Saturday, March 01, 2008

Answered Prayers

There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.
St. Theresa of Jesus

Well, I got my New York Times obituary of Barbara Seaman. I don't like it. It's pretty nasty, and they go out of their way to acknowledge her critics.

NYTImes: Barbara Seaman, 72, Dies; Cited Risks of the Pill

There's more criticism of Barbara Seaman in one page than is contained in all three pages of the obituary for the loathesome William F. Buckley, which is headlined: "He elevated conservatism to the center of American political discourse." Elevated? He wanted people with AIDS to be tattooed. Please. Multisyllabic does not equal smart or revolutionary, both of which are apt descriptions for Barbara Seaman.

Here are the passages in the Times obituary I object to; my comments are italicized.

Ms. Seaman’s first book, “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” (P. H. Wyden), was considered groundbreaking when it was published in 1969. [emphasis added]

It wasn't just "considered" groundbreaking; it WAS groundbreaking.
Though the publication of “The Doctors’ Case Against the Pill” made Ms. Seaman an enduring heroine of the women’s movement, her work did not find favor everywhere. As some reviewers saw it, Ms. Seaman’s passionate polemic sometimes got the better of scientific argument.

Writing in The Washington Post in 2003, Liza Mundy reviewed “The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women,” about the potential risks of hormone-replacement therapy:

“Seaman is a conspiracy theorist by temperament and training,” Ms. Mundy wrote. “In her presentation, every drug company is working against the interests of its patients, and every journalist who fails to question this or that bad study has probably been bought off; she uses the phrase ‘organized medicine’ in what seems a direct echo of ‘organized crime.’ ”

While it may be true that Ms. Mundy wrote that, it is irrelevant. As usual, Barbara Seaman was right. Drug companies are not nonprofits; they are concerned with sales and spreadsheets, not with health. Many doctors today are glorified pill-pushers who do what they have to do to get paid by insurance companies. The press HAS been bought off; the giant media conglomerates are concerned with their bottom lines, and one of their greatest advertisers is the pharmaceutical industry. That's why Barbara Seaman kept getting fired from magazines for speaking the truth.

The truth about HRT, the subject of Seaman's book in Mundy's review, is that HRT raises the incidence of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and dementia in women taking this dangerous cocktail. The Times obituary does not address the health risks of HRT or the fact that research has borne out Ms. Seaman's criticisms of HRT.

In the 1990s, Ms. Seaman also began to speak out publicly against domestic violence, from which she said she had suffered during her marriage to Mr. Forman. Though she did not identify Mr. Forman by name in the news media, court records show that in 1988 he was arrested and charged with assault after Ms. Seaman accused him of punching her in the face. The criminal case against Mr. Forman was later thrown out, Dudley Gaffin, his lawyer at the time, said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

Reached by telephone on Thursday, Mr. Forman denied having assaulted Ms. Seaman, calling the accusation of assault “a divorce tactic” on her part.

What could better demonstrate society's attitude towards domestic violence than the New York Times seeking out the batterer for a denial quote? Because even in death, Barbara Seaman, feminist pioneer, cannot be believed. And you can't get a fresh quote from her, now can you. But you can smear her a little in her own obituary. This is really disgusting.

Final thought: The obituary from the site Dog Flu Diet & Diseases is better.

Dog Flu Diet & Diseases: Female Reproductive Health Advocate Dies At 72

Wall St. Journal: REMEMBRANCES
Barbara Seaman (1935 – 2008)
Advocate for Women's Health Care, She Agitated to Make the Pill Safer

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH): Barbara Seaman, Oberlin grad, women's health pioneer

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