phoque this and that

Unlike a lot of weblogs and webzines that I read, readers of my site rarely disagree with my posts. If they do, they keep it to themselves. Sometimes a person will email me to respectfully contest my conclusions in a private forum, and on very rare occasions (I could count them on one hand) they dissent via comments. Who can forget the time that I was called an evil anti-Semite for poking fun at a particularly strange direct-mail charity, or the time that a fellow took umbrage at my umbrage over the Robert de Niro Amex commercial? I couldn't find a link to that commercial on Youtube (which is good, since it's an exploitative piece of trash), so I recommend that you watch the Wes Anderson Amex commercial instead, because it's awesome.

The answer to "who can forget," by the way, is everyone but me. I can't remember any of my good lines, but I have the details of all slights on my writing memorized.

Anyway, someone else has finally disagreed with me, on an ambivalent but slightly curmudgeonly piece I wrote about those T-shirts that say "fuck cancer" (I can't provide a link because I'm writing from work). When I wrote it I was trying to figure out how I felt about the shirts, putting myself in the position of a cafe owner that catered to a white-collar crowd. Given that point of view, it's not surprising that I drew up a very loose equation that 'fuck cancer t-shirt = bad, or at least not great'.

Not long after I posted the piece, a few friends wrote to tell me that the proceeds from the Fuck Cancer shirts (for some reason I keep on typing Fuck Canada - what's with the subliminal traduction?) went to cancer research. Whoops, I thought. I spent all this time being thoughtful and it turned out only that I was ignorant. I made a mental note to provide an update, which I promptly forgot to do. Once a post drops off the front page of my weblog, I behave as if it's retreated to some untouched filing cabinet somewhere, available only to those who make the trek to the archives, business hours only, and good luck getting the archivist to retrieve your file in a timely fashion (not to mention the Beware of the Leopard sign tacked to the office door). I should know better - whatever you commit to the internet never disappears.

So an anonymous someone disagreed with me - better yet, they actually disagreed with me. Not just seemingly, but actually. I'd argued that the shirt sent the wrong message, that the phrase 'Fuck Cancer' was a bit adolescent and unconsciously dismissive of the issue. Anonymous actually liked the Fuck Cancer message, considered it robust and properly agressive - maybe even inspiring. Man the ramparts, people! It's time to fuck cancer! With a T-shirt!

What I appreciated about anonymous' comment most is that it solidified my position and revealed to me what it is that actually bothers me about the phrase 'fuck cancer'. Cancer is a horrible replication of a mitotic mistake, an error initiated at the cellular level. It's the end result of a series of decisions that originated outside your body. I say fuck the causes of cancer, not the cancer itself. Fuck DDT. Fuck PCBs. Fuck red meat, heavy with hormones and antibiotics. Fuck industrial agriculture. Fuck the petrochemical poisons that sustain and destroy us. Fuck the emissions of automobiles, those two-ton belchers of shit and killers of children. Fuck methylene chloride, say, and carbomyl and diazinon. Fuck 'em in the ear. Fuck acetone and morpholine, quaternium 5 and acid blue 9. Fuck benzene, people. Fuck para-dichlorobenzene and hexachlorobenzene - make it a threesome. Fuck cadmium and cobalt, plutonium, uranium and silica. Fuck tobacco while you're at it. Have a cigar.

Fuck lead. Fuck 2,4-D. Tetrachloroethylene and tetrachlorvinphos, fuck them too. Ever fucked trisodium nitrilotriacetate? Do it now. Don't forget to fuck dichloromethane before you turn out the light. Fuck oil of orange (surprise!). Fuck propylene oxide.

All this without even leaving your home.