There Are Some Second Acts in American Lives…for Bill Keller, Anyhow



If I had LinkedIn ties to Emma and Bill Keller, I’d be sending them each congratulatory notes. Bill is now the  editor-in-chief of the Marshall Project, a start-up operation that will specialize in criminal-justice reporting. Emma, having tendered her resignation to The Guardian, has moved on to “several reporting and writing projects.”

Earlier this year, Emma Keller, writing online for the Guardian, questioned Lisa Bonchek Adams’ use of social media to publicly chronicle her  treatment for metastatic breast cancer. (The piece was subsequently withdrawn.)  Bill Keller’s NYT Op-Ed ran less than a week later and essentially portrayed Adams as a dying woman grasping at straws, suggesting her treatment equates to “endless ‘heroic measures’ that may or may not prolong life but assure the final days are clamorous, tense and painful.”

Neither  Keller apparently felt compelled to apologize or admit any culpability. They’ve both moved on to other things–“I found that I was lying awake at night thinking about how I could do this,” [Bill]  Keller said. “You always like to think that you have one or two more acts left in your life.”

When I consider the 65-year-old Keller’s decision to prolong his  career, I recall my own father’s decision to slip peacefully into retirement at age 63. Dad’s subsequent move to Florida  seemed to me a humane and honorable alternative to the frantic scramble to remain relevant and further burnish one’s professional accomplishments, activities that so often makes a misery of Monday through Friday for the cube dwellers who must support us in our dotage. . .


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4 thoughts on “There Are Some Second Acts in American Lives…for Bill Keller, Anyhow

  1. gspeers says:

    At least there are consequences!

  2. marnie53 says:

    always love your perspective… our own Andrea Rooney (aka Andy Rooney)

  3. Karuna Jaggar says:

    Very nice. You gave me a laugh and a wry smile this morning.

    Karuna Jaggar
    Executive Director
    415-243-9301, ext. 12

    Breast Cancer Action
    Challenging assumptions. Inspiring change.

    Web | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Donate

  4. Laurie says:

    Brilliantly snarky wrap-up.

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