Saturday, November 6, 2010

War (on cancer) What is it Good for?

I’m reading “The Emperor of Maladies” – this new book is a psycho-socio-historical story of cancer and Cancer. The book is being heavily reviewed right now and everyone in Cancer Land is going to cringe a little or a lot. Those of us who love in the time of cancer will also be nodding and crying but cheering too.

The author Mukherjee –an oncologist--is able to break down the language, culture, economics and the politics of cancer.

From the review in November 8 2010 New Yorker magazine:

“But it’s hard to wage a war against a poorly defined enemy. If the enemy (cancer) doesn’t define itself, then you can configure the enemy you need for the war that you want to fight. That’s what happened with the war on cancer. It gave definite form, Mukherjee says, to an adversary that was essentially formless.”

“Cancer --a disease of colossal diversity—was recast as a single monolithic entity. In this way the War on Cancer resembles less the war on Nazi Germany than the War of Terror.”

In fact it is simply that: a war on terror. The war on cancer is designed to increase our fear of mortality, our fear of death and ultimately our fear of life.

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