Inured To Pain

Inured To Pain


Leonard Zwelling

It’s not remotely comparable, but the dynamic is the same.

In this opinion piece in The New York Times print edition on December 28, Chinese, now American student, Jiana Qian, describes the “no pain, no gain” attitude the pervades China and has been a staple of Chinese culture for decades. To sum it up, life is hard so suck it up. That’s pretty much how China has operated since the Japanese occupation in the 1930s, through the revolution in 1949 and on to the present day of Zero Covid lockdowns. It’s just as the protagonist in the House of God says. “They can always hurt you more.” The author of this essay questions whether this is the fate of China forever or will the younger generation finally break free of this masochism now that they have seen the rest of the world on the Internet?

I wonder myself how long groups of people will long endure awful conditions before finally saying enough is enough.

Last November, the American people sent Donald Trump a final message. We don’t want you. Even those who liked his policies had had enough of him and those who would follow in his footsteps. America has put Trump in the rearview mirror. Whether that is true for Trumpism as well remains to be seen.

When is the faculty of MD Anderson going to wake up?

The autocracy of “professionalism” and “diversity” for its own sake needs to come to an end as does the current administration of leadership mediocrity and DePinho holdovers who have overstayed their welcomes.

There seems to be a streak of Chinese tolerance for unpleasantness embodied in the faculty of MD Anderson that seems unable and unwilling to once and for all say to the leadership enough of firing good people for poor reasons, and enough of endless training from HR, and enough of “One MD Anderson” equating the faculty with the classified staff. MD Anderson is in great danger, if it isn’t already there, of regressing to the mean of academic cancer centers and being not at all distinguishable from the cancer center at Kelsey Seybold.

When will the faculty simply say we will not move forward another step until we get our dining room, you stop tormenting us with endless training sessions the only purpose of which is to insure the institution does not get blamed if misbehavior is charged, or you stop removing our colleagues for what you believe to be infractions of your phony professionalism nonsense.

Finally, when will MD Anderson again get a president worthy of the title and worthy of being a legacy to Clark and LeMaistre?

The jury is in with regard to both the DePinho and Pisters administrations. They are failures. One is gone. It’s time for the next to follow and then have the Board of Regents do a real search for a true physician-scientist with oncology credentials, capable of leading a great cancer center by hiring great subordinates and setting a five-year strategy that advances the fight to alter the natural history of malignant diseases. This is simply not the case at MD Anderson now.

Given that the powers in Austin were able to remove Dr. DePinho for flawed ethics and true unprofessional behavior, surely, they can remove Dr. Pisters for non-performance at all.

Academics are notorious for putting up with quite a lot. I have learned in this essay by Qian, so are the Chinese. It should be the case with neither, but it so often is under autocratic leadership. It is time to for new leadership and governance in China and time for the same at 1515 Holcombe.

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