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Miss Manners And the Big C - Comments

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 1 by Neodarwinian

I would think it would be common courtesy not to mention said affliction to a person unless they mentioned it first, or one were professionally concerned. Then, if the affliction was mentioned by said afflicted party, one would be very discreet.

The first two sentences of the " motherly looking woman's " inquiry and Hitchens response should have sufficed.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:06:28 UTC | #545927

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 2 by NewEnglandBob

I am sure that Hitchens knows that when one is dealing with the public, there are nut cases and inappropriate behavior. This time the focus was on cancer. I would suppose that if he didn't have cancer, the inappropriate behavior would be from someone else about something else.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:17:27 UTC | #545932

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 3 by Peter Grant

Wow, what a bitch!

Makes me sad to hear the Hitch is dying, but it really sickens me how much pleasure some are getting from watching his suffering. I hope for his sake, and for theirs, that he gets the really good drugs towards the end and experiences the barest minimum of pain.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:33:35 UTC | #545938

Leon Andrews's Avatar Comment 4 by Leon Andrews

Did the guys family disown him because he was one of those homeosexuuaals we keep hearing about or because his cancer came back? She didn't say

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:54:34 UTC | #545952

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 5 by rod-the-farmer

"A lifelong homosexual".....perhaps you could have said "Well then he died happy." Anything to shock such a person into walking off in a huff.

I am certain I speak for many who wish they could take on some of your burden, anything at all to help. It is my birthday today, and my wish would be that you could be here to share in whatever fun up to which we might get.... But it is a bit late to invite you now. It is just after 1500 hours.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 20:02:24 UTC | #545956

EvN's Avatar Comment 6 by EvN

Not that b-word, Peter Grant! I suggest "Brucella abortus" if you want really good b-words to describe that woman.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 20:18:06 UTC | #545965

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

Some people are socially stupid, it does not mean they meant to be hurtful, but this woman certainly comes across as such.

We are all going to die. It's a horrible reality, but for most of us, we like to hide behind the idea that it's in the far future rather than the terminal present.

Having to face immediate death in the present is a form of torture for most. It is a reminder that we really do need to escape reality much of the time. Religion is of course the greatest form of escape, but it is a truly dishonourable and cowardly form of denial.

We atheists may not all have noble motives, but we definitely do in one way: that we don't cowardly bow down to a god fantasy so as to make the horror of death go away. In this respect, we already have a nobility that exceeds beyond that of any god believer. And Christopher Hitchens shows, like perhaps most of us will eventually, a true nobility and courage in facing death without escaping to awful and stupid fantasies.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 20:35:23 UTC | #545970

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 8 by xmaseveeve

I think she was at least sorry that the guy's family disowned him though. Shows she's been thinking, probably because she reads Christopher.

I got into hot water last night defending you Hitch. Not that I'm saying you need defending but we do love you. Women can be emotional and I was very upset because someone had, very cruelly and unfairly, put you down. But I went for the wrong guy and wished him a cow pat in the face.

You go! You rock!

We do need to become more sensitive, also towards the recently bereaved.

My ex-boyfriend's mother: 'Sorry to hear about your dad.'

Me: 'Thank you.'

Ma Cruella: 'What age was he again?'

Me: 79.

Ma: 'Oh, well, he had a good innings then,'

Such words of comfort. He was David Niven's batman, affectionately remembered in 'The Moon's a Balloon.' But he was working class, and so that woman thought he was nothing. Cow pat to her for my dad.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 20:43:47 UTC | #545975

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 9 by xmaseveeve

I think she was at least sorry that the guy's family disowned him though. Shows she's been thinking, probably because she reads Christopher.

I got into hot water last night defending you Hitch. Not that I'm saying you need defending but we do love you. Women can be emotional and I was very upset because someone had, very cruelly and unfairly, put you down. But I went for the wrong guy and wished him a cow pat in the face.

You go! You rock!

We do need to become more sensitive, also towards the recently bereaved.

My ex-boyfriend's mother: 'Sorry to hear about your dad.'

Me: 'Thank you.'

Ma Cruella: 'What age was he again?'

Me: '79.'

Ma: 'Oh, well, he had a good innings then,'

Such words of comfort. He was David Niven's batman, affectionately remembered in 'The Moon's a Balloon.' But he was working class, and so that woman thought he was nothing. Cow pat to her for my dad.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 20:46:12 UTC | #545977

Caivs's Avatar Comment 10 by Caivs

Mr. Hitchens, your books and youtube will make you imortal. It is a shame that our species has not yet discovered how to avoid death. I strongly believe that our next big step in civilization evolution will only occur when that happens... Until then, we are kept in the kindergarden of humanity, full of fear and looking for sparks of reason and hope among people such as yourself.

Um forte abraço!

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 21:05:37 UTC | #545984

chawinwords's Avatar Comment 11 by chawinwords

Personally, I am not too worried about Hitchens and his disease. Because, I am as sure as can be, that even if he succumbs to his disease, while suffering, he will also live more in that experience, progressively, than most others not so harnessed to life and reality.

We all die, but for Hitchens it is just another debate to enter and win -- and win he will.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 21:31:49 UTC | #545994

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 12 by xmaseveeve

Sorry - just a girlie - I posted that twice. I meant it.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 21:52:02 UTC | #546004

nancynancy's Avatar Comment 13 by nancynancy

I read the article in Vanity Fair yesterday, Mr. Hitchens, and it broke my heart. How wonderful it would be if I could just wave a magic wand and restore you to perfect health. I can't do that, but I can send you my love. Take care, Nancy

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 21:55:40 UTC | #546009

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 14 by KRKBAB

I'm always amazed by cancer victim's courageous attitudes towards their situation, but Hitch's attitude seems stellar. Can somebody really have as much integrity as he?- I suppose I sound like an Hitchens fanboy, but I don't care. He's a great role model for anybody with so-called terminal illnesses. To be positive, we all know some day (due to scientific diligence) cancer will go the way of Polio.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 22:10:09 UTC | #546019

Blaine McCartney's Avatar Comment 15 by Blaine McCartney

Comment 14 by KRKBAB :

I'm always amazed by cancer victim's courageous attitudes towards their situation, but Hitch's attitude seems stellar. Can somebody really have as much integrity as he?- I suppose I sound like an Hitchens fanboy, but I don't care. He's a great role model for anybody with so-called terminal illnesses. To be positive, we all know some day (due to scientific diligence) cancer will go the way of Polio.

I quite agree. Hitchens is and has often been criticised for his copious love of alcohol, cigarettes and views that are somewhat prone to change, but i've learned over the years never to aspire to perfection, for it's both unachievable and non-existant. I'm not saying Hitchens is as close to perfection as one can get, far from it, but he doesn't try to be; Hitchens is as Hitchens wants to be, which is something we can all aspire to.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 22:17:20 UTC | #546026

seals's Avatar Comment 16 by seals

I don't know what to make of this. My first reaction was "And I love you too!" What a cow. Some people really think they have it all worked out. The best you could say was that she was crass in the extreme and "I just wanted you to know that I understand exactly what you are going through" is horribly ambiguous. But then, oh well, maybe she was star struck… but it doesn't read that way.

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 22:33:56 UTC | #546032

dr in the house's Avatar Comment 17 by dr in the house

Hitchens' silver tongue never ceases to astound and amaze; "the inevitable awkwardness in diplomatic relations between Tumortown and its neighbors" - as a practising Oncologist, I so get this...

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 22:41:59 UTC | #546039

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 18 by xmaseveeve

Comment 5, Rod - I wish I could come! Hope you had a blast.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 00:00:30 UTC | #546075

Edouard Pernod's Avatar Comment 19 by Edouard Pernod

It's so refreshing to see Hitchens approach this difficult topic as he approaches everything else, with intellect, piercing wit, stern words, and simultaneously revealing emotion and compassion. Just as with everything else he has written, his writing about cancer have made me think about things that had not occurred to me before. What a brilliant man. I spend a lot of time around people who are dying from or living with cancer, and I don't pretend to understand what they're going through, because each person's suffering is wholly their own. But they do have my sympathy and wishes for recovery. While it is sad to me that Hitchens is suffering, and that he may not have as many days left as we would all wish him to have, I simultaneously feel exhilarated that I was able to meet him (in 2003 at a debate over the Iraq war) and that I am fortunate to live in the time period in which he is living and making such poignant observations about so many important things.

While he is too humble to rank himself among great minds like Jefferson and Paine, I have no qualms about putting him squarely in the same class as those brilliant men.

And while it's not likely, I'll still hope that Hitchens falls into that tiny bracket that inexplicably goes into remission and survives the disease, because even though unlikely, it does happen.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 01:19:59 UTC | #546114

stephenb1960's Avatar Comment 20 by stephenb1960

Re comment 14 by KRKBAB

It seems a shame that science may well send cancer the same way as polio, but may be too late to save one of it's fiercest, most elegant and hero-worshipworthy champions.

But I tell you what - if the cure comes from research into stem cells and would have been in time to save Christopher, were it not for the brigades of the brainlessly faithful whittering on about the sanctity of whatever life is contained in a blastocyst - I will be really pissed off.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 02:39:01 UTC | #546148

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 21 by Alternative Carpark

What a stupid woman! One wonders if she is smart enough to appreciate Hitchens' writings.

Comment 8 by xmaseveeve :

Ma Cruella: 'What age was he again?'

Me: 79.

Ma: 'Oh, well, he had a good innings then,'

What's so wrong about the "innings" comment? Sometimes that is the most comforting thing you can say to someone. Of course, timing and tone are important.

Now, I would never be so impertinent as to tell you how much grief you should feel about the death of a parent, but, let's be honest, 79 is no tragedy.

I to would love to live long enough to attend my son's 45th birthday, but, given the way things are going on this planet, I am pessimistic about my prospects of doing so.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 03:08:18 UTC | #546153

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 22 by xmaseveeve

Comment 21 - No, that was all she said before changing the subject. If you can't do better than that, then why bring it up? I hope someone like you doesn't meet your son when he's grieving. We are talking about empathy.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 03:17:25 UTC | #546158

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 23 by The Truth, the light

It's certainly a rare day when Hitch is lost for words.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 03:40:35 UTC | #546162

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 24 by Alternative Carpark

xmaseveeve

I wasn't suggesting that something along the lines of:

"'Oh, well, he had a good innings then. By, the way, did you see last week's episode of 'House'?"

would be appropriate....

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 04:01:37 UTC | #546164

semi-conscious's Avatar Comment 25 by semi-conscious

It must be so hard for chris , having to digest so much news at what at a time. There's no doubt in my mind, that it would have been an inconvenience for him.

Imagine how this man felt, living in a world that suddenly took on a whole new dimension and meaning, undoubtedly in a brief space of time. I wonder if he's scared? I don't think there's anything wrong with that!

Perhaps in chris's mind, accepting these changes is something that takes time and focus. We are who we are!

I remember hearing a rumour about how chris ate too much caviar at some formal do he was attending... are'nt we all just guesing anyway??? If we didn't all get caught by our weaknesses and delays, help wouldn't be required.

Sometimes control requires patience and guidance.*

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 04:13:10 UTC | #546166

ev-love's Avatar Comment 26 by ev-love

“Having to face immediate death in the present is a form of torture for most. It is a reminder that we really do need to escape reality much of the time. Religion is of course the greatest form of escape, but it is a truly dishonourable and cowardly form of denial.” Comment 7 by AtheistEgbert

"This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try,

That vast, moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die…

Most things may never happen: this one will…"

Thank you, AtheistE

ev-love

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 04:21:56 UTC | #546167

ev-love's Avatar Comment 27 by ev-love

Comment 25 by semi-conscious

"It must be so hard for chris"

CHRISTOPHER, semiconscious, always CHRISTOPHER

regards,

ev-love

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 04:31:03 UTC | #546171

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 28 by xmaseveeve

Comment 24 I love House too, carpark, but he wasn't around in those days. I get your point though. No, this woman said that deliberately to hurt me, and, because I was vulnerable at the time, I was unable to reply. She also attended church just for social acceptance. With scary 'Christians' like that, who needs ememas?

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 05:09:46 UTC | #546179

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 29 by Stafford Gordon

He hasn't lost his sense of humour or proportion, which helps us to maintain our own.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 10:33:20 UTC | #546215

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 30 by Stevehill

An interesting read on this the 7th anniversary of my first wife's death from cancer. (And, coincidentally, the second anniversary of the death of a much loved former colleague from oesophagal cancer).

I remember sitting with her in hospital when her consultant did his rounds and I asked him a question about some forthcoming treatment and what it would mean. My wife jumped in, quite angrily, to tell me it was her illness and it was up to her to manage it and seek (or choose not to seek) further information about the next round of indignities.

I was about to respond by saying it was having a pretty serious impact on me too, but I bit my tongue. She was right. 27 years of marriage did not give me much more of a role than spectator and, I hope, emotional supporter in these circumstances.

What point Hitchens' interlocutor was trying to make I'm not sure: but it is difficult for the uninitiated to know what to say, and random babbling is a distinct possibility. She obviously admires him enough to want to meet him - I'd be inclined not to be too hard on her.

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 11:27:56 UTC | #546226