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February 19, 2016


I took my older kid to see Deadpool today. She’s not seventeen, but a couple of good friends whose judgement I trust saw it and said she would love it as long as I made her cover her eyes for the sexy bits.

Per our agreement, during the sexy scenes, she covered her eyes and then we had to talk about it — the settings, actions, and morals thereof which is more embarrassing for me than it is for her. Turns out, her friends had also seen the movie and she had some specific questions, which I answered honestly: “OMG no, no and no.”

We loved the movie, of course, because it was irreverent and hilarious and we love comic book movies. We talked about everything: the jokes. The movie references. The brilliant opening credits. The awesome girlfriend and how she broke out of her own damn refrigerator.

You know what we did not talk about?


The cancer subplot.

It seems like every time the writers of a movie want you to feel a great swell of pity in your breast for a character, they give that character cancer. Or a mom with  cancer. Or a kid with cancer. Heck, even a dog with cancer will bring tears to the eyes of the average moviegoer, or so it seems, because you can’t throw a stone in a movie theater without hitting someone sitting across the desk of a kind and wise doctor giving them the bad news with an air of kindly gravitas. That’s gotta be a tough role to play, as an actor, and in real life.

What the movies don’t show often enough is that same kind, wise, and serious doctor putting a fist through a wall in frustration because a patient has, yet again, fallen victim to the predatory tomfoolery that is the so-called alternative cancer industry. Both my daughter and I wanted to reach through the silver screen and yank that handful of international cancer “treatment” centers out of Vanessa’s hand. Thank heavens for the vigilance of the FDA that keeps those charlatans out of our nation; that seeking them out has become a part of our cultural discourse around cancer is a damn shame.

And then, I couldn’t help but think that the massive torture-fest in which Francis and Angel bestow super powers on Deadpool is a valid exposition of what it is like to go through cancer treatment, except for the part where the people who treat cancer are wonderful, so I don’t think this paragraph is going anywhere.

If I had known that Deadpool had a cancer subplot I wouldn’t have seen it. If, a couple of years ago, I had known that Guardians of the Galaxy had a cancer subplot, I wouldn’t have seen it.

It’s like — well, it’s like a cancer, the way everyone gets cancer in these superhero movies.

Maybe there’s a different message staring me in the face.

Maybe beating cancer means that I’m a superhero too. Maybe we all are.




From → Uncategorized

  1. Judith Shure permalink

    ER-you are a super hero.


  2. You are one of my heroes.

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