The Pope’s Smoking Gun

Papal MitreI have been touched by the passionate defenses of the Pope during his visit here, by sincere believers who desperately wanted not to see what was going on. If only Pope Francis respected his supporters enough to live up to the ideals they projected on him, which included insisting, against all evidence, that he was merely talking in broad, moral generalities to Congress rather than lobbying for progressive policies, like making illegal immigration legal.

He was, we were told, only showing us where “true North” was according to the Church. I guess he just forgot to bring up abortion, which the Church regards as murder (and Joe Biden too, when he’s not playing politics) as he was lecturing our legislators about “human rights.”

The second he returned home, the Pope threw gay couples under the Popemobile, stating that Kim Davis’s position as a government official refusing to obey the law was a “right.” Again, his defenders insisted that this was just an abstraction. Now we hear from Davis’s lawyers that she had a secret meeting with Pope Francis. Davis says that he hugged her, gave her a rosary, and told her to “stay strong.”

“That was a great encouragement. Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we’re doing, it kind of validates everything to have someone of that stature,” Davis said.

Naturally, those who can’t handle the truth will say she is lying. There is no evidence that Kim Davis is untruthful, and her lawyer would be facing discipline if they falsely reported what did not occur. This really happened. Continue reading

Selfie Ethics: Yes, Big Papi Exploited The President

Ortiz-Obama-Selfie.jpg

I wrote about this ethical breach when Ellen DeGeneris did it at the Oscars. The short version is this:

“It’s unethical to pretend that a selfie is a spontaneous  gesture of fun and friendship when you have a commercial agreement in place to use the photograph in a way that promotes the cell phone manufacturer.”

This is exploitation for commercial gain, and it’s wrong. It’s wrong when the victims are movie stars, and it’s wrong when the exploited party is President of the United States. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: The Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the National League West regular season championship last night by beating their divisional rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Traditionally, when such moments occur away from the winner’s home park, they are celebrated with a happy mob scene around the pitcher’s mound and then a retreat to the clubhouse, where campaign and revelry reign.

But not in the case of the 2013 Dodgers. Seeing the inviting swimming pool that is a unique center field feature of Chase Field, the giddy Dodger team jumped the fence and splashed into the pool to celebrate. The Arizona Republic, in an editorial today, accurately expressed the reaction of the Diamondback fans and community:

“In the interests of good sportsmanship, here’s to the 2013 National League West Division champs.Congratulations are in order. Even to a bunch as classless as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first players not wearing Diamondbacks uniforms to celebrate a championship by diving into the Chase Field pool. Informally, the Arizona Diamondbacks management had asked their Dodgers counterparts, should their lads clinch the division at Chase Field, to kindly celebrate in the clubhouse until the fans cleared out. For safety’s sake. Well, the Diamondbacks got their answer. Effectively: We got some “safety,” for you. Right here….” Continue reading

“Ghosting” Is Unethical

I don't care if you are dead, Marley; when you leave my party, say good-bye.

I don’t care if you are dead, Marley; when you leave my party, say good-bye.

Slate contributor Seth Stevenson has an interesting justification for being rude: good manners are too much trouble.

This is the way the world ends, as T.S. Elliot would say.

Stevenson argues that instead of saying goodbye and thank-you to one’s host at a party, the best way to exit is “the Irish good-bye,” or in its non-ethnic stereotype form (Irish guests are presumed too drunk to say good-bye, you see), “ghosting.” “Yes, I know,” he writes. “You’re going to tell me it’s rude to leave without saying goodbye. This moral judgment is implicit in the culturally derogatory nicknames ghosting has been burdened with over the centuries.” That sentence is signature significance for me: Stevenson is an unethical jerk. I get comments and e-mails all the time accusing Ethics Alarms of “moralizing” or being “sanctimonious” when I write that obviously unethical conduct is obviously unethical. That’s because unethical people who do unethical things feel much better about themselves if nobody calls them on it, so they can maintain, as one recent commenter did here who was, I’m proud to say, chased away by the rest of you (and me) with torches and pitchforks, that ethics is “100% subjective”—Translation: “If I want to do it, it’s ethical.”

That’s essentially Stevenson’s reasoning, too.  “Is it really so bad to bounce without fanfare?,” he asks. Continue reading

Well, Now We Know What Kind Of Bandleader The New “Tonight Show” Will Have…

"Welcome to the show, Congresswoman!"

“Welcome to the show, Congresswoman!”

Amazingly,

Meanwhile, in the headline to the relevant excerpt from his autobiographical book,  Salon inaccurately quotes Questlove as blaming his victim, Rep. Michele Bachmann, for the fact that his uncivil, cowardly and disrespectful stunt nearly got him fired. Score one unethical headline for Salon. Questlove blames himself. He obviously feels no remorse for being unfair and disrespectful to Bachmann, but he doesn’t blame her.

I wrote about the incident when it occurred: Continue reading

Holiday Ethics Quiz: The Family Stuffing Dilemma

Families can fight about anything.

Further proof that families can fight about anything.

In the category of the kind of ethics controversy only families can devise comes this one, from an old friend from high school, who just e-mailed me for advice:

She is having her sister and her sister’s family, all adults, over for Christmas dinner. She is cooking all of it, turkey, stuffing, chestnuts roasting on a open fire, Andy Williams on a spit—the works. Today her sister tells her that her daughter will be bringing her own turkey stuffing, because she likes her recipe best. My friend said, “Fine,” and hung up. Now she is quietly fuming. She asks, “What kind of behavior is that? I’m inviting them to dinner. Who brings their own private courses because it’s their personal preference?” (She adds that nobody has ever complained about her stuffing. I can personally vouch for that: I’ve eaten it in past years, and it’s excellent.)

My friend thinks the whole idea is an insult and bad manners, and wants to call up her sister to say, oh, lots of possible things, like “You know Christmas Eve when we’re coming over to your house for dinner? Well, my daughter will be bringing hamburgers, because she thinks the food you serve is crap,” or, Tell Phyllis she’s welcome to make her own stuffing and get her ass over here at 6 AM to stuff it in our bird, or she can live with what I’m serving,” or “Why don’t you all just bring your favorite damn dishes and we can just have pot luck?”

So it’s a two-part Christmas Ethics Quiz for the Ethics Alarms faithful:

1. Is the daughter’s conduct inexcusably rude?

2. Should my friend say anything about it? Continue reading