Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/30/18: Scary Ethics Stories!

Good Morning!

(And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brilliant, talented, always challenging, Trump-hating lawyer little sister, Edith Sophia Marshall!)

1 Quiz results: about 90% of responders found the drag Python sketch about a ladies club re-enactment of Pearl Harbor funny. Whew. As for the one voter who said that it was unfunny because it made light of human tragedy and violence, I’m glad you never attended any of the stage comedies I directed.

2. Ending birthright citizenship for illegal immigrant offspring? President Trump told Axios in an interview that he was preparing to issue an executive order to end birthright citizenship for children of immigrants here illegally. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t…You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

I have found no authorities who agree with Trump’s lawyers, if indeed they are telling him that. If they are, I don’t blame him for listening to them: if there was ever a President who was legally clueless, it’s this one. Some conservatives are livid about the suggestion (obviously all illegal  immigration-boosting liberals are as well), noting that this proposal is exactly as unconstitutional as Obama’s immigration-related EOs. I tend to agree with them. Ethically, the birthright rule is an incentive to break the law and anachronistic, since it originated when there were no legal restrictions on immigration nor reasons to have any. if the question gets to the Supreme Court, however, it will pose an integrity test for the conservative justices. Their philosophy is that you can’t just re-write or ignore the Constitution when it gets in the way of desirable policy, and this is a perfect example.

It is also very possible—likely?— that the President was using this trial balloon to energize the anti-illegal immigration base as the “caravan” continued its march. Continue reading

The Dissing Of Judy Carne: Wait, Aren’t Newspapers Supposed To Make Us BETTER Informed?

CarneWitness this bit of “information,” courtesy of Washington Post writer Justin Wm. Moyer on the occasion of the death of Judy Carne, Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In’s “Sock it to me” girl:

“The joke now seems as cruel — and as difficult to explain to millennials — as it seemed hilarious in the 1960s: A young, lithe woman, often in a miniskirt or less, stands onstage. She announces that it’s “sock-it-to-me time.” Then, she is hit with a bucket of water, or dropped through the floor, or otherwise clobbered in some form or fashion.

Is the Post now recruiting its feature writers from Jupiter? Are editors extinct? Has the paper decided that political correctness, hyper-sensitivity, gender-obsession dementia is both mandatory and universal?

What happened to Judy Carne is called slapstick. It is funny. It has always been funny. What happened to Judy Carne is no more cruel—that is, not cruel at all—than what repeatedly happened to Lucy,  Laverne, Wile. E. Coyoteand Raven, Tina Fay…Katy Perry….

Anyone writing about history and culture in a national publication—about anything, really—has has an obligation to actually know what he or she is writing about, and not make stuff up. There was definitely a lot of stuff that was on Laugh-in that will look weird today to anyone under the age of 50 or so; after all, the show is a half-century old, and the Sixties were weird even in the Sixties. Goldie Hahn dancing in a bikini with words written all over her body, for example. People laughing at every mention of the word “bippy.”  Nehru jackets. NOT women and men having staged catastrophes befalling them for laughs. Continue reading