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Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant

Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant

People Will Talk = Click this link and you can buy it at Amazon.com for (currently) $11.97 new or $4.95 used.

Teaching With Film – Business Ethics – Professional Ethics- People Will Talk with Cary Grant


People Will Talk is a great film for teaching. The story of an eccentric doctor played by Cary Grant who has an even more eccentric friend offers many ethical conundrums. Jeanne Crain is the love interest in the film. During the first half, she is troubled and a largely passive character. I was waiting for my intrepid students to call me out on this, since I am a vigorous supporter of powerful women characters but somehow they missed this. When she became a more vibrant and powerful character in the second half, I would’ve been justified but my prepared defense was unnecessary.

Should a doctor disclose all pertinent facts to a patient? Professional Ethics

Is concealing your qualifications immoral?Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is using any means including those outside the current science to heal moral or immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is the comfort of patients more important than the calls of procedure and timeliness on the part of the nursing staff?

What attitude should be taken toward unmarried mothers? Ethics

Is attempting to dig up the dirt on a colleague immoral? Professional Ethics – Business Ethics

Is living off of your relatives wrong all the time? or is it wrong depending on the circumstances?Ethics

At what point is a crime “paid for?” Ethics


Can a kiss equal a marriage proposal? (A good proportion of my class says no. I differ.) A matter of curiosity

Is a story more effective as persuasion or a presentation of facts? (Bet you have that one figured out.) A matter of what I believe – the class tends to go along with me.

Does a movie (especially a good one) explain a moral problem more clearly than a lecture (although they get a brief one anyway!)?

I observe my classes carefully and I use some of the same films each year. But I experiment with new ones each year as well. This was a new one. It was a great success. The class was delighted with it and paid careful attention. Their assignment was to write down all the moral conundrums they observed. We are going to discuss them tomorrow.

James Alan Pilant


A World War II Melodrama with Gary Cooper

The Story of Dr. Wassell – YouTube

Everyone is very brave including America’s allies.


Gary Cooper

I’m very fond of Gary Cooper films. “Love in the Afternoon” is one of my all time favorites. It is odd to think that I who have loved the film for more than two decades have now arrived at the same age as Gary Cooper in that film. Here below is that film – http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/FLXUYnBwLXI/

I don’t know whether or not you can work the link. It’s a Chinese web site and they may be suspicious of occidentals.

But back to The Story of Dr. Wassell. Dr. Corydon Wassell was an Arkansan, a very real person not a fictional archetype. The story is full of references to Arkansas including a long soliloquy to Arkansas catfish.  The film is fun to watch but the heroics so incredible as to defy rational belief. Of course, that is to be expected in a wartime film. This is directed by Cecil B. DeMille and carries his trademark taste for complex action sequences. If you are not tolerant of heroism without limits, you probably will find the film ridiculous. An interesting side note is that Wassell was a uncredited advisor on the film and all of the money he was due from the film he donated to charity.

James Pilant


From around the web,

From the web site, U.S.S. Marblehead.


The Japanese soon invaded Java. The U.S. Navy gave orders that all US
personnel were to be evacuated. The wounded
were to be evacuated as well, but only those that could walk. Dr.
Wassell moved the wounded to the port to be evacuated. He tried to get
twelve sailors onboard ship that could not walk, but they were denied boarding. Dr.
Wassell decided to stay behind with these twelve sailors to care for
them while they waited for the Japanese to capture them. However, Dr.
Wassell then decided to try to get  the men to the coast to be evacuated on
another ship. Dr. Wassell managed to transport these wounded men to the
coast, all the while keeping just ahead of the Japanese forces. Dr.
Wassell managed to get them onboard a ship called the M.S. Janssens. From there
they managed to reach the harbor of Fremantle, Australia.

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Sterling Hayden On “Career”

Sterling Hayden On “Career”

These wonderful paragraphs are by Sterling Hayden, a Hollywood actor. He was a man of many talents and I’ll think you’ll like the writing. This is from the Wikipedia entry to which I am indebted. JP

The sun beats down and you pace, you pace and you pace. Your mind flies free and you see yourself as an actor, condemned to a treadmill wherein men and women conspire to breathe life into a screenplay that allegedly depicts life as it was in the old wild West. You see yourself coming awake any one of a thousand mornings between the spring of 1954, and that of 1958 ‑ alone in a double bed in a big white house deep in suburban Sherman Oaks, not far from Hollywood.

“The windows are open wide, and beyond these is the backyard swimming pool inert and green, within a picket fence. You turn and gaze at a pair of desks not far from the double bed. This is your private office, the place that shelters your fondest hopes: these desks so neat, patiently waiting for the day that never comes, the day you’ll sit down at last and begin to write.

“Why did you never write? Why, instead, did you grovel along, through the endless months and years, as a motion‑picture actor? What held you to it, to something you so vehemently professed to despise? Could it be that you secretly liked it—that the big dough and the big house and the high life meant more than the aura you spun for those around you to see?

“‘Hayden’s wild,’ they said. ‘He’s kind of nuts‑but you’ve got to hand it to him. He doesn’t give a damn about the loot or the stardom or things like that—something to do with his seafaring, or maybe what he went through in the war . . .'”[2]:151

I believe we all tussle with the issue of whether to write or not to write. I have erred on the side of writing. There may be those of you who think it would have been better if I had remained silent. But here I am. I feel very much like he did some of the time. I think many of you do too.

James Pilant

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I’ve Been Gone for a While.

I have not written for ten days. I have felt a little burned out. Over the last two years I have written 1,602 posts. Sometimes you need to stop for a while. I felt I was becoming formulaic and boring. Certainly I was boring me.

One day in class, I noticed that I often present original ideas that I have developed from my extensive reading but I never seem to talk about my thinking. In my blogging, I have often simply responded to the thoughts of others. Response is not enough. I believe a writer, particularly a writer concerned with social justice, must of necessity present ideas about what can and should be done. It’s not enough to stand against things, you must also be for things.

Another thing I do at school is carry out my plan to remake the world. I preach endlessly the importance of not accepting my ideas as revealed truth but for my students to develop their own thinking processes so that they can consider and weigh facts to make good decisions based on their own experiences, observations and judgment. My faith in their ability to change themselves and then the world is not always apparent to readers of my blog, and it should be.

Sometimes the weight of the power of the 1 percent leads me to conclude in despair that nothing can be done. That is wrong. We have seen this kind of history with the power of the Robber Barons in the 1890’s and the early years of the 20th century. Their power, their money, their influence in the government were all reduced by the energy and faith of social movements drive by the need for change. That is happening again with Occupy Wall Street.

So, I return to writing the blog with some new ideas, a changed focus and a dedication to faith that change is possible and, in fact, inevitable.

James Pilant

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I Showed the Documentary, Gasland, Today

Films receive a wide variety of responses in the college classroom. The response to Gasland was excellent. The class paid careful attention, had good questions and comments. I knew of the film but did not intend to use it in class. My Tuesday-Thursday class actually asked to see it. So, I read up on it, and it struck me as useful. I’ve shown it in three classes now with the same positive results in each class.

Josh Fox

This is a Josh Fox film. The first time you see it, you are shocked by his story of unregulated drilling of natural gas known as fracking. But is only the second time, you realize the skill of our documentarian. The film never sags. It always keeps the audience engaged. The film is well paced and its plotline beautifully constructed. I’ll be watching for any of his films in the future. It may well be that his work will grow in skill as time goes by.

It is troubling to consider that for most of us, Josh Fox is our only defense against the practice of fracking. Only a handful of states regulate it, and the response of most of officialdom to complaints is basically to drop dead.

You see, an act of Congress relieved the giant energy companies of the need to comply with federal environmental laws. Federal agencies aren’t even allowed to study what the companies are doing. We only have partial knowledge of the chemicals being used, and the very fact that these companies essentially placed themselves outside the law through a compliant Congress raises suspicions of their motives.

I think until strong regulation is enacted to deal with the fracking problem, I will be using the film in class.

Below is a link to the web address for Josh Fox’s film, Gasland.


And here is the link for the trailer.


Here is the link to buy it on Amazon.com.


I recommend it for classroom use at the college level.

James Pilant

Tapwater that ignites.

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Riki Lindhome makes you laugh and cry at the same time

Listen to this – amazing talent.

Pretty in Buffalo

It has been a couple of years since I discovered the duo, Garfunkel and Oates, the comedy-musical team of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci. They have a You Tube site where you can see much of their of their off beat song writing talent.

Riki Lindhome – courtesy of UCB Comedy

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Social Class in the United States of America: Social Stratification and Divisions (1957)

McGraw-Hill's 1990s logo
Image via Wikipedia

Social Class in the United States

This is a You-Tube video from the site, nologorecords. It’s a McGraw Hill sociology class video. titled as described above. The discussion in the film of social class and how vertical and horizontal mobility affect it is wonderful, and at the very least, I recommend the film for that. But the principal element of the film that’s makes it important to my readers is the picture of an America of a different age.

I was born in 1956 and I saw some of that America. I grew up with gas station attendants who put gas in cars, cleaned your windows, and added oil. That was when everyone went to public schools or paid for private. It was considered vital that all Americans had a similar education stressing American values. That, of course, has all changed.

On the positive side, I think the effect of old money and who the right people are in small towns has diminished. But the negative side, the lack of social and economic mobility now as compared to then is far worse. It is much more difficult to change social class now. We are anchored not by lack of ability but our lack of money to go to the best schools, the lack of proper contacts and even worse, the lack of opportunity, jobs and professions.

America has become a much more economically hostile place, much more socially stratified, since this film was made.  I hope the view of what the world was like will enable you to see a world that might be, a world where a man is judged by his ability not by his family.

James Pilant

Please enjoy. Click on the title to watch the film.

Social Class in the United States of America: Social Stratification and Divisions (1957)

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"Visionary works of art inspired by blind rage" (via NewSong40)

This is a really fascinating post from an obviously well read author. The insights there are very appealing and display a clever imagination.

But you might go there just to see the picture (thumbnail below). That was my first thought. I have another from this set of artists on my wall in the living room of my home.

James Pilant

Special thanks to NewSong40.

"Visionary works of art inspired by blind rage" So ran the headline of the advertising blurb for a documentary by Andrew Lloyd Webber in last week’s TV guide. The documentary was part of ITV’s “Perspectives” season and was entitled A passion for the pre-Raphaelites. “The Industrial Revolution:” the blurb continued, “A turning point for mankind but not necessarily for the better. Mass productivity went together with mass poverty. Soaring profits saw soaring prostitution. And increasing mechanis … Read More

via NewSong40

Surf’s Up, Condensed: Top Creativity Links for March 9, 2011 (via Creative Liberty)

I’m a big fan of the arts. I think Americans should pay a lot more attention to creativity. This blog talks about the arts and creativity. And it provides a good number of links with original information about these.

I read through them. It’s well written. If you are a patron of arts or creativity, go here.

James Pilant

Surf’s Up, Condensed: Top Creativity Links for March 9, 2011 Photo courtesy of SXC. The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can Be More Dishonest This is a PDF link to a rather disturbing working paper disseminated by Harvard Business School. Co-authored by Francesca Gino, an associate professor in the Negotiations, Organizations, and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, the paper lists four studies conducted by the authors that w … Read More

via Creative Liberty

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