Sunday, September 25, 2005

Goofus and Gallant do Bioethics

I used to love reading Highlights when I was a kid. OK... I still do!

Well, there's a "comic" in there called "Goofus and Gallant" where Gallant is the example of a mannerly, kind and moral person and Goofus is, well... not.

Recently, Bill joked about explaining Bioethics using Goofus and Gallant and I decided to run with it. I'm happy to hear any other suggestions people might have! I may add others as I get further into my "intro to bioethics" course.

Gallant: promotes organ donation awareness, seeing it's great benefit in saving lives
Goofus: sells organs on eBay

Gallant: makes sure that every family member is comfortable with removing Sally's feeding tube before approving the withdrawal of treatment.
Goofus: pretends like he "accidentally" tripped over the ventillator plug, since the family should see that it's really time for grandma to go...

Gallant: struggles with the complex question of whether to save lives using genetic materials from potential human beings
Goofus: has great fun combinging all sorts of DNA into fun "mutants" and sometimes forgets to kill them when they get "really dangerous".

Gallant: decides to keep his baby after he's raped, since it *is* an innocent life.
(You might need to use "re-gender" to understand this!)
Goofus: stands outside the abortion clinic looking for someone who's hot, since he knows he'd never have to worry about her keeping some brat

Gallant: respects the patient's choice of treatment, even if he himself wouldn't make that choice
Goofus: decides that the best procedure for the patient is the one that fits in with his massage appointment

Gallant: carefully goes over all the details of the research project with his patients to make sure they understand what they are getting into.
Goofus: forgets which patients are "control" half-way through his experiment and decides to just give them all some experimental drug he's developing. Hey, he could be famous!

* highly peripheral side note:

I have to say that while I still enjoy Highlights in general, I enjoyed "Goofus and Gallant" much more as a kid. What they really need is a version of the "gray spy" (from Mad Magazine's Spy vs. Spy) which will always skewer both of them. I always liked the gray spy the best, and similarly, I identify with the (as of yet unnamed) character "Graciella" who understands that life is not so simple and obvious as Goofus and Gallant make it appear. And in case I didn't make enough pop-culture type references, I think that Goofus represents the "shadows" while Gallant represents the "vorlons" from Babylon 5... Something to think about...or not.

* additional update:
Speaking of MAD Magazine, there's a feature called "Melvin and Jenkins" which makes fun of Goofus and Gallant like I did here. Now I'm feeling paranoid that I actually copied some of the ideas from things I read in MAD Magazine. Well, consider this update as an official disclaimer: some of these ideas may not be 100% mine. I'd still like to see the ideas that others have.


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