Tag Archives: traps

Encore: “The Guy In The Lobster Hat”

(This isn't the guy. I think it's his son...)

(This isn’t the guy. I think it’s his son…)

Longtime reader and commenter Neil Dorr chided me today for writing so much about the post-election media, political, and legal  ethics breaches going on, and not as much on the types of topics I tended to cover on the old Ethics Scoreboard, now an archive of an earlier time  when I thought a few posts a week could cover the topic of societal ethics. I was more innocent then, and I also had to depend on a webmaster: I posted more essays in the first year of Ethics Alarms than the entire output of the Ethics Scoreboard. Neil said he missed posts like the one about “the Lobster Hat”. I have to say, I don’t think there have been many posts likethe  one about the lobster hat, which was one of my occasional “a day in Jack’s strange life” posts. I had forgotten about it completely. I tracked the decade old post down, however, and for Neil, and anyone else who is interested in lobster hats, here it is..

Today I accompanied my wife to a doctor’s appointment that she was dreading, and while we were checking in with the receptionist, a large, rotund fellow with a long white beard walked in to do likewise. On his head was what appeared to be a large, red lobster…a hat of sorts, though not a very seasonable or practical one. It was spectacular, however, with two large claws that drooped down about eyebrow level, and an impressive tail in the back. If I were ordering this specimen at Jimmy’s Harborside in Boston, it would be about a four-pounder.

I was amused at this unexpected sight, and said to my wife, loud enough so Lobster-topped Santa could hear me, “See? You think you have medical problems. This poor guy has a lobster attached to his head!” To my surprise, the man turned sharply and looked at me with a furious glare, snorted, and walked out the door, clearly offended, exactly as if I had said, “Wow! That’s some harelip you have there!” or “Gee, where does a guy as fat as you buy suits?” Continue reading


Filed under Daily Life, Ethics Scoreboard classics, Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire

Three Florida Lawyers Discover How Reporting a Crime Can Be Unethical


How can you get disbarred for reporting a drunk driver? Three Florida lawyers were up to the task.

Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut were found to have “maliciously” set up the drunken-driving arrest of their opposing counsel in a  high-profile defamation trial, and Judge W. Douglas Baird,  the referee in their legal ethics case,  wrote  that Stephen Diaco, Robert Adams and Adam Filthaut should lose their licenses permanently under the legal ethics standards of the Florida Bar.

In 2013, C. Philip Campbell was representing radio shock jock Todd “MJ” Schnitt in his slander suit against another DJ, “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem. Clem was represented by the Adams and Diaco law firm. Campbell  left court and went to Malio’s Steakhouse in downtown Tampa, near his home and office. While Campbell was at the eatery, he was spotted by Melissa Personius, a young paralegal who worked for Adams and Diaco.

According to testimony, Personius called her boss, Adams, to report that Campbell was in the restaurant. Then Personius sat next to Campbell and the two bought each other drinks. As the night proceeded, Personius periodically relayed information to Adams. Adams then contacted Diaco and Diaco constacted Filthaut to agree upon next steps. The key was that Filthaut was friends with Sgt. Raymond Fernandez, who was then head of the Tampa police DUI unit, thus was able to sic  the DUI unit on the unsuspecting opposing counsel, who was in the process of being plied with liquor by Adams and Diaco’s attractive paralegal.

When it was time to for the targeted lawyer to leave, Campbell told Personius that she was too tipsy to drive and offered to call her a cab. Personius protested that she didn’t want to leave her car at the restaurant overnight and asked Campbell  if he would move the car for her. “Of course,” he said, nice guy that he is. As Campbell drove her vehicle up the street, he made an illegal turn and was pulled over by Fernandez officers, who were lying in wait. He was arrested and charged with DUI. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Palin’s Trap: Is Baiting Critics To Expose Their Double Standards And Hypocrisy Ethical?

1618609_10153003604393588_4015203188305261638_nWell, well, well!

It seems that Sarah Palin had a ready response to the critics, including PETA, who attacked her for her Facebook post featuring son Trig using the family dog as a stepping stool. She immediately posted a photo tweeted by darling of the left, gay comic Ellen DeGeneres. last summer. Amazingly, PETA, which made Ellen its 2009 Person of the Year, and the others who were horrified at Trig’s actions and his mother’s endorsement of them, didn’t find DeGeneres’s photo sinister in the least.

Imagine that!

I agree with those who believe that Palin set up her enemies for this smoking gun proof of their hypocrisy and double standards. Palin and Rush Limbaugh are more skilled at baiting liberals than any public figure since William F. Buckley.

Was it unethical for Palin to set this trap? Emphatically no, and not because Palin has been the victim of more vicious and unfair double-standard bias than any political figure within memory. Exposing hypocrites is a public service.

Well played, Sarah.

Next time, though, try to avoid having to step on the dog to make your point.


Pointer: Althouse


Filed under Animals, Arts & Entertainment, Government & Politics

Christina Hendricks Reductio Ad Absurdum

Should SHE be insulted at “full-figured’?

Many commenters on my post regarding Christina Hendricks’ abrupt termination of an Australian interview have argued vociferously that the actress  was justified, suggesting that my criticism of her is sexist and unfair. I have pointed out that her objections to being referred to as “full-figured” were in flagrant disregard of the interviewer’s obvious meaning (she is famously voluptuous). I have noted that Ms. Hendricks’ curves are, in professional terms, her “bread and butter”—her trademark, her most salesworthy asset, her primary advantage over her competitors, the basis of her notoriety, the focus of her wardrobe, and the main reason she is a popular subject of photographers, an international celebrity and wealthy.  To no avail. My argument that such a woman should not be indignant when the most obvious reason she is in a position to be interviewed at all comes up in a question in a publicity interview, whether the question is gracefully phrased or not, falls on deaf ears.

So I now invite these treasured Ethics Alarms gender warriors to engage in this simple thought experiment. Would they extend their defense to Christina if she were one of these remarkable women?

Presumably so.

If not, I’d be fascinated to learn the reasoning.


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media

This Is Obviously Wrong, But What IS It?

“Me? ‘Full-figured?’ How DARE you?”

Christina Hendricks, the voluptuous actress who is one of the stars of the AMC cable drama “Mad Men,” reportedly stopped an interview on Australian TV when an interviewer referred to her as “full-figured.”

Christina earns millions of dollars with her figure, and exhibits it regularly and enthusiastically. If her figure isn’t accurately described as full, I don’t know what “full” is.What was the term she was expecting? “Spectacular?” “Eye-popping”?


Now that we have that definition straight, what is the proper description of her conduct toward the interviewer? Unfair? Dishonest? Unkind? Isn’t it a bait and switch? To me, it seems like a less debatable example of the conduct I criticized  by Comic Con attendee Mandy Caruso. Mandy, however, was undeniably treated crudely and impolitely, and had every reason to end the interview.

There needs to be a specific name for this sort of thing—intentionally courting a particular kind of comment or treatment, and then punishing those who take the bait. Is there one? I can’t seem to think of it, if there is.


Facts: Daily Motion

Graphic: Share Your Wallpapers


Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media

Ethics Perils of an Over-eager Bieber Prompted By An Unethical Interviewer

In the current Rolling Stone magazine, teen singing sensation Justin Bieber opines on the morality of the U.S. health care system (Bieber is Canadian) and abortion, saying, among other things…

On abortion: “I really don’t believe in abortion. It’s like killing a baby?”

Abortion in cases of rape: “Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

On the U.S. and its current health care system: “You guys are evil. [Rolling Stone notes that he  says this “with a laugh.”] Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”

So to sum up: in the course of one interview, Rolling Stone managed to prompt a 16-year-old to… Continue reading


Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, U.S. Society