Conflating Art and Reality on… Ethics

Very bizarre premise for a blog post, I know. But that’s kind of what you get when I spend all day doing homework and can’t figure out too much more to write about outside of that homework.

It just so happens that today my homework weirdly connected with outside forces.

I’ve been working on the at-home midterm essay for my Mass Media Ethics class for the past hour or two. The premise of the assignment is simple, we were given four cases of ethical debate and asked to defend one side in one of those debates. A fairly open-ended piece of work meant to show our general understanding of the ethical philosophies and case study analysis methods we’ve been studying this semester.

I decided to write about the case where a reporter in New York was forced to withdraw from a potential candidacy on the city council in his hometown. All things considered a pretty straight-forward argument between conflicts of interest and breaking company policy on one side with a desire to improve the community using a more hands-on approach on the other.

Honestly the paper went far smoother than I expected it to. The vague nature of the assignment was a bit daunting, so the fact that I was able to write it in just a few short hours with a quick seal of approval from the initial parent check was great. I might run over it again before I have to turn it in on Tuesday considering it is a big chunk of my midterm grade, but overall it feels really nice get it off my plate.

Where the art side of the headline up there comes into play only makes sense if you know some context.

Not too long ago, my family started watching NBC’s The Good Place. It wasn’t a show I was interested in watching when it first started to air a few years ago, but after hearing from some friends that it was an amazing piece of television on the eve of season three starting, we decided to pick it up.

Got through season one in a day or two. Still making our way through season two right now.

It. Is. A wonderful show.

Absolutely wonderful.

It’s smart, it’s funny, it’s fresh. I especially adore Ted Danson, though the whole cast makes for a great ensemble. Plus the occasional guest star that slips their way into the cast helps sell it with some stellar comedy.

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s also essentially a hyper condensed ethics class masking as a comedy. The fact that I happened to start watching the show while taking a Mass Media Ethics class is serendipity to say the least.

The most recent episode we watched focused on the classic trolly problem, for example. A thought experiment so intrinsically linked with Utilitarian arguments that the episode as a whole might as well have been plucked out of my class’s week 3 lecture.

If nothing else, it certainly presents some fun examples of concepts to help remember them for when you have to utilize the ideas in an essay.

So I guess the lesson of the day is that television will help you when you have to do homework.

And also to go watch The Good Place. Because it’s an A+ show in basically every regard.

I just wish I’d known about it way back when I went to Universal Studios earlier this year. Because I would’ve paid way more attention to that soundstage on the Studio Tour if I had.

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