WHO WANTS TO BE GOOD! (09/04/12)

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I'm reposting the review of BE GOOD by Randy Cohen. My non-fiction reviewer, Gary S. spent an hour on the phone with Randy and you'll see the conversation below....but first a little intro.    

Randy Cohen is the original New York Times Magazine's "The Ethicist." He's witty and engaging on paper and in person. For twelve years I've looked forward to his weekly column and now he's written a book.

It's equally amusing and you'll find it on bookshelves and in Ebooks now.  BE GOOD is a Q and A format with line illustrations. It will guide and help readers respond when faced with everyday problems....like sex, religion, technology, and other moral and immoral challenges.....like sex, affairs, technology, deceit etc....

Randy Cohen always had an answer for everything. And yes, as a long time writer on the David Letterman Show, he invented the Top Ten List. He is also an author and playwright. His column, "The Ethicist" appeared in the NY Times Magazine from 1999 to 2011. He is the author of several books and plays and is the host of the public radio show Person Place Thing.


Were you always ethically inclined, or did you evolve into an ethical expert?

It was definitely the latter. The column originated in house at the New York Times and Randy actually had to audition for 'The Ethicist'. There were about 10-12 people who were asked to audition in 1999.

Was there anyone in your life or childhood that made an impact on your career or who you are today?

Randy credits his mother, Irma as being the funniest person in his family. Irma rarely disagreed with anything Randy said...and she even had a nickname 'ICY' (pronounced ice-ey). Randy was born in Charlestown SC and the family eventually moved to Reading PA.

What was it like writing for the David Letterman show?

"It was unbelievable!"

The job was an amazing experience in that his work was valued, everyone was treated with respect and he greatly admired the work of his colleagues. Most of all it was a lot of fun! I expected to hear there were writers sitting around a table, but Randy says it was more spontaneous with creative meetings and last minute segments. Everyone was asked to contribute to the Top Ten List with Dave picking the ones he liked best.

Do you see yourself returning to writing comedy?

Randy loves writing comedy and would definitely do it again, although he prefers his independence these days. A few years ago he wrote a play called the "Punishing Blow" about a British boxer named Daniel Mendoza. Randy has a new play that is currently in  development. The story is about "what happens in love and work" and we hope to hear more soon.

I was a little dissappointed to hear that many readers of 'The Ethicist' would make a game out of it and read the questions out loud at the family table. I thought my family invented that game! What other feedback did you get from writing the column?

As it turns out, Randy attempted to capitalize on this phenomenon by creating a board game that families could play at home. The idea was pitched to Milton Bradley and there was a lot of interest in moving it forward, but the company ultimately chose not to proceed. There could be a market with online gaming, so that is still a possibility.

Since politics and government policy ultimately have a lot to do with what's right and fair, have you ever considered writing commentary or op-Ed opinion?

"Yes. I've considered it and done it"

Randy wrote a weekly article for the online edition of the New York Times called 'The Moral Of the Story'. He took regular news and spun it through an ethical filter.

(At this point Gary S. handed me the phone and I took over with a very important question...really important... )

I know you're single...Would you consider doing a Jewish Mother a favor and  let me introduce you to my wonderful daughter? (Just kidding...not really!)
To be continued...I'm not one to give up..(I hope my daughter isn't reading this!!)

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