Ok before we begin we are about to make a reference to a very old TV show Lost in Space, which like everything else these days has been remade, so for all the millennials out in our wacky world who have never heard of Lost in Space or TV for that matter get ready to Google or hit YouTube.
Now for those who remember Lost in Space and actually watched this show on an old-fashioned TV and never heard of streaming one of our favorite scenes came when the robot warned Will Robinson of impending danger. In a somewhat hilarious fashion the robot would wave his robot arms up and down yelling Danger Will Robinson. Again for all the millennials check this out on YouTube or better yet ask your parents if they remember it as fondly as we do. Come to think it better to YouTube as your parents will likely wax poetic about the past and how things have not necessarily changed for the better. But we digress, well somewhat.
What prompted our trip down memory lane none other than a post from our friends the West Coast Mafia and this one from the Godfather of the Mafia diaTribe. While surfing Twitter under #ADA2019 we came across an article entitled “Language Matters at Diabetes Conferences” penned by Renza Sciblilia and Chris “The Grumpy Pumper” Aldred. Near as we can tell the piece was originally published back in October of 2018 but is resurfacing as the wacky world begins their pilgrimage to that beautiful city by the bay for our annual confab.
It seems the minions at diaTribe are an enlightened bunch who believe how something is said is more important than what actually is said. Per the post;
“How we talk about diabetes matters; using empowering, non-stigmatizing words is important when speaking with and about people with diabetes”
The post goes onto state;
“At conferences, let’s change thinking for the better by encouraging presenters to align the language they use in their materials with language position statements. For instance, “diabetes-related eye conditions” is preferred over “diabetic eyes.” We already see this happen sporadically, but we want to see these statements as a standard inclusion in speaker information packs. There is much more to a person than his or her diabetes – mindful language is a simple shift that can be powerful in reducing stigma and negativity.”
While Diabetic Investor will be covering the conference and reporting on what was said, the facts it seems diaTribe will be reporting on how it was said. Now we realize that the facts aren’t that important to the West Coast Mafia a rambunctious, passionate bunch who are clueless about how things work in the real world, they are pretty important to our minions who understand that diabetes is a business.
Listen all of us with diabetes have run into someone who uses what diaTribe would classify as insensitive language. Our personal favorite and there are many examples came back when my wife and I were in Houston for an AACE conference. During a cab ride and yes this back before there was Uber or Lyft our driver asked if we were in town for the conference as he too had diabetes. When I explained that I was using an insulin pump he stated; “Oh you have bad diabetes.” Deb and I laughed as we didn’t realize there was a good diabetes.
Yet what makes the diaTribe belief laughable is this conference is not attended by regular folk who live with diabetes but people in the industry of diabetes. Many of whom who understand that yes there are lots of uniformed people who do not have diabetes and make some very stupid comments. However unlike diaTribe they are more concerned with such mundane matters such as whether the drugs and devices we have actually work.
Unlike the ultra-sensitive folk at diaTribe these people actually care about whether some of these way cool whiz bang toys are doing more harm than good. They do not one day sing the praises of the 670G and then the next ripe Medtronic a new one for doing an exclusive deal with UnitedHealthcare. They do not then compound this hypocrisy by stating that this deal will limit patient choice and stifle future innovation. Which of course did not happen but what the heck the West Coast Mafia has never lets the facts get in the way of a good fantasy.
Keep in mind the Godfather of diaTribe once wrote a letter to Alex Gorsky CEO of JNJ when JNJ decided to exit the insulin pump business. In a disingenuous attempt to curry favor with the diaTribe minions and look good to other members of the West Coast Mafia the Godfather ripped Mr. Gorsky for making what was a business decision.
Diabetic Investor by comparison had no problem with the decision Mr. Gorsky made but had a huge problem with how he did it, yes, the facts. We didn’t care what he said or how he said it, yet we could not believe that he couldn’t find a buyer for Animas and actually paid Medtronic to take this money losing unit which never turned a profit off their hands. This blunder will go down in diabetes history as one of the dumbest moves ever right up there with Roche paying over a billion bucks for Disetronic only to have the FDA halt sales of Disetronic pumps shortly after the deal was consummated, a move which effectively killed Disetronic and solidified MiniMed as the undisputed King of the insulin pump world. But we digress.
Getting back to the sensitive folk at diaTribe we have this vision of the minions sitting in a session at the conference not paying attention to what the speaker is saying but how he or she is saying it. We can only imagine the horror and disdain should the speaker, likely a respected member of the diabetes community, uses inappropriate language. Think of the headlines “Dr. So and So uses the term “diabetic eyes” sends the crowd into an uproar.”
Since the diaTribe minions believe they are so damn important they just love to ask questions during these events. We can hear it now; “Hi Dr. So and So I’m from diaTribe and wanted to know why you insist on being so insensitive to a person with diabetes by using the term diabetic eyes, shame on you will you apologize for this remark or risk being stoned to death by our minions when you leave this conference room.”
As most everyone knows Momma Kliff did not raise her son to be ultra-sensitive as she said so many times report on the facts, seek the truth and most of all stand by what you write. If people don’t like hearing the facts well that’s just too damn bad. Remember it’s not how something was said but the substance of what is said. God love Mom.
Frankly this attitude by diaTribe and the West Coast Mafia is not surprising as this group lost touch with reality a long time ago and seems to be ignoring what’s going on in the real world. They seem to have forgotten that the majority of people with diabetes are not like them. That in the real world the majority of people with diabetes have a chronic disease they do not want to have, that they don’t really understand and requires work to manage properly. That the majority of these people could care less about how something is said but care deeply about anything that will make their lives easier, anything that will make their diabetes management less of a burden.
These same people also care about the business aspects of diabetes in that they do not want that whiz bang way cool toy they are playing with to come from a company that is about to go out of business which will force them to find another way cool whiz bang device to learn and play with. They also could care less about some other way cool whiz bang toy that’s under development that may be here 10 years from today, if ever. These people want answers yesterday.
So we have some advice for the speakers many of whom we know care deeply about people with diabetes. We do not want their well-earned reputations to be tarnished by the language police. Take it from a Chicago guy and his mother speak the truth, talk about what’s important, don’t worry about the language police tells us the facts. We want substance not politically correct bullshit. But just to be on the safe side make sure to pack your bulletproof vest.
And to all our friends in the West Coast Mafia who surly will be hurt by our remarks. Should you plan on retaliating remember the words of Sean Connery who in the Untouchables said;
“You wanna get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way”