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WOSSNAME SPECIAL EDITION April 2010: A New Letter from the Master

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    WOSSNAME Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion 3rd APRIL 2010 ********************************************************************* SPECIAL EDITION APRIL
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2010
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      Newsletter of the Klatchian Foreign Legion
      3rd APRIL 2010








      The WOSSNAME team offer their condolences to Sir Pterry and family
      on the death of his mother. He announced this in a new letter at
      PJSM Prints (reprinted below).

      In other news, I Shall Wear Midnight is now finished, the film of
      Going Postal will air on Sky in May 2010, and our favourite author
      is now off on a much needed and well deserved holiday.

      We wish him peace of mind and all good fortune.

      -- Steven D'Aprano, Acting Editor





      Thursday. A moment of unexpected peace and quiet which allows me to
      get on and do the mail. It's a little bit difficult to do even that.
      My mother is dead, but not yet cremated. It is an uneasy period,
      feared all down the years, with rituals to ward off evil influences
      and keep the soul of the dead safe. It is a time of loss but not
      closure, and it makes me almost genetically uneasy.

      At least the mail concentrates the mind. The mail mountain has been
      huge for years, but since the Dimbleby lecture it has become
      Himalayan in nature. A great many of the letters and e-mails from
      fans are easy to deal with; it's the new ones that summon my
      attention now, like the one here from the elderly lady who says
      "when people say that organisations for the disabled are against
      assisted suicide, who have they asked? No one has ever asked my
      opinion! Personally, I hope for a quick and painless death however
      it comes, but I think I am far too old to be dictated to."

      Next, I'm sent a URL to rant about the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP).
      The LCP is, in short, a means of allowing the dying to die in
      comfort when all medical intervention has failed. It is a tick-box
      system, perhaps rightly so, but I spend some time following the
      dreary trail of objections from those, who, I swear won't be happy
      unless we all die praying. It could be euthanasia by the back door,
      you see, or assisted dying by stealth or, for all I know a holiday
      caravan for Satan and his little imps.

      Of course, this is the Internet, and these people love the Internet
      because you don't get challenged and it doesn't matter if you make
      things up. You can scare and assert to your heart's content, without
      qualification or come back.

      To me, innocently, it seems that since it is inevitable that some
      people will die in hospital, a formalisation of the process fits
      these idiotic bureaucratic times.

      The day brightens a little with a genuine crackpot; I don't get as
      many of these as some people might think. But this one is rather
      nasty. There are about eight pages of very small writing in a tone
      that we have all come to know. In so far as it can be read, I will
      go to hell because God loves me.

      That's funny. What isn't is the fact that several times on the pages
      there is a hand drawn picture of what appears to be Jesus, not just
      crucified but eviscerated. Rob grabs it and puts it on the fire.

      And now there's another one from a former nurse who was appalled to
      see elderly ladies being force-fed in a hospice, against their
      feeble protestations. I get quite a few letters from former nurses.
      Seldom is their purpose to tell me about the wonders of care homes.

      This sort of thing is interspersed with, of course, news of snake
      oil cures for Alzheimer's, requests for signed book (the full range
      of signed Discworld paperbacks is now available HERE)[1] and
      invitations to come and talk to schools hundreds of miles away on
      the basis that it will only take half an hour of my time. It's
      standard fare.

      But here is a new one, ostensibly from a doctor, saying that doctors
      and hospitals know what they are doing and discussions for things
      like assisted dying only complicate the issue. I can't reply,
      firstly because he has wisely left of his name and address and also
      I would rather prefer that the issue remained complex.

      There are three states in the US and four countries in Europe where
      some sort of assisted dying is legal. I know something about them,
      but not enough. I intend to know a lot more. To the best of my
      knowledge the practices, in some at least, usually involve only the
      prospective patient and the medical profession. I think that a
      properly working society requires more than that and this brings me
      to another letter which various people send to me, and which leads
      me to believe that there is a kind of person who does this sort of
      thing for a hobby. Alison Davis is a lady with a number of
      debilitating conditions, all unpleasant. She has been quoted as
      saying that many years ago she was so depressed that she might have
      opted for assisted suicide had it been available, and now is glad
      she did not.

      This is regularly hurled forward as an argument against assisted
      dying, put forward by people like the Care Not Killing Alliance. In
      fact it is not an argument against assisted dying, it is an argument
      against unthoughtout and unregulated assisted death. All those I
      know who are serious about this believe that assisted dying should
      only be available to people who are of a sound mind (perhaps, at
      least, rather sounder than the author of the eviscerated Christ
      letter) and possessed of a terminal and untreatable condition.
      Therefore Ms Davis' request for an assisted death would have been
      politely but firmly rejected by the tribunal as proposed despite her
      feelings at that time. It has always been part of the thinking in
      this matter that the tribunal system would have, as an important
      part of its remit, the urging of alternatives as well as proposals
      for a cooling off period and whatever else wise people can suggest.

      You probably don't know any of this, because there is no actual
      debate on the subject given that the other side disappear into the
      distance screaming "Slippery slope! Slippery slope!" and generally
      doing their best to suggest that we might as well march the elderly
      and infirm into the gas chambers.

      My anonymous doctor, rather testily, finished "why are you getting
      involved in this? You've got, surely, enough money not to have to

      Well, I hope that's true; it certainly isn't true for everyone.
      Besides I'm not in it for that reason. I recognise the opposition.
      It's the opposition to legalise votes for women, abortion, the
      extension of the franchise and once upon a time the opposition to
      giving painkillers to women in labour, on the basis that they should
      pay for 'the sin of Eve'. Queen Victoria, famously fecund, put a
      stop to that evil stupidity. I recognise their tone of voice; it is
      the headmaster enraged because the fifth form are being cheeky.
      There is no shame because they know they are right even if, in some
      cases, they are on the right. Jeers, sneers and smears and, of
      course, repeatedly, adhominom arguments are all, therefore, fair

      In every case there was a chorus that forecast, more or less the end
      of the world. Well, here we are and if the world is ending it would
      appear to be for other reasons. People, you and me, are not trusted.
      The right doesn't like us because we don't do what we're told by our
      betters, and the left doesn't like us because it secretly thinks we
      would be on the right given half a chance and a lottery win. And
      both think we should not make our own decisions, because we might
      make the wrong ones.

      Almost every decision to take one's own life is a bad decision.

      Last night our local TV news dealt with the inquest of an elderly
      couple who, fearful of their future, had decided to take their own
      lives and meticulously gassed themselves. I suspect, given that they
      were sensible people who had clearly thought long and hard about
      their decision, no tribunal would have prevented that. Though if
      they had qualified for an assisted death under a tribunal system,
      they would not have had to resort to such desperate measures to end
      their lives.

      We are presented with a version G.K.Chesterton's game 'Fool the
      Prophet'. Governments and religions make rules that the compliant
      populous puts up with right up until they decide not to. Suicide and
      assisted dying will continue to happen no matter what opponents may
      hope and we know that by far the majority of people in this country
      are in favour of it being available in the terms I have just
      mentioned. Almost every politician pushes that fact aside. I must
      say I am rather surprised at Ann Widecombe who, I always thought had
      her head screwed on, but it turns out that it is against the thread.
      For one thing, she doesn't seem to realise that it is legal to argue
      for the legalisation of something that is currently illegal. If this
      were not the case, there would be no such thing as politics.

      Anyway, on a much lighter note and, oh boy, lighter notes are in
      short supply right now, the words "The End" have been written on I
      Shall Wear Midnight, but the last draft has been delayed, by what
      might be called the circumstances of the human condition.
      Nevertheless, we press on.

      We've been to see the full-length adaptation of Going Postal on a
      big screen at Twentieth Century Fox in London, which was excellent,
      and I have to say that the clacks is beautifully done... and
      although I promised not to give away too much, there's not long to
      wait as it will be on your screens in May, but I don't know the
      exact date yet -- maybe someone at Sky tosses a coin and makes the
      decision? Though please be aware that although we are getting a lot
      of enquiries, there will definitely not be a premiere on this
      occasion, the money is going to be spent on advertising rather than
      on booze; preferably I would have preferred the booze, but marketing
      departments prefer advertising. STOP PRESS: Sky have just sent us
      the new trailer so click HERE[2] and enjoy.

      I am also getting lots of enquiries about my sword. Well, the sword
      is finished and when we get the pedigree back from the blacksmith we
      will write about it more fully.

      More news: I was interviewed by Stephen Sackur for BBC HARDtalk. If
      you're in the UK you can catch it on the iPlayer HERE.[3]

      And I have to say that although I thought the Seamstresses pin was
      superb, the Thieves' Guild Crest is actually one of my favourites,
      especially if you were one of the lucky ones to get a glow in the
      dark variant. A nice touch.

      There'll be more from me soon, I hope, once we've navigated our
      way back down the mail mountain and returned from Cannes, where me
      and Rob are off to in a couple of weeks.

      All the best.

      (signed) Terry Pratchett

      [1] http://www.pjsmprints.com/paperbacks/index.html
      [2] http://sky1.sky.com/going-postal-about
      [3] http://tinyurl.com/ybb7ssh

      To view the original letter, with photographs, go to:



      Copyright (c) 2010 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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