Friday, April 11, 2008

Department of theodicy

Thank God I... have an eating disorder!

The spam press release below, cut but not otherwise changed by me, explains:

Most controversial book ever launches later next week

New York City, NY “Rape, Cancer, Death, and Divorce. Can you imagine being grateful for any of these things? Finally a book that transforms the human experience according to creator of the Thank God I series”, John Castagnini.

“Thank God I, soon to be the largest inspirational book series since Chicken Soup for the Soul, unites a world-wide community of individuals to share personal stories of gratitude for their past adversities. Thousands of writers will reveal gut-wrenching accounts of how they transformed perceived crisis into blessings” added Castagnini.
Thank God I have Cancer, Thank God I was Raped, Thank God I have an eating Disorder
For more information see
I'm not anticipating a hit.


L said...

I happened on SG grinning over his computer--"I'll tell you later," he responded to the obvious query. Which he did here, in an entry included largely to amuse me in a crazy-making, here-comes-a-good-rant sort of way. (Last night I was off on how a so-called moral nation can censure Eliot Spitzer while allowing a myriad of crimes like, say, putting men who might or might not be terrorists on covert plane rides to Pakinstan to be tortured where it's "OK.") This book series is an ice-cream-cone offering of too easy, black jokes: thank god I was a prisonor-of-war, thank god I watched my mom being macheted in Rwanda...

This might all seem irrelevant (and maybe it is; didn't get a lot of sleep worrying about SG scans today) but for my on-going rant about the cancer survivor movement. Understand, I'm pro-survival. I "thank god" for the grandmother who lived 20 yrs after a double mastectomy, for a best friend I wouldn't know if she hadn't survived a cancer she got just out of college... there are others who I love. But you can't walk in a cancer center without being bombarded with materials on how you'll possibly manage to live a life post-cancer. And how many serious news articles I have I read in the past two years that include the line, "Cancer isn't the death sentence it once was."?

The two most important men in my life, my father, who died when I was 28 from pancreatic cancer, and my husband, the father of our children, 7 and 4, will not experience the angst or the blessing of survival. For the myriad like them (just see "Death Spiral (Spiral)" for less anecdotal evidence that they do exist) and the broken-hearts beside them, this feel-good stuff is pretty painful. Just saying.

L said...

Sorry, just one more thing on this "thank god" bullshit (yeah, SG has a woman that talks a lot).

Some very well-meaning people, even some with whom I am friends, use the oft-repeated phrase, "There but for the grace of God go I." But does anybody think about what they are SAYING? This god of yours activily used his (we'll say) grace to spare YOU from being homeless and legless on the cold city sidewalk? To save YOU from sarcoma? Why do you think god meted out his power for you and not for this other person? Do you think the afflicted person failed to deserve God's grace? How does it work?

SG said...

Ok, now you've trolled _me_. I still think James Wood has a lot to say on reconciling, or not reconciling, infinite benevolence with endless suffering. Raised a fundamentalist, he offers this sad observation (which I share out of context): "After years of hearing thousands of petitions offered to the Lord, I cannot recall a single answered prayer."