The use of the “V-word” continues to be used in the most “enlightened” places. Today, it is an interview with health author Jane Brody in the NYT about her new book on planning for death. From the interview:
Q: When is the right time to start planning for death?
A: Start thinking about it when it’s unlikely to happen any time soon. It’s much easier to do it then. It’s less painful. Get it out of the way. Many people are saying, “I’m going to take action now while I still feel good and I’m still healthy.” You don’t have to be old. If you recall, Terri Schiavo was 26 when she suffered a heart attack that deprived her brain of oxygen and left her a living vegetable for 15 years, at great cost and trauma to her family.
Terri Schiavo was not a carrot or a turnip. She was a human being with a profound cognitive disability. Calling her a “V” demeans her and dehumanizes her moral worth as a human being–just as the odious “N-word” does people with dark skin. It should never be used among enlightened people. Indeed, we need to grow as a culture so that anyone using it is treated with the same disdain by polite society as we do now to anyone who uses the crude “N” epithet.
Second: Terri’s family was certainly grief stricken over her injury–the precise cause of which will never be known. But that is not what so badly traumatized them, and it is not what extracted a “great cost.” Those inflictions came from the horror they felt–and still feel–because they were not permitted to care for her for the rest of her life in order to, instead, slowly dehydrate her to death by court order to the applause of much of society.
Brody needs to get a clue as to both her facts and her lexicon.