Ethics Quiz: Good Friend? Bad Friend? Jerk Or Weenie?

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.”

Of course the social media mobs took after him for being a friend of that anti-trans bigot Chappelle. First, Oswalt took down all the hate posts, and then felt compelled to explain himself, writing, Continue reading

Anti-Weenie Of The Year: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV.)

no weenies

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.)

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When Values Rot, Blame The Weenies: The Lia Thomas Fiasco

Lia

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.

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Weird Tales Of The Great Stupid! Tonight’s Episode: “The Apologetic Gynecologist”

Weird Tales

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???
 
Cue Major Clipton:

_________________________

Source: The Blaze

Ethics Dunce, Weenie Of The Month, And, To Be Blunt, An Incompetent Teacher: Lewis & Clark College Professor William Pritchard

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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…

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Not Helping: Houston Texans Owner Cal McNair Grovels An Apology For Telling The Truth

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?

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No Professor, You Must NOT Apologize For Showing Students Laurence Olivier Playing “Othello” [Corrected]

Olivier Othello

Oh, great: a fake blackface controversy again.

Composer and musician Bright Sheng, is the Chinese-born Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan. When he received a MacArthur “genius” fellowship in 2001, the Foundation described him as “an innovative composer whose skillful orchestrations bridge East and West, lyrical and dissonant styles, and historical and contemporary themes to create compositions that resonate with audiences around the world.”

Sheng screened the 1965 film version of Shakespeare’s “Othello” in his class as part of a lesson about how the tragedy was adapted for the opera. It stars the late Sir Laurence Olivier, widely regarded as the greatest living English actor of his day and a definitive interpreter of Shakespeare, as the tragic hero Othello, a Moor. Some students who saw the film—hell, maybe all of them: they’ve all been indoctrinated into knee-jerk progressive conformity– were upset that Olivier’s face was covered in black make-up, though he was white and the character he was playing is black, so such a disguise would seem to be obligatory. This is the function of what actors call “make-up.”

Students complained to the administration that Olivier’s make-up made them feel “unsafe.” Unsafe from what? From the make-up? From Olivier, who is long-dead? From Iago, the white villain of the play?

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No, Gene Weingarten, YOU Are The Poopyface, But Not For The Reason You Confessed To

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Harry Truman liked to say “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” That applies in a lot of fields, but perhaps nowhere more than in the field of humor and satire in these days where would-be censors and race-baiters slither across the landscape. If you are going to venture into these dangerous environs (what they endanger is free speech, expression, and freedom itself), you better have the courage of conviction and willingness to fight the adventure requires. If not, you will make things worse. You will become part of the problem, and it is a big problem.

Gene Weingarten is a longtime columnist for the Washington Post, I’ve written about one of his serious pieces here (also here) and had debates with him via email on occasion. He often writes humorous columns, and it was one of those that unjustly made him the target of the social media mobs.

I assume Gene was a little stuck for a topic, because his theme, foods he won’t eat, is a pretty hoary one. I have read very similar joke essays by other writers, going back to Robert Benchley. Clarence Darrow used to riff on foods he didn’t like: he once said, “I don’t like spinach, and I’m glad I don’t, because if I liked it I’d eat it, and I’d just hate it.“ Another of Darrow’s was “I don’t like turnips, and I don’t like anyone who does.”

So Weingarten whipped off a lazy column joking about all the foods he says he hates; remember, actually hating them isn’t an ethical requirement. The idea is just a platform to justify snarkiness and to make silly comments like ” Balsamic vinegar likely broke up the Beatles.” Among his targets: Old Bay seasoning (hate it), hazelnut (I agree), anchovies (it depends), blue cheese (yecchh), pizza with more than two toppings (I think that’s about right), “garbage sushi,” meaning junk like California rolls (not worth hating) and sweet pickles (absolutely). It should be obvious to a spaniel that all of his laments are tongue in cheek, but that spaniel might object to “Drowning good food in wildly disparate other tastes is — I do not mean to exaggerate — like drowning puppies in a toilet.”

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The Eastman Kodak Affair’s Lesson: Corporations Only Signal Their Imaginary Virtue When It Doesn’t Cost Anything

Wack

Eastman Kodak issued an Instagram post featuring images of Xinjiang, a western Chinese region where the government of China has committed horrific human rights violations

The post promoted the work of French photographer Patrick Wack, who made several trips to Xinjiang in recent years and has collected his damning images—all shot on Kodak film— into a book. Kodak shared 10 of his images with its 839,000 Instagram followers. In the Kodak post and on his own Instagram account, Wack described his images as a visual narrative of Xinjiang’s “abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia” over the past five years.

Oh-oh! As the disgraceful U.S. complicity in China’s Wuhan virus cover-up (also Orwellian) has shown, you don’t dare call China’s brutal regime what it is or demand accountability. Chinese social media users attacked Kodak, but Kodak, staying true to American principles of freedom of expression and refusing to bend a knee to tyranny, held its ground as it continued to support Wack and his work.

KIDDING!

I was just messing with you…of course Kodak deleted the post and grovelled an apology for “any misunderstanding or offense” that it might have caused. China, you see, is a big market.

So while our corporate giants have no hesitation in bombarding the gullible with nostrums during “these difficult times,” and announce their fealty to #MeToo, “antiracism,” and Black Lives Matter to pander to various consumers, never think that they really care about anything but their global profits.

Capitalism confers many benefits on society, but courage, integrity, and ethical values are not among them, and never have been.

“Systemic Racism” Update

I need a graphic for “The Great Stupid,” but until I get one, that clip above from Ed Wood’s masterpiece, “Plan Nine From Outer Space,” will have to do. I have to check back and find out which generous reader sent me this after I asked if there was a “Stupid, stupid!” equivalent of the “Madness! Madness!” clip from “Bridge Over The River Kwai.” That’s the immortal Dudley Manlove uttering those words, by the way. And that was his real name!

Update: Commenter Wallphone found the “Plan Nine” clip, and has my enduring gratitude.

Here are some especially annoying recent developments on the incoherent “systemic racism” front.

1. Philonase Floyd, the brother of the late, great,George Floyd, said, following the sentencing of Derek Chauvin, “I just want to reiterate: not just black lives matter, all lives matter.” Strangely, he was not immediately condemned as a racist or racially insensitive and forced to apologize like so many others who were hounded mercilessly for saying “all lives matter.” Of course, the explanation is that Floyd’s skin shade gives him license to say “all lives matter.”

I only want to know the rules, that’s all. That seems like a reasonable request. But the systemic racism scam is truly Calvinball.The rules are made up and changed according to whatever is expedient at the time. Incidentally, there is a politician named Calvin Ball who is the county executive of Howard County, Maryland. Guess his party and race. [Hint: He’s allowed to say “All lives matter.”]

2. There has to be some designation for the cowards and enablers of rising totalitarianism that accurately describes sniveling traitors to democracy like Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, the directors of Capitol Hill Pride in Seattle. I was considering the “Winston Smith Award,” but that seems unfair to Orwell’s tragic hero.

The two sent a letter to the Seattle Human Rights Commission that said,

“It has come to our attention that an event called ‘Take B(l)ack Pride’ at the Jimi Hendrix public park June 26th is charging Whites only admission as reparations. We consider this reverse discrimination in its worse form and we feel we are being attacked for not supporting due to disparaging and hostile e-mails. We will never charge admission over the color of a person’s skin and we resent being attacked for standing in those values.”

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