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Morality Tale (a ranking question) - outcomes - Into The Abyss Of Suburbia [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
...and the stains drip between fingers...

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Morality Tale (a ranking question) - outcomes [Feb. 3rd, 2016|06:57 pm]
...and the stains drip between fingers...
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The different morality ranking responses to this story were absolutely fascinating.

James is a forty-year-old businessman. James has been married to Marie for fifteen years. One day, James collides into a young woman wearing a waiter’s uniform in the street, Caroline. Caroline and James start talking, go on a date, and sleep together. Caroline then tells James that she is underage and she deliberately set out to blackmail him for money, or else she will tell the police and his workplace. James tells his wife Marie about the blackmail. Marie murders Caroline by poisoning her. Marie’s brother, George, is a police officer who covers up the murder.

These were the tiny statistical sample of six (worst to least worst).

gehayi: Caroline & George, James, Marie
houseboatonstyx: Caroline, Marie, James, George
speakr2customrs: George, Caroline, Marie, James
morbane: Marie, George, Caroline, James
LateToTheParty: George, Marie, James, Caroline
blueinkedpalm: Marie, George, James, Caroline

Most likely to be worst: George (3)
Most likely to be least worst: James (2), Caroline (2)

Total character scores (4=worst, 1=least worst):
George: 4, 1, 4, 3, 4, 3 = 19
Marie: 2, 3, 2, 4, 3, 4 = 18
Caroline: 4, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1 = 15
James: 3, 2, 1, 1, 3, 3 = 13

(Above results 100% scientifically unreliable.)

Ethical priorities that came up in the discussion:
George - breaching duty, loyalty to family, responsibility to society
Marie - protecting husband, protecting herself, whether impulsive or premeditated, whether considered alternatives
Caroline - premeditated, underage
James - cheating, whether knew/suspected underage, whether moral responsibility to check

I found it pretty interesting that motive was commented on in the responses, since I don't think any character had a defined motive in the story. The reasoning each character had behind their criminal acts was up to the reader.

My personal ranking ended up pretty similar to the average gaol times for the different crimes committed - Marie for murder, George for accessory after the fact, James for statutory rape, Caroline for blackmail (committed while underage). (Blackmail is very bad though - the corpus of Agatha Christie and DL Sayers provides a few instructional examples, as does JK Rowling's CUCKOO'S CALLING.)

I guess that makes me something of a consequentialist.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: heliopausa
2016-02-17 04:06 am (UTC)

Re: "Publish and be damned"

Thank you for the story recs! I have read "The Fountain Plays", but a long time ago,but I'll look for the others. :) (From memory, I'm pretty sure a good lawyer could have picked big enough holes in the evidence of which bits of pavement were wet and which were dry!)

The excerpt from Sayers is a fun example of how to stack a rhetorical deck! Sayers sets up two "opposed" character types (the austere K.C. and the "little warrior") has them both agree, persuading her impeccable hero, on very dodgy grounds ("the Law is helpless"? No, blackmail's a crime, definitely, with a pretty high custodial sentence rate. "Shootin's too good..." Really? Death penalty is too soft? What is suggested, then? Torture?). It's clever writing, all right.
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[User Picture]From: blueinkedpalm
2016-02-20 10:05 pm (UTC)

Re: "Publish and be damned"

It is interesting how blackmail's no longer so feared/loathed/despised these days. Maybe the internet makes it difficult for things to be concealed in the first place, let alone blackmailed over; maybe an improvement in custodial sentence rates; or a decline in various social stigmas.

The CUCKOO'S CALLING brought blackmailing the murderer back with a lovely twist to make the blackmailer seem less suicidal, I think.
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