A "gentle tribunal" for death cravers? A scene from Logan's Run
Why on earth would BBC News lead with a report on Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett's support for assisted suicide? Easy. To promote its Panorama show tonight whose theme is the public's warming to the idea of exterminating people past their economic usefulness, as affirmed by a "poll".
Supporters of this might want first to look into the topic of elder abuse before they get excited about Sir T's naive suggestion of "gentle tribunals" to decide who qualifies to be put out of their misery. One study suggests that 64% of elder abuse takes place in the family home - perpetrated by so-called loved ones unable or unwilling to deal with aged relatives.
I can well imagine a bunch of tearful adult kids, going on about the "loss of dignity" of a sickly aged mum or dad supposedly in their care, queuing up for a judicial release from responsibility. The scarcely researched and resourced problem of elder abuse is part of this debate.
Another atheist author who appears to support corpse tips for the clapped-out is my darling Martin Amis. I fully intend to read his new novel The Pregnant Widow. He created a stir last week with his cry against the "silver tsunami" (he means people, with grey hair, who no longer can fuck or read his books, in effect) and his call for a euthanasia "booth on every street corner where you could get a Martini and a medal."
Now he tells the Guardian he was just being "satirical". I believe him. But the damage is done. As Amis' interviewer Stephen Moss points out, on Google you'll find "137,000 items referencing Amis + euthanasia."
So please correct: Amis + euthanasia + joke. (Nonetheless Amis adds: "I stick to my basic point: you need to have a means to end your life.")