Monday, 10 February 2014I consider myself to be a fairly well read and educated person. I'm also surrounded by a lot of very well educated, well informed and well read people an awful lot of the time. Sometimes it seems that however well educated and well informed a person is, you can still find things that surprise you.
Case in point - I read A Christmas Carol when I around twelve years old, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As adaptations of the book go, I maintain that The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the best, even though I'm thoroughly aware it makes plenty of changes - it feels the most faithful to the book's spirit. No pun intended.
Just before Christmas I found myself having a discussion about A Christmas Carol, and more specifically The Muppet Christmas Carol with some friends. Someone admitted that because they love the Muppets version so much they sometimes forget that in the original there is only the one Marley brother. Which made me stop and think, then I realised that I had done the same thing myself more than once. How about that, when I'm actually well noted amongst people who know me as having a ridiculous memory for facts of this kind?
Between us we decided that because the Muppets version was one of the most loved, and most watched adaptation, it was often what people came to know first, so no wonder they're surprised when they go back to the source material and see that something's a bit different.
Now, as amazing as the Muppets are, you might wonder why I'm talking about this. I have a point.
This has been floating around Facebook again today. I've seen it before, and no doubt I will see it again. I know it's not just been on my newsfeed as well, as I've seen various members of the DOC addressing it.
'It's just a joke!' I've seen people saying. 'You're reading too much into it', when I point out that I find it offensive.
I have a sense of humour. A good one. I know people often say that when they're trying to defend the fact that they don't get jokes. I get it. I get what you think is funny about this, but I'm sorry, it's just not.
This is exactly the sort of misinformed 'humour' that perpetuates myths about diabetes as whole, regardless of whether it's Type 1 or Type 2. There is so much ignorance and misinformation about there about what diabetes is, cause and treatment that does anyone think that 'jokes' like this are really helping anyone?
Like with my point about A Christmas Carol, if a person's first point of contact with any sort of information is incorrect, and they then hear that repeated over and over, what do you think they'll believe? You only need to do a quick flick through your television, or a quick search on Youtube to see people making these sorts of 'jokes' again and again and again (and again and again - I could go on). It becomes mainstream. And no matter what you think, it still seems as though blaming anyone with diabetes for their condition is still an acceptable target. Couple that with the often downright dreadful portrayal of diabetes as a whole in fiction, and the blunders and idiocy of mainstream journalism, is it becoming clear now why I, and many others don't find this sort of joke funny?
Would you make this joke if it was something that impacted you or someone you love? What if it was about something that you cared passionately about people understanding and getting right in their heads?
When I saw this appear on Facebook today, I took to explaining to a few people exactly why I don't like it. And to their credit, they seem to have listened to me, so this is not me 'having a go' at them. Really, it's not. They're my friends and I love them. But things like this, for all the reasons I've just said, make me sad. They make me angry and tired and just want to sigh. Some days I just don't have the energy to fight these battles. So maybe you'll excuse me when seeing multiple people 'like' this picture on Facebook upsets me. Maybe you'll forgive me if I don't see the funny side.