Politisplaining, Alt-Rightsplaining & Mediasplaining

Because mensplaining and womensplaining are old hat — sexism, like racism and other type of bigotry, is apparently mainstream again — I figured I’d introduce the new concepts that I think are (unfortunately!) going to be all the rage in 2017: politisplaining, alt-rightsplaining and mediasplaining.

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Angry mob

Dear angry mob

No one said we should give up on cancer

A blog post by Richard Smith on the website of the British Medical Journal is currently causing quite a stir, mostly among people who have probably not even read it. Somewhere someone glossed over Smith’s blog, spotted the words “let’s stop wasting billions trying to cure cancer”, pulled them out of context and turned them into a spectacular headline. Newspaper and website editors and radio producers across the globe picked up on it and (faux mass) outrage among the people followed.

But did anyone remember visiting a website that looked like the one pictured below? No? Let me fill you in: it’s the original piece.

Richard Smith: Dying of cancer is the best death

There’s so much misinterpretation of this blog across mainstream media, it’s stunning.
So please, read the original, not the clickbait. Richard Smith did not write: “let’s give up on cancer” or “cancer is great”, nor did he write “let’s stop spending money on researching possible cures for cancers,” yet that’s how his words are being explained across so many media outlets and in turn upsetting people.

If you’re one of the outraged, please untwist your knickers already, because Richard Smith never wrote anything particularly outrageous – lazy editors did.

Every year, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other currencies are spent on treating people with cancer. Some (probably many) people will be cured, while others will at least have their lives prolonged to achieve some more milestones in life, like watching their children grow up a little while longer. 

For many, and this is the taboo Mr Smith touches on, their cancer treatment will involve gruelling treatments that are no better or worse than the original symptoms from cancer, and these people will not be cured at the end of it, they will merely have their overall suffering prolonged.

You may believe that one should try everything and anything in an attempt to cure someone’s cancer, that the suffering on the way there will be worth it and that even if there’s only a tiny chance of survival, you should grab that opportunity at all cost.

Or you may believe that, on at least some occasions, it might be better to treat just the symptoms and make the patient comfortable until his or her death from the cancer.

From both personal and professional experience I know there are patients who favour the latter, with oncologists who insist on the former. Those patients then have to almost go into battle with their oncologists, because while they are perfectly in their rights to refuse the cancer treatment, they then don’t get the palliative care that would benefit them.

Most patients, however, will blindly follow their oncologists’ advice and if those oncologists are indeed ambitious this will then mean gruelling treatment after treatment in trying to cure their cancer, when they might be better off with palliative care.

That is indeed wasting billions trying to cure cancer while in fact leading patients to a more horrible death. And I do agree we should stop doing that. That’s not calling for pulling any plugs on cancer research, it’s calling for more human care. Is that so outrageous?

Peaches in blood: A recipe for cash

Amy Winehouse. Addict. Dead. Tragic.

Peaches Geldof. Addict. Dead. Tragic.

Pete Doherty. Addict. Not (yet?) dead.

And alive enough to prove the cliche that f***ed up junkies would prostitute their own mother if that could pay for their next fix.

Peaches in blood

There is no knowing who wrote her name and number in blood, but the person named isn’t here to confirm or deny. How very convenient when you’ve got something to sell.

I’m calling bullsh!t on this one.

Anyone who’s ever dealt with addiction (either being addicted themselves or living with someone who is/was) knows how addicts will use, abuse and manipulate anything to serve their purpose. It’s the a$$holery that comes with addiction.

Tragic? Nah. Sick.

Rejoice! – Oh no, better not…

Once the news of the birth of the royal baby broke last night, it didn’t take long for the miserable folks to come out of the woodwork. Because people are dying or fleeing in Syria. Because thousands of babies are born in the United Kingdom each day, many of whom may grow up in poverty. Which is all true, but does that mean no one should be allowed to rejoice the birth of a baby who may grow up to become king one day?

If the monarchy is the problem, let’s have a referendum tomorrow, and if a majority of the people prefers the republic we’ll go ahead with that and this newborn baby will indeed be no more special than any other. There will still be babies born to grow up in poverty, though. Just like Carl Froome won the Tour de France the other day, yet there are still homeless people sleeping in shop doorways, so I hope you didn’t celebrate. And Andy Murray won Wimbledon, but there are still people having to escape wars into far-away refugee camps, so let’s not rejoice. When the British & Irish Lions won the 2013 Tour the other day, while millions of people were (and are) out of work, don’t tell me you had a party after that victory. Let’s not even begin to plan festivities if (or should I say when) England’s cricketers win the Ashes shortly, because there are still people relying on foodbanks, don’t you know.

So let’s not ever be joyous, ever, shall we, over something that doesn’t matter, something that doesn’t profoundly changes people’s life, okay? Apparently, that’s what some people think, judging by their comments online. And while my previous paragraph here may sound ridiculous, nothing was quite as ridiculous as the responses I got from those people when I confronted the unpleasantness of them lashing out at the birth of a baby: I’ve been called a stupid wench (mirror here), shallow, dim (mirror here)… but no one’s come up with a solid reason about what’s so wrong about people being happy about something, even while bad things happen elsewhere.

I am not even asking people to become royalist or patriotist, hell, I’m not even British. All I’m saying is, that in the perspective of all that’s bad, wrong and horrible on this planet… there may still be things worth celebrating, and people damn well should be happy about those if they feel like it! If that’s not allowed, let’s take the few old TVs attached to generators away from the slums, so people there wallow in their misery a bit more and harder, rather than watch sports on the blower. Let’s not treat ourselves to dinners restaurants while there are people starving. Let’s not buy each other presents when that money is better spent on foodbank donations. Is that the way we want things to go? Really?

For all the misery in this world, good things still happen, and however menial or unimportant those events might seem to others, what’s so bad about people rejoicing for a moment, if only to take their minds off everything that doesn’t look like or smell of roses, be it in their own lives or those of the world population at large?