“A Simple Plan”: An Ethics Movie

I watched the 1998 film “A Simple Plan” again last night, and as usual with movies I see several times, I noticed some details and themes that eluded me in previous viewing. This is an ethics film, and one that would support a seminar, yet virtually none of the reviews of “A Simple Plan” mention ethics at all. That is to be expected, since ethics isn’t on Hollywood’s radar or that of 99% of the participants in the film industry, including reviewers. Checking the archives, I discovered that I mentioned the movie in an ethical context three times, but never seriously examined the film itself.

“A Simple Plan,” based on a novel by the same name, stars Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton as the very different Mitchell bothers in rural Minnesota, Hank (Paxton) and Jacob (Thornton) who, along with Jacob’s friend Lou discover a crashed private plane in a snowy field. Along with the dead pilot, the wreck contains over $4 million in cash.

The simple plan of the title is the three men’s decision to take the money, hold on to it until the plane is discovered, and then divide it up afterwards if nobody is looking for the cash. Hank, the only one of the three with firing neurons, initially wants to report the crash and the cash, obviously the legal, safe and ethical course, but allows his genial but dim-witted brother and his habitually drunk friend convince him to try the “plan.”

This illustrates at least nine vital ethics lessons right up front:

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Performing Arts Ethics: Amateur And Professional Ethics Dunces, Part I…The Professional

More than a decade ago, while I was the artistic director for a Northern Virginia professional theater I had co-founded, I offered the greater D.C. theater association a draft ethics code that I had developed after I realizes that the ethics alarms of the typical area theater professional were approximately the same as those of the average drug cartel boss. The response was telling: I received a formal thank-you, but was told that the theater community had no interest in ethics, and had done just fine without any code.

This attitude is not unique to Washington D.C. and environs, or regional theater. Performance artists generally and across all levels and regions tend to be incompetent at ethical analysis, and their ethics alarms aren’t merely dysfunctional, they are warped.

From the world of professional performing, for example, we have this controversy, arising from the announcement that actor James Franco (far left), a Portugese-Swedish-Jewish American, has been cast as Fidel Castro in a film project, and celebrated Hispanic actor John Lequizamo (on the right) was outraged over the casting choice.  “How is this still going on? How is Hollywood excluding us but stealing our narratives as well?” Leguizamo wrote. “No more appropriation Hollywood and streamers! Boycott! This F’d up! Plus seriously difficult story to tell without aggrandizement which would b wrong!”

As you can see, the actor was so upset that he lost the ability to communicate in coherent English.

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Well, There Goes My Head! Slavery Was “Involuntary Relocation”…

A group of Texas educators have proposed to the Texas State Board of Education that slavery should referred to “involuntary relocation” in second grade social studies sessions.

I supposed it’s nice that conservatives are back to mastering the “it isn’t what it is” trick, this one the variation known as “it wasn’t what it was.” Lately it’s the Left’s cover words that have been most in evidence, like “choice” for abortion, and “gun safety,” when what they mean is “gun ownership restrictions.” Then there is “equity, diversity and inclusion” for “racial preferences” and “restorative justice” which really means “letting criminals get away with slaps on the wrist for serious crimes so they can prey on their communities again but at least there won’t be ‘over-incarceration.'”

All of these (and so many more) used by the Left and Right—never forget “enhanced interrogation” “rendition,” and “detainees” (you know: prisoners without trials forever)— are base deceit designed to deceive—-in other words, lies.

Lying to kids, however, is especially despicable. Slavery was not “involuntary relocation” any more than it was “free room and board” or “Community singing.” Those “educators”( a working group of nine, including a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) have revealed their absolute lack of fitness for their jobs, for mis-education is the opposite of education. They should apply to be White House press secretaries. Or New York Times op-ed writers. Fire them. Parents? Are you paying attention?

“The board — with unanimous consent — directed the work group to revisit that specific language,” Keven Ellis, chair of the Texas State Board of Education said in a statement. Board member Aicha Davis, a Democrat, said that the proposed wording is not a “fair representation” of the slave trade.

Ya think?

Does this look like “relocation” to you?

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Pointer: Curmie

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Ethics Mega-Dunce Kim Sill

“If your beliefs are not in line with ours, we will not adopt a pet to you.”

—Kim Sill, founder of the Shelter Hope Pet Shop in Thousand Oaks, California in her shop’s weekly newsletter.

Pro tip for Kim: if you are going to say something really stupid and offensive in public, at least do it grammatically.

Other than that, this obnoxious, virtue-signalling Constitutional scholar is informing all that she wants to tear down a crucial support-beam in the entire democratic structure of the United States. While discrimination on the basis of political affiliations and viewpoints is not forbidden under civil rights and public accommodation laws, it is a surefire way to guarantee civil unrest and a society that is divided and miserable in which to live. The pet store’s bigotry—and that’s what it is, bigotry—violates the spirit of the First Amendment and the well-established formula for a fair and open society.

But never mind, Kim knows best.

Here is the rest of her screed: Continue reading

Unethical (And Head-Exploding) Quote Of The Day: V.P. Kamala Harris

“We will work together, and continue to work together, to address these issues, to tackle these challenges, and to work together as we continue to work operating from the new norms, rules, and agreements, that we will convene to work together…We will work together.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris, babbling on about something or other.

I had foolishly assumed that nothing this idiot could say at this point would make my head explode, but that quote did it. Her existence as the #2 elected official in the United States is a profound embarrassment to the nation, the public and the democratic system.

That such a clueless dolt was chosen purely because of her gender and race insults that gender and those ethnic communities unintentionally complicit in her creation.

That the news media refused to enlighten the public about just how incompetent she is proves its uselessness.

That Harris and her supporters have the astounding cheek to cry “racism” if criticism is aimed her way, when she routinely insults the public by presuming that first-grade level verbal pablum is good enough to feed them because she doesn’t have the capacity to offer anything better, impugns everyone responsible for her presence in place of someone minimally responsible and trustworthy.

Writer Jumi Bello Just Doesn’t Quite Get That “Plagiarism” Thingy, Or “What An Idiot!”

This hilarious story of an epic Ethics Dunce immediately reminded me of the classic Charles Addams cartoon above.

Jumi Bello, 30, was making the finishing touches on her debut novel “The Leaving,” scheduled to be released this summer, but after she disclosed to her publisher that she had expropriated material from other sources, the book was pulled. Bello then wrote a personal essay on the website Literary Hub explaining how her plagiarism came about.  The novel was about a young black woman’s unplanned pregnancy. Bello wrote that she had never been pregnant and searched for descriptions of the experience on the web.

“I tell myself I’m just borrowing and changing the language,”  Bello wrote in the essay, which was supposed to be a cautionary tale for other writers who might rationalize plagiarism.  “I tell myself I will rewrite these parts later during the editorial phase. I will make this story mine again.”

After the essay was published,  writers and publications such as Gawker, pointed out that Bello’s essay about plagiarism also had unethically used the writings of others without attribution. Yes, her essay about plagiarism was plagiarized.

Literary Hub removed the essay and said in a statement, “Because of inconsistencies in the story and, crucially, a further incident of plagiarism in the published piece, we decided to pull the essay.” But wait! There’s more! She plagiarized from a website about plagiarism! Jonathan Bailey, who writes the website Plagiarism Today, wrote that Bello’s essay “included poor paraphrasing without attribution of an article that I wrote over a decade ago.”

What an idiot.

And she can quote me.

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Pointer and Facts: New York Times.

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.); Ethics Dunces: GOP House Members Who Listened To Him

I know the maxim is that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, but how do you explain this? It appears to be an example of a total fool leading the slightly less foolish.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

What Is The Ethical Response To This Astoundingly Stupid Story?

I really don’t know.

In Florida, two teenage males—Can we say “males”?—were playing a fun and exciting game: they took turns wearing body armor while the other shot a gun at him, police have concluded. Surprisingly, at least to them, one of the kids was shot dead when a bullet hit a place that the body armor didn’t cover.

Christopher Leroy Broad, 15, died after being rushed to a hospital. 17-year-old Joshua Vining has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child with a firearm. Continue reading

Rationalizer Of The Year: Drunk Driver Perla Aguilar

(I was hoping to get Sidney Wang out one more time before New Years…)

Perla Aguilar, 27, was arrested for DUI in Oklahoma, and had an excuse she apparently thought would clear everything up. Slurring her words as she spoke, Perla explained to the arresting officers that she should be in the clear because she “does this all the time.”

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Ethics And Those Wacky Cuomo Boys, I: Chris And CNN [Updated!]

Really, how can anybody be surprised?

Transcripts released yesterday revealed that CNN host and beefcake star Chris Cuomo actively worked with his brother’s aides to defend then Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the many sexual harassment accusers whose accounts eventually forced the Governor to resign. Chris Cuomo. aka. “Fredo,” had looked in America’s face—you know, like Bill Clinton when he said he never has sex with “that woman”—in August and assured it that he ‘never made calls to the press” on behalf of his brother. But New York Attorney General Letitia James’ report revealed texts where Chris told aide Melissa DeRosa he would take up the allegations with his “sources,” and offered to help draft statements for his brother’s team. Cuomo used his CNN contacts dig up information about his brothers’ his accusers, presumably to discredit them. Another revelation in James’ documents was that Cuomo was working through a friend to approach actor Alec Baldwin about making a video defending Andrew.

In summary, Chris Cuomo used his contacts, sources and influence as a CNN journalist to actively assist an elected official, indeed to assist an official in avoiding the consequences of illegal acts. This is, duh, wildly unethical, unprofessional, and a breach of trust with both CNN and the public. Apparently it is even so unethical that other unethical journalists of the Left, who are usually hesitant to throw stones at fellow propagandists and fake news purveyors from inside their glass houses, have pointed their fingers at poor Chris like pod people identifying their next target for assimilation.

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