Rewarding Wrongdoers to Corrupt Us All

It would be wonderful if Steven Slater would go before the cameras and say,

“I want to apologize to Jet Blue and its passengers for my conduct. I was frustrated and emotionally over-wrought, and I wrongly endangered the air travelers, betrayed by co-workers, and embarrassed my employers. I am not a folk hero or a role model. I am ordinary human being who lost control of his emotions, and behaved badly. I am sorry. If my meltdown contributes to a national dialogue that reminds people that we need to be civil patient and kind to one another, then at least something productive will have come out of an incident that I sincerely regret.”

That’s not going to happen. Continue reading

AshleyMadison Finds Its Perfect Symbol

Well, if you run an unethical website, I suppose the most ethical thing you can do, other than shutting it down, is to be transparent about what you are selling, and how wrong it is.

Thus I have to reluctantly tip my ethics cap to the pro-adultery website, AshleyMadison, for finding the perfect symbol. [You can read my earlier commentary on this particularly atrocious site here and here.] Yes, TMZ is reporting that Bombshell McGee, the Nazi-celebrating tattoo model who helped Jesse James wreck his marriage with actress Sandra Bullock just as the couple was adopting a child and while she was proclaiming her trust and love for him to the world, will be promoting AshleyMadison’s adultery services. If seeing Bombshell McGee promoting a service endears makes it attractive to you, AshleyMadison can’t lead you astray: you are too far gone already. Bombshell’s (can I call her “Shelley?”) enthusiasm for adulterous relationships has destroyed a family and devastated another woman who never did her any harm. This is truth in advertising at its best: an irredeemable unethical business, hiring an openly despicable spokeswoman.

The Ethics of Unethical Ethics Teachers

An essay by lawyers Joel Cohen and Katherine A. Helm begins with this story:

Noted ethics philosopher and Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell once was questioned by the Harvard Board of Governors about having an extramarital affair with a student. When faced with the hypocrisy of being an ethics professor engaged in immoral conduct, Russell argued his private affairs had nothing to do with his professional duties. “But you are a Professor of Ethics!” maintained one of the board members. “I was [also] a Professor of Geometry at Cambridge,” Russell rejoined, but “they never asked me why I was not a triangle.”‘

The authors use the anecdote to explore the issue of whether proven ethics miscreants like Eliot Spitzer, Rod Blagojevich and disbarred class action lawyer William Lerach ought to be lecturing, speaking, or otherwise being listened to in regard to their opinions and advice on ethics. After all, acting teachers are often indifferent actors, and the best baseball managers weren’t much as players. Why should ethics be any different?  Continue reading

“It’s Just Sex”? No, It’s Betrayal

There isn’t much good that can come out of the sordid infidelity Trifecta of John Edwards, Tiger Woods, and Jesse James, but maybe there will be this: Perhaps after the public has observed and measured all the pain and suffering the outrageous conduct of these three men has inflicted on innocent third parties, especially those who depended on them and trusted them, it will not be so quick to accept the facile argument, perfected during Bill Clinton’s ordeals, that adultery is “just sex.”

The latest flagrant celebrity dog, Jesse James, is an especially powerful case for leaving the Clinton Excuse with Clinton. He had a wife who clearly adored him, the late-marrying Sandra Bullock, who touchingly paid a tribute to her supposedly devoted husband in one of her several Best Actress acceptance speeches this year by saying that she knew he “had her back.” Now tattoo models and strippers are coming out of the woodwork to say they had affairs with the chopper-maker, and the revelations may end up sending his six-year old daughter back to her porn star mother, though James and Bullock had been awarded custody.

Destroy a family, devastate the woman who loves you, uproot your child. But hey, it’s only sex. Continue reading