Back in the saddle

July 8, 2006

cell

Now here are some ethical questionsI can get behind! Randy Cohen’s got some queries for the new generation and he isn’t afraid to answer them. The first concerns a carjacking a tried and true situation ripe for ethical meanderings. There are whole philosophical seminars devoted to grand theft auto (although, to be fair, it is often co-taught with someone from the video game department) but Randy’s got something for the kids — something fresh and with cell phones. C.D., the reader not the media format, tells Randy that his cousin and his girlfriend were forced into a car by two armed assailants. The cousin, seeing an opportunity as one of the men shuffled his broad body into the backseat, took the keys and ran to make and emergency call (or “key by the three when I chirpshawty chirp back” as a recent rapper has taught us) leaving a distraught and uninformed girlfriend to the whims of one very obese carjacker and another, by all accounts, rather tall and thin.

Randy responds with “think of the money friends and family save by not having to buy wedding presents.” Shivers! He hasn’t touched me that way in more than two months. Following the conclusion (cousin was wrong but even genocide is forgivable under such circumstances [read the column; a diligent maniac could find ethical solace in between the lines]), surely to distract us from the absence of promised cell phone and twenty-first-century-ness, he notes in an update that the couple have indeed parted ways much like the cousin parted from his girlfriend and one very fat and one very skinny carjacker. The cell phone, however, will be shared on alternating weeks.

The second question, one we will undoubtedly face with greater frequency as the youth ages into positions of power, concerns what to do with an abandoned bike. Everyone knows the kids like their bikes and with gas prices so high (although still less than half of what theScandanavians pay) the adults are beginning to catch on; Randy’s bringing this to light is surely appreciated. Here we have Kate Clifford (a name oddly reminiscent of another biker lesbian I know — a harbinger, first-class) of Philadelphia, PA asking Randy Cohen if the bicycle that sat outside her home for almost a year with no evidence of its owner in sight may be ethically procured from its lock. Randy admires her patience and blesses her new ride but, just in case a year of waiting wasn’t enough, he plays the authority card usually saved for stickier situations. For shame!

What does the moral wisdom of the New York City Po-Po have to say about this, you’re probably not asking yourself? Don’t worry because Randy is; that’s what he gets payed for. Police policy is a two week warning and then the Dep’t of Sanitation gets involved, Randy, in journalist mode, reports. “In this, they and you act ethically.” Oh, brother!

— Aethix Plexis

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