Home > NewsRelease > Ethics Reflections, Post Christmas, 12/26/2018: Quotes, Dummies, Movies And Scams
Ethics Reflections, Post Christmas, 12/26/2018: Quotes, Dummies, Movies And Scams
Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd. Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd.
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Alexandria , VA
Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Still Merry Christmas.

1. Quotation ethics. The church next door has a message out front this week that says, “The time is right to always do the right thing”—Martin Luther King.

That’s not the quote. Misquotes get into the public lexicon that way; it’s unethical to go around posting sloppy versions of quotes on message boards. Stated like that, the quote is a tautology: if you always do the right thing, of course the time is right to do what you do anyway. Not that King’s actual quote is one of his best. The actual quote—“The time is always right to  do the right thing” is pretty fatuous, and incorporates  Rationalization #60. The Ironic Rationalization, or “It’s The Right Thing To Do." by assuming that what is the right thing to do is intrinsically obvious. Sometimes the right thing is to wait. Sometimes the right thing is yo be sure what you think is the right thing really is. King was dangerously arming ideologues and the self-righteous who think they are the ultimate arbiters of what is “right.”

Davey Crockett’s quote is better: “Be sure you are right, and then go ahead.”

2. Is it political correctness to point out that Jeff Dunham’s act is racist? After being told by my wife that I couldn’t watch any more holiday movies or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, my channel surfing today took me to Comedy Central and Christmas-themed performance by ventriloquist Jeff Dunham. Dunham’s low-brow act makes Charlie McCarthy seem like Oscar Wilde, and I cannot watch him and his howling audiences without thinking about this scene in “Blazing Saddles”…

He began his set with “Walter,” his bitter old curmudgeon dummy, whose face is perpetually scowling and whose arms are crossed in disgust with the world. To my amazement, Walter launched into an extended section ridiculing black speech, black slang, hip-hop, Kwanza and the Black Entertainment Network, and the huge, apparently all-white mid-West audience roared with laughter. How ugly and disturbing. These were jokes of denigration, about people who weren’t there. This was never anything but hate-mongering humor, not in 1948, 1958, 1968, or now. It’s an audience laughing at other people for simply being different than they are.

I kn ow, I know: how is this different from what Stephen Colbert, or Bill Maher, or Samantha Bee does in every performance? It isn’t different, really: it’s just that treating white people who aren’t “woke” as the “other” is considered acceptable, while doing this to minorities, gays or women is considered bigotry, hateful, and cowardly.

3. It annoys me that I should even have to say this, but calling “Die Hard” a Christmas movie is nothing but a cynical way to diminish Christmas and the spirit of kindness and love that the holidays are supposed to foster in order to promote future holiday marathons of a violent action movie. Celebrating the film’s 30 Anniversary, some Grinch at 20th Century Fox decided that it would be cute to promote Bruce Willis’s break-out film as “The Greatest Christmas Story” ever told, according to 20th Century Fox. Right: the movie ends with a strained family brought back together, takes place during a Christmas party, and Bruce’s wife is named “Holly.” It also involves the killing of  more than twenty people, including police,l FBI agents, and innocent victims in addition to the bad guys the hero smokes.

And I like “Die Hard.” I even like two of its four vastly inferior sequels.

4. Ethics test, intelligence test, silliness test...Anyone who think this revelation from Axios isn’t signature significance for ridiculous, pandering website: “Majority of mass shooters finance their weapon stockpiles with credit.”

Other possible headlines of equal illumination:

  • “Majority of reckless driver finance their car purchases with credit”
  • “Majority of financial scam artists  financed their education with credit”
  • “Majority of Americans finance most of their major purchases with credit.”

Have we scraped the bottom of the desperate media anti-gun bias barrel yet? Boy, I hope so.

5. See, this is why people listen to socialists like Bernie Sanders when they ought to just laugh in their faces...The Cato Institute surveyed  1,700 Americans about  paid family leave. The results showed that Americans  were overwhelmingly in favor of it, as long as they didn’t have to pay for it, or if there were any significant trade-offs required—higher taxes, higher debt, lower compensation and opportunities, or lower spending on other valued government programs—to make such a Federal program a reality.

Of course, if those trade-offs are kept hidden, lied about or made too confusing to focus on between football games and reality shows, such intellectually dishonest program proposals can get unscrupulous or economically illiterate politicians elected.

6. And now the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say but nobody remembers Paul Harvey so I don’t know why I bother quoting him except maybe to prompt the intellectual curious to Google the man and maybe learn how influential he was on the culture…

The seemingly heart-rending tale of a Good Samaritan and a grateful beneficiary tried to return act of kindness began here, but a year later had deteriorated into a cynicism-feeding saga of deception and greed. From USA Today:

In November, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey charged Katelyn McClure and Mark D’Amico, both of Florence, New Jersey, with theft by deception and conspiracy to commit theft in connection with the viral story. The man described by the couple as a homeless veteran and good Samaritan, 35-year-old Johnny Bobbitt Jr., was charged with the same crimes. The story that prompted the donations: Bobbitt supposedly gave McClure his last $20 when her car ran out of gas. About 14,000 people donated to a campaign that promised to help Bobbitt start a new life, but authorities say the money was spent on luxury items and casino trips.

“The entire campaign was predicated on a lie,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in November.

Officials said Bobbitt and McClure didn’t have a chance meeting caused by her car running out of gas. Instead, Bobbitt met the couple “at least a month prior to the date of the GoFundMe campaign’s launch,” Coffina said. The couple had met Bobbitt during “their frequent trips to a local gambling casino,” he said.

GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whithorne said yesterday that “all donors who contributed to this GoFundMe campaign have been fully refunded” and that the organization was cooperating fully with law enforcement.

ProEthics, Ltd.
Alexandria, VA