(Note: before we begin, I will be addressing this letter to Hugh Hefner, who as of May 20, 2012, is still listed as Editor In Chief of Playboy magazine. But this letter should be considered directed at every person who works as part of the Playboy empire.)
To Mr. Hefner,
Greetings. I am a thirty-something heterosexual male who lives in Australia. You do not know me from Adam, and I only know of you from your admittedly impressive body of work in a softer, more commercial iteration of the adult entertainment industry. But I come to you now with a grave matter that could take all of the fact that I am impressed, and cast it down into the proverbial seventh level of Hades.
Yesterday, I became aware through the magic of the Internet and what we laughingly call “social” networking that one Jenny McCarthy has declared she will pose nude for your magazine once more, and donate the fee she has negotiated to what she refers to as “autism research”.
Mr. Hefner, given the size and power of your empire, I am finding it very difficult to fathom how you could possibly be unaware of this. But I am going to tell you anyway, so I can be certain you hear it. This announcement has drawn outrage, dismay, distress, and anger from the autistic civil rights movement. At present, you cannot go to any fora where the autistic are converging without hearing words to the effect of how bad, selfish, and evil McCarthy is. And please keep in mind that I am giving you the polite version. As I make clear in my own online writings, I am an autistic thirty-something heterosexual male. I grew up in a time when the abuse of the autistic, especially ones that had not been identified as such, was considered acceptable. As a result, I am one of the type that has been referred to in some circles of the autism civil rights movement as the Powell type. That means I am disposed to being cranky, aggressive, and very much desiring to strike first before I am struck. So when I say to you that the mere mention of Ms. McCarthy’s name makes me grind my teeth and entertain thoughts of the kind of violence that would make veterans cry, I want you to hear me when I say that I am giving you the polite version, and understand my full meaning.
Ms. McCarthy’s proposal that she disrobe for your photographers is fraught with difficulties, some of which I think it is part of your empire’s business to understand. Since those are the easiest to explain, and the ones you are in the best position to understand, I will explain those first. Otherwise, these are in no particular order. All are of equal and critical importance.
For reasons I will elaborate on in due course, I think I can speak for a lot of Powell Aspies when I say that I have no desire to see Ms. McCarthy naked. In fact, the sight of her in anything other than burqa is repellent to me. This is because seeing her face forces me to think of her as a person, actual and whole, when she utterly refuses to do the same for me. It is no exaggeration to say that McCarthy is to me an anti-Viagra, and I can assure you that on a planet with an estimated population of seven billion, I cannot be the only one.
I can also tell you, without joking, that I know two women who are of similar age to myself, one on the lower end of the age grouping, who I would far prefer to see naked over Ms. McCarthy. I have done this in the past, in fact, so I know what I am talking about when I say that other males, autistic or otherwise, would give their left testicle for the privilege. Both naturally have the kind of physical form that I know for a fact many of your models have gone to a surgeon in order to achieve. One of them, if she were placed in a cage with Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jason Statham, and Jet Li, I would bet all of my money on. It is no exaggeration to say that when placed in the same room as these two women, Ms. McCarthy would look like Roseanne Barr by comparison. As a matter of fact, I believe that Roseanne Barr would find being compared with Ms. McCarthy insulting. Both of the women I refer to, by the way, have been told that whilst they do not meet all of the criteria to be diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, only miss that criteria by a very small percentage.
This brings me to the points that I need you to understand. These points are, whilst not exactly central to your business, able to harm it in a way that you need to make an effort to understand.
I am going to lower my linguistic tone for a brief moment and use some cuss words. Given that people in your line of business have fought a furious battle in the past for freedom of speech, I do not believe you will mind as they are important to make my point. Back when I was a little boy, I heard some songs by a man who goes by the stage name of Kevin “Bloody” Wilson. Wilson has one song that has always remained in my mind even when I outgrew the vast majority of his catalogue. In it, he sings, “I’ve come to the conclusion, ‘cos I get around a bit, that half of what you read is bull and the other half’s all shit”. That, Mr. Hefner, sums up how every participant in the autism civil rights struggle feels about Jenny McCarthy. Half of what comes out of her mouth is bull. The other half is entirely comprised of shit. And that ends the necessity for cuss words, probably from this point forward. But the point here is that I do not know what McCarthy has told you concerning autism, but I can assure you that unless it somehow coincides with what I, any other autistic adult, or autism specialists like Anthony Attwood, Isabelle Hénault, or Simon Baron-Cohen have to say, it is deceitful in the extreme. Aside from the usual falsehoods that autism results from vaccinations or bad reactions to them and that it is a disease, McCarthy’s statements concerning autism often resemble a greatest hits album from what I will call anti-autistic bigotry. Probably the most offensive of the very bad lot that I can recall is her statement that there are no autistic adults. I am sure you are intelligent enough to realise how fallacious this statement is, but for the benefit of others who might come across this, I will point out the reasons why.
Firstly, it is considered a fact by the scientific community that as long as there have been Humans that invent things, change things, or pursue subjects to the point of expertise and major success in them (such as, say, publishing), there have been autistic Humans. The myth that Jenny McCarthy and other curebies put forth that autism is something that has only appeared recently is just that. A myth.
Secondly, it is considered a fact by the scientific community that the mutations in the structure of the Human brain that, when added together, are one form or other of autism, are hereditary traits. Whilst I have not observed this in my own life (at least not yet), the reality is that autistic adults have autistic children, or nieces and nephews. The idea that there are no autistic adults in the world is therefore so ludicrous that calling Ms. McCarthy a scientifically illiterate idiot is not in any way unkind, but rather being polite.
Finally, the question is begged. If there are no autistic adults, where do all of the autistic children go when they turn eighteen? Do they just vanish into thin air? Or do the kind of people that Jenny McCarthy is really supporting when she does work like that which she proposes to do for your magazine murder them all before then? To say that McCarthy’s statement flies right in the face of everything that we know about the relationships between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood is an understatement.
You may have noticed that I stated that Jenny McCarthy’s work for your magazine will go to help organisations we feel should be outlawed to murder children. Good. Another lie that I am sure McCarthy has told you is that autism is a disease in need of curing. The current “cure” that these people propose is to chelate the autistic child until said child is “not autistic anymore”. Whilst chelation does have a legitimate medical use, namely to treat miners for overexposure to heavy metals, to say that it has no proven use with the autistic is an understatement. Not only is there a dearth of scientific evidence to prove the curebies’ chelation theories, said theories lack a plausible rationale. But all of that is secondary to what I need you to hear/read and understand: children have died because of this treatment. Abubakar Tariq Nadama is just one of what I am sure are many children who have died this way. We may never know because when a child does die in the course of chelation, the standard practice of covering it up occurs with a vengeance. Nadama‘s case only came to light by accident, and even then, the attempts to cover it up after the fact were flabbergasting. The attempts to shift blame to practitioner error, overdose, anything other than the fact that the treatment lacks a plausible rationale and is therefore unsound, had the entire autistic community in an uproar.
Mr. Hefner, I need to be frank with you. Years ago, I made a video in which I cut together quotes from films in which actors say things that autistic adults would like to say to Autism Speaks. We would actually like to say them to the whole curebie movement, in fact. One of my favourite quotes from said video is of Gregory Peck telling Patrick Troughton during The Omen, “Now I’ve heard you… I want you to hear me”. But the pertinent one here is Nathan Fillion telling a bounty hunter played by Chiwetel Ejiofor “I don’t murder children”. The curebie movement murders children, Mr. Hefner. By going on talk shows and telling the world how sick and disabled children who resemble us are, Ms. McCarthy participates in the murder of children in a similar manner to how Joseph Goebbels participated in the murder of children and adults for a characteristic they could help no more than we can help being autistic. If you give two million dollars to Ms. McCarthy to give to what she calls “autism research”, you will be financing the murder of children in a similar manner to how certain bankers financed the murder of children whose only crime was to be born with the wrong grandparents.
This also brings up the uncomfortable subject of the difference between the kind of “autism research” Ms. McCarthy and her cronies want, and the kind that actual autistic individuals want. I am, for instance, an autistic adult who has suffered from the dreaded disease known as diabetes for more than twenty years now. I would like some research into the reason why, when I am in a state of some distress or cyclic thought, my blood glucose level drains much like fuel from a car that has been hit in the right place with a large calibre bullet. What Ms. McCarthy wants is the exact opposite of what the autistic want. She wants research into how to “cure” us, or prevent us from being born. The former might not sound like a big deal to you. Find an autistic adult (odds are, one is working for you as we speak), and ask them about it. They will tell you differently. The latter, however, can be construed as meeting one of the criteria of the formal definition of genocide. As you might have gathered from the rest of this writing, Mr. Hefner, I value my identity, warts and all. I value it just as much, if not more so, as you do yours. I was abused as a child, partly as a result of being autistic. So when I say that if Ms. McCarthy came to my door tomorrow proclaiming that she has a cure for what makes me different to my abusers, that would be the last anyone would ever hear of her, I want you to understand me completely. Giving her money to give unto the curebies and proclaim that it is for the autistic is a profoundly stupid move.
I believe I have already talked about what intelligent and/or autistic men like myself think of Ms. McCarthy. I would like to revisit the subject for the purposes of clarification. In days to come, I will be retooling, reformatting, and publishing a piece of fiction in which a character claiming to have come from the future meets with the couple who will be his parents in a matter of months. One of the several things that he shows them in order to prove that he is not talking out of his proverbial is a high-definition video in which a crazed-sounding individual murders an activist he dislikes in a similar manner to how Heath Ledger as The Joker proclaims that he will kill one citizen every night until Batman drops the disguise and reveals his true identity to the people of Gotham. The character in this story, both the one in the video and the person addressing his parents-to-be, well, they are the same person and they both represent me. The woman in the video who is trying to scream defiantly in her belief that she is doing the right thing before the protagonist hurts her to an extent I would only wish on a very small number of people, it does not take a genius to work out is a proxy for Ms. McCarthy. In the story, the man in the video also proclaims that for every day such rights-violating laws as the Combatting Autism Act are not repealed, for every day that the autistic are treated as second class citizens, he will kill one “normie”. Mr. Hefner, there is no polite way to put this. Do you desire to help in making the video I am describing here a reality? Because putting two million dollars into the hands of curebies is exactly the right way to go about it.
It has been said by both myself and others in the thread of discussion I learned of McCarthy’s publicity stunt from that McCarthy is not doing this for anyone but herself. The exact wording, I believe, was that she is not doing this “for autism”, she is doing this for herself. I want you to understand that there is nobody on the autistic spectrum who feels grateful to McCarthy for her efforts. They all, in fact, hate her guts. On top of this, Ms. McCarthy has what I will refer to here as a reverse Midas touch. When she touches the reputations of people who aid her in putting forth her pernicious message, they are tainted by it. Much like the post-traumatic stress I suffer thanks to the kind of people McCarthy thinks are helping, no amount of washing and scrubbing can ever remove that stain.
However, unlike others who have collaborated with curebies in the past, you still have a choice. This is because, so far as I am aware, you have yet to join them. I am not exaggerating, however, that once you start down the path of curebie collaboration, you cannot go back. So I will outline what an informed man of your stature would see in hindsight as the right choice. You can right now tell Ms. McCarthy thank you, but I am not interested. You can inform her that you have thought about the implications that giving her two million dollars for a collection of photographs that a lot of smart people do not want to look at anyway will have for you, your reputation, as well as the reputations of your heirs, and have decided that you would rather not go down that road. I sincerely hope as both a fellow Human being and a fellow grown man that you will think about this and make the choice that I am outlining here. Because if you do not, then whatever god you think drives your choices had best be with you, because I can assure you that nobody on the autistic spectrum, their loved ones, or those who grok them, will be.
Dean McIntosh (autistic author, photographer, and many other things)