Mitt Romney’s Secret Twitter Account Is Unethical


For some reason Ann Althouse is defending Mitt Romney’s fake Twitter feed identity. She’s wrong.

This week it was revealed that Senator Romney has been maintaining an undercover Twitter account as “Pierre Delicto,” a funny choice for a Mormon, since it sounds like a porn star name that George Costanza might have used if he discarded his first choice, “Buck Naked.” Mitt confessed that he used to account to “lurk” on Twitter and read what others were writing. If that was all he was doing, I would have no problem with the ethics of being “Pierre.”

However, those perusing his account, notably Georgetown professor Don Moynihan, who revealed his discoveries on Twitter, found  that Mitt also used his Twitter account to signal approval of post critical to other Republicans, like Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Lindsay Graham, and Marco Rubio, whose critic got a “like” from Pierre for this tweet…


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Ethics Observations On The Great “2015 Best American Poetry” Scandal

William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770-April 23, 1850)

William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770-April 23, 1850)

Sherman Alexie is the editor of the 2015 edition of Best American Poetry, an annual anthology that came out this week. One of his choices for inclusion was “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve” by Yi-Fen Chou.

After being informed by Alexie that his short poem, previously published in a small journal, had been honored with selection,  Yi-Fen Chou contacted Alexie to reveal that he wasn’t Yi-Fen Chou, but boring, white, privileged  Michael Derrick Hudson of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Hudson explained to Alexie, and in his bio for the anthology, that he had posed as an obscure Asian poet rather than as an obscure WASP poet after his poem was rejected by 40 different journals when it was submitted under his real name. He decided to test his theory that the poem would suddenly seem better to editors if it had a little pro-diversity, cultural bias behind it. He was right. Now two editors had favored it.

Alexie left the poem in the collection, with the poet’s real name, and has been attacked for doing so, from all sorts of angles. Hudson has received criticism as well. Alexie wrote a heartfelt, thoughtful, and self-contradictory explanation of why he thought he did the right thing. Read it, if you can stand it. Also worth reading is Jesse Singal’s essay, inspired by this rhyme-crime, in New York Magazine about bias.  His most useful statement—“It can feel threatening to acknowledge that we are all susceptible to bias. The reality is that it’s simply a part of being human”—is wise. Otherwise, he is far too kind to Alexie simply because he was transparent and thoughtful in analyzing his conduct. Transparent and thoughtful Alexie is. He is also wrong.

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The Betrayal of J.K. Rowling

Mr. Gossage may have a difficult time practicing law in his new body...

Mr. Gossage may have a difficult time practicing law in his new body…

J.K. Rowling, she of “Harry Potter” fame, had a secret. She had written a detective novel using a pen name, a not unusual tactic for an author identified with a particular genre who wants to diversify without the handicap of reader and critic biases. The usual course, as practiced by other popular writers like Stephen King, is to launch the new novel or novels under a pseudonym (King’s was Richard Bachman), harvest positive reviews and healthy sales without their true identities being known, and then give sales another boost by tearing off the mask.

But Robert Galbraith, author of the detective novel “Cuckoo’s Calling,” was outed to the press as Ms. Rowling prematurely, and Harry’s creator was understandably miffed. Who did it?  All the suspects shrugged,looked behind them, and exclaimed, “Not me!”, perhaps afraid of being turned into a rat, a fate the inventor of Hogwarts is probably capable of executing. Finally, however, the truth emerged: the culprit was one of her lawyers. Continue reading