloween stunt. 2. Osama bin Laden masks and costumes have been relatively common since Halloween 2002, as have been all historical villains in U.S. history since Halloween became a tradition. 3. There is nothing wrong with that. 4. An Osama bin Laden costume is in no way, shape or form an insult to Muslims. 5. Osama bin Laden himself was an insult to Muslims.
Notwithstanding all this, a typical grievance bully on campus named Mahroh Jahangiri, was determined to flex her muscles on behalf of her religion and make innocent fellow-students knuckle under and bow to her will. Maybe she thought they’d even let her speak at the next Democratic national convention, who knows? She posted a screen shot of the photo on her website, and wrote,
“This photo makes a costume of the lives of the thousands of civilian Muslim men who have been murdered during our ‘War on Terror’ and the countless others who have been mutilated, robbed, and stabbed to death in hate crimes across the United States. This is disgusting and cannot be tolerated on this campus. There are very few Muslim students on this campus, and our voice is not loud enough. For those of you who had not heard of this until now, now you have. What are we going to do to change this?” Continue reading
An ethical dilemma occurs when a clear ethical principle clashes with a strong non-ethical consideration. An ethical conflict occurs when multiple ethical principles suggest diametrically opposed results. The question of what is ethical conduct when it comes to wearing apparel bearing controversial messages has the elements of both a dilemma and a conflict.
Welcome to Dollywood!
A same-sex couple visiting Dollywood Splash Country with friends and their children was told by a park gatekeeper that one of the women had to wear her T-shirt inside-out because its message—“Marriage is so gay”— “might be objectionable” to some visitors at the “family-friendly” park.
<Sigh.> Continue reading
A Bronx woman, Ursula Liang, has started a petition against Brooklyn Bridge Park’s “Movies With A View” series showing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” the 1961 Audrey Hepburn classic that gave us “Moon River” and one of actress Hepburn’s most endearing performances. Why? Well, the movie, which has long been popular for summer screenings in New York City and elsewhere, also contains a pre-political correctness performance by Mickey Rooney as Holly Golightly’s comic Japanese neighbor, “Mr. Yunioshi.”
Rooney’s performance, in my opinion, was cringe-worthy even in 1961, one of director Blake Edwards’ not uncommon excesses in vaudeville humor, placed in a context where it didn’t belong. It is a scar on an otherwise marvelous film, but there is nothing inherently wrong with comic stereotypes. Stereotypes are a staple of comedy, and have been forever; the question is whether a particular stereotype is cruel, gratuitous, harmful, or funny. Some stereotypes are cruel and funny. Continue reading
With some hesitation, I must re-open the issue of officious inter-meddlers and grievance-mongerers who get satisfaction and empowerment from claiming to be offended by things that could not possibly harm them or genuinely infringe on their rights. The atheists are at it again.
My position has been stated here and elsewhere many times: in the absence of genuine long or short term harm, the ethical human response to a symbolic grievance is to keep one’s response proportional to the offense, which sometimes means considering how many individuals will be made miserable in order to satisfy one individual or a small group, and letting it go. Forcing a university to change the long-standing name of its football team based on a dubious argument that the name is an offense to Native Americans when most Native Americans couldn’t care less, for example, is wrong. Forcing a school to stop teaching kindergarteners to sing “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer” because a Jewish parent thinks the song promotes Christianity is wrong.
Now a group of New York City atheists is demanding that their city re-name a street that was dedicated to the memory of seven firefighters killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Continue reading
“The Austin Parks Foundation is canceling tonight’s (Wed, 5/25) showing of Napoleon Dynamite at Republic Square. A new movie will be shown next month. A number of people contacted us objecting to a word used by actors in the movie. We didn’t recall that this word was used and we did not mean to offend anyone. Our apologies for this as well as for the last minute cancellation.”
The PG movie, you see, about a maladroit teen, upset advocates and defenders of the mentally challenged, or whatever code words are deemed politically correct these days–I haven’t checked my “Offense-O-Meter” in the last couple days—because one of the characters uses the word “retarded” exactly once…not to describe someone who is actually laboring with a disability, mind you, but to insult his friend, as teenagers are wont to due, and as they were especially wont to do in the Eighties, when “retarded” was used the way my generation used “spaz.” In other words, there was no justification whatsoever for either the complaint or the movie’s cancellation. Continue reading