Friday, January 15, 2016

Hating Cancer

Over the past year or two, when someone famous passes away from cancer, I inevitably see people posting on social media sentiments like, "I hate cancer."

I find this strange: It strikes me as a statement of a new declaration of faith, one in which "cancer" plays a role like "Satan" did in an earlier one. It is one thing to mourn for David Bowie or Alan Rickman, but expressing one's "hate" for cancer is not doing anything for them, their families, future victims, etc. It is not as though cancer is feeling one's hatred and considering it might "back down" if people really are so angry at it. Nor are there any "pro-cancer" factions out there that one can taunt or disenhearten with one's hatred of the disease.

If losing people to cancer upsets you a lot, become a cancer researcher, or give money to cancer research. Empty signaling of being firmly on the "anti-cancer" side is actually kind of disrespectful to the people who have died because of it, as if they are just a vehicle for expressing one's own virtuousness in hating the correct things.

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