Ethics Dunce: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

I anticipate a whole bushel of these awards in the next two years, since the young, callow, naive and broadly ignorant “new face of the Democratic Party” possesses the unfortunate combination of a non-stop mouth,  poor education, certitude of her own brilliance, a seal-clapping rookery of blindly fawning supporters who swoon at any of her doctrinaire pronouncements, and a Mainstream media that hasn’t yet figured out that publishing her every word is doing Ocasio-Cortez no favors.

This example could stand as a template for an Ethics Dunce- mandating performance. Showing that she has the back of her equally cocky and clueless colleague, freshman Congress woman Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, lately infamous for gleefully crowing, “We’re going to impeach the motherfucker!” to a “resistance” crowd after she was sworn in, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted,

“Republican hypocrisy at its finest: saying that Trump admitting to sexual assault on tape is just ‘locker room talk,’ but scandalizing themselves into faux-outrage when my sis says a curse word in a bar. GOP lost entitlement to policing women’s behavior a long time ago. Next.”

This is both unethical and cretinous. Let us count the ways: Continue reading

Don’t Feel Too Bad, Americans: Ethics Alarms Aren’t Ringing In Canada, North Korea Or Japan, Either

It’s an International Ethics Dunce parade!

donald-trump-humane-society

1. Ontario, Canada

The Windsor-Essex County Humane Society in Ontario thought it would be really clever to use the Donald Trump phrase that many believe disqualify him to be President in an ad to adopt kitty-cats. It featured a photo of Trump and said, “You don’t have to be a star to grab a pussy … cat.”

Amazing. Not one person in the chain of custody of this—I would say obviously, but when so many people miss it, I guess it’s not—offensive ad had an ethics alarm sound.  Nobody had the sense, prudence or guts to say,

“Uh, guys? Hello? You do realize that this is using a phrase describing sexual assault while alluding to the one who used it to describe sexual assault? You do realize that “pussy” alluding to female genitalia is vulgar and uncivil, right? No? Here, let me explain it to you…or hwo about this: there is no way this won’t spark criticism. Is that what you want?”

Sure enough,  the ad promoting cat adoptions this week for $50, was taken down shortly after it appeared this week.

The society offered a pathetic apology. Melanie Coulter, executive director of the humane society, “explained” it was an attempt to make light of the U.S election campaign, though it also “made light” of sexual assault, contemptuous attitudes toward women,  and obscene rhetoric.

“We are obviously sorry if people are offended by the ad — that wasn’t our attempt in the least,” Coulter said. “Our attempt was to find homes for cats that need them.” She also added that the shelter took in more than a hundred cats in the last week.

For the record, the rationalizations here are…

3. Consequentialism, or  “It Worked Out for the Best”

13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”

19A The Insidious Confession, or “It wasn’t the best choice.”

It also suggests that I need to add “We meant well” to the list as a sub-rationalization to #13.

****

contest-winner

2. Kuroishi, Japan

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Thanks For The Memories, Greta Friedman: This Encore’s For You!

kiss

I was puzzled about why an old 2012 Ethics Alarms post was suddenly getting heavy traffic today, and until I read that GretaFriedman had died. She was the nurse famously kissed by a never-identified celebrating sailor on V-J Day, frozen in history forever thanks to a now iconic  Life magazine photograph.  I had written about Greta, that moment, and the determination of a lot of tunnel-visioned feminists and sexual-terrorists to turn what was a beautiful thing into something ugly and sinister in the distorted world they see through their shit-tinted glasses. The post was called The Times Square Kiss, and Feminist Blogs’ Fanatic Crime Against Joy.

I’m always a bit nervous when I go back and read old posts I’ve forgotten about; I’m afraid I won’t agree with them, but thankfully, I usually do. I do in this case. In fact, I really like the post, and am proud of it. On the theory that most current Ethics Alarms readers haven’t seen it before, I’m reposting today, in honor of Greta.

The Times Square Kiss,

and

Feminist Blogs’ Fanatic Crime Against Joy

The blog posts at issue make me angry. Usually it is silly to be angry about mere opinions, I know. However, the opinion registered by “Lori” on the blog Feministing, taking her cue from another feminist blogger, is a symptom, a symptom of the scourge of pernicious, political-correctness zealots, who refuse to recognize the important distinctions between malice and human beings being human, and seek to wipe out that distinction by distortion, sophistry, historical revisionism and bullying. Continue reading

Speaking Of Photography Ethics, How About “Don’t Kill Anything”?

selfie dolphin

I’ll admit it: I have about as little interest in photography and photographs as it is possible to have for a human living in this century. I regard the mania for taking photos of oneself constantly and posting them on-line as strong evidence that crippling narcissism can be transmitted electronically, and as we have been discussing in comment to this recent post, if you try to use me as a prop in your cellphone camera-warped quest to make every your waking hour the object of public gawking, you had better ask permission first, or else. I realize this attitude is fighting the “everybody does it” tide, but I’m right, everybody is wrong, and that’s all there is to it.

This story out of Argentina, in addition to being disgusting, shows just how unbalanced the selfie-craze is making human priorities. I know—Argentina. This couldn’t happen here, right?  Not in a country where Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are surging in the polls….we’re too smart.

Two La Plata dolphins, members of a rare and endangered species, got to close to shore in their playfulness near an Argentinian resort last week. Some bathers plucked the small cetaceans out of the waves, and they were passed around a smiling, brain-dead mob containing selfie-mad amateur photographers.  One of the dolphins died of stress and exposure, and was just dumped on the beach. But never mind: it will live on in online shares and Instagram. What’s the problem, dude?

“At least one of these dolphins suffered a horrific, traumatic and utterly unnecessary death, for the sake of a few photographs,” a spokesperson from the World Animal Protection group said.  “This terribly unfortunate event is an example of the casual cruelty people can inflict when they use animals for entertainment purposes.”

Activists groups just cannot help themselves, can they?  They must squeeze every episode into their own agenda. This is one of many reasons why they aren’t trusted. This episode was about reckless, selfish, ignorant people who don’t have respect for living things, not Sea World.

Well, the crowd got their selfies, so it’s all worth it to them. Meanwhile. as for their once living, breathing, prop…

dead dolphin

Fortunately, the carcass was still good for one more photo.

 

Ethics Quiz: The Controversial Photo

 

WORLDPRESS

Sometimes cheating isn’t cheating at all, but a just a different interpretation of the rules. And sometimes, it’s just cheating.

The World Press Photo contest just stripped “The Dark Heart of Europe,” a 10-photo series by Giovanni Troilo about life in Charleroi, Belgium, of a first prize after the judges decided that he had misrepresented the location of one of the  images. But before proof of the mislabeling of one of the photos settled the matter—Troilo had taken one of the images in the artist’s studio outside Brussels and not in Charleroi as the series titles had represented—another of the images in his entry had caused a rules dispute.

 Troilo had photographed his cousin having sex with a woman in the back of a car, using a remote-control flash to illuminate the steamy back seat. By putting a flash in the car, the stickers said, Troilo had effectively staged the photo, violating the ethics of  photojournalism and the rules of the contest.

The original caption on the photo posted on the World Press Photo website was, “locals know of parking lots popular for sexual liaisons.” The photographer said he had made it clear to World Press Photo that he had followed his cousin on a night when his cousin had planned to have sex, and had his cousin’s consent to place the flash device in the car. World Press Photo rules state that “staging is defined as something that would not have happened without the photographer’s involvement.”

Troilo argues that his photo of the sexual liaison qualified under this definition. He didn’t tell his cousin to have sex in the car, and it would have happened whether he photographed it or not. “This is not a stolen photo of a couple caught unawares,” the photographer said, explaining that his goal was “to show voyeurism through voyeurism. The camera becomes active; it becomes the sense of shame.”

Other photojournalists argue that by conspiring with one of his subjects to illuminate the event, Troilo left the realm of photojournalism and entered that of .  portraiture. One of the harsher critics wrote on Facebook, “The photojournalists we want to represent do not call upon their cousins to fornicate in a car.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz is:

Did Troilo cheat under the photojournalism rules by planting a flash in the car where his cousin was planning to have sex?

Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Ken White of Popehat

First Amendment“…Our freedoms are recognized or denied based on court rulings. Our understanding of those court rulings often derives from media coverage of them. When we do a lousy job of covering law, or when we put up with journalists doing so, we’re doing a lousy job as citizens.”

—-Attorney-Blogger Ken White, after meticulously exposing how the media, old and new, completely misrepresented a Texas court’s striking down  an overly broad statute as protecting “upskirt” photographs.

Ken White has delivered another masterpiece, expertly debunking the news media’s criminally ignorant analysis of a Texas Court opinion. I must admit, when I saw the headline “Texas Court: Ban on ‘Upskirt’ Photos Violates First Amendment Rights” and its ilk around the web, I just assumed that reporters were being sensational and dumb as usual, and moved on to other things. Thank goodness Ken was on the case, and properly flagged the danger in lawyers reacting this way. We have a tendency as a profession to think, “Well, there they go again, completely misunderstanding the law, poor dears” when we should be working overtime to set the record straight. I admonish my seminar attendees for doing this regarding the public’s distorted view of legal ethics, and fell into the same trap myself.

Ken’s dissection of the flat-out wrong reporting on this case is frightening: it is clear that most reporters are incapable of understanding what court opinions mean, yet there they are, writing nonsense and making the public more ignorant, not to mention making them think taking upskirt photographs is legal and constitutionally protected.

Counselor White has had a busy year that has kept him from providing his usual volume of daily enlightenment. He is back in top form, and we should all be grateful.

 

Child Protection Ethics: The Case of the Boozing Third-Grader

This isn't Patricia Denault 's son. I hope...

This isn’t Patricia Denault ‘s son. I hope…

In Longwood, Florida, Patricia-Ann Jackson Denault thought it would be funny to post pictures of her son, 7, drinking whiskey on Facebook, titling it “first shot.” Someone thought it was more alarming than funny, and called the police. Three uniformed officers and Child Protective Services came to her house and interviewed both her and her kids. Denault explained her humor theory, and said she wanted the children “to experience alcohol in a controlled setting.”

They were not impressed. She was arrested and charged with child neglect.

Apparently this is becoming a cause celebre in conservative circles, and example of the nanny state going too far. I don’t see it:

  • A photo on Facebook showed an adult persuading a very young child to drink a substance that can be dangerous in large quantities. Was that the only sip, or the first of many? I think the inquiry was responsible.
  • The mother used her child not only as a prop, but as a prop involving alcohol. I would be dubious about the judgment of such a parent.
  • She said that she wanted a seven-year-old “to experience alcohol in a controlled setting” ??? Why? What else would she like to see a child experience in a controlled setting?

I think these were sufficient reason to check on the welfare of the children in that home, and to be concerned. Should she have been arrested? I don’t know what the children said, or what she told the police. The news reports make Denault sound like a fool, but being a stupid parent does not necessarily make one a dangerous parent. If this is all there is, the arrest is overkill. Continue reading