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Lymphoma and Pets
The Suzanne Somers Vanity Calamity, part 5: Conclusion
Suzanne Somers is driven by a colossal vanity.
I know this because she's trying so hard to prove it. In the process of pitching every anti-aging protocol she can get her hands on, she has become a most public and embarrassing casualty of the image-conscious MTV age. That she's so willing and anxious to push these unproven protocols on her readers and on the viewers of shows from Oprah to Good Morning America makes Somers and her desperate vanity a growing public health calamity.
What's troubling is her willingness, as a celebrity, to endorse products—in this case, protocols to treat life-threatening diseases such as cancer—without having tried them herself. She might have more real-world credibility if she undertook even one of these anti-cancer treatments and, Thighmaster-style, showcased its efficacy.
My guess is, she's betting she'll never have to.
In his best-selling book How We Die Sherwin Nuland notes, tongue in cheek, that because death certificates require a specified cause of death, "it is illegal to die of old age." Somers seems to be taking Nuland at his word, adopting the following operational syllogism that underlies all her commercial ventures:
"It is illegal to die of old age.
I will never grow old.
Therefore I will never die."
In 2005, Somers' one-woman Broadway show "The Blonde in the Thunderbird" was a barefaced decree that she wasn't—that she couldn't possibly be—as old as the calendar claims she was. When it met with negative reviews and was cancelled after a week, Somers had the gall to compare the experience of earning poor reviews to the mortifying indignities endured by prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
That is epic vanity. And she flings it without restraint; for when cancer patients begin to flock to her list of quacks for treatment and the treatments fail, will Somers be held accountable?
Nope. And that turns her enormous vanity into something far less personal, far more dangerous; a collective public calamity.