The gist is this: Bill and Emma, as members of the elite ruling class, are miffed that a mere blogger named Lisa Adams is horning in on the cancer discourse. When Angelina Jolie underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery (as did Emma Gilbey-Keller) it was golden fodder for a New York Times op-ed and worldwide celebrations of her bravery. It's the bright-siding of cancer, and the miracles of technology usually only available to the very wealthy, the very well-connected, and the very insured.
When Lisa Adams Tweets about her unrelenting pain and how it feels better to be cuddled by a volunteer therapy dog at Sloan-Kettering, Bill Keller demands to know what it's costing him. Because when it comes to "entitlements" for ordinary people, he gets a real bee in his bonnet, as evidenced by his entire privileged body of work. A prime example is this piece of drivel, in which the entitled jerk calls the lesser people entitled jerks for wanting medical care and a secure retirement.
The snobbery of the Kellers is nothing new. What's new is that they finally crossed the line and aimed their unrelenting disdain at the wrong person. They kicked someone when she was not only down, but dying. They morphed from Marie Antoinette into the Marquis de Sade in one fell swoop.
Bill and Emma are a power couple of the New Gilded Age. He is the multimillionaire son of the former CEO of Chevron. Emma is no slouch either. A member in good standing of the British Peerage, she hails from the Gilbey Gin family and used to date Secretary of State John Kerry, himself a Boston Brahmin descendent of the Forbes Family of Chinese opium traders. Emma's cousin was a paramour of Princess Diana, whom he notoriously called Squidgy in a hacked and hilarious phone conversation.
Getting the surreal picture yet? To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald -- Bill and Emma Keller are different from you and me. They are very, very rich, and very, very weird.
Julian Fellowes might even use CancerGate as inspiration for an episode of Downton Abbey. When the scullery maid gets run over by a truck and writes a best-selling memoir of her ordeal, Lord and Lady Grantham peevishly react by self-publishing a piece in The London Review of Books. They are veddy veddy miffed, because M'Lady had self- published her own literary account of that mishap in her Bentley only last year. And it just languished in the bargain bin at Selfridge's! This.... Cannot.... Be. It is a slap in the face to the whole established order of things.
So let Lisa Adams rest assured. She is just the latest victim of the serial rampant concern-trolling of the Keller Family. She devalued the Keller Family Values without even realizing it. And for that, she had to be punished by The Keller Family.
Back when he was still executive editor of the Gray Lady, Bill Keller would engage in the occasional noblesse-obliging with the hoi polloi. But when one hapless reader had the effrontery to ask him about his personal life, he let all his carefully-tempered disdain burst right out of his coddled thin skin:
Q. I think a lot of young journalists and editors, myself included, are curious about what a day in the shoes of Bill Keller is like. Can you walk us through a normal work day for The Times's executive editor?
— Devin Banerjee, Stanford, Calif.
A. Really? You'd be interested in that? Well, I think my life is pretty much what you would imagine it to be.
I wake up most mornings to the telephone, invariably some world leader or international celebrity seeking my counsel. Lately it's been a lot of President Obama — again with the damn puppy? — but sometimes it's Richard Holbrooke to pick my brain about Afghanistan, or Bruce Springsteen asking if it isn't time for another Arts and Leisure cover story about Bruce Springsteen. The valet brings breakfast with the handful of newspapers that have not gone out of business. In the limo on the way to the office, I help Warren Buffett sort out his portfolio and give trading advice to George Steinbrenner, not that he ever listens.
At the office, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and I have our morning conference call with Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — plus Fidel Castro when he's compos mentis. Dictating the world's agenda entails a lot of conference calls. I've been encouraging the cabal to save some money by using iChat, but first we have to persuade Putin to wear a shirt.
Lunch at the Four Seasons is always a high point. Today it's my weekly tête-à-tête with Bill O'Reilly. He's really not the Neanderthal blowhard he plays on TV. He's totally in on the joke. After a couple of cosmopolitans, he does a wicked impression of Ann Coulter. We usually spend the lunch working up outlandish things he can say about The New York Times and making fun of Fox executives. (Once Rupert Murdoch showed up for a lunch date, and O'Reilly had to hide under the table for half an hour.)
I spend most of the afternoon writing all the stories for the front page. (You knew those were all pseudonyms, right?) I write Tom Friedman's column, too, but, I swear, Bill Kristol wrote all his own stuff.
By then it's time for drinks and dinner. If you're reading this, Julian, I think the duck tonight. I had the foie gras for lunch. And no time for dessert. The Secretary of State is coming by to give me a back rub.That Bill Keller sure is one funny guy. His humor never fails to deliver a jab at the lesser people under the guise of satiric self-deprecating repartee.
Or, as Dean Baker put it, "The New York Times can't find credible columnists, so they hired Bill Keller."
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