Ethics Run-Down, 2/5/2019: Neeson And Nipples

I’m calling it a run-down because I’m run down.

1. THANK YOU…Ethics Alarms readers who contributed—by tuning in to the Puppy Bowl or something, anything— to the NFL’s worst ratings for a Super Bowl in a decade, and by some metrics (percentage of homes) the worst ratings ever. True, nobody knows exactly what kept viewers away—the looming Kaepernick controversy, the blah game, LA being sick of getting beaten by Boston, the prospect of being preached to by virtue-signaling corporations, the uninspiring half-time show, families being smart enough to try to steer their kids away from football—but progress is progress. Someone will have to explain to me the “boring game” theory: who does someone know the game is going to be boring without watching it?

2. Oh, Great—thanks to Liam Neeson, we are one step closer to punishing thought crimes. What possessed the often thoughtful actor to expound on a period in his life when he hated blacks?

In an interview, published by The Independent,  Neeson, who specializes in revenge fantasy action movies, that 40 years ago he walked the streets with a weapon looking for black men to attack because friend of his had been raped by a man she identified as African American. The actor said he “went out deliberately into black areas in the city looking to be set upon so that I could unleash physical violence”.

Now he is being attacked as a racist. And he’s surprised? The governor of Virginia is being attacked as a racist for dressing up as Michael Jackson when he was a student, and he wasn’t even trying to hurt anybody. Liam, Liam, Liam. Asked what he wanted people to learn from his experience, he told ABC’s Robin Roberts today, “To talk. To open up…We all pretend we’re all politically correct in this country…in mine, too. You sometimes just scratch the surface and you discover this racism and bigotry and it’s there. ”

Fine. Everyone has unethical, even evil thoughts and impulses on occasion. If we are normal, ethical, rational and reasonable, we deal with them in a healthy way. There is nothing unethical about thoughts. Unfortunately, we are plagued in the culture right now with those who want to dictate our thoughts and punish those who do not conform in order to control our liberties, expression and conduct. Neeson just gave those people, and Hollywood, where he works, is crawling with them, an opening to punish thoughts, specifically his.

Next time, Liam, talk to a priest, a psychiatrist, a spouse, a trusted friend, anyone but a journalist. If there is a next time: I fully expect Neeson to be effectively blackballed in his profession.

3. KABOOM! The stupidest Super Bowl ethics controversy ever! Actress Abigail Breslin—you may recall her fondly  in “Little Miss Sunshine,” not so fondly as “Baby” in the beyond horrible live TV version of “Dirty Dancing”— doesn’t understand why why Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was allowed to go topless during his Super Bowl performance when Janet Jackson was so heavily criticized for her contrived nipple flashing during the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show. “Nipplegate” got CBS a $550,000 fine.

Levine removed his shirt to show off his heavily tattooed body as he performed, and a number of social media users, including celebrities, questioned why it was OK to see his top half and not Janet’s. You know. Morons.

“I have nothing against Adam Levine whatsoever and actually am a huge fan but it’s messed up that society seems it acceptable for him to be shirtless during the halftime show and Janet Jackson was chastised because her top half was accidentally exposed at the same event. #doublestandards,” Breslin tweeted. “It’s unfair that she was ridiculed for an accident that wasn’t even her fault but a man can take his shirt off on stage and it’s no problem….I’m saying neither should be fined. Or both should be fined. It’s not fair an accidental slip is cause for a fine but a man ripping his shirt off on stage is chill. It should be a fine for both or a fine for none.”

Actress Rosie Perez—is she more or less of a hasbeen than Breslin?— tweeted “Okay. Hold up. Are they going to go in and penalize # AdamLevine for showing his t*ts like they did @JanetJackson ? Just asking.”

Ugh. As Ethics Alarms has explained before, there was nothing accidental about Jackson’s flashing, and the risible claim that poor Janet had a “costume malfunction” (wink-wink) has entered the realm of fake history, less annoying but equally as false as “Hands Up! Don’t shoot!” But never mind that: have these actresses never been to a beach? A volleyball tournament? Do they live in nudist colony? Civilized society permits some parts of the male anatomy to be exposed in public, while some parts of the female anatomy are not considered appropriate for public display. The system has worked pretty well. Are feminists really going to try to label this a form of sexism?

On multiple fronts, it is beginning to appear that progressive cant is spinning into self-parody.

Here’s Adam, by the way:

 

I don’t know about you, but I had a hard time finding his nipples.

 

My Birthday Comment Of The Day! On “Nipplegate Ethics: No, We Don’t Owe Janet Jackson Any Apology At All”

Shortly before the bells tolled twelve and my birthday/Finding Dad Dead In A Chair Day came to an end, I received not one but THREE comments on a two-year-old post. I love it when this happens—it has been happening a lot lately—because it gives me a chance to read with new eyes and accumulated wisdom past ethical verdicts to see if they measure up to my current standards. Sometimes I think I was bit too certain of myself, and sometimes I even detect some serious omissions in my analysis, but not with this post, a vivisection of a ridiculous, race-bating defense of Janet Jackson infamous breast-baring at the 2004 Super Bowl. A pop culture blather-artist named Emmanuel Hapsis,  had revisited the incident , and in the increasingly unhinged manner of the woke which we have witnesses since. declared that the episode exemplified America’s “patriarchy,” “racism” and “sexism.”  “Janet’s first crime was being a woman and the second that she was a black woman,” Emmanuel wrote.

Well, few show business scams have been as easily figured out as this one, and the question is whether those who refuse to believe what is absurdly obvious—Sure, it was just a series of amazing coincidences that Justin Timberlake, during a choreographed duet with Jackson and while singing “Better have you naked by the end of this song,” somehow and completely accidentally ripped a neatly cut portion of Jackson’s bustier to reveal her naked breast, except that her nipple was covered by an elaborate pasty—almost as if she knew it was going to be exposed.  Timberlake lied, then later admitted that the stunt was planned, though he didn’t have to, because everyone knew it was planned who had an IQ above freezing and wasn’t in line to buy shares of “Prisoners of Love”. Jackson kept to her story that it was all a big surprise. I wrote, and would write again,

“Jackson also got a career boost from the fiasco, which is exactly why she agreed to the stunt, and if she paid something for the contract breech, she could afford it. As for the public criticism of her unannounced peep show, race and sexism had nothing, zero, nada to do with it. When you have to reach this far back and distort reality this absurdly to make the case about how racist and sexist America can be, you really need to find another cause, because you’re lousy at this one.

There are real examples of racism and sexism out there. Using fake ones like this to caterwaul about it just makes it easier to deny them.

Not only does America not owe Janet Jackson a “huge” apology, America owes her none at all. Emmanuel Hapsis, however does owe America a huge apology, for trying to further divide it, and for trying to make the public more ignorant than it already is.”

When the post first ran, somebody sicced a college class on me or something, and I received numerous, almost identical rebuttals, most of which were too incoherent or idiotic to pass moderation. I also banned one persistent troll who kept writing the same comment that essentially asked how anyone could be so mad as to not believe Jackson’s contrived story? (I am a veteran stage director and choreographer, and I can tell a staged bit when I see one, not than any yahoo couldn’t recognize this one.)

So along comes someone named Troy who gifted me with one of those comments that is so fascinatingly devoid of logic, coherence or ethics grounding, and so wonderfully besotted with woke buzzwords and mirages, that I just had to post it as a Comment of the Day. First, it shows you the kind of junk that doesn’t usually get posted here. Second, it is instersectionality wackiness on brilliant display—yes, holding Janet Jackson to account for flashing a family audience to get cheap publicity for her upcoming album is linked to slavery, lynching, police brutality, and white privilege. The screed also begins with and is built around a false analogy, as are so many screeds these days. You see, Madonna is white, Madonna is a singer, and Madonna has exposed various parts of her body in a carnal fashion, so for a black performer to be criticized for similar self-exposure is a double standard, or so Troy believes.

Super Bowl half-time spectacular live in prime time with the largest TV audience of the year including children, you moron.

I wonder: how many people are out there who “think” like this? How did they get that way? Who can stand being around them? Are they multiplying? How can that be stopped? How do you reason with someone this addled? What is the critical mass of people like this that renders the nation too stupid to function at all?

Excellent, if troubling, questions all. Thanks, Troy!

Here is Troy’s Comment of the Day on Nipplegate Ethics: No, We Don’t Owe Janet Jackson Any Apology At All: Continue reading

Nipplegate Ethics: No, We Don’t Owe Janet Jackson Any Apology At All

nipplegate

A wonderful, if infuriating, example of race- and gender-baiting was delivered earlier this year by pop culture pundit Emmanuel Hapsis, and a more ridiculous analysis you will seldom see. I missed it, but the post was no more valid then than it is now.

Returning, for some reason, to the infamous episode during the 2004’s Super Bowl halftime show, when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake conspired to turn the supposedly family-friendly Super Bowl into a strip tease, Hapsis’s piece is called “Nipplegate Revisited: Why America Owes Janet Jackson a Huge Apology.” During a choreographed duet with Jackson  and while singing “Better have you naked by the end of this song,” (talk about rape culture!) Timberlake ripped a pre-rigged portion of Jackson’s bustier to reveal her naked breast. Jackson was severely criticized, as she should have been: after all, it was her breast, and she obviously agreed to allow it to make a surprise appearance, however brief.

Never mind. Hapsis sees the episode as exemplifying America’s “patriarchy,” “racism” and “sexism,” because obviously no white singers flashing ten-year-olds in TV land would be criticized, and no male singer who decided to let Mr. Wiggly make a guest appearance would be similarly pilloried. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Melissa Leo

Give the soap to Melissa, Ralphie...

That certainly settled it: Melissa Leo is an inexcusable boor after all.

Winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Leo blurted out, “Really, really, really, WOW” and then,“When I watched, it looked so fucking easy!”

And thus do tasteless, disrespectful, uncivil so-called professionals degrade our language, public standards of decency and respect for others. Continue reading

Ethics Hero Emeritus: Lena Horne, 1917-2010

When actress Hattie McDaniel, the imposing African-American actress who played “Mammy” in the film “Gone With the Wind,” was criticized for her willingness to accept stereotypical and often degrading roles, she countered, “I’d rather play a maid and make $700 a week than be one for $7.”  Not Lena Horne.  Breaking into the movie business as a dynamic and glamorous singer-actress in 1942, she insisted on a long-term contract with MGM that specified that she would never have to play a maid. Continue reading

Biden’s Incivility: No “Big Fucking Deal”?

For the most part, the media and the culture have given Vice-President Joe Biden a pass on his ebullient violation of a civil discourse taboo, on national TV and during an official ceremony, caught on a microphone for all to hear. That only makes the consequences of Biden’s inability to control his potty-mouth worse, though not for Biden. Biden has made so many embarrassing public utterances that he is treated by the media and much of the public as sort of a crazy uncle, someone we expect to do and say outrageous things because he can’t help himself (it stands as the smoking gun proof of the media’s bias against Sarah Palin that her verbal mistakes were—and are—pounced upon and used as evidence of her incompetence, while her Democratic counterpart’s career-long fondness for saying silly and outrageous things was —and is—excused.) But national leaders set cultural standards, and the shrugging off of Biden’s F-bomb permanently lowers our standards of civility as much as “Baby killer!” or “You lie!” So thanks, Joe, for making America just a little bit less gentile, just a little bit cruder. We knew you had it in you. Continue reading