Brandy's Reviews > Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid

Why We Suck by Denis Leary
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Feb 27, 09

bookshelves: 2009, audiobooks, library, non-fiction, biog-memoir, adult
Read in February, 2009

The other reviews hit all the high points here--it's more of the same from Leary; it's better spoken than read; it's a lot of rant rant rant without a lot of actual commentary. Still, it was an entertaining enough listen. I don't agree with a lot of what he said, but I can see where he's coming from on most of it.

I was curious about this after I saw him interviewed on The Daily Show, and Jon Stewart asked about the "autism isn't real" debacle. Leary clarified that he wasn't saying "autism is completely made up," but that his point was more about the pathological need in today's society to label any kid who isn't a calm (but not too calm), smart (but not too smart) kid. Having listened to that section of his book, I don't understand why he needed to clarify that--it seemed pretty obvious to me that he was saying was that labels get tossed around like candy, and while, yes, autism and autism-spectrum disorders are real, there are the parents who seem to revel in their kids' diagnoses, to the extent that the parents will drag kids around from doctor to doctor until they find one who is willing to label their child "special needs." I'm not explaining it very well (in part because there's a whole long discussion of social issues here that I don't feel like getting into), but what it boils down to is that neither he nor I believe that autism doesn't exist, and he never once suggested that it doesn't--only that there's always someone willing to diagnose kids for things that, really, aren't problems the way some parents want them to be. (Please note that I am NOT lumping all parents-of-autism-spectrum-kids in this statement.)

I'm guessing now's a good time for me to stop digging, before I REALLY get myself in trouble while trying not to offend parents of legitimately autism-spectrum kids. Or anyone else. And I've probably failed because I can't frame (or phrase) my thoughts on this issue coherently.
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