One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Making fun of people who die from peanut allergies

At the risk of being accused of taking himself too seriously, a scientist who has first-hand experience of the kind of reactions that food allergies can cause rips LA Times satirist Joel Stein a new one:

peanutsContrary to what Times columnist Joel Stein wrote in his Jan. 9 Op-Ed column, “Nut allergies — a Yuppie invention,” anaphylaxis is not brought on by the need for attention by “a parent who needs to feel special.” Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that can be caused by exposure to minuscule quantities of nuts or other food allergens and may even cause death.


Even more disturbing is Stein’s assertion — without a shred of evidence to support it — that “peanut allergies are only an issue in rich, leftist communities.” Perhaps he should speak to the parents of one of my former patients, an African American child from an inner-city area who died of a peanut reaction, to understand just how inaccurate and even hurtful that comment might be.

I really can’t believe the Times even printed Stein’s column.  I’m sure it was funny enough in a haha-laugh-at-those-people-who-can’t-gorge-on-peanuts kind of way, but that is a very disturbing and stupid kind of humor.  I sit on airplanes sometimes and, with the collective crinkling of passengers opening their little bags of peanuts like lemmings, smell the distinctive peanut aroma, and shudder to think of how someone allergic to peanuts would react to such an unavoidable olfactory assault at 4,000 feet.

(image from flickr user thousandshipz under a Creative Commons license)

January 15, 2009 - Posted by | Humor | , ,

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