Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I believe in free speech, except for Jenny McCarthy
Did you know that there is evidence that Savannah State football players suffer from a defect that, in a controversial theory being postulated by some, is caused by the Savannah State campus's approximate distance from Wiley's Championship BBQ and other fine Savannah restaurants. Take this factor, multiply it by pi (that's 3.1416 etc., not lemon meringue), and you find the defect that will prevent the Tigers from fielding a winning team, at least until you put them on a special milk-free diet. Ludicrous? Sure, but no more ludicrous than the bizarre notions being spewed forth by "actress" Jenny McCarthy and others in the name of "curing" autism in children.
Autism, if you don't know, is a wide spectrum of issues that affect the way one out of every 110 people communicate and/or interact with others. Many people with disorders on the autism spectrum make poor eye-contact or perform actions such as rocking back and forth, waving their arms, or repeating with alarming detail the way you cursed out another driver during a road-rage fit, including the date and time of the incident and the proper conjugation of the curse words. Before you gasp at the flippantness of that last sentence, I should let you know that our daughter is autistic, so I speak from experience. I also wouldn't "cure" her for all the money in the world.
The latest in what has been an endless line of evidence that there is no known cause for autism, nor a medical "cure", comes from a panel of experts publishing in the journal Pediatrics. The report says there is no evidence that digestive problems are more prevalent in children with autism than in others, and that special diets being hocked by McCarthy and other charlatans don't do a thing to change autistic behavior. It's the latest blow to what we will call Wakefieldism, named after British doctor Andrew Wakefield, who finagled a study in 1998 that he claimed linked autism and a bowel disorder to the measles vaccine.
No serious researcher has ever confirmed Wakefield's findings, but that hasn't stopped him from making a ton of money at his clinic in Texas. It also hasn't stopped McCarthy from lecturing us that autism would go away if we simply expose our kids to the risk of measles, whooping cough and polio and have them eat char-grilled bean sprout burgers on gluten-free buns three times a day. I have a hard enough time getting our kid to eat normal, child-friendly food, not because she can't poop properly but because she inherited her father's childhood finickiness. But even if I could eliminate the fun from her diet, I wouldn't because it wouldn't change her autistic behavior one bit.
Ms. McCarthy and many other parents of autistic children would argue with me until they were blue in the face, but...and let me type this slowly so it sinks in....there is no evidence on their side. None, nada, zip, zero, not an iota of medical evidence backs them up. You can't say it hasn't been studied, because autism has been looked at incessantly for over eleven years ever since Mr. Wakefield apparently decided he needed a get-rich-quick scheme. I know, I know. The lack of medical evidence is part of the conspiracy and coverup by the vaccine companies, the government, Donald Trump's hair, and the aliens locked in the secret room at the top of the gold dome at Savannah City Hall. Silly me.
Yes, being a parent of an autistic child is difficult. So is being the parent of a blind child or a deaf child or a child with down syndrome. Our autistic daughter also brings us joy for her laughter, her musical gifts, her ability to read and do math well above her first-grade level, and the love she showers upon her little sister. Sure, her behavior is sometimes hard to control, but you know what, so is mine, particularly when Jenny McCarthy tells me how much I stink as a parent. I believe in the first amendment as much as anyone, but if there ever is censorship of ex-blond bimbos, I might look the other way.