Age of Autism Runs Out of Steam: Handley, Bonnie Offit and Sullivan from LBRB

Of the odder things that AoA has seen fit to run, this is without a doubt one of the odder ones, and it works well as an illustrator of how illogical some of the folks over there are: J. B. Handley accuses Sullivan of LBRB of being Bonnie Offit.

In the process, though, Handley manages to handle two sets of quotes badly, so that readers will not get whether he's just referring to the cites at hand and getting his information or taking it. Paragraph one starting with "Bonnie Offit, a pediatrician" needs to be entirely in quotes, J. B. As does paragraph two. An asterisk afterwards with the link when you haven't set it off from the rest of the article does not indicate a quote.

Alright, nitpicking aside, it's time to begun deconstructing what is a completely ludicrous proposition: that because J. B. Handley has never seen Bonnie Offit comment under her own name, she therefore must be Sullivan. Seriously, this is Handley's reasoning. It's beyond absurd.

Sullivan isn't Bonnie Offit and he (I'm sorry, she) doesn't have to prove that. Handley may have opened up a bigger can of worms here than he was intending. Of course, he is writing for people that simultaneously believe the vaccine program is both a eugenics program and intended to make an entire generation of kids sick and dependent on Big Pharma drugs, so Handley's illogic here really isn't going to be critically examined by them.

Hey, and he's got slick yotube videos of really relevant music, man, so you know it's good stuff.

Don't ask me, I thought Shatner's cover worked well here. Seriously, because one has to wonder if Handley was under the influence.

Handley argues that because Liz Ditz typed her in reference to Sullivan, that's proof that Sullivan is a woman:

"Conclusion: Sullivan claims to be a man, and is actually a woman. Anyone who reads dozens of Sullivan’s posts, as I have, would probably reach the same conclusion. It’s hard to hide your gender when you write, much as it’s hard to hide your nationality (Sullivan is clearly an American, too).

Wow, and all the reading of Sully's posts have led Handley to conclude that Sully is a woman because it's " hard to hide your gender when you write." Actually, no it's not, not at all, or has Handley missed the thousands of novelists who write stories from a first person perspective with a character that is the opposite sex of the author? Seriously. Oh dear gods, Sullivan never claimed a national identity; we've known he was American, and that doesn't prove he's Bonnie Offit. Seriously?

This part, though, is fab: "Sullivan also claims to be a layperson. If you read many of Sullivan’s posts, you’ll quickly see you are dealing with a person who is smart, organized in their thinking, and extremely facile with complex medical terminology."

Okay, Handley is a layperson, and I think he's just written here that laypeople can't be "smart, organized in their thinking, and extremely facile with complex medical terminology." Yay, then why are you and a Spanish teacher trying to dissect the "fourteen studies"? Hmmmm?

Sullivan doesn't discuss his children. Period. Handley argues that makes him not the parent of an autistic child. Instead of considering that Sullivan doesn't write personal blogs about family related affairs and focuses on news and science relating to autism,Handley decides this means Sullivan must be Offit. Perhaps Sullivan is keeping his personal life out of his writings because of people like Handley?

So what is Handley's evidence?

"Evidence #1: Sullivan brings up and protects Offit at every turn."

Uh-oh, I'm Bonnie Offit. After all, here are some of my posts:

Paul Offit (my very first Offit post!)

Age of Autism: Hash and Rehash and a Glimpse of Spring to Make Up for That

Dr. Paul Offit: Pope Of The Church Of The Immaculate Vaccination (yup, defending him against Stag's inference that he's condoning pedophilia).

They go on, post after post where I, or David Brown, point out that AoA gets its numbers wrong, gets its facts wrong, etc. Apparently, AoA thinks it can spew garbage about someone day after day and that people of good conscience won't rise up to defend him. And if one does, it's because she must be married to Offit!

"Evidence #2: Sullivan is in communication with Paul Offit, with great insight."

Proof again that I am Bonnie Offit. After all, Dr. Offit was kind enough to answer emails and allow those answers to be blogged here.

If you do a google search of this site, you'll see that Paul Offit gets 214 hits. Who but Bonnie Offit would write that much about Paul (other than AoA?).

"Evidence #3: Sullivan has spent considerable time clarifying how much money Paul Offit made from the Rotavirus vaccine, with remarkable insight and detail."

Guilty!  I'm Bonnie Offit.

David Brown's article with Offit, on this site.

Another David Brown article on the money issue.

And another David Brown piece on Offit and the money

One by me pointing out that AoA is intentionally putting out false information (links in the piece broken, refer to the ones above).

One by me on the NAA smear of Offit.

Handley goes on: "Why does the random father of a child with autism, a layperson, care so much that the exact number of millions Paul Offit made be clarified? So he’s a multi-millionaire, not a multi-multi-millionaire? What’s in it for Sullivan?"

Okay, so any blogger who spends time trying to make sure that other bloggers who are spreading false information about another person must have an agenda, must be married to the person being smeared? I'm Bonnie Offit.

"Evidence #4: When Barbara Loe Fisher sued Paul Offit, Sullivan didn’t even mention the case until the suit had been dismissed, despite the fact that Orac (a blogger who Sullivan cites frequently) had discussed the case 3 months prior."

Really? That makes no sense whatsoever. How on earth is that evidence at all that Sullivan is Bonnie Offit?

"Evidence #5: Sullivan knows what’s in Paul Offit’s new book, Deadly Choices, even though it hasn’t been released yet."

Sullivan didn't say he'd read the book. He didn't say autism doesn't appear in the book at all. He said, according to Handley himself: "While the word “autism” doesn’t appear at all on the Amazon.com page for the book, it will come as no surprise that the autism/vaccine parent groups play a prominent role in the book’s discussion of the modern anti-vaccine movement." I'm still waiting on my review copy, but it seems clear that folks like those at AoA will be featured prominently since they are responsible for all the noise (don't yall take credit for it all the time?). The product review at Amazon says: "How did we get to a place where vaccines are viewed with horror rather than as life-saving medicine? The answer is rooted in one of the most powerful and disturbing citizen activist movements in our nation’s history—a movement that, despite recent epidemics and deaths, continues to grow. Deadly Choices is the story of anti-vaccine activity in America—its origins, leaders, influences, and impact—and is a powerful defense of science in the face of fear."

Dude, this "one of the most powerful and disturbing citizen activist movements in our nation’s history" is AoA/Gen Res/SafeMinds.

Handley writes "The book isn’t out until January? Why does Sullivan already know what’s in it?" Umm, how'd I know and have a review on Stag's book months before it was published? Because Skyhorse Publishing sent me a galley copy. Wasn't that kind of them? I think it was, and it let me know well ahead of AoA readers what Stagliano wrote about. Gods, but that doesn't make me Mark Stagliano, does it?

"Evidence #6: If it has to do with Offit, Sullivan will defend the most arcane of topics (especially the Rotavirus vaccine)."

Damnit, guilty. I am Bonnie Offit. Anytime AoA writes about Offit, I usually rebut it. I'm behind, I admit it, but that's because I realized AoA's the fringe now, few people listen to them, and AoA isn't even on the mainstream's radar. Cool, freed up time for me to focus on things that do make a difference like community building, supporting other parents, providing a directory of parents and family members and autistic bloggers. So much better.

"Evidence #7: Sullivan is obsessed with the same topics that obsess Paul Offit."

I am so totally Bonnie Offit. After all, Handley says Sullivan writes about "Hannah Poling, Barbara Loe Fisher, Andy Wakefield, Generation Rescue, and Jenny McCarthy. Anything that exonerates vaccines from causing autism, and anything Paul Offit."

Shit, tell me that isn't what I write about here. Not so much Jenny McCarthy, but the rest, yup, lots of times. I am Bonnie Offit. Who knew those topics signalled that I was someone other than me? Go figure.

And this, really?

"Paul Offit could not have asked for a better random father to come along out of nowhere:
* a father with a child with autism
* a father with a child with autism with remarkable ease at dissecting complex medical topics and forming the same exact arcane one-sided arguments that Paul Offit makes
* a father interested in topics, almost exclusively, that impact Paul Offit and his legacy"
Okay, okay, okay.

ummmmm. ding ding ding. I'm a MOM of three on the spectrum.

ahh, I'm a MOM with kids on the spectrum, and I think I do this pretty well: "remarkable ease at dissecting complex medical topics and forming the same exact arcane one-sided arguments that Paul Offit makes."

Oh snap, and I am totally a mom interested in the same kind of stuff Offit is, you know, that sciency-evidence stuff where you save babies and children from dying from vaccine preventable diseases.

Handley is convinced Sullivan is Bonnie Offit. No one but Offit or his wife could spend that amount of time blogging. Ahh, I've got over 800 blogs here, almost entirely my own pieces, in less than two years. I am Bonnie Offit. There's no other logical conclusion, is there?

Handley writes that "Bonnie spends an inordinate amount of time blogging, she herself admits this." But she doesn't; the quotes Handley lifted say she spends time and "tours the autism Web sites late at night after her husband goes to sleep." She never said she blogs. She "makes time to monitor the blogosphere."

Handley's argument is unfounded. It is riddled with inconsistencies and illogic. Even if you took his evidence as valid, I make a much more compelling Bonnie Offit. Why go anonymous when you could pretend to be a mom and instructor for a community college in West Texas. I mean, I must not be real, because I still don't appear on the college website under employee directory, and if I'm not there, I can't be real, right?

I am Bonnie Offit. Damnit!


Anonymous said...

Well Bonnie,

I'm glad you got that off your chest. Now you can stop pretending your a college professor. ;-)

Autism News Beat said...

Great job, Kim. I hope JB doesn't realize what a fool he has made of himself, and by extension the anti-vaccine movement, and remove the post. This is classic.

kathleen said...

Oh great-so now all this time I find out you aren't you? I knew I should have flown out to Texas this past summer!! If you really do live in Texas that is...:)

Kim Wombles said...

Hee, what a relief, Laura! That means no more papers to grade, right?

Thanks, Ken. Ah, the webpage is saved. :-) If it disappears, it can reappear on google documents.

Kim Wombles said...

hee, Kathleen, yup! :-)

Todd W. said...

You raise convincing points, KWombles, but the truth remains that I am Bonnie Offit. I wrote up why at my blog, Silenced by Age of Autism. And besides, have you ever seen me and Bonnie in the same room together? Think about it.

Kim Wombles said...

Todd, nope, not true. Ah, unless we are Bonnie clones! egads. Think of it; if anyone can do it, big Pharma could!

Unknown said...

Perhaps I shouldn't be giving tips to JB, since what he did is hilarious, and one could hope he continues to make a fool of himself in the future.

It's possible to classify written text as male or female with some accuracy (at least 70%, and some authors claim 80%.) There's an online tool called the gender Genie, which applies a variant of one of the published algorithms.

I've tried a couple of Sullivan's posts, and he tests MALE. This doesn't prove he's male, but it does show he writes like a male.

I'd recommend using at least 1,000 words with a tool like this.

Kim Wombles said...

Joseph, I came up as male. Ah that's it, I'm Sullivan!

Kev said...

Y'know....in a funny kinda way, we're ALL Bonnie. Right gang?

Kim Wombles said...

Damn straight, Kev.

Science Mom said...

I'm in the camp of 'please let J.B. Clouseau keep posting this stuff'. It's sheer comedy gold.

I hope the Offits are getting a chuckle out of this. Oops, I mean me.

Liz Ditz said...

Since I haven't written as much about the good doctors Offit I am perhaps pretentious to claim to be Bonnie Offit, but I did it anyway. With the usual list


Actually Handley's post is a really good example of how pseudoscience / conspiracy theory thinking goes.

And hey, a first: they posted my comment!

Roger Kulp said...

Two winners in a row from them.This only proves our boy Jake isn't the only one at AoA who likes to dream up wild conspiracy stories.

ebohlman said...

This part, though, is fab: "Sullivan also claims to be a layperson. If you read many of Sullivan’s posts, you’ll quickly see you are dealing with a person who is smart, organized in their thinking, and extremely facile with complex medical terminology."

This was almost exactly the argument Cliff Shoemaker used to justify his subpoena of Kathleen Seidel: that she was too well-informed to be a layperson.

Sullivan said...

I do feel left out of the party as the only one who isn't Bonnie Offit.

It appears as though this was a consensus ruling at AoA, as Mark Blaxill was consulted. That sort of throws out my suggestion that Mr. Handley run his ideas by someone before going public.

I doubt Mr. Handley is a man of enough integrity to actually follow through on his offer to stop talking about Dr. Offit and to transfer the rights to pauloffit.com.

Anonymous said...

Kim, I've read a number of "I am Bonnie Offit" posts tonight, and while they're all quite good, yours is absolutely the best.

I feel like I'm watching an episode of the old "What's My Line?" show, except that when the host intones, "Will the real Bonnie Offit please stand up?" the entire audience takes to its feet. :-)

Kim Wombles said...

Thanks to all who came by. :-)

Sullivan, it would be nice if JB fulfilled his word and gave the website to the Offits. I think we know how likely that is.

Rachel,thank you. Hah, that's an awesome visual! It was nice to see our circle of friends join together today.

Autism News Beat said...

I'd recommend using at least 1,000 words with a tool like this.

Which tool is that - Gender Genie or JB?

melbo said...

Sorry for leaving a comment on such an old post but I followed the link you put up earlier today. This stuff is just mind-blowing ... that man's lack of logic and humility that is.

Just had to add that for the record, I am a woman who is often mistaken for a man in internet forums. It has been happening for years and I really don't know why that is. People assume a lot from writing style or language I guess. At least the people who've assumed that with me have had the decency to apologise. =)

Kim Wombles said...

Melbo, I never mind comments on old posts! :-)

Glad they apologize. I've been mistaken for a man before as well. Maybe that means we write with command and confidence?