Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Terry Pratchett - "Shaking Hands With Death"

A week ago Sir Terry Pratchett gave the 34th Annual Dimbleby Lecture at the Royal College of Physicians, a speech entitled "Shaking Hands With Death." Following his Alzheimer's diagnosis Sir Terry has become a spokesman for Alzheimer's research, health care reform, and the Right to Die. It's hard to understate just how beloved he is, not just in the U.K. but worldwide. Over 65 million books sold. Annually at least 3% of all books sold in England, or so I've heard. A well-deserved knighthood last year. I've been a huge fan of his books for many years now, and I was immensely saddened by his diagnosis. But I was also uplifted by his response to it.

So here's the lecture, in which Pratchett discusses his disease and makes his case for the Right to Die, on his terms, at home, and with dignity. It's about an hour long. It's well worth watching. It's bittersweet. It's actually mostly read by Tony Robinson, forever 'Baldrick' of Blackadder fame, due to Sir Terry's condition. And he does a bang-up job.

If you haven't got an hour, no problem, the text of the lecture is here.


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