Friday, April 7, 2017

Neurotribes Author Steve Silberman justifies analogy between autism speaks and nazis on facebook

Over the past six or seven years, since Steve Silberman's successful article in wired magazine and his announcement that he intended to write a book about autism I've had occasion to write some blog posts about the Wired magazine journalist and I've had some interactions with him.  None of them were acrimonious until Steve blocked me on twitter for stating that he and Thomas Armstrong had never been to a special ed school as I had so they did not understand what it was like to be a special education student when he was plugging Dr. Armstrong's book on neurodiversity and special education.

Mr. Silberman has made many statements over the years that I have found terribly offensive.  This includes his use of a favorite neurodiversity parlor trick of comparing autism to homosexuality, stating that autistics have trouble in the workplace because human resource offices don't know how to accommodate person's who can't speak and use keyboards, his comparison of autism versus a non-handicapped person to a windows computer operating system versus a linux or macintosh, and his statement about autistics who are incontinent and engage in self-injury that disability is part of the human experience and we all become diaper wearers eventually.  I could not possibly imagine that Steve could top himself and hit another all time low, but it appears he has.

Before I explain, I'll tell a bit of backstory on this post first.  Steve Silberman and I now have a mutual friend on facebook.  There is a young man on the autism spectrum named Tom Clements who calls himself "the autistic buddha" and has written a book about his experiences with autism and buddhism that will soon be published.  He and I followed each other on twitter.  Though he has somewhat of a neurodiversity perspective on things, we exchanged some friendly tweets and then he friended me on facebook.  I started writing some comments on threads of his.

In the previous post I wrote about the nasty tweets William Shatner recently received, including one in which a certain individual compared the puzzle piece that various autism organizations such as autism speaks, the autism society of America and the NAS in England have used to a nazi swastika.  Tom responded that he found this offensive and I agreed and explained that comparisons between autism speaks and others who wanted to cure autism to nazis were nothing new.  Steve Silberman weighed in in this Facebook post:



You can also see my response below to Silberman.  Though Silberman stated that he thought the comparison between autism speaks and nazis was "overblown" I still find what he wrote offensive.  I thought he'd hit an all time low in his statements about the "head bangers and diaper wearers" but it seems this time Silberman has outdone himself.  If I described what he said someone might accuse me of exaggerating or lying.  There is the old dictum in writing 'show don't tell'.  Well I will let anyone who reads this blog post judge for himself based on the screenshot I've provided showing Silberman's comment on FB.  Whether Silberman said or did anything wrong or if this facebook post is inappropriate, but I believe he was justifying the analogy between autism speaks and nazis and by extension anyone else, such as myself, who desires a cure for autism since in the past Autism speaks wanted to cure autism and some in neurodiversity have equated a cure for autism to eugenics.  Silberman seems to think we're a bunch of eugenicists who were inspired by the early history of eugenics in the united states in which people of color or handicapped people were murdered and who the nazis then used during world war II.

As in my response, I found this amusing or at least strange that someone who glorified Hans Asperger, which evidence suggests may have been a nazi war criminal who sent an innocent handicapped girl to her death and who vilified Leo Kanner who saved a multitude of Jewish lives during the holocaust would write something like this on facebook.  I'm still curious if Silberman interviewed Herwig Czech who brought these allegations about Asperger to attention and whom John Donvan and Caren Zucker wrote about in their book "In a Different Key"after "Neurotribes" was published.  I seem to remember that Silberman stated that he had tried to interview Czech but he would not given him access to the info about Asperger.  I'm still curious why Donvan and Zucker were able to get this information and he wasn't.  I guess it will remain a mystery.

Again, if someone thinks I'm overreacting to what Silberman said, I guess they can judge for themselves and read the exchange Tom, Silberman, and I had on facebook. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

William Shatner does not suffer Ari Ne'eman and Neurodiversity gladly

The neurodiversity  movement and ASAN  spend a great deal of their time harassing people who support autism speaks in any way, claiming that a cure for autism is wrong and the organization they loathe so much is interested in eugenically eliminating autistic people.  This is despite the fact that Autism Speaks changed their mission statements cutting the words 'cure' and 'prevention' and 'global health crisis.  


They go to autism speaks walks and harass parents who walk for this organization and try to tell them why they should not donate to the organization.  They particularly like to harass any high profile celebrity who might support autism speaks as they did to Jerry Seinfeld some years ago when he was set to perform for an autism speaks event.

A new target has recently entered their crosshairs.  William Shatner is a renowned actor who played Captain Kirk in the television series Star Trek in the sixties and played policeman TJ Hooker in the eighties.  He recently incurred the wrath of Ari Ne'eman and some other members of the neurodiversity movement when he had the chutzpah to post a light it up blue logo for autism awareness month on his twitter, account showing support for autism speaks.  However, Mr. Shatner appears to be a celebrity who does not suffer Ari Ne'eman and other members of the ND movement gladly.

After Shatner posted the icon one young woman had this to say:
Another tweeter calling himself latino sci fi geek had these words of wisdom:

Another person calling herself protect sebastian wrote a tweet that I have not been able to access calling Shatner a "human shit stain" for daring to support autism speaks.  You can go to Shatner's twitter account where he has a screen shot of it to see

There was more tempered rhetoric from a few other neurodiversity proponents, and Shatner tried to answer them back stating that if they believed autism speaks was a hate group they should complain to the IRS.  He also said Latino Sci-Fi geeks analogy was offensive.  He reprimanded Ms. Barnett for her profanity stating he would not have a dialogue with "ms. potty mouth".

This prompted Ari Ne'eman to write the following dishonest tweet on the subject matter:

Understandably, Shatner was offended by Ne'eman's misrepresentation of the facts.  He only said he did not appreciate being bullied and sworn at and people comparing autism speaks to the holocaust against jews which is one of neurodiversity's old parlor tricks and blocked Ne'eman on twitter.

Ari Ne'eman did not seem to understand why Shatner would block him and used this as an excuse to claim Shatner was trying to avoid him and his message.  He had abusive comments hurled at him, so if anyone was metaphorically yelling it was neurodiversity hatemongers.

In fact, though Ne'eman falsely accused Shatner of yelling it is the neurodiversity proponents who justify metaphorically yelling to get their way:
Shatner went on to question what neurodiversity was doing and their tactics on twitter.  He also posed the interesting question of whether the autistic self advocacy network should have a 501(c) status based on something I'd never heard of called the 43-86 rule where apparently if a tax exempt organization exists largely to educate persons on a certain issue that they do it in a polite and honest manner.  Shatner posed the question of whether one charity should have as it's goal attacking another charity.  Though he did all this very calmly in spite of some nasty tweets, particularly the downright abusive ones that I've embedded on twitter, Ne'eman still claimed that Shatner was yelling at him and was somehow surprised when Shatner not only blocked him but refused to turn the other cheek.

Neurodiversity blogger Matt Carey, without having read the tweets, wrote a blog post justifying this abusive rhetoric to Shatner, stating it was done with the noble cause of protesting autism speaks.

Steve Silberman also got into the act, according to him the good guys are people who cuss people out who they disagree with, equate them to nazis and lie about the facts.


Shatner had this to tweet in the aftermath:

Yes the former Star Trek actor nailed it.  Ne'eman misrepresents and because this ploy has worked for them in the past, it incites the other ND's to attack Shatner or anyone else who dares disagree with them.

I guess this is how Ne'eman and other ND's got Autism Speaks to change it's mission statement and got the federal government out of the combating autism business.  They've apparently managed to bully and intimidate a good number of people, but Shatner stuck up to them and blocked them and would not tolerate their abuse and Ne'eman's dishonest misrepresentation of the facts.

Mr. Shatner, I know it is highly unlikely you will read this, but in the improbable event that you do, I just want to say I'm an individual with autism and I want to thank you for having the gumption to stand up to neurodiversity and not suffer these fools gladly.