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Mon Jun 3, 2013, 02:15 PM

Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon: "The grossest part of Michael Douglas’ cancer brag" [View all]

Monday, Jun 3, 2013 08:35 AM PST
The grossest part of Michael Douglas’ cancer brag
He says oral sex caused his illness -- but that's not the worst part
By Mary Elizabeth Williams



http://www.salon.com/2013/06/03/the_worst_part_of_michael_douglas_cancer_brag/

“Stage 4 cancer and a shit-pot of chemo and radiation,” he admitted, “that’s a rough ride. That can really take it out of you. Plus, the amount of chemo I was getting, it zaps all the good stuff too. It made me very weak.”

But when writer Xan Brooks asked the actor, who in 1992 did a stint in rehab for drug and alcohol dependence, if he felt his hard living had contributed to his cancer, Douglas demurred. “No,” he said. “No. Because, without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV , which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”

****

But what’s truly most astonishing about the whole Douglas admission isn’t the sexual boasting — it’s that he found himself in a position to do it in the first place. You know what people who’ve had Stage 4 cancer shouldn’t have to account for? How they got their cancer. They shouldn’t be expected to turn their illness into an exercise in rationalization – I’m not a loser who got cancer from smoking; I’m a bad-ass who got it from servicing Catherine Zeta-Jones!

The implication, that far too many of us who’ve had cancer have firsthand experience with, is that there’s a hierarchy of our disease — that some people deserve it, and that the person with the cancer owes the world an explanation for How This Happened, so that others can go about their lives feeling blameless and pure. So yeah, ultimately, the Douglas interview was pretty gross. But it wasn’t the answer that made it so. It was the question.

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