Something Stinks

by Leighann on November 7, 2010

An onion has many layers, but let’s face it, this Onion just stinks.

The Onion, which is known for it’s satire, has crossed the line. A November 5, 2010 post filed under their sports section, is meant to make fun of Jay Cutler, but instead adds insult to injury.

Quoted from The Onion:

Group Of Kids With Diabetes All Die One Day After Visit From Jay Cutler

“Less than 24 hours after a visit from Bears quarterback and Type 1 diabetes sufferer Jay Cutler, a group of 32 schoolchildren who shared his disease died Tuesday.”

The author obviously does not have a child with diabetes. Does not fret every minute of the day that their child is safe.

The author doesn’t have a moment each morning that their child with diabetes sleeps a few minutes extra that the reason they haven’t awoken is because they can’t.

Seriously. Is there a parent of a child with diabetes that hasn’t thought at least once: “God, I hope my child is still alive.”

I feel The Onion needs not only to take down this post immediately, but also needs to issue an apology for the insensitivity.

I blame the writer. I blame the editor who allowed it to stand. And I blame the company as a whole for going where us parents never want to go: seeing a child with diabetes die for no apparent reason.

I did not see a place to comment on the post, but please let The Onion know that you are outraged by e-mailing (editorial@theonion.com) or tweeting (@TheOnion).

I hate to give them page hits, but to read the entire ridiculous article, I’m afraid you’ll have to click over as I respect their copyright and won’t reprint the entire article.

As parents of children with diabetes, should we be offended and outraged by this? Or should we “learn to take a joke” as some people might say?

NaBloPoMo 2010Read all of my NaBloPoMo 2010 posts.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Naomi November 7, 2010 at 11:39 am

I may not be a parent but I myself worry about these things day to day. If I go to bed with a blood sugar of 300+ I wonder if I will be waking up in the morning. If I’m out with friends I wonder what would happen if I went low and didn’t feel it: Would they know what to do? Would the EMT’s get there in time? This is not something I, nor parents or anyone with diabetes, should have to worry about and it sickens me that they can just poke fun at it.

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2 Gayle Carrington November 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

We should not learn to take a joke. This is not a joking matter. And like you I am highly offended by this idiot’s remarks. This person is ignorant and should be required to spend a day with a diabetic child and their family. I have not had a full night’s sleep in 6 years since diagnosis due to worrying constantly about his sugar numbers. This person owes our kids an apology and a retraction of their article.

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3 Monique November 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm

There is nothing funny about that. No one should be making jokes about any child with a life-threatening disease “just dying.” It is heartless, cruel, and just plain in bad taste. Very badly done, Onion.

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4 Beth November 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm

No, we should not have to “learn to take a joke”. at least 4 children have died this past year in the support community I belong to. There is nothing worth laughing at in that.

A copy of letter to editor:

To whom it may concern-

I generally find items in the Onion to be humorous if not downright hilarious at time, but for once I’m horrified. I realize that the story of Jay Cutler giving diabetes to a bunch of children may come across to some as funny, but it’s rude, and down right ignorant.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto immune disease. You cannot get it from sharing needles, you cannot get it from eating too much junk food. You can not prevent it by eating a perfect diet and exercising. It is a life threatening disease that we battle constantly.

My son was diagnosed at the age of 4. I was lucky, I caught it early. Some children are not diagnosed until the are literally at death’s door.Some families battle the disease for years, and then one day find their battle is over, that their loved one went to sleep and will never wake again. Do you find that humorous?

Parents of Children with diabetes live in a state of constant vigilance. We monitor our children’s blood sugars constantly, many children enduring 12 or more finger sticks a day, and as many as 6 or more injections of insulin a day. Does that sound like fun?

Type 1′s can not pop a pill and make things better. They must test blood glucose, count the carbohydrates of every thing they eat in order to calculate how much insulin they need to manage a meal. When a person’s glucose is high it can make them irritable, moody, temperamental and just plain feel horrible. If Blood sugars go to low it can cause drunk-like behavior, slurred speech, blurred vision, lethargy, seizures, coma and death. Does this really sound satire worthy?

I find most of you satires have at least some facts to them, however this one was miles off base.

On behalf of myself and the millions of other families in the world who fight diabetes daily, we respectfully request the removal of the Jay Cutler item, and an article clarifying information about diabetes. It’s not a disease to laugh at.

Sincerely-

Mother of a Type 1 diabetic, living almost 4 years with disease

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5 Linda December 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Very well stated Beth!

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6 michelle November 7, 2010 at 3:26 pm

…I noticed 4,000 people “liked” it on Facebook. Not sure what there was to like; even if it wasn’t offending the D-community, it’s still not even funny.

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7 Joanne November 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I don’t even understand how the writer would think that’s at all funny. Hopefully someone with a brain at the Onion will listen… let us know if you hear anything.

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8 Kris Dickinson November 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

“After I recovered from my shock, I was surprised that all the children died, seeing as diabetes isn’t terminal and can be controlled with medication” “Since his professional football career began in 2006, Cutler has killed more than 3,000 disabled or sick children by taking time to speak to them. ” These are 2 of the most disgusting comments Ive ever heard!! I want to email that editor and I will but not now. I think Id have too many vile things to say to him. UGGGHHH!!!

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9 Deanna November 7, 2010 at 5:30 pm

I can take a joke, but this just isn’t funny. The only thing I see in this article is the writer letting his ignorance show. My son was only recently diagnosed this past summer, but it surely hasn’t taken long to see that some people just don’t get it and this guy takes the cake.

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10 Renata November 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Thank you for stepping up to write. I am trying to get up my nerve to read the article. K2 hit it on the head for us parents, most of us are fricken exhausted from getting up every damn night to make sure our kids are safe. The 24/7 worry is sickening however necessary. That is what keeps our kids going and looking “normal”.

If you find the right place to post our letters, please let me know.

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11 Monique November 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm

@Anon Coward. Please accept my heart-felt invitation for you to come and spend one week living with my family. I will give you the 2-hour crash course in diabetes management that my husband and I recieved in the hospital after our son was diagnosed, and then you will be left completely in charge, on your own with mininal support, to keep my 9-year old son alive and free from complications for the rest of the week (believe me, my husband and I could use a dependable kid-sitter who is competent to care for all three of our boys…and, of course, I’ll be watching over your shoulder the entire time). For just ONE week. Out of the HUNDREDS of weeks that we have and will be doing the same for our son. YOU wake up at 3:00 am out of a dead sleep worrying that you might not have gotten his bedtime calculation correct. YOU shuffle down the hall to check on him in his sleep, to be sure he’s still breathing and alive. YOU try to do a finger-prick test without waking him up, knowing that there are just too many factors involved to be sure he’s going to make it through the night, and just have to be sure he’s not crashing. YOU try to explain EVERY DAY why he has to stab himself 10 times every day just to stay alive and healthy. Every day, indefinitely. Because there is no cure.

After one whole week of this, knowing that our family lives with this every day and every night and will continue to do so until a cure is available, THEN we’ll talk about how “funny” this article is and how it has not “crossed the line.”

(Monique left details here, but I as the blog owner removed them so that crazy spammers don’t take advantage of her personal information.) And, there’s nothing “anonymous” about my life caring for a child with Type 1 Diabetes. If you’re up for it, and truly certain that The Onion has not crossed the line, then I’ll have the guest room ready for you when you show up on our doorstep. Despite the pain this article has caused me and many of the people I hold dear, you will be welcomed and treated with the utmost respect and affection for as long as you show the same to us.

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12 k2 November 7, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Really well done post! I’m all for joking about living with diabetes – after all, it’s how I’ve gotten through the last 33 years as a type 1 diabetic!
And I’d I’ve read The Onion for a long time, but this post crossed a line and really hurt so many people in the process – it was wrong on every level.
I want a retraction and apology, like NOW!
k2

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13 Sara November 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm

The kids did not die of diabetes, they died because Cutler was boring or a bad speaker or quarterback or whatever. They aren’t mocking diabetes, they are mocking Cutler.

It is hypocritical that we are all fired up now, but didn’t care when The Onion was making fun of any other marginalized group.

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14 Monique November 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Children suffering from a life-threatening disease dying, not from their disease, but from boredom? Really? That’s supposed to be funny?

Whether or not Cutler is “boring” in his presentations, if he is reaching out to kids who feel isolated by living with this disease every day, then that effort should be supported, not mocked.

I don’t read The Onion regularly, so can’t really comment on their usual articles and how they may have targeted other “marginalized” groups. But I have heard from numerous friends who do read The Onion regularly, who will no longer be doing so because they understand exactly how tasteless, heartless and offensive the article is.

For any parent, joking about children dying is really not something to laugh about. For a parent caring for a child with a life-threatening disease, it’s just not funny. Not even remotely. Period.

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15 Michael Hoskins November 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I’m somewhat torn on this, because I fully see Sara’s point completely but am also still reeling from the loss of those dearly-loved members of the DOC. Maybe more background and context would help me understand the point of this Onion satire more… They aren’t saying the kids died from diabetes, which would put it differently. If that’s the case, we can’t ever joke about anyone dying at the risk of it offending that segment of the population affected. Would we look at this differently it was just “non-D kids” who died when Cutler entered the room to talk? If so, why? What does that say about us? Granted, I’ve never been a parent of a CWD – only someone who’s dealt with my own share of D-Life experiences for the past 26 yrs since age 5. Maybe that personal parental perspective would put this in a different light for me. This article enrages me for the fact that it smacks those I cherish and hold so close to my heart… but personally, I don’t feel attacked by it. That feels weird in a sense. Am I off here? As far as taking the time to express your opinions on this, PLEASE do that. It’s NEVER a waste of time to voice your opinion on something, whether it’s the mainstream or majority opinion or not.

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16 Monique November 7, 2010 at 9:19 pm

With all humility and respect…children dying…should that ever be a source of humor within a humane society? If anyone can provide ONE example of children dying to get a laugh which I found even remotely humorous, I would re-examine my position. Until then, this is not funny, and the writer and editors should be told so.

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