A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sleazy Does It

If you were thinking about buying Andrew Young's book about John Edwards, Jim Lichtman gives a pretty good reason not to
Loyalty is frequently cited as a reason for agreeing to participate in unethical actions. Andrew Young's close association with Senator Edwards certainly fits this model. It is natural to feel a sense of duty and fidelity to an individual who has earned a level of respect and trust. Under such a relationship, it is not unusual for one individual to expect - sometimes require - that their interests be placed ahead of one's own integrity.

However, the ethical reality is that no one has the right to pressure another to violate their ethical principles in the name of loyalty. In fact, it's an incredible breach of loyalty to ask any friend to compromise their own integrity in order to help protect yours.

"There is a tendency," writes ethicist Michael Josephson, "to compartmentalize ethics into private and occupational domains so as to justify fundamentally decent people doing things in their jobs that they know to be wrong in other contexts... Frequently, one is tempted to [violate] established rules and procedures under the umbrella rationale of it's all for a good cause."

Whether he's aware of it or not, Andrew Young is guilty not only of purposely lying for a friend, but consciously choosing to put the selfish needs of his boss ahead of his own ethical responsibilities as an aide as well as a role model for his family and friends.

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