On Political Correctness, Eye Candy, And “Deal Or No Deal”

Where are the hunchbacks? Where are the amputees? Where are the burn victims?

A friend of mine—a real one– on Facebook, in a pathetically desperate exercise in virtue-signaling to his leftist hive-mind lawyer friends, issued a naive or disingenuous post making the claim that all “political correctness” was about was “not being an asshole.” This factually and historically false assertion naturally was met with unanimous likes until I again played the skunk at the picnic by pointing out that his comment was utter fantasy. The directive from the British college that laid out guidelines for comedians was classic political correctness, and it was the guidelines-peddlers, not the comedians or those who mocked the restrictions, who were being assholes. Those who persist in calling illegal immigrants illegal immigrants (and not “undocumented immigrants” or just “immigrants”), for that, Virginia, is what they are, are not the assholes, but they are “politically incorrect.” The assholes who go searching through the Twitter feeds of young celebrities searching for politically incorrect words about gays, women or minorities are wielding politically correctness as a weapon of personal destruction. And so on. I could write volumes on similar or more nauseating examples. Maybe I have.

So I pointed out, correctly and undeniably, that political correctness has been used for decades by one side of the political spectrum—guess which!—as a tool to manipulate public discourse and hobble the expression of ideas and attitudes that end doesn’t like, while relieving them of the obligation of making a substantive argument. The immediate attack on this retort came from someone I don’t even know, who wrote, “You are so tiresome.” Yes, I’m quite aware that doctrinaire progressives find ethics, facts and logic tiresome, but there it is. That is what passed for an argument in Facebook’s hive: “Shut up.” I haven’t bothered to respond to the other attacks on me on that thread; it’s not worth my time. If you defend a manifestly false characterization of political correctness, then you are either not being honest, you have an agenda, or are no longer thinking objectively and clearly. Either way, I’d rather debate my dog.

This was a roundabout way of introducing a classic example of political correctness silliness, attacks on the appropriateness of “Deal or No Deal” returning with the same bevy of beauties whose job it is to hold and open suitcases, a job that could be performed with equal competence by the homeless, paraplegics, 9-year-olds, or robots. Writes the Times, metaphorical brow furrowed,

CNBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” which returned for a new season on Wednesday after a nearly 10-year hiatus, and features 26 female models in matching high heels and short, skintight dresses. It’s a formula that helped make “Deal” a prime-time hit when it debuted on NBC in 2005.

That was 13 years ago. But in 2018, as the culture continues to grapple with the way women have been disregarded and sometimes abused by Hollywood and its machers, “Deal” and shows like it raise an awkward question: Is this a convention whose time is up?

Series like “Deal” encapsulate the paradox of the modern game-show modeling gig: On one hand, it offers a stiletto-heeled foot in the door for many young women who aspire to careers in entertainment — Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen, among others, got their starts on “Deal or No Deal.” On the other hand, it is unclear whether those advantages are worth the broader message it may communicate in the #MeToo era…

“I do feel it’s a bit tone deaf,” said Nicole Martins, a professor at Indiana University Bloomington, who focuses on media and body image. “These women are used as eye candy, and it reinforces the idea that these women should be appreciated for how they look.”

Yes, Professor, that’s because THESE women are being appreciated for how they look, and for no other reason, because they aren’t doing a job that couldn’t be handled by a well-trained ape. So what? “Deal of No Deal” is moronic, but there is nothing whatsoever unethical, sexist or “tone deaf,” now or ever, about employing attractive people in an entertainment context as “eye candy,” meaning “employing attractive people to be attractive.”

Attractive women are attractive. People like to look at them. People would rather look at them than look at average, typical people they can see every day on the street, or by looking in the mirror. Is there anything wrong with enhancing a stupefyingly repetitive and boring game show with beautiful women? There is not. Nor is there anything wrong with women who are gorgeous while having no other areas in which they excel making a living based entirely on that one asset. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: “Hot As Hell” Bikinis For Toddlers

We haven’t had a good “Icky or Unethical?”  issue for a while. Here is one to start off your week…strangely.

Last weekend, as I’m sure you all know, commenced Miami Swim Week 2016, which runs though July 19. During the  swimwear fashion and trade show (now in its 12th year!), designers, buyers and models from around the world come to Miami Beach to promote the latest in swim wear.

This year, the brand Hot As Hell featured adult-style bathing suits for little girls. Tiny models walked down the runway, strutting their stuff. Often they were accompanied by full grown models wearing similar out fits, like this…

Hot as Hell2

or this…

NINTCHDBPICT000252438834

Many observers were horrified, and  pronounced the bikinis, the line, and the runway display disturbing, child porn, titillation for pederasts, child abuse, and another dangerous step into the societal abyss of sexualizing childhood. Others have responded with “Aw, they’re so cute!”, “Oh, get over it” and “You’re the one with the dirty mind!”

Hmmmm.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz to begin this Republican National Convention Week of Shame is…

Are the kiddie bikinis unethical, or just icky?

Continue reading

From An Ethics Dunce Playmate Of The Year, A Full Pazuzu!

dani-mathers post

Dani Mathers is a former Playmate of the Year. On the left below, you see Dani as she appears to unknowing bystanders; on the right, the oil portrait of herself that she keeps in the attic.

Dani+Mathers

Befitting the character and soul accurately portrayed by the portrait, the skin-deep beauty took a cellphone photo of an unaware naked female member of LA Fitness in the gym’s shower. Then Dani posted the pic on Snapchat with the caption, “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

The actual photo does not have the victim’s body blotted out.

Said LA Fitness of  Dani:”Her behavior is appalling and puts every member’s privacy at risk. We have handled this internally and also notified the police.”

Of course cell phone photography is prohibited in locker rooms. Doing what Mathers did may also be against the law.

Caught with her ugly soul exposed to the world, the model reverted to full Pazuzu mode. Pazuzu was the demon who made poor Linda Blair say all those horrible things in “The Exorcist,” and the Pazuzu Excuse is what Ethics Alarms calls apologies for horrible statements or conduct that include such incredible statements as “Those statements do not express my real beliefs,” “That doesn’t reflect who I am,” and the always popular “That wasn’t me.” Continue reading

Beating The Naked Teacher Principle: The Provocatively Clad Bodybuilding Teacher Principle.

min jensen

It is important to remember that the The Naked Teacher Principle   doesn’t state that pre-college teachers who allow themselves to be seen on the internet in states of undress likely to arouse the lust of their students should and must be fired—though most of them should be—but that they have no legitimate complaint if they are. Teachers who must command respect, serve as role models, and of course, teach, should not permit themselves to become pin-ups and peep-show stars for their students. At very least, they owe their employers and their students’ parents advance notice.

Mindy Jensen, a Utah middle school teacher,  has a second (or perhaps first) career as a bikini model and fitness competitor. She came under the  cloud of The Naked Teacher Principle the usual way: a student was surfing the web and cried out: “Holy crap! That’s my teacher, and she’s HOT!”  The news (and images) spread around the community and student body quickly. Parents called the Instagram photos “pornographic” and demanded that Jensen be dismissed. The school gave her an ultimatum: take down the photos, make her account private, or get sacked.

Jensen made the Instagram account private, then changed her mind. . Explaining her decision, Jensen told ABC Utah,  “Why am I taking this picture off, I get comments and messages that it’s inspirational to them and these women like my story. If I put it to private, it’s not going to reach these people that might need and understand me.”

The school has since backed down,  opting instead to hold training sessions for  parents on teaching kid to be careful on the Web—you know, like avoiding hot photos of their teachers. (Good luck with THAT.)

I think several features of this episode on The Naked Teacher Principle spectrum led to this result. In 2014, in this post about whether the NTP applies to non-teaching bodybuilding mothers, I raised the issue of bodybuilding teachers on the web, and posited this photo as an example for discussion: Continue reading

Is There An “Almost Naked Lovely Lawyer Principle”?

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Not really.

But it’s complicated.

Cathy McCarthy (above) is a 2013 graduate of Loyola Law School-Los Angeles, and she is sounding the clarion call for the right of bikini model-lawyers to be taken seriously. She wrote…

I graduated law school a year ago after receiving an academic scholarship and passed the California Bar last November on my first try. I am also a model and have had moderate success, building fan base of over 26,000 people where I do mostly bikini promotions. Does this make me better or worse at my job? According to some people, it makes me unable to be taken “seriously” in the business community. In fact, two weeks ago, I was reprimanded by a coworker for my online presence and was told to “handle the situation.”I fought back and was ultimately let off the hook, but this is not the first time that I have faced backlash from colleagues who think that a lawyer should not also get the privilege of “looking hot in a bikini.”

Unlike the case with primary and secondary school teachers, where a published presence on the web that is sexually provocative can interfere with a healthy student-teacher relationship, there is no automatic impediment to a lawyer client relationship posed by the lawyer moonlighting as a bikini model, a fold-out, or even a porn star. The profession acknowledges this in several legal ethics opinions affirming lawyers’ First Amendment rights. Lawyers can express themselves any way they choose, provided that it does not undermine their ability to represent their clients in any way. Continue reading

Ethics Alarms MailBox: “Does The Naked Teacher Principle Apply To Bodybuilding Teachers…or Mothers?”

Bodybuilder mom

Since the NTP is back in the news—Kaitlin Pearson, whom Ethics Alarms dubbed the perfect example of the Naked Teacher Principle, was allowed to continue her job as a teacher’s aide—this is a propitious time to address a question I received off-site by an esteemed reader, who sent me a photo similar to the one above (but of another female competitive bodybuilder/mom—who is 50 years old) and commented, “This is a picture of a local soccer mom with a teenage son. Is she setting a good example for her son, and does her conduct trigger the Naked Teacher Principle?”

Let me finish with Kaitlin first. I personally wouldn’t have let her continue, if only because she was not forthcoming about her other pursuits when she interviewed for the job. That doesn’t mean that the resolution of her particular case is in defiance of the NTP. It states, Continue reading

The Naked Teacher Principle Strikes In Texas: The Playboy Variation

"Miss DEWEESE?? Ay Caramba!!!"

“Miss DEWEESE?? Ay Caramba!!!”

This version of the NTP is not especially close to the gray area of ethics, nor is the result surprising, though I expect a lot of teeth gnashing about it because the naked teacher in question will attract a lot of, uh, sympathy.

Dallas’s school district has apparently fired Cristy Nicole Deweese, 21, a Spanish teacher for the city’s Townview Magnet High School. Less than three years ago she posed in various provocative positions and states of undress for Playboy, in its February 2011 issue. That magazine is still available, but more to the point, the photos are easily available online. Naturally some students found them, and the core tenets of the Naked Teacher Principle had been triggered.

The Naked Teacher Principle states:

“A secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result.”

I won’t keep you in unnecessary suspense. Deweese is almost dead center in the middle of the NTP. Continue reading