November 10, 2012

"Your wife is having an affair with a person you happen to respect. Why would that last detail change the way you respond to her cheating?"

"Do you admire this man so much that you haven’t asked your wife why she keeps having sex with him? I halfway suspect you’re writing this letter because you want specific people to read this column and deduce who is involved and what’s really going on behind closed doors (without actually addressing the conflict in person). That’s not ethical, either."

Said the NYT Ethicist, last July, responding to "NAME WITHHELD," who some people are now speculating is the husband cuckolded by Petraeus.

ADDED: I'm surprised to see the NYT Ethicist is Chuck Klosterman. I know him as the author of the book "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto." Excerpt:
I’m having a crisis of confidence, and I blame Jesus.

Actually, my crisis is not so much about Jesus as it is about the impending rapture, which I don’t necessarily believe will happen. But I don’t believe the rapture won’t happen, either; I really don’t see any evidence for (or against) either scenario. It all seems unlikely, but still plausible. Interestingly enough, I don’t think there is a word for my particular worldview: “Nihilism” means you don’t believe in anything, but I can’t find a word that describes partial belief in everything. “Paganism” is probably the closest candidate, but that seems too Druidesque for the style of philosophy I’m referring to. Some would claim that this is kind of like “agnosticism,” but true agnostics always seem too willing to side with the negative; they claim there are no answers, so they live as if those answers don’t exist. They’re really just nihilists without panache. Not me, though. I’m prone to believe that just about any religious ideology is potentially accurate, regardless of how ridiculous it might seem (or be). Which is really making it hard for me to comment on Left Behind.
That's the beginning of an essay on the Left Behind series.

36 comments:

Tregonsee said...

Sounds a bit like Sir William Hamilton, who lore says looked the other way when his wife Emma had an affair with Horatio Nelson. For England.

slumber_j said...

Why is that not ethical either?

Marshal said...

It would be different if this man’s project was promoting some (contextually hypocritical) family-values platform,

Ha. Translation to English: expose him if he's a conservative. Protecting the shield is priority one!

rhhardin said...

Don't date actresses.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Gee, all of a sudden the world doesn't seems out of kilter.

Everything is so counter-intuitive.

Instead of going to Petraeus, or just coming out and saying it, Broadwell's hubbo writes a cryptic letter to the Gray Lady?

Yeah, that makes all kinds of sense.

LilyBart said...


Ha. Translation to English: expose him if he's a conservative. Protecting the shield is priority one!

I noticed that comment too.

Paul Brinkley said...

Why would you look at it differently if her affair was with someone you respect?

My first thought was, "well, it means she has really high standards. And she picked me at first, so that means...".

jimbino said...

It's seems well past time to give up using the word, "cuckold." It insinuates that the wife is the property of the man but has now been borrowed or stolen from him.

Folks marry and stay married for many reasons. Remember Ann, marriage, love, sex, cohabitation, friendship and breeding are totally independent things nowadays. That's what the sexual revolution, the Pill, the tax & immigration codes and welfare policy have brought about.

The only time marriage is conditioned on any of the others is when our idiot gummint claims a marriage is a "sham" entered into for immigration purposes.

edutcher said...

Translation:

He voted for Zero Tuesday.

Mary Beth said...

I thought the last question and answer were interesting too.

"As the creative force behind an artistic endeavor, you reserve the right to share or withhold whatever information you believe will create the best possible version of whatever work you intend to make."

I guess the maker of the Mohammed video had no responsibility to tell the actors what it was about. Time for them to stop complaining that they were "conned".

Sam L. said...

Sometimes a coincidence is identified post hoc, and sometimes we manufacture it post hoc.

Lyle said...

rhhardin,

Truer words have never been spoken.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Some people can look at puffy white clouds in a beautiful blue sky and think they see thermite.

Lyle said...

jimbino,

In marriage the wife is the property of her husband, as the husband is the property of his wife.

That's the whole point of marriage.



Bob Ellison said...

What if a husband admires himself so much? Does he ask his wife why she keeps having sex with him?

somefeller said...

I need to read The Crack Emcee's take on this. Anything else is just static.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ha. Translation to English: expose him if he's a conservative. Protecting the shield is priority one!

I came here to say the same thing.

"If it's a winger, sir, public humiliation all the way. If not, say nothing, hide everything, quietly disappear."

Heh heh heh.

Zach said...

I halfway suspect you’re writing this letter because you want specific people to read this column and deduce who is involved and what’s really going on behind closed doors (without actually addressing the conflict in person). That’s not ethical, either."

So let's be sure and publish this letter, just in case!

It's uncanny. The NYT ethicist has a perfect, unblemished record of giving bad advice. Even when he's giving good advice -- don't hint at a scandal in a public forum -- he is, himself, hinting at a scandal in a public forum.

Once upon a time, major cities had things called scandal sheets. They would hint about scandals involving public figures, and would often take money to bury a story, or to push one about a rival. I guess everything old is new again.

madAsHell said...

She's around 40 years of age, and a West Pointer. Her husband is a physician. She has two kids. It is my observation that women usually focus on children more than sex.

Petraeus has been married for 37 years, and finally has an affair at 67 years of age?

None of this adds up.

madAsHell said...

Assuming that she followed Petraeus around the globe to capture the story, then how did the husband find out?? Did she confess her infidelities?

Saint Croix said...

It's seems well past time to give up using the word, "cuckold."

Why? It's a reference to the cuckoo's habit of laying its eggs in other birds' nests.

The reason we have this special word for men (and not women) is similar to why we have words like slut for women (and not men). The two sexes are different when it comes to sex. Women get pregnant. Men don't. Motherhood is biologically certain. Fatherhood is biologically uncertain.

Thus we have this "slut" word, and this "cuckold" word, both of which revolve around the uncertainty of paternity.

Who's the father? We don't know. Why don't we know? Because the slut made you a cuckold.

Liberals seek to do away with "bad" words like slut or cuckold. So they refuse to recognize slut behavior. And they refuse to recognize any cuckolds. She's not a slut and you're not a cuckold.

And the baby doesn't have a father now.

Liberals have no explanation for why our society is awash in single moms and runaway dads. They have no idea why we have marriage. Liberal theory about sex is like liberal theory about money. It's ignorant about the underlying realities, and incredibly stupid in its assumptions about how we can impose our ideology on the universe.

Dante said...

Maybe they are talking about Steven Hawkings. He ended up steeling the guy's wife who made him his first voice box.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Why does a news organization that has not ethics need an ethicist?

David said...

I can’t find a word that describes partial belief in everything.

Idiocy.

(Man, what a softball.)

roesch/voltaire said...

Please folks get back to your garden as you seem to have little understanding of how passion leads great leaders astray.

Mary Beth said...

I've read that she broke up with him in September 2011 so "Name Withheld" must be writing about another government official managing a project whose progress is seen worldwide as a demonstration of American leadership.

Any guesses?

LilyBart said...


I can understand respecting a person before the affair started. But wouldn't you lose that respect when you discovered the affair? I mean, doesn't it change the way you view that person's character?

Carl said...

I feel a little like Martin Luther here, but ethics ought to be a purely personal matter, between you and your God, so to speak. If you have professionalized it -- leased the conscience of another -- you are already on the road to Hell.

Ipso facto, an organization that has a titled "ethicist" on staff has lost all moral bearings. That it should be the Times is not surprising at all. Will Duranty's Pulitzer still hands on their wall, does it not?

reformed trucker said...

"NYT Ethicist" is an oxymoron.

And anyone who can't control their "passion" (as r/v put it) is no different than a dog dry humping the air. Weak leadership.

Chuck shouldn't get his undies in a twist about the rapture; that's just bad dispensationalist theology, but it did sell a lot of books and a movie series.

ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ambienisevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TMink said...

My marital oath of monogamy was made to my wife and God. I tend to think that who I broke it having sex with would not really enter into the math for either aggrieved party.

Trey

damikesc said...

Any man who would sit back and allow it deserves nothing more than mockery. Fucking pussified little boy.

And that the ethicist that says allowing it is moral is a pathetic little wuss.

damikesc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikee said...

Family Guy did this. Peter gets to be pals with Clinton, but of course Clinton seduces Peter's wife. Peter is upset about it, and confronts Clinton, who seduces Peter, too.

Made Clinton look pretty good at seduction, and pretty bad as a human being.