Say it ain’t so, Genie! »« How about if we all end the killing?

Christian de Duve has died

Christian de Duve won the Nobel prize in 1974 (along with Claude and Palade) for his work on the biochemistry of the cell. He also wrote several books on the origin and evolution of life. Here he is speaking at the Lindau meetings a few years ago.

Christian de Duve is now dead at 95, by euthanasia.

“It would be an exaggeration to say I’m not afraid of death, but I’m not afraid of what comes after because I’m not a believer. When I disappear I will disappear, there’ll be nothing left,” he told the Belgian daily Le Soir just a month ago.

De Duve had decided to commit euthanasia after suffering a fall in his home but was awaiting the arrival of his son from the United States in early May in order to die surrounded by family.

“He left us serenely and refused to take anti-anxiety pills before the final injection. He left with a smile and a good-bye,” his daughter Francoise told Le Soir.

What a dignified and honorable way to go!

Comments

  1. says

    Sad. I only recently read his book, “The Genetics of Original Sin”. Made a lot of sense of a bone of creationist contention.

  2. Trebuchet says

    “Commits euthanasia” is a very odd phrasing to American ears. But it actually works really well in describing the situation. It’s not like a typical suicide at all, and the phrasing makes it clear that this is entirely voluntary and wanted, not like the situation the American right are always imagining.

  3. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    How brave – when do you say that the moment has come, without clinging to a few more seconds. Such thoughts are still beyond what I can fathom.

  4. kevinalexander says

    And now his everlasting soul is burning, you know, everlastingly because Jesus a bunch of demented sexual deviates in Rome have been robbed of the pleasure of his end of life suffering.

  5. says

    That is one very courageous person. He just proved that courage is not in fighting the unknown, but comprehending the reality. He certainly has not left behind nothing.

  6. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I am saying up front that I am supportive of having assisted suicide as an option for folks who wish it.

    Having made that completely clear, NDTV’s article is the kind of writing that makes it so darn difficult to take that position.

    He made the decision after taking a fall? This article makes it sound like if you break a hip you’re better off dead. It is the most insulting and dehumanizing form of ableism imaginable, and it infuriates me. These decisions are complex, difficult, and reached after a great deal of thought.

    Imagine if I wrote an article saying that Person X “decided to get an abortion after nearly losing her job”.

    It might be true, but it would be pounced on here and many other places. This F’ing type of assumption on the value of a life lived in pain or with reduced mobility – heck, all we need to know to understand his decision is that “he fell” b/c hell, anyone would want to die after a fall – needs to be taken down.

    Now.

    Hard.

  7. Pilum says

    Silverlight… can’t play. :-(

    The guy seems like an absolute titan. I’m sure his euthanasia was well thought through.

  8. nerok says

    @8 Crip Dyke

    He made the decision after taking a fall? This article makes it sound like if you break a hip you’re better off dead. It is the most insulting and dehumanizing form of ableism imaginable, and it infuriates me. These decisions are complex, difficult, and reached after a great deal of thought.

    It’s a very short article that should have taken more care to phrase whatever information there was better. Taking a fall at 95 could mean a lot of horrible consequences, even with a small one, so I’d wager there was more to the story.

    This F’ing type of assumption on the value of a life lived in pain or with reduced mobility

    Is the ableist part that we have an easier time accepting that someone would want to kill themselves after suffering? Otherwise it seems like you’re second guessing his choices and blowing up what that most personal decision means for other people.

  9. kevinalexander says

    Cryp Dyke,
    You are absolutely right, except for the taken down part. It should have been expanded on and may have been in the original writers copy. We don’t know what the editor did with it.
    Do you know anyone who has broken a hip? I have and very often, though not necessarily, they do wish they were dead For the elderly a broken hip is often a death sentence by slow protracted pain during which they cannot do anything that defined life for them. There is much more to life than not being dead.
    Ultimately it isn’t about ableism, about us deciding the worth of another person but about that person deciding his own fate

  10. ButchKitties says

    Taking a fall at 95 could mean a lot of horrible consequences, even with a small one, so I’d wager there was more to the story.

    When my great grandmother fell and broker her hip at age 97, it was just the beginning of an avalanche of health problems. The broken hip was swiftly followed by infection, blood clots, stroke, and then a fatal heart attack. And this was a woman who lived completely independently and had no unusual health problems prior to the fracture.

  11. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    First:

    I said that what needed to be taken down was a particular assumption. Not an article. I did not say or imply we needed censorship.

    Second

    It should have been expanded on and may have been in the original writers copy. We don’t know what the editor did with it.

    Really? This is a response? I didn’t say whether the assumption was made by author or editor, I said it was made in the article, and that’s true.

    Person 1: “Jo got shot today! I’m really upset!”

    kevinalexander: “Look, how do you know that the person who owns the gun pulled the trigger? Really it could have been someone entrusted with the gun!”

    Person 1: WTF?

    Third:

    Taking a fall at 95 could mean a lot of horrible consequences, even with a small one, so I’d wager there was more to the story.

    Thank you for making my point for me. Did you read the abortion comparison at all?

    Fourth:

    Is the ableist part that we have an easier time accepting that someone would want to kill themselves after suffering? Otherwise it seems like you’re second guessing his choices and blowing up what that most personal decision means for other people.

    We don’t know that he suffered. We don’t know anything. We know he made the decision to die and in the same F’n sentence we learn that he took a fall.

    Imagine if it said that he made the decision after eating 2 scrambled eggs and 1 piece of bacon. You’d wonder exactly what that was doing in the same sentence with the decision. Did it cause the question to be considered? Was the question already being considered and the flavor of the eggs push the answer into, “Yes, I’d like to die as soon as my son gets here”? WTF?

    But we as readers are supposed to read “he fell” as explaining his decision to die. My daughter fell of her bike 3 times on the way to the park and back last thursday, so I assume everyone reading this article would be equally unsurprised if she made the decision to die.

    Or maybe not. Maybe these decisions aren’t simple ones that can be justified by merely referencing the potential for suffering to exist. This is the kind of thing that makes people with disabilities trust able bodied folk less far than we can throw you: if you think that this article’s sentence about his decision to die is a reasonably constructed and informative one, then “I have MS” is a sufficient condition to reach the decision, “I will be euthanized”. Hundreds of millions of people running around thinking that it explains this stuff to say that someone fell makes people reasonably terrified that when we fall, you’ll be thinking, “Time to die” about us.

    If that isn’t reasonable, then this article is not reasonable. This article promotes the idea that it IS reasonable to off yourself because you fell once.

    Therefore, for me, this article is offensive in the extreme.

    =========
    PS
    Absolutely I know people who have broken hips. I also know people – including my brother – who have ended their lives voluntarily. That has nothing to do with this article and its assumptions that the end of life can be determined by, “I fell today? Time to die,” thinking.

  12. says

    He left us serenely and refused to take anti-anxiety pills before the final injection

    I’d serenely leave too, but I’d pop a bunch of those anxiolytics before that final injection for sure. It’s not like you’re running the risk of addiction or something.

  13. says

    Cryp: It was his life. His choice. Why are you upset that he chose the time, the place, and the reason?

    Not your decision to make. His decision. He decided with eyes apparently wide open that he did not want his next months/years to be lived in pain and disability.

    Again. his decision to make. If you wouldn’t have made the same decision — well, that’s your decision to make. Don’t dismiss his or denigrate it, OK?

    Your apparent anger that he decided to “go” after a medical crisis suggests you have some reservations about allowing him to be his own decision-maker.

    I suggest you head over to Eric MacDonald’s blog Choice in Dying. http://choiceindying.com/2013/05/04/assisted-dying-and-the-failure-of-community/

    I think you might be better able to work through your feelings about this over there.

  14. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Kevin:

    What sort of idiot are you?

    Where did I criticize his choice. Read the first sentence of my first post on this subject. Your condescension is foul and your refusal to engage the actual topic is worse.

    There are legitimate things to discuss here, whether de Duve’s body and life belonged to de Duve is not among them.

    Finally:

    “work through my feelings”?

    Go jump in a lake you arrogant jerk. This isn’t about my feelings and it’s not about de Duve’s choice. Try learning English if you want to use it to communicate.

  15. nerok says

    @12 ButchKitties

    I’m very sorry. For me it was my cousins’ grandmother, a personal friend, who was in good shape apart from poor eyesight at 98. She broke her hip and got home from it, but never really recovered. She lived independently until the end. I always catch myself thinking it was only another two years for her to have lived a full century. Which I know is just a round number, but it still feels like such an awe inspiring length of life.

    @13 Crip Dyke

    That has nothing to do with this article and its assumptions that the end of life can be determined by, “I fell today? Time to die,” thinking.

    I don’t think many people would assume this from this article. I think most people would assume there was further complications. I don’t agree this article places any such assumptions, and I think it’s fairly obvious is was badly trimmed to fit a certain article length.

    Maybe these decisions aren’t simple ones that can be justified by merely referencing the potential for suffering to exist. This is the kind of thing that makes people with disabilities trust able bodied folk less far than we can throw you: if you think that this article’s sentence about his decision to die is a reasonably constructed and informative one, then “I have MS” is a sufficient condition to reach the decision, “I will be euthanized”.

    It is not an informative article. Few obits I’ve seen ever go into detail about the reasoning behind someone committing suicide. You could argue that there should be less taboo around death and suicide and that we should be more open about what people thought before they reached that decision. This is not commonplace today, and I don’t see how we should expect to read that even in a longer article.

    I knew a person with MS who decided to die. I don’t know the details of his thinking, but I’ve never felt I had to get better answers than knowing it was a progressively degenerative illness and knowing it was bad enough he decided to go. Is “he had MS, it got bad” an offensive answer to the question of why he took his life? Are we really to infer by that I think people with MS are somehow bad or that they should die?

    We don’t know that he suffered. We don’t know anything. We know he made the decision to die and in the same F’n sentence we learn that he took a fall.
    Imagine if it said that he made the decision after eating 2 scrambled eggs and 1 piece of bacon.

    I don’t see this being a reasonable comparison. It doesn’t take great leaps of imagination to go from “took a fall at 95″ to “it was probably worse than a slip”, rather than your bacon & egg example.

    This article promotes the idea that it IS reasonable to off yourself because you fell once.

    I can’t understand how you could interpret it that way. I feel like there is something unsaid in your argument I’m just not getting.

  16. says

    #13:

    I presume you’ve had relatives with terminal illnesses and/or injuries that they will never recover from. My own mother has Huntington’s Disease and a big part of my life involves taking care of her. Part of that involved helping her to vote back in November, when Massachusetts had a nonbinding referendum about assisted suicide on the ballot.

    I did the best I could to present it to her objectively, and hopefully I didn’t influence her decision to vote yes. But she’s seen the effects that HD has had first hand, in her grandmother, mother, aunt, and brother, and now that she’s going through it herself, she may never seek to exercise the option, but she understands what it means to face a life that is not going to get any better and want to end it early, while the person still has the mental capacity to make such a decision.

    So I am certainly not going to condemn de Duve, nor am I going to take issue with this coverage of his death. I’m adopted, so I don’t think I’m likely to have HD, but that doesn’t mean it might not be me in that wheelchair eventually, and I don’t know what my quality of life would be if I wound up there. Best you don’t either.

  17. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @nerok

    Think again about the abortion example. The writing included what is to thinking people an obviously inadequate justification for the decision to die that certainly doesn’t reflect de Duve’s actual reasoning or process.

    If we routinely wrote in the press that someone decided to get an abortion for equally inadequate and false reasons, it would get called out for trivializing something

    a) important
    and
    b) whose understanding is necessary to make good policy choices, meaning that deliberately writing in ways that obscure understanding is likely to lead to bad policy choices.

    And it should get called out. And so should this. This writing doesn’t get off scot free b/c it’s a short article or an obit.

    The article could have had **nothing** in it about his reasons. That would have made it shorter and would have cut misinformation. The fact that the editor felt that some explanation of his reasons must be included, and that a sufficient explanation of his reasons is that “he fell” is offensive and dangerous.

    People seem insistent on speculating on suffering de Duve might have endured or might have risked enduring – as if the two were identical, and as if de Duve’s decision were at issue. This is about the media coverage and how it both shapes and reflects opinions about what lives are worth living.

  18. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @brianX

    that doesn’t mean it might not be me in that wheelchair eventually, and I don’t know what my quality of life would be if I wound up there. Best you don’t either

    1. What do you think the “crip” means?

    2. yeah, stay classy.

  19. nerok says

    @14 rorschach

    I’d serenely leave too, but I’d pop a bunch of those anxiolytics before that final injection for sure. It’s not like you’re running the risk of addiction or something.

    I thought you left in anger, being disintegrated by Dr Manhattan?

    Bad joke aside, I did read someone making the case for Nitrous Oxide for suicide; the idea being that you wouldn’t get any anxiety from “not being able to breathe”, since you would be free to exhale the CO2 buildup; you would get a last high from the Nitrous, and ultimately die from asphyxiation. Which sounds more sensible than the more common suggestion to “just OD on heroin or something”.

  20. says

    I make no assumptions about anyone based on someone’s chosen name. Anyway, if you yourself fit that description, you should understand even more that someone might want the right to end their own lives for their own reasons, even if you don’t.

  21. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Brian X

    Read the first sentence of my first post, then try to make an intelligent attempt to read what I said in the rest. You might learn something.

  22. says

    Fair enough, but I still think the article writer probably felt that the reader would make the assumption that there’s more to the story.

  23. David Marjanović says

    What a dignified and honorable way to go!

    I don’t understand.

  24. nerok says

    @19 Crip Dyke

    If we routinely wrote in the press that someone decided to get an abortion for equally inadequate and false reasons, it would get called out for trivializing something

    I think I see what you’re driving at. But I still don’t see this article as doing something that would be offensive. I agree that it would be, if for instance it said something like: “received some unexpected bills and promptly decided to die”. I just don’t think “a fall” qualifies as being trivializing; as I’ve said before, the context is enough to reasonably infer he didn’t just slip.
    Just like a context in an article about abortion mentioning “a fall” wouldn’t reasonably suggest the lady in question slipped and decided children was not for her.
    I don’t think most mentions of abortions include very many specifics either, it’s covered by taboos as well. “Wasn’t the right time” isn’t uncommon to hear, and uncharitably could sound like a scheduling conflict.

    At this point I think I understand your point though, which makes it a difference of opinion on this specific case.

    I think there’s an underlying question though, in how you question the coverage; what if it *had* been “just a fall”? Maybe it was pride and the last sign of age that broke his will to live further. Now you’re having to draw up right and wrong reasons to commit suicide, which seems like a minefield. In your abortion analogy it would be like the peanut gallery having opinions on what abortions are okay, which I thought was superseded by “right to choose”.
    I think it’s a tough issue for suicide, because it intersects so with mental health. I don’t want to say all suicides are okay, with a “right to choose” motivation, because there are plenty of suicides that are preventable. On the other hand, setting limits removes agency from the individual and imposes a set of right and wrong conditions upon someone else’s life, about their own life and experiences.

    What do you think the “crip” means?

    I thought you were referencing the gang.

  25. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    But we as readers are supposed to read “he fell” as explaining his decision to die. – Crip Dyke

    The headline says he was 95. I think most people would have taken that into account.

  26. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I thought you were referencing the gang.

    And what do you think the gang name references?

  27. nerok says

    @28 Crip Dyke

    And what do you think the gang name references?

    I haven’t the slightest idea.

    “People in the neighborhood then began calling them cripples, or “Crips” for short.” says Wiki and I’m guessing that’s what you were hinting at.
    I don’t find many gang names intuitive.

  28. says

    My mother died two weeks after she broke her hip, and as a direct result of it, at 86. It was a horrendous two weeks, painful for all concerned. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

  29. says

    Re: Crip Dyke, I think you are correct in pointing out the ableist phrasing of the article, and I consider it priveleged to look beyond it and argue context. We can support the action of de Duve and still criticize the method of reporting. Better if the article had not tried to give a ‘reason’ beyond that that’s what the man decided for himself.

  30. Ulysses says

    The guy fell at age 95. If you can’t figure out what that means then you’re ignorant about the effects broken bones can have to the elderly.

    The article didn’t go into further detail about de Duve’s fall. Complain to the writer, not to us.

  31. says

    Seriously, if his reason was his fall, then what else needs to be explained? Why assume there is a hidden agenda behind “I fell, I see the writing on the wall, I’m really old, that’s enough.”

    There does not have to be a physical/medical reason/emergency/crisis for someone to intelligently decide that they no longer want to be around. There does not have to be a chronic medical condition for someone to intelligently decide they no longer want to be around. There does not have to be a “fatal illness” for someone to intelligently decide they no longer want to be around. If you decide after eating two scrambled eggs and some bacon that you’ve had enough — it should be your human right to exercise a right to die on your own terms.

    My dad’s currently locked up in a nursing home (it’s a very benign lock, but lock it is). His brain is mush due to several infections that led to delirium/dehydration/more delirium/and on and on. He never wanted to live like that. Right now he’s miserable and angry and confused and upset. Six months ago, if you had given him a choice between where he is today and the grave, he would have instantly chosen the grave. Sadly, he can’t make his own choices now – he’s not competent. And it’s unethical for the family to make that kind of decision on his behalf – not to mention potentially illegal. Even though we keep getting “hints” from certain sectors with regard to his ongoing care.

    So, it’s going to be months-to-years of unwanted life for him. And probable bankruptcy for my mother because Medicare won’t pay for his care, and you have to be dead-assed broke to qualify for Medicaid.

    I hope to be aware enough of my impending end-of-life feebleness to make a wise and rational choice, and to be able to execute a plan that allows me to enjoy my last days, not suffer needlessly. Sadly, that’s a pretty rare state anywhere, and even more-rare in the US where most laws work against rational end-of-life decision-making.

    And if that’s not your choice, then hurray for you. It’s your choice. And you have my 100% support in making your own decision in your own way — even if that decision is to make no decision whatsoever and let the fates carry you where they will. Or to decide to fight with all your might through untold agony until the very last gasp. Your life–your death. Do with it what you will.

  32. David Marjanović says

    And what do you think the gang name references?

    I had never thought about this either. The English language isn’t that uniform.

  33. pikaia says

    I am sorry to hear of his death. His book “Vital Dust”, about the origin of life, is absolutely fascinating, even though it is a little dated.

  34. great1american1satan says

    I remember saying I wouldn’t care if I’d been aborted once in these very forums, and someone said I must be clinically depressed. To that I say, whut. It’s just practical. There’d be no me to care in that hypothetical, so it wouldn’t matter. Much like this – anyone who does not truly believe in an immortal soul would of course have no fear of the state of being dead. It just wouldn’t matter.

    Of course, being alive, I’d like to stay that way, but being dead isn’t scary at all. How could it be?

  35. nerok says

    @36 great1american1satan

    Of course, being alive, I’d like to stay that way, but being dead isn’t scary at all. How could it be?

    I recall Penn Jillette giving (or paraphrasing) an argument to the effect that if the year 1800 isn’t scary to you, why would the year 2200 be? You don’t exist in either time.
    “Unexistence” is a hard concept for a consciousness to grasp. But I think the idea of referencing history works well. Where were “you” in 1800? I haven’t even heard religious people give a coherent answer, even though they have all kinds of supernatural options to use (not counting the reincarnation believers of course, from which I would like to know where the increase in population comes from).

  36. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Ulysses

    The article didn’t go into further detail about de Duve’s fall. Complain to the writer, not to us.

    because no one here expects anyone to complain about Ken Ham or conservatives spreading bad assumptions. When PZ posts such things here, it is in the expectation that no words will be said here, but that we will all go to some originating website of the nonsense and complain there.

    Yeah. That’s exactly how Pharyngula works.

    How silly of me to try to impose a double standard when dealing with issues of ableism.

  37. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    @Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    After reading the article, I believe that a simple deletion of the reason, which is a minimal aside, would be more appropriate. One should not need to justify their self-termination to anyone. The addition of the reason perpetuates an ableist (I think?) trope in the “better dead than x” category, which belittles and others those that do decide to continue living.

    I think I got at least part of it there. No doubt if I’m wrong I’ll be promptly corrected and learn something

  38. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Xaivius, you have it exactly right.

  39. says

    @Crip Dyke

    If we routinely wrote in the press that someone decided to get an abortion for equally inadequate and false reasons

    There is no such thing as an inadequate reason to get an abortion, so I really don’t get your point.

    If this guy woke up and *didn’t* have a fall and yet decided that he was ready to die, he had every right to do that. So if the reasons were merely as reported in the article (i.e. he was 95 and he had a fall), what difference would it have made? Are you saying the report shouldn’t have mentioned his reasons at all, because it would take a book to lay them all out within the context of his life (and even then could not include whatever private thoughts about it that he didn’t tell his family)? That seems pretty unreasonable to me.

    There’s no such thing as an inadequate reason for someone to choose to die either, only measures that might be taken to change the factors involved in that decision as far as that person is concerned.

  40. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Ibis3:

    There is no such thing as an inadequate reason to get an abortion, so I really don’t get your point.

    Yeah, you don’t get my point because you don’t read what I’m actually writing or understand what I’m actually writing about. You insist on making this about de Duve’s reasons and not the article’s F’d up assumptions.

    The written reasons were inadequate to express his process and/or reasons and false besides. I am not saying that the reasons that de Duve had were inadequate and/or false.

    I have always and only been talking about the coverage. If you can’t get that, I can’t help you.

    If the press were constantly trivializing women’s decisions to get an abortion as a decision made b/c of reasons wholly inadequate to reflect women’s actual process and reasoning, feminists would (and do) get pissed.

    If you think that’s wrong, go talk to all the feminists who have been pissed off [and publicly!] at right wing jerks who assert that we get abortions (or don’t) based on the size of our welfare checks or whether we’ll have to paint the nursery b/c this fetus isn’t the same sex as the last one.

    And in the mean time, F off. I have said from the beginning I’m not challenging his reasons, and you come in here insisting on writing as if I’m challenging de Duve’s reasons. That takes particularly egregious bad faith on your part, or particularly incompetent reading/writing in this thread. If you would have actually read what I’ve been saying, it’s been clear that several times people have argued something similar to your #42 and every time I’ve corrected them.

    The fact that you’re a special little snowflake whose comment is going to be uniquely valuable despite saying the same wrong things again is a particularly common delusion in this thread, but it’s no more reflective of reality for you than for anyone else.

    You’re not even special in your insistence that you’re special.

    As for

    Are you saying the report shouldn’t have mentioned his reasons at all, because it would take a book to lay them all out within the context of his life (and even then could not include whatever private thoughts about it that he didn’t tell his family)? That seems pretty unreasonable to me.

    I’m saying that’s one good way to handle it. I’m saying if the priority was to write something short (as persons above seemed to assume [reasonably, based on the article itself]), leaving out that clause would have served to NOT repeat the F’d up trope “Better dead than X”. That trope could have been avoided in other ways, but they would have taken more creativity and probably a longer word count.

    What I am not saying is that the report **shouldn’t** have mentioned his reasons. I’m saying that if you can’t write about a particular thing [in this case the decision to die] in such a way as to not repeat such F’d up tropes, then don’t write about hat particular thing. Just like if you can’t express yourself on a particular topic without being racist, you’d be wise to shut up on that particular topic.

    And if you can’t confine yourself to the article and it’s assumptions and the implications of its rhetorical choices and insist on defending a right to die, then F off and go defend it against someone that’s actually attacking it, since I said in the first sentence of my first comment in this thread that I support that right.

    And I’ve reminded more than you that I did that. Can you really not read? Seriously, the stereotype is that people with disabilities are less likely to understand complex topics? There’s some data here in this thread that might just indicate it’s the TABs that have that problem.

  41. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    Just to add some support: I thought Crip Dyke’s position was perfectly clear from their first post.

  42. thumper1990 says

    @Crip Dyke

    You have an issue with the phrasing because simply saying “He fell” will lead some more judgemental people to say something along the lines of “He only fell over! See, this is what euthanasia will lead to, pathetic saps killing themselves for no reason! We can’t allow it!”. Have I understood that correctly?

    Apologies if I have not, but assuming I have, I see your point. You would have to be a hugely judgemental arsehole to take that line, but the sad fact is that a lot of people are hugely judgemental arseholes. The article should have either elaborated and made clear the complications which presumably resulted from the fall, or not tried to analyse his reasoning at all. Reporting it in this fashion could hinder the efforts to have Right to Die legislation enacted by giving amunition to it’s detractors… right?

  43. kevinalexander says

    Crip Dyke’s position was clear from the first post. It was also wrong. She committed the first error of confirmation bias by inferring what was not implied. When some of us politely tried to point out that fact and that maybe there was more to it than that and also politely omitting to mention that that perception was clear enough to everyone but her, she came back twelve gauge asshole, belittling the intelligence of everyone who didn’t acknowledge that her take was the beginning and end of the discussion.
    What she did to me personally was to invent a statement that misrepresented my position then put quotation marks around it and added my name to it. I don’t hide behind an internet handle, that’s my real name and she shit on it so if I’m addressing this to you and not to her it’s because I’m not speaking to her until I get an apology.

  44. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ kevinalexander

    I found this comment. I assume this is what you’re referencing?

    Yes, it’s bizarre that I put quotes around it. Don’t know why I did it. Fingers on autopilot or something, I guess. To be fair, I also put quotes around the imaginary statements of that other player in the drama, who was named “Person 1″ for exacting verisimilitude. For someone who thinks that the original article that I criticized was abundantly clear in NOT attributing de Duve’s decision to a fall and nothing else, when that is exactly and only what the article did, I think it’s strange that you believe that anyone would think that that represents a quote directly from you. Further, you won’t talk to me b/c I pointed out that your argument was a non-sequitur? You really think I “shit on” your identity because Someone might read your comment and think that you and “person 1″ were talking about wholly different things? You think that’s behavior that deserves the silent treatment? All I can say about that is, “Wow”.

    Nonetheless, I put quotes around words you didn’t say. For that I am sorry. It was wrong.

    As for belittling the intelligence of who pointed out I was inferring what was not implied, I belittled the intelligence of “Kevin” not “kevinalexander”. I assume these are not the same person using 2 different handles, but even if they are I’ll say this for clarity:

    I am normally one of the more careful for belittling arguments and not people. Though the latter happens around here, and regularly, I shy away from it. Clearly I don’t refrain from it entirely. While I wish that I had yesterday, kevinalexander is lying about what I said with the assertion that I was

    belittling the intelligence of everyone who didn’t acknowledge that her take was the beginning and end of the discussion

    I belittled the intelligence of someone who read my comment and then wrote this bizarre thing assuming that I was pissed off at de Duve, despite what you, kevinalexander, call a position

    clear from the first post

    If my position was clear from the first post, and someone tells me I have to “deal with my feelings” about subject X only related in the most tangential way to the actual topic, I am not treating my take as the end all be all of discussion of de Duve or of this article. I responded to you pointing out a non-sequitur without questioning your intelligence. I didn’t respond at all to folk celebrating de Duve. Clearly if I’m trying to enforce singlemindedness on this thread, I’m doing a pretty poor job of even identifying the topics under discussion in people’s posts.

    I did suggest that Ibis3 defend the right to die against people who are actually attacking it, a group which spectacularly fails to include me. That doesn’t say Ibis3 can’t have or express opinions that the right to die must be defended. It means when acting on those opinions, it’s pretty idiotic behavior to go off on someone that agrees with you, especially when others have made your exact argument upthread and were reminded that their comments were non-sequiturs and that there was no counterargument in play.

    So there you have it: yesterday I commented differently in tone from how I usually post. The harshest tone was reserved for people who insisted, despite the first line of my first comment, to portray me as fighting [or worse] de Duve’s decision and right to make it. That harshest tone decidedly did not include you, kevinalexander. I have not apologized for my tone [which is not to say I do not have my own feelings about my writing yesterday, which may or may not include regret, just that I have not shared them]. I have apologized and do apologize for using quotes in a script.

  45. says

    @Crip Dyke

    I have always and only been talking about the coverage. If you can’t get that, I can’t help you.

    Yeah, I did get that. Which is why I asked about what the report ought to have said about his reasons. Which you clearly saw, because you responded to it, so this whole rant against me for not being able to read what you wrote was obviously uncalled for.

    What I don’t understand is your statement that this report “repeat[ed] the F’d up trope ‘Better dead than X'”. First, isn’t *any* reason for suicide or euthanasia going to imply that the person (or their relatives) decided that it was better to be dead than to be alive and X? Second, isn’t any report of modest length likely to be insufficient to explain all the factors that went into a person’s decision to die? Third, since we agree no one needs anyone’s permission or judgement that their reasons are good enough, and there will possibly be times when a person does decide to die because they’re 95 and had a fall, how ought that to be reported?

    If the press were constantly trivializing women’s decisions to get an abortion as a decision made b/c of reasons wholly inadequate to reflect women’s actual process and reasoning, feminists would (and do) get pissed.

    If you think that’s wrong, go talk to all the feminists who have been pissed off [and publicly!] at right wing jerks who assert that we get abortions (or don’t) based on the size of our welfare checks or whether we’ll have to paint the nursery b/c this fetus isn’t the same sex as the last one.

    And I think this is the wrong approach. This buys into the stigma surrounding abortion and bolsters it. If you take as your starting point that women have total autonomy and that abortion for an unwanted pregnancy is just another medical procedure, then we should say “so what if Jane decided to have an abortion because she wanted a boy instead of a girl because nursery colours”* not “oh no, Jane would never do such a horrible thing.” Not every woman agonizes over the decision over whether or not to have an abortion, right? (And fewer would if *we* would stop feeling a need to defend their reasons.)

    What I was trying to get at in my earlier post (and hopefully more successfully in this one) is that if we start with the premise that every person has an absolute choice over whether to die, their reasons don’t matter, so neither should the reporting of them.

    *Obviously if there were a widespread cultural pattern of sex-selective abortion, we wouldn’t say ‘so what’, but the problem would have nothing to do with abortion.

  46. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    What I was trying to get at in my earlier post (and hopefully more successfully in this one) is that if we start with the premise that every person has an absolute choice over whether to die, their reasons don’t matter, so neither should the reporting of them.

    *Obviously if there were a widespread cultural pattern of sex-selective abortion, we wouldn’t say ‘so what’, but the problem would have nothing to do with abortion.

    And there is not a universal starting premise among readers of random internet news that every person has an absolute choice over whether to die, just like feminists care about the reporting of abortion because there is not universal agreement on those issues.

    Moreover, there IS a widespread cultural pattern of people saying, “I would rather die than have my abilities limited in X way [or by Y event]“. And so I don’t say, “so what” about the reporting.

    And the problem has nothing to do with the decision to die, which is why I took issue with

    There is no such thing as an inadequate reason to get an abortion, so I really don’t get your point

    If you really got that I was talking about the coverage and not the decision, then I don’t really see the point of this criticism. Perhaps you can clarify. The only way it made sense to me was that you were talking about the decision and not the reporting of the decision, and in that case, you would be repeating the same mistakes as above.

    There really is a trope, “Better dead than X.” People really make statements that devalue the lives of persons with disabilities without fully considering them, just like people voted on issues related to welfare in the the US in the 80s in response to Reagan’s “welfare queen” trope without fully considering them. People did and do blast coverage that seems to persistently portray people of color as the major recipients of food stamps and TANF when white families are, in fact, the majority of recipients.

    I am doing the same, and too many people are either a) defending this as a “short article” or in some other way dismissing that it could contribute to a real problem, or b) totally going off on me as if I have attacked personal autonomy in decisions around death. The first is as short sighted as laughing off every single sexist joke as isolated events that others attempt to connect post hoc. The second is asinine.

    While a person is free to laugh off any one example as “isolated” the pattern is the problem, and I believe we should call out instances of that pattern’s perpetuation. A single article may be portrayed as isolated, and people used to thinking skeptically can assert that it’s obvious that there’s more to the decision & that it would take a raging asshole to assume that was it, but in fact, it just takes a failure to think – which is common when racism intrudes, common when sexism intrudes, and sure as hell just as common when ableism intrudes.

    Finally, we can pat ourselves on the back for seeing through the assumptions in a single article if we like. But our collective back patting doesn’t magically eliminate the problem of ableism. When someone identifies a cultural problem, raising your hand and saying, “But not ME!” is ridiculously unproductive. “Not ME!” is hardly even an anecdote. If you want to prove the non-existence of the problem, you have to do it with more data than “not ME!”

  47. kevinalexander says

    @Crip Dyke,
    OK, I get you now. I have been following you for some time and am a big fan, maybe that’s why I overreacted to what seemed at the time a harsh tone.
    Kevin and kevinalexander are two different people and he got here first, that’s why I use my whole name.

  48. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m glad to put that to rest kevinalexander. I’ve liked a number of your comments. And yes, my tone was harsh in a number of places.

    Although I think more productive conversation is possible in this thread, I’m going to leave it behind. Anyone should feel free to address me here, but it’s highly unlikely to get a response. If it gets posted in the next 24 hours, maybe even 48, I’m near certain to read it. So you’ll get read, if not a dialog.

  49. says

    And there is not a universal starting premise among readers of random internet news that every person has an absolute choice over whether to die, just like feminists care about the reporting of abortion because there is not universal agreement on those issues. Moreover, there IS a widespread cultural pattern of people saying, “I would rather die than have my abilities limited in X way [or by Y event]“. And so I don’t say, “so what” about the reporting.

    What I said was that we should say “so what” about the reasons, not about the reporting.

    If you really got that I was talking about the coverage and not the decision, then I don’t really see the point of this criticism.

    It wasn’t a criticism. It was a statement of my own perspective (i.e. If there are no inadequate reasons, how can we criticise a report for their portrayal of someone’s reasons as inadequate, except by criticising the very presumption that such a value judgement is valid? Which criticism wouldn’t apply in this particular case anyway, because the writer of the article never characterises the reasons as inadequate.). To me, it seems like arguing that a portrayal of someone’s reasons to die is trivialising the decision, is buying into the frame that some reasons are better than others, that we, the audience, and the reporters are in a position to judge.

    Everyone’s limits of endurance and cost/benefit calculations are different. One person may not want to live with Condition X, a condition that many others would find a hardship but one they could adapt to and have a perfectly happy and fulfilling life, and there are still others would prefer to remain with Condition X over getting a treatment that would cure Condition X but drastically change other things in their life. If there were an article about Person A that said, after they suffered Condition X, they chose to die, how does that invalidate the decisions of or dehumanize Persons B and C?

    There is a cultural pattern of people saying “I would rather die than X or Y” because, I imagine, that statement holds true for most people (only the X or Y differ). Isn’t there something you would rather die than have happen to you? Maybe it’s my privilege, but I still can’t wrap my mind around your position.

    Finally, we can pat ourselves on the back for seeing through the assumptions in a single article if we like. But our collective back patting doesn’t magically eliminate the problem of ableism. When someone identifies a cultural problem, raising your hand and saying, “But not ME!” is ridiculously unproductive. “Not ME!” is hardly even an anecdote. If you want to prove the non-existence of the problem, you have to do it with more data than “not ME!”

    And I have no idea what you’re even talking about here.