The New York Times magazine recently (Becember 28, 2008) carried Peter Singer’s Tribute to Harriet McBride Johnson as covered in a previous What Sorts Posting. Some people, however, were horrified at Singer’s contribution for a number of reasons. For one, Paul Longmore, wrote passionately about what was wrong with publishing the Singer piece.
Longmore’s perspective is on the Not Dead Yet website and is definitely worth reading, here is a short quote:
So the Times, which a long time ago editorialized in favor of a disabled person’s right to have a doctor help her commit suicide (“Condemned to Life,” April 24, 1986), gives Mr. Singer the last word in his debate with Harriet and enables him portray himself as open-minded, tolerant, and humane. Meanwhile, we who mourn the loss of our Harriet must regard this obituary as not just falsifying but obscene.
From my perspective, I just hope that the Times will use the same reasoning and let someone like Paul Longmore write Peter Singer’s obituary when the time comes.