Mr & Mrs Keller Convene A Death Panel

Lisa Adams is a mother of three who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36 and is now, in her early forties, dealing with a recurrence in her bones. Bill Keller and his wife seem to be irritated by the fact that she’s bogging and tweeting “copiously” about her illness. In the Times today, Bill wonders if it wouldn’t be better for her to choose, like his father-in-law, to be “unplugged from everything but painkillers” and die already. Bill’s wife has also weighed in at the Guardian but I don’t feel like vomiting so I won’t read her column. Bill’s was enough.

There’s a lot to be said about the way that this country deals with cancer, but Bill Keller’s ham-fisted, condescending attempt isn’t the way to do it. As far as I can tell from reading Lisa’s blog, he gets a lot wrong. She’s not buying into the “I’m at war with cancer” metaphor Keller tries to foist on her. And, she’s not near the point where one wants to “unplug” (mainly because as far as I can tell from her detailed description of her disease and treatment, she’s not “plugged”, just getting reasonable palliative radiation, chemo and other procedures to ease the pain of her cancer and to address easily treated complications like her chest filling up with fluid.) Bill is also concerned that she’s a “proselytizer” for Sloan-Kettering, where he says she’s “bedridden”. Perhaps if Bill is overly concerned about that, he can be treated in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe if he’s unlucky enough to have cancer, just to be sure he’s far away from the questionable ethics of his city’s leading cancer institution.

I’ll outsource the remainder of my rage to Wonkette.

81 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    Wonkette is my primary comedy vehicle on the web now. Used to go to several other sites regularly. Now even The Onion isn’t really funny.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    Emma Keller wrote:

    Why am I so obsessed?

    I think that’s the problem here. The Kellers are obsessed with Lisa Miller, and they’re blaming Miller for their obsession. If Miller didn’t share everything, then the Kellers wouldn’t know about her and won’t be upset when someone they’ve never met dies.

    Death is not pretty. Death from cancer is really not pretty. If you don’t want to know the ugly details, then stop reading her blog and tweets, dumbfucks.

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    Bill is also concerned that she’s a “proselytizer” for Sloan-Kettering, where he says she’s “bedridden”.

    I suspect that he’s mostly upset that the best cancer hospital in the city (and #2 in the country, according to US News) is treating members of the 99%. The best treatment is supposed to be reserved for the ultra-wealthy, not shared with the masses.

  4. 4
    jl says:

    Thanks for the link. I saw it on Wonkette this morning and was curious what the flap was about.

    Sometimes I have used terms in the comments that might be considered uncivil, and even worse, their meaning may be obscure. For example, ‘vicious dingbat’. Well, OK, there you go, the Keller opinion emission is an example.

  5. 5
    WereBear says:

    WTF is prompting this? These what kind of sick person wants to put people to death when they don’t want to go?

  6. 6
    Dexter says:

    Looks like Guardian pulled Mrs. Keller’s musings, at least for the time being.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    poco says:

    Margaret Sullivan (public editor of NYT) did a fairly critical column on Keller’s shit stain just a little time ago. Its fun to read that.

    Though Keller tries to avoid responsibility by blaming all the negative response to Lisa Adam’s supporters, not just normal human beings who are sickened by this husband-and-wife tag teaming to attack a completely innocent person!

  9. 9
    Gin & Tonic says:

    The Guardian has pulled Emma’s column “pending investigation.” Among other things, she quoted Lisa Adams (including DM’s) without asking Lisa Adams if she could.

  10. 10
    Cassidy says:

    The invasion and war Bill Keller opined for involved lots of death, little of which was humane and honorable, unless his definition of humane and honorable is blown open, covered in your own blood, piss, and shit, crying in pain and maybe the name of a loved one you were coherent enough to remember. Fuck him.

  11. 11
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: What was really effing nasty, and may be the real issue with these pampered overpaid vicious dingbats that prompts their obsession, was their curiosity over how much the cancer care was costing. Is it rude, and uncalled for, for me to wonder whether the Kellers were irked by the possibility that a few bucks are being nicked from their rather prosperous lifestyle to pay for the care that Lisa Adams, or people like her, are receiving?

    When I read BJ commentesr talk about ‘monstrous’ and similar terms last night, I was wondering what all the fuss was about, and whether such terms were over the top. But, really, the columns were weird, nasty, pointless and stupid. Vicious dingbats REAM in the USA, seems like sometimes.

  12. 12
    Comrade Jake says:

    They’re taking pot-shots at someone dying of cancer. Sarah Palin’s not that stupid.

  13. 13
    themann1086 says:

    @poco: I’d never heard of Lisa Adams until the Kellers did this, and I’m disgusted. Obviously, it’s Lisa Adams having cancer that’s to blame for my disgust, not the moral bankruptcy of the Kellers.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    @Comrade Jake: True. Lower than Palin and probably even Li’ Newtie (at least in public if not in private life). Even they might well realize that they should not to go there.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    @Mnemosyne: Agreed. Why ARE they so obsessed? Seriously? Do they have some money in the game somehow? Are they shareholders in some hospital or drug company that she’s speaking out against, or are the drugs and hospitals she uses are in direct competition to something of theirs?

    It’s a bizarre thing for them to speak on, let alone this personally and viciously. I wonder if it’s a follow the money situation.

  16. 16
    Mayken says:

    Soooo not getting out of the boat. My mother died from a recurrence of metastatic breast cancer. Mr and Mrs Keller can go DIAF!

  17. 17
    Mark says:

    It’s not enough that my father-in-law’s death won. Everyone else’s death has to lose.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    @Cassidy: For the Bill Kellers of the world, all wars that he wants are humane and honorable. Sure there are some casualties, but that’s war and of course it’s Worth It In The End. Etc. Sick fuckers.

  19. 19
    👾 Martin says:

    @Violet: The poors are driving up the cost of healthcare for the deserving. Economically we’d all be better off is Ms Adams just shut the fuck up and died already. Plus Twitter is on my lawn.


  20. 20
    Origuy says:

    With apologies to Dylan Thomas:

    Do not go gentle upon the New York Times,
    Journalism should burn and rave on break of day;
    Rage, rage, against the dying of the Times.

    Though wise men know the Times is Right,
    Because its words have screwed the pooch, they
    Do not go gentle upon the New York Times.

  21. 21
    MattF says:

    I suggest we dissect the Kellers and find out what internal organ they are both missing. We will then know the physical location of the soul.

  22. 22
    Kathleen says:

    @Cassidy: Yes. The only time it is proper to “capitalize” and dwell on death in print is when you support a war based on lies that fills the coffers and furthers the agenda of the plutocrats whose money and attention you crave because you have a heart made of parasite poop.

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    These are people for whom the term “vicious, pustulent, fuckwads”, was coined. And if it wasn’t coined, there. I just did it.

  24. 24
    Anna in PDX says:

    I read about this at LGM. A commenter there said that Emma Keller had actually had her own bout with cancer and could afford $250,000 worth of breast reconstruction surgery. I really can’t even understand what drives wealthy, very lucky people to criticize others for coping with their illnesses (or any other life problem) in a different way than they do.

  25. 25
    FlyingToaster says:

    @MattF: It’s gonna be some heretofore undetected organ in the hindbrain that’s the size of a grain of rice. Good Luck.

  26. 26
    aimai says:

    I’ve been in a rage over this all day since I started my day getting a return mammogram, six months early, just “in case.” Both Keller’s can get stuffed and, happily, I think they’ve been getting stuffed quite nicely all day.

  27. 27
    DougJ says:

    Deathbed Selfies would be a great name for band.

  28. 28
    Anoniminous says:

    It’s FEMA Death Camps run by the blah Mooselem that are evil. Private Death Camps run by JOB! CREATORS! & etc. are the American Way.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:


    Do they have some money in the game somehow?

    The Kellers are just worried about the flip-side of what Eisenhower said:

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

    He didn’t mention medicine for the sick, but the idea is there; every cancer treatment is money that’s being taken away from blowing up Those People.

  30. 30

    What’s bizarre and galling about the use of Lisa Adams as the straw patient, from both these boos, is that there are plenty of examples of what they object to that are real.

    For example: CaringBridge provides an online group grope for dying people* who insist on everything possible being thrown at their disease, sparing no expense and without reflection about whether the quality of extended days or months are worthwhile. One of my cousins tried to put an account on there for me when I was first diagnosed and I found myself surging with the energy it took to tell her off. I’m sure there’s a lot there that is thoughtful, but if you want to explore the id of dying people who are bravely fighting a battle they will inevitably lose…there are lots of examples.

    This incident makes me feel justified in procrastinating my marketing activities–the last thing I’d want is some feedback from the Kellers about whether I have the right cancer-tude in my writing.

    *ETA: I’m sure there’s a lot more to that site, and any other resource like it, that wasn’t apparent when I looked at it through my invasive-lesion-colored glasses 10 days after diagnosis. There was a rage-fueled haze, sometimes literally red, suffusing a lot of what I saw at that time, so I’m sure my description undersells CaringBridge. However, if you’re looking for fodder to support ‘show some spine & take the hospice care already!’, it can so easily be found that one supposes the Kellers chose not to look.

  31. 31
    gopher2b says:

    I don’t know how old Mr. Keller’s father-in-law was when he died of cancer but that lady is in her early 40’s and has three children 16 years old and younger. If that were me — and I have three kids — I would drink the blood of puppies if I thought it would keep me alive.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    @Roger Moore: Yeah I get that they’re licking the balls of plutocrats and pushing out words to support their every whim. But this seems so personal. Did they think they were making an example of Adams and that in turn would scare away any other poors who might want to access cancer treatment? Is “sharing your story” only okay if you’re the Right Sort of People (like Sally Quinn and her family saga unfolding in the newspaper)?

    Like I said, it seems so personal. I don’t understand what button they pushed. Maybe one of them writing a column, but both of them? She really got under their skin.

  33. 33
    gogol's wife says:

    This is the same guy who wanted to make sure we knew that Mandela wasn’t really all that great, a few days after he died.

  34. 34
    Aji says:

    @Violet: No, it’s a follow the very bad people situation. The very bad people being the Kellers, in case that wasn’t clear.

    @aimai: Hope all’s well. I’ve been through a few of those scares in my life, and it’s sheer hell until you know.

    Also, too, getting stuffed is too good for these malignant solipsists. Attention-whoring much? “OMG, Lisa Adams is getting attention! That means there’s not going to be enough for ME!”

  35. 35
    Cassidy says:

    My friends husband just died of cancer. Pneumonia, actually, but the leukemia made him immune compromised. He was 39. I told her I wouldn’t bring food as I was sure lots of people would fill her fridge, but if bring a bottle of liquor and the promise to babysit when she decided she needed it. I also got to say I’m sorry for only paying attention to my own life and not reaching out to her more when he was alive but sick. Outside of FB, we haven’t talked much since before I was married. Life’s too short. People going through that, the dying and watching of the dying, they beget to be pissed, a little nutty, what the fuck ever they want.

  36. 36
    catclub says:

    @poco: “attack a completely innocent person! ” Actually I suspect that for anyone over about 7 years old, that does not exist, but I think I get what you meant.

  37. 37

    @gopher2b: Exactly. My dad died when he was 54. I was 39 when my lesion went wild. He was stoic, thoughtful and modeled a good death for his kids. I would have drunk the puppy blood if it promised better odds of seeing my 11 year old finish college than the 60% I have.

    I have a 50% chance of turning 54, assuming that the cancer I’ve already had treated behaves as expected. Lisa Adams has a 0% chance of seeing her oldest turn 25. I’m in no position to judge how often she should tweet from the hospital. And if I’m not, I can’t think WTF would be.

    That is all.

  38. 38
    Dcrefugee says:

    As of this moment, the column by Mrs. Keller (what’s her first name, BTW?) has been pulled from The Guardian’s Web site:

    This post has been removed pending investigation.”

  39. 39
    greennotGreen says:

    How our culture treats end-of-life issues is a conversation worth having, but NOT in the context of any one individual’s choices in the absence of a cultural consensus.

    I am reminded of a case told to me by a medical student who came back to our lab for some emotional support on the day he lost his first patient. It was a young person who’d had a horrific accident. The medical team knew from the get-go that the case was hopeless, but they kept the patient on life support for a few days to give the family time to come to terms with the loss and to be able to make the decision to let their loved one go. Perhaps that was wrong. Perhaps that was a needless waste of medical resources, but until society decides that across the board we do not do such things, who is going to be the judge in this case? I guess the Kellers.

  40. 40
    kc says:

    @Anna in PDX:

    What? You mean she didn’t accept the loss of her breast with grace and dignity?

  41. 41

    Oh, I bet. “We’re investigating what could have possessed our editors to drink Everclear and click ‘publish’ on this wreck of a personal attack, BRB…”

  42. 42
    poco says:

    @catclub: Heh! “Completely innocent” as in not having committed the crimes the Kellers accuse her of. They want her to die already and stop tweeting–since being alive and being on twitter are no crimes, Lisa is a completely innocent person.

    I also get what you meant.:-)

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Is Lisa Adams somehow forcing people to read her stuff? ‘Cause that would be wrong. If not, the Kellers are simply kicking down out of spite. We’ve been talking quite a bit about bullies here for the past week. The Kellers seem to be classic kiss up kick down bullies.

  44. 44
    greennotGreen says:

    @PhoenixRising: We 50%-ers should stick together!

  45. 45
    Gex says:

    I spent almost one month in the hospital while Kate was dying of cancer. You know what being in that situation is like? It is isolating. Absolutely isolating. I was online EVERY SINGLE CHANCE I COULD to try to connect to the real world, to people. I needed to tell people what I was going through and no one could come in to see us.

    Fuck the Kellers. Evil motherfuckers who don’t even understand that one of the most basic need we have as people is to connect with others and talk about our feelings. Their advice to people who are dying and scared? Be lonely too.

    Fuck them. They are everything that is wrong with the “haves” class in this country. Absolutely zero empathy but full of judgement.

  46. 46
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Every eyeball on Lisa Adams’ Twitter feed or any articles is an eyeball that doesn’t read the Kellers’ stuff. She’s hurting them personally.

  47. 47
    JPL says:

    Earlier this morning when spankyslappybottom at 55 posted this

    Well, tomorrow’s justified online freakout will JUSTIFIABLY be over the ghoulish Bill and Emma Kellers’ columns on dying cancer patient Lisa Adams. Seems that Lisa’s social media omnipresence has caused Le Kellers to tut tut and click click their tongues and wonder just how much, you know dear, exposure, is, well, appropriate in these cases. And also, since Keller’s father died differently, Lisa is obviously an attention whore. Atrios and Wil Wheaton are all over it on Twitter. Appalling.

    I posted this

    @Spankyslappybottom: Normally I skip Keller’s columns because I find them useless. I ventured over to the NYTImes and I’m appalled that Keller thinks he can compare two different experiences. I then read his wife’s column at The Guardian and she has this update Since this article was published two days ago, there’s been a lot of negative comment on Twitter and below the line. Lisa Adams herself was upset by it. I had been in communication with her a number of times in recent weeks; given her health, I could have given her advance warning about the article and should have told her that I planned to quote from our conversations. I regret not doing so. My brother died of stage 4 cancer a month ago and the pain that their columns caused not only Lisa Adams but other folks suffering from an illness, is beyond repair.

    Now after further review.. I might add this comment.. em…

  48. 48
    Violet says:

    @Dcrefugee: The article has been removed but the comments are still there. They’re not kind to Lady Keller.

  49. 49
    Seanly says:


    Death is not pretty. Death from cancer is really not pretty. If you don’t want to know the ugly details, then stop reading her blog and tweets, dumbfucks.

    Even treatment from cancer isn’t pretty. My wife had Stage I Hodgkin Lymphoma on her neck over 2 years ago (at age 42). Her doctor treated it very aggressively. She got 2 rounds of chemo (4 weeks on, 2 weeks off I think), then followed by radiation for a few weeks. My 66 year old uncle had Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma but didn’t get radiation. My wife might’ve been a little out of the ordinary as hers was a strain where there is still debate about it being Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s.

    The anti-nauseous meds worked great, but my wife had no energy during the treatments. Her taste buds changed and there were favorite foods that tasted disgusting (that one went away a few months later). She now doesn’t feel up to working full-time. Thankfully, we are in a position where we can still make it without a full income from her.

    The worst aspect is that she developed pretty severe peripheral neuropathy in her lower extremities. She wants to avoid taking meds constantly for her nerves so just suffers through the stabbing pains in her feet. Luckily, they’re not constant – seem to come on when she’s tired and/or later at night.

    My wife’s experience with cancer led us to not take extraordinary measures with our beloved dog who might’ve had cancer. He lost the use of his right hind leg and had spots on his lung. We gave him prednisone, but felt it wasn’t worth the effort for an 11-yr old big dog on 3 legs to go through testing & then chemo. We didn’t want him to go through the pain of poisoning him to kill the cancer.

  50. 50
    elftx says:

    so papa-in-law is the “true” warrior for having spared society the expense of his dying

    Death panels are too good for these people

  51. 51
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I had not heard of Lisa Adams prior to last night; I just went and took a look at her site. She has every right to write whatever she wants about her personal situation – not because I or the Kellers or anyone else approves or disapproves. She has every right to do it because it is her personal situation. I one doesn’t like it one simply need not click on it. Christ.

  52. 52
    muddy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My experience at the hospital today: for the 3rd trip this week and the tv is on Foxnoise. Loudly. I want to change the channel. No, the remote can’t be out here where patients can touch it. There are no buttons on the tv that I could find. When I ask, they say the remote is in that office there and that person has to do it. On all 3 trips, regular hours, no one in that office. Door is locked.

    Then when I see the doctor, I complain of it, I say it’s inappropriate to have something people feel strongly about on the hospital waiting room tv, when people are already sick. I tell him about how you can’t change it and it’s loud so you are forced. I give my opinion that someone in the back thinks it’s great to propagandize the weak helpless captive audience. It is not a popular thing locally at all (vermont).

    He makes a big show out of rubbing his hands like Snidely Whiplash, making faces, and says, “Do you really think someone is doing that on purpose to make people listen??” Well, Yes I do, and I don’t think that’s some crazy paranoid shit either. Someone put it on. And it remained on after I complained twice before. Of course someone is doing it on purpose. Fuck.

    When I had to sit by the tv again I was in a lot of pain and out of patience, I went over and ripped the cord right out. There was no plug, what could I do? None of the other people had a problem with it. Hopefully I was not on a security camera.

  53. 53
    Gex says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Nothing like being lectured on appropriate behavior by people (where there is no convention yet established no less) by people who can’t be bothered to follow the rules where they have already been established.

  54. 54
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, it’s not like Lisa Adams is running around on the Kellers’ lawn shouting through a megaphone about her cancer treatment and status. Just don’t read it if you don’t like it. These people are heartless.

  55. 55
    MattR says:

    @JPL quoting Emma Keller’s update to her original piece (emphasis mine):

    Since this article was published two days ago, there’s been a lot of negative comment on Twitter and below the line. Lisa Adams herself was upset by it. I had been in communication with her a number of times in recent weeks; given her health, I could have given her advance warning about the article and should have told her that I planned to quote from our conversations. I regret not doing so.

    How the fuck is that not a fireable offense?

  56. 56
    Ang says:

    hehehe ….. tried to pull up Mrs. Bitchface’s column on The Guardian, and “This post has been removed pending investigation.” Love it!

  57. 57

    @muddy: Best $15 I spent on cancer was the Putt-er Outer. Albus Dumbledore hisself may have made these, I dunno, but they definitely work.

  58. 58
    aimai says:

    @muddy: I have turned off so many TVs in hospitals. But they are on to us and have removed the buttons from the side. When my daughter was in Children’s a few years ago I just got right up on a chair and turned them off, or unplugged them. No one every said a word to me. I consider the TV in the hospital waiting room to be absolutely horrific. Its inexcusable.

  59. 59
    Violet says:

    @muddy: You might want to get one of these:

    Small keychain device for turning off obtrusive TVs at bars and restaurants
    Contains 209 separate turn-off codes for nearly every TV model
    Cycles through entire range of codes in fewer than 69 seconds
    Lightweight and discreet key ring attachment; range of up to 50 feet

  60. 60
    YellowJournalism says:

    These people are vile, plain and simple.

  61. 61
    Gex says:

    By the way, Social Media can’t both be this undignified, non-serious thing to be scoffed at by our morality police AND be a thing that is so pristine it must not be sullied. And being print media folks you know they think this new media stuff is a joke.

    I dare them to read a selection of Twitter posts of my choosing and THEN finding Lisa Adams’ posts upsetting.

  62. 62
    muddy says:

    I should get the device. Still, I have to say ripping that thing was the best I’ve felt in ages. Muddysmash! Would of course like to use the cord for around the doctor’s neck as well.

  63. 63
    chopper says:

    when my dad died of cancer, he was all stoic about it. but that’s the way he was and that’s the way he wanted to go. if blogging about it would have made him feel even a little better on even one day, then fuck anyone who would have told him otherwise.

    seriously, this is one of those wtf moments. don’t these people have even one better thing to do than second guess how some woman they never met deals with her terminal illness?

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @MattR: The post was up this morning on the Guardian.and I easily found it. I guess this is no longer possible. Maybe they can send Bill Keller out to pasture also because that was the most insensitive piece of crap ever written. IMO

  65. 65
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I liked this comment at NYT:

    Virginia 53 minutes ago

    It must be wonderful to be able to pass such insensitive judgments from your throne at the NYT. When your day passes there, perhaps you can be elevated to the thrill of stomping on baby birds.

  66. 66
    greennotGreen says:

    @muddy: During my cancer treatment at the medical center where I work, I had only the most wonderful interactions with doctors and nurses. I can’t say enough good things about them. However, during a couple of rough patches I ended up in another hospital for emergency treatment (because of proximity), and I can hardly say enough bad things about them. I refused to go back to that hospital for anything.

    So, if you have a doctor you don’t like – raise a ruckus! Get a different one!

  67. 67
    MattR says:

    @muddy: Reminds me that I have a dental cleaning tomorrow. My dentist does not have a TV in the waiting room, but there is one in each exam room. However, they also ask what channel you want to watch while they are doing the procedure. I think that is a pretty cool idea and probably helps a bunch of people get through the visit (I always ask them to turn it off since I just shut my eyes, put in headphones and try to focus on the music)

    OTOH, I was at my cardiologist last week and there was a story on the news that definitely affected my blood pressure and heart rate. I can’t remember what the story was and I am pretty sure the coverage by the news team was fair. It was just that the news itself was so upsetting that I definitely felt myself getting mad. Looking back, I probably should have mentioned something to the receptionist or doctor about finding a more relaxing channel but I was only in the waiting room for 2 or 3 minutes and I quickly forgot about it as I quickly shifted focus to the actual exam (and I don’t need to go back there for another two years).

    @JPL: For reference, here is an archived copy of the original version of the article. (It does not look like captured a copy after the update was made)

  68. 68
    muddy says:

    @greennotGreen: This one used to be good. I mean I thought he’d get the Fox thing as he is liberal and wants single payer. Or he said he was at least. At this point I just can’t bear starting all over finding out the particular issues with a new person.

    It’s my experience if you have any head meds on your chart that you are apparently magically inoculated against illness. Because they say everything is always in your head. I was just getting this BS last week from them when a different doc took a whole turkey baster of cloudy bloody stuff out of the knee that they said was fine. Surprise! I had to insist that he even try.

    Speaking to my son later, he says at least they can’t say that fluid is from your mind. I said probably they will advise me that my brain has leaked out to my knee. We laughed, but I was not entirely joking.

  69. 69
    JustRuss says:

    @MattR: I have a cleaning tomorrow too. No TVs, but I’m thinking about bringing my ipod to listen to during the cleaning. Would that be rude?

  70. 70
    Roger Moore says:


    How the fuck is that not a fireable offense?

    The only fireable offense for people like that is insufficient fealty to The Narrative. Being wrong, evil, and unethical is par for the course.

  71. 71
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    so papa-in-law is the “true” warrior for having spared society the expense of his dying

    There’s a germ of a point there, which is that provision of palliative care — when it is desired by the patient — is often pretty shoddy in the US, and the fucked-up incentives in the medical profession make it possible to turn treatment into a money pit. Bill Keller completely shat all over that with his piece.

  72. 72
    gogol's wife says:


    My dentist has a TV in the exam room, but he had it on the Queen Latifah show, which is actually pretty good, and sort of perfect for distracting one from dental work.

    I am notorious for demanding that Fox be turned off in health facility waiting rooms. I get as obnoxious as I need to be.

  73. 73
    MattR says:


    Would that be rude?

    I sure hope not. I do it all the time :) It’s not like we can have a conversation when s/he is busy working in your mouth. Of course s/he will want to talk to you at some point so make sure it is at a reasonable volume so you can hear any questions or instructions and that you have the pause/mute button at your fingertips. The only other piece of advice is to wrap the earphones behind your head so the cord is not in the way of the little bib they give you.

    @gogol’s wife: Not sure if I have seen it on that, but I have seen it on The View and Ellen (which are in the same vein). The other popular options seem to be the house hunting/remodeling type shows. Don’t think I have seen any cooking shows. That just seems like it would be mean.

  74. 74
    Annamal says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I always ask my Hygeinist if she minds and she never does. Audiobooks make an unpleasant experience much less unpleasant (also my dentists used to play mr bean on the screen above the chair and I was never a fan…these days it’s cirque du soleil which is fine).

  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:


    It’s very common, so go ahead and bring it with you and just ask if s/he objects. The dentist and/or hygienist would rather have you be relaxed than tense — it’s easier than trying to work on a stressed-out patient.

    I had a pretty major dental phobia for years, and I never had a dentist or hygienist object to me wearing an iPod.

  76. 76
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Brilliant. Thank you.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    ” that anything short of an unqualified “right on, Lisa!” is inhumane or sacrilegious. ”

    I feel their pain. I read two really stupid and offensive columns by some second rate pundits, one of which felt the need to question how much money was being spent on cancer victims’ care (which of course is EXTREMELY relevant to the discussion of the propriety, and some kind of bush-league Ms. Manners pissypants niceties, of sharing one’s struggle with a deadly condition with interested followers on a public forum that is effortlessly avoided if you it’s not to your taste).

    And which added to that is the awfulness that one of the pundits was in correspondence with the subject, but, in this situation of all situations, did not think to inform her that she was going to be the named subject of a very high profile rumination on whether she should just shut up her mouth and die already.

    So, I realize I am a mere lesser person, not a fatuous pundit with lotta monies and statuses, but I hope my expression of total egregious fail towards these two sorry and sad pundits is not deemed inhumane or sacrilegious.

  78. 78
    Another amazon says:

    @Anna in PDX: I doubt the Kellers forked over a quarter of a million for Emma’s reconstructed breasts. The Woman’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1988 REQUIRES most group plans to cover the costs. See ttp://

    That’s right, we still don’t have single payer but we do have a federal law to make sure women who have had mastectomies can get reconstruction. What does that say about us and our culture?

    Sign me,
    Another amazon by circumstance

  79. 79
    StringOnAStick says:

    @JustRuss: No, it isn’t rude to bring an ipod to your cleaning.

    I’m an RDH and I work for a temp firm so I work all over the place. I hate, hate, hate working in offices with TV’s in every room, mainly because I have some hearing loss, use hearing aids, and background noise really hurts my auditory comprehension, but mostly because most TV, especially during the day, is absolute crap and annoying as hell. If someone likes having a ipod to get through an appointment, it’s OK with me but then you miss out on what information I can give you (most RDH’s aren’t into teaching, but I am). And as long as you don’t feel put off by my physically moving your head into the various positions I need it to be in, I’m OK with it.

  80. 80
    JustRuss says:


    It’s not like we can have a conversation when s/he is busy working in your mouth.

    Good point, I did think of that soon after I posted.

  81. 81
    Petorado says:

    I believe the Kellers convened one of those death panels we’ve heard so much about and determined, like Barbara Bush, that other people’s cancer shouldn’t sully their beautiful minds.

    How can the Kellers not be gagging over the irony that Bill and Emma felt the need to very publicly share their emotions about their comfortable little lives being interfered with by the emotions shared by a real person’s authentic struggle to live. If the Kellers took their own advice, they should have kept their pissy little thoughts to themselves.

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