Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jerry Buss Didn't Lose Any Battles

Longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away  this past Monday at the age of 80. Though I do not like the Lakers one teensie bit, I have no ill feelings toward the late Dr. Buss, and I think he was a great owner. He was perhaps the best owner in NBA history. During his tenure, his team was way more successful than any other team. But that's all beside the point. The point is that I'm sick and tired of people saying that, when someone dies of cancer, that person "lost a battle" with cancer. Come on.

You don't battle cancer. If you have cancer, you go through the proper steps to try to make a recovery, if that's possible. You don't wage war on the disease. You don't have a battle. You either can recover from it or you can't.

What annoys me about this "euphemism" is that it implies that, if someone like Jerry Buss had just battled harder, perhaps he could have defeated cancer in the battle. That's a ridiculous thing to imply. I know people don't necessarily mean that when they say it, but it's definitely the implication. What if Dr. Buss had won his battle with cancer? I think people would have given him credit for having the...I don't know, force of will? defeat this deadly disease. If you give him credit if he beats it, then you have to take something away from him if he doesn't, right? That's crazy talk.

It's also annoying because this is the way that EVERY media outlet reports the story. If you put the words "Jerry Buss battle" into Google right now, you'll get over 23 million hits. On the first page of results, we see that Bleacher Report, TMZ, New York Daily News, Fox Sports, and myriad websites and local television stations characterize Dr. Buss's condition as a "battle." Enough. Just say that he passed away from cancer. This "battle" stuff needs to be cute without the E.

Also, as Norm MacDonald notes in his 2011 special Me Doing Stand Up, it's not like the cancer wins the battle. The moment you die, the cancer also dies. Good note, Norm.

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