Chuck Klosterman is The Ethicist for the NYT. I am the Monday Morning Ethicist.
Yesterday’s lead question for Chuck:
I’m a social worker in the adoption field. A woman who surrendered her infant decades ago asked me for information about the child, and I gave her as much as I legally could, which is not very much. (New York is a closed-records state.) Two days later, I picked up a magazine with an article about someone I recognized as this woman’s child; the article mentioned the birth name, which was given by the woman I spoke to. What can I do? The birth mother knows what she named her child but may never read this particular article. I would never reveal confidential identities, but does pointing her toward a published piece carry the same weight? M.D.P., NEW YORK
Chuck said: “I don’t see an ethical problem…” and then went on for about 200 more words.
Let me respond to your question with another question: What the hell is it with people like you? You read a magazine article and you think you’re the smartest person in the world. You lord your magazine reading over the rest of us like we’re a bunch of illiterate dummies. Well, let me tell you, I have a copy of the TV Guide right here, my friend. Is that what makes me better than you? No. But the fact that I don’t go around saying shit like, “Oh, I just read a fascinating MAGAZINE ARTICLE about the cast of American Family,” is what makes me better than you.
I know how it is with you magazine types. It doesn’t matter what I say, you’re going to do whatever you’re going to do, so I say the hell with you.