Some of you may know David Weinlick, especially if you are active in politics in the Twin Cities, or associated with the University of Minnesota. He is well known around these parts for his political activism and important role in the DFL (that’s how Minnesotans spell “Democratic Party”). He was the Party Affairs Director for the Minnesota DFL until 2014, and until recently the Vice Chair of the Fourth Congressional District for the Minnesota DFL.
If that does not ring a bell, this might: David Weinlick essentially invented a new kind of TV (now known as reality TV) when he asked his friends to choose a marriage parter for him. That project developed into a major contest culminating with their marriage at the Mall of America.
Most people, when they hear that story, have a negative, sometimes even angry reaction or at least, are dismissive of it. That is, however, an ignorant reaction since most people don’t know the people involved, why any of this happened, or how it happened.
Dave was a graduate student in my department at the time. He was a cultural anthropology student, and I was a professor in paleoanthropology at a department with inexplicably deep divisions between the disciplines, so naturally we didn’t know each other particularly well. The experiment that David carried out was a bold one, and an interesting one, and was, as I understand it, predicated on the premise that people are not necessarily that good at finding long term mates in the usual ways open to them in American society. The hope was that a more thoughtful process (carried out by friends, many of whom were anthropologists, who should know a thing or two) could produce better results than, say, the bar scene, or the then nascent online dating systems, etc.
And it worked. Elizabeth and David Weinlick had a happy and long lasting marriage, children, all of that.
That is all the good news. The bad news is that David has of late been struggling with illness, and currently has Stage 4 colon, liver, and abdomen cancer. He is nearing the end of his life, but his life can be extended meaningfully with further treatment. I observed my mother-in-law die of this disease recently. She had health problems aside from the cancer, so when that last possible round of chemotherapy was considered, she was told that the treatment would be more deadly for her than the cancer, and she was sent home. She died weeks later. My understanding is that David is in that stage of his disease, but he is much younger and much stronger, not plagued by other complicating diseases, so his life can be extended from a few months without treatment to three to four years with treatment, based on current estimates from his doctors.
There is a Go Fund Me page set up for David, here.
Even with relatively good health insurance, Dave, his wife Bethy, and their four children are going to face some real hardships in the coming months. We don’t want finances to add pressure to their decisions about his treatment or about how they spend their time together.
Dave’s given a lot of himself, sharing his time and energy and relentless optimism, and it’s time for us to give back. Please contribute what you can to ease the Weinlick family’s burden during this difficult time.
Please drop by his page and fork over a few bucks!