Stop Making Me Defend Nicki Minaj!

Minaj

It was only two days ago—less, really—that I highlighted performer/celebrity logorrhea victim Nicki Minaj’s cretinous statements about the Wuhan virus vaccine, which, naturally, have been cheered by various conservative trolls like Tucker Carlson as if Minaj ever gives any thought to what she opines before she broadcasts it to her fans. Now I have to defend the rapper whom I had the misfortune to become acquainted with when she was an American Idol judge and made poor Mariah Carey roll her eyes so hard I was afraid they might pop out of her head when Minaj offered one ridiculous thought after another.

You see Twitter, which I quit a few months ago for exactly this reason, banned Minaj for tweeting her dumb story about her cousin’s friend in Trinidad supposedly becoming impotent after being vaccinated after ”his testicles became swollen.” The theory, I gather, is that Nicki was spreading “misinformation.”

Minaj is angry about this, and in the blunt, crude, self-important stream of consciousness manner for which she is famous, expressed her pique. She said in a video directed at her fans and Twitter followers [Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy read…]:

Continue reading

Ethics Rant Of The Month: Ty Smith

A few notes:

  • Smith, a father attending a school board meeting in Illinois, gave his rapid fire dissection of Critical Race Theory, and the video has “gone viral.”
  • They have played it on Fox News, naturally. Why wouldn’t it be equally worthy of airing on other news shows? The show kitten videos on HLN, and SNL skits on NBC and CNN. I’d say this is more germane to understanding current events.
  • Smith is conservative radio talk show host, which, as I read some comments on line, means that his opinion here should be discounted. Why?

I’ll Try To Stop This From Being A Rant, But I’m Not Promising Anything…[Corrected]

When The Great Stupid starts affecting my enjoyment of baseball, it’s personal.

I’m not watching another baseball game this “season,” and whether I ever do again is up for grabs. Someone in Major League Baseball’s marketing department should take notice, because when the game loses people like me—that is, lifetime, sophisticated, passionate fans, it’s in trouble.  For almost 15 years, I never missed a single Boston Red Sox game.  I’ve watched games in 13 different parks and stadiums; I shared a season ticket to the Baltimore Orioles for several years. I managed hundreds of Strat-O-Matic table top baseball games; along with two friends, I created and marketed a Red Sox trivia game in 1986. In 1978, I risked my job at Georgetown by walking out of a mandated staff meeting because the Red Sox-Yankee single game play-off was about to start, and  I wasn’t about to miss it.

I just gave a Smithsonian Associates program on baseball. Most of all, much of my personal philosophy was built on baseball observations and experiences. Fenway Park is the single place on earth where I am entirely happy, and I choke up every time Robert Redford gives his “God, I love baseball” speech in “The Natural.”

This week, however, baseball players refused to play their games in solidarity with an obnoxious NBA protest. I take it as a personal insult, and the fact that MLB took no action against the players as signature significance. These people are not merely unethical fools, but unethical fools who are smug and arrogant about it.

I will not waste my valuable time and fragile emotions rooting for such people. I have more self-respect than that.

This week’s madness..CUE!!!!

…began with the NBA’s players spontaneously deciding to boycott their games. Again, the supine league decided to let them do it, making vague virtue-signalling noises about how they support the players’ activism in pursuit of “social justice.” Well, let me refine that: it really began when the evil NFL, which happily makes billions encouraging players to destroy their brains, decided at the outset of the George Floyd Freakout to not only allow widespread Kaepernicking, but to encourage it. Next we had pro baseball and basketball  trying to top each other in betraying their obligations to fans of their teams and sport by endorsing not just political messages embraced by players and exhibited in the stadiums, but offensive or infuriatingly meaningless ones. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On CNN’s Don Lemon’s Irresponsible And Unprofessional Rant

Don Lemon’s whole career is a cautionary tale on too many levels to list.  Once a  promising  broadcast journalist blessed with screen charisma and valuable tribal connections (as a black, gay man), he could have evolved into a major positive figure in  his industry. Unfortunately for him, Lemon was indulged, and pampered, and allowed to fall back on cheap emotionalism, flawed critical thinking and demagoguery, because, essentially, his ratings were good.  His performance as a CNN anchor has now deteriorated to the level of a petulant child whose parents no longer have the sense or the power to rein in his outrageous behavior.

Last night Lemon reached his professional nadir, indeed a professional nadir for all of broadcast news. The closest analogy I can think of is the fictional Howard Beale’s famous rant in Paddy Chayefsky’s masterpiece “Network,” and that was satire. One of Don Lemon’s tragedies is that he takes himself so seriously, and yet his utterances are so utterly banal and devoid of wisdom or enlightenment.

I wish I could start with Lemon’s projectile logorrhea and give it the thorough deconstruction it deserves, but I doubt many readers will be able to last until the end of his unhinged gibberish and have the energy to do anything but take a nap, or maybe an overdose of strychnine.  A competent, professional news organization would suspend or fire a host who threw self-restraint to the winds and unloaded such offal on its audience, but then, this is CNN, which has abandoned journalism standards, particularly involving Lemon.

I think the other comparison I see with Lemon’s astounding outburst is the famous dying speech of gangster Dutch Schultz. It was stream of consciousness gibberish too, but Schultz had an excuse: he had been shot, and The Dutchman was none too stable anyway.

All in all, I’d rather listen to Dutch.

Lemon’s rant is signature significance for an individual of untrained cognition and inadequate education who thinks he has wisdom to convey but doesn’t. For anyone to regard it as anything else is also signature significance, for a weak and biased mind. Here are just a few of the features worth noting…Lemon’s masterpiece will be right along.

1. Wouldn’t you expect the host of a major network’s news show to have some knowledge of history?  Lemon refers to the riots as “unprecedented.” Of course, they aren’t. The civil rights riots of 1967 and 1968 were equally destructive. The Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. The riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. These riots may be even less justifiable than some of those, but the forces at work are similar. One of the primary tools of fearmongers and demagogues is to scream, “It’s never been this bad before!” It is a naked appeal to ignorance, from the ignorant.

Later, Lemon contradicts himself and references the Rodney King riots, which tells us that he has no idea what he’s trying to say. What a pro!

2. Lemon: “Perhaps this is some sort of mechanism for a restructure in our country or for some sort of change in our country for us to deal with whatever we need to deal with in this country.” Rioting and looting is a mechanism? “Some sort”? “Whatever we need to deal with in this country”?

If you can’t add anything more trenchant than that, a) what are you doing on a news desk?, and b) shut the hell up.

3.  Lemon: “I actually don’t know — I am at a loss for words as a person sitting here guiding you through this. I really don’t know what to say at this moment except for this is America. This is where our country — this is what it has come to right now.”

What is, you babbling fool? What? If you don’t know what to say, then get off the air and let someone with the wit God gave a tortoise and the professionalism of, oh, Jerry Springer take over.  This is the equivalence of a fire fighter standing by a burning building and crying, “Oh, it’s all so terrible!” “Oh, the humanity!” would be an upgrade. “Guiding” us through this? How is this pitiful blather guidance?

4. Lemon: “This is actually quite sad to watch and it is an indication and it’s indicative of the pain and sadness in this country of people who feel they have no other alternative but to exhibit this behavior in our country. No other option. When you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to lose.” They have no other alternative but to burn down businesses and loot? Lemon is actually saying that! More facile and indefensible logic would be difficult to imagine.

5. Lemon: “We all need to come together because if we can’t live together as Americans, then what do we have? Do we even have a country anymore? This is unbelievable what is happening here. Unbelievable.”

Oh, why don’t you just start screaming and tearing at your garments, you silly, petty, impotent man?

6. Lemon: “When did this country get out of control? When did we lose control of this country? When did we cease to be a country — a group of people who wanted to at least live together in spite of the differences? Because of our differences. Isn’t that the whole reason for the thing? That we are here because we want — because we are different. That we’re supposed to try this grand experiment and let’s not forget, if anyone judging this, I’m not judging this. I’m just wondering what is going on because we were supposed to figure out this experiment a long time ago. Our country was started because — this is how — the Boston Tea Party. Rioting.”

Ugh:

  • It’s not “out of control,” you hysteric. You are.
  • You, your network and your industry have been working around the clock to divide the country since the 2016 election. How dare you ask that question?
  • The Boston Tea Party was not a riot. It was a clear-cut example of civil disobedience with a specific point of protest. . About a hundred colonists destroyed about 45 tons of tea over three hours. No buildings were burned, and no establishment was looted. I am aware of no source, contemporary or recent, that refers to the protest as a “riot.” This is the level of historical perspective CNN feeds its viewers

7. Then, of course, we get the partisan fake news. Lemon actually says that no Republicans have called for calm, despite the sentiments expressed here, here, here, here, here, and here, among many others.

Well, that’s enough for me: the thing is self-indicting, a res ipsa loquitur for the ages. Journalism just doesn’t get any more useless, incompetent, self-indulgent or unprofessional than this.

Buckle up! Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Facebook Users Are Actually Posting This. It Shows Scrambled Ethics Alarms.”

It’s story time, courtesy of Steve-O-in -NJ, who was inspired by the obnoxious, hopefully fake internet message going around the web purporting to be a dressing-down of “inconsiderate” shoppers who “browse.”  He recounts a related episode I apparently missed, with trenchant commentary.

Here is Steve-O-in -NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Facebook Users Are Actually Posting This. It Shows Scrambled Ethics Alarms.”

It reminds me of the list some bitter soon-to-be-former employee of Borders Books and Music wrote on a whiteboard and put up right before the whole chain closed in 2011 due to various factors, mostly the expansion of amazon and missing the boat on the e-reader market. I’ll run through it, adding my own commentary:

Things you never knew about Borders Employees:

    • We hate when a book becomes popular simply because it was turned into a movie.

What, so it means you’ll sell more of that book? How does that hurt you?

    • It confused us when we were asked where the non-fiction section is.

It shouldn’t. Anyone older than eight knows the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Yes, non-fiction is pretty broad, but that’s easily answered with a question to try to narrow what the person is looking for.

    • Nicholas Sparks is not a good writer … if you like him, fine, but facts are facts.

No, that’s your opinion, which counts for exactly nothing here. Just who made you, a skinny, bored, can’t-be-bothered-to-do-more-than-the-bare-minimum, clueless twenty-something, an authority on what constitutes a good writer? Your job is to sell books, not critique them, and certainly not to pass judgment on customer choices. You want to become a book critic, see if the local paper is hiring.

    • We greatly dislike the phrase “Quick question.” It’s never true. And everyone seems to have one.

Then get a job flipping burgers. Answering questions is part of the job.

    • Your summer reading list was our summer reading NIGHTMARE. Also, it’s called summer reading, not three days before school starts reading. Continue reading

New Media Gaslighting Update, And An Insufficiently Inflammatory Rant

As the majority of Americans gradually come around to appreciating the President’s efforts and leadership in the uncharted metaphorical waters of a strange and still infuriatingly under-understood pandemic, the Get Trump media has shifted into pure propaganda and fiction to claim otherwise. Here’s David Leonhardt, arguably the most rabid and untrustworthy of all the op-ed writers in the Times “resistance” stable, claiming, Trump Is Hurting His Own Re-election Chances: Don’t be fooled by snapshot polls.” That should be, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” Even worse is The Atlantic, which is literally a full time Trump Derangement publication now. Peter Wehner is the prime balladeer of the magazines fantastic songs: two weeks ago, he wrote, “The Trump Presidency Is Over: It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain.”

This kind of hysteria-mongering is even worse: “How Donald Trump Could Steal the Election.” The First Amendment allows publications to publish such vomit, but that doesn’t mean its ethical for them to do it. Like earlier article about how the President might just refuse to leave office if defeated, or use the epidemic to declare himself dictator, such fever-dreams are based on nothing but clinical obsession and hate. The author The Atlantic dredged up is a professor of political science at the University of Maryland named Jeffrey Davis. He, his university, and The Atlantic should all be discredited in the future, as their judgment is stunningly awful and their trustworthiness is non-existent.

Then there’s this: In an open letter to Vice-President Pence, British journalist Mehdi Hasan writes in The Intercept that he must  invoke 25th Amendment and have the President removed as “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Yes, it’s good old Resistance Plan E (on the list that goes up to S.) And what triggered the resort to this oldie but goodie? The President was mean to a reporter, Hasan is a journalist, so that settles it! Cementing the total lack of seriousness in his article, Hasan cited Bandy Lee as authority—you know, the discredited Yale psychiatrist who has breached her profession’s ethical standards by diagnosing the President from afar, and who is thus the go-to guest any time CNN or MSNBC has another “How do we get rid of this guy without beating him in an election?” panel. (She also exposed her integrity and motives recently by refusing to diagnose Joe Biden’s cognitive problems.) It’s another embarrassing article. Why would anyone publish such garbage? Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Ethics Quiz: The Insensitive Exam Question”

 

I am hopping slickwilly’s answer to the ethics quiz about “Above the Law” editor and social justice warrior taking offense at a Georgetown Law Center prof’s exam question over several other languishing but equally deserving Comment of the Day. The main reason is that it’s witty and mordantly funny, and it made me laugh out loud.

Yes, it qualifies as a rant, and I know there’s a line of long-standing in the Comment policies that says “political rants are not welcome.” However, as readers here know, every rule has exceptions, and several apply to slickwilly’s work. To begin with, any literary form, if executed well, is worthy of respect. Second, Ethics Alarms bestows special privileges on regular commenters here, who add so much to the content and quality of the blog. Finally, I have to concede that sometimes only a rant will do.

The astounding hypocrisy, dishonesty and Orwellian tactics of the “resistance” appear to be immune from rational, traditional analysis. When, for example, Mr Trump’s enraged and hateful foes accuse him of being a fascist while they encourage their supporters to physically intimidate anyone who supports the President, or say that Trump endangers democracy as they attempt to undermine public trust in the President and the nation’s institutions, dispassionate arguments fail to have much impact—it is, as I have said at various times, like arguing with lunatics or toddlers. Rants can provide special clarity by crystallizing the frustration and anger created by trying to engage ethically with a shamelessly unethical adversary. I don’t want rants to become the currency of the realm here, but this one is timely and skillful.

Here is slickwilly’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: The Insensitive Exam Question”:

“Was the professor’s exam question unethical, as in irresponsible and uncaring?

Hell, no!

Color me surprised that a progressive hack found something to be offended by.

What, President Trump not taken to Twitter lately? Was this a slow news day in Mystal’s neck of the woods? Weren’t there pygmies in Africa with acne to write about? No pictures of swimming polar bears denoting some perceived deficiency with their habitat, undoubtedly caused by evil man?

‘Snowflake’ is an apt term for what academia and progressives are indoctrinating students into becoming.

If you cannot stand up to the adversity of life, cannot even hear a point of view not dictated by your progressive masters;

If you cannot stand to be reminded that the thing you are outraged about TODAY was the thing you endorsed YESTERDAY;

If the mere presence of a designated ‘deplorable’ on campus sends you fleeing to a room with coloring books and puppies;

If the term ‘safe’ implies a space and not a condition of a runner in Baseball;

If you believe in violence against those who disagree with progressive cant, yet self defense by those attacked is not a natural and correct response;

If you believe that everyone should pay ‘their fair share’ yet complain when YOU have to pony up;

If you believe that Roe-v-Wade is written in stone, yet Heller-v-District of Columbia should be reversed upon a whim; Continue reading

A Concise Ethics Rant On A Chance Encounter While Walking Rugby

It was cloudy and rumbling, and Jack Russell Terriers are notoriously difficult if they don’t get at least one good walk every day. So I decided to try to beat the rain and get Rugby out for a swing around the neighborhood. It kept getting darker, windier, and the distant thunder was getting louder. Rugby was in fine fettle, I must say, though he felt compelled to pee on every bush, rock, or tuft of grass. I have never seen a dog who seemed to enjoy a walk so much. I wish there was something, anything, I could get that excited about every day.

We were in the home stretch, about to loop around the church that faces our house across a parking lot and a row of trees. Then a young woman, maybe in her 20’s, dressed for the task, jogged toward us, pony tail swinging. She had that cold, stony, “I don’t want to acknowledge anyone” look on her face that so many younger people cultivate today. I looked at her and smiled anyway. That was how I was brought up, you see. We acknowledge each other. We signal good will, and that we are part of the same community. We are nice.

As she jogged past, I said, certainly loud enough that she could hear me, “Don’t get caught in the rain!” That is an incidental, spontaneous, friendly comment between strangers. I must engage in, and respond to, dozens of such comments a week, while shopping, teaching, or walking the dog.  They require a response: a nod, a smile, a brief answer like “I won’t!” What I got was a snub. No response at all.

I felt like I was being treated like an unfamous Morgan Freeman, as if my statement was, “Hey, honey, good form!” I wasn’t flirting with her, or harassing her. I was being a human being, and doing what human beings need to do to make life bearable.  And I felt insulted.

Yup, I’m old enough to be her father…grandfather, even. That, I was taught, makes showing some respect, like acknowledging that I spoke to her in a friendly, neighborly manner, even more mandatory as an ethical social response.

If this is where feminism, #MeToo, and  generational bias is leading young women today, they will poison the next iteration of our society, not cure it.

Meanwhile, I am pondering whether there is an ethical, effective follow-up response to the next jogger who treats me like a turd on the sidewalk.

The options I am thinking now clearly would not be  constructive.

Flat Learning Curve Update: Yet Another Jaw-Dropping Leadership Fail From President Obama

curve-flat

In the midst of yet another flashing neon display proving beyond all reasonable doubt that Barack Obama has the worst grasp of the Presidential leadership of any POTUS in over a century, a cheerful CNN/ORC poll found that 50% of those polled assert that Obama tenure has been a success, and 53% believe that things are peachy in the United States. It is beyond comprehension.

WARNING!

IMPULSIVE RANT FOLLOWS! SKIP TO MAIN BODY OF POST FOR RETURN TO RESTRAINED ETHICAL ANALYSIS! Continue reading

Ethics Rant: Here Is The Smoking Gun Proof That The Government Doesn’t Care How Much Money It Wastes, Or, In The Alternative, That It Isn’t Run By Sufficiently Competent People To Be Trusted To Spend What It Does

Oh, I almost forgot….

Kaboom!*

If this can save millions, what other measures are out there> Never mind---if they couldn't find this, they won't find them, either.

If this can save millions, what other measures are out there? Never mind—if they couldn’t find this, they won’t find them, either.

Here is the news story that justifies the title, and also that made my dome blow, as I’m sure yours will.

A 14-year old sixth grade student from Pittsburgh named Suvir Mirchandani devised, as his science fair entry at Dorseyville Middle School, a computer project that examined printing costs. He analyzed a random sample of school printouts and measured how much ink various fonts use. Noting studies that found ink remarkably expensive (I thought it was just my printer), Mirchandani calculated  that by simply switching from the Times New Roman font to a thinner, more ink-thrifty font like Garamond, his school district alone could reduce its annual ink costs by 24%,  saving up to $21,000 annually.

His  teacher encouraged him to submit his work to the Harvard-based Journal for Emerging Investigators, who were moved to inquire, “How much money could the  government save if it switched to Garamond?”

Plugging in the Government Services Administration’s estimated annual cost of ink, Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30%  of the total $467 million, or $136 million per year. Placing state governments on a font diet would save an additional $234 million, he reported.

They checked his figures, and he was right. The simple act of changing a typeface would save taxpayers $400,000,000 a year. Kaboom.

Now permit me a brief rant…

Continue reading