Pop-culture maven Chuck Klosterman will pen "The Ethicist" column for The New York Times Magazine, he confirmed on Twitter today. The news first squirted out when Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren tweeted, "It's a little scary when The Ethicist starts following you," in reference to a brand-new account that boasts the bio, "I write the Ethicist column for and also tweet as @CKlosterman." Asked whether the half-announcement was accidental or a brilliant manipulation of the ways news spreads online, Lindgren told Daily Intel, "It was somewhere in between. We were definitely planning to do it on Twitter. I didn't actually think people would solve it that quickly."
After an hour of speculation by media-watchers, the Ethicist account certified, "This time, the Internet is correct." Klosterman's first column will appear this Sunday. (Update: Here it is!)
The Sex, Drugs, & Cocoa Puffs author will replace Ariel Kaminer, who held the spot for about a year after taking over for Randy Cohen, who was pushed out after more than a decade in the role. "None of the guest Ethicists from the past four weeks were try-outs," Lindgren said, explaining that Klosterman auditioned separately.
As for changes to the format of the long-running feature, that's up to Chuck. "It's really his column. I think it will be different, totally," Lindgren said. "It's not about getting the right answer, it's about explaining your thinking and persuasion, really. He has a lot of ideas about that and we were just impressed with the depth of his interest."
"This is a job I've wanted for 10 years," Klosterman told the Atlantic Wire. "I don't claim to be more ethical than anyone else, or even more ethical than the average person. But I love thinking about these types of problems, and I'll try to be interesting."
In adding the former columnist for Spin and Esquire, the Times Magazine's courtship of younger, Internet-savvy readers through hip contributors, new sections, and playful blogging continues. "The calculus on our part was simpler than that," Lindgren insisted. "He's a great writer who really wants to do this." But the fact that the news trickled out on Twitter seems fitting.