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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Ethicist

Q: Rememberance Day is coming, but I still do not have a poppy to remind the world that I do, in fact, remember (incidentally, would you happen to know where I can get a poppy in this town?). Yesterday, I saw a poppy fall from a man's jacket on my way to the lab. Ethically (and hypothetically) speaking, would it have been wrong of me to surreptitiously stoop down and pocket this poppy to memorialize those who fought (and died) for my right to keep what I find in this free country?

- Anonymous, Toronto, ON

A: Whenever you use the words 'surreptitiously' and 'stoop' in the same sentence, you are almost certainly in danger of commiting an ethical faux pas. In this case, by not informing this man that he had dropped his poppy (and a piece of his patriotism), you are dishonoring the memories of those who you allegedly seek to honor -- hypothetically speaking, of course.

But what troubles me most is your disingenuous use of the sacrifices paid by dead war-heroes to justify your kleptomaniacal tendencies. You are clear a small, sick, and twisted individual. I suggest you seek professional help -- magazine columnists do not count, by the way -- before you find yourself plucking pacifiers from the mouths of helpless babies.

Incidentally, poppies are quite difficult to find in your city for some reason.

Disclaimer: The preceeding was a satirical piece of semi-fiction written out of boredom. The Reformedjerk did, in fact, see a man drop his poppy but he did NOT stoop (surreptitiously, or in any other manner) down to pick it up. Lest we forget.


At Tuesday, November 09, 2004 1:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my question is actually meant for miss manners, but the ethicist will have to do...

Q: I have a friend who is beginning to worry me (actually let's call him an acquaintance). Yesterday, he composed a blogpost where he asked a question to himself and then proceeded to answer referring to himself in the opposite sex. I was puzzled at such... interesting behaviour but figured this was something that would pass. However, today, claiming 'boredom' he continued his now daily Q&A, complete with yet another round of self-demeaning comments (ex: "small, sick, and twisted individual"), although I must admit today's post seemed more realistic as "You are clearly a man of good breeding," incited much laughter yesterday. So, ethically and hypothetically speaking, would it be the right to ignore said behaviour or is would it be my duty as someone who knows this nut to whack some sense into him, I mean, to have him seek professional help?

wait a second, what am i doing. asking for ethical advice from a persona created by one who refers to himself in third person then asks and answers questions of himself. so this is what happens when a grad student has nothing but time on his hands.

At Tuesday, November 09, 2004 3:58:00 PM, Blogger Reformed Jerk said...

A: It is quite obvious that your friend (or "acquaintance") is deranged and dangerous (commonly referred to as Double-D Syndrome). These self-indulgent Q&A sessions are a desperate cry for attention and as your Ethicist, I recommend you play along (see above re: deranged and dangerous). Although, you are ethically obliged to "whack some sense into him", his present state makes such a task potentially harmful to your health. Thankfully, my lawyer friends tell me that "ethics is a grey area"; so you can avoid direct confrontation or intervention and still be ethically golden at the same time.


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