Wednesday, June 3, 2015

News catch-up, part deux: The 'control freakery' of assisted dying, Caitlyn Jenner and the killer DJ

Commentator Charles Moore has written about the decision ("Arranging an assisted suicide is the ultimate in control freakery") by 54-year-old businessman Jeffrey Spector to end his life at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. Spector was in a state of paralysis due to an inoperable tumor.
Shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer has vowed to introduce a bill that would allow for assisted dying, or "dying with dignity" as it is sometimes called. He has pledged to work around the Suicide Act of 1961 which makes the assistance in or encouragement of a suicide illegal.
Moore, however, whose piece is subtitled "The rising calls for 'Dignitas dying' are symptoms of a very modern disease," sees it as a duty to keep those alive who have no zest for life anymore and do not wish to prolong the pain or the indignity of seeing themselves in a vegatative state. Spector feared living as a quadriplegic. But Moore views this assault on Spector's future dignity as a "rhetorical trick which sympathy for Mr Spector should not force us to accept." Moore appears to step off the deep end when he writes:
In the modern world—especially the rich Western world—people—especially successful people—want control. We are used to owning things and making consumer choices and switching careers and partners and taking out life insurance policies and investment plans and issuing orders instantaneously and remotely via the internet. We feel our peers judge us by how much we control things and people. We judge ourselves in this way. So what we most dislike is whatever escapes our control. Small examples of this are road rage or people who have a tantrum when their flight is delayed. Big examples are people who cannot accept the mental illness of those close to them, or people who try to prevent themselves ageing. Not for nothing has the phrase "control freak" been invented in our time: it is the disease of power which destroys many a marriage, blights many children's lives and turns office life into a misery.
Dude, seriously? I don't wish to take you out of context, but you're starting your argument off by comparing one's desire for relief to the careers or commercialism of high-flying occidentals? Wishing for a dignified death is akin to the "control freak" tantrums of a road rager or power-hungry narcissist whose marriage breaks down? Did you rip off some nerd's book report on Bonfire of the Vanities or what? Moore goes on to assert that the control freakery rampant in society allows people the fantasy that they can book their deaths as they can a holiday or a restaurant table. Ker-plunk!
After lecturing us on the benefits of being old and happy—hey, screw you, Charles Moore, I was planning on being curmudgeonly in my twilight years, goddamnit!—he opines:
The rising calls for assisted dying, however powerful some of the hard cases seem, are symptoms of a pointless defiance of the nature of human life. They attempt to master what cannot be mastered.
Yep, there's that awful control thing again, rearing its ugly head.
They are very bad for our peace of mind.
Ummm, whose peace of mind, Chas? Ours, did you say? You must be mistaken, old boy. Surely you meant "your". It's bad for your peace of mind that the possibility of liberating one's self from the prison of their unrepairable body exists. This is hardly the same as the "self-slaughter" category of suicide to which Moore refers.
I know that the duty of care inherent in the health care system stipulates that the life of a patient requires preserving and that our lives are not ours to take when there is no compelling medical reason to justify it. Terminal illness is, however, a game-changer. I don't believe choice is a bad thing. It's usually what human beings thrive on.
As a "control freak" Westerner (according to Moore), I'm allowed a free market for most things as a living, breathing consumer. Why not at my most desperate hour? 
How can we have regulations as thick as an encyclopedia for most government bodies, but somehow it's impossible to stick in there a rule which states that assisted death is permissable if requested by the patient. Coersion by doctors, nurses or health professionals would be illegal. The patient must, in some concrete manner, and with a solicitor present, communicate his wish to die and grant permission for it.
Is this honestly so hard to work into existing health care legislation? No-one wants death panels. Nobody is saying that you should be coerced into ending your life. The Dignitas clinic exists because the people who seek its services, if I may be allowed to call it that, know what they are requesting and they have given their assent for it.
Moore concludes with:
People speak of "the right to die". It is a strange idea to try to turn a certainty into a right. This is not an area of mere personal choice: it is a predicament, the predicament of every human being. We are all in this together.
No, we are assuredly not "all in this together", Mr. Moore. You want to deny what I do consider a right to end my life on my terms, to withhold from me and others what should be an ability to declare "enough is enough" and end the pain for good. I assure you, I will fight you and all those who think like you tooth and bloody nail on this. If we are not to accept death on anyone else's terms, then that can only mean that we decide that for ourselves. To compare those terms to a "modern disease" is not only callous but reduces the pain of the terminally ill to a red herring. 
Speak for yourself in wanting to exist in a vegetative state for years, Mr. Moore. If I end up that way, I grant permission for anyone to drag me into the woods and shoot me. But I'd prefer the environment of the hospital or clinic, thank you very much, and a needle in my arm to settle it forever.

She's always a woman to herself

Bruce Jenner is now known to the world as Caitlyn. She has come out as her new self on the cover of Vanity Fair in a shot taken by Annie Leibovitz.

Jenner has said that while Bruce always had secrets, Caitlyn has none. Jenner tweeted: "I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world, Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me."
Jenner is now even more popular than she was in 1976, when the whole world, golly gee, thought she was a man and she won a Gold medal in the Montreal Olympics.
I think we encourage the alternatives to the heterosexual, solidly male or solidly female world a little too much in today's society. We have glamorized deviancy and it is getting to the stage where if I said I was perfectly happy as a natural-born male, I'd be considered the weird one. I mean, if I haven't figured out that I'm actually a woman by now, or that at the very least my gender was fluid, then I must be insane. Either that, or I'm a threat to the psychological and emotional well-being of others struggling with their sexuality or gender identity by flaunting my comfortability with my gender or willingness to accept gender roles inherent in the term "man".
We have all heard that many transsexuals have known from a very young age that they did not feel right in the bodies they were born with. That could very well be, but why the urgent need to put transgender awareness in schools? Can we not leave these individuals to sort this business out for themselves? Do we have to shine the spotlight on them or put them up on a pedestal with the greats of the civil rights movement? Isn't this a deeply personal avenue to travel down? Why should it involve the entire country?
We act as if one's gender identity or sexual preference is the end game to an über national consciousness, as if once Americans have been brainwashed and/or browbeaten into accepting every difference imaginable then we will have ushered in a utopia. My definition of such would be defeating our enemies and having a robust, job-creating economy. But that's just me.
I don't know anything about the stability of the input connection to Jenner's brain, so I'll just congratulate her on her transformation and leave well enough alone. Bruce Jenner was a running hero to me and still is. That won't change—regardless of how much she has.

File under "duh" for DJ

Last week, a deejay in Denmark caused a storm of outrage after killing a nine-week-old rabbit named Allan while on the air. Asger Juhl from Radio24syv was, according to reports, trying to provoke a debate on the "vast hypocrisy" concerning human relationships with animals. Juhl beat the young rabbit to death with a bicycle pump and later took the body home to skin and cook.
Actor Ricky Gervais responded by writing on Twitter: "I just battered a Danish DJ to death with a bicycle pump to show how terrible murder is." Juhl responded to the comedian's jibe by saying the rabbit "didn't suffer." How exactly would he know?

Allan the rabbit: "Were you aware that I don't feel pain? It must be true because a radio big-mouth said so."
You see, this is exactly the problem dictating human relationships with animals. Far too many people believe that animals do not feel pain. Did Saint Francis of Assisi visit these people in the middle of the night and assure them that animals lack pain receptors or what?
If you pull a cat's tail, it'll likely yowl at you in response. Why? Because you caused it pain, dumbkopf.
For instance, if I was to envy my neighbor his BMW convertible, do I smash it up to show the evil of coveting his goods? Who'd defend me on those grounds? 
You just can't defend stupidity.
Juhl's cruel roundabout way of trying to make a point is as sensible as an "artist" soliciting the shooting of a pet rat to protest the use of military drones. Yet, that's exactly what Florian Mehnert of Germany attempted with his ridiculous "11 Days" experiment. Mehnert was later arrested.
Mr. Juhl, for your next stunt, I suggest you bring in Mike Tyson as a guest and call him the n-word, y'know, to demonstrate the awfulness of racism.

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