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:
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.
Most assuredly not laughing