Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Depths of Idiocy

Okay, I am finally peeved enough about Michael Savage's inane rants about autism over the past few days to invest a few moments' time in writing about it. The fact that this has been discussed exhaustively elsewhere bears no inhibiting influence on my need to write about it - I need to get this off my chest and move on.

Perhaps I have been slower to react to this due to the fact that I have listened to Michael Savage's talk show over the years. I have a lengthy drive home, and for the sake of diversity I often change up the listening material I garner from the radio. Someday I hope to be able to afford these products and therefore to while away the car time in a state of continuing-education bliss. In the meantime, I have spent too many hours listening to the likes of this blowhard.

So when I initially heard about the controversial statements he had made, I said to myself, "Self, this is no big deal. Savage insults somebody at this level of magnitude virtually every day. Its his shtick, nobody will pay attention to this garbage. Plus, if you put virtually anyone in front of a microphone for three hours a day, every day, foot will insert into mouth at some point."
Self was wrong. When Savage went on his little diatribe about autism diagnoses being a fraud, a play for the welfare of the state, the autism community and the greater disability community came unglued. Deservedly so.

So, Michael Savage went into damage control mode. Or at least his deranged little version of damage control, which reeks of conspiracy theory, paranoia, and a complete lack of respect or understanding of autistic people and those who love them. I maintain that Ben Stiller is a modern-day comic icon due to his ability to play roles that just make us cringe to watch. Witnessing Savage's self-inflicted, ego-driven tailspin was every bit as cringe-producing as anything Stiller has acted out on camera.

Though I missed the Talk Show Tour de Farce that occurred last night as a means to defuse the situation, I did tune in to The Savage Nation for the last time today to hear this guy sputter his way through what is hopefully his Swan Song as a radio personality. I was utterly fascinated to hear him spin his web of obfuscation and red herrings as a means of deflecting attention from the ugly truth of his bigotry on this topic. Here is how the reasoning goes:

Michael Savage believes that the APA, the AAP, and Big Pharma all conspired to have the diagnostic criteria broadened in the 90's. This was done in an effort to promote the sale of more SSRI's (anti-depressants, anti-anxiety).
Pediatricians are envious of other doctors, such as plastic surgeons, due to the disparity in income (does anyone see echoes of anti-vax sentiment in these statements, hmmm?). "They", meaning the AAP, therefore conspired with drug makers to invent this new Dx so that both groups could increase their revenue and profit margins. (Apparently Savage is not aware that pediatricians are not involved directly in the diagnosis of, or treatment of, autism).
Parents are vacuous, drooling, knuckle-dragging, self-centered morons who buy this line from the aforementioned triumvirate and submit their kids to a parade of narcotics in the name of controlling their behavior. These same parents take no responsibility for the behaviors of the kids they brought into the world, allowing them to scream and carry on. Nothing a good beatin' wouldn't solve, right Dr. Savage?
Do you get the picture he is painting? As I listened today, he had the gall to say (and I am paraphrasing - this is not a direct quote):
"You should be lauding me as a hero, not reviling me - for bringing this subject to your attention. I am the defender of the defenseless!"
Can you believe this guy? He actually discounts an entire category of people, is excoriated for it in the national media, then tries to recast himself as some sort of martyr who only has the kids' best interests in mind!

Most readers of this blog (all 17 of you) have the critical thinking skills to know a Purveyor of Woo when you see one, right? Well, as further example of Michael Savage's debased version of critical thinking skills, let's just examine a few of the "headlines" from MichaelSavage.com, shall we?

The Life-Saver Heart Surgeons Never Tell You About
This 23-cent miracle could save your life!
Billion dollar drug company found a cure for cancer ... and TOLD NO ONE!!!
They hid the cure to sell you more drugs!
(or, perhaps most telling of all...)
Support the Michael Savage Legal Defense Fund
(Donations are not tax deductible)

Does this give you an idea of who we are dealing with, and why I assumed the whole thing would receive no airtime whatsoever? Nobody really takes this guy seriously, or so I thought.
I truly became outraged only today when listening to this bigot (as opposed to observing the commentary on the internet) made me realize that many of his listeners will actually buy into and support this line of crap. Autism is known as "the hidden disability", and its subtle presentation in many people can cause extensive problems in day-to-day interactions. My friend, Bev, is the best I know at capturing this aspect of autism and presenting in a fashion that makes it easy for people like me to understand. She exquisitely and poignantly describes some of the challenges and issues that my son will be facing as life progresses, and thousands of others like him.
Shame on Michael Savage for using his bully pulpit to try to make life more challenging for my son. Shame on him for discounting the struggles of autistic people. Shame on him for ignoring the existence of autistic adults (they're not all little kids, ya know?). Shame on him for scoffing at the need to accommodate and support people with special needs. Shame!


bullet said...

Oh but it's so much easier to blame the parents. I'm sure my older son's severe auditory processing difficulties, his fantastic memory, his love of numbers and counting and his upset when little things change are merely done because he hasn't been disciplined (Sarcasm).

Angela said...

I about spit my coffe all over the monitor when he claimed Autism to be a fraud and under-diagnosed....

Club 166 said...

If it's interesting education you want (and at the perfect price) then you could do much worse than MIT


Laura said...

Yes, sadly, people do buy into his ignorant philosophy - including parents. Meet OneMom ( http://onemom.wordpress.com/ ) Be sure to read about her 6 year old nonverbal daughter. Her daughter is under the care of Dr. Camarata, who weighed in as an "expert" during Savage's controversial show. Also meet Missy ( http://www.thethreeof.us/home/blog/index.php ) She's a real charmer. Same backstory - when son presented as autistic, she brought him to Camarata who reassured her that her son was just a late talker. I belonged to a yahoo group with 2500+ members, including them. They counsel each other on how to dodge doctors and speech therapists.

Chaoticidealism said...

Little off-topic, but have you checked out Berkeley's podcasts? A lot of their undergrad courses are available to the general public. I've gotten very fond of them.


Casdok said...

Your right i think some of his listeners will agree with him.

Much shame.

Another Voice said...

At least he is now gone.