In yesterday’s Independence Day post, I challenged readers to present “an honest, factual, non-ideological defense” of the University of North Carolina’s decision to award a tenured faculty position in journalism to to New York Times race huckster and “1619 Project” propagandist Nikole Hannah-Jones. I did not expect a serious response, much less a persuasive one, as the challenge was, in my mind, akin to challenging someone to translate the Zodiac Killer’s code.
I’m not sure if I can offer a “non-ideological defense” of the UNC Trustees’ reversal in the Hannah-Jones case. But I can say I’m one of the few people in the country who sees the decision as neither a triumph nor a capitulation. And I suppose that as one of the more liberal of your readers and as a veteran of three decades in tenure-track and tenured positions at colleges and universities, I might be the logical… erm… advocate?
So… Unless things work fundamentally differently in North Carolina than in the state university systems with which I’m more familiar, there are some things the average person might not completely understand.
This is really getting up late; I spent all day writing legal ethics song parodies, including a new version of the “American Pie” parody I posted earlier. I was going to discuss the answers to that one, but I am so sick of “American Pie” right now I could spit.
Did you know that there was different end of the last verse? It comes in after “And the man there said the music wouldn’t play.” It went,
And there I stood alone and afraid I dropped to my knees and there I prayed And I promised him everything I could give If only he would make the music live And he promised it would live once more But this time one would equal four And in five years four had come to mourn And the music was reborn…
The Day the Music Died.
1 . Here’s someone to add to your venal scum list: Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has a “tell-all” book coming out exploiting her time as a trusted friend of Melania Trump. All of these wretched people—Omarosa, John Bolton, Mary Trump, “Anonymous,” the rest of them—are the same. They betray trust for money, like Judas, or Robert Hansson. By any ethical standard, such books should be written, if at all, after the individuals who trusted the authors are dead or at least out of the public eye. That rule is the same whether the scum is cashing in on being trusted by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama or Donald Trump.
And yes, those who reward such low-lifes by buying their books are endorsing, rewarding and encouraging unethical conduct.
The rapper and internet troll 6ix9ine, one of the most polarizing figures in popular culture today, is by turns grating, defiant, relentless, hostile and savvy, a self-proclaimed car crash, a rat and an admitted domestic abuser. At 24, he is also inarguably compelling to many, having landed two Top 5 hits — including “Trollz” with Nicki Minaj, his first No. 1 — and racked up more than one billion new YouTube views in less than four months, since his early release from federal prison this spring.
… In February of last year, he pleaded guilty to firearms and racketeering charges stemming from his role in the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods, a violent, drug-trafficking Brooklyn gang, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, delivering what the judge in the case called “game-changing” testimony against his former associates… he was sentenced to two years, including the 13 months he’d already served — but it also put his life and rap career in jeopardy…
6ix9ine, a rainbow-haired, suggestively tattooed attention addict, was already controversial — an endless source of Instagram beefs that often devolved into real-world violence, and a convicted sex criminal, having pleaded guilty as a teenager to the use of a child in a sexual performance. Then he repeatedly doubled down on his villain status. His new album is called “TattleTales,” out Friday via the independent distributor Create Music Group,
1. The Silent Sam saga continues. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reached an agreement to give its toppled statue of an anonymous Confederate soldier (there’s a similar statue in down town Alexandria, Virginia, about a ten minutes drive from where I type this) to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with a $2.5 million trust to display it somewhere other than on a campus.
But professors, alumni and students accused the university’s board of governors of entering into a corrupt deal with a “white nationalist” group, so the judge who originally approved the agreement voided it, finding that Sons of Confederate Veterans lacked the legal standing to enter into the pact.
For the record, I don’t understand what kind of “standing” any group needs to come to a contractual arrangement. I don’t understand why the school can’t give the thing to a museum without having to pay 2.5 million bucks for the privilege. I don’t understand how the University allowed a bunch of vandals—the statue was illegally pushed over by student protesters who were never punished—to trigger this problem in the first place.
I don’t understand why a work of art showing a realistic representation of actual historical figures, for there really was a Confederacy, there really were soldiers who fought and died for it in the belief that it was a patriotic duty, and there really is a value to the culture, and especially education, in remembering controversial events and times, is viewed as so dangerous that it must be hidden from view.
James L. Leloudis, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is supposed to be explaining things to people like me when he said, “The people who erected the monuments went out of their way to make it clear that they honored the living as well as the dead, and most particularly, those ex-Confederates who returned from war and committed themselves to the long, bloody and ultimately successful effort to re-establish white supremacy.” For example, when “Silent Sam” was dedicated, a former Confederate soldier named Julian Carr delivered a speech praising the Confederate Army for saving “the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South” and recalled that he had “horsewhipped” a black woman “until her skirts hung in shreds” because she had publicly insulted a white woman.
Isn’t that fascinating! How times have changed! That certainly explains how Jim Crow took over, especially once President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the effort after his election in 1912. But now “Sam” looks at a very different South! You, see, students, the reason….Sam? Sam?Continue reading →
1. Not fake news, exactly, just half-baked news. On the New York Times front page, right hand column above the fold is the headline “Claim on Trump Is Said To Involve Foreign Leader.” Reading it, we learn that an unspecified complaint has been made by a an unnamed whistle-blower “in the intelligence community” that is “said” (by no named source) to involve President Trump saying something, promising something or implying something, at least partially involving the Ukraine, according to two sources also un-named. This is apparently all being investigated by the appropriate inspector general.
I’m serious. This is what the Times considers front page news now. Instantly, “resistance” members and Democrats will leap to the conclusion that whatever it is, it’s impeachable. Those who are thoroughly sick of the successive coup attempts will assume that this is one more concocted sliming by the Deep State, so we can have a “Russiagate” style investigation that will hamstring President Trump’s second term. Those who are focusing on the mainstream news media’s war on the President will conclude that the Times, having once again exposed itself as less a journalism organization than a Democratic Party hit squad with its self-indicting misrepresentation of accusations against Justice Kavanaugh, rushed a non-story into print as a diversion.
For my part, I’ll wait for actual facts, thanks. I don’t trust “the intelligence community” not to manufacture ways to undermine the Presidency, not after Comey, McCabe, the FISA fiasco, the FBI lovebirds texts, and Mueller’s statements, among other smoking guns. I don’t trust the Times reporting, I don’t trust President Trump not to do or say something that crosses ethical or legal lines, and I certainly don’t trust Congressional Democrats to determine what are serious transgressions by this President and what are typical maneuvers that have only become ominous because he isn’t Barack Obama. Continue reading →
1. Why are some people missing their ethics alarms? A family member owned a horse as a pet, and when the horse got old and infirm sold it to a slaughterhouse for dog food. This caused a long-running rift with the Alexandria branch of the Marshall clan, in which my wife will capture spiders and gently release them into the wild while singing “Born Free.” However, the family horse-trader is a saint compared to Fallon Danielle Blackwood, 24, a veterinary student in Alabama, who offered shelter for rescue horses only to profit by secretly selling the animals to Mexican slaughterhouses. She was arrested on a similar charge last year in North Carolina.
Though the current charges involve just 13 horses, Stolen Horse International, a nonprofit that helps find lost or stolen horses, says Blackwood may be behind the disappearance of dozens more. Her MO was to reach out to those in need of help caring for their horses and offer the equines a loving home at her farm near Boaz, Alabama.
Well, I hear veterinary school is expensive…
2. Why do the news media and the public let Democrats get away with the “immoral and ineffective” talking point? I discussed this in detail here. The latest to use the self-contradictory rhetoric was Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who denounced President Donald Trump’s “quest for a racist and sinful big wall” between the U.S. and Mexico during a speech on the House floor, and followed up with a tweet calling the wall “hateful and ineffective.” Now it’s “sinful” to enforce the borders, is it? How does someone make the argument that border security is “racist” and simultaneously claim that they are in favor of border security? If trying to keep illegal immigrants out is sinful and racist, how can the claim that border security is desirable be anything but hypocrisy?
This argument depends on listeners not paying attention, being complicit in an open borders strategy, or having the IQ of a mollusk.
3. Why do people this inept keep getting elected to Congress? At a Washington reception billed as a “celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islander (API) members of the 116th Congress,” Hawaii Democratic Rep. Ed Case said that he felt like “an Asian trapped in a white body.” How awful! Trapped in a white body! Yechh! Pooie!
Pandering to racists is a bi-partisan activity, especially in the Aloha State, where hostility to whites is open and palpable. Continue reading →
Once we’re under the two week mark, it’s all anxiety, regrets, list-making, fatigue, nostalgia, and tree needles under the nails. This is what Andy called “the most wonderful time of the year.
1. The theory: political correctness and historical airbrushing is a higher priority than education. The University of North Carolina \Board of Trustees’ approved of a proposal to build erect a $5 million history center that would, among other things, house “Silent Sam,” a statue dedicated to fallen UNC grads who fought for the Confederacy. The statue stood on campus until protesters tore it down in August. Now some faculty members and graduate assistants are threatening to go on a “grade strike,” withholding grades on papers and exams to force the school to abandon “Silent Sam” for all time. They are also trying to encourage students to support their protest.
Wrote the UNC administration in response:
“This afternoon it came to my attention that some instructors have used their roles in the classroom to ask students to take a stand on the strike,” Blouin said in the email, a copy of which Campus Reform obtained. “The University has received student and parent complaints. Such actions have been interpreted as coercion and an exploitation of the teacher-student relationship and in fact are a violation of students’ First Amendment rights as well as federal law….Our students are entitled to receive their grades in a timely manner. It is especially critical for the students preparing to graduate next Sunday, as well as the thousands of students whose scholarships, grants, loans, visa status, school transfers, job opportunities, and military commissions may be imperiled because lack of grades threaten[s] their eligibility,” the provost stated. “The proposed strike exposes the University and individuals who withhold grades to legal claims for the harm they cause to students…“Failure to meet [the faculty and GA’s] responsibilities to their students, including timely submission of final grades, will result in serious consequences.”
Firing, I hope.
2. Boy, that Trump is such an uncivil boor! House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, setting a civility example for us all while describing her meeting with the President on “the wall’: “It’s like a manhood thing for him, as if manhood could ever be associated with him….It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”
Imagine the howls of indignation if the President described a foreign leader in such terms. Or the mass condemnation from both parties and the news media if any prior President had been insulted that way by a member of Congress.
3. “A person, a group, an idea, or an object that “for better or for worse… has done the most to influence the events of the year.” I would applaud TIME’s choice of journalists as the fading magazine’s “Person of the year” if it had the integrity to point out that this is an example of “the worse.” Indeed, journalists have deliberately warped and sabotaged public debate and discourse, withheld or buried information the public needs to know, divided the nation, defied their profession’s ethical standards, undermined their own institution and with it the health of American democracy, relentlessly worked to destabilize the Trump administration and undo the election, and have engaged in repeated incompetence, bias, dishonesty and conflicts of interest. The harm journalists have done is incalculable, and probably irreversible.
Quipped “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams: “Fake News is TIME’s “Person of the Year.”
I’m running out to see “Spotlight,” so I will avoid my usual rambling introduction to this Comment of the Day, authored with skill and humor by reader Chase Davidson. A “Blazing Saddles” term I have used recently to describe the ideological jargon and convoluted double-talk we have been hearing of late from progressive protesters, ideologically committed bloggers and Presidential candidates, “authentic frontier gibberish,” seems to have taken root, and Chase has done a magnificent job translating large, stinky chunks of it revealed in my post today about the various college student demands.
“incorporate into each department at least one queer studies class.”
What? That doesn’t even make sense, and I say this as a bisexual Hispanic man (and a bastard at that, so they can’t tell me to “check my privilege”). What does ‘queer studies’, a very specialized offshoot of sociology, have to do with any departments other than Sociology and the Humanities? Calculus don’t give two figs what your gender identity or sexual orientation is. Java and FORTRAN don’t change because you kissed a girl and you liked it. What does ‘queer studies’ have to offer Architectural Engineering except snickering at how phallic many buildings are?
“[Every Dartmouth student] must be taught and made aware that the land they reside on is Abenaki homeland”Continue reading →
It’s an interesting question: is a website that approvingly lists nothing but unethical and outrageous demands from student protesters in this current round of progressive campus thuggery itself unethical, or is calling it so a case of killing the messenger? The Demands is certainly a useful website, as it displays the full kaleidoscopic display of where indoctrination on campus and the elevation of victim-mongering as a successful political strategy (Go Redskins!) off campus has brought us. Since the site’s stated objective is to support these pro-apartheid, anti-speech, anti-education totalitarian tots, however, I think unethical is a fair description. Some may disagree.
The loony is powerful here. For example…
...Guilford College students demand that the college must prioritize recruitment and retention of undocumented students. Guilford also takes the prize for the most the most deranged “suggestion” among the lists, which is that “every week a faculty member come forward and publicly admit their participation in racism inside the classroom via a letter to the editor in the Guilfordian.”
…Every Dartmouth student “must be taught and made aware that the land they reside on is Abenaki homeland” especially at all major ceremonies, and the school must “incorporate into each department at least one queer studies class.”
…SMUstudents demand that all students considering initiation into a fraternity or sorority must be subjected to mandatory cultural intelligence and sensitivity training, a.k.a. brainwashing.
…University of North Carolina student activists go full Orwell, demanding “mandatory programming [on] ways in which racial capitalism, settler colonialism, & cisheteropatriarchy structure our world.” They also demand that“White professors must be discouraged from leading and teaching departments” studying colonized/enslaved people/societies,” and this gem: “We DEMAND that campus police participate in the University-wide political education….Policing as an institution must be abolished.”
…Vanderbilt students want the university to eliminate its policy against “obstruction or disruption of teaching, administration, & University procedures & activities.”
There is so much more, if you have the stomach for it. Please, please make sure some debate moderator makes a list of the most outrageous demands and asks Bernie and Hillary what they think about them, as well as the campus culture and political cant that gestated this virus. Continue reading →
When the Tom Brady/ Bill Belichick/New England Patriots cheating issue was at high pitch [Aside: Notice how we have heard nothing about this at all since the Super Bowl, which the Patriots won. This is why NBC thinks it will get away with not firing Brian Williams…both the news media and the public have the attention span of closed head injury victims, especially when it comes to liars, cheaters and betrayal. They call this phenomenon “America’s belief in redemption.” It is actually is a product of America’s crippling domination by chumps, dolts, suckers….and people who are liars and cheats themselves.], a friend of mine brushed it all off saying, “It’s a game.” Well, children learn a lot about ethics from games, and if they learn that adults think cheating is acceptable (never mind that a billion dollar business is hardly just a “game”), they will cheat in their games, and later in life.
Today we learn that the inspiring 2014 Little League Champions, the Jackie Robinson West team that was the first all-African-American team to win the tournament, has been stripped of all of its wins, including those from its Great Lakes Regional and United States championships. As a result, the United States championship has been awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas.
A Little League investigation revealed that the Jackie Robinson team, which was supposed to field a team exclusively from the Chicago South Side, secretly used an expanded boundary map. Team officials conspired with neighboring Little League districts to build what was essentially an all-star team by acquiring players from well beyond the South Side. Continue reading →
I was going to call this post “Ten Reasons Why Watching The Super Bowl Is Unethical,” then “TOP Ten Reasons Why Watching The Super Bowl Is Unethical.” Ethical people should only need one good reason though, and while you can rationalize it away to slave your conscience and to avoid having to renege on that RSVP to tomorrow’s Super Bowl party, it is there, undeniable, and ugly.
So you don’t even have to argue that the fact that the most successful NFL team for more than a decade is also the one repeatedly caught cheating is irrelevant because “everybody does it,” or that the large number of felons, thugs and spouse abusers the teams employ (one ex-player—why, a Patriots’ ex player, in fact!—just went on trial for murder) doesn’t matter because the players aren’t really role models, or that the fact that the NFL corrupts and warps our universities by turning them into football’s minor leagues is overstated because such scandals as the University of North Carolina conspiring to let athletes take imaginary courses aren’t really the NFL’s fault. All you have to do is accept the fact that when you support the NFL, it’s TV ratings and the companies that profit from them, you are not merely killing people, you are cheering while you do it.
As thoroughly and irrefutable shown by the documentary and the book it was based on, football causes dementia and death. The earlier you start playing it, the worse the effects are. The NFL has systematically waged a public relations war of denial and deception, taking carefully calculated half-measures that will not address the problem, relying on America’s love of the game to allow the industry to continue making billions by paying young men to maim themselves. In hearings before Congress, U.S. representatives compared the NFL to cigarette manufacturers denying that cigarettes were addictive and that they caused health problems. The comparison is fair, but once the truth was known about tobacco, the non-smoking public quickly realized that it shouldn’t be cheering lung cancer on. Cigarette ads on TV were banned; programs that children watched were pressured to avoid showing characters smoking. But then, nobody gets a visceral rush watching human beings slowly kill themselves by puffing away: is that the difference? As long as you get a kick out of the process of athletes turning themselves into future drug addicts, depressives, neglectful fathers, abusive husbands, drooling imbeciles and suicides, it’s okay to keep watching and cheering?
Keep telling yourself that. It’s intellectually lazy and ethical abdication, and that’s all it is. Watching the Super Bowl can’t be wrong because so many people do it, right? You know, since you’re here, what’s the matter withthat argument.
You can also try the argument that the players are accepting the risk, so it’s OK for you to encourage them, in fact help pay them to liquify their brains for your amusement. That would be employing three more rationalizations on the Ethics Alarms Hit Parade: Continue reading →