Ex-NY Times Editor Keller to Cancer Patient: 'Going Gently' Saves Money

Ex-NY Times Editor Keller to Cancer Patient: 'Going Gently' Saves Money

Lisa Bonchek Adams is currently hospitalized and being treated for Stage IV breast cancer. Since her diagnosis in October of 2012 at the age of 37, this mother of three has been blogging and tweeting about what she has been through mentally, personally, physically, and medically. For a chilling and revealing reason, former New York Times editor Bill Keller has a big problem with this.

First it was Keller’s wife Emma Keller who on January 8 went after Adams in the left-wing Guardian with a piece titled, “Forget funeral selfies. What are the ethics of tweeting a terminal illness?” Because Mrs. Keller published Direct Messages she received from Adams via Twitter and without permission, for ethical reasons the Guardian has taken the article down. But the gist of Mrs. Keller’s criticism was aimed at Adams’ decision to publicly share her experience:

“…I felt embarrassed at my voyeurism. Should there be boundaries in this kind of experience? Is there such a thing as TMI? Are her tweets a grim equivalent of deathbed selfies, one step further than funeral selfies? Why am I so obsessed?”

Of all the abuses on social media out there today, this is what energizes Emma Keller? To begin with, no one is forced to follow Adams on Twitter or Facebook. The only way to find yourself torn up and “obsessed” over Adams’ decision to use social media in this way is by volunteering to do so. Hey, Emma — it’s called the “unfollow” button.

Moreover, numerous Adams’ defenders claim she is doing a public service with the information she is sharing and most especially through her regular pleas that those who follow her work get regular cancer screenings.

Mrs. Keller’s bizarre issues with Adams alone are not worthy of note, but  it was when Keller’s husband, former New York Times editor Bill Keller, dove into the controversy that things got interesting.

On the pages of the Sunday Times Keller reveals a monstrous philosophy that in so many ways is revealing of the elite left as a whole — especially as it pertains to ObamaCare. In so many words, Keller just can’t bring himself to understand why Adams doesn’t give up her fight and die. In his mind, her death is inevitable and all she’s doing is spending a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere:

In October 2012 I wrote about my father-in-law’s death from cancer in a British hospital. There, more routinely than in the United States, patients are offered the option of being unplugged from everything except pain killers and allowed to slip peacefully from life. His death seemed to me a humane and honorable alternative to the frantic medical trench warfare that often makes an expensive misery of death in America.

 Among doctors here, there is a growing appreciation of palliative care that favors the quality of the remaining life rather than endless “heroic measures” that may or may not prolong life but assure the final days are clamorous, tense and painful. (And they often leave survivors bankrupt.) What Britain and other countries know, and my country is learning, is that every cancer need not be Verdun, a war of attrition waged regardless of the cost or the casualties. It seemed to me, and still does, that there is something enviable about going gently. One intriguing lung cancer study even suggests that patients given early palliative care instead of the most aggressive chemotherapy not only have a better quality of life, they actually live a bit longer.

Keller’s primary fear seems to be that Adams will serve as an example to others to never give up — to keep spending someone’s inheritance or The State’s money as opposed to dying with dignity like a good little socialist. This is how Keller closes the column:

Steven Goodman, an associate dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, said he cringes at the combat metaphor, because it suggests that those who choose not to spend their final days in battle, using every weapon in the high-tech medical arsenal, lack character or willpower.

“I’m the last person to second-guess what she did,” Goodman told me, after perusing Adams’s blog. “I’m sure it has brought meaning, a deserved sense of accomplishment. But it shouldn’t be unduly praised. Equal praise is due to those who accept an inevitable fate with grace and courage.”

This all seems to stem from the left’s horrific view of humans as a biological accident, and life as nothing more than utilitarian, as opposed to something sacred.

Keller isn’t even paraphrasing poet Dylan Thomas properly, who urged us “Do not go gentle into that good night … rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

The Kellers are engaging in life-shaming, which like fat-shaming, is an excuse to tell someone else what to do while couching it in a “greater good” argument. To hell with personal freedom, let’s force people to be healthy because obesity costs our beloved State money.  And now this brave woman, who is understandably desperate to see her children grow up, and who believes sharing her story will help others, is being life-shamed on the pages of the Guardian and New York Times because the Kellers are made uncomfortable by the idea of someone making the personal choice to stay alive for every possible day and minute she can.

What the Kellers appear to be doing is worse than lobbying for euthanasia, which at the very least is a personal decision. From their elite perches, the Kellers are tag-teaming a woman hospitalized with Stage IV cancer as a selfish and narcissistic financial drain over the twin sins of aggressively fighting for her life and, through her example, possibly encouraging others to do the same.  

This is yet another glimpse into those I call “Soylent Green Liberals.” The left’s mask of compassion slipped late last year as they attempted to dismiss millions losing their health insurance as an overall positive.  And now the Kellers have given us another chilling example of those who are all too eager to sacrifice a few to serve some cold robotic vision of a cold robotic Utopia.


Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC              


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