Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Thoughts on Jenny McCarthy

I didn't watch Jenny McCarthy on Oprah yesterday - I couldn't do it again after her last appearance made me want to vomit - but I've already started hearing the backlash. 

She refers to her son's autism in the past tense, because he's been "cured" - by her, of course.

Supermom extraordinaire. 

I have a lot of problems with Jenny McCarthy. The fact that she's a talentless starf*^ker doesn't even top the list. 

I would have been happy to see her shed her blonde bimbo image and reveal herself to be an intelligent woman fighting for her son. Instead, what I see is someone who doesn't want to have a special needs child. It doesn't fit into the glamorous Hollywood persona she's been working so hard to build. 

Ah, but lucky for her, autism is a hot topic these days -- an opportunity to resurrect her never-really-famous-for-anything career. So why not take that smudge on her glossy little life and turn it into an asset? Now she can admit that her son HAD autism, while also taking credit for being such a committed mother that she was able to CURE him! Unlike the rest of us slack-ass parents just sitting around waiting for a medical explanation for this neurological disorder.

I feel sorry for her son because his mother will never accept him for who he is. She will continue to deny that his brain works differently than her own and she will probably spend the rest of her life trying to squeeze him into her narrow definition of "normal."  

Do I think she loves him? Absolutely. I also think she loves the idea of having a "normal" child. She loves it so much that she is trying to make it true by going on national television to proclaim his normalcy. This should come as no surprise from a woman who has clearly devoted her life to keeping up appearances.

As for her assertion that the rest of us simply aren't well informed enough or haven't worked hard enough to help our children: Fuck you, Jenny McCarthy. 

Tell that to the parents who have given up everything -- their homes, their jobs, their health, their marriages -- to help their children, and yet these children are still so mysteriously locked inside themselves, that they cannot speak. Parents who don't know whether their children will ever be able to say "I love you." Parents who wonder what their children will do when they are no longer around to care for them. 

And don't think Oprah is getting off the hook here. I sent a letter last time and I'll do it again. Oprah is being irresponsible by repeatedly having Jenny McCarthy sit on her stage, spouting her lies, without ever offering a counterpoint. Where is the equally outspoken expert standing up for those of us who believe in science? Who believe that the money that will be spent on Jenny's new book would be much better spent on autism research? On helping the families who can't afford their children's therapies? 

Where is the follow-up show that profiles the mothers who are clinically depressed as a result of feeling like they have failed their autistic children? Who feel like they must just not be good enough parents because they weren't able to cure their kids the way Jenny did? Where's the show about the parents who have killed their autistic children out of a sense of hopelessness and fear? I guess that wouldn't make for such a fun, feel-good episode...

With the incidence of autism as high as it is, I have to believe there is another celebrity out there who is living with the complexities of autism. One who understands the disorder and understands that, so far, there is no cure. Who understands that blaming the parents makes everything worse. Who will speak out in favor of research and early intervention without exploiting their child. Who can speak intelligently about how to have hope without living in denial. How to see every baby step as progress. And how to love your child for who he is. 

Whoever you are, I hope you've got Oprah's number.


MinuteCynic said...

It's with a moderate sense of shame that I admit I did watch much of yesterday's episode. I typically don't watch her general nonsense, but as I'm test-driving the rock-star lifestyle this summer, I find myself doing many things I didn't anticipate.

When did Jenny McCarthy become an "expert" on anything? In reality, she was on schlepping her book on "Warrior Moms" - a label she took upon herself as a reward for her dogged persistence in "curing" her son. It was pretty tough to sit through...

Here's my question: I've heard of this so-called "cure" before - rather the instances of reduced symptoms and behaviors as a result of a specific diet. Is there really no validity to this? Why the growing movement of people saying a natural cure is possible? It IS popular science these days.

In my defense (and Oprah's... I guess...) the other Warrior Mom was a quadruple amputee who was pleasantly inspirational. two cents...

KK said...

I think it was insulting that the amputee mom had to share the stage with Jenny McCarthy.

As for diet, yes, it does help kids who have allergies or intolerances to gluten and casein. It helps, but it doesn't cure autism. And it doesn't help every kid.

(btw, I tivo Oprah, so it's not like I'm saying I don't usually watch the show)

Laura said...

Agree. When I saw her on Larry King during autism awareness month, I wanted to throw the tv out the window.

autismfamily said...

I agree. Never knew who she was when TACA mentioned her. I get their newsletters, have for many years, gives me info and possible article ideas.

If I heard Oprah correctly she asked Jenny to do the interview of the Mom. Seems she is trying to make her into an Anderson Cooper/Lisa Ling reporter. Yikes!

I wanted to see the Mom since I learned through reading blogs of another Mom going through similar issues after an infection she developed prior to her C section.

I hated that Larry King show too where she yelled at Drs and used an inappropriate word on tv. Yeah some warrior she is.

Judith U. said...

I am catching up on my blog-reading, so forgive this late response.

T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!!!!!!!

Melanie said...

I just started reading your blog--great post. I've read Jenny's books, and while I know she loves her son a great deal, you have a great point. Thanks for opening my eyes to a different perspective.

Sarra said...

This is a great article and I encourage everyone to read it. Autistic child or not, it redeems science from those who choose to make it the scapegoat for their own fear and misdirected grief.

I don't watch Oprah regularly, but I plan to write her a letter. Maybe one person at a time we can get across to her the harm she is doing by giving McCarthy access to so many impressionable viewers.

Sarra said...

woops I'm not sure if the full website address showed up, but here it is