Posted by Ghost of BE on May 19th, 2013
‘Absolutely heroic!’ That was Brad Pitt’s description of his wife Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy and subsequently to tell the world about it. I thought the description entirely apt. No one, least of all one of the world’s most famous and glamorous movie stars, makes a decision like that lightly. And it is hard to imagine any woman deciding on such a drastic course of action without compelling cause.
That cause, in Jolie’s case, was that she had been diagnosed with the faulty BRCA1 gene, a common predictor of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Her doctor put the risk of her developing breast cancer at 87 percent and of ovarian cancer at 50 percent. The assessment was in part based on hereditary factors. After a decade-long battle with cancer, her mother had succumbed to the disease at 56. Jolie is 37.
Last Wednesday the Herald republished a Telegraph Group story in which Jolie told of her reasons for having the double mastectomy, described the process in detail and explained her reasons for going public:
‘I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have the mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
‘On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Ghost of BE on May 17th, 2013
Posted by Ghost of BE on May 13th, 2013
Rod Emmerson’s cartoon in The Weekend Herald 11/5/13
[After Question Time in the House today (Tuesday) , Aaron Gilmore made a considered speech, in which he expressed regret for the events which had ultimately led to his resignation from Parliament. He apologised to the Prime Minister, his colleagues in the House and the National Party at large for any embarrassment his conduct had caused. His words were without rancour, accusation or blame. They were greeted with applause from all members. It was, in my view, a dignified exit.]
It’s possible that only the Germans, whose language is full of nouns composed of (sometimes several) other nouns joined together, could have invented the term ‘Schadenfreude’. Schaden means harm and Freude means happiness or joy. So the two joined together can be roughly translated as ‘joy at other people’s misfortunes’.
There was, it seems to me, a significant degree of Schadenfreude in the nation’s response to the downfall of Aaron Gilmore. It was combined with the righteous indignation of a populace seemingly without sin and therefore more than willing to cast not just the first stone but a positive volley of stones. The Germans could no doubt produce an exceptionally long word to describe this phenomenon.
Prominent among the righteous were Gilmore’s former friends, colleagues and acquaintances a number of whom, preferring to shun the limelight, took to dobbing him in for a variety of past crimes, real or invented, via the honourable device of the anonymous leak. Read the rest of this entry »