Earlier this week, NBC released a series of commercials promoting their NASCAR coverage and featuring Nick Offerman, an actor in NBC's Parks & Recreation. It was a company man making a company ad for a company that propelled him to stardom; nothing unusual. However, one line in the ad, quoted below, has rattled the sensibilities of thousands.
When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there's trouble afoot.
This joke about the sudden spike of self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity has offended one man with a physician-diagnosed gastrointestinal disorder, a middle-aged white man self-styled as Gluten Dude. Mr. Dude has created a Change.org petition to block the advertisement from the airwaves, and the petition has 13,918 at the time of this publication.
But Mr. Dude is quick to remind us that this isn't about him or his commercial GlutenDude.com website. This is about the little people. Quoting the petition:
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.
Gluten Dude, who admits that GlutenDude.com is not "in the media," may have a point. Celiac Disease is an extremely serious condition that has been difficult to manage since farmers first grew cereal grains in Mesopotamia over 10,000 years ago. But you can't fault him pointing the self-diagnosed set towards as convenient a villain as NASCAR.