Boycott Discover's Ignorant Ass
The article begins with the tired old clichés of a suicidal autism mother and a cancer analogy. Then it claims that autism "can, in some and perhaps many cases, be successfully treated" and goes on to sing the praises of DAN! and the quack parade of Martha Herbert, Jill James and Amy Yasko. The author describes autism as a disorder caused by toxic exposure and says about one family's use of biomedical treatments, "Mercury chelation, in this particular child's case, was a near panacea." (Needless to say, the article never mentions that children have died from chelation or that it is widely used by quack alternative practitioners as a cure-all for everything from cancer to heart disease.) Verbiage such as "devastating derangements of autism," "trapped in a body that doesn't work," and "a mysteriously shuttered brain and body" appears prominently throughout the article.
Apparently the views of the author, Jill Neimark, regarding people with disabilities have not changed much since she interviewed Peter Singer several years ago and wrote that "he defends his points with powerful arguments."
Why boycott Discover for printing this article, you might ask, when ignorant garbage about autism shows up in the media all the time? Well, the short answer is that Discover is a geek magazine. Not just a magazine for sorta kinda semi-geeks, but a publication that has been read and enjoyed (until now) by large numbers of technology-loving, math-puzzle-solving, origins-of-the-universe-pondering AUTISTIC geeks.
To put it another way, Discover's dumbass management just took a big ugly chomp out of the hand that feeds them. And we can and should make them pay for it. Discover is one of the few products where the number of autistic buyers is significant enough so that we can wield some noticeable economic clout. What's more, it is a totally frivolous item that nobody really needs to buy, so there is no hardship involved in going without it.
Here are the addresses where we can write to Discover's editors and explain why we have no intention of renewing our subscriptions (or, for those who are occasional readers of the magazine, why we won't buy any more copies from the newsstands).
90 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
Let's kick some quack-loving bigot ass.