Diabetes misinformation in comics

16 01 2009

I don’t know how many of you read xkcd, but it’s a really great math/geek/romance/stick figure comic (yes, you read that correctly).  Today’s comic mentions diabetes, so I took extra notice.

(make sure to click through the image to see the comic page, and then mouse-over to read the alt-text)

As you probably guessed, I got a little miffed.  Yet another inaccurate portrayal of diabetes.  /sigh

There are forum threads dedicated for each comic, so I went there (login not required to view) to inform other readers that this isn’t how it works at all.  But, it seems that others had beat me to it.

I am glad that people jumped on the fact that Type 1 and Type 2 are different diseases and the comic is not an accurate portrayal of either.  Unfortunately, most people don’t bother to read the forums, so all they would see is the misinformation in the comic itself.

However, I think we can all understand that the comic is more about Jurassic Park and parenting than it is about diabetes.

P.S.  For more information about my serious lack of posting, see my general blog post here.

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4 responses

16 01 2009
Hannah

I love xkcd. LOVE it. I’m sure he meant no harm, and knowing that the author is a smart, science-minded guy, I’m sure he means the diabetes community no harm. I hope people aren’t jumping all over him too badly.

People who have no real experience with diabetes are generally the ones who feed the misconceptions.

And for the record, if anyone is REALLY offended by this comic, this is also a webcomic that is sponsoring “Velociraptor Awareness Day” in April. That’s how seriously you should take it. 😉

16 01 2009
aj

I think that the joke could be funny, but the diabetes misinformation just muddies the waters. It just doesn’t work for me, at least, having Type I and being smart about my disease. I wasn’t as much offended by this as I was confused by it because the misinformation got in the way of the joke.

The smart, science-minded guy should try again. It doesn’t hit its intended mark. Good comics get the fundamentals right and then springboard from there into the comic realm.

7 10 2009
Bastage

Well, since the misconception in the comic is common, it actually makes perfect sense. They never say the kid actually gets diabetes, just that the parents think it will work. Not everyone knows God just uses it to punish sinners.

16 02 2011
erins2009

I think it’s kind of funny that people sometimes don’t know that type 1 and 2 are different. My friend has type 2, and when she explained it to someone, they were like “oh, so it’s not the serious type.” I think even though diabetes preventioncentres more around type 2 with the obesity epidemic, type 1 is still more well known.

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