Oh My Gawd Sodagirl!
Autistic children are stupid and lazy.

October 15, 2008

Does that title offend you? It does me. I wrote about comedian/actor Denis Leary today at work, here. Leary’s written a new book, which I’m guessing will be a big seller (you don’t want to know what I’m really thinking right now), called Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide To Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. I suppose he needed a snappy title because really, does anyone pay any attention to him anymore? Was he ever funny? Perhaps attacking children and their parents was his way of saying, ‘hey look at me! I’m still here!’ (Still not funny though).

It takes a lot to offend me – really, it does. I can dish out politically incorrect humor with the best of them, sarcasm and black comedy can be oodles of fun and although I’m a crybaby at times, in certain areas of my life, I can take crap dished out to me. However, when some jackass has-been ‘comedian’ is trying to stay relevant to the times by bringing up the subject of autism in his book and calling parents of children with autism “inattentive,” and “competitive,” and in a nutshell, says there’s really no such thing as autism, it just means our children are stupid and/or lazy, I take offense. Here is what he wrote:

“There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks…. to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”

I’ll assume he was attempting to be comedic (sort of missed the mark on that one). I’ll assume the premise of his book is to bring focus on the way we live today, the way we parent our children, the way we overeat, don’t exercise, talk too much, we don’t work hard enough, we overindulge in every aspect of living – just a general decline in how, we, as a society, walk through the world right now. I get it. He’s trying to be witty and humorous and probably throwing a dash of sarcasm in the book too – but honestly, implying – hell, saying – that inattentive parents are to blame for a child with autism is ridiculous. Or to say that a child who has been diagnosed with autism, doesn’t really have that, he’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or hey, both, is just wrong.

Would I be as offended by his comments if my own son wasn’t a special needs child? Maybe not, I don’t know. The fact is, my son is a child with many challenges – many. And he does display characteristics that fall into the autism spectrum, although his formal diagnosises do not include autism, those things are still present. And no way in hell, is some washed up douche bag, who knows nothing about raising a child with special needs, going to tell me (and many others) that my son’s afflictions are because I was/am an inattentive mother. Oh hell to the no. Of course there are crappy parents out there, that’s a fact of life. And perhaps those crappy parents have contributed to the fact that their child doesn’t flourish in whatever situation they may be in. But to say that I somehow, made my child the way he is, is ridiculous. My son was born the way he is – his brain is wired differently, his sensory and tactile issues are because he receives things differently than you or I, and sure, if I was a shitty parent, maybe he wouldn’t have made the progress he’s made.

I have gone to every specialist known to man, had tests done, therapy, read books, researched, attended seminars, worked with his schools – done whatever it takes to find answers, to get help for my child, to do whatever I can to make his life as fulfilling as it can possibly be. And for Denis Leary to be so flip about such a serious subject is not acceptable. Would he feel the same way if one of his children were autistic? Probably not – he’d blame their mother for giving him stupid and lazy children. He’s narrow-minded and ill-informed and so not funny.

When my son is struggling with his anxieties (and I have to talk him down for the 23rd time that day), at 12 still can’t tie his shoelaces (although I’ve been trying to teach him since he was 3), is made fun of because some of his behavior is perceived as odd (and still I walk proud with him in public even though we are both called names like freak, and weirdo), struggles to eat normally (I so want him to eat a slice of pizza or chow down on a burger, but that has yet to happen since we’ve not moved past baby food but we keep trying!), beats himself up verbally because he’s frustrated with not being able to handle a simple task (I hug him fiercely and help him articulate his thoughts so he can get that simple task done and be proud of his accomplishment) and looks at me with all the innocence of a preschooler (as I help him with his grade 3 spelling words even though he’s in grade 7, but he draws me the cutest pictures for my fridge), I’ll think of your words, and remind myself that it’s all because I’m an inattentive parent. If only I were a better mother to my son, then he wouldn’t be so stupid and lazy. Thank you for being so perceptive Denis Leary.

But hey Denis, good luck with your book. It’s great when chain-smoking, aging, past their prime, not funny, assholes try to get one more laugh out there.

Posted by Sassy @ 11:29 amKids,Semi Serious32 comments  

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32 Responses to “Autistic children are stupid and lazy.”

  1. I love you. And I love R. Beautifully written…I’ve passed it on and stumbled this. xoxoxo

  2. Mr. Leary AND HIS EDITOR, AND HIS PUBLISHER are indeed, Douchebags. Signed, an inattentive mom of two on the Spectrum.

  3. How very disappointing. I don’t even know any children on the spectrum, but I found that incredibly offensive, I’ve added to Karen’s stumble.

    What a shame, I used to love Denis Leary.

  4. Dennis Leary’s mistake is that he perceives children who struggle as stupid or lazy. What an old school idea. Yeah, he’s dating himself.

    Actually, he can have my pity. To be of such a small mind that he can’t comprehend the possibility that these are not dumb, stupid, or lazy children coming into the world (or their parents), but are children with amazing, yet different gifts.

    And my experience has been that parents of atypical kids are anything but inattentive. It takes a tremendous amount of strength and personal faith to see it through to the other side of wonder.

  5. I used to like Denis Leary, but now I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stand to look at him again.

    There’s humor, and then there’s being a dumbass. He is being an offensive dumbass, and I can’t believe he has the nerve to write something like that.

  6. I am speechless.

    Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it, Dennis?

    Fucking asshole.

  7. (Sorry. I didn’t mean to comment for the very first time on your blog and use back-to-back swears. Well…yes, I did. But still…worthy of another comment just to clarify.)

  8. Thank you all. I wish Mr. Leary could step into my shoes for just one day or the shoes of any parent who cares for a child(ren) who have many challenges in life – maybe he wouldn’t be so ignorant in the things he says.

    And mamatulip – swearing is allowed here. ;)

  9. Am speechless.

    Or maybe just too lazy and stupid to come up with a worthy retort.

    Go get ‘em.

  10. F*ck Denis Leary. He’s a douchebag. Always has been, always will be.

  11. Wow! This is why we have freedom of speech! Let’s just say IDIOT! Unbeleivable!

  12. Thank you for calling him out on this. This is a very important issue and you do it justice by calling him what he is.

    He must be pretty desperate to do this. After all, like you said, does he even have a comedy career anymore? No one even pays attention to him now.

    Im retweeting this post for you. (I found it on a tweet)

  13. WOW. What a small minded neolithic asshole. I am sitting here, slack jawed, unable to come up with a response that is anywhere near appropriate. Because I will never be able to see him again without thinking of THIS POST, and your child, and how much you love your child, and how much of a personal attack on so many parents that comment was.

  14. hi, here from trollbaby off twitter. great blog i will be back!!! :)

    when i was a kid i used to babysit three kids the oldest and youngest were autistic boys the daughter wasn’t. it was a huge yet rewarding challenge the one boy couldn’t speak at all, i look back and i really have no idea in hell how i was able to handle them, my hat is way off to you and the other mothers who deal with children with any special needs. their trapped minds made me so sad.

    im a leary lover i watch Rescue Me but i don’t know man, when i ban something or someone i BAN EM and i gotta really really think on this one. i am frankly appalled.

  15. Thank you all so much. Parenting a special needs child is HARD and draining at times, although the rewards are many as well. And it’s just so frustrating when one individual can be so ignorant in their thinking (and writing). I wonder how Denis Leary’s kids measure up – I mean, must they be perfect for him or he considers them stupid or lazy? Or both? Or perhaps he DOES feel his kids are perfect – and wow, perfect kids – where can I get me some of them! ;P

  16. what a small minded dick!
    (did I just write that outloud? hehe)

    Even when he was (supposedly) the shizat in the 90′s I thought he was an arogant putz then too. Now, I remember why I dislike him so much…

    I love ya Sassy girl and I know full well the struggles you’ve had with R. hell, you’ve even listened to me from time to time when the system fails K. as well.
    We’re momma bears, protecting our young and innocent is what we do best so just know, on this one:

    I’m standing right behind you on this one sayin’ “You Go Girl!”

  17. What a freaking asshole! That pisses me off soo unbelievably much! I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I sincerely doubt that anybody who reads his book will find that funny. Thats just a taboo thing to say, he should have never gone there and I’ll be pleased when his book and career flop – which they most likely will over this matter.

  18. I’m not a parent of a special needs child and I’m beyond offended. I can’t see how ANYONE could perceive this as even remotely funny.

    What a complete jerk he is.

  19. Wow Dennis I have been a long time fan but this really shakes my ideas about your understanding of mental health issues. You were spot on with “Rescue Me” snapshots of Psychosis and addictions……but now you just blew a good deal of your accountability as a member of the human race even. Hopefully peoples response will take you down a few notches from your own grandiose sense of who you are

  20. I want you to know how much admiration I have for those who care for autistic children. Those of us who don’t can not even comprehend what your days are like. So I stand in awe of all of you who do.

    As for Dennis Leary he is a foul mouthed small minded bully!

  21. OMG, your post made me cry. I actually used to like Leary back in the day. I hadn’t heard about this new book of his until I read your post. What a frickin moron. I guess he was right when he titled his one and only hit song “I’m an Asshole”, obviously he knows himself well.

    I just want to say, that from only reading your one post, ever, it seems like you are a wonderful mom with a wonderful child. I wish the best for you both. You sound like a fine example of how a mom is supposed to support her child – disabilities or not. So many moms don’t. (Which is why their kids don’t understand yours).

    My hat is off to you. Thank you for a touching and wonderful post!

  22. Thank you all for your kind words – it means a lot. :)

  23. Greetings Sassy. I found your post through a tweet from TXPoppet.
    Wow, Dennis Leary really is an ignorant idiot. Too bad, I always just thought he played one on TV, and I liked him. Not anymore. He’s an ass.

  24. Long time reader here, not sure if I have commented before but this also struck a cord with me when I read about his comments.

    I am a respit worker to a 22 year old girl with autisim, I have been for the past 12 years and she is such a light in my life, she has taught me so much about myself and I can imagine not having her with me as my sidekick, I admire her innosence, and her pure love for life. I also have a neice with special needs.I was so outraged with this ass that I had visions of tracking him down with my autistic angel by my side and letting her kick his nuts into his throat. I would have taught her do do it just so!

    Its just disgusting to hear this jackass to say that there is nothing wrong with her, shes just lazy and stupid, I work really hard to try and help people understand what autisim is about, only to have this peice of shit, pardon my language, tear them down with his moronic views, Ugh i could go on for ever about this! but I’ll stop here.

    I really do understand how you feel about this.

  25. 你的文章很有意思

  26. Ya know, I was browsing through your blog, thinking you were pretty hilarious. And then I came BACK to this post and actually read it. Holy hell. First of all, it’s obvious that Denis Leary is a douche-bag with no concept of reality. Clearly he has no kids, or if he does, they’re with Mom 98% of the time. What an ass.
    I teach and therefore know the variety of struggles that children with special needs have. But in the 7 years I’ve taught, I don’t think I’ve EVER come across a child with special needs whose parents are lazy. That’s the furthest definition from the truth. Sure….frustrated, confused, helpless… but not lazy. And all of those aforementioned descriptions are all out of love and wanting nothing more than for their child to be successful.
    Good for you for standing up for yourself and your child. And really, for everyone else that has read or will read his stupid book. Ugh.

  27. I don’t have a child with Autism or behavioural issues (although, I am only pregnant with my second, so goodness knows where I will end up) and Denis Leary’s comments offended me.

    Lazy parents? Hell, the mothers of autistic children that I know are SO far from lazy that it isn’t funny. Lazy is not something you could ever call them.

  28. To be so ignorant of such a pervasive condition just proves how out of touch he is. Considering how much of his audience he has offended by this comment, I can’t imagine a comeback is in the works.

  29. hi wanted to tell you as a father to twin autistic sons, i feel your pain. i dont hold back when anyone in everyday society hollywood etc, makes little difference to me. my sons went from being born 10 weeks early to becoming autistic. i seeen them do many things, hand flapping to just staring at the ceiling fan. but i will say they are some of the most beautiful children in the world. my sons dont use racial remarks or pass judgement. called a guranteed ticket to heaven

  30. [...] « Previous Main [...]

  31. While he might have missed the mark he does raise an interesting point about the overmedicialization of our society. We’re so quick to want to diagnose and ‘fix’ every problem that comes up rather than accepting and growing. Even in your rebuttal there seems to be a bitterness over the fact that your child is different and you have to help him with so many tasks that are considered basic.

  32. Joseph, while there are cases of parents and/or “professionals” wanting to find an easy “fix” for their kid, Denis Leary could have raised that topic without saying autistic children are stupid and/or lazy or that their parents are inattentive. And the point I was making when listing just a sample of what I do with my son, is to show Mr. Leary that I’m not inattentive to my son’s needs. And your comment that I have a bitterness? Totally off the mark, sorry. I’m not bitter, I don’t blame my son or God, or anyone else,for being the way he is nor do I wish he was someone or something else. *I* accept him for all of his special needs and challenges – it’s usually rude people in public, who have a problem with him. Yes, parenting a child with many things going on all at once is hard, I openly admit that, but never have I wanted my son to be any other way. Yes, I want the best for him, and whatever his “best” is, I’m going to help him get there.





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