This is not a call to digital arms. I don’t want everyone swarming Jimmy Kimmel’s Facebook and Twitter pages with angry messages. (But if you still want to hit Fallon’s for his idiotic skit, I’m all for it.)
This post is not about him…it’s about us and our role in how “gluten-free” is being perceived in the public eye.
I want you to watch the video above (or you can watch it here).
Ignore the joke about how gluten-free people are a bunch of d***wads. That refers back to an earlier joke in the show with the always funny Tom Hanks.
And ignore the joke about how he’s not even sure gluten exists. He’s just being a wise-ass, which is his brand of humor (and mine).
What I would like you to do is check out Jimmy’s face at the 19 second mark and the audience reaction when Rachael Ray (who fails in every way possible in this clip) just mentions the word “gluten”.
See Jimmy’s face? That’s a face of disgust. He’s as sick of hearing about gluten as I am.
And the audience reaction? Just the mention of the word brings laughter.
And I ask myself…why?
What is it about gluten that has turned it from a protein to a running gag?
Why am I now embarrassed to mention the word when I’m out and about?
Is it the Paltrows, Kardashians and Cyrus’ of the world who spew gluten-free-this and gluten-free-that to their bazillion followers and then of course still eat gluten? Perhaps.
Is it the Wheat Belly and South Beach Diet guys who tell everyone to stay off gluten, while they wipe their asses with hundred dollar bills? Could be.
Is it the Doctor Oz’s and all of the other media whores who keep talking about gluten because it’s the hot topic of the day and they know it’s ratings gold? Quite possibly.
Most likely it’s a mixture of these three things.
But let me bring in a fourth element.
What if it’s us? (Or if you really want to point fingers…what if it’s me??)
What if we’re one of the reasons people treat it like a joke?
Any time our disease is misrepresented in the media, the community does what they do best…they make their voices heard.
But what if all this yelling and screaming is having an adverse affect? Does this give off the impression that we’re a bunch of demanding whiners?
I see Twitter jokes all the time and if I’m in a pissed off mood, I may fire back with a sarcastic response, which of course leads to a bunch of people Twitter-bashing me. It’s quite the sad spectacle.
Should I just shut my mouth when others are making ignorant comments about our disease?
I don’t know. Like many other questions on this post, I don’t have an answer.
All I do know is that we can’t sit quietly while the rest of the world laughs at our plight. There’s a balance in there somewhere. We need to continue to educate…to create awareness…to get the absolute truth about our disease out there. But we need to do it in a way that helps our cause and not hinders it.
It sucks having our disease. I cannot emphasize that enough. And we’re up against a hell of a lot of forces. Perhaps that’s why we yell and scream.
I received an email yesterday from a woman who, after giving birth, was passing out and had stroke-like symptoms. What did her doctor do? He put in a mental hospital. She was put on Zyprexa, Lexapro and Atavan. She was taken away from her 3 kids. Once she was released, she “Googled the hell out of my life”, found a new doctor and was diagnosed with celiac. She is finally on the road to recovery.
These are the stories that need to be heard.
And when Rachael Ray, who makes a living talking about food, cracks a joke like “have another bowl of pasta” instead of taking five seconds to mention celiac disease, I realize that we need to keep doing what we’re doing.
So let the haters hate.
Let the jokesters joke.
Let the Kardashians do whatever it is they do.
We’ll just keep on keeping on folks.
Continue to be the voice of reason; the voice of passion; the voice of knowledge. And if it means a little bit of kicking and screaming, so be it.
And one day…the laughter will stop.