And so, this was the week that the anti-vaccine/autism hypothesis got its first real airing in a public arena. Jenny McCarthy went on US TV and told her audience that her son was her science (quite possibly _the_ silliest thing on the show since Tom Cruise’s couch/brain malfunction).
I’m going to level with you here. I don’t really care too much about Jenny McCarthy spouting on about the evils of vaccines. She’s not the first and she won’t be the last. Despite the raptures the anti-vaccination people are having over her appearance she wasn’t on Oprah because of her vaccine ideas.
This is what bothers me: she was on Oprah because she was famous. It scares the _shit_ out of me that we can only apparently have a conversation about something after a celeb has let the light of their countenance shine down upon it.
The UK is just as ridiculous about this whole thing as the US. Its got to a stage whereby the subject under discussion doesn’t even seem to really matter to Joe Public – what seems to matter is that there’s a famous face pontificating on a subject that, in all honesty, they’ve probably only recently begun to get a firm grasp on themselves.
To put it another way, the Oprah show wasn’t about autism. It was about Jenny McCarthy. It was to sell copies of her book. Her appearance on People magazine is to increase book sales. Her upcoming appearance on Larry King is to increase book sales. None of it is about _autism_ . None of this will help the autism community. Even that subsection of the autism community who are anti-vaccine are kidding themselves if they think that after the dust settles on Jenny McCarthy’s book she will be around to lead them in their fight. Until its time for the sequel of course.
Is the autism community really so shallow that we are going into raptures because a celeb is speaking about a subject that vast majority of us could speak much more accurately and eloquently about? It seems some of us are.
In the meantime, whilst Jenny McCarthy is being lucratively controversial on Oprah, the vast majority of autistic kids are still not getting the right kind of educational placement. Whilst Jenny McCarthy’s Media Clean Up Crew are attempting hoover away every mention of her Indigo Children beliefs from the web lest they affect book sales, autistic adults are still struggling to get into appropriate work and living accommodations.
I would urge autism parents to spend the ten quid they were going to spend on Jenny McCarthy’s book on something that might actually help autistic people instead of helping line the pockets of Jenny McCarthy.