“Why Are You Ruining My Life with Your Asthma?” GlaxoSmithKline Shames the Afflicted

Asthma is the least of the woman’s problems in this commercial. Before she sees her doctor or visits asthma.com, she should leave her whiny, self-absorbed, unsupportive husband, quit her job and tell her sister or friend or whoever that is to eat balls. She’s surrounded by nasty, boorish hags and wankers. Even her little daughter is a guilt-peddling esteem leech.

Seriously, the husband could not be a bigger dick. “Your debilitating, potentially deadly asthma attack that jarred you from sleep as you clutched your chest and choked in terror to draw air into the constricted airways of your lungs WOKE ME UP AGAIN! Now what are you making for breakfast?”

And the husband and sister double team the woman when says she likes to get outside. “Unless it’s ‘too cold,'” the husband says with disdainful air quotes. “Like the last three weekends!” sister-bitch chimes in. Hey, sorry I didn’t feel like going to the Chili Cook-Off because I couldn’t reliably fill my lungs with air! And you are so right to doubt my determination that the air was cold enough to exacerbate my condition. That’s exactly the type of thing I like to lie about so this affliction that I did not choose can trap me like a prisoner in my own home! You still read me like a book after all these years!

And are we so cynical that we assume children have no empathy for their own parents? A five-year-old hates it when her mom is sick. Little kids will invent shit to make their parents feel better. “Mom, I found this pine cone with magic medicine in it. You can’t see the medicine, but if you just hold the pine cone, you’ll be able to breath again. God said so.”

Instead, this redrum-hallway shame pug makes sure mommy knows the full extent of her joyless, disappointing childhood.

Then her boss shows up to helpfully remind her that “You missed the meeting this week AGAIN!” You know, I manage people in my job. If someone came to me and said, “Hey, I’m having a really bad time today and would prefer not to sit through a meeting and self-consciously suck on my inhaler in a room full of my colleagues,” I’d certainly understand. I can’t imagine saying anything besides, “Take care of yourself, hope you feel better. It’s just a meeting, I’ll catch you up later.”

The kicker is the closer. “I don’t use my rescue inhaler a lot.” Sister-bitch: “It depends on what you mean by, ‘a lot.'” Hmm, I don’t know, how about every time I can’t breathe because of this asthma that I wish more than anything I didn’t have? Is that a lot? How often am I inconveniencing you by drawing breath?

Isn’t there a better way to extol the virtues of asthma treatments without portraying sufferers as a dreadful burden on the people around them?

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