Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jack Kevorkian's Gonna Get You.

Oh nos! Anderson Cooper better watch out or Dr. Death Kevorkian's gonna get him! This from, well what do you expect, HollywoodNews.

Beyond the brave-interviewer-whose-brother-committed-suicide-meets-killer aspect of the little post, below, I find it completely fascinating that there's no room for discussion of end of life in here anywhere. What was Kevorkian doing with those 130 people? Why did they want to die? What is suicide and why did they need Kevorkian to help them. How did he find 130 people? What is the nature of care for the terminally ill? How do we discuss futile care, chronic pain, the right to die, mental illness, and suffering in death? I know, I know, I'm asking too much from a pulp.

But sometimes it takes the exaggeration to recognize the norm. Usually we look to satire for that. Or sentimentality. As we all patiently await the April 24 premier of "You Don't Know Jack", an HBO movie starring Al Pacino as Kevorkian and Susan Sarandon, we'll have a chance to see how the media frames issues of end of life care, assisted suicide, and the, yes, renegade Jack Kevorkian. Will we see the more typical binary framing -- death is shameful and bad and to be avoided at all costs vs. death will transition you to a better place -- or will we be engaged in a substantive discussion that examines end of life care in the US today?

Oh and, I thought Fox had the first interview with Kevorkian during last summer's health care debate. The frail, seemingly-senile former inmate was trotted out as a strawman for death panels.

Wasn’t Anderson Cooper just swimming with sharks last week on “60 Minutes”?

Now he’s doing something even more courageous: he’s interviewing Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Dr. Death is giving Cooper his first post-prison interview this Friday. It’s not actually on CNN, but set for a lunch time live get together at CNN headquarters in New York.

The interview will be preceded by sandwiches and snacks, according to the invite, and a welcome from CNN’s prez, Jon Klein.

You have to give Cooper credit for doing this. His own brother, Carter, committed suicide at age 23 in July 1988. Anderson wrote about it in his blog back in 2005:

Talk about a charged meeting. Kevorkian has said he helped at least 130 people die of physician assisted suicide. He served 8 years of a 10 to 25 year prison sentence for second degree murder. He’ll turn 81 in May.

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