Human Exceptionalism

Using David Bowie to Promote Assisted Suicide

From all accounts that I have read, rock star David Bowie died naturally of cancer.

But a writer in The Guardian strives mightily to tie his natural demise to assisted suicide. From, “David Bowie Planned His Death,” by Ann Neumann:

Bowie may have been a profoundly unique musician, but his secrecy regarding his terminal condition is increasingly common. Death, particularly for those in Bowie’s generation, is becoming something to control – an event to arrange and manage.

He kept his health condition private. And I assume he also received quality medical care and palliation. If that is “arranging” and “managing,” ok. But Neumann makes an unwarranted darker connection:

Boomers’ efforts to change the way Americans die are already being felt. Not willing to linger for years in nursing homes, they’re pressing for the legalization of aid in dying, the legal right to receive a lethal dose of medication from their doctor when they have six months or less to live.

As I have often written, the “six months to live” restriction is a temporary sop, demonstrated by the “linger for years in nursing homes” comment. Indeed, most places where euthanasia/assisted suicide are legal have no such restrictions.

And get this desperate bootstrapping:

Like everything else Bowie made acceptable for his fans – fluid genders, flamboyant, outrageous clothes, dreams of equality and other worlds – this grand and surprising final exit may signal to the 76 million Baby Boomers now facing their own twilight that there’s no harm in going out your own way.

I have no idea what David Bowie thought about assisted suicide. But unless there is something we don’t know, his death had nothing to do with the issue.

It is wrong to try and drag his death into the argument.

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