Tag Archives: “The Walking Dead”

Ethics Quote Of The Week: “Sasha Williams” On “The Walking Dead”

 

I referred to this speech in today’s Warm-Up, but couldn’t find the video or a transcript. I finally found the clip: no context is really necessary, because the words are based in basic ethical philosophy. The scene takes place in a hallucination; Rick Grimes, the central character in AMC’s apparently endless zombie apocalypse show, believes he is dying. On a field of bodies, he is met by Sasha Williams (played by Sonequa Martin-Green), a character who perished earlier in the series.

Sasha’s encouraging and comforting words to Rick are as concise and accurate as description of how I view ethical conduct and their essential value to civilization as I have encountered in scholarly texts or classical reference works. (This is why I am so attentive to popular culture.) The key words:

We change each other. We help each other. We make each other better. And it never ends…It’s not about you or me or any one of us. It’s about all of us…and I don’t believe that it just evens out. I believe it always crosses over to the good.

That’s exactly what I believe. And I didn’t even have to go through a zombie apocalypse to learn it.

21 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Quotes, Popular Culture, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/23/2018: Cognitive Dissonance Scale Edition

Good Morning, and Go Red Sox!

The cognitive dissonance scale will come in handy today:

1 Cultural incompetence. “First Man,” about the first landing on the Moon, is a bust at the box office, and that result should have been completely predictable to anyone who has any sense at all about U.S. culture. Maybe if Hollywood loses enough money, it will figure out that its role is to celebrate and contribute to U.S. culture and values, not to trash them. The decision to omit the planting of the flag on the moon may have been rationalized as an artistic choice, but it resonated as a tone-deaf (at best) or obnoxious political one. That blurry, stiffened flag on the Moon is certainly one of my most vivid memories of the event—why would any film excise it, unless it was trying to make an anti-patriotic statement? Writes lonely Hollywood conservative critic Christian Toto:

Why did it matter? That moon walk represented a monumental U.S. victory. The moment gave the U.S. a decisive space race blow against the Soviets. Armstrong’s heroism completed President John F. Kennedy’s vow to reach the moon by decade’s end. The flag mattered.

Well, of course. The real question is, how estranged from their own nation and history must the filmmakers be not to know this? The American flag, American achievements, American pride, and patriotism are all high on the CD scale for most citizens and movie-goers except for the most estranged and anti-democratic of our education system’s victims. Openly opposing them drives the messenger down the scale.

(The film’s British co-star, Claire Foy, calling President Trump “the penis of America” in an interview probably didn’t help either.)

2. Translation: “We are really, really stupid, shameless  and desperate!” PETA has launched an anti-milk campaign attempting to link the beverage to white supremacy, tweeting “Cows’ milk has long been a symbol used by white supremacists. One more reason to and blogging,

“Aside from ‘lactose-tolerant’ white supremacists, cow’s milk really is the perfect drink of choice for all (even unwitting) supremacists, since the dairy industry inflicts extreme violence on other living beings. PETA is trying to wake people up to the implications of choosing this white beverage and suggesting that they choose something else pronto.”

Of course, this is just Cognitive Dissonance Scale gaming 101. Democrats and the left-biased news media have tried to use the white supremacy smear to attack President Trump and conservatives, but the scale didn’t get used the way they hoped. Instead of linking the President to racism and dragging his scale ranking down, they linked themselves to dishonest race-baiting and unscrupulous name-calling, both very low on the scale, and dragged themselves down the scale.

Morons.

3. Did Republicans recruit the migrant mob? If they didn’t, they might as well have. A hoard of South Americans openly intending to defy U.S. law and force their way across the boarder, looking for all the world like one of the deadly “herds” of zombies that periodically menace the heroes of “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” …

could not provide a better illustration of why the progressive position on illegal immigration is nuts, and thus indefensible. It is amusing watching the mainstream media trying to spin the unspinnable: these are people openly planning on defying U.S. sovereignty and law, and they think they can get away with it because of the irresponsible rhetoric of Democrats and shills like David Hogg, who told a college audience that the U.S. is “stolen land” and thus illegal immigration is justified.

Cognitive dissonance scale analysis: Hoards of non-citizens trying to force themselves across our boarders are low on the scale, in deep negative numbers, like zombies. Those who rationalize, justify or support them will be pulled lower on the scale by associating themselves with them. Continue reading

50 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, language, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

Ethics Alarms Encore: “The Inconvenient Truth About The Second Amendment and Freedom: The Deaths Are Worth It”

[ I wrote this piece in 2012, in response to the reaction at the time from the Second Amendment-hating Left to the shocking murder-suicide of of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher. Jason Whitlock, then a thoughtful sports columnist iin KC, wrote a much linked and publicized column calling for private ownership of guns to be banned. I was going to update my post, but decided to just put it up again. Some of it is obviously dated (the reference to juvenile Carl in “The Walking Dead,” for example), but I have re-read it, and would not change a word of its substance.]

The shocking murder-suicide of of the Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher has once again unleashed the predictable rants against America’s “culture of guns” and renewed calls for tougher firearms laws. Yes, reasonable restrictions on firearms sales make sense, and the ready availability of guns to the unhinged, criminal and crazy in so many communities is indefensible. Nevertheless, the cries for the banning of hand-guns that follow these periodic and inevitable tragedies are essentially attacks on core national values, and they need to be recognized as such, because the day America decides that its citizens should not have access to guns will also be the day that its core liberties will be in serious peril.

Here is Kansas City sportswriter Jason Whitlock, in the wake of Belcher’s demise:

“Our current gun culture ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it… If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

I don’t disagree with a single word of this. Yet everything Whitlock writes about guns can be also said about individual freedom itself. The importance of the U.S. “gun culture” is that it is really individual freedom culture, the conviction, rooted in the nation’s founding, traditions, history and values, that each citizen can and should have the freedom, ability and power to protect himself and his family, to solve his or her problems, and to determine his or her fate, without requiring the permission, leave or assistance of the government. Guns are among the most powerful symbols of that freedom. You can object to it, fight it or hate it, but you cannot deny it. Guns are symbols of individual initiative, self-sufficiency and independence, and a culture that values those things will also value guns, and access to guns.

Whitlock’s statement argues for building a counter-America in which safety, security and risk aversion is valued more than individual freedom. There is no doubt in my mind, and the results of the last election confirm this, that public support for such a counter-America is growing. The government, this segment believes, should be the resource for safety, health, financial well-being, food and shelter. It follows that the government alone should have access to firearms. This requires that we have great trust in central government, a trust that the Founders of the nation clearly did not have, but one that a lot of Americans seem ready to embrace. Giving up the right to own guns and entrusting government, through the police and the military, with the sole power to carry firearms represents a symbolic, core abandonment of the nation’s traditional commitment to personal liberty as more essential than security and safety. I would like to see the advocates of banning firearms admit this, to themselves as well as gun advocates, so the debate over firearms can be transparent and honest. Maybe, as a culture, we are now willing to make that choice. If so, we should make it with our eyes open. Continue reading

47 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

A Brief Follow-Up Note On Pop Culture, “The Walking Dead,” Civility, And Related Matters…

Stay classy, AMC...Chris Hardwick...America...

Stay classy, AMC…Chris Hardwick…America…

Last night, at exactly 11:02 PM EST AMC’s “Talking Dead”  host Chris Hardwick had his live audience scream out in unison “Suck my nuts!,”  a quote from the just completed premier episode of  the seventh season of “The Walking Dead, apparently the most popular TV show right now. This occurred slightly after an animated discussion about an actor having to cope with a tick on his penis, or a “dick tick” according to Hardwick (to BIG laughs).

Boy, that Donald Trump sure is vulgar when he doesn’t know he’s being recorded…

I am reasonably confident that this cheery gutter level discourse would have been deemed unacceptable as recently as last year. This is how fast basic levels of decency, restraint and civility are declining, although I give AMC credit for not having another “Flip another man’s meat”commercial during the breaks: maybe that’s just for baseball games.

I eagerly anticipate the explanations of why this nosedive in public decorum is unrelated to having a Presidential candidate talk at length about his penis size (I didn’t intend to have it come out that way, but hell, I’ll leave it; it’s 2016, man!) during Republican debates (you know, the conservative, family values party).

Heck, why not? Here’s that link again.

You see?

Just the campaign was enough…

50 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?”

gun control nation

I was thinking about re-posting an essay here from 2012, when Humble Talent, one of Ethics Alarms’ most prolific and thoughtful participants, filed this comment on today’s observations about the post-Orlando shooting. Not to be a spoiler, but this quote at the end is simply a fact:

“What I’ve settled on, and this might be defeatist, but what I’ve settled on is that this is the price we pay for freedom. 3000 gun deaths a year In a population of 350,000,000 is the cost of freedom, and objectively, it’s probably even a good trade, even if subjectively it tastes like ash.”

In 2012, I reached the same conclusion:

“The right to be free creates the opportunity to be irresponsible, and ethics is the collective cultural effort to teach ourselves, our children and our neighbors not to be irresponsible without having to be forced to be responsible at gunpoint, with the government holding the gun. I know it seems harsh and callous to say so, but I am not willing to give up on ethics—the belief that enough of us can do the right things even when we have the freedom to do the wrong things—to prevent the occasional school massacre or murder-suicide.”

We’re both right. The right to arm ourselves is at the beating heart of American democracy, and those who would eliminate it understand neither the right, nor the United States.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Can Anyone Analyze The Orlando Mass Shooting Objectively?”

I’m so… tired. I called it… I called it all: Terrorist attack on American soil, big, guns, Trump’s gamble paid, Islam, ISIS, Allahu Akbar, gay people targeted for being gay. I’ve never been so depressed at being so right. Continue reading

126 Comments

Filed under Comment of the Day, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

All Fictional TV Characters’ Lives Matter

Ouch. But what REALLY hurt was that she was a lesbian...

Ouch. But what REALLY hurt was that she was a lesbian…

Apparently LGBT TV fans are up in arms over characters sharing their sexual orientation getting killed off now and then on various dramas. They are, it seems, keeping score.

 

I knew our culture’s fracturing was tilting us toward this social Armageddon, but I had hoped we would regain sanity before it reached this point.

I first noticed that many LGBT fans embrace the view that Gay Lives Matter (more) on TV dramas when “The Walking Dead”  killed off one of its two lesbian characters, Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever) with an arrow through the eye (from behind…TWD doesn’t fool around) and articles about the “problem” started popping up. Protests and fan freak-outs over the demise of fictional characters are nothing new, of course, but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t enough to have diversity in casting and individual characters on TV, and that groups with calculators were measuring happiness, success, heroism, villainy, life, death, good luck, bad luck and skin rashes by EEOC categories as well. This is neither compassionate, democratic, American nor healthy.

One TV show’s LGBT aficionados are in revolt over the death of a gay character. “The 100″  killed off Lexa, an openly gay major character, and her similarly gay fans are enraged and offended. They were unable to sleep, they said.   Some threatened to harm themselves; the writer of the deadly episode published a list of self-help hotlines. During the episode following Lexa’s death, the show’s fans created the topic #LGBT Fans Deserve Better on Twitter, which has since become an international LGBT phenomenon. Later, fans tweeted with Bury Tropes Not Us, opposing the alleged “trend” of TV shows creating gay characters only to kill them off later. Autostraddle, a lesbian and bisexual website,  compiled a list of 150 lesbian and bisexual characters in TV roles who have been killed, going back to 1976.

The ironic aspect of this—I will call it nonsense because it is nonsense, though it is also dangerous nonsense—nonsense is that the shows under fire are the same ones progressives have saluted for having diverse characters to begin with. Then, because those color-blind, gender-blind, age-blind, disability-blind, ethnicity-blind writers treat the diverse characters like they do any other characters—that is, they kill them when it advances the plot, creates buzz, or just because they feel like it, being gods in this make-believe universe, the shows are boycotted and derided for bigotry.You can bet that the much acclaimed and over-rated trans actress on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black has a job for the life of the series, because getting rid of her would be considered proof-positive of anti-trans hatred.

You have to feel sorry for “The Walking Dead,” which ended its latest season by leaving its audience in doubt regarding which character just got his or her brains beat out with a baseball bat, splattering blood on the camera lens. No matter whom the victim turns out to be, it will have offended some “tribe” and opened itself to accusations of bias. The possible victims include a black heterosexual woman, a mixed-race woman, a possibly gay adult white male, an Asian-American adult male, a white pregnant female (and her baby/fetus/ inhuman set of parasitic cells, depending on your point of view), a white juvenile male, and the show’s hero, an idiot. No matter who it is, some group will have evidence of antipathy, hate and bias by the writers, just as Black Lives Matters and its allies like Al Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus take the position that any time a black perp or suspect is killed by police, it is per se evidence of racism. Continue reading

42 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Romance and Relationships, The Internet

Ethics Dunces: “The Walking Dead”

Fool me once, shame on you...

Fool me once, shame on you…

The producers and writers of  AMC’s “The Walking Dead” must be all puffed up with pride, squeezing three weeks of artificially-goosed ratings by faking the death of a major character and then bringing him back safe and sound tonight as blithely as they used to do with Pearl White in the old “Perils of Pauline” serials after the previous episode ended with a buzz-saw  inches from bisecting her, or with a speeding locamotive yards away with Pearl lashed to the tracks. (No, damn you, I’m not THAT old!)

Well, they can be proud without me. I don’t appreciated any show treating me like a fool, and that’s exactly what “The Walking Dead” did with this cheapest of cheap stunts. This is drama, not “Die Hard,” not “Days of Our Lives,” and not Gilbert and Sullivan. Silly resolutions of crises are expected in those and other genres, and an audience is forewarned and consents to the absurdities to come; it’s part of the fun. “The Walking Dead,” in contrast, has presented itself as an uncompromising, raw, nihilistic survivalist study of a hopeless and deadly world where death is lurking everywhere, and even heroes (who are barely heroes anyway) aren’t safe. It is the constant threat of a horrible death that give the show its legitimacy and its characters weight.

Take that away, and the the show is pointless gore, just a special effects exhibition with a repetitious plot attached. I know most people don’t demand integrity from their elected leaders or their entertainment, but I do. The producers and writers of “The Walking Dead” think lying is cute and profitable. I supposed its ovine fans will prove them right.

I say its unethical, and I say to hell with them.

Update: Actor Steven Yuen, who plays the now miraculously alive character, said after the show aired:

“I think it proves that this world still can take that story of the good guy winning sometimes. I really like the fact that it’s not this bent of always seeking out something miserable happening on television or something terrible and sulking on that and rather just really accepting the fact that sometimes good guys survive.”

Baloney. What this proves is that this world, which knows that good guys die all the time, can be gulled into caring about the demise of a fictional character as if that character is worth caring about, when it is is in fact just a tool of commerce and emotional manipulation by a creative force that has no interest in any artistic or philosphicaltruths, only a cynical commercial one.

 

28 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Popular Culture