Ethics Alarms has frequently discussed the ethical and professional deterioration of the historian profession, as it, like so many other professions and institutions, has given up integrity for ideology and political agendas. History itself is under attack as a result, with historical censorship and airbrushing increasingly being favored over objective and balanced examination that does not distort past figures and events by the viewing them through the lens of “presentism.”
In an essay on the website of the American Historical Association, the organization’s president, James Sweet, offered constructive criticism of the trend, writing in part,
Market Hotel agreed to host a concert on July 8th featuring the musical stylings of attempted Reagan assassin John Hinckley, Jr., who has been released into the world on the theory that he was never technically guilty of a crime because he was insane at the time. Hinckley called the show the beginning of his “Redemption Tour,” during which he will play his songs (are those bad rip-offs of Dylan dedicated to Jodie Foster on the program?) to promote, he says, rehabilitation for formerly incarcerated criminals and the mentally ill. Continue reading →
Don’t you think it’s odd that there isn’t a single really great song about mothers? There are lots of great father songs.
My mom, whom I think about every day and miss terribly, was wonderful in so many ways, but was almost as unethical as my father was ethical. It’s a tribute to his parenting that he communicated to my sister and me early on that this was just a quirk, and while mom had much to teach about love, loyalty and compassion, hers was not the ethical or moral compass to follow.
I just saw a man riding a real, honest-to-goodness velocipede in the church parking lot across from our house! I have never seen that in real life, only in photos and old movies.
The eighth of May, 1945, was the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms, and World War II, the worst catastrophe the modern world has ever suffered through, featuring the most unethical and cruel aggressors imaginable, finally came to an end. Evil easily could have triumphed; that it did not was as much a function of luck as anything else. This is always a day on which to draw a collective breath. Whew! That was a close one…
1. Funny, but stupid. This meme is fascinating.
It could easily be intended to mock the kind of hysterical distortions from the Left’s Supreme Court leak freakout—on that basis, I laughed when I saw it. However, it almost certainly IS one of those hysterical distortions, which reduce debate to an infantile level. I’m sure many progressives think it’s profound. [Pointer: Arthur in Maine] Continue reading →
Just from casual observation and also from having to comb the news and opinion sites, I think people are going nuts, and there are other people in high, powerful and influential places trying to keep them that way, since they will be all the more receptive to irrational ideas.
February 8 is an appropriate date to remember, not just in Black History Month (we should not have months that favor single races, genders and ethnicities, first, because there are only 12, and second, because it is divisive and discriminatory, and therefor unethical), always. This was the date of the Orangeburg Massacre in1968, when police officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina open fire on a mostly black crowd of youths during a protest against racial segregation. Three were killed and about 30 were wounded; one of the dead was a high school student siting on a curb waiting for his mother to pick him up.
It all began when activists in Orangeburg pointed out that Harry Floyd’s bowling alley was segregated despite the 1964 Civil Rights Act making such a policy illegal. Floyd refused to obey the law, and authorities in Orangeburg refused to enforce it. A protest followed and extended into days. After a window was smashed in the bowling alley by protesters, police responded with clubs and arrests. Then the protest spread to South Carolina State University, one of the “historically black colleges.” (These are also an anachronism and inherently hypocritical.) When a report of a fire on campus set by protesters caused the Highway Patrol to respond, one protester threw a piece of wood at the officers, who opened fire. Several investigations failed to back up the Highway Patrol’s claim that the demonstrators had attacked them with fire bombs and sniper fire.
With everything else that happened in 1968, still one of the most cataclysmic years in U.S. history, the Orangeburg Massacre has been relatively neglected in our collective memory. While researching the event today, I noticed this statement on the History Channel site:
Shootings on college and high school campuses continue to plague the United States, as does police violence against African Americans—nearly 1,000 people are killed by police every year, and Black people are 2.5 times more likely to die at the hands of law enforcement than white people.
It is unethical for a history website to spin and distort facts like that. The campus “shootings” referred to are not police shootings. Since 1968, every campus shooting—I count eight— has been at the hands of someone who was mentally ill. Eight in 53 years is not a “plague.” After mentioning “police violence against African Americans,” itself a loaded phrase, the article jumps to the total number killed by police, which includes whites, and the 2.5 number is deceptive without context: blacks are 2.5 times more likely to have confrontations with the police, and not just because they are black.
These are anti-gun, anti-police, Black Lives Matter talking points, not “history.”
1. Of course they will. The New York Times notes that the tactics of Nancy Pelosi’s partisan witch hunt, the Jan. 6 Panel, will guarantee that Republicans will return the criminalization of politics in kind when they are in power. “The House select committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol is borrowing techniques from federal prosecutions, employing aggressive tactics typically used against mobsters and terrorists…[to] develop evidence that could prompt a criminal case,” the article begins.
What the article doesn’t say, but what is screamingly obvious, is that the primary objective of the 100% biased investigation is to try to stop Donald Trump and his allies from gaining power in 2024. If they can lock him up, all the better. The Times does say that using the House investigative process this way is unprecedented. Wait! I thought defying “democratic norms” was what made Trump a threat to democracy! I’m so confused!
Seeking to find reasons to imprison political opponents is banana republic-style politics, and while Trump audiences may have chanted to lock Hillary up, it is the Democrats who are actually seeking to prosecute an opponent they hate and fear. They are also using a rigged investigation to do it: it’s bipartisan in name only. Republicans are angry, and should be, as should be anyone who is really interested in protecting democracy. The GOP, however, will not take the ethical course and take steps to prevent future House Star Chambers. You know it won’t. It will take that broken norm, and turn it on the party that broke it. Continue reading →
For the first Ethics Quiz of the new year, consider Patton Oswalt. The gnomish comedian and left-wing wit has long been on my hate list, not for his work, for he is extremely sharp and often very funny, but out of envy: he managed to snag the heart of lovely actress Meredith Salenger, his wife and one of my all-time Hollywood crushes, despite Oswalt looking like a nuclear accident victim. But that is neither here nor there.
What is here and now is this: Oswalt had posted photos memorializing a nice gesture by long-time friend Dave Chappelle on New Year’s Eve. Oswalt, who was doing small show in Seattle (he mostly does small shows, which explains why you may not have heard of Patton Oswalt) got a spontaneous call from Chappelle to come over to the nearby stadium and join him in Chappelle’s huge show. Oswlat wrote gratefully on Instagram,
“I waved good-bye to this hell-year with a genius I started comedy with 34 years ago. He works an arena like he’s talking to one person and charming their skin off. Anyway, I ended the year with a real friend and a deep laugh. Can’t ask for much more.”
In a year scarred by so many individuals, from celebrities to academics to mere social media users, resorting to pathetic groveling in response to bullying and threats of repercussions for rightful conduct or simply stating an opinion that does not conform to Woke World cant, Sen. Joe Manchin’s refusal to be a weenie stands out like the shining city on the hill. And after several frustrating days in which I have been searching my data banks to find ten public figures I could justifiably say I admired, Senator Manchin has made the list. (I’m still three short.)
Something in me loves this mess. The progressive mob took a self-evidently absurd position that was in defiance of one of their false idols, “science,” and now that position is seriously damaging one of the main groups it supposedly supports, one that has far more stakeholders. But the mob lacks the integrity and courage to admit it was wrong. Of course it does. Extremists never admit they are wrong. If they were capable of that, they wouldn’t be extremists. As a result, these episodes cause the woke army’s goose-step to kick the marchers in the chops
Wow. This is great!
Of course, it’s not great for female athletes. What is developing, thanks to bizarre transsexual sanctification cheered on by Woke Nation, is a consensus in professional and amateur women’s sports that individuals who went through puberty as males can fairly compete with women who did not receive the benefit of male hormones. All such ex-men need to do is identify as female, and denying them an unimpeded path to domination in the women’s sport of their choice is an act of bigotry and “transphobia.”
This is, I think it is reasonable to say, counter-factual nonsense. One such ex-man who is demonstrating that it is nonsense is Lia Thomas, whom I first wrote about here. Thomas, who spent three years competing at the University of Pennsylvania a male swimmer, has generously decided to prove exactly how wrong it is to allow trans athletes to compete with biological women. Once he flipped genders, he’s been easily smashing female pool records to smithereens. A coincidence, I’m sure.
Gynecologist Ryan Stewart announced that he is redesigning his office, and inquired on Twitter, “I’m asking women. How would you design/optimize a visit to the gynecologist’s office?” Terrified, he realized soon after that he had uttered the unwoke, offensive, excluding word…wait for it…”women.” My God, who in this enlightened age would trust a gynecologist who says “women”? So after being properly chastened on social media, Dr. Steward grovelled in a tweet,
“Folks have [correctly] pointed out that I [incorrectly] said ‘women’ when what I should have said was ‘folks who may need gynecologic care,’ Stewart tweeted. “I named the practice with this in mind @midwestpelvis, but I find that I still have a lot of internalized/implicit bias.”
He needs to read his own website. Ryanstewart.com, informs readers,”Dr. Ryan Stewart is a fellowship trained pelvic surgeon specializing in treatment of women with pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, and pelvic floor dysfunction.”
As the Crystals might sing,
“He’s a weenie and he’ll never ever be any good He’s a weenie ’cause he has to talk like woke people would And even though it makes no sense and he looks like a jackass He’ll say anything to grovel for all their love…”
Seriously, when will normal Americab with self respect and functioning cerebrums wake up, slap themselves in the forehead, and say, “What? I can’t associate myself with these terrified, pathetic, weak-minded people! They’re nuts! They’re creating a police state of the self-deluded! I don’t want to live in a country that’s so sensitive and frightened of words that a gynocologist has to apologize for saying “women”! Have I encouraged this insanity by tolerating it? WHAT HAVE I DONE???“
There is no excuse for this. It is simply abject cowardice and an abdication of duty.
Professor Pritchard was teaching his class about the use of blackface in theater and film, and showed a clip of Laurence Olivier iportraying the tragic hero in “Othello.” (Pritchard called Olivier’s facial covering “blackface,” apparently. I do not. It is called “make-up.”) Some students who are apparently fully-indoctrinated social justice warriors incapable of examining any issue from multiple perspectives—college is supposed to remedy that deficiency—were offended by the topic, and demanded that their instructor write “a well written apology, two pages in length or longer,” and that he read it aloud.
Seldom has “Bite me!” been more appropriate as a response in an academic setting. You might want to take a Dramamine before reading on.
Mentioning the Olivier film (which was discussed on Ethics Alarms here), the letter, composed by one student and signed by eleven others, states,
…After this was shown to us, our professor asked if Othello being played by a white man took away from the performance. Our answer was yes, because the actor was in blackface, an inherently racist performance from its origins. Blackface – and any other practice that alters one’s appearance, poise, and vernacular to the stereotype of a group of people, especially of race – dehumanizes the identity of marginalized people into a stereotype one can wear as a costume. Whitewashing (which includes blackface and yellowface) profits off a group’s oppression, but never has to experience the consequences of living that identity. Makeup can be washed off, but POC have to live with the violence that comes with being part of a marginalized group….[The professor] then facilitated an argument as to whether or not whitewashing was acceptable, and this made the students – especially students of color – very uncomfortable. When we said that Lawrence Olivier in blackface was not acceptable, our professor played devil’s advocate, and this made the students of color incredibly uncomfortable because it was shocking and felt aggressive that our professor was making room to excuse blackface …Some students were shaken for the rest of the day, and days to follow. Our professor asked us to compare two hypothetical actors – a Black man and a white man – both in the role of Othello. He asked, if the Black man had a poorer performance than the white man in this role, wouldn’t it be acceptable for the white man to play Othello? He was asking us if a white man could do a better job of playing a Black character than a Black man,”
For the record, the position here, as an ethicist, lawyer but mostly as a stage director with some reputation for being innovative, any race and any gender can play any role, and if he or she is the artist with the talents to ensure the best performance, in the sole judgment of the director, should. Going on…
A while back I asked readers if I should start a “Weenie of the Week” category or its equivalent. The feedback was mostlynegative, but I still have to shine a sickly green light on those who are eroding my free speech rights by refusing to fight for their own.
Back in May, the owner of the NFL’s Houston Texans owner Cal McNair commented during the team’s Charity Golf Classic at River Oaks Country Club, “I’m sorry that we couldn’t get together last year, because of the China virus.”
For some reason, a muckraking political correctness-fomenting sports journalist named Michael Silver decided that this was a scandal, or a scoop, or something, now, months later. “Said one unnamed witness,” Silver writes, ‘Everyone gasped, especially the people directly across from him.'” Gasped! My god, the man called a virus that unquestionable began in China the “China virus”! This was “racially insensitive” says NBC Sports, echoing Silver.
No, it wasn’t.
Never mind: McNair, showing himself to have the spine of an annelid worm, quickly grovelled an apology:
“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words. I immediately apologized to people who approached me then and I apologize again now. I know how important it is to choose my words carefully. I would never want to offend anyone.”
Even as forced apologies go, this one is especially cringe-worthy. No, the words were not “inappropriate,” they were accurate. Ooh, better choose your words carefully so as not to trigger those who will try to ruin anyone who doesn’t obey the political correctness edicts from the Left! The only way not to “offend anyone” is to avoid speaking and writing.
I hereby move that people who prove they have been thoroughly weenie-ized save us time by skipping these sickening, virtue-signaling apology by simply stating, “I love Big Brother,” and get it over with. That’s what this kind of grovel means. Maybe they should sign a registry or something that gets them discounts on Coca-Cola products.
But…but…TRUUUUUMP! “The term used by McNair was used multiple times by the former president in the early months of the pandemic, and many still use the term (and similar ones) when referring to COVID-19 without apologizing or even flinching,” writes good little censorship soldier, NBC’s Mike Florio. Bite me, Mike: I’m one of those many, though I prefer the more specific “Wuhan virus.” You tell me why a completely accurate name is “racially insensitive.” I’ve asked many lock-step woke friends and relatives to explain what racially insensitive, and the answer basically comes down to “Trump used it, and he’s a racist” or “Because that’s what the directive from The Ministry Of Truth” says. Then there are wimpers about all the Asian Americans being attacked when there is scant evidence that what we call the virus has anything to do with such incidents, and since when did we let the actions of idiots determine what information has to be de facto censored?