Monday, July 21, 2008

You Got Cancer Cause Your Mom Didn't Love You

Just writing that title made me slightly ill.

You'd never say that to anyone who got cancer would you?

You'd never say "you deserve it" to a person who got hit by car or hurt in an industrial accident, would you?

Think about that when I tell you that radio host Michael Savage said children diagnosed as autistic are really just brats who need a father to straighten them out.

The first thing I thought of when I heard about this was were my dear friends with autistic children.

People like Kim Stagliano whom I've mentioned here before.
People like my buddy Jeff Cohen, an ace novelist.

People like the folks I've only met casually through Writers on Autism.

I'm very much in favor of Michael Savage being free to say whatever cold, cruel, publicity hungry foul drivel he cares to spew.

I'm even more in favor of my right to tell him he's not just wrong, he's going to enjoy the flip side of publicity for awhile.

Entertainment my ass.


Merry Monteleone said...

You'd never say "you deserve it" to a person who got hit by car

Well, maybe if it was Michael Savage who got hit by the car...

Kristin Laughtin said...

Wow. He's not the first person to suggest that certain illnesses are overdosed, but that is just a clearly ignorant remark. Some people.

Lorelei Armstrong said...

This reminds me of the "back in the day" days when they believed schizophrenia was caused by a "schizophrenogenic" mother. And then science stepped in. Savage is both wrong and, thankfully, decades too late.

C.J. Redwine said...

The wonderful thing about free speech is that idiots like Savage can wear their ignorance like a badge of honor and the rest of us can take aim.

Elissa M said...

Perhaps it would please you to know I have no idea who the hell Michael Savage is, what his show is called, or what stations it plays on. And now I have no desire to find out.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Looks like the story was pulled.

Amy said...

I think maybe he needs to actually meet an autistic person in the flesh, rather than running away like they might give him autistic germs or something. Then he might catch a clue. Seriously, what the hell?

December/Stacia said...

Wow. Just wow.

My older daughter is mildly autistic--she has strong tendencies but she doesn't quite meet diagnostic standards. It's hard enough trying not to blame yourself--which I do all the time--without hearing some jerk tell me it's my fault.

Hey, Michael, I gave up my job to stay home and raise my children, because I believed, and still believe, it's the right thing to do. My husband came home from work every day to play with her and cuddle her while I made dinner. We took her places at weekends. We read her stories. We gave her plenty of intellectual stimulation and we gave her quiet time to sit and think or play by herself. I played so many games of hide-and-seek I found myself dreaming about it.

We did everything people like you say we're supposed to do, so you tell me where we went wrong?


Margaret Yang said...

Just when you think you've seen the meanest idiot alive, you realize that both "mean" and "idiot" are infinitely elastic concepts.

Jeff Cohen said...

While we're at it, let's have some hefty kudos for Aflac (although I HATE that duck!), which announced it will pull all advertising from Savage's show.

For a community that's still trying to get past the notorious Bruno Bittelheim's theory that autism was caused by incompetent mothers, this suggestion that these children don't have fathers, in particular fathers who could "tell them not to act like a putz" is especially galling to those fathers, like myself, who worked through the more challenging moments a child on the spectrum faces.

Let's let Michael Savage know he's crossed a line that we won't tolerate.

Mags said...

What a tool.

Chumplet said...

The sad thing is that his ratings will probably go up. Ah, the advantages of being a jerkwad.

Rena said...

Yup, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Sadly his rating will probably go up, but I for one will not help them go up. He's on my list of people I never want to hear of again (Imus included).

DanO said...

Stupidty is a condition, ignorance is a choice. Not sure whether it's one or both that apply to Savage -- before yesterday, I'd never heard of, much less listened to, the man. Then again, it my be neither -- it may be cruelly voicing an opinion he knows to be false simply to gin up ratings and garner attention. Oh well, I guess evil is a choice, too.

I'm raising two sons with spectrum disorders -- one who has Autism and another with Aspergers Syndrome. It's challenging enough without ill-informed or ill-intentioned people reprising the long-discredited theory that such disorders are the result of poor parenting.

I do believe speech should be free, but free does not mean the absence of all consequence. I'd call for a boycott, but from what I've heard, it's not the sort of show rational people listen to anyway.

Cathy in AK said...

I wonder if Savage's parents are sitting somewhere wondering what they did wrong. Too much spoiling? Not enough name calling?

What a moron.

Robena Grant said...

This totally burns me.

My daughter teaches Math at a special ed school in L.A. I volunteered there as a health nurse. The students have ADHD, ADD, Aspergers Syndrome, high functioning Autism. They are wonderfully bright creative students and many are highly gifted. They have much to offer to the world and we've seen many students go on to college and do well. And the dedication of the parents is incredible. I say kudos to them.

People like Savage are ignorant and should think before they speak.

Lorra said...

There's a special place in hell . . .

Kim Stagliano said...

Thank you, Janet. I should have a piece on HuffPo later today about this travesty called Savage, nee Weiner. His son runs rockstar69, the energy drink. Water anyone?


H. L. Dyer said...

It takes a big man to pick on kids with medical problems.

Cory said...

Speaking as someone with autism who's been told something similar multiple times, that pisses me off beyond belief. I was born with a differently wired brain. That's it. You do NOT get to say my parents did a bad job of raising me.

(And at least in my case, I don't feel like I need to be *straightened out*, thank you.)

Thanks for calling him out here.

Jessica said...

It's funny you mentioned this. I never heard what he said, but I caught the tail end of his show one night when he he basically apologized and claimed to have been misunderstood. It was moving and I felt bad for the guy.
I think the problem may have been that many kids are being misdiagnosed with autism. The whole autism spectrum is fascinating, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the symptoms can be similar to other things and that's probably why he said what he did.
I think some people feel that this is going to be like the whole ADD/ADHD thing, which is real, but many times also misdiagnosed.
Anyhow, the guy is definitely harsh sometimes and not my favorite talk show host, but I don't think he deserves to be classified as an idiot or jerk.
Behavioral problems often carry similar symptoms to less extreme forms of autism and that's probably why he said what he did.

btw, there was an extremely interesting article recently on some breakthroughs in autism research.

True autism has nothing to do with what parents do or don't due. Like the poster said above, someone with autism has a brain that works differently. That's all. I think Einstein had Asperger's Syndrome, though don't quote me on that.

Debora Dennis said...

Oh yeah - he's a real toad.

As the parents of an Aspie boy, both my husband and I were shocked to hear his show. But were even more disturbed by how many people jumped onto his misinformed bandwagon and agreed!

Of my three kids, only one is autistic - how does that work with his theory? I guess we only discipline two of them?

What a schmuck!


Robin said...

The good news is that no one in the psychiatric community gives his opinion an ounce of credibility. Likewise, the parents of my patients think he is a dingbat, and we have fun ragging on him. The best thing to do with an idiot is ignore him.
Maybe Jenny McCarthy will beat the shit out of him. We can only hope.

Jay said...

Kinda like the people who told me my son had leukemia because he'd been vaccinated, who then turned around and told me to forgo evil chemotherapy for him and instead treat him with herbs and vitamins...

People with a public platform should educate themselves before they speak. But alas, many enjoy their ignorance, unfortunately.

Jen said...

I've been reading about this off and on all week, and steadily getting angrier.

I'm very glad to see Savage's sponsors bailing.

Raising an austistic child is hard enough without the ignorant, callous and mean spirited comments from people like Savage with a platform to broadcast their stupidity.

I feel marginally better getting that off my chest. Thanks for blogging about this.