Maybe Kirby slid from the living page for a reason

I really got into commenting on Huffington Post in March, while I was recovering from a surgery. I was bored, confined to the recliner and in pain, so I did some surfing. I had some tremendously interesting arguments and discussions on the various autism-vaccine related posts. I met some very interesting folks on both sides of the discussion. I'd wake up in the morning eager to see what was new over there.

In short, I had an energizing, completely absorbing time for several months. It was something. I thought, okay, gotta respond, gotta present facts to counter misinformation, gotta be in it so that folks coming into the comments section undecided would have something to counter the misinformation and often outright wacky woo that was there. I met several of the woo fighting warrior princesses there and members of Science Rocks, too. We put the science rocks forum together to put together vaccine and autism information so that we could pool our resources to more accurately and quickly rebut these woo-meisters.

We followed through for several months, but Huff kept running article after article and the same couple of really out there folks kept posting the same old nonsense. I'll be honest, I think it wore us out, some of us. There's no reaching some people. And we weren't trying to reach them anymore. Just to counter the crap. And then, I think most of us got the pointlessness in arguing with them. I wrote to one of them that we decided banging our head into brick walls would be more effective a use of our time. I think it would, honestly. Same old things being said over there, nothing new. Of course, Huff let this one slide right on off the living page and fast.

Some of us decided there were far more important uses of our time, and we set about creating the facebook group and Raising Autism, places for positive support. We've got big plans for the future and we hope to grow the two into vibrant communities. The fact that those interested in putting out the gross misinformation about vaccines stayed right on over there at Huffington says volumes, I think.

So, I haven't responded to the Kirby post. It's fully moderated, and for the most part, it's been the same few folks spouting the same old nonsense. If folks wander in and read it and don't see it for what it is, they probably can't be reached, either. I don't have time to try to post rebuttals on there and hope the moderator will actually do his job and what I want to say, I say here and on other's blogs, like left brain right brain. I have a place to let my voice be heard, several in fact, where moderators don't exist. And I think that by staying away, we provide better counterpoints. There are so many blogs, so many folks offering a counterpoint to misinformation and nonsense that in many ways, especially as long as Huff continues its apparently new policy of burying autism vaccine nonsense, we really don't have to go there to counter it. No one's reading it anyway, other than those who already buy into it and those of us who read AoA to know what they are up to so we can counter it in our own way on our own blogs.

Plus, if you go read the comments on the Kirby blog, well, what's there to say really?

You've got someone echoing the idea that the numbers for ASDs is 1 in 10. For Pete's sake. Really?

Sigh. Some things, the brick wall really would be more satisfying.

An addendum because it's been eating me all afternoon. Someone I respect and enjoy conversing with wrote on the Huff piece that, and I'm paraphrasing, only a few trolls had shown up (and he was discussing the autism-isn't-caused-by-vaccines commenters). I don't know if he meant me specifically, or was just referring to the other woo-fighters, and admittedly only one member of science rocks is commenting on the Kirby piece, a person that this poster regularly butts heads with. I'm seriously disappointed with that kind of rhetoric; I had considered posting over there, and in all honesty, his post decided me against it. As I said earlier in this blog, what's there to say?

The AoA believers have decided this is something to be won, rather than focusing on the work that needs to be done to make the world a safer place for our children. They've decided that drowning out others and raining down a series of angry, bitter rants is more important than helping parents and individuals on the spectrum cope effectively.


Clay said...

I think that someone has gotten together an "autism parent" and "autistic shill" crew, and is paying them to keep up the barrage of misinformation. I don't see any other reason why anyone would so dedicatedly lie their asses off. As as autistic, it's very tiresome to be characterized as "toxic", "defective" "infected", "tragic", all that bullshit they sling.

It's a huge industry to sell "cures", "therapies" and such to frantic parents. They don't want to lose that. It's sort of like what the insurance companies, pharma companies, and nursing home operators are doing now to disrupt "town hall" meetings. Despicable tactics.

KWombles said...

Well, if AoA is any indicator, it's their sponsors, who must be making the money hand over fist.

It's big business selling to desperate parents. And if that means trampling all over people, to include autistic adults with the kind of hate speech as you write about, they appear to do it with no guilty conscience whatsoever.

How the parents who buy into the most outrageous and most expensive of the wackaloon therapies don't see that this is no different than big pharma pushing their meds, I don't get.

I know you don't do facebook, but if you were to write something for Turner & Kowalski (surely Kowalski would let you be a guest blogger) or on your blog, I could link it to the Countering facebook group for the event on Friday the 21st. Maybe? :-)

I love it when I come across one of your comments on someone's blog and am always happy to see a comment here!

Clay said...

Why not do a little web search, and see just what snake-oil treatments are available, and who puts them out? Investigate them a little, check their P/L statements, see who's on their boards? There's more to it than Lee Silsby, there's the Geier's, JB Handley, Buttar, besides the usual suspects, big pharma themselves.

Lists are popular, I think we need a complete, comprehensive list of woo, 'cause ya can't tell the players without a program!

Have you checked out Thelma's blog lately?

cawill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KWombles said...


I had hoped not and figured you were referring to him since you have that extended history with each other, but you used it in the plural, so it ate at me, worrying me.

I've been thinking of you and your family since we last conversed and had been hoping that things were going well for you and yours, while being concerned that the lack of posting meant you weren't.

I hope instead that it means you've had a good couple weeks and have just been busy living life to its fullest.

As to Huff and the regular commenters, doesn't seem like there's much civil discourse in the Kirby thread and not much point when you know that those staunchly on the fringes of either "side" really aren't interested in building a community that bridges that divide and focuses on making things better now for children and families.

I get where you're coming from, having read enough of the hostility between you and other posters that go back several years. I wish it weren't that way. I want my kumbaya and my popcorn, Craig. :-)

KWombles said...


Thank you for sending me the link to Thelma's newer blog post. I had seen it today. It looks like you've all had some really interesting and meaningful conversations. I've enjoyed reading them. Don't know how I could top them, though. Thelma and Louise are some funny ladies. I don't ever want to be on their bad side. Nope. No thank you. :-)

I read Stephanie's blog regularly and her artwork is lovely. I'm glad she's found an outlet to talk to others where she is welcomed. I don't know that she knows of this blog, but I'd welcome her here. A soft shoulder and a welcoming environment sounds good, doesn't it?

I think, despite the blog title, that Thelma and Louise are offering that same thing Raising Autism and the Countering Facebook group are. It's nice to know there are folks out there interested in the same kind of acceptance and celebration. And who can't get behind dumbass hunting? Right?

So, readers, if you haven't run across these two ladies, give them a read: www.evendumbasseshavefeelings.blogspot.com. It will be time well spent.

davidbrown said...

Shameless plug: I have an evilpossum.weebly article called "Age of Hypocrisy" on the Silsby/AoA connection. May update or add an appendix this week.

KWombles said...

Shameless plugs welcome. :-)

davidbrown said...

Here's may latest attempt to correct the AoA "voting himself rich" story on offit:
Correction to Mark Blaxill:
I have just determined that Stanley Plotkin and H. Fred Clark are both CHOP faculty (or were during work on Rotateq). My original conclusion, that they and Offit were entitled to equal shares of the inventor's share, stands. I am making ongoing inquiries into the possibility of additional payments to coworkers and lab peons.
Since it can be taken as a given that AoA won't allow it up, see if you can find a dozen or so sites that will.