Posted by: debstake | November 21, 2008

Denis Leary, Chapter 6 of Why We Suck. Autism Shmautism

Back in October Mr. Leary apologized for his rude comments about autism. He went further to say that his remarks were “taken out of context”. You be the judge.

” In my day self-esteem came from actual performance and a clear understanding of your place in the world. The facts were laid out almost from the get go-if you wanted to be a model and you were a girl you had to be tall and thin. If you wanted to play baseball there was no god**** wiffle ball or a special “soft” pretend, fakey baseball set up on top of a standing tee-you had to learn how to hit an actual pitched HARD baseball. Which sometimes would hit you in the face if you didn’t get out of the way fast enough. Which would break your face. Which would hurt like hell. If you wanted to be in a rock band you had to learn how to sing and actually play an instrument. While on drugs. Lots of drugs. If you were ugly then you were ugly and there was very little hope you were going to change the way you looked unless the baseball that crushed your face rearranged the bones and let you come out the other end looking like George Clooney. There were the cold, hard facts of life and your parents were in charge of supplying you with every single one of them.

There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumbass kids can’t compete academically so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks and psychotherapists to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a shit what these crackerjack whackjobs tell you–your kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both. (My interpretation of this paragraph: One, Leary is not qualified to make the assumption he is making. Two, this is the exact same paragraph that went all over the internet and started the uproar to begin with. Word for word this is that paragraph. So I want to know how ANYONE took this out of context?)

I have known a couple of autistic children and let me tell you something they both have in common–they are extremely bright and attentive and much like Rain Man–have individual talents and abilities that would lay your empty little tyke’s video game–addled soul to waste. A truly autistic child may be able to reproduce music he or she hears with perfect pitch–entire classical pieces, the rock opera Tommy, the latest Broadway musical–over and over again. OR tell you instantly upon hearing what your birthday is–what day it has fallen on every year for the last four decades. What the weather was on those days. Who the president was at the time. What the number one song on the radio was just before singing it note for note and word for word. THAT’S an autistic child. Not some fat-assed simpleton whose brain has been fried by television and the Xbox and no proper daily attention from his or her supposedly caring parents.  (What Leary describes is also known as savant skills. These skills (the last time I checked) accounted for less than three percent of the autistic population. And knowing a couple (couple = 2) of autistic kids with savant abilities does not equate knowing what autism is. Also he gave himself away with the line “over and over again”. This repetitive nature of the autistic is what makes them savants with special skill sets to begin with. It is also one of the criteria that qualifies them for an autistic diagnosis. And again Leary is not qualified to diagnosis or undiagnose a child with this VERY narrow interpretation of autism.)

Maybe your kid is not autistic. Maybe he’s just a dolt. And thank your luck stars (agreed) for that. Face the facts.

Autism is up and who knows why–parents who wasted time, their braincells and a lot of healthy DNA on way to many recreational drugs (if he is right then he should be on his hands and knees thanking God for his luck too) is this doctors guess–but I refuse to sit here and believe that half the idiotic offspring I come across even amongst my own friends and family are part of the problem.

I recently heard an interview with the brother of acclaimed author Augusten Burroughs. This brother guy invented the gizmo that allows smoke and a small fireworks display to spazz out of electric guitars on stage. He did it while working as a roadie/techie for the band Kiss. Ace Frehley turned to him one day and said Hey, can you make smoke ‘n shit fly outta my Axe while I’m playin’ it? So this guy did so. Not a huge contribution to society but hey–it is what it is and he made a good living at it. The reason I bring this up is: the interview was about a book this brother had written because when he was about fifty years old he almost completely self-diagnosed himself as having Asperger’s syndrome.

In the interview he said that all of his life people thought he was odd. He would talk to people but had trouble making eye contact with them and he knew — somehow, somewhere deep down inside — he was different. Because they wouldn’t talk back. They would usually just not and walk away.

Ok that is all the time I am about to give Leary. The chapter is almost 20 pages long and he rants and raves as he normally does. If you are interested in reading the chapter go to your local library (as I did) and read it. Don’t buy this book. It’s not worth the money and once again Leary proves just what a moron he really is. To think I used to be a fan….what was I thinking?



  1. “Sorry about the challenges of autism. It’s just that I don’t want all the kids who are unpopular and/or difficult to understand being lumped in with those kids who actually have autism.”

    I agree with you Jennifer. I have actually written several posts on the accuracy of the autism epidemic.

    There are those (myself included) who believe the numbers have been inflated by the CDC in order to disassociate the connection between thimerasol and autism.

    They are lumping ADHA/ADD/PDD-NOS/Aspergers and autism under the same umbrella and counting it all as autism.

  2. He’s mean-spirited and not very articulate, but everything’s getting portrayed as autistic these days. “Oh, he makes socially awkward remarks and has pi memorized to 500 digits. He must be mildly autistic.” It goes beyond that, too. Any kid who’s different gets harassed by adults and treated as though he or she had a disability. Let your kid be a loner. Let your kid have an imagination or act smarter than the other kids. Let your kid be “nerdy.” Not everyone is like those people who feel that it was a moment of revelation when they learned to pathologize themselves. Many people would have a better life if they didn’t have someone trying to pathologize them.
    Sorry about the challenges of autism. It’s just that I don’t want all the kids who are unpopular and/or difficult to understand being lumped in with those kids who actually have autism.

  3. Hi, cool post. I have been thinking about this issue,so thanks for writing. I’ll probably be coming back to your posts. Keep up the good work

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