A growing number of news organization have responded to the recent incidents of gun violence by publishing lists from public records of the names and — sometimes the addresses — of gun owners in communities in the Northeast. Randy Cohen was the writer of The Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine for 12 years.
Recently leaked cables reveal that several American pop icons were paid millions to perform at private events hosted by the infamous Qaddafi clan. Randy Cohen and Rolling Stone journalist Steve Knopper will examine the connection between the Libyan dictator’s family and Top 40 stars. And, we explore this ethical question: does it matter who pays the piper?
Randy Cohen, the "The Ethicist" columnist for The New York Times Magazine, weighs in on the news that some members of the Park Slope Food Co-op allegedly send their nannies to work their shifts. Sophia Durning, a long-time Park Slope resident, joins the conversation to speak to the ethical dilemma concerning nannies substituting for co-op members.
A local Minneapolis magazine is getting backlash from readers for its decision to run a story about an anti-gay pastor who attended a support group for men grappling with same-sex attraction. Lavender Magazine reported that Rev. Tom Brock, of the Hope Lutheran Church, who publicly criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church for liberalizing its gay clergy policies, attended Faith in Action, the Minnesota affiliate of the Catholic Church's Courage program. The program, according to its website, claims people can "move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity" by developing an interior life of chastity.
Online vigilante justice has become commonplace in China, but it also occurs right here in the U.S. It's a phenomenon in which internet users hunt down and punish people who’ve attracted their wrath...oftentimes for unpunished acts that are considered reprehensible. Some feel this particular form using tech savvy to give people what they deserve is useful, but questions arise about whether online vigilantism is dangerous.
The famed moralist and writer Samuel Johnson was born 300 years old today. Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine, gives us his take on what the crusty, eminently quotable moralist might have made of some of our present-day dilemmas.
1784. ÆTAT.- And now I am arrived at the last year of the life of Samuel Johnson, a year in which, although passed in severe indisposition, he nevertheless gave many evidences of the continuance of those wondrous powers of mind, which raised him so high in the intellectual world. His conversation and his letters of this year were in no respect inferiour to those of former years.
--James Boswell, "The Life of Samuel Johnson"
infa'usting. The act of making unlucky. An odd and inelegant word.
--Samuel Johnson, in "Johnson's Dictionary"
Public outbursts and their consequences seem a lot more common, of late. Last week, Representative Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) heckled the president during an address to both houses of Congress, and now faces a possible Congressional censure. This week, Serena Williams lost her cool (not to mention $10,500 in fines) when she lashed out at a line judge at the U.S. Open. Kanye West appeared on Jay Leno's show last night to apologize after he broke script at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards and grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift to praise Beyonce's video.
For more on public outbursts, we talk to Randy Cohen, who writes "The Ethicist" column in the New York Times Magazine and Latoya Peterson, editor of the online blog Racialicious.
Watch Kanye West on The Jay Leno Show apologizing for his outburst:
Michael Jackson will be buried this morning at the Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles. The cemetery is a famous resting spot, but Jackson apparently wanted to be buried at his beloved Neverland Ranch. Joining The Takeaway to discuss whether we should defer to the dead when it comes to disposing of their mortal remains is Randy Cohen, The Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine and author of the Moral of the Story Blog.
For more, read Randy Cohen's blog entry, Michael Jackson’s Body, in The New York Times.
"The physical presence of the dead is very, very meaningful for the living simply to grasp the idea that death has occurred."
— New York Times Magazine columnist Randy Cohen