Thursday, June 11, 2009

Left brain, right brain, no brain at it again

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.

Ne'eman writes:

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.


Jake Crosby said...

Thank you Jonathan! May I also just add that in the post of my open letter, I write in the introductory paragraph before it that I have just heard about Ari Ne'eman's Newsweek coverage "from a friend with autism," linking to your blog. Somehow, Sullivan completely missed that.

SM69 said...

All these politics and arguments are in a way rather fascinating. I am not sure which of the posts I found the funniest, today’s response from SBC on AoA or yours? Actually, possibly yours. In a way I am amazed to see so much division all the time, when I am sorry to repeat, everyone is as right and wrong as anyone else. What Ari Ne'eman says is true and valid for people like him, what Jenny McCarthy says is very possibly correct for her son and kids likes hers, though a recovery though Biomed intervention of course does not prove vaccine causality. The Biomed treatment is a composite of interventions that does not deal specifically with vaccine, there is no such treatment. Her recovery reports are correct though for her son and kids like her- we also have a few children being undiagnosed at the moment based on ADOS. And finally what you say Jonathan, well I understand your anger etc, I understand why you think this way, but I am very sorry to say one more time, we are no where near a cure through genetic reversal, and the genetic aspects you might have are unlikely to be shared by many. In that sense I agree with you McCarty and Ne’eman are closer to each others than they are from you, because they present with solutions, though not fully compatible, not solely anger. One is accommodating whilst the other is treating/curing and both are needed and important. I agree with all these views in moderation, yet I am not a moderate! Any other group I have missed? This is nearing soap opera now.

I have always wanted to end my posts like these: cryster

jypsy said...

"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."

My comments were originally compiled and posted here as a comment on "One Dad's Opinion's post "Contradictions and Strawmen" on Nov 17th, 2007. I haven't "saved" it but I have used the list since (retrieving it from that blog) and probably have added to it, however it in no way presents "all the people who state on the internet that autism is a disability", just a small handfull. I have neither the time nor inclination to compile a complete list of "all the people who state on the internet that autism is a disability". My interest was only in illustrating, with links to the statements so anyone could check them out, that the often repeated statement that "the ND movement states they believe autism is not a disability" is not an accurate statement. While there are people "in the ND movement" who believe this, I believe they are a small minority and do not represent the beliefs of the vast majority. It would be helpful if links and/or quotes were given when such statements were made about the beliefs of a group of people, such as you've done here with Ari Ne'eman's Nov. 2006 comments. However, while Ari speaks for himself and ASAN, he does not speak for "the ND movement", no individual does.

jonathan said...

Thanks for the clarification Jypsy, however you must admit Ari is becoming somewhat of a poster boy for your movement, so the shout out of his views, sort of implies maybe by extension some members of the neurodiversity movement or maybe the majority of them would seemingly believe autism is not a disability. I realize you have your own opinions on the matter which I think I understand better than I did more than a year ago yet I am still not 100% clear on.

However, it would seem that "sullivan" was incorrect in surmising that Ari Ne'eman believes autism is a disability unless he has changed his mind in the past two and a half years since he wrote that essay.

jypsy said...

I guess he's changed his mind (if, indeed, he did believe autism was not a disability)... ASAN standing with cross-disability and business community to pass ADA Amendments Act, which broadened the definition of disability to ensure it would include people with less noticeable disabilities or who used mitigating measures.
Quote from Ari: "I’m thrilled to be able to speak up in support of this essential restoration of civil rights law that will ensure that Americans with disabilities, like myself, will continue to enjoy protections and are included throughout society,"

First action alert about the NYU Ransom Notes campaign: An Urgent Call to Action: Tell NYU Child Study Center to Abandon Stereotypes Against People With Disabilities: Bio of Ari: "He is the Policy Workgroup Leader for the Youth Advisory Council to the National Council on Disability. Ari is also the first Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership."

Joint Letter sent by Disability Groups, including ASAN, to the President: : From Ari: "Attempts such as these treat individuals with disabilities as pawns in the efforts of other constituencies. By refusing to acknowledge the right of the autistic community to be referred to with respect instead of as the focus of public hysteria, PETA contributes to a state of affairs which marginalizes the disability community. People with disabilities, our families and our supporters deserve better than the exploitation and fear-mongering that comes about when disability is used as a means of scaring the general populace. For millions across the globe, the answer to PETA's "Got Autism?" question is an unequivocal yes. That should not spell the end of our lives or prevent us from being fully included throughout society. By exploiting us, PETA becomes a culprit in the social forces that marginalize people with disabilities and lead to the discrimination and prejudice that truly disable us."

jonathan said...

Hi, somehow I knew you would come through with another macro. Of course, I am curious about the inconsistency in Ari's writing or if in fact he changed his mind. While I don't feel like reading all of these links, I am curious whether he means the social model or medical model of disability, which is a trick that some members of the ND community use to try to have their cake and eat it too, so they can say they believe that autism is only disabling because of society's attitude. On reading Ari's work, that would seem to me his predominant belief. Also, Larry Arnold is another example of a member of club ND who talks about social model versus medical model of disability and brooks no quarters in that regard.

It seems to me that most members of club ND goal shift and write somewhat contradictory things. This is why some of us including Jake and myself seem to get the idea that many persons in the ND community don't believe autism is a disability. Of course I am more circumspect now and just state that they don't believe it is a disease or a disorder lest I be innundated with another of your macros. Course, I guess I will have to await another macro from you that contradicts me on that score. Of course that might show just how inconsistent club ND really is.

......I'm Anonymous said...

"Course, I guess I will have to await another macro from you that contradicts me on that score."

By macro, do you mean evidence?

jypsy said...

You should ask Ari what he thinks, believes, means etc. I can tell you what *I* think, mean, believe etc but, as always, I speak for myself, not Ari, "the ND movement" or anyone else.

If you leave my name out of your posts and do not respond to my comments (correcting inaccuracies/giving facts to your speculation) with questions/comments I can reply to, you'll be spared my "macros" (I don't understand what a "marco" is) or any other comments.

jonathan said...

Anonymous: A macro is a term that refers to a computer file that someone writes and then keeps as a boilplate type of thing and then displays regularly when the situation calls for it.

I don't think that someone who refuses to sign their name, goes out of their way to show how they are anonymous and posts a photo on their blogger profile wearing a skimask that makes them look like an armed robber should be throwing stones. If you have any evidence that John Best is an anti-semite I would be very interested in seeing that (considering I'm Jewish). This is probaly another neurodiversitite lie. I am not defending his statements on homosexuality. If you read my posts more carefully I have stated that I do not condone a lot of Mr. Best's behavior, but he has every right to be angry at the neurodiversity crowd that constantly trivializes his son's very severe autism. If anyone wants to think lowly of me because I have been in commnication with best on his blog or by various emails, so be it.

But how about this deal: When the autism hub expels Phil Gluyas who has called my mother a witch and called me Joseph Goebels, when Ari Ne'eman who Gluyas claims to be in regular communication with dissociates himself with Gluyas. When ASAN returns the donation that hatemonger Clay Adams who constantly has called me abusive names and also insulted my mother by calling her domineering. When Ari apologizes or clarifies his statement that Autism speaks is morally complicit with murder, then I will consider totally disassociating myself with Best.

I don't associate myself with John Best's comments. If you read my post

lurker said...

Jonathan, I sure can see that a lot of individuals in ND goal shift and write contradictory things. I seldom see anything from them that makes rational sense. I don't think it completely matters that Ari Ne'eman and the others in ND currently acknowledge that autism is a disability, considering nowadays they like to subtly pretend lower functioning types of autism don't exist, that lower-functioning individuals are only a minority of the spectrum, their trying to hint that many of the impairments of many autistics don't have anything to do with autism, and their continued publicizing and use of highly apt and successful individuals like Ne'eman as front people. Yet I wonder how autism can be said to necessarily be a disability, when a lot of these high-functioning advocates with aspergers don't currently exhibit impairments.

I'm not surprised that Ari Ne'eman implied autism isn't a disability two and a half years ago, as ND back then was presenting their agenda in quite different messages. Back then, I saw them talking predominantly in abstract terms about diversity, variation etc., shunning any talk about autism being associated with impairment and disability, while soon after that, they went into the whole social model of disability thing, screaming about "disablism", pretending that accommodations can be just as helpful for those with autism as they have been for those with physical disabilities, and watering down what things can be considered a disability. ND doesn't always use the same message to push their agenda. I think they change their rhetoric as it suits them and to keep their message capable of sustaining itself.

SM69 said...


Can you allow me to clarify my previous post as it appears not to have bee sufficiently clear.

What did I say about Ari? That what he said was accurate correct for people like himself and that he offered solution that are important and needed. What did I say in that past about SBC? That the post was funny, and I do find it funny. Yes, there are children who are now adults with AS or HFA that were not diagnosed in my youth and that would be today. I agree and I have always said this. But kids who regressed like my son, like the 60% of the kids we see today could not have been missed when you and I were kids. They were not there and these are the children SBC, Ari, and others forget about. I stand by them, I want to remind you they are here.


Chelation has several function, one is to remove a whole bunch of toxins not just mercury and not just heavy metals either depending on type of chelation done. The other is to act as anti-oxydant, and finally depending on type, to work on sulfure chemistry. There is nothing specific to vaccine in that. The children I referred to who are coming off the spectrum, have not had any chelation. It was very hard work and very intensive, and one of them did ABA in addition to Biomed. It is highly, highly unlikely he would be the boy he now is, in mainstream, with friends, asking about his future, marriage, the car he would get as he is older(now age 7) without that highly intensive intervention.

I hope my views on Ari are a little clearer though.


EquiisSavant said...

As a diagnosed person with autism and savant abilities in art and the law, I have to say both yourself and Ari are wrong.

First, Ari is dead wrong that Aspies can run circles around everyone because of the "neurodiversity" pretense means they don't have any substantially limiting autism impairments that lock them out of employment, professional licensing, courts, and even daily caring for themselves absent disability accommodations, rules modifications, and/or effective communications formats and computer e-assistive technologies. I have three college degrees, including a law degree and passed the Nation's hardest bar examination (probably far more abilities than Ari), and I can assure Ari I need all of these accommdations etc. to be able to overcome the disabling parts of my autism.

However, I believe in neurodiversity "with" the above accommodations etc and changes made to eliminate the obstacles neurotypical society has thoughtlessly erected that exacerbate my disabling autism deficits.

On the other hand, I don't want to be "cured" at all, and don't like the idea of most medications. I am not saying I would not consider a very narrowly targeted future medication that did not impair the higher level autistic savant abilities I have, but I would need to ensure first the proposed medications only enhanced my savant autism, and did not defeat it outright or have nasty side effects that did the same.

Maybe neither yourself nor Ari are savants, and if this is the case, then maybe that's why I see it differently than you both -- sort of straddle between both of your positions. Being a prodigious savant with autism is a paradox -- between the really disabling aspaects and the highly prodigious gifts that would be a gift even in a neurotypical. To see what I am talking about, go to my EquiisAutistic Savant website:

I do think Ari does an terrible disservice to those of us with savant high functioning autism by passing off the false pretense (and fomenting the wrong stereotype) that if we have autism or Asperger's, we do not need any help at all to be a perfectly functioning employable member of society -- this is so false I am surprised the new journals that are publishing it have not been sued for fraud.

Really, the media needs to get more poster-people for autism and Asperger's, some of us who straddle the middle of loving our autism and savant syndromes, but who do need much assistance, help, and yes -- extensive accommodations etc.

I enjoyed your post, even though I am in partial disagreement. However, I disagree far more with Ari's perspective.

Thanks, ignore the homophobic attacks, and keep writing for everyone to read and contemplate !

Marius Filip said...

The last intervention of Ari Ne'eman in Newsweek is quite a proof that he still thinks autism not being a true disability but rather a social one.

"Our lives are not destroyed, our futures are not stolen" - what the heck is that if not the opinion that autism is not that bad after all and actually one can get along with it quite well?

And if the big, fat elephant of autism's horrific reality does not fit in the bottle, we invent the term "co-morbidity" and place in the co-morbidity basket everything that is embarrassing for the "positive autism" agenda.

Now I invite you to think a little about a well known political figure, namely Joseph Stalin.

Don't you dare to think Joseph Stalin was a criminal!

No, folks, he was not - he was thinking only about the good of his own country, like any other leader - but in different terms than the politicians in the West.

What's wrong with being different?

It's true, it's true, he happened to put 20 million of his own people to death by bullet, forced labor or starvation.

But that was a "co-morbidity", and not at all incumbent on the political doctrine that he so dearly upheld.

Pretty much the same with autism.

Separate from autism and label as "co-morbidity" things like social ineptitude, lack of speech, mental impairment, seizures, difficulty to understand or conceptualize, uncontrolled frustration, motor planning impairments, gastro-intestinal discomfort, and so on and so forth - and you end up with that "our lives ain't stolen, just different" thing.

jonathan said...

Lorene: The problem is Ari Ne'eman does not speak just for himself. He attempts to speak for all autistic people regardless of where they are on the spectrum. You can watch the disgusting nomyths PSA, you can read his writings on various topics including his article where he disputes autism is a disability and you will notice, "us" "we" "our", etc. Not "I". He has no right to speak for me, let alone someone like your son, or John Best's son who are not even capable of speaking period. He also promotes his agenda using tax dollars before the IACC which was created with the sole purpose of finding ways to cure and prevent autism medically. I find it hard to believe that Ne'eman's (and Katie Miller's) testimony before the IACC is legal by U.S. federal law.

......I'm Anonymous said...


Instead of complaining about Ari, why don't you start your own organization to get your views out? There are a lot more people that believe like you than believe like Ari that could help you.

jonathan said...

Anonymous: Because my autism is much more severe than is Ari's so it would impair me from doing such an endeavor.

SM69 said...

It is all too easy to forget the reality of the life of someone like Jonathan, clearly able to write new blog entries once or more, a week. It is all too easy to forget that every day matters, happiness, true inclusion in our society etc. remain very difficult and a constant struggle. It’s all too easy to forget that to deal with this, often means to be in total isolation. It’s all too easy to forget the daily struggles of other people more affected still, those who cannot speak, those who can not make sense of their world, those in total dependency, at the mercy of the worse possible abuse.

If I did not know about autism, I would be a fool myself.

I learned about autism and got into it much before my son was ever born. The book that got me into this was from a German autistic non verbal boy, written in 1973 (I was 7 then). His name is Birger Sellin, his book, I Don't Want to Be Inside Me Anymore: Messages from Autistic Mind ( . It was presenting a view of autism that I would now call, romantic. This boy was seen as being trapped inside himself, only able to communicate the most eloquent form of poetry through assisted communication with the help of his mother. She seemed to be the only person understanding him and enabling to let him be expressive. To me, this book represented a sum of cumulating influences; anti-war, revolution, politics, freedom, even sexuality (for God sake), individualities of mind, and definitely very socialist ideas, or should I say Democrats for you guys?

And if my son was not born after that initial book, I would have then moved on to SBC, no doubt, and guess what? I would have found it to be a highly intellectually pleasing read.

What did we once said?: Autism as a good dinner table conversation? Yeah, a good table dinner topic, no reality to it, other than a spectral academic and intellectual one. I have lived in academic illusions most of my adult life, I know what it feels like.

Well, I have not stopped at that romantic glossy autism picture. I have seen most its facets, experienced it personally with my gut, hated it too, more than once. I have felt it with my hands and with my tears. With my smiles too and with my love.

A little emotional here no doubt. This is to come to the point that brings us here, the emotions, surrounding autism. Let’s always, always, always be real about it.

Let’s be clear about who is doing what, and for which reason. And let’s be clear about what exactly is needed for everyone.

Halickb (I love these words verification)

jonathan said...

Funny the Wikipedia entry that you linked to said that Sellin was born in 1973 I did not think that he wrote the back when he was an infant, so I checked the amazon entry for the book which states that it was published in 1996. I seem to remember when the book came out though I have not read the book. What year was Lloyd born? I don't think it was too far after 1996.

Aside from writing a post that contains such grossly inaccurate information I am not sure what the point is that you are trying to make.

SM69 said...

I have read the book in French, I have it in front of me as I type. It was published in 1993, the year I got married and the year my daughter was born. Lloyd is born on 1995. The read is pretty amazing actually. But of course, then there was all this controversy about it being all made up. I must read it again though, going round in full circle.

Ohh! I love this word even more, check this one out: sadvkzoo

Now pronouce this fast 10 x for a laugh/

Well, I could not even spell it correctly, so I have now an easier one, quiet sweet: shies


To say in the right sequence 10x fast

SM69 said...

The point of the post is that autism is complex and affects people in many ways. Everyone on of us sees the issues from their own perspective, none of which is fully accurate and complete. None of which is wrong either. In other words: The point is about your silly little arguments with all these people that do not make much sense. I am trying to make sense to this mess. I think someone out there hopefully will understand.

To get the year wrong is not grossly inaccurate; you have misused the word I believe. I have read the book and I have indirectly reflected upon it for 16 years.



jypsy said...

Hardcover published in English on Jan 1, 1995. Paperback in April 1996.

I've read it (likely in '96), it's on my bookshelf, I remember nothing about it...

Ender said...

Hey just curious, did you complain when Jenny McCarthy was given an article that didn't talk to neurodiversity at all? Is that properganda, is certainly is only mentioning one side of the story isn't it. You just don't want us to have any voice do you... that would certainly make your voice a lot louder

jonathan said...

Ender: Jenny McCarthy is completely different. She is just a mother who has good intentions but is misguided. She is not someone who is spreading propaganda trying to speak for me by saying that "We don't want to be cured" which includes me. There are a sea of ND websites that not only complain about Jenny McCarthy but go with the ad hominem "jenny mcdumbell" attacks. Hardly anyone complains about ND's getting attention.

I am fine with ND getting a voice in fact I have stated previously that I disagreed with Lenny Shaffer when he was quoted about saying don't write about them. I say they should get publicity, because they will look like the fools that they are. People will see how inane their position is and decide for themselves. I have no doubts about that. I just think it is time for the media to focus on a spectrumite high functioning enough (not necessarily me) that says, enough is enough I want research done to help cure this. As far as I know, there is not a single example of this. I would appreciate it if you could point me to one.

Ender said...

When J-Mac and his mom were on Larry King with McCarthy last April they were constantly taljing about desiring a cure, granted J-Mac did very little of the talking. Does that count?

The problem is, your in the minority of high functioning autistics/aspies. Even autistics like DJ Saverse don't really seem to desire a cure, and he is an incredibly severe autistic (outside of his ability to talk using a computer quite well). I can't think of a single well known person with HFA or asperger's that desires a cure as much as you. J-Mac doesn't seem to want it, Henry Stills/ Wyatt (I forget his last name) don't seem to want it, Marinos kid doesn't seem to want it, Luke Jackson doesn't seem to want it, etc.

Every other autistic whos voice is getting out is made through gaining followers, like Ari and Alex, thats the only way you will get your voice out there is to get followers who agree with you and will support you. And you won't do it because most high functioning autistics and aspies (the type of autistic that can get on a computer and socialize here) won't agree with you. Feel free to try to prove me wrong if you think you can.

Jake Crosby said...

You know, I forgot to put this in my first comment, but Sullivan assumed I knew the Ari Ne'man article was destined to run as is to say I wrote my open letter just to stir up some sensationalism among the blogosphere. There is no way I could have known that, I didn't even know for sure that the article would run. I conceded in the intro to my letter that it was just a rumor, and nothing I considered definite at the time.

I genuinely wanted Newsweek to give some equal time to me or a like-minded person, because the Ari Ne'eman article alone would only add to the impression that high-functioning autistics are predominantly NDs, for which there is no evidence to back this up.

Marius Filip said...

Perhaps not a lot of people know that the priests in the Orthodox Church are allowed to marry.

As is well known, Catholic priests are not allowed to marry. I haven't seen a single Catholic priest saying he'd like to marry, but there is at least one Catholic priest who says he wouldn't marry even if the Church allowed him to (I saw a debate in TV here on the subject some years ago).

My 2 cents question is: supposing the Pope says tomorrow that Catholic priests are allowed to marry, how many of them would stay celibate?

My estimation is under 2%. Although, when taking vows, 100% of them abide to celibacy.

It is easy to say you don't want a cure when there is none available.

If one were available, I doubt very much that the majority that Ender speaks about so proudly would refuse a cure - especially if it were quick, effective and inexpensive.

Marius Filip said...


I saw a documentary about a savant child (painter) who underwent behavioral therapy. As he opened up and his personality became more rounded, he was gradually losing his savant skills.

Yes, maybe a cure would imply losing some peculiarities - savant skills for example. But think of the gains.

And my questions is: what's the use of the savant skills if they can't be put to good use? You speak about a neurotypical society which makes things harder for autistics to fructify their skills.

You should not speak so lightly about that. Life isn't a rosy fairytale for neurotypicals either. If you have a talent, you need hard work and good luck to fructify what you have, neurotypical or not.

Maybe you don't believe it, but there's a lot of cruelty and insensitivity out there, outside of the spectrum. Dividing humanity in "we" versus "us" is pointless and unsubstantiated, I believe.

I do not think society should make a special treatment for autistic savant skills - or any other skill, for that matter.

If the savant skills prove to be useful to anything, they should prove to be so in the society as it is. If they don't, then they're worthless - from a societal perspective.

It is the society's desire for something that adorns that something with value. If that desire doesn't occur, then there is no value in it, at least at the moment of the observation (nobody can predict the future).

The examples are so numerous, from industries to arts and crafts (artists who were nobody during life and became giants after death) that I don't have to mention any.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading up on your site for a paper on Autism and noticed your obsession with Ari Neeman, you tend to fixate on anything he does, and see no problem agreeing with someone who believes in advocating for the arrest and execution of a twenty one year old for daring to disagree with John Best. Being wrong isn’t a capital offense and if I were Ari, I’d take out a restraining order or sue you for libel. This is a young man who has achieved a considerable amount in a few short years and obviously must have some merit because a lot of important people seem to be listening to him. I noticed Arianna Huffington, Dan Marino and the Obamas are seeking him out. He’s accomplishing a lot, good or bad.

Whenever you asked why you don’t do the same, advocate and organize to counter him, you have said “Because my autism is much more severe than is Ari's so it would impair me from doing such an endeavor.”

Are you medically aware of his condition that you can judge how severe it is? Have you seen his medical records that you would know how much he has to endure? Have you known him personally that you can describe what he is like?

I think you are honestly making excuses, because you are extremely jealous of his success at a ridiculously young age, because he proves that one can accomplish great things with a disability to the point where it can become an asset. It seems all you want to do is pity yourself and other Autistics, and blame it for your own failures.

This isn't a healthy attitude at all! Just because you are disabled doesn’t make you helpless. Advocating for a cure is fine, reasonable debate is fine, but you’re taking it to almost a stalkerish level and I’m frankly frightened by it for him.

Why are you so obsessed with him?

What’s sad is I disagree with Ari on a lot of points, I think Autism is a problem, but I imagine if he read my paper which disagrees with him considerably, we could have reasonable dialogue over it. And as the cousin of an Autistic person, I’m aware of its terrible toll, but I think his ideas are merely flawed, not dangerous and can evolve into something better if given reasonable discussion.

What you are doing is fairly beneath you and I think a change in your tactics is quite warranted.

jonathan said...

If a 21-year-old college kid with no money wants to spend tens of thousands on attorney fees on an absolutely groundless libel suit, then fine. I have not said anything about Ari that is not true. I never said I agreed with Best's statements that he should be tried criminally and executed. In fact I said those statements were over the top if you would read my posts more carefully.

I am not obsessed with Ari. It is just that he has a position which I take great offense to. I believe I should have an opportunity to tell my side of the story and refute his nonsense about autism being no tragedy and autistic people being just fine the way they are. If that is a libelous statement then I must be in Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany when I thought i was here in the good ol' usa. The fact that he is a public figure and gone well out of his way to become one and the only device I have to refute his nonsense is this blog, since GMA and newsweek won't give me equal time. The fairness doctrine has been rescinded by congress so I cannot sue GMA for equal time the way I could in the past unless congress brings back the fairness doctrine.

I will never be able to think about being a Rhoades Scholar or going to law school. I could never network with these people in the social situations that Ari does. Therefore there is no question at all my autism is far more severe than his.

John Best said...

You're too cowardly to state your name and you don't even have the nuts to question me about my statements. Instead, you attack someone who mentioned my words.

Have Ne'eman sue me. He knows he can't because he knows he's a liar himself.

Stephanie said...

I'm a "prodigious savant" and I want to get rid of my autism. It hurts my talent and I am unable to use my talents to make a living because of my autism. I'm also "more prodigious" than you and I still want to get rid of it. You are also much higher functioning than I am: I will probably never even earn one college degree even though I have a high IQ.

If I got rid of my autism I would still be an intelligent, talented, introverted person, I just wouldn't have the autistic symptoms.

If I wasn't autistic I would simply be a "prodigy" not a "prodigious savant."

MOST artists, musicians, poets, etc. are NOT autistic. A VERY SMALL minority are; most that are "autistic" have been diagnosed years after their DEATH, not in life, so this cannot be proven.