The Absurdity of the Euthanasia Discussion in the Absence of Effective Medicine and Social Support for the Seriously Chronically Ill.

I cannot tell you how absurd it is to be seeking euthanasia as the final end to this awful Crohn’s journey when I’m not suicidal and I don’t want to die.  What I do want, all of which is illustrated brilliantly in this clip, is 1. effective medical treatment for my disease, or failing that, consistent access to effective pain and symptom relief, in my case medical marijuana which has been used successfully for thousands of years to ease specifically gut ailments and which use is supported in contemporary peer-reviewed medical literature particularly for Crohn’s; 2. social support with fulfilling basic tasks and the activities of daily living like shopping, cleaning, cooking and the like; and 3. to be relieved of external constraints that make existing as a chronically ill person a living fucking hell and a consistent nightmare, which constraints have nothing to do with being ill and everything to do with being an oppressed person and failed consumer/producer under capitalism and patriarchy.  Constraints like poverty.  Fear of (and actual) male violence.  Disability-based (and all) discrimination.  Things like that.

But I can’t have any of those things — effective medical treatment, social support, and freedom from oppression — because under the current system those things don’t actually exist so the easiest thing for everyone would be for me to simply disappear or to have never been born in the first place.  Failing that we have euthanasia otherwise known as assisted dying or medically assisted suicide.  Of course, poor and other unsupported “euthanasia candidates” — who likely don’t have $12,000 and the good health and social support needed to have their efforts rubber stamped/make it official — just know and experience this process as good old-fashioned suicide.  Who knows what Chris Rock really thinks about euthanasia for seriously ill and dying people but he’s not wrong to see the absurdity in it, at least under the current system.

In the above clip, we first see a man with an injury that Western medicine was unable to repair and still causes him pain; his ongoing pain and symptoms could even be from the medical interventions themselves including three unsuccessful surgeries in one year.  The man just wants Western medicine to do its fucking job already and he wants to not be in pain anymore; he doesn’t want to die and is not suicidal at all.  Sadly for him, Western medicine either cannot or will not do what it says on the tin so the easy solution for everyone else except him — the actual patient, the person in pain — is to just kill him and get it over with.  The “euthanasia” is performed against his will and is both painful and traumatic but who cares about that?  The point is he’s no longer in pain.  This man has been done a service, you see.  He should be fucking grateful and since he’s dead and can no longer complain or ask for what he really wants, we can only assume his gratitude no one cares.

Next we see an elderly woman who might like some help running her errands.  Instead of helping her, the doctor just kills her to put her out of her misery of being not fully capable anymore.  Of course he also robs her, feeling entitled to exact a fee for his professional services.  Man that sounds familiar.  I’ve written before about a middle-aged UK Crohn’s sufferer who ended her life at Swiss clinic after government cuts denied her living assistance including help with her cooking, cleaning and shopping.  With full-time in-home care she was able to manage her pain and retain her dignity which should be all that’s ever asked of a terribly ill, terrified and vulnerable person, but this hard-won and unlikely success was taken from her and (unsurprisingly) she was unable to simply disappear or to manage a retroactive self-abortion.

Is everyone okay with this because I’m not: she didn’t actually want to die but her country, her community and her family caused her to need to disappear.  Since that’s actually not possible she chose the next best thing, something that looks and functions the same as disappearing to everyone except the sick person: medically assisted dying.

She was apparently able to convince and pay some doctors to kill her since they didn’t bother effectively treating her and when all she really wanted was some help running her errands.  That this assistance was rendered by wealthy professionals and organizations that could’ve paid for her in-home care themselves if they’d only wanted to was surely cold comfort a cold slice of shit pie and the ironic slap in the face she’d always wanted.  Because sick and dying people love irony.  Oh wait, no we don’t.  In fact, after being sick, in pain and terrified for years I can report that irony pretty much feels like being slapped in the face with a dick.  I can only assume that’s exactly as intended.

The last “patient” in this skit is perfectly healthy but is “confined” by external forces that are profoundly limiting, humiliating and dehumanizing; he probably would like to be set free.  If the constraints were removed he would probably be fine, or at least he would be fine for him, whatever his normal might be when he isn’t tied to a fucking chair against his will.  Instead of being set free, which could be done easily enough, he is beaten to death relieved of his completely manufactured and intentionally inflicted suffering, the entire time saying he doesn’t want to die and he actually wants to live.  To which I can totally, totally relate.

I’m not dead.  I’m getting better.  I don’t want to go on the cart.  I feel fine.  I think I’ll go for a walk.  I feel happy.  Quiet, you.  You aren’t fooling anyone.  *Bonk*

Classic social commentary from Monty Python and Chris Rock that’s funny because it’s true.  I’m not sure it’s effective social commentary though as it seems so absurd it couldn’t possibly represent reality even though it does.  These clips are accurate AF actually and whether the creators knew how spot-on they were, these absurdities and sick double-binds are what’s normally left out of the euthanasia conversation; when they are addressed it’s used as an argument against suicide or assisted dying for terribly sick and dying people.  As if something can’t be abhorrent and terrifying and cruel and the better option at the same time.  We have capitalism and patriarchy to thank for that.

Honestly, I am sick to death of these conversations being had and defined by people that are too stupid, conformist and healthy to understand the nuances and realities of the things they are pretending to discuss.  You simpletons.  You absolute fucking monsters.  And sick people have other and better things to do than correct these mistakes (and intentional obfuscations) or they are too sick and in pain to even fully grok what’s happening to them and what they are up against.  We also die, and take our experiences and insights with us to the grave, leaving behind the pitiful and inadequate “euthanasia discussion” we see today: one that is incoherent, absurd and patently dishonest.  The fucking dishonesty.  If chronic exposure to absurdity and dishonesty were fatal we wouldn’t need euthanasia because chronically sick and dying people, including myself, would all be dead from that.  And it is actually fatal in many ways isn’t it.  I mean obviously.  We are dying from that.  BTW, it hurts.

5 thoughts on “The Absurdity of the Euthanasia Discussion in the Absence of Effective Medicine and Social Support for the Seriously Chronically Ill.

  1. Chris Rock obvs thinks euthanasia doctors are dicks (Dr. Peter Johnson) and he isn’t wrong. They are doctors afterall. Now imagine having to rely on one for any reason, including “compassion” and putting an end to infathomable suffering. Shudder.

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  2. “I’m not sure it’s effective social commentary though as it seems so absurd it couldn’t possibly represent reality even though it does.”

    Makes me think of the ‘dog whistle’ concept. The fact that this stuff seems absurd to almost everyone while traumatizing a select group must be intentional. It also ensures that most people’s first exposure to these ideas is conditioned with a laugh. Same as rape jokes, racist humor, etc. Makes me wonder what ‘whistles’ I’m deaf to right now. My take is that Chris Rock ‘gets it’ a little since, as I recall, his mother became ill and died of a treatable condition before he was successful. His dad became sick afterwards and was saved. I kind of think monty python are full of shit but who knows.

    And yeah, people’s refusal to talk about this on anything other than a hypothetical level is so infuriating. I’m starting to think language was a trap… I mean look how well it stops us from taking any meaningful action.

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  3. This is a tangent but I was thinking it’s weird how “dog whistle” has come to mean an encoded message perceived by a select group (e.g. politicians stirring up white supremacists or whatever) when the point of an *actual* dog whistle is to cause pain and exact control. I feel like that scenario (pain and control @ an already subordinate group) plays out a lot more often.

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  4. That’s interesting about Chris Rock and where his perspective comes from, thanks for that! I can imagine that lack of access to effective medical care would create suspicion of euthanasia, sure. It’s a way to make people and their illness disappear without actually having to help them. That so-called disability advocates seem to make a living calling attention to that, and yet utterly failing to actually materially change anything is infuriating. It’s so dishonest. And who TF do these self important dicks even imagine they are speaking for, considering that hopelessly ill people all over the world want the option to die and to have it be painless. Euthanasia drugs are not painless BTW, they cause hideous nausea and vomiting and require antiemetics to keep down. A particularly cruel and “ironic” end for Crohn’s and other gut-ill patients I may add, even after they have gone through hell and bankrupted themselves for the privilege. There’s a project that disability advocates would run from like the plague (actually making euthanasia painless like it says on the tin). And yeah I wonder how “laughter” at these images is at controlling/preventing people’s assimilation of these messages. Well not really, I think we can all assume what the effects are even as we don’t quite understand how it works.

    Good point about the dog whistle too! It’s not a “code” or a language, or not primarily but a tool of torture and control. Very true. God I wish someone would unequivocally and thoroughly expose these psy-ops for what they really are so we can all be done with it. Instead of half assing everything. Anyway. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

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  5. I’m also really shocked that Chris Rock was allowed to make “fun” of euthanasia or depression at all. Neither one of those things would be allowed today bc it would supposedly be so offensive to sick people. Progressives love that kind of censorship but there is so much truth there, or there can be truth there if the artist is honest, or interesting, or even channeling something. These clips just would not exist today and I’m kind of surprised they haven’t been scrubbed from the internet because insensitive.

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