The Angry Type 2 Diabetic: Diabetic Joke Fail?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Diabetic Joke Fail?

I'm a little conflicted, lately.

I have a pretty good sense of humor, if I do say so myself. (You have to have a sense of humor to call yourself "The Angry Type 2 Diabetic" and still be able to handle every preachy a-hole out there thinking you're just bitter about your diabetes, and needing to get some anger management classes...) 

But... what exactly is OKAY as a diabetes joke? I find myself... somewhat at odds.

Let's see... at the "feather weight" level of jokes are references to the things we do every day, and that's awesome. I think it definitely HELPS heaps when people can sort of join in with us on how we see the world... Whether it's our struggles, or just things that make us go "hmmm..."

Then there are expressions, or tattoos that might encourage some mild debate... like "Sugar Free," and that can be okay, as well. This tattoo picture has provoked some argument and discussion in my Facebook diabetes group, and folks have gotten a chance to weigh in on the irony/misconception/message, however one might see it.

I kind of actually see it... as a way to tell 'The Sugar,' aka Diabetes, that I am not its slave. (Lots of people HATE IT when diabetes is called "The Sugar," by the way. Don't be surprised if when you call it as such, objects go flying in your direction.)

Now, a while back, the satirical, fake news publication, "The Onion," made an article making fun of Jay Cutler, a football athlete with Type 1 Diabetes... Lots of folks interpreted the article as though it was outright making fun of Type 1 Diabetes, when in fact, it seems they were really just trying to call Cutler a whiny bore... albeit, in a poorly thought out manner. They could have just referenced regular kids, NEVER mentioning diabetes at all, and still gotten the point across. (Me thinks those people, funny as they are sometimes, need a needle jab or two on the behind.) Clearly, this kind of humor is unacceptable... or is it? Is there a point when we can divorce our fears of losing our loved ones, or our own lives, so we can laugh at a joke? Yeah, on paper, this all seems good and well... in reality, I'm gonna tell you to go f off with that joke. lol

Then there's jokes where people laugh... uncomfortably so. Like these ones... Or the ones where people joke about "falling limbs" from eating too much candy.  These types of jokes get most diabetics riled up... because they showcase a terrible misconception that we can't have sugar, or candy, or worse... that we're all just going to lose life and limbs from even having as much as one bar too many. You'll find most diabetics standing up against these types of jokes, and I admit, they make me pretty crabby...

There's also the "well intentioned" (or so I try to tell myself), yet still incredibly ignorant person who'll reply something along the lines of "Oh, that's just Type 2 Diabetes... There's two kinds, you know." I think THAT makes me angrier than the joke itself, really. How is correcting one stereotype, by feeding another, suddenly acceptable in any way?

Then there's the McDonald's jokes... I'm sorry... but if you can't laugh at a candy bar joke, I'm not going to laugh at a Diabetes/McDonald's joke.

So... did all of us who got Type 2 Diabetes go pig out at McDonald's or something? Really? Or, are we trying to say anyone who eats at McDonald's is going to get Diabetes? Do we want to do that to Type 2 Diabetics... by spreading the myth that pigging out at some favorite fast food place is just going to give someone Type 2 Diabetes eventually or automatically, somehow? Never mind that out of those 300 million people, only 8.3% have diabetes (including ALL types of diabetes, and the undiagnosed)? Never mind that there are MYRIADS of ways to get Type 2 Diabetes, though the media will not cover ANY of them?  

Obesity does NOT cause Diabetes. Lots of fat people are going to live long, and full lives, without so much as ever having to prick their fingers... They will NEVER get diabetes. Stop drinking the media Kool-Aid and trying to make yourself feel better by making fun of MY diabetes. 

Was I supposed to laugh? *MY* bad.


  1. The irresponsible media, who should, as professionals, check their facts, do irritate me, but when T1's start in on the same misplaced, unfunny ragging, it really makes me mad. They should walk a mile in someone else's shoes before they make such judgments.

  2. For real, people with diabetes think they gave it to themselves via fast food or one to many mini snickers bar. Then they are so down on themselves because of society's stigmas and ignorance and stereo typing. Cattle! Look away from the herd.

  3. Ironically, yet sometimes when "we" make these same jokes - i.e. "I'm going to lose a leg from all that sugar" - can be funny when said sarcastically.

  4. Two diabetics are in Vegas for some blackjack. (Think "Rain Man.")

    "Whatcha doin' here, hon?" asks a friendly bar girl.

    One diabetic replies, "Countin' carbs, countin' carbs."

  5. It's relatively well known that there's a strong link between poor diets or lifestyles and type 2 diabetes. This doesn't mean everyone who eats poorly will get T2D nor does it mean healthy people are immune. Either way it's a joke.

    1. Actually, no. There is a relatively well known link between genetic predisposition + excess weight, and type 2 diabetes. While poor diet and lifestyle may lead to excess weight -- poor diet and lifestyle in itself does NOT cause type 2 diabetes, nor does it trigger it. This is a myth.

      Either way, jokes hurt people who have chronic illness. They create dismissive attitudes among the population toward the hurts and challenges of others, eroding away at the empathy needed to create awareness, raise funds for a cure, or keep tools and programs available, etc. In short, you should have read the blog.