Medical Obligations

I’ve been giving much thought to all the accumulated knowledge cancer patients get once we’ve lived in CancerLand a little while. Staying active in social media especially builds that knowledge as we interact with other patients in various stages of treatment. I’m not talking about strictly scientific, medical knowledge; I’m talking about cultural knowledge as well. Not only are patients filled with this knowledge, but so too are medical facilities and fundraising and support organizations.

Or are they? Continue reading “Medical Obligations”

Free Remedial Journalism Lesson Here!

OK, I HATE that I noticed this mere minutes after learning of Alan Rickman’s death. I even hated making a small note on Facebook about the language surrounding David Bowie’s death:

I didn’t want to gripe about language so soon after ‪#‎DavidBowie‘s death. But, damn, one UK headline I saw actually said Bowie “lost” his battle to cancer.

Now, it’s bad enough that the people behind the official Facebook announcement used regrettable language about his “courageous battle”, but at least they did not say lose. I cannot blame the media for using “courageous battle” when it was part of the official announcement. But putting “lose” in there–for fuck’s sake!

As I’ve said MANY times I just don’t even buy into this whole battle structure. But if I were to go with that flow for a moment, and concede that perhaps Bowie was framing the last months of his life with cancer as a battle…who in their right mind would say he lost? He released this album–kind of made it all like his art….seems to me he did his death on his own terms. Hardly a loss!

I mean, Bowie just seemed so alien, such an Artist with a capital “A”, that bringing up the old CancerLand semantics quibble seemed silly, petty, small.

But this morning I’m seeing that Rickman “suffered” from cancer, while Bowie “courageously battled” cancer. What the hell? Who is writing this? What idiot editor is approving this? Continue reading “Free Remedial Journalism Lesson Here!”

“I Know It When I See It”

US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said this phrase in 1964 describing how to define obscenity. Yeah, I looked it up because I was trying to remember how/why the phrase was familiar. I seemed to remember it in relation to either the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibitions, or with the “Piss Christ” exhibition, or was it the Tipper Gore/PMRC/Moral Majority stuff back in the day? Which time did the phrase pop up, from my late high school and early college memories? All three? Probably!

It is interesting to note that Justice Stewart said this line in a ruling about a film (“The Lovers”), proclaiming it to NOT be obscene. Film, ratings, and obscene content pop up every now and then. I’m thinking most recently of the film “Blue Valentine”. Remember Ryan Gosling criticizing the MPAA over the initial NC-17 rating? He pointed out that when men receive oral sex in film, it is “acceptable”, but when it is a woman—well much gasping and pearl clutching ensued (my words, Gosling never said “pearl clutching” that I know of, but I’d love to hear him do so!). Go back about a decade and check out the documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” for an illuminating look at the sex-obsessed, secretive, MPAA board. Filmmaker Kimberly Pierce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) makes the same point as Gosling in the first few minutes of the film. Filmmakers interviewed in the film gripe the most gruesome violence merely gets an “R” rating, but too much use of the word “fuck” and too much, or ahem, “certain”, read: gay, intimacy scenes gets you a “NC-17”. There are many gripes in addition to this—such as the accusation that the MPAA serves the big studios and punishes the small independently made films—but the pearl-clutching, community standards claim is what I’m interested here. It seems the standards—if there are any—are based on personal prejudice rather than what most of America thinks. The documentary explains all this much better than I; go check it out. Continue reading ““I Know It When I See It””