A “When Ethics Alarms Don’t Ring” Case Study: The Angouleme International Comics Festival Thinks Announcing the Wrong Award-Winners Is Funny

In December, comedian Steve Harvey inadvertently announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe Pageant on live, national TV. It was horrible. He then had to correct his mistake, the wrongly crowned Miss Columbia had to be uncrowned, and everyone except the sadists in the audience felt awkward and embarrassed. Harvey sincerely apologized, more than once.

How anyone could be aware of that fiasco, which received world-wide attention, and conclude that it would be hilarious to do the same fake-winner bit intentionally is beyond my small mind to comprehend. Such individuals would have to have their ethics alarms installed backwards, or buy them from the Bizarro World of Superman Comics. Yet the organizers of the Angouleme International Comics Festival this tear decided exactly that: “Let’s announce the wrong winners! It will be great!

The ceremony began with the MC, comedian Richard Gaitet,  announcing that“This will be the shortest ceremony in history, because all we want to do is drink and dance!” He then presented all nine awards in rapid succession, including the Fauve d’Or, the biggest award of the show, to Arsène Schrauwen, by Olivier Schrauwen. Then two women appeared and announced that the awards just handed out were fake, and they presented the real awards to completely different artists. The “winners” who just accepted their prizes in the exhilaration of pride and recognition, were as stunned as Miss Columbia.

The audience reaction, meanwhile, was exactly as you, I or any sane person would expect. Nobody laughed. Everyone felt that the targets of the practical joke had been abused. “We were all happy, we had tears in our eyes, and then we were humiliated,” said Sam Soubigui of Komikku, one of the publishers whose book won a “Faux Fauve” (fake prize). Another publisher who accepted a phony prize had already relayed the news of the honor to the writer and artist of the book that “won,” and then had to call them back and explain. One editor whose comic won a “Faux Fauve” left the auditorium in tears when she realized it was fake.

The condemnation of the stunt on social media was swift and unanimous. The organizers of the festival thought this was an appropriate response (courtesy of the French to English Google app, further translated by me from the typical gibberish these programs often create): Continue reading

Q: Why Is CNBC Posting Anti-Vaccination Propaganda?

A: Because its staff is lazy, inattentive and irresponsible.

Weston Price (1870-1948), Quack. His work goes on...

Weston Price (1870-1948), Quack. His work goes on…

The cable business news network posted this press release from the natural foods and nutrition huckster group, The Weston A. Price Foundation.

It isn’t news. It is poison.  The press release makes the false claim that vaccinations spread measles, as well as other diseases. This is standard anti-vaxx hysteria, and it gets children killed.  It is false. “Measles live vaccine doesn’t transmit easily at all,” said Dr. Jane Seward of the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases told NBC, which apparently doesn’t communicate with its subsidiaries. “I don’t think there has ever been a secondary transmission,” she added. “There is no evidence of any transmission of measles virus from a child to household contacts.” As for the Foundation itself:

“The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats….

Yes, it is strange, like Dr. Price’s theories, and not in a benign way. Among the foundation’s other objectives is to show that vaccinations are unnecessary if you eat right, or something: when a  home page prominently displays a link that reads, COD LIVER OIL: Our Most Important Superfood, my eyes tend to gloss over, I file the group under “Nut Balls” and move on.

CNBC posted this promotional piece uncritically and without context, leaving the impression that it was actual news, thus allowing fake news to go to the top of Google searches for gullible readers.  At the bottom of the screen it says “More from CNBC” and not “More from health food hyping anti-science fanatics.Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “Jimmy Kimmel, Child Abuse, And Signature Significance”

(I am backed up three deep on the “Comments of the Day,” and I apologize to the deserving and patient commenters.)

And who can forget Mickey Rooney's hilarious turn in that beloved American film masterpiece "Breakfast at Tiffany's"?

And who can forget Mickey Rooney’s hilarious turn in that beloved American film masterpiece “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”?

Alex Yuan raised an element of the revolting Jimmy Kimmel stunt discussed in my post, an extension of his penchant for using children as uncomprehending props for his often ugly comedy, that I glided right over: Why was showing a child suggesting that wiping out the Chinese was  a viable solution to national problems even considered fit for broadcast, when a similar comment about Jews, gays, Hispanics or blacks would be considered instantly taboo? Why doesn’t the ethics alarm sound when the minority being slurred or threatened is Asian?

Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, Jimmy Kimmel, Child Abuse, And Signature Significance:

It is interesting that you should mention political correctness because I can’t help feeling that in deciding it appropriate to air this segment, ABC – perhaps as a reflection of societal attitudes at large – is illustrating the alleged double standard against Asians when it comes to how topics concerning minorities and other protected classes are handled in public. Continue reading

Jimmy Kimmel, Child Abuse, And Signature Significance

In Jimmy's defense, Japan thought "Kill the Chinese!" was funny too...

In Jimmy’s defense, Japan thought “Kill the Chinese!” was funny too…

What a surprise—Jimmy Kimmel did something despicable involving children.

This time, the smug and unethical-to-his-very-DNA ABC late night host may have also triggered an ethics train wreck. Perhaps at last the network and his tasteless, enabling viewers will finally conclude what has been obvious for years—that Jimmy is a cultural corrupter whose miserable methods and values should be rejected, condemned, and sent packing to an obscure corner of table TV!


Kimmel’s latest hilarious stunt aired on Oct. 16, in a segment called “Kids Table,” where Funny Uncle Jimmy asks small children who have no idea what is going on or  that a creepy middle-aged man is luring them into saying things that will haunt them on Youtube until the day they die to comment on issues of the day. This time, Mirthful Machiavellian Jimmy caught comedy gold: when he asked a six-year-old how the U.S. could solve the $1.3 trillion trade imbalance, the giggling answer came back, “Kill everyone in China!”

Nice. Continue reading

The Fake Pilots Caper: No Excuse For Professional Cluelessness

Fake Names

I was unable to post on this story in a timely fashion, but better late than never.

Everyone was laughing at the punking of WKTU TV in the Bay area on July 6, when it reported fake names of the alleged pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash that killed  three and injured many more. It was funny, in the same way Bart Simpson’s multitude of fake names he uses to embarrass Mo at Mo’s tavern is funny. (“Amanda Huggenkiss? I’ll see if she’s here.”(shouting) “I need Amanda Hugginkiss! Can someone find me Amanda Huggnkiss?”) But Mo is an idiot who runs a cartoon bar, and not a professional journalist charged with informing the public. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Which Weird Article Is More Unethical, the One About Practical Jokes Being Erotic, Or The Critique That Calls The Author Someone “Who Can’t Even Go To The Dentist Without Someone Asking Her Why There Are Dora the Explorer Underpants Caught In Her Second Row Of Teeth”?

“She put a gummy worm in my apple! That gets me so HOT!”

Fox News has a new feature on its website that focuses on relationships and romance. The style and beauty editor has authored a jaw dropping post entitled “10 Pranks That Will Spice Up Your Relationship,” with love-making advice like this:

“Put a small piece of masking tape on the bottom of his mouse, making sure it covers the trackball or optical sensor. Watch as he struggles to read his e-mail — and don’t forget to write “Gotcha!” on the tape.”

..or this:

“If your guy is shy but has a good sense of humor, take a picture of the toilet in your bathroom, then plug your digital camera into a computer or TV and load the picture onto your screen. When he comes out of the bathroom, start laughing and pointing. He will see the picture and think you saw him in there!”

Yes, she is an idiot. I don’t know what her love life has been like, but a significant other who keeps annoying me with crap like this is going to find herself laughing in an empty bed room pretty damn quick. Feeling similarly unimpressed by Milt’s idea of foreplay was humorist Seanbaby, who wrote a scathing article about her piece over at Cracked. A sample of his intentionally uncivil criticism: Continue reading

Jimmy Kimmel Is Still An Evil, Child-Abusing Jerk, and Apparently I’m The Only One Who Notices

I have written twice before about ABC late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s penchant for urging his viewers to inflict emotional distress on their trusting children, because Jimmy and other mean-spirited jerks get a big kick out of watching kids scream and cry following cruelty from their parents. As I wrote the last time Kimmel issued one of his “challenges,” which was to spoil Christmas for your kid by giving them  horrible gifts (like a half-eaten sandwich):

“Children are not props for Jimmy Kimmel’s sadistic amusement, and parents who are willing to use their children this way… are, to be blunt, rotten, despicable, and untrustworthy parents. Something important—Compassion? Kindness? Empathy? Loyalty? Responsibility? Love? — is absent in their parental make-up, and that void is being cynically exploited by Kimmel, who has crossed the threshold from arrested adolescent to full-fledged villain. Since Kimmel has twice been rewarded with positive publicity for egging on parents to harm their kids, what can we expect next from Jimmy?…There’s almost no limit to the great YouTube videos one can create when you’re willing to lie to your kids to upset them.”

Well, now we know. Jimmy asked parents to pre-chew their kids food and serve it to them, to see their horrified reactions. Last night, he showed the hysterically funny “winners.” One disgusted and enraged teenage girl, finally told by her folks that the prank was Jimmy Kimmel’s idea, said to the camera, resoundingly, “You suck, Jimmy!”

Indeed he does. Continue reading

Stop Cruelty To Children—Or To Put It Another Way, Stop Jimmy Kimmel

Bulletin to Jimmy Kimmel: Enough is enough, you sadistic jerk.

Also known as "Jimmy Kimmel Cruel!" and "Jimmy Kimmel Sadistic!"

Flush with his “success” of persuading his most irresponsible viewers to make their own children cry by lying to them about eating all their Halloween candy and then posting the videos of their kids’ emotional distress on YouTube, ABC late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has told the same warped people to traumatize their children again, this time by granting the kids the special treat of opening a Christmas gift early, but having a terrible gift (like a half-eaten sandwich) inside. The emotional reactions of the children thus deceived are also, per Kimmel’s directive, videotaped for posterity  to inspire mirth on the part of  his similarly warped viewers who don’t have children (and thank God for that), because, as we all know, disappointing kids at Christmastime is fun.

This has got to stop. It doesn’t matter if some, like Mediate’s Jon Bershad , think this is “the cruelest, funniest joke ever,” and others, like the Huffington Post’s reviewer, think the pranked children’s misery is “hilarious.” Children are not props for Jimmy Kimmel’s sadistic amusement, and parents who are willing to use their children this way, intentionally spoiling their Christmas anticipation for the entertainment of sadistic strangers, are, to be blunt, rotten, despicable, and untrustworthy parents. Something important—Compassion? Kindness? Empathy? Loyalty? Responsibility? Love? — is absent in their parental make-up, and that void is being cynically exploited by Kimmel, who has crossed the threshold from arrested adolescent to full-fledged villain. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Jimmy Kimmel and Too Many Sadistic Parents

How hilarious.

ABC late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel suggested to parents among his audience on Halloween  that they lie to their young children and tell them that they ate all of their Halloween candy, and video their reactions to post on YouTube. Kimmel ran the “best” of the results on his show, introducing the segment by saying, “I didn’t expect so much crying.”

Oh. Well, it’s all right then. It’s all right to appeal to the true assholes—there is no better word — among his audience members and urge them to upset their own children for his entertainment and the entertainment of YouTube viewers. That’s Jimmy! It’s good to know who the sociopaths are among late night entertainers. Letterman, we know about. Ask Conan about Jay. Continue reading

Unethical Christmas Gift of the Week: the Remote-Controlled Tarantula!

"Merry Christmas!"

The picture shows a real tarantula, but trust me—Hammacheer Schlemmer’s remote-controlled version will work just as well for frightening the arachnaphobic senior in in your family into cardiac arrest on Christmas morning…from up to twenty-five feet away!

The delightful toy “scurries back and forth across flat surfaces” just like the real thing, and there is even a special feature that allows the operator to make the eight hairy legs “twitch,” for that extra dose of terrifying realism. It’s a bargain, at just under $30.

Of course, as the National Sick Toy Association always reminds us, “Remote-controlled tarantula’s don’t scare people to death; people with remote-controlled tarantulas scare people to death.” Continue reading