Lisa Lampanelli thinks all of us are lying. Yes, you, parent of a child with a deadly peanut allergy, you and/or your child are lying. Hold on, here’s the clip. It’s not even a minute long, but if I had a nurse here with a blood pressure cuff, I’m sure right now I went from my usual, nice-and-easy 110/60 to something far more potent in thirty seconds flat.
I transcribed it for you in case the video disappears:
“Okay, Mothers. PSA Number One. There is no such GOT-DAMN thing as a peanut allergy. That is a bull$%&# made-up allergy that your little, rotten, spoiled white kid made up in his own head so he could get a delicious bologna sandwich instead of the peanut butter and jelly on two stale heels of Wonder Bread that he so richly earned. Yeah.
If you think your kid is allergic to peanuts, guess what? Go home tonight. Spread a jar of Jif all over his ugly, splotchy body. He’ll either break out in hives and be cured instantly, or he’ll be dead, and either way’s fine with Lisa Lampanelli.”
Hmm. She seems nice. Anyone know where Lisa Lampanelli went to medical school?
I can predict the comments in support of her. Let me see if I can channel them all: It’s a joke! Take a joke! We’re so PC we can’t joke about anything! I have peanut allergies and I think it’s funny! Don’t be so sensitive!
Add something about food-allergy parents thinking our kids are special snowflakes and that they have to learn that life’s not fair, and I think I can call out Food Allergy Bingo and win a door prize.
Let’s unpack this a little.
The idea that allergies “aren’t even a real thing” would maybe, mayyyybe (I’m really trying to give her the benefit of the doubt here) be a little bit funny, if it weren’t for the fact that, unfortunately, many people don’t understand that allergies are real and life-threatening. Children die every year from accidental exposure to allergens, and if you’re wondering what an allergic reaction might look like, I wrote it about it last year after one of my daughters had a harrowing anaphylactic reaction due to cross-contamination.
There are two food-allergic children in every classroom and severe allergies are considered a disability by the ADA. But somehow food allergies can get categorized as the same thing as food preferences, like choosing to follow the Whole30 for a month or trying out a paleo diet or veganism. It simply isn’t the same.
And then there’s the idea that Lisa Lampanelli — who has to refer to herself in the third person, full name, for whatever reason (I am trying my hardest to not weigh in on how obnoxious all of this is, food allergy digs aside) — doesn’t care if your kid dies. Even the “Queen of Mean” can’t mean that. She could never meet an eight-year-old with a peanut allergy and whisper to him, “hey, if you die, it’s fine with me.”
— David (@Dram1024) June 27, 2015
Numbers are abstract. Statistics are abstract. As ignorant and obnoxious as she may be, Lampanelli saying she doesn’t care if kids die is stupid and untrue. Lisa Lampanelli is a walking — and proud — caricature. This is part of her (subjective adjectives ahead) lame, unfunny act. It’s a joke, but it’s a pretty sh*tty one. And it’s a dangerous one.
While I’m frustrated, I’m not surprised. This is nothing new. Last year a school board member declared that they should shoot all food-allergic children, and even a popular snack brand took a dig at kids with allergies. The food allergy community is forever working to get some allies and to fight misinformation, and instances like this one remind us that there’s still a lot of work to do.