breast cancer sucks.
[it's not particularly to say that it sucks more or less than any other sort of cancer. noting that lots of people get it, and that getting it is bad, is tricky business: what used to be a conspiracy of silence has morphed into a form of "awareness" consisting mostly of mandatory, infantilizing rituals of femininity. boo to breast cancer alarmism and all the strange politics attached to it. however, when you're a young woman, most of the people you know who've had cancer seem to have had breast cancer. (i know, i know. kahneman and tversky would be so proud of me.)]
but on with the politics. what do we (that's the big electoral we, btw) think about john and elizabeth edwards's decision to continue his campaign? (sub-question: how joint was the decision?) the article in today's times is just a big mushy hug, full of quotations from otherwise rather hostile places (tony snow!?) about thoughts and prayers and courage. how could it be otherwise?
question one, then, is how long before anyone summons the indelicacy to write something critical? and where will it come from? surely there's a Republican mommy-blogger (maybe a cancer survivor herself?) out there who will tell her she should be home with her children. surely there's someone willing to rag on the both of them about the unseemly heights of their ambitions. so far, though, of about 200 comments to the times story, only a handful include the phrase "publicity stunt." ("publicity stunt"!?!?)
question two is whether the criticism will catch on, and with whom. the pollsters have thought of lots of terrifying hypotheticals, but i'm not sure the "ailing life partner" thing has been focus-grouped. in any case, it likely depends on precisely whose life partner is ailing -- and on who said partner has been made out to be. on one reading, the edwards family is allowed to make this choice because they have lots of warm-fuzzy-family cred. on another, the edwards family is headed for a drubbing because they've just exposed themselves as unfeeling ambition-bots. (watch for a resurgence of references to edwards the "trial lawyer.") here's a scientifically unsound comparison to chew on: what would have happened if this sort of thing had befallen that other pair of politically ambitious Democratic lawyers?
i'm inclined to think it won't change much of anything, politically -- those inclined to love edwards will continue to love him. similarly for the other side. when you come right down to it, it all meanders back to the three-word sentence with which i started the post.