Monday, January 23, 2006

INAPPROPRIATE LAUGHTER

It’s not exactly a secret that Camille Clark and I rarely see eye-to-eye. We have sparred here and there, occasionally coming to the brink of ugliness but never really crossing the line of personal attack. I hope what I am writing now does not seem to be an assault on Ms. Clark’s personality, because I really don’t know her well enough to say what kind of a person she may be. But a recent post she put on her Autism Diva blog disturbed me.

Initially, I wasn’t going to write about this for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn’t sure if I found the post offensive merely because it was Ms. Clark who posted it. But when I couldn’t get it out of my mind, and I spent a lot of time reflecting on it, I realized my reaction was the same as it would have been regardless of the author. My second reason for hesitation was that it involves the Nadama tragedy, something I feel has been written of enough, with too few people thinking of the family’s ongoing grief. Then I decided that was precisely why something should be said.

Ms. Clark has written probably more about the incident than anyone else on the internet, and yet she really hasn’t said anything more than anyone else has. The second half of her recent post rehashes much of what she has said before, quoting an email from Dr. Garry Gordon regarding the apparent and egregious error made by Dr. Roy Kerry in using the wrong form of EDTA. The Autism Diva post goes on to point out specific risks of EDTA. That is a responsible and appropriate commentary regardless of one’s agreement or disagreement with Ms. Clark’s conclusions. Unfortunately, that’s only the second part of the post; the first portion sets an inappropriate tone that undermines the credibility of her argument.

Although the name of Abubakar Tariq Nadama is not mentioned once, Ms. Clark presents the lyrics of a paraody entitled “It’s Fun to Play with the EDTA,” (attributed to “Anonymous 5 “), intended to be sung to the tune of The Village People classic “YMCA.” In another context, most of the lyrics would be just an annoying satire, expressing the “desperate and embarrassed parent” mythology Ms. Clark uses to stereotype parents who turn to biomedical interventions in general, and chelation in particular (and, contrary to what some think, not every biomedical protocol is based on chelation):
Young man, please stop flapping your hands.
I said, young man, please don't stare at the fan.
I said, young man, stranger in a strange land
There's no need to be autistic.

Young man, there's a place we can go.
I said, the DAN, but we'll need lots of dough.
You can't stay there, but I'm sure you will find
Many things they say are white lies.

It's time to chelate with E-D-T-A
It's fun to mix it with D-M-S-A.

They have everything, but you won't have a choice,
You can be just like all other boys ...

Of course, in the context of the current debate, there is a definite connection to the Pennsylvania tragedy. And just in case the connection is too subtle for some of us, the end of this little ditty drives home the point. In so doing, Ms. Clark’s post leaves the realm of “annoying,” and moves into “utterly offensive:”
That's when someone, sent an email to me,
And said, you man, can be mercury free.
There's a place where, out near Pittsburgh PA.
They can start you back on your way.

It's time to chelate with E-D-T-A
While you're there you can Buy-R-N-A

They have everything, that you can afford,
Just ignore the whole medical board...

E-D-T-A ... don't ever ask Why-F-D-A

Young man, young man, look in my eyes.
Young man, young man, don't believe all the lies.

E-D-T-A ... you'll find it stings E-D-T-A.

Young man, young man, there's no need to lie down.
Young man, young man, get yourself off the ground.

E-D-T-A ... just need to defibrillate.

Young man, young man, are you listening to me?
Young man, young man, young man, young man?

I apologize for repeating that here, but I believe that hypocrisy sometimes needs to be highlighted. And I can think of no other word but “hypocrisy” to describe such a post, complete with displays of dancing molecules, which is signed by:
Autism Diva
not laughing

If Ms. Clark is not laughing, why does she feel it necessary to post what -- in the mildest of terms -- is a sick joke?

Ms. Clark has professed great anger at the Pennsylvania tragedy, and I can understand that. Many people on all sides of the discussion/debate are angry and saddened. As much as I have disagreed with her other writings on this (or just about any other) subject, however, those other statements have at least been articulate and, for the most part, respectful. And that’s why I’m dumbfounded by this inane attempt to treat a tragedy as a laughing matter.

Ms. Clark has made many contributions to the internet world of autism. She has proven to the world that she is an intelligent and forceful, albeit narrow-minded, commentator. As Autism Diva, she has an international following. I have no doubt that some of her loyal readers will leave comments here to explain and defend her actions. Explanations would be most welcome, but I don’t believe there is any good defense.

A “diva” is “an operatic prima donna” or a “very successful singer of nonoperatic music.” This time the Diva picked the wrong song.

Wade Rankin
Most assuredly not laughing

17 Comments:

Blogger Kristina Chew said...

And is singing out of tune, at that.

1/23/06, 10:34 PM  
Blogger not my blg said...

Holy S*&%! I can't believe someone would stoop that low. Autism Diva should rename herself Human Debris Diva!!!!

1/24/06, 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Camille said...

Mr. Rankin,

Autism Diva wrote that she was "not laughing" at the horriffic comments in the letter written by Dr. Gordon. I'm sorry if you don't get the full impact of his letter and how he was trying to distance himself from the gross malpractice bordering on manslaughter that was committed with the disodium EDTA that he most likely sold at a profit to Dr. Kerry.

Biting humor is a natural offspring of anger. Autism Diva did not write those lyrics. A dad of 2 spectrum kids did. He's been snagged into the DAN! thinking in the past and is angry at what he found there. He seems to think he had been lied to.

He's angry. He expressed it in those song lyrics. Autism Diva didn't need to host those lyrics, but she agrees with them.

You are obviously made nervous by any criticism of DAN! and their lies, Mr. Rankin.

Thank you for your critique, though, it's quite illuminating, even if it does show how narrow minded you are.

1/24/06, 1:32 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

Camille,

Thanks for personally responding to the post, but you seem to have missed my point.

I’m afraid that it simply doesn’t do to restrict your “not laughing” sign-off to the second part of your “It’s Fun to Play With the EDTA” post. That only highlights the completely inappropriate combination of the two parts of the post.

As I wrote, I felt your use of Dr. Gordon’s letter and your personal observations regarding Dr. Kerry’s apparent malpractice to be fair commentary. Indeed, I don’t think I have defended either Dr. Kerry’s actions or Dr. Gordon’s sale of the product. Were I “made nervous by any criticism of DAN,” I would not be saying that.

I restricted my anger at your irresponsible posting of the offensive parody. That the lyrics were written by the father of autistic children does not excuse your posting of them. Biting humor has a place in public discussion, but using it in the context of this tragedy is just plain wrong, and it is beneath you.

If trying to show a little respect for the Nadama family while discussing this issue means I am narrow minded, I can live with that label.

1/24/06, 3:20 PM  
Blogger Derek's Mommy said...

That's just sad and hurtful all rolled into one.

I will never understand why parents/people/critics/supporters have to be so mean and critical of others who may not have the same treatment ideas as others.

1/24/06, 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Untwist those panties, y'all. A boy dies from being placed in the care of someone who's either shockingly negligent or completely incompetent, and you're appalled at Autism Diva? A little perspective, please.

1/26/06, 11:26 PM  
Blogger SquareGirl said...

Just when I thought all the yelling was drowning out the voices of reason and compassion...now they have to compete with the awful singing as well. That song really hurt my ears...

1/27/06, 12:06 AM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

Yes, anonymous, a child died because he was the apparent victim of shocking negligence, or maybe it was just plain incompetence. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t find that to be an appropriate subject for twisted jokes. I mean, I grew up on Mad Magazine and was part of the generation that watched the original “Not Ready for Primetime Players” on SNL. I was a devoted reader of National Lampoon in college. As I wrote, AD’s posting of the lyrics might have just been an annoying little satire in another context, one in which a real child had not lost his life. But a child did lose his life, and a family is grieving.

That’s why I am appalled at Ms. Clark’s actions (which is different from your assumption that I am appalled at her). And just so there’s no misunderstanding, anonymous, I am also appalled at the gross negligence that is apparently responsible for the child’s death. Ms. Clark claims to have been so appalled by it that she was physically sick for several days, but her posting of the offensive lyrics suggest something other than shock and grief; it suggests hypocrisy.

1/27/06, 5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camille has sunk to a very low level. Wasn't one of her problems with this tragedy the fact that no one was speaking up for this boy? Wasn't she supposedly hurt by that? So, she goes and posts some trash like this. Making a mockery of his death. Extremely hypocrital and distasteful.

-Sue M.

1/27/06, 8:57 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

I mean, I grew up on Mad Magazine and was part of the generation that watched the original “Not Ready for Primetime Players” on SNL.

I grew up on protest music that had some teeth in it.

Hypocrisy? I think not.

1/27/06, 11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that its a bit over the top to use the death of this boy as a parody for your beliefs. If Ms. Clark wishes to do that, then she is free to do so. It reflects poorly on her, in my opinion. Just so I'm clear, though, this is the same Ms. Clark who was outraged when Rick Rollens simply used the WORD tsunami to describe the growing increase in autisic children, right? Somehow that is worse than using the death of a young boy to promote your beliefs. I think not -- can we say hypocrite?

-Sue M.

1/28/06, 10:18 AM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

Anne,

Given my age, I need no lesson on protest songs, and I can tell you there is a big difference. Dylan at his best -- “Who Kiled Davey Moore” or “Masters of War” -- could be very pointed and left no doubt as to who he thought the bad guys were. But the victims were never mocked. You want a song with teeth, go listen to Hedy and Don West’s “Anger in the Land,” and then check out the story behind the song.

Good songs use well-chosen music as well as lyrics to convey the intent. The only intent that comes through in this “parody” is that a child’s death is cause to laugh dance. (Indeed, Ms. Clark has bragged on at least one site about the time it took her to get the graphics to dance.) I could be wrong, but I don’t think “It’s Fun to Play with the EDTA” would receive a ringing endorsement from Pete Seeger or be featured in the next issue of Sing Out.

Ms. Clark wrote elsewhere that the Pennsylvania tragedy kept her up at night and made her physically ill. Gleefully posting those lyrics are completely inconsistent with those prior statements. As Sue points out, Camille is very quick to criticize a choice of words she feels are insensitive or in poor taste. In my humble opinion, and you are free to disagree with me, the Autism Diva post smacks of hypocrisy.

1/28/06, 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spare us your outrage and indignation. Where was (or is) your outrage when an innocent child was strapped to a table and executed by lethal injection, his only crime being autistic?

A little perspective is right. No one thinks it's actually fun to play with EDTA, at least it isn't fun or funny when it's given to children by any route. That's the point. It ridiculously stupid which is why it's called a parody. Polite conversation and criticism doesn't get through to the bonehead parents who think it's OK to inject one deadly chemical into children while screaming about how their kids were made autistic by another substance. Hypocrisy? Please.

Diva would be the last one to mock a family and victim of senseless tragedy.

1/28/06, 4:19 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

"Diva would be the last one to mock a family and victim of senseless tragedy."

But she did. And I truly hope she will be the "last one."

1/28/06, 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Camille said...

Wrong Wade.

I posted a lyric that mocked the stupidity of the doctor who slaughtered a little boy.

I was made ill for days and I cried and I couldn't sleep about the death of Abubakar, and I'm still horrified that Kerry hasn't paid anything legally for what he did. When I read the lyrics I sighed because the sadness is usually numbness now.

I am not a hypocrite for posting a biting criticism of quackery that borders on manslaughter if it isn't manslaughter outright.

That critiicism might make someone think twice before hauling their precious baby to see a quack like Kerry or Jang (who nearly killed a child, herself, at least one). I'd like to help more children not to be callously slaughtered on the altar of curation. Now gold salts might kill the next child. Great.

But thanks for caring, Wade. Let's see who you influence and how.

2/1/06, 3:21 AM  
Blogger Heraldblog said...

What was Camille's previous low? Using science and logic to expose your quackery, Wade? You call her a hypcrite, but hypocricy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. What is Camille's vice, Wade?

8/10/06, 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Camille's vices are numerous and serious. Most particularly she spends a huge amount of time going on about imaginary faults in the evidence re mercury and increase, and yet never sees any faults the other way or in her own misleading outpourings. Total 100 percent bias. And she exudes such arrogance for one who in reality is deeply committed to doing nothing about correcting her bias or ignorance.

She constantly posts absurd accusations that all who disagree with her are criminal fraudster liars, and yet never produces any evidence to substantiate her libels.

She p's off a lot of people with her gross unreasonableness timewasting. But her time is running out. Even though sure, there's a team of suckers who adhere to her propaganda.
Robin P Clarke

10/24/06, 8:22 PM  

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