July 18, 2003


Australian actress Delta Goodrem is 18 years old. Last week she was diagnosed with cancer.

Lefty blogger Matt, at A Bright Cold Day, wasn’t interested. He was so uninterested he had to write about it:

There needs to be a word for the almost total disinterest I have when a celebrity contracts a fatal disease or suffers a tragic loss.

I have a sneaking suspicion the Germans already do. The word would be distantly related to schadenfreude - in the sense that it concerns the misfortunes of others - but with bemusement in place of malice. Of the 400 people who will get Hodgkin's Disease this year in Australia, we will choose to care passionately (using column inches as a proxy) about Delta Goodrem.

This word's definition would need to leavened, however, by pity. Pity that a millions women's mags and newspapers will be sold with Ms Goodrem's sallow, bandana-clad head on the cover. Pity that Ms Goodrem can pose for that photo willingly or a paparazzo can take it for her.

Hmmm. Matt is usually more civilised than this. Tim Dunlop -- who recently accused right-wingers of a lack of compassion for arguing with the views of Brian Deegan, father of one of the Bali dead -- responded to Matt’s post:

Does "ennui" fit the bill?

Several other lefties left their suggested words (including “apathy” and “anomie”) in the comments to that post. The fun -- and the evasions, and the changing of subjects, and the denials -- began when I added this line:

Bet none of you would say this if Cathy Freeman developed cancer.

Freeman is an Aboriginal celebrity. Go read the rest of the comments. They are instructive of a certain mindset.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 18, 2003 12:47 PM

"Bet none of you would say this if Cathy Freeman developed cancer."
And imagine the cheers if George W. developed cancer. For leftists everything, absolutely everthing, is viewed through a political lens. The degree of sympathy is proportional to ones importance to "the cause".

Posted by: Fidens at July 18, 2003 at 12:59 PM

Tim B 46: Lefty tim 0

Posted by: Toryhere at July 18, 2003 at 01:05 PM

A quick translation the "national treasure" defense:

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at July 18, 2003 at 01:16 PM

I laughed my ass off when I read the bit where Sean attacks Tim - quote:

" I love the clever way privileged. private school, white male heterosexual WASP eastern suburbs pro-scribbler right wingers claim victimhood for themselves. "

I am sure you are feeling the pain Tim - you clever, way privileged, private school, white male ...... aw bugger it why doesn't he just say what he means instead of taking a page from the little red book???

Tim I think he just called you the left's version of a w*nker :)

Posted by: Rob at July 18, 2003 at 01:25 PM

"Claiming victimhood?" Our Tim? Surely they jest. He just caught them with their loving pants down around their ankles.

These folks give schadenfreude a bad name.

Posted by: Ryne McClaren at July 18, 2003 at 01:49 PM

Ahh, you have to laugh. It would mean that this epiphet:

"privileged. private school, white male heterosexual WASP eastern suburbs pro-scribbler right wingers claim victimhood for themselves. "

This therefore must mean that lefties see themselves as being ideal when they are:

"A poor, state school educated, ethnic, female, homosexual"

The above must be some sort of lefty nirvana eh?

Makes me glad to be a RWDB.

Posted by: nic at July 18, 2003 at 01:56 PM

I sat for a moment after reading the comments at Dunlop's site and contemplated posting a response. But I thought it would be like telling a guy who's in quicksand up to his chin that he shouldn't have stepped there. The guy knows he shouldn't have been in the quicksand, and he knows he's got lint for brains. I thought I shouldn't rub it in. Let him sink. I guess you'd call that ennui.

Posted by: Preston Whip at July 18, 2003 at 01:57 PM

It's just so tacky. What on earth would possess someone who had only uncharitable thoughts about some teenager's cancer to say anything at all I cannot imagine. It reminds me of the ancient joke about how we would recognize true socialism -- there would be no class.

Posted by: Zathras at July 18, 2003 at 02:05 PM

I must agree with the tree-pixies on this one a bit; the whole celebrity worship thing leaves me cold. It may keep Women's Weekly in business, but who really gives a rat's arse? I woulndn't be affected either way if every celebrity on the planet simultaneously spontaneously combusted.

Posted by: Paul Bickford at July 18, 2003 at 02:10 PM

Didn't have the guts to put the whole thread up, eh, despite your offer? Why's that? Why would you say you were going to and then instead just decide to put up this fabricated version? I guess I don't blame you. Taken in context, you come out looking pretty bad. Anyway, thanks for the link and I look forward to others trying bend reality to try and cover your arse. BTW: there's no known cure for a glass jaw but it helps not to stick it out all the time.

Posted by: Tim at July 18, 2003 at 02:12 PM

That's why he provided a bunch of links instead, wanker.

They had parties in Cambridge, MA when Nixon died, and they will again when Reagan finally passes on. Guaranteed. I'm not surprised by this mindset.

Posted by: Roger Bournival at July 18, 2003 at 02:22 PM

I linked to the whole thread (twice), and to Matt's post. The context of everyone's comments are plain to see. What is the matter with your head, Tim? How am I "fabricating"? Why is it braver to cut and paste all those comments rather than link to them?

Posted by: tim at July 18, 2003 at 02:24 PM

Christ, Tim Dee, there's a link to the whole damned thread, along with the easily parsable English words "Go read the rest of the comments". How that is a lack of guts is way beyond my dumb, Ph.D. havin' ass. I fucking swear, I really don't have a horse in this stupid slapfight (because frankly, I wasn't really convinced by Tim Bee's evidence), but you are seeming like a shrieking, well, pussy. I used to like RtS, but your general sucking of late is a real turn-off. To rip off a phrase, you can either let them suspect that you are a dumbass fuckchop puss, or you can keep typing and remove all doubt.

Posted by: Dylan at July 18, 2003 at 02:26 PM

I guess I was beat to stating the freakin' obvious. Whoopsie.

Posted by: Dylan at July 18, 2003 at 02:28 PM

Paul, it's one thing to decry celebrity worship; it's another thing to shrug at the fate of a teenager with cancer. You can sneer at the egos of celebrities and the fools who worship them and the media who keeps the industry greased with oil of sycophancy without wishing for their deaths. The girl's just at actress, not Saddam Hussein. And -- this may come as a shock -- but celebrities are people too. I guess I've known too many people under the age of thirty who have had cancer -- not to mention losing both parents and grandmothers to the disease -- to laugh when anyone gets it.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 18, 2003 at 02:42 PM

Tim, I'd thank you not to drag me into whatever scrap you and Tim Dunlop are having. As I said in the comments to Tim D's post, I responded to both Tim D's and your comments in good faith and with (misplaced) hope for interesting discussion. If you and Tim D have a disagreement, that's fine, but I don't see why I'm to be found guilty by association.

The concerns expressed in my original post were two-fold. First, I was bemused (a word I'll never type again) that Goodrem's illness would gain press coverage while other Hodgkin's sufferers wouldn't. This is a not terribly original point about the nature of celebrity (to which your Cathy Freeman comment provided an interesting counterpoint).

The second was to question the motives some of those around Goodrem, and to express my concern and pity about the added burden of celebrity at this time.

My error was to use a conceit ("I'm looking for word ...") which obfuscated these concerns. I did this to try and present concepts about celebrity that have been made before in an original way. Given the confusion this has caused (and I'm not referring to you here), I will be far more careful in future.

I appreciate you and Tim Dunlop are at loggerheads over this, but I would ask that your attitude towards me not be clouded by your attitude towards Tim.

P.S. I also don't understand why I need to be labelled as "Lefty blogger Matt", other than to provide a convenient cue for some of your readers so they know who the bad guy is. Tim, I am not "of the Left", I'm just to the left of *you* (and nowhere near as far as you think).

Posted by: matt at July 18, 2003 at 02:42 PM

For a guy who has a PhD, or is on his way to getting one - I forget which, Dunlop's comment above doesn't bode well for the next generation of uni students.

Dunlop lecture in Pol Sci 101 on international relations: "Bush had no fucking guts, mate; a glass jawed yokel with no guts. That's what he was. A gutless glass jaw. And by the way, there's no cure for that. And yes, this will be in the exam."

Who says scholars aren't gentlemen?

Posted by: Bon Scotties at July 18, 2003 at 02:49 PM

Speaking of lefties celebrating Nixon's death, you guys should've read the venom coming from Dem Undies (Democratic Underground) when Senator Strom Thurmond died. I recall reading one Undy posting about taking pleasure in the thought that Thurmond would be roasting in hell forever. Absolutely sickening. Quite the contrast from the classy conservative response when Senator Paul Wellstone died.

Posted by: Sophorist at July 18, 2003 at 02:56 PM

Matt, read some 1st year psych. Attachment means we care more when bad things happen to people we know. The cult of celebrity leads some to think that they "know" the person in question; so they care about that person more than someone they've never heard of in the same predicament. That's the simple version but really, what's to wonder about?

Posted by: Dan at July 18, 2003 at 02:56 PM

Andrea- I am not for a moment suggesting that it is not tragic that anyone, young or old, contacts some loathesome disease; there are no doubt other late-teens (and even younger) who have contacted Luekemia and other nasty ailments this week, who don't have the assistance of publicists. I don't care about them as much as I don't know about it, and this should be the case with those in the limelight. The media has a twisted idea of what constitutes "news".

Posted by: Paul Bickford at July 18, 2003 at 02:56 PM

Well, perhaps you shouldn't have brought up, in your search for a proper word to describe your "almost total disinterest" in the fate of sick celebs, the German word "schadenfreude," which means "to take pleasure in the pain or discomfort of others." Not only would the word you are supposedly searching for not be "distantly related" to schadenfreude, it would be almost an opposite -- after all, if you were indifferent, why would you take pleasure in someone's pain? But the fact that you chose that word to illustrate your bemusement confuses, at the very least, the issue of your supposed indifference.

In fact, your entry was at least as long if not longer than the small article on the girl, which was just a couple of paragraphs on a website. I fail to see why a tiny mention in a newspaper's website is such an affront to the ignored, disease-and-tragedy-suffering masses. If this item is also a huge, front-page-with-gruesome-shrieking-headlines feature in your print papers I can see why you might be mildly irritated, but perhaps you can call your grovers ahead to warn them you are coming so they can cover up the tabloids and papers lining the cashier's lane so you won't be bothered by the woes of the rich-n-famous.

And actually, I think I can come up with a better word to describe your "indifference" to the sufferings of the stars: that word is "envy."

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 18, 2003 at 02:57 PM

My last comment was directed at Matt, by the way.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 18, 2003 at 02:58 PM

And by the way, the big "C" did for my old man, meaning I'm in the running for a dose as well. Ain't genes wunnerful?

Posted by: Paul Bickford at July 18, 2003 at 02:58 PM

Paul: well, that is the media's fault (and the public's, for eating it up) -- don't make the mistake of attacking the victim. And what use would a publicist be to someone of non-celebrity status who had cancer? The reason these people need publicists to announce such things is because part of their job is being in the public eye, and therefore they need to tell their employers (us, basically, or their fans at least) why they won't be showing up at work for a while, or why they need to cut back on their hours, or why they've shaved their head and why they have lost all that weight... and so on. If I got cancer I wouldn't need a publicist, and I certainly wouldn't want to have the services of a publicist for... what exactly? Do non-celebrities need or want the sort of attention to every minutia of their daily lives that celebrities get? I always heard that fame wasn't all it's cracked up to be, myself. (For one thing, it enables people to say how "indifferent" they are to your fate, while the truth is that everyone is to a certain extent -- as Dan pointed out -- indifferent to the fate of everyone they don't know.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 18, 2003 at 03:08 PM

That's the point I'm trying to make; it's like the old joke about comedy/tragedy- Comedy is when someone you don't know falls in a trench full of shit; tragendy is when it happens to you.

Posted by: Paul Bickford at July 18, 2003 at 03:12 PM

But the fact that you chose that word to illustrate your bemusement confuses, at the very least, the issue of your supposed indifference.

Yes, Andrea, but I am allowed to be ironic on my own website. I really, truly, actually did understand that I was writing at length about my own indifference. Honestly, it wasn't lost on me.

You're right about "schadenfraude" though. I was focussing so much on the word-play, and the stereotypical "the Germans have a multi-syllablic word for everything!" that I did pick the wrong word, even if I did say "with bemusement in place of malice".

Posted by: matt at July 18, 2003 at 03:13 PM

This is all wacko.
Tim made the fine point, if your'e Che mass murderer Gueverra or Ham Actor twat, aresehole leftie fuctoids plus t..week followed up by shit for brains ABC cries, today a tragedy has occurred.Perkins, now there was a right communisot dribbler and the tears shed could have filled Eildon damn. Now, leftoids,there have been some really decent types who did more in their short lifespans than a Perky, a Garret or the suckaholic ABCers could accomplish in three times the lifespans of those very generous individuals did.
Its like watching all those `christian' masses for underworld scumbags in recent months.

Posted by: d at July 18, 2003 at 03:35 PM

Where can we download a copy of the d bot?

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 18, 2003 at 03:59 PM

(cross-posting this to other Tim's blog)
I'm sure no one cares about what I have to say at this point, since everyone is too busy scoring points off everyone else, but may I just say that I am not dismissive of anyone's cancer? I have had friends and relatives die of it, it is not something to be dismissed. I am only bemused as to why it's perceived to be more tragic if a celebrity (of any skin colour) is struck by a horrendous illness than if someone non-famous gets the same disease. Cathy Freeman would not be more tragic than Delta Goodrem if she took cancer, and vice versa. Neither of them is more tragic than my Aunt Margaret or Paul Bickford's dad. Pardon me if I can't share in the media hype.

Posted by: James Russell at July 18, 2003 at 04:20 PM

A "fantsay" land indeed...
I don't think there is much more to add besides "instructive of a certain mindset". Fascinating and illuminative.

Posted by: Ricky D at July 18, 2003 at 04:23 PM

I dislike doing this because it is cheating, mind you that is the problem of leftoidsd they do so cheat be personalising things and so here goes.

I have had to watch some very close endure some pretty horrid things. The latest is horrid trial of some-one close is 3 doses of cancer during which time one met on a deathbed a much esteemed classics scholar.
We all meet our end one way or another.

Like I said, if you are some leftoid twat it is an outright tragedy. come to think of it, that is precisely trhe contmept leftoids show for the unadorable viz the Jews murdered by the Nazi regime, capitalist pigs by Lenin and Stalin, malcontents by Castro, white pigs by Mugabe( omittingto mention the sheer number of blackies done in by Mugabe), Irqis killed by Hussein.
But hey, whta's that compared to a Che , a Trotsky, a sportstar, , a perky.

Oh, yes, I weep, I weep because shitting arsehole leftwingers cry tearts over fuckers and loved ones and the taxpayer is forced to supply the tissues. Bugger off Bon,Russell.

Posted by: d at July 18, 2003 at 04:40 PM

I'm weeping, too. All those tissues . . .

Posted by: Mork at July 18, 2003 at 04:49 PM

Yowzers. Can the last one out unplug d before going home for the weekend? Ta.

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 18, 2003 at 05:13 PM

Mark, I'd like you to say your last line to the lady who endured all that: she has held down meaty jobs too while undergoing treratment.
And you knbow what is really risible Mark, she didn't blub each tiem: it was part and parcel of being alive.

now, why would I care to have you say that to her:

That is why Mark , sobbing over communisto slobs like gueveerra or perky is a disgrace or regarding with contempt the end of those who have endured far worse than the above lady.So, too weep over sport stars or hams as some great tragedy does get up the old nostrils and you know what you do with dirt up the old nostrils, yu shoot it down the garbage bin.Or, do you enjoy dirt, Mark.

Posted by: d at July 18, 2003 at 05:17 PM

Ditto to you to Bon Scott and, as a bit of advice, I'd change the pseudonym if I why were you: I can't name drop, but there is a view to pummel you over the use.How do I know - it is genuinely odd but you see... too long to explain.

Posted by: d at July 18, 2003 at 05:20 PM

Well, I came back here to have a look. Hey, I missed the amusement. But really...

But this thread really takes the cake. To both Tims - get a life. There are actually some important things going on to fight about. And to the bizarre notion that this is somehow a right/left thing - ha ha ha.

What a load of absolute freaking crap.

And to Delta and all her fellow sufferers: Strength, and a speedy recovery.

*Flounces off again, pouting*

Posted by: Nemesis at July 18, 2003 at 05:23 PM

Get it over with already, boneheads.

You sound like PC-police enforcing everyone's five minutes of bowed-head silence for someone they never knew.

Tim B's shallow attempt to bring race into it on Tim D's comments page is disgusting.

That this thread has generated so much interest is probably because Tim D posts with honesty (Christ, haven't you known someone to take pleasure in other's pain, let alone a celebrity's), while Blair merely concocts tired, narrow opinion straight out of An Idiot's Guide to Conservatism.

Posted by: Jack O'Farrell at July 18, 2003 at 05:28 PM

OK everyone, here I am. I'll clarify. Sharpen your pen knives.

My own initial reaction to Matt's piece was that it was "bitchy" (it's there in Dunlop's comments). I try not to swear too much in print but, by my ex-soldier standards, this is not overly offensive abuse. Still, I basically agree with Andrea that "celebs" are people and it's not a particularly decent thing to say given her situation. Despite her brave face, at some level she is probably very scared indeed. "Catty" was actually going to be my suggestion for a word.

The thing that got my goat was this here Tim's entirely gratuitous resort to race. No one else had mentioned it. I had no idea that he was actually complaining about double standards in re Deegan, because he didn't say so. What he said in so many words was "they would respond differently if she was black." There was no basis in fact or anything said by anyone at Dunlop's site to support that contention, and still isn't. Matt himself never said "Now if she was indigenous…". If anyone wanted to argue that Delta is at least as entitled to sympathy as Deegan, that's the case that should have been made if you were the giants of logic and intellectual honesty that you see yourselves as. For the record, I would agree that anyone is obviously free to argue with Deegan's comments on foreign policy (being polite about his son in the circumstances).

Similarly, if Tim B wants to insert race into an argument to score cheap points, by effectively arguing against a position he invented for someone else who never said it, I'll call him on it.

By the way Andrea, not blaming the victim seems to be a bug bear of yours. Do you stand by the following?
"What I'd like to know is -- what is it with underage girls and older men? When I was twelve the last thing on my mind was running away from home to meet some over-thirty-year-old who thought I was "eighteen or nineteen.""

Posted by: Sean at July 18, 2003 at 05:29 PM

d, if you're talking to me, you need to look more carefully at your screen to work out my handle.

As for your comments, the only thing I understood from the previous one was that you were upset about the rate of publicly-funded tissue consumption (an issue that hadn't previously crossed my radar screen, but I can respond to a bit of populist rabble-rousing as quickly and vehemently as the next fellow).

The only thing I understand about the most recent one is that you're upset at me and now some chick wants to kick my arse.

I am, of course, distressed that I have driven a lady to such extremes, but it's not clear to me how I did this. Perhaps you could explain.

If I was supposed to understand more from either of your posts than I've set out above, you'll have to spell it out in stricter conformity to the normal rules of grammar, syntax and spelling.

Posted by: Mork at July 18, 2003 at 05:32 PM

Jack, this is Friday afternoon sport damn it so to continue.

Mork, `driven to extemes' , drivel.You just wouldn't care to stomp on her gorgeous toes.

On the cheap play I did open my last, righto then, I'll play a cheap shot but..hell it wasn't as cheap as the other fuckers.The point I made was clearer than the noon day sun in the middle of summer.

This weekend had intended to prune some roses but I'm in the mood now for bloodletting. Not far out of Melbourne I can murder some trout and shoot feral animals and game.Hell, I'll borrow a horse , attach rifle scabbard and chase down some oversized rodents like kangaroos, foxes, cats and dogs. I'll take me dog with me, nothing like one ballsy G.S.P. routing country.

See you Monday you mungo bean greeny communinotard dribbling sucktoids.

Posted by: d at July 18, 2003 at 05:45 PM

I celebrated Nixon's death and I'm on the right.

Wage controls? Price controls?

A war on drugs to get at his political opponents (he told Haldeman on tape that pot was no worse than a martini).

The secret plan to end the Vietnam war? It was so secret Nixon didn't know what the plan was.

I could go on.

Except for the interns Nixon was the Clinton of the right. No principles.

Posted by: M. Simon at July 18, 2003 at 06:11 PM

I couldn't care less if Cathy Freeman or Delta Goodrem got cancer. If Tim Blair got it, on the other hand...

Posted by: Robert at July 18, 2003 at 06:28 PM

Yo Mork,

No, it's me d's shouting about. He can't remember which thread he's on.

Are we sure that "d" is not "Delta"?


Posted by: Mark at July 18, 2003 at 06:29 PM

If they are searching for a word I think it should be hate. Hate for one's country and its people. The left generally don't have faith in the Australian people and in the end many leftists just hate them.

Posted by: AussieJoe at July 18, 2003 at 06:44 PM

Careful aussiejoe, too close to the warm glow of national pride the gamma rays blister your skin.

Posted by: Ben Glasson at July 18, 2003 at 06:59 PM

It is clear what matt meant at the begining of his post. And that it was a valid observation (I mean that you cannot really CARE about ever death on earth and that the media might irrationally increace peoples emotional attachment to certain people... for example Cathy.
As a result Matt for example decides not to go throught the emotional roller coaster ride that it would take if he was to care about every person that he heard of that was sick.
He then politely accepted the point that tim made, which was also valid, that some people or groups might have more impact for leftist reasons (for example race or political acceptability) as opposed to just rightist (eg being wealthy or famous reasons).
These are all valid points even if the situation is just a fact of life.

Posted by: Scottie at July 18, 2003 at 07:47 PM

I went over there and administered a kicking, but I thinkI mistakenly administered it to Sean. Sorry about that. However Sean, I understood Tim B's point by bringing Cathy Freeman into it as being one about hypocrisy, not race. That is, it's OK to kick someone who your lot regards as "privileged", but not to put the boot in to anyone the said lot sees as having automatic victim status. By making you look in that mirror, he was pithily proving a point.

The reactions at the Tim D blog struck me as blustering when cornered. You guys were wrong to titter about it, admit it, get over it.

Posted by: Dave F at July 18, 2003 at 07:58 PM

Delta? Thank god I'm a Delta. Those nasty Beta's do all the ugly work, but we Delta's simply kick back with a frosty glass of Soma'ade and kick into the orgy porgy.

The irony of a pop star being named Delta is just fantastic. Even more awesome is that her last name has two alternative interpretations:

- good ream, for the anally fixated, and
- goo-dream, which means going to sleep dreaming of good music and waking up with a sticky layer of pop music all over yourself.

Posted by: Tom at July 18, 2003 at 09:07 PM

If Tim Blair got it, on the other hand...

Robert, that is vile and you should be fucking well ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: James Russell at July 18, 2003 at 10:00 PM

I think Robert was giving us a demontration of what schadenfreude is. Pretty nasty, eh?

Posted by: Dave F at July 18, 2003 at 10:40 PM

it is rather instructive how tim mentions a name, they mention the race, and ergo tim's the racist.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 18, 2003 at 10:55 PM

From Matt:

"First, I was bemused (a word I'll never type again) that Goodrem's illness would gain press coverage while other Hodgkin's sufferers wouldn't. This is a not terribly original point about the nature of celebrity (to which your Cathy Freeman comment provided an interesting counterpoint)."

This is basically an it's-not-fair statement: why should she get all the attention when there are so many others suffering the same fate? My only complaint with that notion is that it implies other Hodgkins' victims are overlooked or neglected as a result. This is not necessarily so. The benefit (I am of course using that term very loosely) to a celebrity contracting such an illness is usually more attention paid to said illness, more research money raised, more awareness of preventive measures (where applicable, and from what little I know of Hodgkins' I don't think it is in this case), etc., from which I should think all people with the same condition could only benefit. As an example, witness the so-called "Katie Couric effect" in increasing the number of colonoscopies in the U.S. by 20% in the space of a year.

Thus, I see no reason for bemusement.

Posted by: ilyka at July 18, 2003 at 11:17 PM
I linked to the whole thread (twice), and to Matt's post. The context of everyone's comments are plain to see. What is the matter with your head, Tim? How am I "fabricating"? Why is it braver to cut and paste all those comments rather than link to them?
Because, if you cut and pasted the comments, Matt could then have altered the comments, or deleted the thread entirely, and then called you a liar. Now that people outside their little internet clique have seen the original thread, though, they can't do that. Posted by: Tatterdemalian at July 18, 2003 at 11:36 PM

And that, Ilkya, is a very good point.

I wouldn't put it as "it's not fair" that Goodrem gets attention. "Fairness" or otherwise isn't my concern: more whose illness is deemed "important" or newsworthy and whose isn't. I'm interested in the "why", not in whether it's equitable or not.

But you're right: Goodrem raises awareness of Hodgkin's disease, a la Michael J Fox and Parkinson's, and like you said, Katie Couric.

Thanks. Best comment I've read today.

Posted by: matt at July 18, 2003 at 11:42 PM

Well, Ilyka, you aren't blinded by class envy.

As for you, Sean, yes I do stand by my statement -- which you pulled out of an entirely different discussion. But hey, what does context matter when you're trying to "score points"? The twelve year old girl in question (for those of you who are totally bemused by this, Sean is referring to a discussion about the girl who had an internet "love affair" with a thirty-ish ex-marine and ran off with him) may or may not be a total victim; though of course she has to be in the eyes of the law, being a minor -- but are you comparing the actions of a girl who at least had some independent agency about her situation, at least enough to make up her own mind to run off from her parents home (unless you believe the ex-marine hypnotized her or something) and a girl who has come down with a disease through no fault of her own?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 18, 2003 at 11:45 PM

If I can add a pause to the fevered pitch of everyone’s comments, I would like to bring us all back to earth. Whenever anyone 18 years old is struck with a disease like cancer it is a tragedy. Even though we may not be personally acquainted with that person, every human should feel some sorrow for their plight. Fortunately very few of us ever receive such a challenge. They require great personal strength to overcome and great inner peace to accept when they cannot be overcome. The tragedy is not just for the inflicted but for all their family, friends, and those of us who admire them for their talent or skills. We should all say a prayer that the Almighty will give her and those who love her strength.

We have all thought what Matt thought when someone we disliked had a bit of bad luck. It takes a callous person to verbalize those thought, but it takes monumental stupidity to write them and post them on the internet.

Posted by: Vince at July 19, 2003 at 12:23 AM

M. Simon said "I celebrated Nixon's death and I'm on the right....... Except for the interns Nixon was the Clinton of the right. No principles."

So because you disagreed with his policies you celebrated his death? Unless someone is seriously evil celebrating their death is fucked up, and I do not think either Nixon or Clinton could actually be described as evil.

Posted by: Ross at July 19, 2003 at 12:25 AM

There's another double standard that interests me: people on the left being more interested in a celebrity calling Bush stupid than if a celebrity develops cancer.

Posted by: Andjam at July 19, 2003 at 01:06 AM

Matt is a bitch and a liar. "I am interested in the why...." Puke.
Tim Dunlop is a bitch and a jackass. ~Blair has no guts - he only quotes out of context, blah, blah~. Blurt.
And Rob Corr is, frankly, just a cunt of a bloke.

Blair is fair.
He calls the bitchy tappings as he finds them.

Posted by: Wog at July 19, 2003 at 01:27 AM

What Tim B has done is put the left-lovers in a position where they can't feel "goooooood" about themselves: diabolical, but instructive. ~(:-D)

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at July 19, 2003 at 03:35 AM

Thanks, Matt, for the splendid compliment.

Point taken about "fairness" versus "why," too. Though, while I'm thinking of fairness, and in the interest of same, I have to admit that if I were to read that, say, Hillary Clinton had been diagnosed with breast cancer . . . well, my first thought would be, "How sad for her and for Chelsea."

But my SECOND thought would be, "Well, might put her out of the running in 2008, anyhow." So I'm as lacking in compassion as anybody else, you see.

In that sense, it is a matter of perspective, which I think was what Tim B was trying to demonstrate originally.

Posted by: ilyka at July 19, 2003 at 04:32 AM

I explained my comment in more detail at the other site, I will repost it here:

I'm one of the lefties Tim Blair is trying to bag, but he's wrong -- I couldn't give two shits about Delta Goodrem or Cathy Freeman. But as I said elsewhere, if Tim Blair got cancer, I would probably care. I'd at least give half a shit -- and it's for the reason James pointed out: I feel like I know Tim more than I know either of the others. I've at least had a(n electronic) conversation with him.

There are a few celebrities who I would be upset to hear contracted cancer or other serious illness. I was really upset when Chris Farley died, for example. But that's because those people made some kind of impact on my life. Cathy Freeman? She's just an athlete. Delta Goodrem? I didn't even know who she was until she got sick.

Tim Blair and his blogomates spend a lot of time accusing the Left of turning things into race debates when they're not. Well, this time Blair's turning something into a race debate when it's not.

Stick to the lame jokes, Tim.

I can see how my comment here might have been misconstrued. Sorry for any offence caused.

Posted by: Robert at July 19, 2003 at 12:53 PM

Rob, I interpreted your comment the way James did, too. Thanks for clearing it up.

Tim, would you and your comrades be saying any of this is Matt wasn't nominally lefty (for mine, I think he's moderate left/centre-left: which is to say, rather a sight closer to you guys than Rob or The Other Tim)? For that matter, would you give a shit about what he had to say (or even know about it), if Tim Dunlop hadn't appeared to condone it?

Personally, I took Matt's post to be about the exploitation of celebrity (the "before/after" comments, and of course the "papparazzo"), and the way the public laps it up. I don't see how, after his explanation, you can continue to attack him?

Posted by: mark at July 19, 2003 at 04:23 PM

I seem to have across thing rather late. Two comments. What on earth was Mrs Goodrem smoking when she name hew newborn 'Delta'? Where can you get it? Second, young folks get serious illnesses everyday - that is a tragedy. "Delta"'s only claim to notice that she is rather decorative and gets on the telly. I'm sorry for her bad luck, but no more so than any other nameless sod so afflicted. The whole thing reeks of tasteless publicity seeking by her. Too bad if she carks it.

Speaking of Freeman, ex-hubby got cancer and the publicity Freeman got out of that was disgusting. Let's hope she does go for politics -- on the left. It's delightful watching someone who has no education or training for make idiots of themselves, e.g., Madden and Delahunty.

Posted by: Rebecca Shartp at July 19, 2003 at 05:21 PM

Rebecca - actually, Goodrem is prodigiously talented. I have no idea if she's a good actress, but she has a great voice, is a fine pianist and writes her own material.

And having been in a relationship with someone who developed Hodgkin's disease, I wish her all the best. It's no picnic.

Posted by: James at July 19, 2003 at 07:50 PM

So "she's a good actress, but she has a great voice, is a fine pianist and writes her own material". I didn't know that nor is it relevant. Now not only is she good actress, has a great voice, is a fine pianist and writes her own material - but has cancer as well. Another string to her bow. Any publicity is good publicity, and to hell with taste. And yet the likes of Goodrem are the first to complain when they consider their privacy is invaded, having put their private matters firmly in the public domain when it suited. I blame Olivia Newton-John, who boosted her fading career and mediocre talents with this singer-with-cancer business. And she's as fit as a fiddle.

Posted by: Rebecca Shartp at July 19, 2003 at 08:43 PM

OK, well this is probably going to seem like a vanity post, but here goes...

Delta is a human being, an eighteen year old at that. I can actually understand some of the shit people on here (and elsewhere) are firing at her, because I think at some level its easier to just disassociate from someone having to face their mortality in such an awful way. What better way to deal with the universal human fear of death than to mock, belittle or attack someone who is sick.

As for publicity, well, she is (whether people like it or not) an increasingly famous singer and actor, both in Australia and overseas. It might be a tad difficult to explain why she is probably having to reschedule on a massive scale without admitting, yes, she has cancer. Maybe her managers etc are milking it - so what, how about you get shitty with them and not Delta. I'm sorry some people are so angry and at odd with themselves that they make heartless comments about someone they don't know, who has never personally hurt nor deprived them of anything.

And it's not just a left-right thing, cos I've seen people of all persuasions make some really unfortunate comments about her. I am almost certain everyone who has made derogatory comments about her illness (because she's a 'celebrity')will have a moment in the near future, maybe when they contemplate their own mortality, and realise that what Delta must be experiencing is in fact pretty much the worst thing a human ever has to face.

I would imagine in an ideal world Delta would prefer NOT to be a celebrity at this point - having to keep up a brave face is probably the last thing someone needs at a time like this. I hope those people can learn to find peace within themselves.

Posted by: Troy at July 19, 2003 at 10:21 PM

Jebus. Miss Sharp, I can only assume that you are cheesed off by intense, Princess-Di-level media coverage of this girl -- tabloid after tabloid, sobbing tv specials, and so on -- to be so wound up, because as far as I know all the upset is stemming from one tiny mention in a publication's web page, a couple of paragraphs that doesn't even take up one entire screen (and I only have a 17 inch monitor).

So if your favorite tv show was interrupted by a lengthy Special Bulletin on the fate of this actress, I apologize for thinking that you and all the other sourpusses have been spending a lot of time and energy complaining about how much they don't care about something that was barely a blip on the news radar.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 19, 2003 at 11:42 PM

"The whole thing reeks of tasteless publicity seeking by her."

I don't think she's doing that, Rebecca. I mean, she has to take a break for a while because of her disease, and obviously the public is going to go looking for an explanation: so to make things easier, she's provided it. Her publicists (or whatever) may be going a bit far with providing the media with information, but I'm not sure if that's within her control. The actions of the media -- tabloids especially -- are /definitely/ outside her control, and she cannot be blamed for them.

The tabloids, on the other hand, *can*.

Andrea, this case is getting rather a lot more coverage in Australia than it is in the US, I'd presume. At least, I would hope /your/ local news isn't running features about "Canberra's brave Delta."

Posted by: mark at July 19, 2003 at 11:55 PM

I don't watch the news, but somehow I doubt it.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 20, 2003 at 01:29 AM