Randy Cohen, 53, is “The Ethicist,” writer of a New York Times Magazine advice column syndicated nationally as “Everyday Ethics.” He collected his juiciest ethical quandaries in The Good, the Bad & the Difference (Doubleday, $23.95) and invited us into his Manhattan kitchen to talk right and wrong.
BEVERAGE Black coffee in a WNYC public radio station mug. ATTIRE Green sweater, jeans, Adidas. BEHAVIOR Eager smiling, shticky hand waving. JOB QUALIFICATIONS Seven years writing for Late Night With David Letterman. FAVE ETHICAL QUESTION May I bring my own popcorn to the movies? “It opens up all these questions about private property.” SOCIAL REPERCUSSIONS OF HIS JOB “There’s this feeling at parties–not that I get to go to all that many, but I’m available–that everyone was doing delightfully wicked things, and as soon as I come in, they all stopped. ‘Oh, the ethical guy is here. Let the fun stop.’” FAMILIAL REPERCUSSIONS “My mom is thrilled. It shows that she was right about everything always.” ON HIS MOST RECENT ETHICAL LAPSE “I would be foolish to repeat things about myself that only my enemies should say.” FUTURE PLANS “I’ve got to go talk to my TV agent in a couple of weeks. Got any ideas?”