In a New York Times article about him, Shane Smith, CEO and co-founder of Vice Media, was quoted, saying he wanted to be just like Tom Freston, “Tom Just flies around everywhere, gets to make movies, gets to start TV shows, hang out with cool people and do whatever he wants.” Tom Freston was a top executive at Viacom and was instrumental in the success of MTV and is now an advisor to Vice. Just like Shane Smith, I want to be just like Tom, and since Shane Smith is now just like Tom, I want to be just like Shane Smith for the same reasons he wants to be just like Tom.
“Imports by airplane have a substantial impact on global warming pollution. In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.” according to Food Hub. Rather than reducing the impacts of food transportation, with 3-D printing we could eliminate them.
“Imagine being able to essentially ‘grow’, ‘cook’ or prepare foods without the negative industrial impact – everything from fertilizers to saute pans and even packaging,” says Homaro Cantu, chef and owner of the Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, who has printed sushi using an ink jet printer. “You can imagine a 3D printer making homemade apple pie without the need for farming the apples, fertilizing, transporting, refrigerating, packaging, fabricating, cooking, serving and the need for all of the materials in these processes like cars, trucks, pans, coolers, etc,” he adds.
If you have driven down Route 15 in the last year, I am sure you have stopped by Panera Bread for a delicious sandwich, soup, or salad. As someone who has certainly done this a few times, I am always astonished by the speed at which they can deliver their freshly made food. It is a unique quality I attribute to Panera and part of the reason I am a returning customer. In marketing terms, I would say I appreciate that the company and I share the values of time and quality.
In today’s increasingly informed and transparent world, however, this simple connection is not enough. Should I find out that Panera’s speed and freshness come at the cost of harming the environment, Continue reading Purpose-Based or Purpose-Faced?
Are people innately ethical or unethical? Or are people’s ethics swayed by the situation they find themselves in?
Lets look at Walter White and Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Caul Saul to answer the question.
Better Call Saul is a new spin-off to the very popular Breaking Bad series aired on AMC. Vince Gilligan’s new hit is the prequel to the Breaking Bad series that details the life of Saul Goodman before meeting Walter White. For those of you who haven’t watched the original series and are planning to, I will try not to spoil it for you by providing only a brief overview. The main character is Walter White, (known as Heisenberg) a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given only 2 years to live. In a conversation with his wife’s brother-in-law who is a DEA agent, Walter White learns about the money involved in the drug world during a bust. Deciding he has nothing to lose and wanting to leave money behind for his handicapped son, wife, and newborn baby – he embarks on a career of drugs and crime. He uses his chemistry background to create and sell the finest crystal meth. The series tracks Walter White as he transforms from a regular chemistry schoolteacher into a ruthless kingpin in the drug trade. Walter White ends up hiring “Saul Goodman” as his lawyer who advises him and helps him launder money. Saul Goodman is a crooked criminal lawyer who is in on the drug ring, putting his own life at risk for the money. The prequel highlights Saul Goodman’s career as a lawyer before meeting Walter.
Walter White – “I have Lived under the threat of death.. because of that I’ve made choices, I alone should suffer the consequences of those choices”.
I think the reason many of us were so intrigued by Breaking Bad was because of the transformation of Walter White into Heisenberg. The series unraveled a family man with values into a notorious drug dealer. As a professor and scholar, he followed consequentialism, weighing the consequences of his actions. However, he considered himself a dead man and had nothing to lose. The negative consequences did not overrule his family’s future welfare. But what prompted this moral breakdown? Was Walter White always unethical? Or did the situation he found himself force him to make unethical choices out of desperation to support his family? I think we can agree that Walter White was a man of values at the start of the film; no one could have expected this from him. In life and death situations, like the one Walter found himself in, do ethical principles change? What would you have done? Even good people like Walter become desperate, feel like they have nothing to lose, and do unthinkable things. But is the fear of death a good enough excuse? Once Walter decided to do this, was there no return? He had countless opportunities to put the drug dealer lifestyle in his past but decided not to, spiraling down a path of pure immorality. Does the first unethical choice justify the next unethical choice?
On the other hand there is Saul Goodman. Equally as unethical as Walter White himself, however, the new series gives us a look at his life before teaming up with him. Better Call Saul gives us a better look at this crooked lawyer and how he came about. Even though it seems that he too, like Walter, went down the path of immorality out of the situation he found himself in. During the first episodes, it shows that he was broke and barely had any money to cover his expenses. He teams up with a couple of skateboarders who are trying to scam people by being hit by cars. Did his financial situation force him to do this out of desperation? Perhaps, but in a later episode we learn that Saul has done this since he was a kid. They called him “Slippin Jimmy” because he would collect insurance claims from purposely slipping on ice. Saul has never been ethical but rather has abused the law for his personal gain. Can someone like Saul ever become ethical? Or has his rap sheet altered his perception of what is good and what is bad? Does it just take one unethical choice to send people like Saul and Walter down a path of immorality? If you break a moral code once, what will stop you from doing it again?
After listening to This American Life’s Retraction episode, I was still severely unsatisfied with Mike Daisey’s justification. After all, Ira Glass and the TAL staff made it abundantly clear to him the purpose of their show, and that everything he said “must live up to journalistic standards.” Yet through his own twisted moral compass and complete disregard for integrity Daisey chose to lie to millions of people anyway. Last week, I claimed that Mike Daisey did more harm that good to his cause by lying about what he saw at Foxconn. He discredited himself and everything he was trying to raise awareness about. I also could not bring myself to blame Apple or hold anything against them for the alleged conditions at some of their suppliers. This week, not only do I stand by both of these statements but the Retraction episode only strengthens by belief in them. Continue reading Daisey’s Failed Shot at Redemption
The retraction episode of This American Life slightly angered me. I felt uncomfortable as I listened to Ira Glass and Rob Schmitz tear apart Mike Daisey’s story and constantly apologize to their viewers for their failure at fact checking Mike Daisey’s story. In my blog post on This American Life’s “Mr. Daisey and Apple” I wrote that Mike Daisey should have been up front about the parts of his story that were misrepresented. However, I saw the reasons for why he chose to incorporate some details into his story that he had not personally experienced. Mike Daisey is a writer and actor and his purpose is to tell a story and make people care. In this task, he greatly succeeded.
Listening to the retraction from This American Life, I was annoyed as I listened to Mike Daisy squirm under the questions of Rob Schmitz and Ira Glass. It was as if a child was caught stealing from a cookie jar and was trying to justify why he still deserved the cookie, or why his work should still be deemed credible. He was clearly uncomfortable during both interviews and rightfully so in my opinion. Daisy’s believes his lies are the truth and that it’s okay because his show was about making people care. This irritated me. Lies are lies and they should not be displayed to others as the truth. Continue reading Painting A Picture: Art, Journalism, & Truth