Caine has died

Caine was a long-time commenter here, which led to her taking on her own blog at Affinity — she was notoriously strong-minded and independent, and I greatly appreciated her perspective. If you’ve been following her blog, you know that she was struggling with cancer, and as usual, she was forthright and honest about it.

Unfortunately, the cancer has killed her. She will be greatly missed.

Here’s her last post: pissed off but hopeful. We all expected her to be back doing her art by now.

Fuck cancer.


  1. Onamission5 says

    Caine will be terribly missed ’round these parts, particularly for her fierce advocacy for assault victims, her tender heart for struggling people, and utter lack of fucks to give for bullshit. I’m so fucking sad right now.

    Fuck cancer indeed.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yeah, fuck cancer.
    In my case, fuck MRSA too.
    But salute to a life well lived. Cain will be missed.

  3. DonDueed says

    This is a tragic loss. I was dreading bad news over the last few days when we didn’t hear from her. My sympathies go out to Rick and the others who were close to her in “real life”.

    Fuck cancer, and fuck the slowness of progress in treatments for cancer. In the meantime, we can at least take the precautions that are available: get a colonoscopy.

  4. feministhomemaker says

    OMG! I am shocked! Caine has been helping me with my cancer battle. She warned me about the possible side effect on my finger tips from the chemo. She had endured many rounds of chemo by the time mine started and I was afraid. She made me feel much more like I could bear it. She advised me on how to manage pain, how to eat so I would not get nauseated. And later, since I had completed my radiation before hers began, I was able to reciprocate and give her a heads up about what to expect with it.

    Oh, I am at a loss now as I realize she is gone, just so short a time after helping me so much. We exchanged emails. I commented just a few days ago on her Affinity page. And beyond that, I have been so impressed with her comments on this blog. Dear Goodness, she was certainly a part of you!

    Bye, dear Caine. You will be remembered by me and everyone I have told about you in my close circle of friends and family who have followed my cancer journey and know how big an impact you had on my ability to complete my treatment. I got through it because of your help. I have loved you through the internet. Thank you, dear woman.

  5. feministhomemaker says

    Please do more than get a colonoscopy. I had a colonoscopy, clean with no issues, only three years ago. But I found my anal cancer myself last March with a finger exam on myself after I had felt pressure, unrelenting, for several days. It was a large as a big lemon. It was local but advanced. Do not rely on a colonoscopy alone. Give yourself annual exams with a glove and K-Y Jelly. Or insist on it from your PCP. My tumor must have started growing shortly after my clean colonoscopy. With 6 weeks of chemo and radiation (the NIGRO protocol) I have a 75% chance of being cured without surgery. Luckily, mine was not adenocarcinoma, which is regular colon cancer, but squamous cell carcinoma, which is anal cancer even though it was in my rectum. It is much more vulnerable to radiation and that 5FU chemo. I am just heartbroken we lost Caine. I was so afraid before I communicated with her and she answered me back on email. Such a help she was to me. Her memory is blessed to me. Such a wonderful human. I believe in humans. Wow, thank you Caine. You lived on this earth, thank goodness!

  6. ck, the Irate Lump says

    That’s awful. My condolences to her friends and family for this terrible loss.

  7. says

    No no no no.
    This is, god its not fair. Caine was such a kind, decent person. Her way with words was amazing, as was her ability to tear down poorly formed arguments. And the rats. Her love of rats was infectious. I was skimming old photos last night and came across a pic of Pearl, one of the many rats she had (at one point), that she allowed several of us to “claim”. Her devotion to her friends and her fierce determination to stand up for the marginalized, abused, harassed, and silenced were testaments to her character and the person she… sigh…was.

    Fuck you cancer.

  8. chris61 says

    I’m very sorry to hear that. Caine and I didn’t agree on a lot of things but I will miss her photographs and her art posts. Condolences to her friends.

  9. quotetheunquote says

    What. The. Everlasting. Fuck. Great Z., I also thought she was beating it.

    I’ll miss her, a lot.


  10. trollofreason says

    Is it wrong to admit a sort of agape love for Caine, who she was, and what she thought?

  11. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Fuck cancer. Two people I knew in two days…one a former motorcycle buddy that I used to ride with when I lived in OR, succumbed to cancer yesterday, and now Caine. I am so heartbroken.

    My baby brother probably won’t survive the year (he might make it to his 40th birthday) because of throat cancer.

    Fuck cancer.

  12. Marissa van Eck says

    God damn it…always, always, always the good people. I never talked to her or knew her but was always admiring her from the sidelines, just, how strong and good and no-nonsense she always was. Why does it have to be this way…? I can think of hundreds of other people who deserve this orders of magnitude more than she did.

    At least tell us she died peacefully and not in pain, please…

  13. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Fragile, we’re all so fucking fragile. Even the best of us, even the fiercest fighters for a just world, even those who remained compassionate despite enduring literal horrors, all of us.

    Fuck, I’ll miss her, and I hope I can live up to the example she set.

  14. vucodlak says

    Godsdammit all. The world is a lesser place without her righteous anger, always born of compassion, her art, and her awesome taste in music. I’m really going to miss talking music with her. Fucking… fuck. I just don’t have the words.

  15. says

    This is the worst news I’ve gotten in quite a while. I’ll miss her terribly.

    She was such a powerful voice advocating for so many good things, and her mind was so frighteningly powerful: her memory for who said what and the insights she gained from connecting comments from a specific ‘nym over time both amazed me with the accuracy and extent of her memory but also provided the first convincing evidence to me that this online space could be a real community and not just random collections of comments, with one collection on one topic dissociated from from anything that might be said in another collection on another topic.

    For me, Caine was the person who did the most to turn Pharyngula and FreethoughtBlogs into a place of friendship, because without her it would have taken me much longer just to realize what potential it held, and even then I’d have had to do more of the cultivating on my own. Caine’s community gardening allowed me to flourish, to bloom much faster here than I ever would have on my own.

  16. says


    she let me stay at her house for a few months after we got evicted and hosted our kittehs when they were too young to be moved to fargo.


  17. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I’m sad to hear that, and I offer my deepest condolences to those who were close to her.

  18. emergence says

    She was one of my favorite bloggers here. I knew she was fighting cancer, but for some reason I just took it for granted that she’d beat it. It barely occured to me that I’d visit the site one day and she’d be gone. I have no fucking idea why.

  19. Chancellor says

    @#5(What a Maroon, living up to the ‘nym) was my thoughts exactly.

    I’m stunned.

  20. Crudely Wrott says

    So not fair.
    That’s two this week.
    A young man, 19, with so many outstanding qualities, one who I thought was well equipped to move confidently forward into life and with whom I had hoped to stay in touch with, decided to shoot himself in the head. He was buried today.
    And now, Caine. Oh, my.
    We all need comfort.
    To all of you, please treasure your lives as well as the lives and loves of others. Give the best you have to offer to one another. We are all we have. We have only so much time. Use it well.
    Good night, dear Caine. You leave with our love.

  21. Bernard Bumner says

    My heart goes out to those close to her. She was a powerful and honest champion who would not stay silent in the face of injustice.

  22. lumipuna says

    While I got my FTB user account last year partly in order to comment on Pharyngula, I’ve used it much more on Affinity.

  23. opposablethumbs says

    Bastarding unfairness and heartlessness. I’m so sorry, to Rick and to everyone who knew and loved her. Caine was an amazing person with a rare clarity of vision and awe-inspiring strength and courage. She will be sorely missed.

  24. pensnest says

    I’m so sad to learn this. Caine’s voice was always worth listening to, and she was an important part of this site.

  25. Saad says

    I’m so sad to hear this. I can’t believe it. She was one of the best person I’ve ever encountered on the internet. I’m going to really miss her passion for art, her kindness, and how she didn’t put up with the bigots. Her realistic and honest view on cancer was eye-opening for me.

  26. Oggie. says

    Fuck sums it up. Fuck cancer. Fuck a world in which profits for the few outweigh healthcare for all.

    The world has lost a passionate voice for those who survive abuse, for those who defend and support survivors, for me.

    Caine, you are no longer with us. Your writings, your passion, you words, your art, the impression you have created in this world will live on in our memories. Thank you and goodbye.

  27. Sastra says

    Caine. Damn.

    Fuck cancer.

    There are people who claim that you can beat cancer if you just wish hard enough — and wish it the right way. Think positive. You only die of it if your willpower isn’t up to the challenge.

    Fuck them, too.

  28. KG says

    That’s terrible news – and quite unexpected, despite the cancer. I can’t think of anyone I’ve only known online who I liked and admired as much. Condolences to Rick and all her many friends.

  29. ibyea says

    Damn, it’s been awhile since I have paid attention to the comments here, but I didn’t think she would be gone this fast. RIP

  30. says

    I just can’t even. This is painful. She was always so good to me. The last few times I’ve stopped by it was mostly to say hi to her.

    In going to miss her more than I would’ve predicted.

  31. Loud says

    Oh no, so sorry to hear this. Thoughts are with everyone who knew and loved her.
    I didn’t know her personally, but she’s been an ever-present commentator through all my years reading the blog :(

  32. logicalcat says

    Ive learned a lot from her lurking here in these forums and reading her blogs in the past. I am sad to see her go.

  33. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    All of us will die. Few of us can hope to have lived so well and to leave such a big hole when we go.

    On the rare occasions where I found myself on the wrong side of Caine, it was a sign that I needed to re-examine my thinking. As a privileged, white, middle-aged scientist, I needed that from time to time. She will be missed by all who knew her.

  34. Raucous Indignation says

    Will Affinity stay up? Her cancer writings should be permanently collected somewhere. They are valuable; Caine’s voice was so clear and honest.

  35. Gregory Greenwood says

    This is a terrible loss. Caine was one of the longest standing and wisest voices in these digital parts, and she certainly helped me develop my own thinking on any number of topics to do with philosophy and social justice. Her insight, wit and compassion will be profoundly missed.

    Fuck cancer indeed.

  36. says

    I still can’t quite believe this has really happened.

    I had so many battles with Caine, but they were overwhelmingly personality clashes (for which, in retrospect, life is far too short) rather than substantive disagreements. Even when we were on different sides, we were ultimately on the same side, as I should have recognized more often. We had such different life experiences, and I learned so much from her, even when I was too proud to say so. I remember how much she helped Jadehawk, and that now appears to be just one example of her generosity. She was a survivor who wasn’t just resilient but compassionate, and I respected her. I also liked her art.

    My confession: On too many occasions, I would check in a a thread and see that she was dealing with bigots and idiots and leave things in her capable hands. I don’t think she ever shrank from the struggle, even when she was sick. My condolences to her loved ones. We all have to persist.

  37. Saad says


    I still can’t quite believe this has really happened.

    This is exactly how I’m feeling this morning. After I caught up with the politics thread here, I instinctively just clicked on Affinity to see what new stuff she has posted. That has been my FtB routine ever since her blog went up. :(

  38. snuffcurry says

    Been lurking forever over the years, and have always considered her an indelible part of this place, wherever it was hosted. Never spoke to her that I can remember, but I looked up to her so much and she changed my way of thinking frequently. This is so shocking.

    My condolences to all who loved her and were loved by her.

  39. Bernard Bumner says


    Even when we were on different sides, we were ultimately on the same side, as I should have recognized more often.

    This sort of shock allows us a clarity that we lack in the heat of the moment, and it is easy to wish that our genuine reactions were better.

    Goodness only knows, I’ve spent enough time on here showing off the worst excesses of my personality. Many times. Stubbornness, rage, high-handedness, and the overlong angry defence of a point I have failed to articulate or properly understand.

    But progress happens not because of some linear endeavour built on absolute consensus. Actually, I think that is more characteristic of the worst sort of authoritarian, organised efforts to stifle change.

    Progress happens because people are passionate enough to honestly question and challenge; their enemies, their allies, and themselves. The direction of travel is determined by enough people pulling in around or about the same direction, even if they sometimes tussle amongst themselves.

    I think it has always been obvious that you were on the right side.

    Caine certainly possessed a clarity of thought and ideals that has often escaped me. But isn’t great that I have an example to follow?

  40. secondtofirstworld says

    I couldn’t know her, nor that she was battling cancer, but I do recognize how she meant a lot to other people. I will never know why quoting Charisma Carpenter in context without malice was a bad thing, but alas I accepted it.

  41. Louis says

    I am sad, very sad, to read this terrible news. Caine was a wonderful person and those who love her are in my thoughts. Her words live on.


  42. says


    My confession: On too many occasions, I would check in a a thread and see that she was dealing with bigots and idiots and leave things in her capable hands. I don’t think she ever shrank from the struggle, even when she was sick.

    I’ve done this as well.

    She was a great truth-teller and had appropriately little patience for people spouting previously-refuted and bigoted nonsense. She did quite a bit to make this place what it has become. Obviously that won’t be to everyone’s taste (certainly not the bigots!), but just as obviously there are large numbers of people who do appreciate this community. As long as it lasts, as long as people continue to read her words (perhaps even when we link to them) we’ll still have Caine working with us. That comforts me.