Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/15/2019: Of Ficks, Flicks, Fairness, And. Yes, “Fuck”


Suffering from low blog traffic hangover…

I know I complain about traffic here too much, but it’s the only place I where can complain about it. Either because of Trump Derangement, ethics apathy in a Nation of Assholes, my exile from NPR (for telling an undeniable truth that was accused of being a defense of Donald Trump), Facebook’s sabotage, or sunspots, Ethics Alarms readership is down significantly since the high point of 2016. Yesterday, the usually lively day of Tuesday did a credible imitation of Saturday, when tumbleweeds roll through here, and I can’t find any reason why. Kept me up much of the night, so now I’m going to be slow, cynical  and cranky all day….

1. Speaking of a nation of assholes…Stephanie Wilkerson, the certifiably awful human being who kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of the Red Hen restaurant, was given a forum (disgracefully) by the Washington Post to boast about her “resistance.” Of course she frames herself as a victim, then celebrates the fact that she received support from many Americans who are as hateful, bigoted, and un-American as she is. Depressingly, many of my Facebook friends “loved” or “liked” her nauseating column, which is nothing more nor less that a hard tug on the loose threads on the seams that hold our nation together. These phony advocates of “inclusion” actually favor discrimination and prejudice based on political affiliation and personal viewpoints, which is no less unethical and destructive than discriminating based on race, gender or creed.

Stephanie Wilkerson’s Post column marks her a fick, an individual who is unethical and proud of it.

But I would still serve her in my restaurant.

2. Here’s another topic I’m sick of writing about: We TV, that august cultural institution that features the beneath the bottom of the barrel reality show, “Mama June, From “Not” to “Hot.” is the latest product to use the hilariously clever device of implying variations of “fuck” in its marketing, because saying but not quite saying “fuck” is inherently witty and memorable. The word being so used by We is “flicks.” Get it?? Continue reading

Tiger Woods Cheated! Who’s Surprised?

Marital fidelity was a previous rule Tiger thought was stupid. Nike must be so proud.

Marital fidelity was a previous rule Tiger thought was stupid. Nike must be so proud.

The fact that Tiger Woods finished fourth in the Masters was a stroke of moral luck that will allow, in all probability, the memory of his lack of sportsmanship and the PGA’s lack of integrity to cause a bit less harm to professional golf, at least until the next time Tiger tries to cut ethical corners. He is, after all, a shameless cheater with a deeply flawed character. It was just a matter of time before he managed, as the sport’s biggest name, to corrupt it. Now, he has.

During the tournament, Woods improved his lie after a stray shot by taking an illegal drop, and did so in such a blatant and obvious manner that TV viewers noticed it. Based on his experience and the rules of golf, Tiger should have known that what he was doing was a violation; based on his later statement to ESPN, in which he admitted that he placed his ball “2 yards”  behind where it belonged to give himself a better shot at the green, he did know. USGA rule 26-1 says a golfer must “play a ball as nearly as possible at the spot” from which he or she originally hit it. As Christine Brennan correctly explained in USA Today, previous golfers who have committed far less serious infractions have withdrawn from competition to preserve golf’s status as the last major sport that expects competitors to police their own conduct. Golf has an honor code. There is nothing honorable about Tiger Woods. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Golfer Blayne Barber

Aspiring professional golfers can’t just join the PGA tour. They have to qualify by completing and passing PGA school.  Blayne Barber is one such golfer, and his dreams of winning tournaments and cash prizes will have to wait at least another year, if they are realized at all. He washed out this year. The way he washed out, however, is remarkable, and shows that if he does make it into the PGA ranks, Barber will be a credit to his sport.

Indeed, most pro golfers are credits to their sport, because golf has managed to hold the line against the increasing cultural acceptance of poor sportsmanship better than any of our professional pastimes, with tennis a distant second, and third place too far away to see without binoculars. This is a sport where the honor system is mandatory. One reason the tradition of self-regulation has persisted in golf may be because cheating in contests is so easy, and because there are so many ways to do it. Players find their own balls, and write down their own scores. Anyone who has seen James Bond and Auric Goldfinger take turns cheating each other in the famous grudge match from the movie knows that amateur golf can be cutthroat and nasty. The pros have built a culture that requires exemplary conduct.

Few would be this exemplary, however. Continue reading

Of Cheating, Loopholes, Fairness and Golf

One of the problems with assessing fairness in sports is that the definition  of “cheating” varies according to what game is involved.  In some sports, anything not specifically outlawed is fair. In other sports, the “spirit of sportsmanship” takes precedence over mere rules. Golf is one of the latter, a sport that still regards itself as refined and gentlemanly.  Now a controversy has erupted that requires an assessment of whether one can cheat in professional golf while obeying the rules. Continue reading