What Celebrities Want You To Know About Autism

Little known fact: Denis Leary and Jenny McCarthy are scientists.

Denis Leary made his expert opinion known in his recent book, Why We Suck:

There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.

Super.

Jenny McCarthy, mother of an autistic child, spoke out against his comments. She and her partner Jim Carrey are of course the geniuses who advise parents not to vaccinate their children.

Let me respond to these brilliant claims.

Denis is probably in some small way correct that autism may be overdiagnosed. An anecdote: a friend of mine told me how her grandson was categorized as autistic simply because his vocabulary was smaller than average. Didn’t matter that he had normal motor and cognitive development and was irrepressibly social. The frightened parents were directed to enroll their son in daily therapy sessions. It took a determined visit to a university medical clinic to get the correct diagnosis for their boy – as definitely not autistic.

Of course Jenny is also correct that Denis is a moron. And there is ample evidence that autism is a very real illness, not a title for ‘dumb-ass kids’. There have been great recent advances in understanding the biological basis for autism, including findings that its incidence is affected by paternal age. Scientists have also identified genes that appear to be linked to the disorder.

And Jenny is, of course, a moron for telling parents not to vaccinate their children, despite findings by the CDC and numerous scientists that vaccination is not linked to autism.

Really, Jenny? The CDC is out to get your child? Don’t you understand that illnesses, be they physical or neurological or psychiatric, hurt the government through health care costs, public services, and lost productivity? What possible reason does the CDC have to act against the government’s best interests? Meanness? Dastardly plans to take over the world?

The FDA now labels cigarettes as bad for your health and many California restaurants have to post signs that their food may contain carcinogens or other toxins. I think it’s time we put a warning on celebrities:

CAUTION: This individual has no official medical or scientific training. Health recommendations from him/her are as credible as advice from someone living in a dumpster.

People, listen to your scientists. They may not always be right, but they damn sure have a higher chance of being right than comedians and actors.

5 responses

  1. I was going to write this really long-winded, unprofessional, irrelevant response to your terrific blog post…. but I’ll leave it at: I completely agree! Fantastic post! And fuck Denis Leary!

  2. Becca, an excellent post. If more scientists will speak up against the trend of celebrities giving advice on topics they have absolutely no knowledge and understanding, maybe Larry King, Oprah and Mat Lauer will begin interviewing the real experts or at least include them along with the looneys.

  3. Pingback: The Demise of the Expert | Garden of the Mind

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