Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cure Bad Analogies Now

This time I'm not talking about apocalyptic curebies who use appalling language such as human tidal wave to refer to autistic people (although Deirdre Imus and her ilk deserve all the Internet bashing they get). Rather, this post has to do with the use of a certain corporate analogy to describe Autism Speaks' acquisitions.

After gobbling up the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and its genetic research projects, Autism Speaks also proceeded to swallow Cure Autism Now (CAN), thus becoming a monopolist of anti-autism eugenics research. That prompted this gushing praise on a curebie website: "Autism Speaks is earning a place as the Microsoft of the autism world!"


Uh, no. Not quite.

Although many of us love to hate greedy Microsoft (and I'm not a big fan of Bill "Coward of the Decade" Gates myself) the fact remains that Microsoft has contributed greatly to the world's productivity and prosperity by selling standardized mass-market computer software. Autism Speaks, on the other hand, has not benefited the world's autistic population in any way whatsoever—no funding for educational programs, no providing communication devices, no nothing. So I'd suggest a different analogy:

Autism Speaks is the Pac-Man of the autism world.

(Complete with clown nose and hat.)

It runs around frantically doing nothing worthwhile and gobbling up everything it sees—and eventually, it will have made enough wrong turns (such as condoning child murder, etc.) so that society will give it the "Game Over" screen.

Edit, December 24, 2006: My description of autism.about.com as a curebie website gushing over Autism Speaks seems to have been unfair. The site's editor, Lisa Jo Rudy, has just posted a very positive collection of photos and quotes from parents and others who discuss what they love most about the autistic person in their lives. I recommend it.



  • If one wanted to donate money to an autism-related organization or effort, which one(s) would you recommend?

    By Anonymous Solaesta, at 10:25 AM  

  • I'm no expert of political correctness but I was kind of hoping that was a party hat not a dunces! Analogies are tricky beasts. cheers

    By Blogger mcewen, at 11:31 AM  

  • The web presence of Autism Speaks seems to be declining. Well deserved? I might post about that after observing it a few more months.

    If one wanted to donate money to an autism-related organization or effort, which one(s) would you recommend?

    At the moment I can only think of The Autism Acceptance Project. You can also support the maintenance of the Autism Hub by buying T-Shirts there.

    By Blogger Joseph, at 12:28 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 12:58 PM  

  • JB, you've got some cajones. I've gotta say, the Battle of the Blog Products" delivers the LOLs!

    By Blogger little bo peep, at 1:16 PM  

  • To Bill's credit, he has given significantly to some really worthwhile charities, such as fighting AIDS. I'm having a hard time figuring out what Autism Speaks has done to make the world a better place. Giving whiny parents a place to whine to the world certainly doesn't qualify.

    By Anonymous Joel Smith, at 1:57 PM  

  • Solaesta: I agree with Joseph's recommendation. Here's a link to The Autism Acceptance Project -- check it out for yourself and decide.

    John: I've told you before, no curebie links are allowed on my blog. Is that so hard to understand?

    By Blogger abfh, at 2:59 PM  

  • One thing I noticed...when you use "autismspeaks" in your postline, ie, if you used "autismspeaks cure bad analogies now" for you post heading, it ranks higher in the google search, and will help people see something other than the crap they put out. My mild entry comes up eighth.

    I know nothing about googling and ranking, but I noticed this. Maybe someone who knows more could tell me why....

    By Blogger r.b., at 2:59 PM  

  • Rose: You're correct that including particular words in the title makes a post come up higher in Google searches for those words. I do have some posts with "Autism Speaks" in the title, but I wouldn't want to be so totally focused on search rankings as to end up with a lot of clunky titles! LOL.

    McEwen: Actually I think it's supposed to be a clown hat. And your point is well taken -- I'm editing the word "dunce" out of the post. Thanks.

    By Blogger abfh, at 3:09 PM  

  • But ABFH, the product line is designed to help neurodiversity with a share of the profits.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 5:18 PM  

  • cAjones are drawers, like in your desk. cOjones are balls, like on the male body or metaphorical.

    [bilingual aspie exactitude driveby]

    By Blogger Natalia, at 5:50 PM  

  • Thanks, Natalia. I shooda Googled before posting! However you spell it, though, JB's got 'em. :)

    By Blogger little bo peep, at 1:39 PM  

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