Last week, five identical statues of a grossly caricatured nude Donald Trump appeared overnight on street corners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, and New York City. The Washington Post reported that the anarchist collective INDECLINE made and placed the statues. It called the project “The Emperor Has No Balls.” Indeed, the otherwise anatomically correct statues showed the Trump effigy missing those particular features, though not bright yellow pubic hair. If you really want to see these assaults on your consciousness and sanity, go here.
I advise against it.
Ethics Observations: Continue reading →
Ed Moser, a sound designer, technical director and all-around theater pro (he produced and designed sound for my recent staging of “Twelve Angry Men”…he’s also a friend), enlightens us with some insider observation relevant to Donald Trump’s recent denigration of a sound tech. It also reveals an unattractive side of an earlier GOP presidential candidate. Here is Ed’s Comment of the Day on the post, In Search Of A Tipping Point: Trump, The Microphone, And Thomas Dewey’s Ghost:
I have a friend who engineered the sound for a large church back when McCain was a candidate. He visited the church for a “town meeting”.
My friend locked all the unused gear away, and for the event distributed only freshly batteried hand held wireless mics for the event with screw on caps on the bottom. Such caps are specifically designed to prevent clumsy performers from accidentally touching the controls on the bottom of the mic– where one could turn the mic off, change the battery, or worst of all, change the frequency. Then color coded the mics with bright spike tape, so that while he was at the sound board he could instantly tell which mic/channel he was dealing with.
The plan was for McCain to give a speech, then take questions from the floor. Runners would carry one of three hand helds to the person with the query, so the question could be heard throughout the house. There was a fourth back up.
If all of this sounds pretty standard for people who know what they’re doing and have done many such events before: well, it is.
That evening, during the event, the question and answer session occurs. The first mic, it develops, is dead. A quick check reveals that ALL FOUR are dead. Irked at having to come the the edge of the stage and get close to an actual person to hear an actual question, or perhaps just trying to infuse humor at an awkward moment, McCain points to the back of the house, right at my friend, and says to the crowd, “Fire that guy!”
He gets a laugh. Except from my friend, of course.
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The question is what will be the tipping point with Donald Trump, the incident, large or small, that suddenly causes the scales to fall from the eyes of his so far endlessly tolerant supporters, and cause them to suddenly realize what they are doing, exclaim, “My God! This man is a jerk!” and end this sick romance. The human being behind the ugly mask is uglier still, after all. Sooner or later, a tipping point will be reached.
In 1948, Republican Tom Dewey, who already had given FDR his best battle in an election, was poised to defeat the unpopular President Harry Truman and become President of the United States. It was less than a month from election day when, in Beaucoup, Illinois, Dewey was speaking on the rear platform of a train as a tactic to counter Truman’s 30,000-mile whistle-stop campaign. The engineer accidentally backed the train up a short distance and stopped with a jolt, frightening both the candidate and the crowd. Dewey, flustered, snapped, “This is the first lunatic I’ve had as an engineer. He probably ought to be shot at sunrise, but I guess we can let him off because nobody was hurt!”
Nobody laughed. This was a petulant, privileged, arrogant side of Dewey that the public had never seen before, and was played up by papers as emblematic of a contempt for working Americans. It didn’t help that he wore a fussy, anachronistic mustache mocked by Alice Roosevelt Longworth as making her visualize Dewey as “the bridegroom on the wedding cake,” but whatever his other flaws, the train incident and his unguarded moment of impatience may have cost Thomas Dewey the election.
Yesterday, during an overflowing rally in Pensacola, Florida, the Republican poll-leader for the party’s Presidential nomination became annoyed by a balky microphone and attacked an anonymous sound engineer.
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John Schindler is a former NSA officer, a professor at the Naval War College and a PhD who periodically holds forth on his various areas of expertise on the web. He also specializes in particularly obnoxious tweets in which he both insults anyone who questions or disagrees with him, and does so by referring to his own innate superiority as a scholar and an intellect. If he isn’t a complete jerk, he sure plays one convincingly.
Some wag noticed the trend, and created a website that contains nothing but Schindler’s most snotty tweets. Here is the puzzling part: Schindler, in yet another tweet, referred to it as “an ugly new defamation site against me.” Forget the complete lack of comprehension of what defamation is (Ken White at Popehat, an expert in that field of law, invoked Inigo Montoya of “The Princess Bride” in a tweet to the Professor saying “‘Defamation.’ You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”). My question is this: if Schindler thinks the website is ugly, and it contains only what he has written to others, why doesn’t that promote self-awareness, regret, remorse, and altered conduct? That is how it is supposed to work; I would think that is how it has to work. The idea behind the Golden Rule is to look at your conduct from another’s perspective, and if it strikes you as ugly and wrong, then you have learned something. So you change. Not this guy. Continue reading →
You won't need that portrait any more, Dorian...the Americans with Disabilities Act has you covered!
It is rare that an ethics train wreck of culture-wide proportions can be prevented with a firm, “Shut up, and go away!” This appears to be one of those times, however, and if anyone is reluctant, I hereby volunteer for the job.
Daniel S. Hamermesh, a professor of economics at the University of Texas, is shilling for his book, “Beauty Pays,” in which he proves the unremarkable fact that being attractive is an advantage in society , and being unattractive is an impediment. He recently hit the op-ed pages of the New York Times, writing, among other things, this:
“Why this disparate treatment of looks in so many areas of life? It’s a matter of simple prejudice. Most of us, regardless of our professed attitudes, prefer as customers to buy from better-looking salespeople, as jurors to listen to better-looking attorneys, as voters to be led by better-looking politicians, as students to learn from better-looking professors. This is not a matter of evil employers’ refusing to hire the ugly: in our roles as workers, customers and potential lovers we are all responsible for these effects.”
“How could we remedy this injustice?”
Whoa! There it is, the magic words that open the door for ham-handed social architects to do what they always to do, try to remedy the results of natural human proclivities and preferences with laws. Continue reading →
“A New Brunswick businessman has filed suit in federal court, charging New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill is holding up approval of his liquor license for a new high end sports bar because he doesn’t like the bar’s proposed name — Buck Foston’s. Larry Blatterfein, who has owned the Knight Club, a bar on Easton Avenue, for 30 years, charges Cahill is violating his first amendment constitutional right to free speech by holding up the transfer of a second liquor license to Blatterfein from another restaurant in town.”
The story goes on to say that the mayor denies the accusation, that the name has nothing to do with the planned establishment’s problems. Maybe not. Continue reading →