In which I outsource to Tbogg, Part the XXXIV

I was thinking of things to say about the Kellers using their mega platforms to talk about the cancer patient, Lisa Bonchek Adams, and I was pretty conflicted.  As much as I hate Bill Keller for how he dragged the NYT down during his tenure and turned into a print version of Fox News, particularly during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and how he doesn’t seem to feel any responsibility for the results of that mendacity, I didn’t read the evil intent or snobbishness in his column that a lot of people seem to have done.  But being me, I’m not as articulate when I’m conflicted like that, so I turn over to the genius, Tbogg:

to be frank: I don’t get the outrage. Keller’s column about Lisa Bonchek Adams takes off from one his wife wrote over at The Guardian (since taken down presumably because Emma Keller quoted private DM’s from Bonchek Adams without permission, but you can read it here). To my reading, Bill Keller is writing about how we choose to prolong or not prolong our lives, economic consequences, and how the modern tendency to ‘live out loud’ via social media informs others. Emma Keller’s piece, on the other hand, is primarily devoted to the social media aspect, particularly how, even though it is presented freely for our consideration, it can make us feel like a voyeur. She also addresses  our propensity to over-share. I think it is possible to argue the merits of their views as well as their tone but, in light of their effusive praise of the courage and fight in Lisa Bonchek Adams, I’m hard pressed to find the shaming,  the bullying, and the death-wishing. If there is something to complain about, it is Bill Keller seemingly using his NYT column to defend his wife’s column published elsewhere. Poorly played, Bill.

And he doesn’t hold himself out above anyone here either:

… One last thing before everyone starts accusing me  in the comments of “mansplaining” (as if cancer isn’t an equal opportunity destroyer), or “heathsplaining” or “mortalityplaining” or whatever catchy dismissive neologism bubbles up to the surface this week. I had no small part in an Internet mob in 2012 when I posted a tweet from George Tierney of Greenville, South Carolina for being a dick to Sandra Fluke. It was all fun and games with his request to be taken off the Google until it kind of exploded and then people starting harassing his parents and posting his address and phone number and being every bit as douchey as George. At that point, as awful of a person as I thought he was, I wished I could have taken all of it off of the Google.

Just because a mob is on the internet, doesn’t make it any less awful than the pitchforks and torches shouty kind.

I had part of that last one.  It was great fun at the time, and while I didn’t go to the extremes some did, I didn’t cover myself in glory there either.  Most people don’t know (maybe don’t even care) that Mr. Tierney apologized to Ms. Fluke.

I think we could all be a little more thoughtful, and save the venom for people who truly deserve it.

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86 replies
  1. 1
    shortstop says:

    I forgot all about George Tierney of Greenville, SC!

    That was a hell of a pile-on, but remember, he kept doubling down throughout.

  2. 2
    Bob says:

    “I think we could all be a little more thoughtful, and save the venom for” when Bill Keller fucks up. You know he will.

  3. 3
    Xboxershorts says:

    Outrage is addictive. People who become addicted to Outrage will seek it constantly. And Cable News and Internet Media are all too happy to supply it. And there’s plenty of supply available in either brand.

  4. 4
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    As much as I like TBogg, I think he’s wrong here. The Kellers, who will tell you without asking that they are professional journalists, need to be held to a higher standard than some random dude on Twitter.

    So, for example, Mrs. Keller used Lisa’s private direct messages in her piece without first telling Lisa that it was some kind of interview. That’s part of the reason the Guardian took the piece down — she violated their standards. Bill Keller got at least two basic facts wrong in his piece (and one still stands uncorrected, the length of her illness). Bill’s errors work to push the misconception that Lisa was using up precious resources in a silly quest to selfishly prolong her life.

    In addition to the basic facts he got wrong, Bill just doesn’t understand the modern treatment of breast cancer. Lisa is at a stage where she’s receiving palliative treatment to deal with the very painful tumors in her bones. She’s extremely well informed about her disease and her prognosis. Her case is absolutely not the kind of case that Bill hinted that it was, so it was a very poor example for him to use to make whatever point he was trying to make about cancer.

    We expect better from professional journalists. When the Times own Public Editor tried to get Bill to acknowledge a problem, all she got from him was a weasely, mealy-mouthed explanation (not apology). At least Tierney apologized.

  5. 5
    Cermet says:

    I completely agree – the article seemed to be reasonable; yes he rounded over six years into seven (from her own blog I got the over six years for her illness) and said that a number of years on facebook was the same as having a specific blog (calling the entire time period as very public) but to consider that an attack or insane or what-ever so upset the BJ writer seemed rather over-the-top.
    I too just viewed it as a review of approaches with some details. Hardly worth all the posting considering the lies that are normally carried by our media that cause vast damage and death.

  6. 6
    Fuzzy says:

    Some members of the human race will say or do anything as long as they will never be held accountable. I equate them to cockroaches who start talking when the lights go out and scurry back to their holes when the the lights come on.

  7. 7
    Cervantes says:

    Yeah, I didn’t really get the outrage over the Keller column myself when I first read it. It turns out that he apparently misrepresented Adams’s situation, disease history and the content of her tweetispheric production; but until I knew that, it just seemed like a reasonably thoughtful essay, and he did explicitly acknowledge that she had a right to her own feelings. I think his misreading of her was definitely inexcusable, but as I had never read her and never heard of her before, which I think is also true of most of Keller’s readers, the mass outrage made no sense.

    Even knowing what I do now, I think it was excessive and more a case of social contagion and piling on than anything called for by the column. It didn’t help that people were predisposed to hate Keller.

  8. 8
    fka AWS says:

    The basic problem is that Bill Keller doesn’t understand the Internet, never has, and wishes all you bloggers and readers would get off his journalistic lawn. Not sure this piece is the best example of that, but he has plenty of others since he was put out to pasture as EIC.

  9. 9
    Cermet says:

    @Fuzzy: Isn’t that the ENTIRE reason for blogs with threads for posting? Unless we are required to use real names and ID’s, that is what will always happen. Last I check, major newspapers do carry writers names and often, e-mail addresses.

  10. 10
    greennotGreen says:

    I DID read the Bill Keller article, and I agree that he did sincerely try to make some reasonable arguments that there are questions about the way our society deals with serious, even fatal, disease and end of life issues. BUT he did it using an actual person whose blog about those issues as they relate to her Keller apparently saw as making her fair game. I don’t think that’s quite right. Let’s say I run a little private dog rescue, and I have a website (I don’t.) There are many legitimate issues about how our society addresses dog overpopulation, but I don’t think it would be right for a New York Times columnist to pick only my blog and me as the subject of his ruminations about it. Even if you disagree with a public organization like ASPCA, you don’t pick on one employee or volunteer. Miss Adams is not Queen or CEO of cancer – she’s just a blogger. Making her the center of his argument was dickish.

    And, when challenged about it, he wasn’t remotely graceful. He should have responded, “I’m sorry I didn’t express myself well. What I was trying to say was” (something less dickish.) Unless he really didn’t mean anything less judgmental than he came across.

  11. 11
    NotMax says:

    So many, many posts about this, giving too large a stage to too small a person.

  12. 12
    greennotGreen says:

    Oh, and I’d be interested to know whether cancer survivors have a different take on his article than those who haven’t been touched by cancer (or any other life-threatening, long-term disease.)

  13. 13
    the Conster says:

    @fka AWS:

    The problem is that Bill Keller has had to make several claims – not in just this instance – that his columns are being misread, rather than acknowledge the reality being that he’s unable to clearly articulate his point. If he had no intention of creating the response he generated, he should just flat out apologize and consider giving up writing “thought” pieces like any normal person would do. But no, that’s not how he – a special snowflake – thinks, so flame away everybody.

  14. 14
    cleek says:

    yet another storm of outrage that i’m glad i opted out of.

    why on earth should anyone care if a stranger doesn’t have the precisely correct attitude about another stranger’s illness ? is Bill Keller in charge of anything that affects anyone ? no.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @NotMax: Mc whats her name is next.

  16. 16
    dpm (dread pirate mistermix) says:

    @greennotGreen: A close family member of mine died of breast cancer 7 years after diagnosis, and two others are in (hopefully permanent) remission after having lymphoma. I’ve seen the way it goes firsthand. Lisa is at a stage where she could still have some good time with her children. It’s a stupid, Mad Men era view of “Cancer” to equate Bill’s father’s treatment with the care Lisa is receiving. Today, unlike the 50’s and 60’s, different cancers have different treatments and prognoses, they’re not all one death sentence that we should accept with grace, as Bill seems to think.

    TBogg is right that Bill wanted to talk about a significant issue with cancer treatment. Bill’s just too lazy, arrogant or stupid to become well-informed enough on the subject to say something intelligent about it. And he’s such a clod that he doesn’t understand how he stepped in it by using Lisa as an example because her disease is the opposite of the example of his father in law.

  17. 17
    sparrow says:

    I can’t get past the fact that someone would feel free to comment on how someone deals with certain death. She’s dying you fucktards, she can do it any damn way she wants. They could make the same points about social media about people live-tweeting their home deliveries or something and I might have agreed. But no, just no on a mother looking death in the face. Sorry.

  18. 18
    Ecks says:

    @greennotGreen: on the one hand, yes. On the other hand, a post that doesn’t have a specific example would have been one that says “Y’know, some people just overshare in this day and age of internetty stuff. They should maybe reconsider.” Which is so vague and anodyne it would be a bad high school essay, and about as interesting to read. It’s precisely the specifics of someone who has gone and very visibly and intentionally put her story out into public that makes it readable at all.

    His sin, such as it was, is in extending her case to a debate of the high costs of end of care life, where she’s actually a fairly poor example of that, as she does not appear to be one of these people spending enormous amounts of money on care to have an extra sliver of life.

  19. 19
    TAPX486 says:

    I didn’t read either article so I can’t comment on the Keller’s intent. However my take on this woman’s blog is that it the 21st century version of a support group or a neighbor supporting another neighbor over the back fence. If your not comfortable with this level of sharing, then don’t read the blog.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix): Yes, much as I love Tbogg this is an entirely different thing from (even) the Tienery thing. And I actually think its salutory for the Keller’s to find out that drafting on the popularity and thoughtful work of another person on twitter can be dangerous. Both Keller and his wife work professionally and get paid for these columns. What was really going on is that they thought they could get away with essentially poaching on this woman’s work and her twitter followers to get a paid column out of it. In that way they were attempting to exploit an amateur by turning her work/life into a professional piece of paid work.

    This is kind of a separate argument but the whole thing reeks to me of a kind of upper class privilige to appropriate someone else’s work/life and turn it into paid art and then these people always turn around and sue the original person for copywrite infringement or interference with the new rights of the new owner of the intellectual property. Its a stretch but what it really reminds me of is first world appropriation of third world art motifs, and the shift of ownership of the genetic material of Henrietta Lacks.

    What actually happened is that the Kellers needed to pad out a week’s worth of writing by writing “think pieces” on some topic, they both chose to write about someone famous, they did it in a way that violated their own journalistic ethos and some basic issues in humanity general politesse and they got slapped for it. This is scarcely a “hi tech lynching” to coin a phrase. Its not mob action. It didn’t involve pitchforks. You might better call it the revolt of the eyeballs–people who read the Kellers didn’t appreciate being lectured and emotionally manipulated by two people who posed as disinterested interlocutors.

  21. 21
    greennotGreen says:

    @Ecks: But if they had used multiple specific examples (Lisa writes in her blog, as Jeff observes at his site, Marilyn says about her chemo…) they would have diluted the focus on one person and made it more generalized. Perhaps that would have required too much research.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I am with DPM on this one. Bill Keller seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of Adams’s situation. That alone makes it impossible for him to use her situation to make any kind of point.

  23. 23
    Scout211 says:

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix):

    @aimai:

    Ditto both.

    What also bothers me is the unconscious hypocrisy.

    They use traditional media to express their personal personal opinions of one individual’s medical choices and her use of new media to share it with others.

    Bill Keller essentially used the Times to “retweet” his wife’s personal opinion “tweet.”

    Asking relevant questions in general that question the wisdom of social media versus personal privacy. Okay.

    Doing an old media version of a “tweet and retweet” to personally single out one person and her personal choices is not a thought piece.

    It is a personal attack that gives the the illusion of a thought piece.

  24. 24

    If Bill Keller had not used an actual person to make his points then the column would have been kosher. Frankly if you or your loved ones have not been touched by cancer consider yourself lucky and don’t preach to the ones dealing with a devastating diagnosis, harsh treatments and just dealing with their day to day life.

  25. 25

    BTW when did Bill Keller become an oncologist? Why is he comparing his FIL’s cancer to this woman’s? Just because it is cancer does not mean it is the same disease with the same prognosis.

  26. 26
    JoyfulA says:

    I was unaware that George Tierney had apologized. If only the Kellers had the decency to do likewise.

  27. 27
    Angela says:

    As a cancer survivor and someone who lives with a chronic illness, I find the Keller’s writings wrong, for one simple reason. Lisa Bonchek Adams is using all of her energy to survive for more time in this world. This firestorm they have created around her could be stealing some of that energy. She was not asked if she could participate or to approve what was being said about her. That’s just wrong.

  28. 28

    BTW when did Bill Keller become an oncologist? Why is he comparing his FIL’s cancer to this woman’s? Just because it is cancer does not mean it is the same disease with the same prognosis. Tag teaming with his wife to criticize a person with terminal illness is just wrong. Wish he had shown the same zeal against the Bushies and their run up to the Iraq war based on fake reasons.

  29. 29
    kdaug says:

    @sparrow: We’re all dying, fucktard. The question is rate.

  30. 30

    When TBogg wrote that post, I’m not sure he understood that in the Tierney hullaballoo, he was in the Bill Keller position of bringing attention and approbation to a private citizen who may not have wanted someone with a national platform writing about them. Though, unlike Keller, TBogg seems to have some remorse for dragging a private citizen into the spotlight without their prior knowledge.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    rb says:

    in light of their effusive praise of the courage and fight in Lisa Bonchek Adams

    All respect to Tbogg, but this is where he gets it wrong. The Kellers both argue that Adams is having stage IV (!!) cancer wrong, Emma by explicitly calling Adams’s work “TMI,” and Keller by implying that Adams is not accepting her fate with sufficient “grace and courage” like his manly pops-in-law did.

    In other words: “Shut up,” they explained. Adams is a little person who should ‘gracefully’ accept the little end of her little life. No backhanded, to-be-sure faux praise of her ‘courage and fight’ can overcome the essential condescension of their critique.

    Not to mention: Adams does not write (according to the very serious Bill Keller). She “pecks” and “tweets.” She does not educate with her writing, she “self-medicates” via social media. She treats her illness “as a military campaign” (when in fact she does nothing of the sort).

    Do we not know abject condescension and ‘splaining when we see it? Bill Keller showed Adams even less respect than his audience with this hasty column. Tbogg got it wrong.

  33. 33
    aimai says:

    @Bob2: Holy shit that is, well…not surprising. The entire incident reeked from the get go of a personal animus.

  34. 34
    Angela says:

    @Bob2: Holy shit indeed, aimai. That’s just so ugh.

  35. 35
    bg says:

    First time I have disagreed with Mr. Bogg. Because the Kellers didn’t really write about Lisa Adams. They used her name but wrote about some imaginary person and attributed ideas to her that are not hers. They accused her of using battle and fighting metaphors when, in fact, she writes eloquently and persuasively about why those metaphors are bad (because they tend to place blame on people who don’t recover, implying they aren’t “fighting” hard enough).
    I just had that conversation with a good friend who has incurable cancer. People were talking to him about “courage” and “failure” – i.e., “failure is not an option” -and it was really bothering him.
    It pisses me off that the Kellers would be so callous and feel so free to treat Lisa Adams as a person who doesn’t really exist, who doesn’t have feelings and family that would be affected by what they say.
    Instead of piling on the twitter war, I went to the Sloan Kettering website and made a small donation in Ms. Adams’ honor.

  36. 36
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix): TBogg is hilariously funny but often has political and social views that — well let me put it this way: it didn’t surprise me in the least to see him write a piece defending Bill Keller.

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @bg:

    I once dropped a friend because I was talking to her about my mother’s death from cancer and she said, Well, she must not have wanted to live. Because, you know, the only people who die from cancer or disease are the ones who didn’t really want to live.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    I agree with DPM and animi and schrodinger’s cat and Angela and Scout211 and well, me.
    I had to go though several months trying to find out at a relatively very young age that I might have prostate cancer, and my sister died after 6 yrs of several remissions, from breast cancer. The condensation of the Keller clan was evident to me, the use of a struggling person’s personal(and public) writing and getting it wrong. They did have a family member with cancer so I could have given them a pass, had they not been getting paid to supposedly do it better. And failed. It seemed to me this was just another, “Shut up and die” screed.
    The Korean’s at McD and this and the work till you die bullshit, they are all the same thing. If you are no longer making someone a profit, then you are supposed to shut the fuck up and die. Make room for someone else, to protect the upper class from not being able to steal every penny they can.

  39. 39
    rb says:

    Additionally: Bill Keller sniffs that Adams is getting so much care she may not deserve:

    Her relationship with the hospital provides her with intensive, premium medical care, including not just constant maintenance and aggressive treatment but such Sloan-Kettering amenities as the Caring Canines program, in which patients get a playful cuddle with visiting dogs

    And Sloan-Kettering following the law is just so gauche:

    (Neither Adams nor Sloan-Kettering would tell me what all this costs or whether it is covered by insurance.)

    To quote a saint: well whoop-de-freakin’-doo.

    Keller COULD have written instead:

    while it is clear that this level of care requires a tremendous expenditure of resources, we cannot know to what degree: by law, private health information is protected and cannot be given to even very serious editor-type people by request, lest firings and criminal investigations ensue.

    But he didn’t write that. Instead he chose to imply that Adams’ getting a visit from puppies and their no-doubt volunteer handlers was somehow strange or out of line.

    Because he wasn’t writing a (needed and necessary) column on the hard choices we all have to make concerning the extraordinary costs of some kinds of medical care. Instead he was setting a strange personal score with twitter and bloggers, and using Adams’s illness to do it.

    It’s pretty disgusting, really.

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    @bg:
    This can be seen even in families. When my sister was ready and made her decision to go into hospice, some family members wanted to have the Dr. declare her unfit to make that decision and keep her alive. I could barely contain myself and let them know that it was HER life, it was HER decision. She had suffered and endured pain and had accepted her end, and had done so very gracefully. When the fight is gone and the war is lost, it just is.

    You celebrate the life and you miss your friend, but you accept it, like they did, because one day that will be you.

  41. 41
    bg says:

    @Mnemosyne: Exactly. If you don’t recover, you’re not fighting hard enough or not praying hard enough. It’s so cruel.
    I’m also bothered a lot by the suggestion that a 40 year old mother should make the same choices as an 80 year old. My dad died at 86 from the same cancer my friend has, and chose just to have palliative care. My friend has a shot a several pretty good years with more aggressive care. I just can’t be compared. The whole discussion by the Kellers was just arrogant and ignorant and callous.

  42. 42
    Cacti says:

    Just because a mob is on the internet, doesn’t make it any less awful than the pitchforks and torches shouty kind.

    Well, except for the part where one kind ends with a person strung up by their neck from the nearest light post, tree, or bridge, and the other kind doesn’t.

    I really hate glib comparisons.

  43. 43
    rb says:

    @aimai: the whole thing reeks to me of a kind of upper class privilige to appropriate someone else’s work/life and turn it into paid art

    Fantastic point aimai. This is so right on.

  44. 44
    bg says:

    @Ruckus: I’m sorry for your loss of your sister. I’m glad you stood up for her. I also have a lot of sympathy for your family members who found it so hard to let her go.

  45. 45
    demit says:

    @rb: I know. It was like he begrudged her the dog visits. He tipped his hand there. No mistaking that.

  46. 46
    greennotGreen says:

    @bg:

    I’m also bothered a lot by the suggestion that a 40 year old mother should make the same choices as an 80 year old.

    If a forty year-old survives an extra year, that might be enough time for a new drug to be discovered that would turn that one year into forty. If an 80 year-old survives an extra year (and chemo can be really hard, so that’s questionable,) that new drug might only offer another year, maybe five. A person who feels that he or she has lived a full and happy life may not want to end it in a long, difficult illness.

    Look, I had stage III ovarian cancer, currently in remission. There is a 50% chance it will recur, and when it does, it’s not considered curable. But I can go through chemo again, and maybe I’ll get another three or four years until it recurs, and then I can do it again. As long as I feel as good during the intermissions as I do now when I’m living a busy and fulfilling life, I’ll keep at it. If at some point the other side of chemo is simply old age and infirmity, I might make a different decision. And I’ll make that decision without a single thought as to the Kellers’ opinions on the matter.

  47. 47
    ice weasel says:

    Hey Tbogg is always funny but he’s not always right. He’s just as human as the rest of us and on this issue, he’s really wrong. Main reason, nice of the Kellers to use their power to step on a tiny voice on the net, huh? What’s the point? their own personal butthurt?

    Sorry, there’s no defense of TBogg here. He’s just wrong.

  48. 48
    Joshua James says:

    TBogg is wrong here, very wrong… Mistermix said everything I would say on it, but Tbogg is wrong, sadly.

  49. 49
    redscott says:

    @dpm (dread pirate mistermix): I agree. If you’re going to wade into the waters of someone’s possibly fatal illness, it pays to be a little sensitive about getting basic facts right and not leaving the fairly strong suggestion that She’s Some Kinda Vulgar Attention-Seeker! or She’s Dead Anyway Like My Father in Law So Why Bother?

  50. 50
    JasperL says:

    @rb:

    That’s what did it for me. Could be that Keller’s intent was lost in that poorly worded passage, but he strongly implies that there is something unseemly/unworthy about the level of care provided. “Her relationship with the hospital provides her with intensive, premium medical care, including not just constant maintenance and aggressive treatment but such Sloan-Kettering amenities….”

    No one writes that sentence that way if they approve of the level of care she’s receiving. What is it about ‘her relationship‘ that provides her with premium medical services AND AMENITIES!!?

    It’s, to me, a condescending article from start to finish. Maybe he didn’t intend it to come off that way, but IMO, Tbogg and others defending the article are defending the idea of what could have been written without legitimate outrage with what Bill and his wife, from their exalted positions in the media, actually did write.

  51. 51
    Xboxershorts says:

    Tbogg is bemoaning the outrage culture modern internet media has given birth to and the piling on and expectations of instant acknowledgement.

    As I said earlier, outrage is addictive.

    It’s one thing to (rightly) criticize the Kellers for their lack of empathy and their misunderstanding. But it jumps to a higher level as the outrage machine of the twitter and the blogs kicks into high gear.

    I didn’t get that Tbogg said the Kellers should not have been criticized.

  52. 52
    gogol's wife says:

    @rb:

    I agree.

  53. 53
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    As I said before, the bit in Bill Keller’s piece about palliative care point to a genuinely difficult conversation that ought to take place, which is often tied to the incentives of a particular healthcare environment.

    But the context — tag-teaming with his wife, making it about an individual, and the creepy stuff about the dog visits — made his piece icky and undermined the germ of substance there.

  54. 54
    Raught says:

    So, is the “I’m not trying to mansplain (or whatever-splain), but…” The new “I”m not a racist, but…”?

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    It’s one thing to (rightly) criticize the Kellers for their lack of empathy and their misunderstanding. But it jumps to a higher level as the outrage machine of the twitter and the blogs kicks into high gear.

    What I think TBogg gets wrong, though, is that the Kellers are in the position of power here. They have columns at the New York Times and the Guardian, two major and internationally respected papers. They chose to publicize the website and tweets of a private citizen (while apparently not identifying themselves as reporters, incidentally) and invited people to pile on her. The fact that the backlash they tried to direct to their subject ended up boomeranging onto themselves doesn’t remove their original intent to pull a blogger from obscurity and hold her up to an international spotlight.

    So, as I said above, it’s more that TBogg was in the Kellers’ position than that he was in Lisa Adams’ position. He really should be questioning the Kellers for their decision to pull someone out of obscurity rather than the people who are angry at the Kellers for doing it.

  56. 56
    WereBear says:

    @greennotGreen: @demit: It was like he begrudged her the dog visits.

    He DID freakin’ begrudge her the (*&#$)* volunteer dog visits!

    Where the )(*&@#* does he and his wife get off?!?!?!? The both of them are condescending @*&^#(* toffee-nosed @*#&^(*@&^$* gits!

    *(cursing redacted because I do not want to betray my Brooklyn-acquired fluency, since I did learn late in life.)

  57. 57
    aimai says:

    @WereBear:

    I’m also still puzzled by the faux anti elitism of the “amenities” crack. Look: if you want to talk about inequities in the US health care system there are plenty–from concierge care for the Kellers and the Cruz’s to “wait here and die, coughing up blood in the corner of an understaffed ER” to the rest of us. The greatest inequity in the world is not that some cancer patient, somewhere, gets loving treatment from paid professionals at a large hospital. The greatest tragedy is that everyone is not offered that–and Lisa Adams turning it down or dying young doesn’t change that equation.

  58. 58
    WereBear says:

    @aimai: I can’t help but read this:

    Her relationship with the hospital provides her with intensive, premium medical care, including not just constant maintenance and aggressive treatment but such Sloan-Kettering amenities as the Caring Canines program, in which patients get a playful cuddle with visiting dogs

    As a fancy way of saying, “Who the hell are you? You are dying above your station.”

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WereBear:

    That’s the way G keeps reading it, too. He starts reading Keller’s words in the voice of Thurston Howell III.

  60. 60
    aimai says:

    @WereBear: I read it as her semi famous status gets her perks the ordinary housewife doesn’t. It reminds me of that cartoon that has been circulating of a Republican politician eating 10 out of a dozen cookies and then saying to his white constituent “look out for that black guy! He’s going to take one of your cookies!”

    In the real world the hospital probably goes to people like the Kellers for party style fundraisers to raise money to support the dog visits or other “ameneties” not paid for by insurance. Then the Kellers would write fawning, self approving, pat on the back style accounts of the glittering affair and its importance. The problem that Keller is pointing to is, in a sense, that Lisa Adams is receiving charity but is not properly abject about it.

  61. 61
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: I thought you made an excellent point about Tbogg/Keller on the same side of the coin.

    In my worst moments, I picture the Kellers saying to each other, “What is she complaining about? I’m sure her hits are through the roof now! Ingrate.”

    Only now, they are in the Thurston Howell voice…

  62. 62
    rb says:

    @aimai: The greatest inequity in the world is not that some cancer patient, somewhere, gets loving treatment from paid professionals at a large hospital. The greatest tragedy is that everyone is not offered that

    Not to mention, much of the care in question is specifically targeted at increasing the quality of the life Adams is still very much living. I’m sure Keller wouldn’t say it this way, but he’s actually arguing that Adams should live her life – which might still go on for many years – in constant and overwhelming pain, ostensibly because this will somehow make her lived experience more like that of his father-in-law’s peaceful death. How keeping Adams in ‘courageous’ agony would increase the net quantity of ‘grace’ in the world is left unexplained.

    On top of the weapons-grade arrogance, I just can’t get over how stupid this is. Not even Friedman resorts to this level of silly handwaving.

  63. 63
    greennotGreen says:

    The hospital where I had my surgery and chemo offers valet parking. During chemo, a volunteer pushes through a cart with snacks and juice. Sometimes another volunteer brings round a dog. I do not call that “premium care.” I call that “good medicine.” You know who was driving me to chemo? My 89 yo mother. How easy would it have been for her to walk from a distant garage? And often I had trouble walking across the room. Sometimes people are sitting through hours of chemo completely alone – juice and some chips can stave off either hunger or nausea. And a friendly canine face can be a real comfort to those who’ve been unable to care for or be with their own animal companions for extended periods.

    Good medicine is about treating the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Maybe some day the Kellers will understand that.

  64. 64
    Gretchen says:

    @rb: Exactly. The only reason he would ask Sloane-Kettering and Adams how much her care cost, and mention the extras like pet visits, is because he thought her care was costing too much. When combined with his FIL’s peaceful acceptance of his fate it read to me like ‘die already, and quit costing us so much money”. And the fact that she’s trying to prolong her life to have more time with her young children made it all the more despicable.

  65. 65
    Gretchen says:

    @greennotGreen: Nope. The Kellers will never understand anything that doesn’t affect the Kellers.
    And I’m glad you had your mom, volunteers, and dogs to help you through it.

  66. 66
    Xboxershorts says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So, as I said above, it’s more that TBogg was in the Kellers’ position than that he was in Lisa Adams’ position. He really should be questioning the Kellers for their decision to pull someone out of obscurity rather than the people who are angry at the Kellers for doing it.

    He does and did criticize the Kellers. There then followed a massive piling on that often strayed off topic and sometimes never made sense. This quote from Tbogg’s piece has a great deal of weight in the whole post:

    I’m hard pressed to find the shaming, the bullying, and the death-wishing.

    But he also brings up the Anni DeFranco Plantation flap as another good example of the outrage machine kicking into overdrive and resulting in a mob driven piling on of outrage that far exceeds the (arguable here) the offense.

    And then there’s this point about George Tierney:

    It was all fun and games with his request to be taken off the Google until it kind of exploded and then people starting harassing his parents and posting his address and phone number and being every bit as douchey as George.

    It’s not unusual for people who are addicted to the outrage machine to loose their grip on reality and go way, way overboard, especially in the anonymous and unrestrained realm of the interwebbytubeythingey, in response to posts that are intended to feed that outrage jones…

  67. 67
    aimai says:

    @Xboxershorts: Well, sure–people should not personally target real people in the real world–but thats as much to say that the Kellers ought not to have targeted Lisa Adams, too because some NYT or Guardian reading crank might have called up her hospital, say, and demanded to know her private personal medical records or the cost of her treatment.

    Its a very good thing for professionals not to turn private people into public cannon fodder because, at the same time, you could be putting a person’s privacy and life at risk from the loonies out there. But criticizing people online? thats not the issue.

  68. 68
    sharl says:

    Yep, I love TBogg, but he was wrong here. And given the frequency at which he showed up in his own comments there makes me wonder if maybe he felt a bit uncomfortable about his own stance.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    But he also brings up the Anni DeFranco Plantation flap as another good example of the outrage machine kicking into overdrive and resulting in a mob driven piling on of outrage that far exceeds the (arguable here) the offense.

    I don’t think the DeFranco and Keller situations are at all analogous, though. DeFranco made a decision she didn’t think through and there was a massive internet pile-on. Both Kellers (Mr. and Mrs.) dragged a private citizen into the spotlight without her knowledge or consent and were criticized for doing it.

    Let’s say for a crazy moment that the Kellers had written about the DeFranco situation. Would they still be the victims, or are they now recognizable as the instigators?

    TBogg feels guilty for instigating a pile-on. Fair enough. But now he’s trying to excuse two writers who also attempted to instigate a pile-on and say we shouldn’t criticize them for what they tried to do.

    Again: DeFranco was piled on. The Kellers tried to start a pile-on. Not at all the same thing.

    ETA:

    Sorry, forgot this part:

    It’s not unusual for people who are addicted to the outrage machine to loose their grip on reality and go way, way overboard, especially in the anonymous and unrestrained realm of the interwebbytubeythingey, in response to posts that are intended to feed that outrage jones…

    Read the Keller article again (at least, the one that wasn’t spiked by the Guardian). Isn’t he asking us to be outraged at the care that Adams is receiving from Sloane-Kettering because of her (purported) “relationship” with the hospital? My god, she even has dog visits to her bedside!

    The fact that the outrage Keller tried to instigate boomeranged back on him doesn’t absolve him from trying to instigate it.

  70. 70
    Xboxershorts says:

    @aimai:

    criticizing people is good. especially when they earn it. And I agree 100% about the Kellers

    But, the piling on, the death threats, the outrage dujour, it is harmful and it is tiresome and it is addictive.

  71. 71
    StringOnAStick says:

    The Keller’s were just doing their part to soften up the terrain for the “death panels for the poor” initiative that the Kochs will be rolling out soon

    …and I’m only being partially facetious here.

  72. 72
    MaryRC says:

    @JasperL: Yes — the “amenities” thing jumped out at me too, even more so than the “TMI” aspect, especially since I read Emma Keller’s column first where she makes an even bigger deal of it:

    [Lisa] describes a fantastic set up at Sloan-Kettering, where she can order what she wants to eat at any time of day or night and get as much pain medication as she needs from a dedicated and compassionate “team”, but there is no mention of the cost.

    The implication being that big bucks are being spent on coddling someone who really should have gracefully quit this sphere by now. Pretty chilling, actually.

  73. 73
    AnonPhenom says:

    Tierney used the twittertubes to bully a person who had the courage to speak some truth to power.
    Adams is using the twittertubes to speak some truth of her own (to the ’15 followers of fame’ granted to her by the medium) and for that she is abused (however ‘nicely’) by a couple of elites with narcissistic personality disorders who don’t know how to relate to anything without making it about THEM.
    Tierney would not have apologized to Fluke if he wasn’t made to.
    Fuck the Kellers until they apologize.
    And fuck all bullies (and their apologists).

  74. 74
    sm*t cl*de says:

    Emma Keller quoted private DM’s from Bonchek Adams without permission

    That is the part that boggles the mind. Arguing that Ms Adams should maintain better barriers around her privacy, at the same time as violating her privacy.

  75. 75
    aimai says:

    @MaryRC: Why wouldn’t you want a hospital and its food service to run 24 hours a day? Patients are being treated 24 hours a day and are also in need of various forms of care 24 hours a day. Is this a surprise? It really shouldn’t be.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    I’m guessing the Kellers feel the way the bullies in Nova Scotia felt when they walked into school and saw a sea of pink shirts.

    But I guess TBogg would say that was just “piling on.” ;-p

  77. 77
    RSA says:

    @aimai:

    Why wouldn’t you want a hospital and its food service to run 24 hours a day?

    Keller believes it’s fantastic that a hospital’s food service can match that of a mid-grade hotel? (I’ve seen other hospitals that provide the equivalent of 24-hour room service; hospital workers also need to eat, so some of the kitchens are open.)

    And that patients should get less pain medication than they need? What kind of sociopathic ideal is that?

  78. 78
    Jesse says:

    I felt that Mrs. Keller’s column was more introspective. She was asking herself why she was so interested in all the tweets and blogposts and in essence asking if she was being morbid for doing so. I think since they both wrote columns about the same thing she got dragged down with him.

  79. 79
    the MEitcong says:

    I dunno, I thought the TBogg column was spot-on, on all counts, on all examples. I’ve had the sense that “the blogosphere” (for lack of a more precise term, I guess) is stratifying, becoming more cliquish, more focused on minutiae and on defining who is “in” and who is “out.” More groupthink oriented. Less about big ideas, and more about whether or not people are using the “correct” language and adopting the “correct” positions as defined by……well, I don’t who, exactly.

    Probably this is a natural development. I also put it down to a lack of an overarching, commonly-shared goal. Bush is long gone from office, so that is no longer a rallying point. Obama is a second term president with a couple of years to go. Things are kind of in a holding pattern.

    I don’t think the criticism of the Kellers is “wrong,” I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have differing opinions, and I’m open to what other people have said about it all. However, I do think that there is something……worrisome, about the sort of piling on, absolutism that I see. At an extreme – and I’m not saying this example IS the extreme – it starts to resemble the way teabaggers operate. Purity of thought, public rituals of obesiance to form, etc. Again, not claiming TBogg was 100% right, and everyone else is wrong – but I get where he is coming from, and agree.

  80. 80
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    Stop bothering my by dying of cancer. Jeez. Have a little consideration.

  81. 81
    Nutella says:

    @Jesse:

    I felt that Mrs. Keller’s column was more introspective. She was asking herself why she was so interested in all the tweets and blogposts and in essence asking if she was being morbid for doing so.

    That’s what’s really weird to me. E Keller wrote, in her column and in several comments to the column and the editor’s story about spiking the column, that she was puzzled by the motivations of people like herself who closely follow confessional news streams like Lisa Adams’.

    Let me repeat that: E Keller is writing over and over on her confusion about her own motivation to do something she did.

    Why do you follow Lisa so obsessively, Emma?

    No idea but why don’t I write an article for a major newspaper to ask a lot of other people to tell me why I do what I do?

    Weird.

  82. 82
    Kris Collins says:

    Sorry, Soonergrunt, as a two-time cancer survivor, I feel very comfortable in saying both you and TBogg are dead wrong on this one. The Kellers had every right to express their opinions about cancer treatment, death and dying, whatever. They did not have the right to use and misrepresent this one woman’s experience to promote their personal and political agendas. I do not at all feel sorry that these two extremely powerful, privileged assholes are being called to account for their actions and their despicable judgmental views of how others live . . . or die.

  83. 83
    Kris Collins says:

    @JasperL: exactly. How dare she get all this treatment and not be treated like shit?? Though, I’m not sure Keller didn’t intend it to sound exactly like it sounded. He’s not that stupid.

  84. 84
    Kris Collins says:

    @JasperL: exisactly. How dare she get all this treatment and not be treated like shit?? Though, I’m not sure Keller didn’t intend it to sound exactly like it sounded. He’s not that stupid.

  85. 85
    Kris Collins says:

    @WereBear: yes.

  86. 86
    Kris Collins says:

    @aimai: a different take than mine as a cancer survivor, but also valid. Lazy journalism deserves the criticism it gets. If it is also inaccurate, intrusive, insensitive, and not very smart though written by top practitioners in the field, well, they deserve whatever they get.

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