Friday, 25 May 2012

Ethics and Special Effects

On this day 35 years ago, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released.

I saw the original Star Wars 11 times in theatres, the "Strikes Back" movie 18 times in the theatre, and that third one with the stupid Ewoks only once.  As any good dad would, I took my sons to see the original Star Wars movie when it was re-released in theatres fifteen years ago.

A valuable life lesson was learned, however, as the boys saw the familiar Star Wars on the big screen for the first time.  As new creatures and different special effects showed up in the oddest places with no discernible relevance to the plot, my oldest son was the first to squirm, and finally blurt out in disappointment and disgust,

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."  He was referring to advances in technology that allowed for all sorts of creative and useless distractions from a perfectly GREAT first couple of films.

That has since applied to the next three Star Wars movies and that last Indiana Jones with the (spoiler alert) aliens ex machina ending.  It's true of all enhanced special effects, sequels, prequels and in matters of ethics.  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

It applies especially with business ethics - just because you can
  • (get away  with it) - like when the boss or your wife will never know
  • (expense it, hide it, fudge it) - creativity has no place in accounting
  • (do it) - whatever "it" is that just ain't right, or demeans someone else, or is illegal or immoral or reflects badly on your organization
doesn't mean you should.

Insert your own clever "force be with you" ending here.  It's not that I can't...

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