Sun August 5, 2012
Chautauqua Institution: Ethics of Cheating, Shakespeare and Dance
The Chautauqua Institution explores the ethics of cheating in this -- Week Seven -- of the 2012 season. As WBFO and AM 970's Mark Scott reports, all aspects of cheating will be under discussion -- from infidelity in marriage to misdeeds on the athletic field.
Just in the past week, people following the Summer Olympics in London saw an example of what some say was cheating. Several top performing badminton players were disqualified from the Olympics after they intentionally performed poorly to avoid having to play certain teams later on, thereby giving them a better chance of advancing into the medal rounds. But it could be argued they weren't cheating. Instead, they were using a loophole in the rules to give them an advantage later. And it's that ambiguity that will be explored at Monday's morning lecture by Duke University's Dan Ariely. Chautauqua's Education Director Sherra Babcock says Ariely writes about moral flexibility.
"His work suggests if I do something and I know my motives were pure -- even if I stretched it a little bit -- is it really cheating? Do I see it as cheating? Now if you do the same thing, and I don't know your motives, then I'm going to know it's cheating. I'm going to think less of you," Babcock said. "So, the real question is how do we look at cheating."
A native son returns to Chautauqua on Wednesday to discuss cheating in athletics. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be joined by NBC's Luke Russert and SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. Goodell meted out severe penalties this off-season for a bounty scandal involving New Orleans Saints coaches and players. Goodell told reporters at a news conference earlier this year it's all about the integrity of the game.
"Everybody is going to have to operate under the same rules," Goodell said. "If we don't do that, the integrity of the game -- and what fans love about the game -- will be impacted negatively."
Other speakers this week will address cheating within marriage and cheating in the classroom. Chautauqua's Religion Director Joan Brown Campbell says it's important that issues like this are brought to the forefront.
"Our theme for the week is creating cultures of honor and integrity," Campbell said. "Perhaps cheating is rooted in the cultural lag we have, where we're not trying hard enough to create (such a) culture.
Among the afternoon speakers at the Hall of Philosophy this week is former Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young. He'll be speaking Thursday at 3:00pm about how good ethical behavior has shaped his life and humanitarian efforts.
Friday night, it's the last of Chautauqua Theatre's three productions this summer. Theatre Director Vivienne Benesch says Shakespeare's "As You Like It" opens at the Bratton Theatre.
"What better way to end the summer than with the celebration of As You Like It," Benesch said. "It's Shakespeare's symphony about love."
There's also dance. Chautautauqua's resident company, North Carolina Dance Theatre, will perform with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Saturday night at the Amphitheater. Vice President of Programming Marty Merkley says dance has always been an important part of Chautauqua's cultural scene.
"The dance program has always had an emphasis on classical ballet," Merkley said. "But through the years, it's (evolved) into modern dance and jazz dance. Dancers today must be able to do everything."
Another highlight of the week is the awarding of the first-ever Chautauqua Literary Prize to author Andrew Krivak, who will read from and sign copies of his book "The Sojourn" Monday afternoon at 4:00 at Smith Wilkes Hall.