Friday, September 21, 2007

In Praise of Jenny McCarthy

I do not share Jenny McCarthy's views on the MMR vaccine and autism.

Nor do I believe that she any better able to assess the evidence or the scientific literature on the subject than any other parent of an autistic child. But she does have the gift of celebrity status, the power to command media attention and disseminate her views. And it is harder to get better media attention than to appear on Oprah Winfrey's show. Much more effectively than this humble small town blogger can do. Although I disagree with her views though, I admire her willingness to fight for her child. Ms McCarthy has not embraced the culture of defeat, the attraction of the sweet surrender, of giving in and convincing yourself that there is joy in autism, a profoundly disabling neurological disorder. For that refusal to imbibe the kool aid of the cult of defeat Ms McCarthy deserves credit.

In speaking out and expressing her views on MMR vaccines and autism Ms McCarthy surely knew that she would be the object of ridicule. Some of the commentary is snide, some of it is out and out mean spirited and belittles only those who offer it. A cheap shot artist is a cheap shot artist, whether they sport a Ph. D. or not. Ms McCarthy spoke out to express her beliefs in support of helping her child. A noble cause. And she, and Ms Winfrey who hosted her on her show, are nobler for fighting for that cause. As for Ms McCarthy's friend Jim Carrey I know what it means to be an autism dad by fate. Mr Carrey has freely chosen to take on that role and also earned my admiration.

I don't agree with Ms McCarthy's MMR autism views, although future evidence could still prove her right and me wrong. But I admire her fight for her child, and Ms Winfrey for helping and Mr Carrey for caring and taking on the challenge.

Well done; all three of you.


Casdok said...

Like you i dont agree with Jenny McCarthy.

Maya M said...

Let me not ridicule Ms. McCarthy and Ms. Winfrey as celebrities of the Age of Unreason on your blog (I hope soon to have time to do this on my blog), but as far as I know, at one time Ms. McCarthy believed that her son's peculiarities were due to him having the pure and superior nature of a "crystal child".
If this is not "sweet surrender", I dcn't know what is!

Anonymous said...

I was thrilled that Ms McCarthy suggested that people who want to help families with children and autism can OFFER TO BABYSIT! Although she can probably afford a great nanny / nurse / teacher, she spoke out for those of us who cannot afford that kind of help and desperately need to take a break now and then. Yeah Jenny!