First of all, I want to preface this by saying, this is not directed towards any one individual, and while I am going to address one particularly silly situation (silly, in my opinion), I do not necessarily fail to recognize the feelings and seriousness of actual social inequity or genuine concerns for the public health. This, however, is a rant. Pure and simple. Well, probably not so simple since my brain likes to take side roads and get lost in the woods, but you get the drift. And with that said… on with the show.
At what point in time did everyone in America become so thin-skinned that every blessed thing that is said, done, or even hinted is going to cause offense?!? When did the melting pot of the world become so polarized in thoughts, ideas, and beliefs that casual communication is a constant risk of litigation?!?
I have pondered and written before about hyperbolic opinions and lack of moderation, but things seem to have gotten way out of hand. It seems like every day I hear of something else that has a group of people vaguely bonded by some single common interest getting their knickers in a wad over something that has been said on the television, radio, internet, social media, etc., and said group decides to stage a protest, start a petition, or even go so far as to file a legal complaint. Seriously? Most recently, I have heard yet another completely ridiculous social outrage battle, spawned and nurtured by social media (and other forms of media just to boost ratings, I’m sure). I’m perplexed as to why we are still giving energy and air time to the nonsense that seems to be predominantly fomented by people who are just looking for something to be upset about anyway. I shall use this most recent (to my notice) issue as the example because I am myself one of the people who would be in the group who would find the incident offensive… at least if I felt like it was worthy of my time to get offended.
So, it seems that someone, possibly in an attempt at humor, has once again made some vague mention of gluten. People were so offended by this that they have petitioned to pull commercials from the Super Bowl. This follows the trending topic of Celiac and gluten sensitivity being a figment of the imagination according to some. I’m not going to argue about this one way or another. I will only say that this is something I have been hearing and reading from various people and a whole bunch on social media. It turns out, I am one of those fantastic (as in fantasy) beings who suffers from a gastrointestinal intolerance to gluten, specifically of the wheat variety (there are other types, you know). I’ve heard the arguments. I’ve heard people say, “It is all in your imagination.” I have read an article written by an MD (who turned out to profit by genetically modified food products) who proclaimed that there was no scientific evidence for gluten sensitivity.
And… my reaction? I DON’T CARE! Seriously. I’m not sure why me, my eating habits, my colon, and other digestive organs are any business of the people who seem to be completely offended by my choice to avoid gluten. So, why do they care? ‘Tis a puzzlement; a quandary for the ages. Why do people give two rips whether I or anyone else eats gluten? Why should they care whether there is a gluten free option on a menu or in the supermarket or that said quality is labeled on those particular foods? Sounds like a personal problem to me, and I find it somewhat amusing that my digestive health is of such concern to the people that don’t have to put up with it. I know how my body responds. I know how it has responded for literally years before I removed said protein (yes, gluten is a protein) from my diet. I know how much better I feel now. It is entirely worth the small sacrifice of wheat products from my life. As for science, there is actual genetic testing to support Celiac, so… not sure how or why anyone would debate that one.
The point being, what anyone says or doesn’t say about the legitimacy and truth of my gluten sensitivity doesn’t have any impact whatsoever on whether I choose to eat it or avoid it, and it certainly does not offend me if they choose to believe that my gastrointestinal response to wheat gluten is all in my head. I doubt seriously that my choice of entrée that does not include whole wheat rolls or wheat flour pasta is going to have some sort of psychological impact on them. So, why should I allow their belief about “dietary delusions” impact my own food choices?
On the other side of the argument, however, are a lot of people who are offended by the statements and have taken up the banner in protest of people who choose to believe gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist. Why would you care what they think?!? People! Eat the way that is healthy for you. Their opinions, no matter how loudly or frequently expressed are not going to change your body’s response. Unless that someone is physically forcing whole wheat bread down your gullet, their opinion is not going to harm you. (And honestly, if someone does that sort of thing, their opinions are the least of their issues. That is a pathological somebody to force feed something to a person who could legitimately have an allergy to it. )
I guess what I am getting at is, practice a little planned ignoring people! If you don’t like the fact that my body responds very badly to ingesting wheat products, don’t eat a meal with me (though, chances are you might not even notice anything amiss if you did). If you are one of the people who suffers from intolerance to gluten or worse, Celiac, take the precautions and stay healthy. For Celiac disease sufferers, exposure is a very serious risk that can literally be deadly (bleeding internally is a potential consequence). Otherwise, lighten up everyone! Stop assuming that flippant comments about any given topic are a personal attack on you. Half the time people say over-the-top things just to get an over-the-top reaction and boost their exposure by controversy. Better yet, learn to laugh at yourselves, because point of fact, not everything is about YOU! Here endeth the rant.