This is the third and final part of my discussion about Jenny McCarthy. Part I was If We Shame Parents Enough Maybe Autism Can Be Cured, and Part II was Let’s All Be Normal (Acting).
Writing this last post has taken me a very long time, both because of my anger at the way autistics are talked about rather than talked to, or with, or given the opportunity to talk for themselves; and because I keep going over what I have to say here and wondering what makes me think I’m qualified to say it.
I’d like to go back for a moment to the article that started me on this: Jenny McCarthy says her son Evan never had autism.
Actually, let’s just go back to the final sentence: “And though her son may never have had autism, Jenny insists, “I’ll continue to be the voice” of the disorder.”
The way I see it, one of two things is true:
1. Jenny McCarthy cured her son of Autism.
2. Evan never had autism in the first place, but may have had another syndrome, or have been developmentally delayed and “caught up”.
In either case, Jenny McCarthy is not currently the mother of an autistic child.
Tell me – why is Jenny McCarthy the “spokesperson” for “the disorder”? According to her no one in her personal life has it.
Not even delving into the bit where it’s incredibly different to be speaking for and about those who live with autistics and those who actually are autistic, I’m not entire certain what insight McCarthy is offering anyone. The idea that autism is like your child’s soul going away? That the best metaphor for autism is a bus accident? She describes a diagnosis of autism as the worst thing that could happen, and she’s going around and doing the talk shows and is the “spokesperson for the disorder?” How does that even make any sense?
That’s why this post has taken me so long to finish. Every time I start it, I wonder why the hell I’m writing it, instead of pointing people towards the writing of actual autistics.
[Here is a tiny sample:
- Autiebibliography! [“This is a list (as complete as I could make it) of every piece of autobiographical writing ever published in book form by an autistic writer.”]
- Autists Corner
- Astrid’s Journal
- Urocyon’s Meanderings
- Square 8
- Daughter of the Ring of Fire
- I’m Somewhere Else
Just a tiny tiny sample. Each one has a blogroll. There are lots of autistic bloggers, including kaninchenzero and s.e. smith here at FWD. This tiny sample is just meant to be that. I encourage people to leave more links, including to their own blog, in the comments.]
The Times article argues that Jenny McCarthy peddles hope.
Well, here’s my hope: That in the future, autistics will be invited to speak for themselves.