Three Breasted Ethics

Three_breasted_woman

UPDATE: Snopes, the urban legend and hoax website, now thinks that this is a scam. As I noted in the post, that would not be a surprise and in fact would be a relief. In such cases, I suggest that the post be read as a hypothetical, since the ethics issues raised by the three-breasted woman remain interesting, even if the story itself turns out to be fiction.

A 21-year-old woman being identified with the alias Jasmine Tridevil ( don’t over-think it) says she paid $20,000 to a plastic surgeon to  give her a realistic third breast. She wants to  become a TV reality show star. Jasmine has hired a camera crew to follow her around Tampa, Florida, documenting the challenges she faces as a three-breasted woman.

I know what you are thinking.

I HOPE this is a hoax.

“Jasmine” was rejected by more than 50 doctors who believed they would be violating professional ethical codes. Scot Glasberg, president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, condemned the surgery as ‘worse than unethical’ and ‘harmful to society’. ‘This violates every ethical principle not just in surgery but in medicine as well. We look to enhance the norm. This is not the norm. Nothing speaks louder than the fact that the surgeon required the patient to sign a non-disclosure form.” Continue reading

Unethical Feature: “Top 10 People Who Don’t Deserve To Be Millionaires”

And leave Bubbles alone.

I know: it’s a feature, it’s a gag, it’s not meant to be taken seriously. I don’t care: the underlying attitude behind The Daily Caller’s recent slideshow, “Top 10 People Who Don’t Deserve To Be Millionaires” is too common these days to be emulated, even in half or whole jest. The belief that citizens of the U.S. “don’t deserve” to have the money they do is at the root of toxic politics, bad economic policy, class resentment and self-excused jealousy, and it shouldn’t be encouraged. If there is a genuine and persuasive argument to be made that people don’t deserve the money they earn, then make it, and you have to do better than “you didn’t build that!”

Taylor Bigler, the Caller’s entertainment editor who compiled the list, doesn’t. She just appeals to jealousy, as if nobody really really does resent people who have made more money than they have so its fine to pretend they do. “Now, some people are millionaires because they are ambitious and kept their noses to the grindstone,” she says. “Those people certainly deserve their hard-earned success. But honestly, there are many other people who are millionaires that simply don’t deserve to be.” Like? Continue reading

The Saga of Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt: Life in a Culture That Values Lies

Post-surgery Montag, trying to stay famous

If you have taste, a job, and a brain, or don’t read a lot of “Us” and “People” in doctors’ offices, you may never have heard of Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. They were stars of the once popular TV reality show “The Hills,” and despite being two vacuous and shallow individuals of minimal common sense, talent or education, they presumed that they could ride the “famous for being famous” gravy train in celebrity-and-media obsessed America indefinitely. They couldn’t.

The Daily Beast features a horrifying interview with the pair, which is worth reading for its ethics lessons on several levels. For one thing, the degree to which the culture of dishonesty has progressed in America  surprises even me. Allowing yourself to be presented to the public as a completely manufactured personality in exchange for fame and fortune has always been part of the celebrity experience, but the reality show phenomenon has removed it from everything else—now the lie is all there is. And there are thousands upon thousands of attractive, young dimwits who actually aspire to such ersatz enshrinement in the culture as their life’s pursuit. Paris Hilton and the Kardashian sisters are these deluded individuals’ goddesses, despite the fact that 1) there are not 500 IQ points among the four of them and 2) they all have the benefit of rich trust funds to fall back on, so their jaunts as pop culture comets are more like diversions than careers, though profitable ones. Continue reading