Here a Chick, There a Chick

Chicks and Prudence.

Here a Chick, There a Chick

The world is in a panic over chickens. A few of these birds in Hong Kong may be responsible for a new strain of flu that could produce a global pandemic on the order of the one that killed millions in 1918. Or so the arriviste chickophobes of the media are clucking. Followers of a certain feature in Slate, however, have long been aware of the threat posed by chickens to humanity’s health and well-being. Mark Alan Stamaty’s recently concluded comic strip, “Doodlennium,” has been a lone voice in the wilderness warning against chickens. The entire Doodlennium chicken saga is in “The Compost.” Cluck here, we mean, click here, to review the story before it’s too late.

Dear Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence, our new advice columnist, has been overwhelmed by the number of Slatesters seeking her wisdom on a range of matters. Slatesters appear to know almost nothing about how to behave in virtually any social or ethical situation, so it is fortunate that Prudence has arrived to enlighten us. But Prudence has a problem. Many people e-mail her wishing to comment on her comments. To publish these metacomments in her column would create two difficulties. First, it would take up space that could otherwise be devoted to solving additional problems of the world. Second, it would tarnish the sheen of infallibility to which any advice columnist is entitled–and which Prudence, among all of them, most deserves. Our solution? A new thread in “The Fray” devoted to discussion of Prudence and her advice. The Fray is, of course, a very cauldron of moral relativism. It exists to be nonjudgmental. Issues can–indeed, must–remain unsettled indefinitely. Dear Prudence, by contrast, must radiate moral absolutism and be judgmental in the extreme. Her word is law.

–Michael Kinsley