16 May 2010

Very Bad News

There are only a handful of intelligent, skeptical, rational bloggers out there who can also write well—and who are equally at home with portraiture via scalpel or meat-cleaver. One of them is Dan J of Relatively Unrelated, whose relatively recent web log has rapidly become a favorite of mine. I admit, one reason is that he seems to share my enthusiasm for picking on the clueless, as his posts on the woman who was trying desperately to get by on only $300,000 a year (“I’d like to welcome some people to the real world, but they aren’t here yet”) and the writer for Renew America who describes biology as the science of magic and madness (“Congratulations and Kudos to RenewAmerica.com”) show. Or the way he recalls the glorious life and cruel death of one of my favorite historical figures (“Sometimes Persecution ends in Death: Remembering Giordano Bruno”). And how he neatly eviscerates certain primitive theologians who masquerade as scientists in pieces like “What is Biological Evolution? (and Why Do Creationists Not Understand the Answer)” and “Your Religion is Not Science”. And who can forget his depiction of the despair of poor troglodytes forced the consider the possibility they may have to someday treat gay, lesbian, or transgendered people as, well, people (“Won’t Someone Please Think Of The Bigots?!?!”), or the pitiful attempts at something resembling rational thought by the delusional (“How Fucking Thick are These People?!?!!?”), done with equal facility and a kind of foul grace. And there was his savage demolition of a certain internet troll who masquerades as a concerned christian—I couldn’t find it at the blog, so maybe it was on one of the comment threads he’s also contributed to. (As a matter of fact it was his comments somewhere or other that led me originally to his blog.) Clarity—he likes to cut through the bullshit to zero in on the actual point of an argument—succinctness—a point I’d dwell on in a three-part series Dan J disposes of in a sentence or two—and the willingness to call a spade a fucking shovel (as somebody once called it) are the hallmarks of his writing.

He hasn’t been writing much lately. On 28 March we had this note:
Yes, I’m still here. I haven’t been feeling well lately, which leaves me with little enthusiasm for making posts that scathingly blast one thing or another. Back to the doctor on April first, then maybe I can get back on the road to posting regularly.

Well, I’m in no position to criticize, with my erratic performance here at Rational Rant, and god knows I haven’t been feeling well either, what with horrific panic attacks and sporadic vision loss (apparently visual migraines but not entirely reassuring). Still, I’ve been looking forward to Dan J’s posts resuming—and now I learn from a post by Jason Thibeault (“That Helpless Feeling”) that he has more pressing things to worry about: he “likely has lymphoma. He’s been getting the runaround from a clinic for the past two weeks in that country with ‘the greatest health care system in the world’, America.”

Damn. I don’t know what to say. Part of it is the fucking uncertainty, of course—I looked up lymphoma on various internet sites, but nothing there has any meaning without knowing its type or how developed it is, or for that matter even if it’s lymphoma at all. We’ll just have to wait and see. (And of course Dan J may not wish to share his medical situation with the world at large; please forgive me if I’m intruding here.) But the personal catastrophe aside—and that is by far the most important part of it of course—anything that takes a voice like Dan J’s from the Babel of the Blogosphere is to be regretted. It’s very bad news. And I hope that proves to be transitory and temporary, and Dan J is once again up eviscerating the demons of unreason soon, and not just for the sake of his friends and family and acquaintances, but also for those of us who value the all too few voices of reason and sanity in a world increasingly hostile to both.


rfh said...

emphatic wishes for good health and good news, and good care, to Dan J. We want his voice to be heard!

Jason Thibeault said...

Dunno if you've been back around since that post, sbh, but DanJ's doing quite a bit better. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins' Lymphoma, which has an excellent prognosis (~90% recovery with chemo even in later stages). He's had a course of chemo already, and he's got a good deal of his appetite back.

My main concern is the cost, of course. He and his wife have been on Twitter and both seem in good spirits at the moment, so I suspect the crisis point is past anyway.

Jason Thibeault said...

Rather, I *know* you've been around, as I've seen you comment; I just don't know if you saw the follow-up post where I explained further, and asked for donations on their behalf. It's here: http://www.lousycanuck.ca/?p=3603

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