Everyday Ethics

Hillary Fields is a born-and-bred New Yorker, brought up on the not-so-mean streets of Manhattan's Upper East Side. She attended St. John's College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she studied classics and philosophy, and then respectfully declined to spend the rest of her life in an ivory tower. Instead, she turned to the life of a writer and editor, penning three romance novels published by St. Martin's Press and contributing features to such periodicals as Cosmopolitan magazine. Her fascination with the moral dilemmas that crop up in everyday life--and the many intriguing ways people handle them--has always colored her writings. Now, that interest is leading her to take the discussion online; where, hopefully, the addition of reader feedback will bring these quotidian quandaries--and their potential solutions--vibrantly to life.

When she's not plumbing the ethical mysteries of humanity, her passions include cooking (especially baking), origami, kittens, reading, watching really bad television and playing online scrabble. (And no, she doesn't cheat... much.)

In my family, love and money sometimes get confused, and I’m sure I’m not alone there. My folks have been known to show their affection and concern, though not exclusively, in the form of cold, hard cash.

We all know what’s just around the bend: Black Friday! Even as I write out my shopping list of Thanksgiving cooking ingredients, I know that the day after, stuffed with turkey, I’ll be eyeballing the 2009 Black Friday sales. And this year, with the recession hitting so hard, there are sure to be incredible deals for those who can lift their somnolent selves off the couch (even to get to the computer and shop online) and engage in some hardcore retail therapy.

I’m not the kind of gal who likes a whole lot of family togetherness. I live within city blocks of my whole family, so I get plenty – some would say too much – of it with my own side of the clan. And I’ve just never been comfy being on my P’s and Q’s with other people’s relatives. The idea of spending 7 days cooped up, smiling politely and nodding as we negotiate our way through decisions both great and small (who’ll grab up the check on dinners out, where we should souvenir shop), makes me break out in a sweat, and we haven’t even hit the beach yet. From the moment the idea of this family trip came up, I experienced panic, resentment, anger, then great steaming heaps of guilt and shame.

We all have that one friend or family member who’s guilty–they say they’ll meet you for dinner at a quarter to seven, and seven-thirty rolls around before you catch a glimpse of their apologetic face. No matter how often you glance irritably at your watch as they breeze in, no matter how obviously it irks you, they simply cannot be on time.

I cannot imagine another ethical position to take other than supporting our fellow citizens’ right to marry. To criminalize love, to deny a portion of our society equal rights under the law, simply because of your fears, prejudices, or religious views, is despicable to me.

Is Sammy Sosa following in Michael Jackson’s footsteps? Recent photos of Sosa show the retired Cubs baseball star with dramatically lighter skin after what he calls ‘skin rejuvenation treatments’.

I’m not one of those people who tosses out the word “hero” comfortably. I feel that news accounts of folks who are just doing the decent, ethical thing in a moment of crisis sometimes blow the term out of proportion and devalue it. Not so with police Sgt. Kimberly Munley, the hero of the Fort Hood’s terrible incident yesterday. She, in my opinion, is the real deal.

Cameron Diaz’s new movie (also starring Frank Langella and James Marsden) is out today, posing the moral question, “Would you kill a stranger to keep your own family well? Watch the trailer and let us know:

How is it that two days of jury duty can feel like two months in purgatory? Can sitting in a room with nothing to do but read a good book, away from the demands of one’s job, the ringing of […]

I, who think on Halloween so fondly, savoring everything from its sugary overload to its creepy crawly costumyness, have today crossed a line into fuddy-duddery that I never dreamed would come to pass. That’s right. When our doorbell rang, I hid from the trick or treaters.