Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Too Shrill a Mockingbird

Question put to me: why is it bad to make fun of Jane Hamsher's hair?

I was good, I waited patiently while various possible answers filtered up through my mind. Screaming, no. Swearing, no, but has possibilities. Mumbling incoherently about civilization, no.

Interesting that these are often the stages of reaction to crises at work, where I am an employee of this woman with the lovely hair. So here's what I ended up with:

Dear Friend,

It matters because it's making fun of someone for being sick. Cancer nearly killed this young woman -- again -- and she has gone through hell over the last year with chemo. Now her own hair has grown back in and she can get rid of the wig, and someone finds that worthy of scorn? ["Newly platinum blonde" is a slur about a low class dye job.]

What if it were a different kind of illness or injury that left her physically crippled, and she went through hell doing rehab every day for a year, and then someone mocked her because she walked crooked? [in fact one of our top writers is recovering from such an injury]

Now the one exception would be if you are very close to the person and they themselves encourage joking around about their condition. My mom makes fun of the way she walks "like a little old lady" but if some stranger said that, I might not see the humor.

We don't allow people on our blog to make fun of McCain's disfigured face which is from cancer. As human beings we have common enemies -- death and disease -- and we would do well do work together to fight them, not mock those who are the scarred survivors.

Love and homemade cookies,

photo by Diane Newbery


Prairie Sunshine said...

Thank you so much for this thoughtful and caring post, egr! Cancer and diseases come in many forms with many unexpected results, some temporary, some not so.

We are all in this ol' world together, and I prefer the sweet harmony of birds of a feather :-)

Bustednuckles said...

And pull that shit while you are in kicking distance next time.......