NBC just put out a brilliant ad for NASCAR that is the perfect ultra-'Murican celebration of everything hilarious and rad about the sport. However, the Internet Offense Squad got so up in arms about the ad's line about gluten that they're now petitioning for its removal.
The ad decries the wussification of America, stating proudly: "When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there's trouble afoot."
Celiac disease, where a person's digestive tract has a serious reaction to gliadin (a specific type of gluten protein), is a serious condition. However, the worst foe that celiacs face isn't the greatest ad ever made for a motor racing series. Celiacs' biggest enemy is that the diet required to manage their condition has been adopted by trendy dingbats who can't even explain what gluten is:
This is why "gluten free" gets mocked. This is why people giggle at the "serious threat" of gluten. These people right here.
Sure, gluten as the enemy of perfectly healthy dingalings everywhere has brought a variety of delicious gluten-free foods to the market, allowing celiacs to enjoy pizza, sammiches and muffins like the rest of us. But let's be honest, this NASCAR ad was not making fun of you, sufferers of a legitimate medical condition. It's for the chick who's avoiding a substance she knows nothing about because "it makes you fat."
Oh, no. Lest we realize that the irrational fear of big, bad gluten is something to be mocked, a fellow using the handle "Gluten Dude" has called for NBC to remove the ad via online petition. <sarcasm> Because, y'know, online petitions have an excellent track record for getting things done. </sarcasm>
The petition reads:
NBC is running a Super Bowl ad that makes fun of those who are gluten-free. It implies that we're soft...we're weak...we're part of America's problem. When all we're trying to do is manage our disease. Celiac can be a true pain. The media is not helping and this petition is get NBC to see the light of day.
I think about all of the gluten-free children getting bullied for being "different", when all they want to do is feel better and fit in. I think about all of the people who have gotten sick at restaurants because the kitchen and/or the staff do not take us seriously. I think about all of those walking around undiagnosed and suffering because they only listen to what is in the media. I think about all of the people in the past who have died prematurely when going gluten-free MAY have been their saving grace.
This petition is for them.
I'm sure that pointing out the true butt of this joke (read: not anyone with a legitimate medical condition) will add me to the list of "bullies," but c'mon, lighten up. I get more crap for not eating bacon (out of choice; it tastes gross) than I've ever seen a celiac get over ordering gluten-free menu items. The fact that either of us get any grief shows that food snobbery isn't an issue limited to celiacs. Furthermore, anyone making fun of a real, problematic health condition needs to eat turds. You eat what you want (or need to), and screw the haters. You go Gluten Coco, you go.
While bullying and lack of respect are serious problems, I don't think they're going to change the minds of the legitimately insensitive by yanking an ad for poking fun at a now-trendy diet. If anything, making a big stink when you're not the actual target of derision probably sets celiac awareness back a couple notches.
Naturally, Gluten Dude links to his own post on the matter from the site because why miss out on a good opportunity for cross-promotion? In it, he actually has the nads to argue "No, no! Petitions are super effective!" using the puppy ad that was even in too poor a taste for GoDaddy to run as the example. Sorry, I think there was a lot of pressure elsewhere to yank that one, too, both in social media as well as offline. Most petitions online go straight in the e-roundfile.
Maybe it's because I have a sense of humor, but nowhere in the ad am I picking up that not eating gluten for legitimate medical reasons is a sign of personal weakness. What I got from it is "trend diets are silly," and if you're more concerned with an invisible threat to your waistline than you are having a good ol' afternoon watching cars go 'round in circles, I'm afraid I can't help you.
[H/T For Sweden]