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When is the Internet going to understand that diabetes jokes are not funny?

August 20, 2014, 6:50 PM

So I was going around Reddit today, and saw this posted to the food subreddit:


Image: Imgur

The caption on the photo as posted to Reddit was, “Walked into work on my birthday to this :D“.  From what I can tell, the picture shows a round cake topped with icing and Reese’s Pieces, with Kit Kat bars for an outer border.  Then there are two small iced cupcakes to the left of the main cake, and a tray to the right of the main tray full of small iced cupcakes to the right with rainbows on them.

My first reaction was like that of many: that’s a lot of sugar.  I think that much sugar at once would give me a headache, or at least a massive buzz, before ultimately finding a nice place to live on my behind for a while.  I responded to the post, saying, “That is some serious sugar there.  Whose job was it to hold you and prevent you from bouncing off all of the walls?”

And then at the time of this writing, there were several comments making light of diabetes, including:

And then the person who originally posted responded in kind, which only encourages this sort of behavior.  They all get a downvote as far as I’m concerned.

Joking about chronic conditions is just not funny.  If you have diabetes, you have my sympathy.  I have family members who have diabetes, and a number of friends as well.  Greta #1 also had diabetes in the last year of her life, and we got to see the complications from that firsthand.  It is not a pleasant situation to be in, and one that requires careful management.  The idiots who make such jokes (and others like it) clearly have no understanding of what the disease is and how it develops, or, worse, they do understand, and choose to make the jokes anyway.  Remember that there are two types: type 1 is an inherited autoimmune disease that affects the pancreas, and has nothing to do with lifestyle.  Then type 2 is related to insulin resistance, and a number of factors can lead to it, including some that are lifestyle-related.  Therefore, it’s not a quick, easy cause to pin down.  And don’t forget: just because lifestyle plays a role in one version of the disease, that doesn’t mean that it’s fair game to make sport of.  And the idea that consuming a lot of sugar will, in and of itself, cause diabetes, is not nearly as simple as some will have you think.  The real answer is much more complicated, and oversimplifying it like that is not doing anyone any favors.

So bottom line: ditch the jokes that are making fun of diabetes or any other chronic condition.  The conditions being parodied are serious matters, and we don’t need to be perpetuating the misinformation that comes with these not-funny jokes and comments.

Categories: Reddit