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Quick hit: “Diabetes is hilarious*”

March 7, 2012

Another excellent post from Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist, which was just too relevant to the last one here not to boost:

Diabetes is hilarious*


That would be Type 2 specifically, though the people taking cheap shots rarely differentiate (or maybe even know there is a difference).

It’s hard to pick out a quote, because the whole thing is so spot-on, but:

Let’s break this trend down to essentials, to get a better grip on what makes things funny:

  1. Mostly fat people get diabetes (also unwhite people and poor people and old people)
  2. Classy people know that food is unhealthy (refined carbs!!)
  3. Only gross people (fat, unwhite, poor, old people) eat food
  4. Gross people are not classy (or healthy)
  5. Diabetes is nature’s punishment for being gross
    1. (And un-classy)

Put it all together and you get devastating wit.

We all know that diabetes (type 2, the yucky kind) is the world’s premier disease caused by being gross. It is also a hilarious indictment of your worthlessness as a human being.

Also, from the disclaimer section which really would not be necessary if so many people were not chock full o’ hateful ideas:

I also do not think it is coincidence that a disease highly associated with marginalized populations has suddenly become a bastion of trendy humour. Because who’s going to argue?

Erm, yeah.

There is also some excellent discussion in comments about the classism that too often gets wrapped around paleo and other lower-carb ways of eating–which, besides the disordered eating “yay! purposeful weight loss!!!” triggers, is frankly another thing that has slowed me down in shifting to ways of eating that really are easier on my glucose levels.

I guess the too-frequent racist ideas are kinda implied there, too. “New World” crops seem to get disproportionately singled out as unfit for Real Human consumption, other than in the “gluten is poison” meme. (And I have celiac.) Though it’s often hard to separate the two things, especially where, say, beans and cornbread are involved. Not to mention the classic schoolbook “trashy people giving themselves pellagra by eating corn at all” meme! I also must mention the earlier purposeful attempts at “civilizing” people back home by trying to get them to use refined wheat flour, and my Papaw’s having been ashamed to take cornbread to school. See also people trying to scapegoat frybread–which is less of a thing where I’m from, without the reservation history–some of it from internalized crap*.

Also throwing in another link to You Did NOT Eat Your Way to Diabetes. The REAL Causes.–for more actual truth.

It may be a good thing that hateful people who want to parrot this rubbish don’t tend to pay much attention to actual research, or we’d be seeing more disablist BS thrown into the oh-so-droll humor. Because tacky crazy people are also so hilarious.  I’ve been a bit surprised at the general lack of it, anyway. 😐



Secola believes that Harjo has turned frybread into a scapegoat for the larger problems afflicting reservations, such as the lack of healthful food, nutritional education and good access to health care. He also says it is unrealistic to eradicate a food that holds so much cultural power for Native Americans. The theme of his song “Frybread” is perseverance against oppression. The lyrics describe how the culinary police—Colonel Sanders, Captain Crunch, and Major Rip-Off—try to steal frybread from the people. “But they couldn’t keep the people down,” Secola sings, “because born to the people was a Frybread Messiah, who said ‘You can’t do much with sugar, flour, lard and salt. But you can add one fundamental ingredient: love.'” “Frybread” the song, like frybread the food, is about making something out of nothing.

The details may be different, but sounds all too familiar. See also ‘As Tonia Moxley half-jokingly put it, “In the Southern Appalachians, a sack of corn meal and a sack of pinto beans have sometimes been all we possess”.’ That maybe went double for Native people.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2012 7:40 am

    What’s particularly unfunny is the ads on the low budget TV stations (I’m one of those folkx who don’t get cable) targeting people who have both diabetes and Medicare. I find it very hard to believe the business model of these clown colleges doesn’t consist of at least 95% gaming the system.

    • urocyon permalink*
      March 8, 2012 5:31 pm

      I remember those a little too well. And they also struck me as more than a little fishy.

  2. PlentyOTea permalink
    March 8, 2012 2:42 pm

    On the contrary, I think New World foods will SAVE us! At least, those of us suffering from gluten and lactose intolerance. Corn is the answer 🙂

    • urocyon permalink*
      March 8, 2012 6:00 pm

      I’m handling lactose better now that some of the celiac damage has had time to heal, but it’s also been very helpful to back-engineer some dishes to get rid of the dairy and wheat that have been incorporated over the centuries. Not only useful basic foods for people with gluten and lactose problems, but whole cuisines that got by just fine without either thing. The “what can you eat?!” thing hasn’t been as much of a problem with that to work from.

      I think a lot of people are also letting the current heavy reliance on unsustainably monocropped and GMO varieties in the US overshadow the good things about corn. (Down to the line of argument I wish I’d only seen once, that since you can somehow get HFCS from it with dark industrial magic, it is maybe the worst thing you could ever eat, in its natural state. *scratches head*) Then there are potatoes, which have literally been a lifesaver and let populations grow more when introduced to areas that are too damp and cool to grow wheat and others of that complex of grains reliably; not sure I’d be dismissing that as a ball of empty starch calories. 🙂

      I just wish I could stand to eat sweet potatoes more, since they really don’t seem to send my blood sugar for such a loop. (And actually help some people’s glucose control.) The white-fleshed, less sweet, drier, more potato-textured varieties are not bad at all to my taste, but they’re harder to find. (I was going to say “in the UK”, but they’re also hard to find now unless you grow them yourself where they used to be the sweet potatoes.)

      But, supply and sustainability problems have very little to do with the crops themselves, and it seems way too easy to conflate those things.

  3. May 9, 2012 1:40 am

    Not to mention the classic schoolbook “trashy people giving themselves pellagra by eating corn at all” meme!

    What what what?? I’ve never heard that before! (I also couldn’t find it in the Google Books link you provided — the link went to a “This page is unavailable for viewing” page)

    Now, you’d probably get pellagra from eating only corn, but you’d get some disease resulting from nutritional deficiency from eating only almost any other food, too!

    (I’m from Iowa, and I like corn. :))

    • urocyon permalink*
      May 9, 2012 2:55 pm

      Annoying when Google Books does that. :/

      As I recall, the link that didn’t work went into the systemic problems that would lead to non-nixtamalized corn being such a huge component of your diet that you would even risk deficiencies from the lower bioavailability of some nutrients. You’ve got to have really bad access to foods for that to even be a problem. (Like, the same level of systemic problems that led to the Potato Famine being so devastating elsewhere.)

      But, yeah, Poor White Trash Southerners were basically so stupid that they ate their way into dying from pellagra. (Former slaves had some excuse.) The switch to cheap commercial production of corn meal by people who didn’t know about nixtamalization was never mentioned, at all, just relying heavily on corn at all as a bad thing. We actually got a lot of that kind of bias…in Virginia.

      Pretty much the same victim-blaming crap, retroactively applied: If only poor people understood nutrition!.

      • May 9, 2012 8:50 pm

        You never cease to enlarge my vocabulary. Is there a root word in there related to ‘tamale?’ The process sounds something like Dutch cocoa.

        Looks like there’s a DIY option, but look, there’s also patented technology!

  4. urocyon permalink*
    May 9, 2012 9:57 pm

    I think so, since “Nixtamal is the treated corn that is used to make masa and hominy.” (Sounds like the hominy itself, actually.) And the masa is used for tamales, too.

    It seems odd to apply the Nahuatl term to what people were doing with lye instead of lime on the other side of the continent, but hey. No idea how to say “making hominy” in the Renape that “hominy” got snagged from, but you inspired me to look up how to say it in Tsalagi. (“Gesdi yanosvsga kanohena anigvyvli. The old people are not making hominy.”) Now to get up to speed enough to find the right verb form from “yanosvsga”. 🙂

    Interesting. I hadn’t thought of the alkali-treated cocoa as similar before, but yeah.


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