Summer Flowers First, and Then onto Inappropriate Comments at AoA

First, you get to look at some pretty, and then to discuss what seems to be the strange need that Stagliano has to let individuals who are obviously dealing with some heavy issues post really inappropriate things on AoA.

I know, you think they can't top themselves, that you've seen just how nutty they are (and I say this with sympathy for the obvious issues they are dealing with), they go and write this:

"I made a list on the way to the emergency room last night after my daughter had a seizure ( long history of vaccine reactions by all three of my family members) the list was of people I have met over the years that I wished killed. Trouble is to get the real deep satisfication from it- I would have to bring them back to life to kill 'em again." **comment on AoA's craptacular Crosby piece 

And of course, the wackaloon parent duo bensmyson had to rush into day to make sure they maintained their lead in the all out crazy fest and agree with the above comment:

"We should compare notes sometime!"

I get being mad at the world and the crap you have to deal with when everything goes to hell in a handbasket (okay, I don't actually GET it, as it's not a perspective I'd choose to hold), I get needing to get some of that out by blaming whoever I can. I even get venting to a friend, to a spouse. I don't get writing stuff like the above. I just don't. I don't. Bensmyson prove there are no lows they won't collectively go to, and they most often choose to do that at AoA and Respectful Insolence. The first poster, bless her, has a ton of difficult things to deal with, and I really do have sympathy for her. I do.

Both these posters, though, demonstrate why AoA is such a dangerous place. It feeds this negativity. It promotes misinformation, and the editors intentionally, deliberately, hit approve on crazy comments that are beyond the pale. They could clamp down on it. They could make it clear that even in jest, to-kill lists are not acceptable.

Shame on the editors for taking advantage of people who are absolutely, desperately in need of some help, for creating a situation that allows this kind of rhetoric to be rewarded, to promote even crazier rhetoric (all you have to do is go back to the beginning of AoA and read the comments to see that they've gotten progressively more unhinged).

I find it incredibly hard to believe that the editors are unaware of the ramifications of their behavior. They, too, have gotten progressively more bitter, more angry, and more irresponsible.

Each day, though, that I choose to go to AoA to read what often resembles a cesspool of hatred along with gross misrepresentations of what the science has found, about what autism is, and about how most parents choose to cope and function and work for their children, I am grateful for the large community of families out there who are coping adaptively, who focus on doing the best they can for their children and families, who choose not to go where the AoAers have. Each interaction I have with the wonderful autistic bloggers out there who remain hopeful, thoughtful and intent on working for acceptance for all those who are autistic makes me optimistic for my children, for the efforts they will be able to make to further acceptance, to work towards an inclusive society.

I suppose if I believed that the AoAers represented anything more than an extremely small segment of society, I would have less reason for optimism. Fortunately, I think it's becoming more clear to reasonable people that AoA is not the mouthpiece they really want. That's all we could rationally hope for, anyway: that reasonable people would see through them.


David said...

Something I noticed recently: Comments on AoA posts tend to top out at ca. 40 or less. Crosby's hatchet job on Gorski has been a striking exception, with 98 comments last I saw. It just happens that AoA's censorship was relatively lax, allowing a number of critical comments to appear. I wonder if this means that AoA typically censors more than half of the comments posted.

Kristen said...


Thank you for consistently wading into the cesspool. I don't have the time (or fortitude) to keep up with the bile there (keeping up with RI and LB/RB as well as here keeps me plenty busy).

The most recent attacks on Dr. Gorski have sickened me. I have also noted that bensmyson's comments have gotten even more vile on RI, but I guess that pales in comparison to what they write on AoA.

I know all about the challenges some of these parents face, but this amount of anger has to be fed. And the posters and commentators on AoA are feeding off of the mob mentality. I truly believe these people are becoming dangerous.

You are very brave to use your own name. I admire what you and other science-based bloggers do, please continue to educate us reasonable (hopefully) parents.

christophersmom said...

Man, I need to take a shower after reading some of those AoA comments. Bennedetta's takes the cake... Having a child with difficult health issues is no excuse to wanting other people to be "killed". I think that lady has some serious mental problems, I hope she gets some help.

Science Mom said...

They are becoming more dangerous, unstable and vitriolic because no one is interested in what they have to say any more, save their own fellowship of fanatics. Benedetta's comment is beyond the pale and no amount of personal suffering or challenge warrants a 'death list', particularly when the reason is pure figment of their imaginations. Bensmyson is no better with comparisons of their son to a trained dog, amongst many other egregious remarks about scientific and public health people and organisations.

Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch is the latest target via lawsuit. I suspect it is only a matter of time though before they turn to their nuclear option like that of their animal rights activist counterparts as they are marginalised more and more. But that is of their own doing and have no one to blame but themselves, not that that will stop them from blaming who-knows-who.

KWombles said...


Thank you for the kind words; I don't know that I'd have chosen a pseudonym if I'd known then what I know now, but I think about the ramifications each time I write, and it irks me no end that people of conscience could be silenced because of threats. So, I suppose it pushes me forward. Of course, I'm not the visible target that Offit, Gorski, and Novella are, but I've already dealt with someone trying to get me fired at my college.

Intimidation tactics are what folks without facts and evidence use. I agree about the mob mentality and the danger this group could pose. Ultimately, choosing to allow those kinds of comments on will drive reasonable people away from them.

KWombles said...

I, too, hope those who are suffering with more than they are capable of coping with will get some assistance.

And I think that should they choose to continue down this path, they'll have no one else to blame when they are isolated from society. I'm hoping for their kids' sakes they turn back. Of course, having watched the indoctrination of Crosby, I think it's reasonable to conclude that their children will not make them turn back.