I see that Kevin Leitch's assistant, "Sullivan" is at it again This time he is taking news that is a month old and distorting a number of the facts involving the efforts of John Best, Jake Crosby, and myself on taking a proactive stance by attempting to combat the neurodiversity propaganda article that newsweek published last month, featuring Ari Ne'eman.
Sullivan gets many of the facts incorrect naturally. One thing he does get correct is that it is Stephen Shore was the one who "leaked" the information about the article. However, he did not leak it to Jake or Best, he told me about it. Ari sent me an email asking me how I found out about the article after John Best and myself had blogged about it in advance of its publication. As a common courtesy I emailed him about Steve telling me about the article. Steve Shore and Jake Crosby had nothing to do with Best's blog post. I am the guilty party here. I have no regrets though. I emailed Best telling him that I had heard the rumor of the article featuring Mr. Ne'eman or being written by him published in newsweek. I suggested he might want to write an angry blog post about it at some point in time. Though I don't agree with Best on a variety of issues, nor do I condone a lot of his tactics, I do find his blog humorous and I enjoy at least some of the shots he takes at the neurodiversitites, who have not only trivialized my horrible disability but have not infrequently been tremendously abusive to me because I happen to be a spectrumite who publicly wishes for a cure for my autism.
I was not expecting Best to write a piece before the fact, I figured he might wait until after the newsweek article was published. To my surprise, I saw his article with the inflammatory headline "Ask Newsweek to Kill Ari Ne'eman". I read the article and decided maybe I should get in on the act. Certainly a proactive stance against this movement which trivializes the pain and suffering of so many is warranted. I also wrote a blog piece in advance. I knew that Age of Autism had a much larger readership than my piddling gadfly blog. Because I have given his work a shoutout, Jake has emailed me expressing his appreciation. Though we don't agree on a number of issues, Jake and I have become email pen pals. (hopefully Jake won't mind my writing about that). I suggested that he might want to also write newsweek a letter and maybe write an age of autism post, which he was glad to do as he feels the same way about ND as I do. So, it is incorrect to say that Jake was influenced either by John Best or Steven Shore.
Sullivan also promotes the neurodiversity lie that there was a death threat against Ne'eman. John Best only wrote an inflammatory headline suggesting that the article be killed. He also wrote a comment stating though he was not advocating anyone go out and shoot Ari he stated that he believed that Ari Ne'eman's actions were a capital offense and that he hoped that Ari would be prosecuted, convicted and executed. I agree this statement was over the top, but it certainly did not constitute a death threat. There is little question that he did this to provoke and inflame neurodiversitites, knowing they would lie about it and help publicize his post. They played into his hands perfectly and helped publicize the post.
The article also goes on to state that Ari Ne'eman does in fact believe that autism is a disability and that Jake was mistaken when he stated that Ari was saying autism was not a disability. However, Ne'eman was on national television with the caption "There is nothing wrong with us". He was also featured in New York Magazine where the author stated that neurodiversity believed autism was not a disability, but an alternative way of existence. It seems interesting to me that whenever someone criticizes the ND movement and states they believe autism is not a disability, they always come out and show proof of how wrong we are. Janet Bain's macro which she has kept saved for months or a couple of years which she displays all the people who state on the internet that autism is a disability who have ND leanings is particularly provocative in this regard. Yet, they never bothered to correct the record as far as the good morning america show was concerned, nor what Andrew Solomon said in New York magazine or any other thing that in any way gives them any positive publicity. I wonder why that is.
An article written by Ne'eman about two and a half years ago might also give someone the idea that he does not regard autism as a disability.
We see the world in a different way than our neurotypical peers (neurotypical is a word in the autistic community meaning those of the majority neurology). This does not imply a defect, but merely a difference — one that we have just the same right to as those of a different race, nationality or religion.
The belief was that anyone society labeled "disabled" could only go so far. Sadly, these misconceptions had the potential to become self-fulfilling prophecies. When the expectation is that people of a certain type can only reach so far, they are not provided with the same challenges and opportunities that educators give mainstreamed students.
Particularly telling is Ne'eman's last paragraph:
We should recognize what diversity of neurology has contributed to the human race and what it can bring to the future. Difference is not disability and someday, I hope, the world will recognize that those who think in different ways should be welcomed
One would certainly get the idea from this article that "Sullivan" apparently has not read that Ne'eman does not consider autism a disability.
Sullivan also trots out the tired canard that wanting to refute what ND says by those of us who wish we could be cured of our autism is violating human rights. Has Jake been asked by Sullivan if he is against accommodations or all the other things Sullivan alleges that Jake is opposed to? I think not.
Also, there is the absurdity of Sullivan's statement that because Jenny McCarthy gets so much exposure in the media that we already have the equal time that we so desperately covet. Though I am not sure what Jake's POV on this is, Sullivan might be surprised to find out that I believe Jenny McCarthy's point of view is also closer to Ne'eman's than is my own. They are not dissimilar in that they both offer easy quick fixes for autism. McCarthy's statement that it is all vaccines or some other known element in the environment and the fact that her son was allegedly cured of his autism means that everything is okay. Likewise, Ne'eman states that because autism is a difference and not a disability, that once societal accommodations are made, everything is okay, autistics can do just as well as anyone else. This view was reinforced in the Marino foundation's no myths video. No, I want equal time to say, that things are not going to be rosy. We need to do research on science and the genetic research that Ne'eman wants stopped, so that maybe someday small children and other children yet to be born won't have to live as cripples. I realize it is too late for me, but that does not mean we should give up the fight to find a cure and a way to prevent this tragedy. I have a very different message than Ms. McCarthy to be sure.
We can also read one of the comments to the post by some character named Robin Henley who reports she has had "run-ins" with Jake. She takes the condescending attitude towards Jake that so many ND's whose cages this young man has managed to rattle due to his age. She states that Jake should be devoting more time to his studies and having fun rather than taking on the sophisticated issues of ND versus cure or even versus the AoA agenda that Jake helps promote. Yet, Ne'eman is not much older than Jake. He is also still in college. Why isn't Ne'eman supposed to be just concentrating on studies and having fun rather than tackling on the sophisticated issues of autism self-advocacy that an immature youth such as himself takes on? Seems to me quite a double standard.
I believe I do have an interesting perspective to offer to Newsweek. I do believe that what I (or even Jake or some other pro-cure autist would have to say) would be enlightening to them and their readers and I hope that someday the opportunity is given to myself or someone equally or more deserving than yours truly.