Friday, April 5, 2013

Roger Ebert

I guess that I don't understand the hub-bub, not really. The comment was made that Roger Ebert "did NOT lose his courageous battle with cancer, but that cancer took his life."

I'll admit that it peeves me to read obituaries where it seems de rigueur to say "------- -------- passed peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer."

What choice do people have, really? You get cancer, you need to suck it up and start pushing back with all your might. It's a battle of wits, a massive headgame. You've got to wrap your head around the fact that you might have the disease that will end your life and at the same time grit your teeth and say to yourself, "...but by God, it hasn't killed me yet."

So in that context the words 'courageous battle' bug me. I didn't consider myself brave. I was simply playing the hand I got dealt. Hardly anyone I know who's dealing with it think of themselves as brave. They just wake up everyday and keep on going, try to stay positive. Play the hand that they are dealt, just like me, just like millions of others in this world.

So yes. The obituary phrase makes me grit my teeth. I'm sure all those courageous people had their moments of weakness. Just like me. I'm sure that sometimes they lay in bed thinking and they got scared. Just like me. But that doesn't look good in the paper. You can't say, "------- -------- passed away peacefully after a fairly decent battle with cancer, but s/he had weak moments and sometimes s/he cried in the dark." Or even, "------ -----  died after turning into a sniveling coward upon hearing the cancer diagnosis."

Naw. You can't say stuff like that. Even if it is true.

But...THIS thing: Roger Ebert "did NOT lose his courageous battle with cancer, but that cancer took his life."


"Cancer took Roger Ebert's life."


But I ask you true. Saying it that way? What the hell did it change?


Anonymous said...

overthinking simple words. it is courageous to go public with a drastically changed appearance and no ability to talk without a computer. some cancer folks refuse chemo because of hair vanity, drain their families of every dime and ounce of joy while others try their dardnest to make the best of a terrible situation. so you did have a choice but you are a decent enough person not to even realize it. trust me. and please get rid of the word verification. annoying

Debby said...

I apologize for the word verification, but when I started getting spam rife with the 'f' word, that's when it was time to stop it.

Bob said...

Good point Debby. Oversimplification or not, words have an impact and I can understand your point of view, especially as one who has faced cancer herself.

Similarly, I know of a couple who lost a son a few years ago. They have three other children. They are very careful now to still say they have four children because, as they put it, he did not stop being their son just because he went to heaven.

Thanks for a good reminder of the importance of words we choose to use.