Ethics Dunce: Pop Star Katy Perry

When is a sincere apology unethical? Here’s a good example.

Abused and Abuser. Someone please tell Katy Perry which is which.

Abused and Abuser. Someone please tell Katy Perry which is which.

Pop singing star Katy Perry registered an ethically responsible objection via Twitter regarding the Chief Keef song “Hate Being Sober.” She wrote,

“Just heard a new song on the radio called ‘I hate being sober’ I now have serious doubt for the world.”

Me too, Katy.  The artist responsible for this paean to intoxication, however, took offense, and decided to rebut Katy’s tweet with an obscene, abusive, misogynist attack:

“Dat bitch Katy Perry Can Suck Skin Off Of my Dick Ill Smack The Shit out her”

Thus chastened (or intimidated?), Perry apologized to him, writing that she really liked the song, and wasn’t “a hater”: Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Bismarck, N.D. Supporters Of A.J. Clemente, The Obscene Ex-Newscaster

A.J. Clemente.

A.J. Clemente.

In an earlier post I referenced A.J. Clemente, a newscaster for KFYR-TV in Bismarck who debuted in his new role by saying “…fucking shit!” on the air, because he didn’t know his mic was on. Not surprisingly, he was fired. Now, apparently, many viewers have come to his defense and are admonishing the station for being too harsh.

The station is not being too harsh. The station is upholding correct professional standards, and removing an unprofessional employee whom they do not trust and have no reason to trust. The episode showed him to be careless, reckless and, obviously, subject to obscene outbursts, which only are appropriate if you are David Ortiz. Ah, but some of the good citizens of Bismarck, displaying the same entrenched ethics cluelessness that led to the nomination of the ridiculous Mark Sanford, ex-Romeo governor, to lose a GOP House seat in South Carolina, don’t comprehend accountability, trustworthiness or responsibility, because to them, the only values that matter are forgiveness and compassion. The technical terms for such people are “patsies” and “marks.” They would cripple society, business and government with their mindless, deadly niceness. Examples: Continue reading

“The Ortiz Standard,” With An Ethics Note To High Appointed Officials: If You Can’t Say Something Responsible And Intelligent, Please Shut Up!

Gee, thanks, guys. Fuck.

Gee, thanks, guys. Fuck.

Apparently April is officially “Let’s Make The U.S. Permanently Vulgar and Uncivil Month.”

We’ve had a University of Maryland sorority lovely ream out her charges with a rant that would, in the words of Henry Higgins, “make a sailor blush.” Kmart launched a potty-minded commercial based entirely on the hilarious similarity between the phrase “ship my pants” and “shit my pants,” including two happy seniors boasting how they “shipped our pants.” In Bismarck, North Dakota, a local station’s brand new anchor man’s very first words to the audience were “…fucking shit!” because he didn’t know his mic was live.  And, of course, given the honor of representing his team during the Boston Red Sox’s pre-game ceremony honoring the heroes of the past week in their terror-besieged city, slugger David Ortiz told 35,000+ spectators, including many children, and a large TV audience, also including young children, watching the event, “This is our fucking city!” He was then unanimously praised for his passion.

Not to be left out of this full-throated endorsement of public incivility and locker room banter as the new normal, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski sent out a tweet for those wondering how Ortiz’s outburst would be received by the FCC, which has previously threatened fines of networks that didn’t take sufficient precautions against live obscenities. He wrote,

“David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston – Julius.” Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: Boston Red Sox Star David “Big Papi” Ortiz

“This is our fucking city!”

—Boston Red Sox designated hitter and icon David Ortiz, aka “Big Papi”, representing the team in a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park honoring Boston in the wake of the past week’s violence, heroism and travails.

"Big Potty-Mouth"

“Big Potty-Mouth”

I love you, David, and you got us past the Yankees in 2004, but your choice of words  was classless, crude and unnecessary.

There were children in that crowd and watching on TV, as I was. You are a role model, and locker room language belongs in the locker room, not in public events. Your obviously calculated incivility moves the culture one more step away from public manners and toward obscenity as standard expression.

I’m disappointed in you, and you also embarrassed your sorority sisters at Delta Gamma.

Wanted, Desperately Needed, and Lacking: Professionals, Adults and Values in the Media

What? Is there something wrong?

There is not a lot to say about the graphic above, other than:

  1. It is crude.
  2. It is funny.
  3. It is intentional.
  4. It is inappropriate for a general audience newspaper
  5. A competent editor should have caught it, and
  6. The graphic artist needs a warning and a reprimand.

The media, its staff, celebrities and assorted vulgarians and boors seem to be determined to make public square America as uncivil as a locker room, as crude as a peep show, and as juvenile as a junior high school farting contest. Professionals, including USA Today editors and publishers, can either do their duty and discourage this intentional rudeness in their products and services, or shrug it away. Similarly, our culture needs to decide if we are going to just define our deviancy down some more, and accept gratuitous sexual innuendo that will gradually make the whole population into a bunch of snickering Beavises. Continue reading

Buck Foston’s Ethics

News Item:

“A New Brunswick businessman has filed suit in federal court, charging New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill is holding up approval of his liquor license for a new high end sports bar because he doesn’t like the bar’s proposed name — Buck Foston’s. Larry Blatterfein, who has owned the Knight Club, a bar on Easton Avenue, for 30 years, charges Cahill is violating his first amendment constitutional right to free speech by holding up the transfer of a second liquor license to Blatterfein from another restaurant in town.”

The story goes on to say that the mayor denies the accusation, that the name has nothing to do with the planned establishment’s problems. Maybe not. Continue reading

E-Mail Revelations: Prof. Ellen Lewin’s Unprofesssional Intolerance

Ellen Lewin, a University of Iowa Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies in the Department of Gender, was so enraged by an e-mail invitation sent to the entire campus by the student Republican group that she fired off an e-mail in reply that said, succinctly,


The young Republicans circulated the e-mail, and now many people  and groups are calling for her dismissal. The incident has raised more ethical questions than mere civility. Continue reading

Civility, Stupidity, Art, and “The King’s Speech”

"Frankly, my dear, I don't!" (United Airlines version)

I was stunned and amazed to find that United Airlines was uncharacteristically showing a good movie on my six-hour flight, the Academy Award-winning “The King’s Speech.”

Good, and in the case of “The King’s Speech,” arguably great, movies, however, are owed some respect.  If United is going to show it, United has an obligation to be fair to the film and fair to its audience by not showing it in a manner that diminishes the movie’s quality or the audience’s enjoyment. Thus I was also stunned and amazed when the famous sequence in which the Duke of York, soon to be King George VI, angrily demonstrates that he does not stammer when swearing by shouting “Fuck!” repeatedly, was mangled by United’s language police. 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

Celebrity Ethics: Rihanna’s “Fuck You” Necklace

Pop star Rihanna is getting media flack for being photographed with a group of young children while wearing a necklace with a design that spells out “Fuck You.” “We know she probably wasn’t anticipating being bombarded by a bunch kids and shit, but damn, she could’ve tucked that joint in before agreeing to take photos with the little crumbsnatchers,” opines the classy gossip site Bossip, for example. Continue reading