Furious Ethics Catch-Up, 1/4/2022: “I’m Not Dead!” Edition

Well, there I was last night, showing my wife my favorite “Schoolhouse Rock” segment (“Interjections,” a Grammar Rock episode) and getting ready to post an evening ethics potpourri when the Disney Channel, which I only have because I wanted to see the “Get Back” documentary, kicked out. The snow storm’s aftermath had caused an outage in our phone and internet connection (at least we had power, and weren’t stuck on I-95 like hundreds of motorists in Northern Virginia were last night), and Comcast didn’t get everything back up until a few minutes ago. A totally lost day for ProEthics and Ethics Alarms, but the sage words of my friend Tom Fuller kept echoing in my brain like all the Tara lines coming back to Scarlet after Rhett walks out on her. “When you have no options, you have no problem,” Tom always says, and this was a classic example. We were snowed in, and had no communications (not even a newspaper since the second); might as well relax: Snow day!

I was able to get a head start on some items, at least. I apologize for the void…and for any comments marooned in moderation (as well as the inevitable mermaidmary comment unjustly spammed).

But at least I’m not dead.

[That’s the correct Mark Twain quote above, incidentally. He also said, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”]

Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “An Ethics Alarms Challenge: How Would You Respond To This?” [Corrected]

Dear Friend

As I suspected it might, the Ethics Alarms post challenging readers to propose the best and most ethical way to respond to a lawyer’ self-flagellating declaration that he was a racist and only recently realized it sparked several Comment of the Day-worthy responses. The first is from mermaidmary99, whose comments are almost always spammed by WordPress, including this one. I have no clue why. Here is mermaidmary99’s Comment of the Day on the post, “An Ethics Alarms Challenge: How Would You Respond To This?.”

***

Dear Friend,

Wow, thank you for sharing such a heartfelt and personal journey.

In reading your words, I can see you are deeply moved. I’m thankful for your awareness of your experiences.

What I’m not understanding is how what you shared makes you a racist. In fact, that you see there have been injustices to me would show the opposite.

Can you clarify how you specifically are racist? Do you believe Mexicans are lazy? Do you hold that native Americans were savages? That black people are lesser because of skin color? Have you deliberately treated others badly and wished them harm because of their race?

I’m not seeing that in your writing, but if so, then yes, you have acted with prejudice in the past and that’s wrong and good to become aware of.

Continue reading

Nah, Black Lives Matter Isn’t Racist! Whatever Would Give You That Idea?

BLM Boycott

Black Lives Matter is promoting a boycott of all white citizen-owned businesses, urging supporters to buy “exclusively from Black-owned businesses’ through New Years. “Move your money out of white-corporate banks that finance our oppression and open accounts with Black-owned banks,” the group said on Instagram.

“Racism” and “racist” have both been watered down to near meaningless by the Left’s wielding of them as all-purpose weapons against critics, but under any definition, setting out to harm a business because of the race of its owners is racist to the core.

Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month With Signature Significance: New York Times Contributor Sarah Jeong

Jeong tweet2

Most tweets, even the very stupid and vicious ones, are not truly unethical because they are just opinions, and as opinions, simply self-indictments by nasty, bigoted, or not very smart people. However, the tweets of certain individuals—elected officials, scholars, journalists, scientists, experts in various fields and, unfortunately, celebrities—carry extra weight and the potential to persuade. When tweets by those people are dishonest or misleading they are irresponsible, and to be irresponsible is to be unethical.

Sarah Jeong is on the New York Times editorial staff, which means that she is trusted by the nation’s (supposedly) most trustworthy newspaper. Yet that tweet is one more example of the mainstream media denying or distorting reality to bolster the party and administration they put in power. The Biden administration is desperately spinning to deny the seriousness of the out-of-control inflation on its watch, but for journalists and pundits to assist them is unethical and despicable. The consumer price index indicates that, from last September to this September, Americans have seen beef prices rise by 18%; gas prices by 42%; furniture prices by 11%; electricity by 5%; and used car prices by 24%. Consumer prices for October, the most recent month with data, jumped by 6.2% compared to what they were a year prior. That’s the highest yearly jump in three decades. But a Times staffer of some notoriety says it’s a nothingburger, affecting the rich more than the rest.

Twitter, of course, doesn’t regard this as disinformation, since it supports a Democratic President’s disastrous fiscal policies.

Liz Wolf points out the obvious at Reason:

Inflation is not a frivolous concern created by panicking, self-interested rich people; nor are rich people currently “flipping their shit” because their assets aren’t doing as well as they’d like. Inflation is something that’s making things significantly harder for the non–”pajama class”—those roughly 79 percent of workers (estimates vary) who do not work remotely, but must commute to their in-person jobs day in and day out, incurring the burden that comes with the rising price of gas. It’s something that’s making it significantly harder for families to feed their kids. It’s something that’s throwing a wrench in some people’s plans to travel for the holidays, as rental cars and hotel rooms have gotten a good deal pricier than before. And it’s something many Americans probably don’t appreciate being lied to about….choosing flippant tweeting over thoughtful analysis is a bad look for New York Times contributors who really ought to be more concerned with the plights of everyday Americans forced to tighten the purse strings for reasons far beyond their control.

It’s worse that that. Allowing a proven bigot, sexist, anti-white racist and extreme ideologue like Jeong to represent it is signature significance for any news organization. An ethical company doesn’t do it; a responsible company doesn’t tolerate it; a trustworthy company doesn’t have someone like Jeong around at all. You may have forgotten this post, which is relevant to this morning’s first as well, when the Times first hired Jeong: Continue reading

More Amazing Tales Of The Great Stupid: The Racist Anti-Racist Pro-Diversity Film Feature [Corrected]

05SHANG-CHI4-superJumbo

Maybe this kind of thing bothers me more than it bothers most people, but the internal contradictions and racial issues pretzeling in a recent Times puff piece on Marvel’s latest superhero film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” had my brain short-circuiting like one of those computers that Captain Kirk would disable on “Star Trek” by feeding them self-contradictory statements.

Consider these quotes from the article, which was authored by Robert Ito. Apparently diversity means that only Asian American reporters can write about Asian-American super-hero movies. Or do you think it was just a coincidence? Sure it was. But I digress…

  • “Known property or not, the movie is a cause for celebration: It’s Marvel’s first and only superhero film starring an Asian lead, with an Asian American director and writer, and based on a character who was actually Asian in the original comic.”

Why is any of this true? Why does the race of a comic book character matter at all? Does race make the character of the story more entertaining? To whom, other than racists? Can only Asian directors and writers create such a movie? Does that mean they can’t work on movies about non-Asian superheroes, or just that it’s not desirable to have a white (or black?) director and writer for movies like this one? I’m so confused… Continue reading

Remember Cooper vs. Cooper, The Racist Dog Owner Against The Black Birdwatcher In Central Park? Well, Our Crack Journalists Finally Got All The Facts Nailed Down 15 Months Later…

Amy Cooper

…but not before Amy Cooper had to flee the country and go into hiding.

To refresh your memory about this Ethics Train Wreck that has been silently rolling all this time, review the posts about on Ethics Alarms here (describing the episode, or at least as we told about it), here, about a month later, commenting on New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s unethical decision to prosecute Amy Cooper (which he partially justified based on the the intervening George Floyd Freakout), and finally here, from March, when I discussed Amy having to agree to endure state-mandate brainwashing in order to have Vance’s persecution dropped. The short version—but read the posts—is that White Amy Cooper walking her dog off-leash in Central Park was confronted by Black Christian Cooper, a birdwatching enthusiast, who demanded that she leash her dog and filmed her reactions as she demanded that he stop, then called 911. His video showed her telling authorities with increasing agitation that “An African-American man” was threatening her. Black Cooper’s sister then posted the video on line,White Amy became the personification of a racist “Karen,” and the story nicely set the stage for the George Floyd mess, which, through contrived logic and unscrupulous hype, it was linked to.

I must confess that I am proud of Ethics Alarms for its coverage of this case. Even before I had the additional facts (because nobody did), I correctly discerned that both Amy and Christian Cooper, the black bird-watcher whom she called the cops on,

—behaved like jerks,

—that the fury Christian brought down on Amy’s head was disproportionate to her conduct,

—that Don Lemon and others making what was a minor local tiff into a national controversy was unconscionable, and

—that Amy did not deserve to lose her job, career, dog and reputation, plus be prosecuted and get a lifetime ban from using Central Park,

….because, in essence, she was white and behaved like an asshole. (Some readers seemed to think that the fact that Amy eventually got her dog back was sufficient mitigation.) I wrote in the first post, “Proportion is an ethical value. It appears to be completely absent from this fiasco, on all sides.” Truer words I have seldom published, and that was before the recent revelations.

Bari Weiss, the New York Times rebel and exile I wrote about here, has a podcast, and in her most recent release reveals what some non-mainstream media reporters discovered when they dug deeper than their mainstream counterparts bothered to do. Amy Cooper, now living abroad to escape the constant harassment and abuse she endured in the wake of the incident, also is interviewed.

We learn that…

Continue reading

Cowardly, Culture-Betraying Grovel Of The Month: Karen Taylor Of Breakfast Cure

breakfast-cure-karen-taylor-congee

Breakfast Cure, an Oregon company, was attacked on social media by Asian Americans and the Woke Mob of culturally-appropriating congee, a traditional Asian rice porridge. The company sold its version of the dish in pre-packaged meals, and asserted that they were yummy. The problem is that the company was run by…a white woman.

How dare a white woman’s company claim to make a version of congee to fit the ” modern palate” and “improve” a recipe beloved by Asian cultures for centuries? So, as we have come to expect. company exec Karen Taylor begged for forgiveness:

“Recently, we fell short of supporting and honoring the Asian American community and for that, we are deeply sorry. We take full responsibility for any language on our website or in our marketing and have taken immediate steps to remedy that and educate ourselves, revising our mission to not just creating delicious breakfast meals, but becoming a better ally for the AAPI community.

Continue reading

And The July 5 Comment Of The Day Trifecta Concludes With Arthur In Maine’s Delicious Analysis of “Your 4th Of July Ethics Quiz: Food Racism?”

鮟肝

Finally, in the last of today’s opening trio of outstanding and varied Comments of the Day, Arthur in Maine, whom I did not know until this comment was a former chef, whips up a filling and pleasurable examination of of the issues raised in “Your 4th Of July Ethics Quiz: Food Racism?”...

There’s no longer any doubt in my mind: people are actively looking for ways to be offended. In the case of BLM, for example, the belief is clearly simple-minded rage at the rank-and-file level, but among those further up the chain it’s obviously about power and the grift. Calibrate your outrage correctly, and one can lead quite a handsome life.

Racism (and its first cousins misogyny and homophobia) is the perfect charge to level to achieve this (lucky souls like Lori Lightfoot can, and do, score the trifecta by claiming all three).

As a recovering professional chef (I haven’t lifted a pan for a paycheck in more than 30 years, and still miss it almost every day) I can tell you that serious pro cooks may be able to wow you with the complexity of their offerings. But the foods most of them prefer to eat generally trace back to poverty foods – those developed in poor cultures, where most people ate what the rich folk wouldn’t.

Most Americans, regardless of when or how their ancestors first showed up, simply don’t understand that in most other parts of the world NOTHING goes to waste. We give our scraps to cats and dogs. But very few other places do that. Thus, it’s little wonder that someone figured out a way to make duck feet in a way that actually tastes good. For the record, I would order those in a heartbeat, with full knowledge, just to try them! But in a place like China centuries ago, wasting protein like that was unthinkable, so you did what you could to make them tasty and that’s what’s for supper.

This doesn’t mean I like everything – not by a long shot. I find tripe revolting, and it’s extremely popular in first-world France. As a true afficionado of sushi, I’ll try anything – and just about the only thing I’ve ever been horribly disappointed in at a great sushi bar was ankimo – which is steamed monkfish liver. [Above] It was described to me as the “foie gras of Japan,” and I can see why. But it was still vile. I like foie gras, but not when it’s overlayed with the aroma of a cod-liver-oil-based ointment my mother used to use on us when we were small.

Some cultures happily eat grubs – no thank you. Others eat various insects; again, I’ll pass, but you’re welcome to my helping. The fact is that every culture has its culinary oddities and we’ve all got different tastes. This doesn’t mean our distaste for something is racist. It merely means that it’s so far outside of our culinary comfort zones that we just can’t get our heads around the idea. Many cultures find the American fondness for huge slabs of meat served up with starch baffling, for a variety of reasons.

This, by the way, extends beyond ingredients. There are those only too happy to make accusations of “cultural appropriation” when it comes to food. It is not. When I cook Chinese or Thai or Indian or Mexican food, I do so as a student, not as an appropriator. I do it because I’ve had the good fortune to taste these wonderful cuisines done properly. I want to understand how they’re done, partly because cooking professionally makes you fascinated by differing techniques and ingredients, and partly because I love to eat them and access to these foods locally, prepared by those from that region, is sharply limited. In the case of Chinese, especially, Chinese-American food has been so heavily adapted to North American tastes that it bears little resemblance to the real thing – and almost all of the adaptation has been done by Chinese cooks and restaurant owners. I really want to try the real thing.

Far as I’m concerned, when I make up a dinner of low-country shrimp and grits, the last thing on my mind is contempt for the poor Blacks for whom this was subsistence food. Rather, I’m thinking “this is absolutely ingenious. They took cheap stuff (grits) and free stuff (shrimp) and whatever else they had lying around and made it transcendent!” For me to cook it is not appropriation – it is the deepest possible respect.

I could make a similar argument with music, but I think you folks get my drift. This is “The Great Stupid” and “A Nation of Assholes,” to use Jack’s terms, colliding head-on to form a Great Nation of Stupid Assholes. We’d better come up with a way to pull out of this dive, and quickly.

Ethics Hero And Ethics Quote Of The Week: Jason Whitlock

Floyd statue

The George Floyd statue outside the Newark, NJ. City Hall.

I was introduced to sportswriter Jason Whitlock 20 years ago, when he was the featured speaker at a Kansas City legal convention I was attending. He was a forceful and entertaining speaker, and quick and witty in his question and answer session after his remarks. Since then, I have followed his career with interest, especially his recent emergence as a black conservative with the courage to be direct unequivocal, and not only regarding sports.

Commenting on the epic rant by a black parent and radio pundit about Critical Race Theory I featured over the weekend, esteemed Ethics Alarms commenter Humble Talent opined,

“One of the worst trends to come out of conservative politics in the last couple of years is to put up on a pillar any minority person that will say things that conservatives agree with. I think it’s a reactionary measure; Progressives say we’re racist, sexist, or homophobic, so we go out of our way to find female/minority/gay people to platform in order to prove we aren’t…Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think they’re bad people, I just don’t think they’re smart, funny, or talented enough to get space in conservative media absent these identity markers that conservatives seem especially hungry for….”

That point is legitimate, but it can’t be fairly applied to Jason Whitlock. Yes, I believe he has received special attention because he is a black man standing up to The Great Stupid, but he also deserves special attention because he is unusually astute, persuasive and eloquent. A white analyst, like, say, me, can be automatically squelched as biased when noting, for example, that George Floyd is an absurd and intellectually indefensible martyr for the Black Lives Matter movement since there was no evidence that his death was a product of racism, systemic or otherwise. When an astute, persuasive and eloquent black critic makes a similar argument, it demonstrates that my conclusion was not necessarily motivated by racial bias.

I know: people will say it anyway.

Whitlock has made a different argument regarding Floyd in his latest essay, but it is an excellent one. Indeed, if there were any integrity at the major newspapers, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, New York Magazine and the Usual Suspects that have destructively carried the banners of those who have, quite successfully, exploited that neatly symbolic manner of Floyd’s demise, he would not have had to seek publication in the relatively marginal Glenn Beck website, The Blaze, where he hosts a podcast called “Fearless.” The essay is titled, “The Veneration of George Floyd is racist and must be stopped.”

Continue reading