THE ZOMBIE ETHICIST by Angus MacAbre
Dear Zombie Ethicist:
My wife and I recently hosted a small, intimate dinner party. The guests included my boss and his wife, who just so happen to be longtime vegetarian zombies. We were unable to track down any vegetarians to serve them (we live in a very carnivorous part of town) so we served them carnivores and passed them off as vegetarians. Both my boss and his spouse became violently ill the day after the dinner party, although they’ve since fully recovered. My wife insists that I should tell them the truth. However, my boss is rather quick-tempered and vindictive. I am worried that if I admit our deception, my boss might fire me and I find my position very emotionally and financially rewarding. What should I do? I’m worried that my wife may go behind my back and tell my boss’ wife as they’re quite friendly.
– NAME WITHHELD, NEW YORK CITY
Dear Name Withheld:
What kind of a namby-pamby, pompous, self-centered candy-ass are you?! Are you not aware of the fact that there are millions of zombies starving in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Angola, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, among other countries? And you’re fretting over serving vegetarians to your arrogant, pretentious boss and his stuck-up wife who spends more money on health and beauty aids that the GDPs of all of the aforementioned countries combined?! Give it a rest, man.
Vegetarians are people, too. And what kind of zombie are you, afraid of your nitwit boss? You obviously haven’t read my best-selling book, “Zombienomics: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Dying.” And what kind of a zombie doesn’t have the cojones to stand up to his wife and to sign his name to his pathetic sob story?! Is that an acorn resting on yer balls? Don’t ever write me again, you bloody bathetic bedwarmer!
Dear Zombie Ethicist:
Long-time reader, first-time writer. I find myself in a bit of an ethical dilemma and I really hope you can help me. A trolley is running out of control down a track. There are five people who have been tied to the trolley’s track by a mad philosopher. The good news is that I just happen to be right by a trolley track switch. I can flip the switch which will send the trolley down a different track to safety. The bad news is that there is a single person tied to that alternate track. Should I flip the switch? Please respond soon as there isn’t much time.
– I.P. FREELY, TROLLEYVILLE, PA
Dear I.P. Freely:
Nice try but I you must think I’m one really stupid zombie. Au contraire, Mr./Ms. Freely. Au contraire. First of all, it’s friggin’ obvious that you’ve given me a fake joke name. “I.P. Freely” is one of the oldest and most obvious joke names there be. And if you don’t think that the world’s leading zombie ethicist (that would be yours truly) wouldn’t recognize your blatant ripoff of one of the most famous thought experiments in the history of ethics, Philippa Ruth Foot’s “The Trolley Problem,” then you’ve obviously got a lot more problems than just plagiarizing “The Trolley Problem.” Now leave me alone before I tie you to a trolley track in "Trolleyville"; I hope you didn’t strain your brain too much coming up with such an obviously phony town name.
UPDATE: I regret to inform you that it turns out the previous letter was not a hoax. It turns out that there really is an I.P. Freely and a town called Trolleyville in Pennsylvania. Five innocent people died and the mad philosopher who tied them to the tracks remains at large. I.P. Freely was paralyzed with indecision and waiting for my response. I’m sorry about this but come on, people, you cannot be blaming me for thinking that this was a prank. I.P. Freely?! Trolleyville?! And I.P. really didn’t give me much lead time on this one.
Send your ethical e-queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.