Two articles I like, one I don’t

The NY Times and Slate both do coverage of the wedding-industrial complex, related to the release of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. My favorite bit is where the limo company admits that they will refuse service to brides who refuse to get the special, more-expensive bridal service. You can’t be ferried around in a nice car for three hours for $300– you must get the three-hour $400 service with special “Here Comes the Bride” sound effects.

Both, however, are just dumb trend articles that are fun and have some cute anecdotes about how wedding expenses are way out of control. Less amusing is an article on gluten, which fails to distinguish between people who actually have celiac disease, and those who think that going “gluten free” is going to cure their depression, just like the crystals helped with their arthritis. Let me give you a handy-dandy explanation of the difference between people who have celiac disease, and people who are into gluten-avoidance because it’s a health-food trend:

If you have celiac disease, you will spend a day crapping your guts out if you eat anything that has been anywhere near gluten, fried in oil that has had something breaded fried in it, etc. Many brands of moisturizer will make you sick. Anything processed in a factory that also processes wheat is probably going to make you sick. Some foods say they don’t contain wheat, but are made in factories which use wheat flour to smooth their conveyor belts– they’ll make you sick. You probably know someone who is deathly allergic to shellfish– imagine those people in a world where everything is made of shrimp. To be sure, that’s a delicious world to you and me. But they would live in constant fear of food or food-related products.

If you think gluten is bad for you, and have found it easy to avoid, you are wrong. You have psychosomatic symptoms which are being alleviated by eating nasty placebo nonwheat pasta. You probably haven’t even actually avoided gluten– you’ve gotten rid of the obvious sources in your diet. I suppose it’s possible that cutting way back worked for you, but I doubt it. I don’t wish to disparage your symptoms or your relief, but you do not have celiac disease. You have crazy.

The Times can’t bother to distinguish between these two categories, and has written a piece which manages to lump people with a severe autoimmune illness in with people who have a mild psychological problem similar to believing that cell phones cause constipation.

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