Ethics is a messy business. At least most of the time. There are often competing considerations and the trick is to figure out what is morally required and what causes the least harm to other ideals imagined or real.
As we gather among friends and family, or nestled within our immediate families this Christmas coming, I figured you might like a few topics to discuss over the cookies and nog, ribbons and used wrapping paper.
We watched Survivor this fall. We don’t always, but we generally like it. Sometimes we watch it part way, then depart in disgust as people play too stupidly or only lousy folks are left. I had that urge several times this season given the rather evil machinations of one “Russell” who coupled with a bizarro woman called “Shambo” to get on my last nerve.
Russell, self styled rich guy who has an oil business, began from the beginning to sow dissension and chaos within his “tribe.” He referred to the women of his group as “bitches” and “girls who would do his bidding before he got rid of the dummies.” He was the typical “Napoleonic complex” sort of dude.
Shambo was on the other tribe. She felt excluded. Perhaps from the out of date mullet hair do replete with cloth headband that she wore at all times around her forehead. (Wore a blue one at the reunion show too so it’s her legit attire) Shambo was ex-Marine though you would be hard pressed to know, since she wasn’t much in physical competitions. She double-crossed her tribe real quick and was a lap dog to Russell after the merger of the tribes.
In the end, Russell was in the final three, along with a young woman from his original tribe and a guy who had been chosen leader of the tribe at first. Russell told them both that only he deserved to win, and challenged the “jury” (discarded members of the tribes) that if “either of them out witted me or out played me, then give them the money.” He was arrogant and increasingly belligerent as he began to get the idea that the jury was not enthused.
During the questioning process, a jury member suggested that Russell’s thoroughly unethical behavior (he made alliances with everyone and honored almost none, lying to literally everyone) was not necessarily more worthy of reward that the woman who had stayed quietly tucked into the background and “ridden” the coattails of others. Why, he argued, should we reward bad behavior instead of good? Was not her methodology as valid and worthy of reward as his bad?
In the end, the jury voted the woman to get the one million. Russell, was utterly incensed and made that clear. Ring one up for the good guys I thought. Character appears to count at least here.
Juxtapose that with the AP’s determination of who should be the winners of male and female athlete of the year. The choices were Serena Williams of tennis fame, and Tiger Woods, from golf. Interesting choices, since both are undoubtedly supreme athletes in their sports, yet both are under indictment as being rather unethical or otherwise “bad” role models. Serena was thoroughly nasty and over the top in her public attack on a lines person in the US Open. This garnered her a rather hefty fine from the Tennis Association. Tiger’s behavior is all over the news these days and needs no further remark.
I thought it an interesting choice. Clearly the voters here decided that technical ability comes first, and has no character component. I personally have no respect for either of the persons named. I am glad that Serena was smacked down hard, since nobody wants to return to the days of John McEnroe and his vile abusive behavior on court. Parents no doubt feel the same about their children looking to Tiger as a person to emulate.
I’m not sure what it says about us. We seem always to respond to money and power and to shrug our shoulders and sorta slink away as we ignore the character-driven individual. Sorry pal, but ya know, people like celebrity even if bad. You can examine all the “entertainment” sites online and see whose getting all the press, if you don’t believe me.
I have an ethical dilemma of my own. Not as shocking no doubt, but I think women like me should consider the problem. It seems that every few months another woman disappears, and inevitably the husband becomes the focus of the investigation. Most of the time, he is charged in the end with the awful murder of his once beloved.
Now, I think. Crimes of passion are unpredictable no? That is their essence. No one knows what last nerve, last button gets pushed and someone turns into a homicidal maniac. I don’t think I would be one, but we don’t know. So seemingly nice spouses might be pushed in some moment of high drama to swing and connect and oops, fatally wound a husband or wife.
My dilemma is this. Whenever it comes up appropriately, I’m very fond of smiling broadly and announcing that my husband is a jewel among well jewels. You’ve heard me say that here, and I say it everywhere. It happens to be true. But. . . .
What if, well, you know, I turn up missing? Here I have left this corpus of gushing love about the Contrarian. They will read it, investigate, talk to neighbors and friends, and every one will agree–she never said a bad word about him. He was perfect as far as I know.
So I’m just sayin’ . . . . well how exactly do I put it? Well, he is wonderful, but just remember, if I turn up missing. . . .well, that doesn’t mean he didn’t snap! Probably he didn’t, but. . . .
Finishing up, hey, did ya know that you can make rice krispie treats without rice krispies? Yep. I substituted corn chex, but I think Cheerios and shredded wheat might work as well. Just use the rice krispie recipe (3 TBSP butter, melted, and melt 10 oz of marshmallows, pour over 6 cups of cereal, add whatever junk you want, choc. chips/nuts/dried fruit and pat into a buttered bowl quick). Tasty!