NYT magazine Ethicist Randy Cohen blasts a Canuck artist for her plans to reproduce and market the found diary of a young girl, with identifying info edited out. In doing so, Cohen indirectly calls out Davy Rothbart and his baby, postmodern phenomenon Found Magazine. The Ethicist's heated admonition:
In the name of neither art nor commerce nor the Spanish Inquisition is it permissible to publish someone's work, particularly her most intimate thoughts, without consent. Indeed, it is disturbing that you apparently made no effort to return this diary to its owner by leaving word at that McDonald's, for example, or putting up posters in the neighborhood.
Your editing might protect the diarist from some embarrassment, but not all: surely the people who know her well would deduce her identity. But even if she were impervious to embarrassment, you may not peremptorily publish. "Postmodern" is one word for what you propose; there are others that are more accurate and less self-serving.
Damnation! So where does that leave Found, a publication which has provided many of us with ample diversion?