People, even lawyers, just do not interact much in remote seminars. It makes a three-hour session far more tiring, even though I’m sitting down, rather than stalking through the space. Thus I am blotto now, after a legal ethics session earlier today.
1. And THIS is the best paper in the U.S…Two headlines on the New York Times front page this morning my high school paper faculty advisor would have rejected…and he would have been right:
“Gaetz Said To Face Inquiry Over Sex With Underage Girl” The fact someone says it is not news. Is he “facing an inquiry” or isn’t he? “Three people briefed on the matter” isn’t a source: we’ve seen how accurate the Times anonymous sources are, especially when the subject is a Republican, a conservative, and a Trump supporter. Why the front page for a rumor? Slow news day? Hey, I’ve got an idea: How about an article about how Joe Biden called Georgia “sick” based on a complete misrepresentation?
“Taliban Believes The War’s Over And They Won.” This is psychic news again, my favorite fake news form. How does the Times know what the Taliban “thinks”? Who cares what it “thinks”?
It is tragically clear now that Madison Avenue has decided there is a cultural consensus that it is incredibly funny to imply vulgar words and make sexual allusions in TV commercials. Objections to this as juvenile, culturally degrading and gratuitous from this quarter have no effect, accept to attract the usual “lighten up” comments from applauding vulgarians. Well, I don’t care. Ethics Alarms will keep pointing out what wrong anyway. You want a President who boasts about the size of his penis during a debate? THIS is how you get a President who boasts about the size of his penis during a debate. You want a President who uses a menstrual reference to attack a female journalist? This is how you get that too.
The only satisfaction, I suppose, is the same uncivil vulgarians who most object to the results of this cultural pollution are also the ones sending the “lighten up” comments.
Since August of last year, the Kraft Heinz Company’s newest frozen meals brand, Devour, has been advertising its products with a TV ad in which a boss catches his employee becoming sexually aroused by his lunch, to which he applies a sexy spank with his fork. The ad’s tagline: “Food You Want to Fork.”
Kraft says the ad is aimed at men aged 25-35, so I guess that’s okay then. Everyone knows that demographic is made up of assholes—is that the theory?—and the best way to please them is to make the kind of juvenile sexual innuendo that we had in naughty songs like “Shaving Cream” about when I was 12. It’s so hilarious when people use a word that sounds like a dirty word in a context where it is obviously intentional, but don’t really say the word, because, see, its, like, not polite. Got it. My sides are splitting. Continue reading →
Weekend comments at Ethics Alarms are typically down about 20% on weekends, but they often make up in quality what they lack in quantity. There were several comments that materially enhanced the posts that inspired them, and I’m going to begin the week’s ethics safari by featuring a few as Comments of the Day.
The first is from Charlie Green on the VW scandal. This is his wheelhouse, and I was hoping he’d weigh in.
A similar point was made about the evident contradictions in ENRON’s mission statements. Just as this is an ethics issue, so is it a trust issue, and one I’ve been writing about as well.
The only thing I’d add is to caution against the simplification that these are conscious evil-doers. The truth is always messier.
I’m sure very few employees at VW felt a fully conscious awareness of wrong doing on their parts. That doesn’t mitigate the importance of full on prosecution of leaders, but it does mean we need to recognize the nature of human frailty and group-think, as well as the huge impacts of environment.
Demonization doesn’t work here past a few top people —like [resigned CEO]Winterkorn, who has no excuse for not having known. But this is also a particularly strong case for the proposition that environments pollute moral behavior – it’s not just bad apples.