Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why Ethics?

Personally, I think the reasons why are obvious - but I've met Anthony Anderson's ill-bred ilk many, many times. Anthony Anderson resides in Hartlepool, England, and clearly neither he nor his neighbors were listening when the pastor explained "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Christine Lakinski, a 50-year-old physically and mentally disabled woman, was returning home with some parcels when she fell ill and stumbled into her doorway, losing consciousness. One of her neighbors, 27-year-old Anthony Anderson, and two of his mates, noticed her lying there; Anderson first kicked her feet to try to rouse her, then dumped a bucket of water on her. When she still failed to respond, he urinated on her and covered her in shaving foam—all of which was captured on a mobile phone. On the video, Anderson is heard to shout "This is YouTube material!" as he degrades Lakinski while she slowly dies of pancreatic failure. This bit of vile revelry attracts a crowd, all of whom "were said to have laughed at his actions."
Anthony is now most remorseful, having been brought to dock.

Anderson, who has pleaded guilty to "outraging public decency," will be sentenced next month. Prosecutor Lynne Dalton, who recommended an enhanced sentence at yesterday's hearing, explained: "Although his actions did not contribute to her death it was appalling behaviour that robbed her of any dignity in the last hours of her life."

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you - for, they will. Whichever you prefer. And that is what the science and art of "Not Fucking Up" entails.

But it's not just a negative art - it's an affirmative duty. And as it happens, Melissa McEwan has uttered words that should resonate throughout the English-Speaking blogosphere - and to all lands where those who can translate it with the poetic weight it deserves.

Shakesville: All In:
I make a difference in this world, for good or ill. There is no neutral. There is no Switzerland. There is only saying no to the indignities one human visits upon another—prejudice, hatred, humiliation and pain—or saying yes. And silence, the craven averting of one's gaze so the offense may take place out of view, is not a no. It is not ambiguous. It is a yes. Yes, go ahead, just don't do it to me. It is a permission, and a plea. I'll sacrifice her if you'll let me on my merry way. We routinely cede our expectations of goodness for guarantees of safety, but only our own, and we can no longer fool ourselves that men like Anthony Anderson are aberrations; they are, in the void of unyielding solidarity our self-interest has left, inevitabilities.

There is no neutral. You're in or you're fucking out.

I'm all in.

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