So Rod’s clarifying moment is muddy once more. For all the talk about how the Komen Foundation was “bullied” by the left, the episode resembles the Netflix/Qwikster debacle of last year; especially since Komen recently employed (via Memeorandum) Ari Fleischer who “drilled prospective candidates [for a PR position] during their interviews on how they would handle the controversy about Komen’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.” Nothing says “competence” like a Bush II alumni.
I hadn’t thought much about the Komen Foundation before their recent PR fiasco, but I am inherently suspicious of big organizations and they are a giant in the breast cancer industry. That they peddle awareness with pink buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a pink-ribboned NFL only increases my skepticism. Barbara Ehrenreich (who was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago) skewered the culture promoted by organizations such as Komen in her book Bright-Sided(reviewed in TAC here):
The first thing I discovered as I waded out into the relevant sites is that not everyone views the disease with horror and dread. Instead, the appropriate attitude is upbeat and even eagerly acquisitive . . . There are between two and three million American women in various stages of breast cancer treatment, who, along with anxious relatives, make up a significant market for all things breast cancer related. Bears, for example: I identified four distinct lines, or species, of these creatures, including . . . the Nick and Nora Wish Upon a Star Bear, which was available . . . at the Komen Foundation Web site’s “marketplace.”
And bears are only the tip, so to speak, of the cornucopia of pink-ribbon-themed breast cancer products. . . “Awareness” beats secrecy and stigma, of course, but I couldn’t help noticing that the existential space in which a friend had earnestly advised me to “confront [my] mortality” bore a striking resemblance to the mall.