Friday List: Asthma Quotes From Pop Culture

1. Gilmore Girls, Episode: Keg! Max! (Season 3)

Argument over a new band name:

Zack: Follow Them to the Edge of the Desert is memorable and classy.
Brian: I run out of breath every time I say it.
Zack: You’ve got asthma, dude. You run out of breath saying your name.
Dave: Yeah, Brian, we can’t work our name around your respiratory illness.
Brian: Even without an inhaler, Follow Them to the Edge of the Desert is too long.
Zack: Yeah, but when we get famous our fans will shorten it to FTTTEOTD.



At the same time this exchange makes me laugh, it disappoints me, too. Yes, Amy Sherman-Palladino is an otherwise brilliant and witty writer, but did the character with asthma have to be the pale, awkward boy with glasses? Come on. Using the tired asthma = weak stereotype isn’t just lazy creativity. It’s also inaccurate, considering all the strong, super-successful pro athletes and Olympians with asthma.

2. House, Episode: Pilot

Oxygen is so important during those prepubescent years.
– Dr. House to mom of 10 year-old asthmatic

3. Like the 309, Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways

It should be a while before I see doctor Death
So, it would sure would be nice if I could get my breath.

9 responses to “Friday List: Asthma Quotes From Pop Culture”

  1. Asthmagirl says:

    I would love to see asthma portrayed in some mainstream media (tv/movie/novel) as a “normal” part of life. Sometimes I wonder if I feel dorky because I am or if people are used to seeing asthmatics as dorks.

    That probably doesn’t make sense.

  2. wendy says:

    Oh yeah, #2 is brilliant! LOL!

  3. Amy says:

    Asthmagirl,
    No, that makes total sense. It really irks me the way asthmatic characters ALWAYS also have braces, glasses, no grace or physical or social skill, etc. It’s ridiculous. In fact, AG is WAY more athletic than her sister, who has no breathing problems.

    Wendy,
    Dr. House rules. Couldn’t agree with you more.

  4. Kerri says:

    I just googled “asthma quotes”, and this came up! Decided I’d drop a comment here, even though the post is more than a year old!

    I do agree that in a lot of pop-culture situations that asthma is linked to the characters who are geeky, pale, uncoordinated, etc, but not always.

    My #1 favourite: Buster (from the TV show Arthur). The episode is on YouTube if you search “Buster’s Breathless”. [I taught a grade 11 bio class about asthma one day, and showed this show.]

    Have you guys heard of the WheezyWaiter on YouTube? (I stumbled across him by reading other YouTubers @ replies to him on Twitter . . . )

    He’s hillarious. Although only a few videos actually involve asthma, obviously because he lives with it and manages it effectively, he does portray that it is possible to live to the fullest with asthma.

    “Bug Junk” does have the pulling out of an inhaler (once you see it, it’s quite related to the editing of the video. It’s really cool editing.), and “when nate met sally” has an asthma mention and an Advair Diskus flying through the air. But this dude (Craig) does prove you dont have to let asthma slow you down. (Also, in many videos, the man runs like crazy. :D )

    Also, boo me if you will, but I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, and one of their defensemen, Anton Stralman, has asthma. There’s an awesome interview with him about how he’s made it so big playing hockey, so young, in spite of having asthma. (Link: http://www.on.lung.ca/video/TeamAsthmaV2.swf ).

    But, there’s no doubt that negative portrayal of asthma is out there too–”Piggy” from Lord of the Flies, Milhouse on The Simpsons–and likely countless others I can’t think of. I think, though, that it is a step that asthma is getting publicly portrayed, and more and more (hopefully) in a positive way.

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