There has been an ugly and sad pile-on by two people who ought to know better and a young woman fighting against cancer. It started — as these things can — in the blogosphere, where Lisa Bonchek Adams, mother of three and terminal cancer patient, has been chronicling her battles in sometimes raw detail.

Her tweets are full of pain, literal and emotional. Apparently, her revelations have proved too much for journalists Emma Gilbey Keller and Bill Keller. In a post on, Ms. Keller suggested that Adams has gone over the line.

“Should there be boundaries in this kind of experience?” Keller wrote. “Is there such a thing as TMI? Are her tweets a grim equivalent of deathbed selfies?”

For starters — before we get to the heart of the thing — do you really want to be hip and clever by tossing around the word “selfie” when talking about someone dying? Death, after all, can be pretty personal.

Then her husband, Bill Keller, former executive editor of the New York Times, weighed in on the Op-Ed page of his paper, perhaps coming to his wife’s defense. He contrasts Adams’ adamant and self-revelatory fight with his father-in-law’s calm death from cancer in a British hospital.” That, said Keller, was a “humane and honorable alternative to the frantic medical trench warfare that often makes an expensive misery of death in America.”