Comment Of The Day: The Betrayal And Ultimate Triumph Of Dorothy Seymour Wills”

The smartest –and most ethical—thing John and Paul ever did: agreeing to share credit for every song, no matter who wrote it.

On the topic of authors being reluctant or resistant to sharing authorship credits,I wrote in a replay in a comment to the post,

I have shared the authorship credits of several stage shows where I was the initiator and the creator of 75-95% or more. There are two shows, a drama and a musical, that have made substantial money without my sharing in any of it—one because I added co-authors out of respect for their non-authorship contributions, the other for which I got no credit at all despite making the alterations that made the difference between the show being a hit and a flop. My wife thinks I’m a sap and a patsy. No, I think sharing credit liberally is the right thing to do, and that generosity should be the rule, not the exception. And I will continue to do unto others what they should have done unto me, even if the others usually don’t.

Here is a different personal perspective on the issue, in mermaidmary99’s Comment of the Day on the post, “The Betrayal And Ultimate Triumph Of Dorothy Seymour Wills”:

I was a record producer in the early 1980’s. (Still am.)

In ones early 20’s it was unheard of to be a producer unless one was in the group. To be a woman in their early 20’s was shocking to most every man who would arrive to the studio to see me in charge. They often assumed my boss was coming.

The men were always respectful and helpful as I cut my teeth in those early days.

How did I get a job like that?

The label owner, who was a studio musician and had played with The Righteous Brothers and other acts, had heard 3 songs I wrote on an album (my boss chose them and was the producer) and loved them. He asked my boss who wrote them, and he said I had. (And that I assisted on production on those too) so the owner said. “have her write and produced the next record, this stuff is amazing!”

So along with my then boyfriend, I did.

Yes, later I was a mom and asked to produce for another label. (Women producers were still unheard of) and I accepted. I asked my husband to help.

I’ll never forget his reply.

He kindly declined saying. If he did, I’d not get the credit, They’d think, “Oh, she helped her husband and probably nagged for credit.”

I was hurt because I wanted him to share in it. He explained nicely again how it wouldn’t support my Dream. And he LOVED producing too .

I’ve often felt lucky he was so supportive, and reading this I realize how very fortunate I am to have had him by my side.

I’m glad this story is being told. This woman deserves credit and I can see why men would both want her to, and not. Continue reading

The Betrayal And Ultimate Triumph Of Dorothy Seymour Wills

There was an upsetting ethics story in the obituaries last week. It told the tale of the rank injustice perpetrated by a famous and much-honored researcher, historian and author on his collaborator, from whom he withheld  credit and recognition—because she was his wife.

Dorothy Seymour Mills collaborated for more than 30 years on a landmark three-volume history of baseball with her first husband, Harold Seymour. Their work, originally attributed only to him,  is regarded as the first significant scholarly account of baseball’s past.  (“No one may call himself a student of baseball history without having read these indispensable works.” John Thorn in 2010, then Major League Baseball’s official historian.)

“Baseball: The Early Years” (1960), “Baseball: The Golden Age” (1971) and “Baseball: The People’s Game” (1990) all were completed with substantial and indispensable contributions by Dorothy, who, unlike her husband, was not a baseball fan. (“You write a lot more objectively about a subject you’re not in love with,” she once observed.) She was the primary researcher, organized the projects, typed the manuscripts, prepared the indexes (ugh) and edited each book before it went to the publisher. Because of her husband’s failing health, she wrote a substantial portion of “Baseball: The People’s Game.” Yet her husband adamantly refused to give her an author’s credit. Each book bore only Harold Seymour’s name, and hers was relegated to the acknowledgments.  The first book in the trilogy, “Baseball: The Early Years,” received rave reviews.  Sports Illustrated compared Seymour to Edward Gibbon, the iconic historian who wrote “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Dorothy was invisible, and her husband wanted it that way. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/2/2019: Monkeys, Howlies, Nikes, And The Great Tag Hoax

Gooooood Morning!

1. Talk about a newspaper column that is exactly the opposite of the truth! The Times had an essay in its “Review” section this Sunday with a title that gave me a shock: Want to Be Less Racist? Move to Hawaii”

The headline would have been more accurate if it read, “Want to live in the only state with lawful and open racial discrimination? Move to Hawaii!” Hawaii gives special benefits to residents with full or partial Native Hawaiian ancestry. There is a special  Hawaiian registry program which verifies an individual’s Native Hawaiian ancestry, so the favored race can receive such goodies that are unavailable to other racial groups as buying land for a home at only $1 a year,  low-interest loans, and admission for their children to the elite Kamehameha Schools.

Anecdotally, I can also state that the only time in my life that I felt I was the target of racial epithets was in college, when the Hawaiian contingent frequently derided me and my white room mates as “howlies,” a disparaging Island term reserved for anyone who is not a native Hawaiian. I will always remember my 6’5″ roommate Dave ending the practice by saying to the two main offenders, “If I ever hear that word from any of you again, I promise that I will shove you, Howie, directly up Reggie’s ass, head first.  Are we clear on that?”

Dave never bluffed, and seldom joked. That was the last time we were called “howlies.”

2. Nike is not just scum, but cowardly, sniveling scum. Nike Inc. cancelled a U.S.A.-themed sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross American flag because Head NFL Kneeler Colin Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, told company officials that he and others felt that the  historic flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery.

The Air Max 1 USA had been designed for release in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and scheduled to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, the original flag created during the American Revolution and known as the Betsy Ross flag.

Wow! How racist can you get!

Continue reading

Southwest Airlines And The Suicide Threat

Not exactly "friendly skies"

Not exactly “friendly skies”

We tend to assume someone was at fault when a terrible event results from the execution of a standard policy that was not appropriate to the crisis at hand. Who’s to blame in this nightmarish scenario?

Karen Momsen-Evers was on a Southwest Airlines plane about to take off from New Orleans to Milwaukee, where she lived. Then her husband Andy sent her a text asking her for forgiveness for his imminent suicide. “I go to sleep at night thinking what could I have done, what should I have done,” Evers said. She texted back “No,” but the text arrived as flight attendants were doing their final cabin checks. She wanted to call him. The flight attendant ordered her to turn her phone off, and when she insisted, was told that the FAA regulations prohibited any further use of her cellphone. “The steward slapped the phone down and said you need to go on airplane mode now,” Momsen-Evers told reporters.

Once the flight reached cruising altitude, the desperate woman explained the situation to another attendant. She begged her to have someone make an emergency phone call, but the attendant insisted there was nothing she could do.

So Karen Momsen-Evers sat in her seat, looking at the text and sobbing, all the way to Milwaukee. When she arrived home she was met by police officers, who told her Andy had killed himself. Continue reading

Judges Who Appear To Have Difficulty Grasping The Seriousness Of Rape, And The Results Of Misallocating Values

Ok, I grant you, he drugged his wife to rape her for three years. But she was snippy when she was conscious...have some compassion!

OK, I grant you, he drugged his wife to rape her for three years. But she was snippy when she was conscious…have some compassion!

In Indiana, Superior Court Judge Kurt Eisgruber decided that jail time was too harsh for David Wise, who was convicted of  drugging his wife, raping her in her sleep, and videotaping the rapes…for three years.  He sentenced Wise to eight years of home confinement, with the remaining 12 years of his 20-year sentence suspended. Prosecutors had asked for a forty year sentence.

For some reason, Wise’s victim and former wife Mandy Boardman still holds a grudge. She recounted to the press how she would wake up puzzled, with a half-dissolved pill in her mouth. Finally, all became clear when she found videos of sexual encounters on Wise’s cell phone, and her husband confessed to her that his non-consensual sex with his drugged wife had been going on for more than three years. In trial, he explained that she was a little snippy sometimes, so drugging her and having her unconscious during sex made it a lot more pleasant for him.

Judge Eisgruber has declined to explain why this horrendous crime doesn’t warrant imprisonment, though he is running for re-election unopposed this fall, making a write-in campaign for, well, just about anybody or anything essential, I would think. He did express concern with the victim’s conduct, however, imploring her to forgive her ex-husband for his astounding breach of  trust, respect, fairness, dignity, and honesty, not to mention the law, telling Boardman during the sentencing  hearing, “I hope that you can forgive him one day, because he’s obviously struggled with this and struggled to this day, and I hope that she could forgive him.” The judge added, helpfully,

“Ultimately, I think that helps a lot of people heal — it helps them to reach that point. Some can, some cannot. I’m not in her shoes, I’m not able to say one way or another … It’s not something that’s limited to her or this case. But when people are really struggling, I just offer that out. … I just hope that they find peace.”

Continue reading

The Ethics of “No-Body” Murder Prosecutions.

Oh! THERE's the body!!!

Texas lawyer Robert Guest has opined that a Texas jury would have convicted Casey Anthony in a heartbeat, and cites as proof the February conviction of Charles Stobaugh in Denton County. He was accused of killing his  estranged wife, though no body has ever been found at all.

Maybe.  There are a lot of differences in the circumstances of the two cases, not the least is that finding a badly decomposed body with a piece of electrical tape across her mouth has a big advantage over never finding any body at all: at least you are certain that the victim is dead.  Stobuagh, like Anthony, engaged in a pattern of lies and strange statements; for example, he suggested that his wife, who suddenly vanished and stopped using her bank account, credit cards and cell phone, was “playing a prank.”  He also began seeing a new girl friend more or less the moment his wife vanished. I’d say the biggest difference is the presumption of a motive: husbands killing their wives, especially their estranged wives, is a common and well-recognized form of homicide, with a motive that any married person immediately understands. A mother killing her young child, in contrast, is very unusual, and the presumption is that no mother would do it. The Anthony prosecution was more difficult than the prosecution of Stobuagh, even with Caylee’s body. Continue reading