Marlowe's Shade

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"I watched as my daughter took her own life"

From the Daily Mail, this has to be a parent's worst nightmare:

On May 30, Carol, a 55-year-old nurse and midwife with multiple sclerosis, died after drinking a cocktail of drugs at a flat in Zurich, courtesy of Dignitas - the controversial Swiss group which arranges legal euthanasia. Her mother was there, holding Carol's hand when she slipped into a coma three minutes after drinking the deadly liquid. Kathleen's last words to her daughter when she died 30 minutes later were: "Bye, bye, my darling."

It goes against every mother's instinct to stand back and watch her child commit suicide, yet Kathleen fought every maternal urge and did just that. Now she must live with the consequences.

"No parent wants to witness their child dying, no mother wants to outlive her daughter, but this was what Carol wanted. This was all about Carol, not me, it was the last thing I wanted," says Kathleen.

Absolutely tragic.
papijoe 1:06 PM |

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kevorkian: The Less they Know, the More They Like Him...

No doubt I will run across another dozen of these odes to the compassion and courage of Jack Kevorkian. And when the red tunnel vision passes I'll feel compelled to respond. It's an exercise in futility.

The latest of these rhapsodies of support for Kevorkian, a lighthearted piece by Lisa Birnbach in The Huffington Post, explains the why any attempts to counter the media lionization of Kevorkian is useless. Facts are distinctly NOT welcome in any discussion of Kevorkian. In fact the the less you know about him or any related subject the more qualified you are to pronounce his worthiness. Observe how cunningly she establishes her credentials:

I can't say I've spent much time thinking about Jack Kevorkian. I haven't even spent much time thinking about euthanasia. That is, until the Terri Schiavo ratings period on CNN, when I devoted quite a bit of time thinking about the horrific politicization of this young woman in a prolonged vegetative state -- a women who would probably have pulled her own cord had she been able.

That last phrase is crucial. Did you see the aggressive shift from obliviousness to a brazenly uninformed position. So high is the confidence in her stance that she can throw around mangled phrases like "prolonged vegetative state" with impunity, then anchor the crux of the argument on what Terri "probably" would have wanted. It is at that point that it begins to dawn on even the slowest of us [like myself] that the innocence and goodness of Kevorkian and those who only wanted to help Terri achieve the death she probably would have wanted is so OBVIOUS that even a literary layman in ethical issues and humble expert on the culture of the mid to late 20th Century Preppie Nation can see it clear as day. The point is made masterfully here:

Every time CNN showed the one move she made in years, a kind of rolling motion (no proof of brain activity if you ask me, an English major -- no, actually worse, a pass/fail semiotics major) -- I cringed and got progressively angrier. She resembled David's haunting portrait, Death of Marat, or that's what I would have said in an art history paper, had I not already fortunately graduated from college with a degree in semiotics.

Be not embarassed about that liberal arts degree. It turns out that nothing else could better prepare one to discern the heart of Jack Kevorkian than that BA, and no one seems more surprised at this than Ms Birnbach herself. See the awesome effect of this juggernaut of mentation that she forged as an undergrad as it steamrolls all else but the noble object of her praises:

Last week, in advance of Dr. Kevorkian's release from the slammer in Michigan, where he'd spent the previous eight years for assisting in the death of a terminally-ill man afflicted with ALS, I started to think about him. And now I'm a passionate supporter of his work. A spokesman for the Detroit archdiocese which urged his incarceration, said, "For 10 years, Jack Kevorkian's actions resembled those of a pathological serial killer. It will be truly regrettable if he's now treated as a celebrity parolee instead of the convicted murderer he is,"

Aha! The Catholic Church has outsmarted themselves this time! By condemning Kevorkian they really gave away the whole game!

An angel of death or an angel of compassion? I'm voting for the latter. And I wonder, is opposition to euthanasia any different from opposing a woman's right to choose? At some point, we must become the stewards of our bodies. We decide how to feed them, how to dress them, how to medicate them, and whether to take vitamins. If our government wants to get involved in our reproductive lives and our end-of-life plans, will we need to submit our blueprints for tattoos we are considering, piercings we are planning, or whether to grow beards? Will there be an office that will approve (or not) haircuts, permanent waves, and Japanese thermal straightenings? How far can this go, oh party-of-less-government?

Way to run rings around those theocrats logically, sistah! But wait, the pyrotechnic finale is yet to come:

Please give us back our bodies! If you don't tell me how to wear my hair, I won't tell you that you can't have an abortion, or a tattoo. I heard Jack Kevorkian on 60 Minutes tell Mike Wallace, resignedly, that though he still believes in his work, he is forbidden from practicing ever again. It is unlikely that another doctor will take up where Kevorkian left off, at least in the foreseeable future. Of course, that future is filled with federal officials who want you to believe that healthy babies must be killed in order to procure the stem cells needed to solve many of the knottiest medical riddles of our day.

Kevorkian, now 79 years old and a Samuel Beckett look-alike, deserves our thanks for his courageous deeds.

After that last dervish dance of rhetoric you might be temped to think this is parody. Sneer not at the army of ponytailed males and Birkenstocked women reading Waiting for Godot in Starbucks across this preacher plagued nation to confound the Bio-federales and the stem cell spawned hallelujah howling flying monkey-chimeras that do their bidding in a war to enslave our bodily choices. If there is any laughing going on, it's at you. See the debate in the media over euthanasia and the sanctity of life is so long over that they have left the lightweights to deal with the remnant of you who even care about this. And they are just toying with you.
papijoe 12:02 PM |