Tag Archives: valedictorians

Ethics Quiz: The Disappointed Valedictorian’s Billboard

Gary Allmon purchased the large digital billboard above on U.S. Highway 264 in Wake County, North Carolina to honor  his son, Joshua. The message was on display for 10 days through June 12, the day of East Wakefield High’s graduation ceremony.

The  school recently replaced valedictorians with the Latin honors ranking system used in colleges–summa, magna, cum—as a fairer and more accurate way to honor academic performance. Josh’s transcript shows him ranked as number one, and he felt robbed.

“It’s a stupid rule that will hurt students down the line, but it’ll accomplish their goal of making everyone feel equal,” he wrote on Twitter. He has a full scholarship to North Carolina State University to study chemical engineering. Continue reading

24 Comments

Filed under Character, Education, Quizzes, U.S. Society

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/11/18: More On De Niro, A Censored Valedictorian, A Heroic Pit Bull, And A Popeye

Good Morning.

1. Still angry... Here are some prime comments from Ann Althouse’s blog (she posted on DeNiro before 6 AM, beating me to it.) I should have posted last night; it might have let me get some sleep:

  • I think the Democrats have just found their 2020 Presidential Candidate…and his campaign slogan. Speaking as a Republican I am quaking in my boots…

  • Well, no more Robert DeNiro movies or shows for us then. The magic of the screen, the verisimilitude, is shattered. You can no longer look at the actor playing a character and forget that he HATES you in real life. He has no longer any status as Actor since he decided to play on the Political Stage. Why can’t they just STFU? Are you an entertainer [actor/singer] or are you a Politician? Pick one. Choose wisely.

  • I’ve been around people in the arts, including actors, most of my life, and there are two things I’ve found that are true about them: (1) except for their craft and whatever arts they’re involved in, they tend to be fairly uneducated, and woefully ignorant about history and economics; and (2), although they see themselves as free spirits and rebels, they’re usually brainwashed tools of the “liberal” Hive, and fall in lockstep like so many Eloi when the Hive calls. The whole evening, from what I saw, was one big anti-Trump rally. Strangest to me were the Gays who were reacting as if Trump were loading them onto box cars and shipping them off to death camps. And yet as members of the Hive, almost certainly falling into line with the Hive’s goal of a bigger and more powerful State. Bad news, artistes: if you think you can have full freedom of expression where the State is omnipotent, think again. Maybe actually open a history book every once in a while.

  • On my way down to NYC today with my wife. I thought we might try to see a play if I can get some cheap tickets. Last night she was watching the Tonys in our hotel room. I was reading about the history of disease but could not avoid seeing/hearing some of it. I was reminded why THEATRE!!! has no interest at all for me. What a bunch of pretentious dreck. I’ve always liked Robert DeNiro as an actor. But FUCK HIM!!! as a person.

  • In 1936, the New Yorker ran a cartoon about some old rich white people. We know they’re elites because there is a butler hovering in the background. The caption: “Come along. We’re going to the Trans-Lux to hiss Roosevelt.” Our betters didn’t use the f-word so often in those days.

  • I’m calling my shot: Trump wins 40 states. My liberal friends seem resigned to the fact that he will get reelected, that is unless, how did one guy put it, “overwhelming evidence is presented.” They take it for granted that Trump must be guilty of something. He simply has to be. Trump’s ascendance to the presidency is an offense against their worldview. Its rather amusing because Trump isn’t really all that conservative. Hell, Bernie Sanders campaigned on controlling illegal immigration and reworking trade agreements in order to improve job prospects for Americans. I don’t bring that up with my liberal friends though. I just ignore their comments about Trump and change the subject. They probably think I can’t refute them, but I just don’t want to piss them off. 

  • Life imitates “A Fish Called Wanda”:

Archie: You are a vulgarian, aren’t you?
Otto: You’re the vulgarian, you fuck!

Continue reading

28 Comments

Filed under Animals, Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/3/17

Good Morning!

1. “He was right, dead right, as he sped along, but he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.” This was a refrain (from an actual epitaph) my Dad used to recite to hammer the principle into my head: being right is often not enough. I wonder if Chris Christie ever heard it? The Governor of New Jersey is vacationing with his family at a state beach he closed to the public , along with all state parks, as a result of a budget stand-off with the legislature. Technically and legally, he has every right to do this, since governors of the state have the use of a residence on that beach, and the detail that watches it when the Governor is in residence is not affected  by the government shut-down. Christie, in his trademark blunt manner, has responded to criticism by saying, in essence, “I’m governor and you’re not.” He’s right that he’s not taking a special privilege by using his residence when the beach is closed to the public. He’s right that he has no alternative to closing government services when the legislature doesn’t meet the statutory mandate for approving a budget. It doesn’t matter: he also has a duty to preserve trust in the government and democracy. His vacation in a place that he’s made off-limits to the public, no matter what the justification, has the appearance of impropriety, and more than an appearance of arrogance and a broken ethics alarm.

2. The big story yesterday—I can’t believe I’m writing this—was the President tweeting a silly tricked-out video purporting to show him wrestling CNN. This was, to anyone not determined, due to a near fatal level of confirmation bias and the Trump Hate Brain And Conscience Eating Amoeba, to interpret every word and act by this President as evidence of evil, a joke. Sure, it was also gloating, and trolling, and sophomoric, and unpresidential but the long, long list of talking heads and pundits who solemnly pronounced  this foolishness as “advocating violence against journalists” all revealed themselves as untrustworthy, dishonest, or hysterical. This kind of incompetent reaction is why Trump keeps doing this.

Our broken news media will have to be torn down before it can be restored to the objective and non-partisan institution a healthy democracy has to have to survive. If President Trump’s japery accomplishes this—I would prefer journalism to come to its senses internally, but that clearly is not going to happen—that’s a rich silver lining to the cloud of his Presidency. Continue reading

75 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Race, Social Media

One Class, 114 Valedictorians….W.S. Gilbert Warned Us About This

Apparently this has been going on at Arlington, Virginia’s Washington and Lee High School, from which my niece graduated, for years.  The school calls about a third of its graduating classes “valedictorians,” so 1) the school can put it on their college applications and deceive those who haven’t connected the dots; 3) make certain the school can claim a female valedictorian, a black valedictorian, an Asian-American valedictorian, a trans valedictorian…you know, because everyone is above average, like in Lake Woebegon, and 3) the official rationalization, to eliminate competitiveness for honors among students, because life isn’t competitive.

Back when I wrote about this in June, 2010, the news was that…

In many high schools around the country, as many as fifty graduating seniors were designated “valedictorians…

Now honor inflation ins some schools is  more than double that, so this atrocious practice is obviously catching on. Integrity is such a chore. Excellence, superiority, achievement…they are all chores too.  As for the genuinely superior students, they are out of luck: this is the high school equivalent of all the gladiators standing up and crying “I’m Spartacus!,” except now it’s “I’m the smartest one in the class!” This Maoist denial of the fact that some of us earn more success than others and that there is nothing wrong with doing so is all the rage, and you can expect to hear more such ideas as the various candidates to lead the nation, one founded on the principle of personal self-determination based on ambition and enterprise, argue about how to deal with “income inequality.” Income inequality is but a subset of talent, industry, risk-taking and ability inequality…and good fortune inequality too. Might high schools sending graduates out into the world with the cuckoo concept that everyone should be regarded as equally accomplished whether they really are or not also contribute to income inequality?

Why yes, I think so. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Literature, Quotes, U.S. Society

The Gay Valedictorian’s Vetoed Speech

I...never mind. Maybe you can guess what I was going to say.

I…never mind. Maybe you can guess what I was going to say.

Contrary to the impression one would get reading Ethics Alarms, school administrators don’t always make the wrong decisions, and don’t always behave like pusillanimous, politically correct fools. In Colorado, for instance, the Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School administration made exactly the right call in this year’s inevitable valedictorian controversy. Naturally, the mainstream news media is roundly condemning it.

This is why most school administrators behave like pusillanimous, politically correct fools. It’s easier.

Evan Young, an 18-year-old graduating senior at  Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado was selected as his graduating class’s valedictorian. (Here all the other accounts you read will point out that he has a 4.5 GPA and a scholarship awaiting him at Rutgers University. How smart he is and deserving of the honor is 100% irrelevant to the ethics issue in the story, but that information is being included as part of the effort to make Young an attractive and sympathetic “victim.”) He  agreed to make edits to his speech required by school Principal B. J. Buchmann, but refused to eliminate the passage in which he disclosed that he was gay.  As a result, Young was not allowed to give his speech at all, and thus was not recognized as valedictorian at the May 16 graduation.

Young says that part of his speech’s design was to tell everyone his secrets. “Most of the things were stupid stuff — books I never read that I was supposed to, or homework I didn’t like. But then I gradually worked up to serious secrets. My main theme is that you’re supposed to be respectful of people, even if you don’t agree with them. I figured my gayness would be a very good way to address that.”

He figured incorrectly. It was one way to address that, but not an appropriate way considering the forum, and the school had every right to tell him to keep his sexual orientation out of the proceedings. Continue reading

103 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Family, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

Bad Valedictorian Ethics, Round #2: The Cut-Off Mic

This one is easy.

I would have pulled the plug too.

I would have pulled the plug too.

At  Joshua (Tex.) High School, a Valedictorian, in this case one Remington Reimer, agreed to deliver school-approved text and nothing else as his graduation speech. Following the unethical example of double-crossing Valedictorian Roy Costner, recently slobbered over by Fox News as if he were a hero (imagine if Costner had torn up his promised speech and began bashing the Tea Party—do you think Megyn Kelly would have been kissing his shoes on the air then?), Reimer decided to grandstand as well, changing his speech from what he had assured the school he would be delivering. But while he broke his promise, the school, to its credit, did not. He had been told that if he pulled a Costner, his microphone would be turned off. As the wags at Fark neatly put it,  “If you go off-script during your valedictorian speech and mention that you were threatened with having your microphone cut if you were to indeed go off-script, then your microphone just might get cut off for going off-script.” That’s what happened to Remington.

Good. Continue reading

29 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Etiquette and manners

Bad Valedictorian Ethics In Pickens County

People have to learn to stop applauding unethical conduct.

Hijacking in progress.

Hijacking in progress.

Roy Costner IV, honored with the opportunity to give the valedictory speech to fellow graduates of Liberty High School in Pickens County, South Carolina, decided to defy the School District’s decision to exclude prayers at graduation ceremonies.  He began his prepared and approved  graduation speech, then tore it up dramatically and segued into the Lord’s Prayer, to the apparent delight of many in attendance.

Wrong.

Roy accepted the invitation to give the speech under known conditions. He submitted text, supposedly in good faith. The school trusted him to meet his commitments. Instead, he hijacked the graduation ceremony for his own religious agenda. Continue reading

143 Comments

Filed under Character, Education, Etiquette and manners, Religion and Philosophy