"The Ethicist" is Randy Cohen's long-running advice column in the New York Times. Each week, Gabriel Delahaye's "The Unethicist" will answer the same questions as "The Ethicist," with obvious differences.
Last Christmas, I took my grandchildren to "The Nutcracker," a ballet I love. My enjoyment was severely marred by the appearance of a black snowflake and then, even worse, a black Snow King. The aesthetic incongruity was inconceivable. The entire ballet was spoiled. It is analogous to a one-legged midget playing Tarzan. Does this make me a racist? — Name withheld, Sewell, N.J.
No. It makes you human. And thank you for the analogy. You're right! A black snowflake in the Nutcracker is exactly like a one-legged midget playing Tarzan, which I have seen happen far too many times, and it is revolting. I throw up every time, so naturally I'm constantly throwing up. I threw up now just thinking about it. Ew, you know what would be even worse? A Mexican Tarzan. Can you imagine? Are there even any dishes to wash in the jungle?
I think we can all understand where you're coming from on this one. The fact that some small town theater director would be so ignorant and racially insensitive as to encroach on your enjoyment of an antiquated and boring ballet by casting the child of someone who probably only has 60-80% of the earning power in the workplace that you do, is just fucking horrifying. What's next? Giving black people their own driver's licenses? (shudder!) Let's just be thankful that there could never be a black Snow King in the real world, not even if his name was Barack Obama.
I'm just surprised you didn't get up on that stage and swing a rope over the nearest papier-mâché tree and string that piece of shit little snowflake up by its neck and then maybe blast the Snow King with a fire hose and set some dogs on him while the sheriff stood by with his arms crossed laughing behind his reflective sunglasses. Jesus Christ, black people, it's fucking Christmas!
My mother is an amateur cat breeder who sells undocumented Persians. When the last buyer, a veterinarian, discovered a congenital heart defect in two of the kittens, I asked my mother to get the parents checked or to discontinue breeding. She refused and does not plan to inform future buyers. Would it be wrong to have the cat spayed on my own? — Daly Clement, Saco, Maine
It's the season of giving, so let's skip the part where a veterinarian is buying undocumented Persians.
It's fine to go behind your mother's back and have her prized pets spayed, thus denying her of income and the freedom to make her own decisions, however much you may disagree with them. Fuck her, she only gave you life and a dumb name. But then how you will you fill your house with a bunch of furry, constantly shitting lumps of indifference to keep away the unbearable darkness of your impossible loneliness? A sad, crazy lady alone with a thousand cats and a million forgotten dreams in a big, empty, childless house is already heartbreaking, but a sad crazy lady alone in that house without any cats? You should just kill yourself.