“Good Censorship”(Cont.): “I Enjoy Being A Girl”

No, I’m not ready for the epic job of defenestrating Seth Abramson for his ethics-anti-matter “justification” of re-witing Roald Dahl’s works. It’s not that its going to be difficult— most readers here could do it as well as I can—it’s just going to be tedious and infuriating, and I’m on edge already.

Right now I want to pose a related issue: the song you can hear above from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Fifties Broadway hit “Flower Drum Song.” I hadn’t heard it myself for a very long time, and when it was played on the Sirius-XM Broadway channel, I almost drove off the road. It’s a famous song; Rodgers, as usual, provided a memorable melody to Oscar’s lyrics…but wow. Are there any demeaning female stereotypes that aren’t endorsed in this song? Here are the lyrics:

I’m a girl and by me that’s only great!
I am proud that my silhouette is curvy,
That I walk with a sweet and girlish gait,
With my hips kind of swively and swervy.

I adore being dressed in something frilly
When my date comes to get me at my place.
Out I go with my Joe or John or Billy,
Like a filly who is ready for the race!

When I have a brand-new hairdo,
With my eyelashes all in curl,
I float as the clouds on air do—
I enjoy being a girl!

When men say I’m cute and funny,
And my teeth aren’t teeth, but pearl,
I just lap it up like honey—
I enjoy being a girl!

I flip when a fellow sends me flowers,
I drool over dresses made of lace,
I talk on the telephone for hours
With a pound and a half of cream upon my face!

I’m strictly a female female,
And my future, I hope, will be
In the home of a brave and free male
Who’ll enjoy being a guy
Having a girl like me!

I enjoy being a girl!
I enjoy being a girl!

I flip when a fellow sends me flowers,
I drool over dresses made of lace,
I talk on the telephone for hours
With a pound and a half of cream upon my face!

When I have a brand-new hairdo,
With my eyelashes all in curl,
I float as the clouds on air do—
I enjoy being a girl!

When someone with eyes that smoulder,
Says he loves every silken curl
That falls on my ivory shoulder—
I enjoy being a girl!

When I hear a complimentary whistle
That greets my bikini by the sea,
I turn and I glower and I bristle—
But I’m happy to know the whistle’s meant for me!

Oh, baby, that whistle’s meant for me!

I’m strictly a female female,
And my future, I hope, will be
In the home of a brave and free male
Who’ll enjoy being a guy
Having a girl like…ME!

Clearly, by the criteria adopted by Puffin Books, that song would have to be re-written and censored, because they “regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today.” I know women whose teeth would be set on edge right from the title, in which a fully grown woman refers to herself as a girl. As the song proceeds, she checks all sorts of sexist other boxes too, including expressing secret approval of sexual harassment.

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‘HA! You Fell For The Trap, White Boy!’

I almost made this an Ethics Quiz, but then decided that there is only one ethical answer.

Star high school quarterback Marcus Stokes posted a video of himself in a car singing a rap song that used the term “niggas.” Or maybe it was “niggers.” We can’t find out, you see, because our infantile, unethical news media will only write  that he said the “N-word,” and the video has been deleted. Journalism!

Stokes’ video caused the University of Florida to rescind its scholarship offer. Stokes is white; there is little question that if he were the right color, singing the song and posting it would not have raised any issues at all. But as Yahoo!’s observes, “Saying the N-word as a white person goes into another territory,” at least in the hypocritical, race-obsessed worlds of sports and academia. Continue reading

Ethics Leftovers, 11/25/22: Macy’s, Police Brutality, Giving Thanks For Genghis Khan, And More

I have now seen three gags online using that introduction above. All of them were really mean; one made me laugh out loud, and I was sorely tempted to use it. However to do so would be neither ethical nor in the spirit of the season, so I’ll just encourage readers to use their imaginations.

I was especially tempted after hearing President Biden and the First Lady call into the NBC broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—I wasn’t watching at the time, but someone sent me the video yesterday. First, it was an intrusion into what is supposed to be a completely non-political holiday event  for the President to try to exploit it. If Biden had even attempted to be the unifying leader he claimed to be while campaigning in 2020, I’d give it a pass, but at this point anything he does or says has to be taken as purely partisan, not to mention calculated and managed by his “handlers,” as in puppeteers. The phone call also went as you might expect: there were about 20 seconds of dead air time, which is an eternity on TV, as the Bidens could be faintly heard speaking incomprehensibly while NBC weather reporter Dylan Dreyer, smiling like a zany, went through a classic “Can you hear me? I can’t hear you…” routine. Finally, after Joe told  Dreyer that she was doing a “good job” and giving  credit to her for the good weather—she’s the weather girl, see; I think that bit was old by 1964—the First Couple replied  to Dreyer’s invitation to say something of substance to the audience,

Mrs. Biden: “We just want to say we’re so grateful for the people, for this opportunity, for the health that we have now in America, and Joe, what do you want to say?”

Joe: “I want to say thanks to the firefighters and police officers, first responders. They never take a break.”

Mrs. Biden:  “And God bless our troops for sure.”

Joe:  “And by the way, we’re going to be talking to some of our troops later in the day, both here and abroad. I hope everybody remembers. We remember them every single day. God bless our troops for real.”

1. More Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ethics.…On the one parade broadcast I did watch for a while, the commentators used the buzz-word “diversity” three times in less than fifteen minutes, explaining at one point that a marching band was wonderful because it was “diverse.” Bands are good when they look and sound good; it shouldn’t matter what colors it is or whether there is a nonbinary flute player. Then I remembered that Macy’s had just dropped the Salvation Army and will no longer allow its Santas and bell-ringers to solicit seasonal charity contributions, because the conservative religious organization isn’t sufficiently all-in with Macy’s political and social pandering mission to “grant funding to advance human rights, racial justice, workforce development and economic opportunity.” This despite last year’s embarrassing attempt by the Army to jump on the Critical Race Theory bandwagon. The government/media/corporate alliance to mandate beliefs and opinions and punish dissenters brooks no deviation.

The last metaphorical straw was when some female pop star I had never seen, heard or heard of before serenaded the viewers with the brain-numbing Christmas song, “What Christmas Means to Me”:

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An Ethics Alarms Quote Verification Special Report: “Jacques Brel And ‘The Color Of Goose Shit’”

Guest post by Thomas D. Fuller

[Some background is in order before getting to Tom’s essay. Twice in recent days Ethics Alarms has cited the quote, attributed to the late Belgian singer, song-writer, actor and philos0pher Jacques Brel,  “If you leave it to them they will crochet the world the color of goose shit.” I had referenced the quote before, and Ethics Alarms has a category called “The Jacques Brel” reserved for those officious, censorious, miserable people who seem determined to leech all of the joy out of life. After the latest reference, esteemed commenter Arthur in Maine wrote me off-site to ask for the source of the quote, since he couldn’t find it. Indeed, when I Googled the quote, the only source listed was…me. Ethics Alarms. Now I feared that I was passing along “misinformation.” Can’t have that! 

I have the good fortune to have friend of over 50 years, Tom Fuller, who is a dedicated, one might even say “fanatic,” quotation investigator. He was a credited researcher for the superb “Yale Book of Quotations,” and has commented on Ethics Alarms regarding other quotes mentioned here occasionally. I asked him to do that voodoo that he do so well on the alleged Brel quote, which he remembered from the same source where I first heard it, the Sixties revue “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.” Tom generously agreed.

As an aside, I’ve been trying to persuade Tom to launch a blog on the fascinating topic of quotes, and if you enjoy his essay as much as I do, please encourage him.

I’ll have some additional observations after the post.]



One of the most memorable lines in the 1968 musical revue Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris – indeed, it is often the only line that sticks in viewers’ minds – is:

“Jacques Brel says, ‘If you leave it to them they will crochet the world the color of goose shit.’”

Jacques Brel (Belgian songwriter and actor, 1929-1978) wrote the music and lyrics to all the songs in this piece, but the “book” (and therefore, apparently, this line) was written by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman.  The line in question appears in the script between the songs “Bachelor’s Dance” and “Timid Frieda”, but does not seem to relate directly to the lyrics or sense of either song.  (See here.)

The question is:  Did Jacques Brel really say this, and if so, where?

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Just For Fun: Lyric-Writing Ethics!

I’m writing a new musical legal ethics seminar that I’ll be premiering with my brilliant musician partner Mike Messer at the end of the month. It’s going slow: the trick is to simultaneously make the song parody lyrics funny as satires of the songs and to set out substantive legal ethics problems along the way. And the lyrics have to rhyme and scan.

Writing song lyrics is one of my many pseudo-useless talents that I have never figured out how to monetize significantly, but I am still a perfectionist about it. Competent lyric writing is becoming a lost art, and there were hacks polluting the art decades ago even when the Sondheims, Simons, Berlins, Dylans and Joels roamed the plains like buffalo.

I’ve collected examples of terrible lyric-writing for decades, and my White Whale is the Most Incompetent Recorded And Widely Heard Lyrics Ever. So far, nothing has topped, or rather ducked beneath, the execrable theme song of the popular TV Western “Bat Masterson” (starring Gene Barry), which you can listen to in the YouTube clip above just as TV viewers could hear in 108 episodes from 1958 to 1961.

The lyrics are incredibly bad. Let’s examine them:

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From The Book Of Great Stupid: Pat Benatar’s Virtue-Signaling Self-Censorship

It is kind of sad, really. So many progressive ideologues are so bereft of persuasive arguments, real facts and non-emotion-based analysis that they must resort to a paltry supply of tools, most of which are unethical: insults, fear-mongering, intimidation, race-baiting, bullying, protests and rioting, and attempted restriction of speech and expression. It is the last that is the topic here at the moment, and an especially stupid example.

Senior rock singer Pat Benatar now refuses to perform her hit song “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” as a protest against mass shootings. That song is 42 years old, and, correct me if I’m wrong, but is the song Benatar is most associated with. Her refusing to sing “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” is like Andy Williams refusing to sing “Moon River.” But you see, in increasingly delusional Woke Land, eliminating words, pictures and song lyrics that relate to bad things, event, people, places and things, like guns and shooting, is a step toward making everyone “safe.”

Except that “hit me with your best shot” doesn’t refer to guns or shooting at all, but never mind: anything to signal virtue, however moronically. Benatar is removing a popular, indeed classic piece of popular culture to accomplish absolutely nothing constructive at all, while standing for the fatuous proposition that banning artistic works that mention guns ( even though her song doesn’t) will help address the problem of homicidal gunmen. Or maybe her idea is to hold her own song hostage until the Second Amendment is repealed.

Hmmm…is that a more or less stupid theory than the first one?

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Comment Of The Day: “Council Rock Elementary School, ‘Jingle Bells,’ And When Something Trivial Demands A Strong Response (Part One)”

The infuriating/ridiculous/frightening saga of an elementary school in Brighton, New York deciding to ban “Jingle Bells” inspired several superb posts, none better than the Comment of the Day by Charles Abbott. Mr. Abbott lives in Brighton, and provided much insight regarding this weird episode, which I wrote about here and here. And here is Charles’ Comment of the Day:


Brighton is a suburb of Rochester NY. Rochester NY is about half way between Buffalo and Syracuse in the western part of New York State.

Brighton is a prosperous suburb, mostly inhabited by households in the upper middle class or professional classes. The suburb of Brighton is contiguous to the City of Rochester. The Brighton Central School District student performance consistently ranks among the 10 best school districts in all of New York State. This has a lot to do with the characteristics of the households who live there, as well as the quality of the teachers and the curriculum.

It’s worth mentioning that a Brighton zip code, 14618, is possibly the “most Jewish” zip code in New York State west of the Hudson River Valley. I live in 14618–offhand I can think of 5 synagogues within a 2 miles of my rhouse–two of them are pretty large by local standards. A Jewish friend of mine pointed out to me that I actually live within an “eruv” (look it up–it was news to me!). I mention this because observers have long noted the tendency of Jewish Americans to lean liberal or Left. The most conservative suburb of Rochester is probably Greece, NY to the NW of Rochester. Brighton tends to be a liberal suburb–upper middle class and liberal–perhaps smugly liberal. Continue reading

There Is Hope: Sometimes Justice Arrives, Just A Little Late

I just learned today that “Shout!,” the Isley Brothers’ classic, never reached higher than #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959, in a single that covered both sides of the 45. Listening to the recording now (and forever), that is simply stunning. There may not be a more exciting, spontaneous, rousing recording of any song by any artist, ever.

Yet somehow it was quickly forgotten, until a fake group called “Otis Day and the Knights” performed a terrific cover in the 1978 comedy “Animal House,” and suddenly it was a standard at wedding and parties all over the country. Why? It’s just wonderful, that’s all, and nobody sang it like the Isley Brothers. For the most part, nobody tries: there were a few obscure covers before the song was rediscovered (The Beatles did a version in 1964), but it is one of those songs where nobody wants to be compared to the sublime original.

This kind of thing gives me hope. Good ideas get lost, bad ones thrive (for a while), hacks and phonies make millions and great artists die in gutters. But now and then justice happens, maybe by fate, maybe by luck, and just maybe because life is more ethical than we think it is.

Ethics Observations On A Suddenly Ubiquitous Meme


This thing is everywhere, particularly on conservative websites. It was even quoted on Ethics Alarms.


1. It’s not true. Try not to embarrass yourself by quoting it, for “Wet Ass Pussy” was not, in fact, the “Song of the Year.” At last year’s Grammys, which gives out the annual “Song of the Year” awards, “Wet Ass Pussy” by female rapper Cardi B was not even nominated in the category. The nominees were…

  • Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Lori McKenna for “Always Remember Us This Way” performed by Lady Gaga
  • Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell for “Bad Guy” performed by Billie Eilish
  • Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth & Tanya Tucker for “Bring My Flowers Now” performed by Tanya Tucker
  • Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris, H.E.R. & Rodney Jerkins for “Hard Place” performed by H.E.R.
  • Taylor Swift for “Lover” performed by Taylor Swift
  • Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey for “Norman Fucking Rockwell” performed by Lana Del Rey
  • Tom Barnes, Lewis Capaldi, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn & Sam Roman “Someone You Loved” performed by Lewis Capaldi
  • Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic, Melissa Jefferson & Jesse Saint John for “Truth Hurts” performed by Lizzo

The winner was “Bad Guy.”

This year’s Grammys have not yet been awarded, so “Wet Ass Pussy” can be called the “Song of the Year” by any measure.

2. Therefore the irony, the dripping contempt for contemporary culture, and the implication of corrupted societal values are only effective if one is ignorant of the topic. Nice.

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Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/19/2020: Wherein My Head Explodes At Least Once

head-explode Calvin

1. KABOOM! Just when I thought 1) Georgetown could not embarrass this alum more thoroughly and 2) my head had been immunized from exploding comes the astounding news that Georgetown University has hired former FBI agent Peter Strzok as an adjunct professor. Strzok is now listed on the university’s staff page and he mentioned the Walsh School of Foreign Service on his Twitter profile. An alumnus, he will be teaching a “Counterintelligence and National Security” in the fall semester.

While engaged in an adulterous affair with then FBI lawyer Lisa Page in 2016, Strzok exchanged suspicious anti- Trump messages that called into question the legitimacy and fairness of the Mueller investigation. The FBI fired Strzok  in 2018 for  undermining public confidence in the non-partisanship of the bureau and federal law enforcement.

Stay classy, Georgetown! I already have my law school diploma facing the wall; I guess I can coat it with some kind of noxious substance…

2. The villain here is the professor. This is no time to be a weenie. Actually, there is never a good time to be a weenie. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law used “nigger” (referred to in infantile fashion by the law school’s announcement as “the n-word,” since “poopy badspeak” hasn’t caught on yet) in the context of discussing an offensive language case. But of course a student or six reported him, because they could, and it is an easy way for young progressive cowards to justify puffing up their pigeon chests because they get to cause trouble for someone who did absolutely nothing wrong.

The adjunct professor has not been identified, but in an email from law school administrators, including Law Dean Amy Wildermuth, it was announced that the professor has resigned.

“The instructor apologized and expressed his deep regret to the class, and informed the class at 1 p.m. today that he was resigning immediately from teaching at Pitt Law,” the announcement said in part.  “We condemn the use of this word, and we believe that saying this word and words like it, even in an academic context, is deeply hurtful,” the note concluded.

Words are not hurtful. Meanings are hurtful, when they are intentional. This is virtue-signaling and language policing of the most indefensible sort. The professor, whoever he is, had an obligation to the school, the culture, his profession, common sense and himself to fight, not surrender.

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