End Of Week Ethics Regrets, 5/14/2021: Trevor Noah’s Wit, The Yankees’ Great Vaccine Experience, And Other Puzzlements

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1. Baseball Ethics notes:

  • Ethics Heroes: The Houston Astros. When I forgive them for cheating their way to the 2017 World Championship, they might be worthy of a full post the next time they do something exemplary. The Astros are providing furnished apartments to minor-league players across all levels this season. According to The Athletic, they are  the only club doing this. Minor league players are obscenely underpaid, and have to find desperation lodging on salaries that aren’t much better than minimum wage. What the Astros are doing should be the industry standard. Is this an attempt by a bad actor to prove it has come into the light? Maybe. It’s still admirable.
  • In the category of “It isn’t what it is,” we have a bizarre statement from New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees have confirmed eight cases of the Wuhan virus this week, with shortstop Gleyber Torres  the first player to test positive. The other seven cases had been among the Yankees’ coaching and support staffs, including pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin and first-base coach Reggie Willits. Something is clearly amiss, either in what the team has been doing or in the effectiveness of the Johnosn and Johnson  single shot vaccine, which is what the Yankees provided to the team. Cashman said, in a longer statement to the press,

“The one thing I take from this is I believe the vaccine is working. We can take great comfort, thankfully, that all who were vaccinated with the J&J, provided from two different states, the one batch in New York, the other batch in Florida, at various different times, one in March versus obviously earlier in April, we believe it has protected us from obviously something severe or something much more difficult to be handling than we currently are.”

Or, the fact that so many Yankees who were  “fully vaccinated” got the virus anyway might suggest that the vaccine involved isn’t that great. I would come to that conclusion before “the vaccine is working.” Baseball players are young, athletes, and as far removed from high risk as one could find. Before the vaccine, only one player who contracted the virus last season became seriously ill, and that was from aside effect of the illness rather than the illness itself.

2. Explain those rules again for me, please? In today’s Arts section of the New York Times, we have this note:

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Trevor Noah Provides A Perfect Example Of How Comedians Make The Public Stupid And Irresponsible…But Woke!

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Personally, I blame Jon Stewart. The former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” was quick, clever and smug enough to convince a lot of younger, lazy Americans that they could become civically literate by watching a comedy show, thus being entertained while learning about current events and how to have the “right’ opinions about them. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Noah, Jimmy Kimmel (yecchh), Bill Maher (gag) and all of the other left-leaning clowns and jokers have a right to their opinions and to spout them at will, but nobody should think that any of them possess such remarkable insight that they should be influential opinion-makers. Indeed, their opinions are approximately as authoritative as a gas station attendant or the average taxi driver.

Throughout American history, there have been the occasional wise wags whose satirical takes on current events prompted thought as well as mirth—Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Mort Sahl, and a few others. Never before, however, have there been so many pretenders to that class who not only are taken seriously by the young, but who also take themselves seriously, far more seriously than their intellects, training and experience justifies. During the Trump administration, this trend became actively destructive, but many crtics even expressed concern during Stewart’s reign, as surveys showed that a frightening number of people used “The Daily Show” as their primary news source. This makes approximately as much sense as using SNL’s “Weekend Update” for that purpose.

Or CNN.

Kidding!

(Sort of.)

Trevor Noah, Stewart’s cuter but equally smug successor on Comedy Central, provided us with a neon-bright example of how damaging these fake authorities can be. The topic was the mass killings at two Atlanta-area massage parlors that left eight people dead earlier this week. Six of the eight women were Asian-Americans, but the motive behind the shootings is murky. Police arrested a suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long yesterday. Long reportedly told investigators that he had a sexual addiction and saw the businesses as a temptation he needed to eliminate. (This makes slightly more sense than “Son of Sam” saying he was instructed by a dog, but you know: mass murderers.) Never mind what he says, the race-baiters that make up much of the Democratic Party decided that this was another opportunity that couldn’t be missed.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a member of “The Squad,” tweeted yesterday,

“8 lives were violently stolen. We stand in solidarity & deep compassion w/ our AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] family in Georgia & across the country. Racism, misogyny, & white supremacy are a threat to all of our communities, and we must call out the targeted, violent attacks on our AAPI neighbors.”

Other “of color” elected Democrats followed the script. Showing that, so far at least, there are some depths to which they will not stoop, both Speaker Pelosi and President Biden declined to call the attacks a “hate crime,” saying that the motive is unclear. It is, but the fact that the killer himself says he was trying to kill sex workers creates the rebuttable presumption that race was not motive.

Trevor Noah, however, launched a hilarious riff on the tragedy. I jest: there was nothing funny about it, but who is better qualified to analyze the social roots of a U.S. incident than a South African high school grad who has engaged in nothing except comedy since he was 18 and who has shown no interest in becoming an American citizen?

Here is Noah’s rant:

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Ethics Quiz: Trevor Noah’s Joke

“Africa won the World Cup. I get it, they have to say it’s the French team. But look at those guys. You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends.”

—-Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”

Noah, who is black, was immediately accused of racism. “So basically, Trevor, all the African-Americans in the US are just Africans, right?,” said one critic. “Know that as a French of Algerian, German and Spanish descent, I find it insulting. We are all French, we are one people. Ask the players,they’ll tell you they’re proud Frenchmen!”

Your more complicated-than-it-looks Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

Does Noah have anything to apologize for?

I mean, other than that fact that his joke isn’t particularly funny. Continue reading

Trevor Noah’s Critics

Trevor Noah, the current Daily Show host who is more thoughtful than funny, made the same points Ethics Alarms did regarding Hillary Clinton’s weasel-like response to the New York Times exposé revealing that she protected a top adviser of hers, Burns Strider, Clinton’s faith adviser and founder of the American Values Network, when he was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing one of Clinton’s young subordinates during her 2008 campaign.

“Hillary’s Grammy cameo came at a weird moment for her,” Noah said, referring to the “Fire and Fury” skit at the Grammys Sunday that featured  Clinton reading excerpts from the book. “Because last night’s theme was #MeToo, Time’s Up, which is a message Hillary found herself on the wrong side of over the weekend. Look, there’s a few areas where I don’t necessarily expect Hillary Clinton to nail it,” Noah continued, “managing emails, visiting Wisconsin, you know, weaknesses. But I won’t lie, I expected standing up for a woman on her staff to be one of her strengths. So the story is disturbing.”

“It’s possible that Hillary Clinton had a good explanation for why she kept this guy on over the objections of her top campaign advisers but instead of an explanation, all we got was this,” Noah said, regurgitating Hillary’s nauseating tweet,

“A story appeared today about something that happened in 2008. I was dismayed when it occurred, but was heartened the young woman came forward, was heard, and had her concerns taken seriously and addressed…I called her today to tell her how proud I am of her and to make sure she knows what all women should: we deserve to be heard,”

“Yeah, ‘women deserve to be heard,’ and then quietly reassigned,” Noah said in reaction to this. “‘Thank you for speaking up — now into the closet…It feels like Hillary’s not only trying to dodge all the blame, she wants to present herself as having always been on this woman’s side, which doesn’t fly, because not only did the woman get reassigned, but this guy, Burns Strider, he went on to get another job in Democratic politics, where he got fired for doing the same thing to other women,” Noah said, correctly. “So you could argue that if Hillary had fired him, she would have been protecting many women, instead of just herself.”

I almost gave Noah an Ethics Hero for this, but thought better of it. The fact that none of his All-Trump-Bashing-All-The-Time comic colleagues, like Colbert, Kimmel, Samantha Bee, Bill Maher and Saturday Night Live lack the integrity to criticize Clinton doesn’t make him a hero. It’s a little like giving a medal to the only soldier who doesn’t run away as soon as the shooting starts. We should respect consistent standards and integrity instead of hypocrisy, not treat them like they are qualifications for sainthood.

However, the criticism Noah received on Twitter for stating the truth was an education in how people delude themselves and pollute their values with rationalizations to avoid facing uncomfortable facts: Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “President Trump Will Not Throw Out The First Ball Of The Baseball Season”

The post about how the Democratic hate-mongering campaign against President Trump has stopped him from continuing the century old tradition of POTUS symbolically signalling the beginning of the baseball season with a ceremonial first pitch inspired another Comment of the Day from Steve-O-in NJ, on the related topic of jerks.

Part of his commentary below evokes TV comics, who, as he notes, have become entirely one-party, partisan shills, and if that leaves humor in the dust, so be it.

Last night, reacting to news that Ivanka Trump would be an unpaid but official advisor to her father, Daily Show host Trevor Noah  played a clip of an old interview with Ivanka by Leslie Stahl, in which the First Daughter answered a question about whether she would be active in the administration, saying,

“Um no, I’m going to be a daughter.”

“And a liar!” quipped Noah. HAHAHAHAHA! Isn’t that funny? HAHAHAHAHA! He’s a vile, unfunny,  dumb partisan hack. What she said wasn’t a promise, and it wasn’t a pledge. Even if it was uttered by Ivanka under oath, it couldn’t be called a lie, or even hypocrisy, unless there is reason to believe that she said this knowing it wouldn’t be true. Proof, please, Mr, Noah, you asshole.

That’s what she thought was the case then; now conditions have changed, and she decided to do something else.  If a woman, say, Ivanka Trump, said on TV, “I’m going to marry Trevor Noah,” and then, having seen what a miserable jerk he is on TV, decided not to marry him, would that mean she was lying when she said she would? Do these relentless leftist hit-comics —Bee, Oliver, Maher, Colbert, Kimmel, et al, or the right-oriented…wait, there are no right-oriented comics—have any integrity at all? Decency? Or a dictionary?  The people who find Noah’s attack on Ivanka hilarious are the same people who were glad she was harassed on an airplane, and who organized a boycott of her products. You know. Jerks.

Mega Jerk Noah then detoured into news that former South Korea President Park Geun-hye would be jailed for corruption. “Wow, a president impeached, removed from office and thrown in jail. Imagine that,” said Noah, “No, no, seriously, let’s all close our eyes and imagine that.”

I have Facebook friends who issue bile like this every day. It is simply, clearly, hate-mongering, citizens wishing ill on their nation’s leader, making two party government impossible, and fanning the flames of social unrest while proclaiming their own bias and ignorance. They want to jail the President of the United States because he beat their corrupt, incompetent candidate. Stalin would be so proud.

These are friends of mine, but their conduct is detestable and loathsome.

But I digress. Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, President Trump Will Not Throw Out The First Ball Of The Baseball Season:

Someone compared me to Mr. Hyde or a werewolf, so I have to make sure I’ve taken my potion before I respond. Unfortunately, the jerks win a lot more than a lot of us would like to admit, as every kid who took the long way home to avoid the class bully, every girl who didn’t attend dances because she was marginalized by the queen bees, and three quarters of people who quit jobs (75% of resignations are due to not getting along with one’s immediate supervisor) can testify to. In the past the grown-up culture of this country had moved past jerkiness, now it thrives on it.

Part of it is the ease with which now anyone can say anything about anyone and have it cross cyberspace in the blink of an eye. Not only that, but now anyone with a couple of apps or Photoshop (if you spring for it) can easily make anyone look bad or create an image that can’t be unseen (I just got Photoshop, and a friend who serves me in the same role as Jiminy Cricket warned me to use it wisely and NOT to combine my photographic and rhetorical skills to cook up tasty, quickly digestible morsels of hate, bias, or disdain) . However, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

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It’s Time For That Exciting Ethics Alarms Game Show,”Spot The Hypocrisy!”

time-to-play

Are you ready?

Here comes…

Hypocrisy Challenge I

The New York Times

Like much of the mainstream news media but more so, The New York Times is flogging the “fake news” narrative. In part there is something legitimate to report, as with the crazy conspiracy theory about a pedophilia ring run out of a Washington, D.C., pizza place by John Podesta and Hillary Clinton that culminated in a nut case showing up there with a gun “to rescue children.”  (Most of the “fake news” crisis is really the “Stupid people” crisis.) The media’s excessive enthusiasm and daily fulminating about fake news, however, appears to be a desperate effort to make its own incompetent, inaccurate, slanted and dishonestly selective reporting during the campaign and election just completed appear more palatable by invoking Ethics Alarms Rationalization #22, Comparative Virtue, or “It’s not the worst thing.” This story, for example, was on today’s Times front page, where its headline read, “As Fake New Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug At Truth.”

Meanwhile, tucked away at the bottom of the op-ed page of the same issue, was this “Correction”:

Because of an editing error, an Op-Ed essay on Friday about Donald Trump’s efforts to keep jobs in the United States misstated the change in auto sector employment in both the United States and Mexico between 2007 and 2015. In Mexico, jobs grew to 558,000 from 405,000, not to 675,000 from 174,000. In the United States, auto jobs declined to 762,000 from 828,000. The article also misstated plans by Detroit car companies in Mexico. Ford and General Motors plan to invest a combined $9.1 billion and hire 12,200 more workers; Detroit car companies are not planning to invest $30 billion and hire 30,000 more workers.

Now…

Spot the Hypocrisy!

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“Who Are You Calling A Nut?” And Other Ethics Issues In The Community College Shooting Aftermath (Continued)

I apologize for the length of this two-part entry, but the preponderance of fact- and reasoning-free anti-gun hysteria in the wake of the Oregon shooting has even exceeded Sandy Hook levels, a development I didn’t think was possible. An emotional national reaction to such a tragedy is fine, and natural, as long as it doesn’t stampede policy-makers and make the public dumber and more ignorant than they already are regarding basic rights, the reasons for them, and the limits of law and government. This post and its earlier installment are offered to catalogue, in part, the ethics carnage, and perhaps to save some readers time when they are confronted with a usually sane friend or family member who begins ranting about how “ridiculous” it is that this “problem” hasn’t been “solved” and how it’s all the fault of the NRA and bribed politicians, because if Australia can do it, why can’t we? In my experience, however, the angry anti-gun zealots—yes, you can still be a zealot and talk about “common sense solutions” if they are either not sensible or not solutions—don’t want to hear facts or reason. People have died, guns are bad, and why can’t we stop it? The same people also tend to think we can stop prejudice, poverty, risk, inequality, war, and the effects of mankind living on the planet. They also rank “Imagine” among the most profound songs ever written.

Sigh.

Here are the rest of the points:

V. Another Facebook friend published this chart…

wholechart

…and said that it showed that “states with fewer gun regulations had frequent gun related murders than those with more regulations. It doesn’t show that. It shows, for example, that Vermont, Maine and North Dakota have few regulations and low gun murder rates. I know him well–he’s an honest man. But he saw what he wanted to see, not what was actually on the chart. Meanwhile, everyone “liked” his post.

VI. I know I’ve made this observation before, but it still drives me crazy. I just had another argument over it with my sister, and she hung up on me. Obama and the hoard leaps on this shooting to once again lobby for “common sense” gun controls that most agree wouldn’t have stopped this shooting. There is , I would say, an obvious, ethical and logical disconnect there. If the measures being sought would not have stopped this shooting, why all the angry, “blood on your hands,” “how long will this go on” rhetoric? The clear and misleading message is that the shooting would have or might have been stopped if only, if only, but when the substantive recommendations are listed they have little or nothing to do with the incident itself. Why do smart people tolerate this? The shooter’s father–who, by the way, shares at least as much culpability for the Oregon shooting as anyone, and a lot more than the NRA, gave an interview in which he blamed the shooting on the fact that the law allowed his son to acquire 13 guns: Continue reading