... from which I learned that the incident at Chappaquiddick occurred two days before the first moon landing! The writer is entirely correct in that today's cable news and talk radio would have engaged in wall-to-wall coverage of the former, completely ignoring the latter.
... from which I learned that Mary Jo Kopechne did not die of drowning, but of asphyxiation, trapped in a car only mostly filled with water, over the course of several hours. My assumption for however many years I've known about this incident is that it was one of those things that happened rather quickly, and while wholly avoidable, could simply be described as one of life's horrible accidents. This new knowledge really brings the moral implications of the act to an entirely new low in my opinion.
But having said that, the second article does also bring up an interesting ethical point, which is that if one thinks of the good/bad that a person's life brings to the world in arithmetical accounting terms, his life is squarely in the black. Fair enough, but I couldn't help comparing this evaluation to the life of another icon which died recently, whose life was considered to be one of monumental contributions to the world, save for one specific act... Could one argue that Michael Jackson's life, in the balance, was one of good, even if the accusations of his being a child molester were to be confirmed? Does that mean that a child molester can be "a good person"? Does this mean that I can be both a thief and a patron, as long as the former is monetarily outweighed by the latter? Most of our lives are a mass of gray-area actions, some not so good, some slightly better than average, but not usually in the extreme one way or another. What can be said of a person who, at a specific time and place, was as horrible as anything that ever was, but otherwise was admirable? What does this mean in the context of law and order? I'm confused.
Saturday, August 29, 2009