The Cancer Within

Not to get too personal about it, but cancer and I aren’t unacquainted.  (And by starting with 3 negatives in one short sentence, I emphasize my point, Subtle Sam that I am.)

I never liked the way breast cancer and its treatment were presented by the Komen crew.  The pink ribbons and cutesy references  (“Save the Ta-Tas”), coupled with the sense of community to generate optimism as well as revenue all rubbed me the wrong way.  There’s warm and fuzzy about fucking cancer, alright?  When the marching and the rallies stop, pay a visit to a facility where some end-stage cancer patients can show you her scars and ravaged organs .  It ain’t pink.

While some people are greatly comforted by sharing their stories and listening to “peer counselors,” others aren’t.  The Komen  approach struck me as too damn in-your-face and strangely corporate.  Ditto Komen’s reputation for seeking cease-and-desist orders against other anti-cancer organizations’ use of the color pink and the words “for the cure” in their appeals.

But who needs to listen  to my grumpy whining?  Komen raised a formidable amount of money to fight cancer while securing the female breast’s status as America’s Favorite Body Part.  Sit down and STFU.

Until now.  With its clumsy, poorly planned, high-profile power play to appease the anti-abortion pro-life contingent, the organization has opened its own kimono to reveal an agenda inconsistent with its mission, and at odds with much of its own constituency and donor base.  What happened?  Here’s some clues:

Until now, hardly anyone had noticed that [Komen’s chief executive Nancy] Brinker, a longtime Republican donor who once served as ambassador to Hungary during the George W. Bush administration, had recently named a former pro-life candidate for governor of Georgia, Karen Handel, as the foundation’s senior vice president for public policy.”–Gail Collins, NYTimes


Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, was secretly involved in the Komen Foundation’s strategy regarding Planned Parenthood. Fleischer personally interviewed candidates for the position of “Senior Vice President for Communications and External Relations” at Komen last December. According to a source with first-hand knowledge, Fleischer drilled prospective candidates during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood. —

Classic ‘Pubs — people who are very good at marketing and raising money, but completely without a moral compass even when engaged in philanthropic endeavor.  Certainly unequipped to serve as stewards of the female breast.  

It also explains my own uneasiness with the organization.  Exposure to people like this raises hives on my flesh, even when unconscious of the cause.  I feel almost vindicated, somehow.

Cancer still sucks. 

This entry was posted in Gen. Snark, Maj. Snafu, Corp. Punishment. Bookmark the permalink.

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