Poo Humor: It's the Context
Indeed, there's a whole genre of parenting humor that consists of anecdotes about messy, inconvenient, and embarrassing incidents in daily life with the kids. And it's not unusual for such stories to involve toilets. After all, toddlers often have bathroom misadventures, and older children sometimes do. I don't object to poo humor, when it's in the general context of parenting humor.
Unfortunately, poo-smearing has become part of a very ugly stereotype that characterizes autistic people as something less than people—as pitiful, disgusting, subhuman creatures, incapable of ever holding jobs or contributing anything of value to society, not worth the expense of educating, not entitled to human rights or even life itself.
I don't mean to suggest that Kim Stagliano had anything to do with creating this stereotype; to the contrary, she has made it clear that she strongly opposes eugenics. But when dangerous ideas like that are floating around in the social ether, we need to be aware that words and humor that may appear perfectly harmless in some contexts can be seen as highly offensive in others.
Here's a brief scenario to illustrate the point: Let's suppose that a grandparent living in the Southern United States decides to have a family picnic. The grandkids stuff themselves on the food served at the picnic, which includes fried chicken and watermelon. The two youngest grandchildren are particularly messy. After the picnic is over, the grandparent writes a blog post humorously describing their eating habits, calling one of them the Fried Chicken Fiend and the other the Watermelon Queen.
Looks like just an ordinary, affectionate family story, doesn't it?
Now let's add a few more facts. The Southern grandparent is white, and the two youngest grandchildren are adopted black children. The blog entry mentions their color more than once while making those fried chicken and watermelon jokes, and the author also suggests that black skin is comparable to cancer because black skin can come in darker or lighter hues, just as cancer can be more or less severe.
Even if such a post was written with the best of intentions, and with genuine affection for the two grandchildren, it's clear that the author would soon be flamed to a crisp.
One could say that this scenario is different because autistic people are not a race. But really, it doesn't matter. Whether we look upon autistics as a race, or a tribe, or a social minority group, or a part of the disability community—stereotypes and negative analogies are just as damaging.
I'm not arguing that we all need to be poo-litically correct and avoid poo jokes toot-ally. Butt we doo need to be caca-gnizant of the social environment in which we make such jokes.