"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.
This week, the Unethicist gives powerful advice to everyone who can't keep a marriage together but still has internet access, and wishes you Jews could get your shit together.
My ex-husband and I each agreed to pay for half of our son's education. Because he is enrolling in a university where his dad teaches, our son receives a tuition remission, but my ex insists that I must still write him a check for half the tuition because that tuition waiver is his benefit, not mine. Am I ethically obligated to pay? — H.H., New Jersey
It's not so much that you are ethically obligated to pay, but rather that by being divorced you are bound to a life of being held emotional hostage, the near constant threat of dark secret revelations, filial tug-of-war, and excruciating mindgamery. Your ex is simply exercising his right to make impossible demands on you both emotionally and economically, while holding your child's wellbeing in the balance like some kind of Casino Royale double-blind. (Hint: you are the one who cries blood.)
While there is no way to get out of what basically amounts to EXtortion (get it? fuck you), there are ways to balance out the books. For one, get yourself a new man, preferably a big black one. Then leak a sex tape onto the internet (yes, that's the one with email.) You can't just expect your ex-husband to find it himself, what with the whole "locked in the ivory tower" thing, but that's what emails with the subject "Arnold Davidson Discusses the Interrelationship Between the Lacanian Mirror Stage and Foucault's Reappropriation of Jeremy Bentham's 'Panopticon'" are for. Then, BOOM! You're straight inter-racial raw-dogging it right in his unsuspecting face!
Surely that's worth whatever half of a community college tuition costs these days. $250?
My wife's sister and her husband keep kosher, so we have a special pot for their visits. Recently my wife caught me using the pot for my traif soup. She insists we must buy another pot, but I say as long as my in-laws believe it's kosher, they won't violate their faith by using it. Would I be unethical to keep this secret or simply cheap? — Paul Kramer, Montclair, N.J.
I have no problem with this.
But also: WTFUCK?
Aren't Jews supposed to be "the people of the book?" I'm pretty sure you could open up a copy of fucking Goodnight Moon and be able to find some sort of explanation of how secrets are kept, and none of it involves ATTACHING YOUR NAME to an ELABORATE DESCRIPTION OF THE SECRET for PUBLICATION in a NATIONALLY SYNDICATED advice column.
Also, I applaud your work in the field of perpetuating negative stereotypes. Seriously. You probably have horns, don't you, you schmuck.