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The Disease You Hate to Love

With all the breathless buzz about Lance Armstrong around here (Overheard: “He’s going to speak at 8:30; the doors open at 7! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance!”), there’s also been a lot of press about his crusade against cancer. So much press, in fact, that I’ve begun to wonder if it isn’t beneath him—I mean, cancer? Just cancer? He’s a seven-time winner of the Tour de Wyoming de France! He survived balls cancer! You might think he’d focus the considerable force of the goodwill that surrounds him on something less mainstream, something deserving more attention to increase public awareness of it and compel public commitment to its cure—a specific, super-deadly cancer, for example, like the kind that goes after your balls; or testosterone addictions in cyclists.

I mean, everybody hates cancer, Lance. Have a little more edge.

Armstrong’s choice of the easy road, through the Normandy of advocacy, however, doesn’t prevent us from mapping his Alpine route.

What diseases are you loathe to hate? Not every disease can be cancer, after all. But perhaps a couple of illustrations will get at the question better: Once upon a time that includes today, some people hated to hate AIDS—it was a gay disease, after all, and weren’t gays just abominable girly men upon whom even baby Jesus loved to spit? Likewise, if I were Klansman, it’d be pretty difficult to get me to buy a sickle cell anemia stamp at the Post Office. In other words, disease isn’t always a dirty word.

But diseases that some populations are more susceptible to than others are easy: to find haters of the population is to find lovers of the disease. Where’s the ambiguity in that? What of the other diseases that need cures, but which we take a secret pleasure in and thus are loathe to do anything about? What if Lance Armstrong went on a crusade against foot fungus, for example? Not serious enough? Then how about lice? On the one hand, disgusting; on the other, hygiene really is important, and if you don’t wash, don’t you deserve to pay a little price, Donne-style romance notwithstanding? Perhaps, however, lice are not sufficiently a disease. Perhaps we want something more… life threatening? Frankly, I’m having a difficult time naming one. So help me out: what’s the disease you (or someone you know, or know of) hate to love?



not sure this is of the caliber you’re hoping for, but in a recent phone conversation, a friend told me that A) she had scabies and B) she was up for election to Junior Auxiliary (pseudo-adult social club) and wondered if A would defeat B.
My vote would be for ED, as the “disease” insurance companies are willing to pay to cure even as they refuse to pay for birth control.

While this is more of a disorder, Coprolalia comes to mind :)


ED is a good one, but would be better if there weren’t such a disparity between male/female insurance fundings….

how else could we hate to love it?

good point. i think i must have confused myself on what “hate to love” means…