Ethics Hero: 11-Year-Old Singer Capri Everitt

Capri Everitt is an 11-year-old girl with a big voice. She set a Guinness World Record earlier this month when she sang the National Anthem before a Washington Nationals baseball game . For nearly a year, you see, Capri and her family have traveled around the world to 80 countries so she could sing 80 different anthems in 41 different languages.Washington D.C. was the final stop for Capri,  in a tour that required her  to learn  a lot of songs and master the pronunciation of many foreign tongues.

“And a lot of the time, I got people that are native to the country to help me with the national anthem – to help me learn it and pronounce it right, ” Capri says.

Some people use national anthems to divide people. Some, like Capri, would rather use them to bring people together.

Her tour raised money for a charity called SOS Children’s Villages, which provides homes for orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children in 134 countries.

“There is so much bad news on television and in newspapers that we thought, ‘How can we create a good story? How can we do something with our daughter because she loves to sing,’”  Tom Everitt, Capri’s father. has told journalists. “But we wanted to be something that would be really, really positive, so we got her to practice some national anthems.”

Capri’s anthem tour is documented on the family’s  website AroundTheWorldIn80Anthems.com.

Sing, Capri!  Colin Kaepernick can sit it out if he wants.

 

Ethics Dunces (All-Star “Shut Up And Sing ” Edition): Cher, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Jackson Browne,Nick Jonas, Sia, Zayn Malik, Barbra Streisand, Beck, Questlove, Pusha T, Ringo Starr, Sting, Ricky Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Selena Gomez, Stevie Nicks, Michael Bublé, Melissa Etheridge, Trent Reznor, Kesha, Katy Perry, Tony Bennett, Yoko Ono…

Billborad letters

A couple hundred famous singers and musicians have banded together to sign a fatuous and misleading “open letter” to Congress dictating U.S. gun policy. The letter which is being used as a publicity gimmick by Billboard (and the stars, of course), reads:

As leading artists and executives in the music industry, we are adding our voices to the chorus of Americans demanding change. Music always has been celebrated communally, on dancefloors and at concert halls. But this life-affirming ritual, like so many other daily experiences—going to school or church or work—now is threatened, because of gun violence in this country. The one thing that connects the recent tragedies in Orlando is that it is far too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns.

We call on Congress to do more to prevent the gun violence that kills more than 90 Americans every day and injures hundreds more, including:

  • Require a background check for every gun sale
  • Block suspected terrorists from buying guns

Billboard and the undersigned implore you—the people who are elected to represent us—to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.

The letter is many things:

1. It is scaremongering nonsense. Gun deaths are way down, and the odds of any citizen being killed in a mass shooting is beyond minuscule. Based on 2015 statistics by the broadest definition, you have a 0.00000143% chance of getting killed in a mass shooting. These wealthy and privileged people, who often have bodyguards (with guns) have much less of a risk than that. Nothing is “now threatened.” We are safer from gun violence now than five years ago, ten years ago or 20 years ago. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace

You won’t read this on The Daily Caller!

Even the pizza deserves an apology...

Even the pizza deserves an apology…

In a radio interview with conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was riffing on Little Caesars’ bacon-wrapped crust pizza when Gallagher brought up “fat shaming,” which slid into the issue of the current celebrity fat-shaming victim, following in the footsteps of past targets of weight-related ridicule like Kirstie Alley, Roseanne, Adele, Rosie O’Donnell and Lisa Welchel, pop singer Kelly Clarkson.  “Holy cow, did she blow up!” Gallagher said. “She could stay off the deep dish pizza for a little while,” replied Wallace. Ethics Foul , and a vile one. Rude, mean, and completely gratuitous, Chris Wallace has no reason to comment on Kelly Clarkson’s appearance. She’s not a supermodel; she’s a singer, and a really good one who has just has a baby. Her weight is none of his business, and for him to pile on what is already an ugly social media and internet gossip game of mocking Kelly’s dress size is using his prominence to endorse the ugly societal obsession with women’s weight that, as he should know, kills people.

He doesn’t just owe Clarkson an apology.

He owes everyone an apology.

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Pointer and source: Mediaite

Ethics Dunce (Live Performance Division): “Fox and Friends” Host Steve Doocy

Daughtry

Boy, do I hate when someone does this.

Especially when they do it to me. Unfortunately, for him, the victim this time was Chris Daughtry.

On June 6, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day, Fox and Friends had rocker Chris Daughtry and his band performing (for some reason: D for Daughtry?). Later, during the after-show, host Steve Doocy was overcome with patriotism and bad musical taste and suggested that Daughtry return to sing a “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee” extemporaneously with the other hosts, Anna Kooiman, Clayton Morris, and Heather Childers.

Daughtry, nicely but unequivocally, refused, causing an awkward scene, and also bringing down a barrage of abuse on himself from Fox viewers, so much so that he later felt the need to explain and apologize in a video.

He shouldn’t have. Doocy was way out of line, incredibly so, for someone supposedly in a branch of show business. It is rude and unfair to put a performer on the spot in front of an audience and 1) ask him or her to perform something unplanned and unrehearsed; 2) to request musical services that were not required in the contract, essentially as free entertainment,  and 3) worst of all, to frame it as a patriotic act, making Daughtry look like a villain when he refused, as he should have, when the singer was in truth the victim of Doocy’s clueless presumptuousness.

Doocy and Fox owe Daughtry an apology. No performer, ever, should be put in this  position without his prior knowledge and consent.

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Pointer and Facts: Mediaite

 

Pete Seeger Was No Hero, But That’s OK

“Was Pete political? Of course,” wrote singer Tom Paxton in a featured Washington Post salute to folk legend Pete Seeger, who died this week at the age of 94.“He was political as Walt Whitman was political, as Clarence Darrow and Woody Guthrie were political; as, for that matter, all of us should be political. He felt that ordinary people deserved protection from bullies of all stripes and his was the gift of being able to express this belief in music and in the way he lived his life.”

Reading Paxton’s dewy-eyed remembrance and the formal obituaries and tributes from most of the news media, one would never suspect that Pete’s belief in protection against all bullies didn’t stop him from being a fervent supporter of and an apologist for one of the worst bullies in human history, Josef Stalin, and not just momentarily, but for most of Seeger’s life. The fact that supposed news organizations nearly unanimously decided to gloss over that element of Seeger’s legacy tells us a lot about the Left, our journalists, bias….but not a lot about Pete Seeger.

If I followed my heart and my tapping foot but not my brain (and if all I knew about Pete was what I read in the newspapers and read from my theater colleagues on Facebook—And only in our Orwellian reality would someone of such incomparable achievement, one who displayed such overwhelming humanity, have been held in contempt of congress. An inspiring life,” wrote one, who should know better), I would have made Seeger an Ethics Hero Emeritus. He had some notable heroic moments, as when he stood up to the House Un-American Activities Committee, refusing to take the Fifth Amendment while defying the Committee in defense of the First, and getting himself cited for contempt of Congress and blacklisted as a result. I was thrilled and proud of him in 1968, when fresh off the blacklist he appeared on the Smothers Brothers show and sang his “Big Muddy” song (which you can watch above) with anger and passion, condemning the Vietnam war in metaphor and calling LBJ a fool on national television at a time when such a direct insult against the President was taboo. I didn’t even completely agree with Seeger at the time, but this was brave protest art at its finest and most effective.

If only the hypocrisy of continuing to support a system of government and a regime that tolerated no freedom of speech and that would have squashed a protester like Seeger as if he were a maggot had occurred to the folk singer while he was doing these things. But it did not. Folk singers tend to be like that, and Pete Seeger, one of the greatest folk singers, was more like that than any of them. Continue reading

Justin Bieber’s Tardiness: Calling Card Of The Unprofessional Jerk

Professional on the right, arrogant jerk on the left. Also, anyone next to Cary Grant looks like a troll...

Professional on the left, arrogant jerk on the right. Bonus: Anyone next to Cary Grant looks like a troll…

There is still some confusion how late pop sensation Justin Bieber was for a recent London concert. It may have been as much as two hours, and it may have been only 40 minutes. The ethical verdict on the conduct is the same, however: rude, disrespectful, irresponsible, unfair and arrogant…and inexcusable.

The tardiness is especially inexcusable because the singer didn’t even offer a plausible excuse or one that might prompt some sympathy. He was not kidnapped by terrorists, abducted by aliens, or cornered by a rampaging T-Rex from Isla Sorna. He wasn’t late because he single-handedly rescued a runaway school bus full of kids, or defused a ticking bomb in the London Tube. Justin Bieber was late because he’s an unprofessional jerk who knew that his fans would wait for him until he got there, and so he chose to to get drunk, or get laid, or sleep in, or play Words With Friends with Alec Baldwin, or whatever other selfish conduct suited him rather than meet his obligations as a performer. This is the Star Syndrome in its most obvious and obnoxious form. Continue reading

National Anthem Ethics

Pop songbird Christina Aguilera has been ridiculed and condemned in every forum imaginable for botching the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl. The last time a performer got this kind of abuse for a National Anthem performance (not counting Roseanne Barr’s infamous crotch-grabbing,  off-key screeching of the anthem to begin a San Diego Padres game, which was not so much a performance as a clinical demonstration of what boorishness looks and sounds like) was when the late Robert Goulet massacred the lyrics before a national radio audience to introduce the Cassius Clay-Sonny Liston Heavyweight Championship fight. The incident haunted Goulet the rest of his life, although he was a good sport about it.

As with Goulet (he was Canadian, for heaven’s sake!), the condemnation of Aguilera is not merely unfair, but ignorant. Continue reading