A few weeks ago, I read an article about Teddy Kennedy, and the title somehow referred to his "battle with cancer" or that he had been "battling cancer." The article itself was about how he had been aware that he was dying, and he was saying goodbye to people, writing his memoir, reflecting on his life.
I wasn't seeing any "battling" in there. And that made me aware of what a cliche it is, that people who have cancer are always battling.
And then it became clear that the Onion felt the same way (Man Dies After Secret 4-Year Battle With Gorilla)
But this morning the "After Deadline" blog at the New York Times (which I follow religiously) made the same point here.
I liked the point about "women athletes," too. I will admit that I just edited part of "The Case of the Four Women" to take out a reference to a "goatee beard."