Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Meet the Pundits

When parents or caregivers go to seek answers, not from doctors, they often turn to the internet now instead of just books. They end up on Facebook pages or groups. These can sometimes be hostile for those people.

There is a trend these days, especially in the parenting community- not just the autism community, though God knows it's happening here- to seek out advice and try to prove your argument or credentials to a profile picture on Facebook. I'm guilty of it. I've done it and, likely as not, will continue to do so.

The beauty of Facebook is that there are millions of people out there who aren't so different than you. The horror of Facebook is that there is always a person waiting to pounce on your answer, however innocently stated, and tell you what a bad person you are for saying something. It's an "all or nothing" approach which I don't completely comprehend.

I call them parent pundits. Some of them aren't even parents, which makes it all the more baffling. In the autism community, they are autism pundits.


Pundits, from what I can tell, attack a lot from their sanctimonious pulpits. They aren't unintelligent by any stretch of the imagination, they are usually very well informed about the topic which they speak. However, I find them to be closed off to any idea that is not their own. Bring up something which does not fit into their sphere of influence or thinking and you will burn. They are ideologues, if you will. Their followers tend to support them with something close to a cult-like zealotry.

An innocent question about anything from feeding therapy, ABA, to infant circumcision can have a person flamed by a pundit who doesn't want to educate, only spit fire from his/her bully pulpit, and then the attack is blown up by the pundit's followers who circle around and attack some more.

Tell me, how is this helping anything? Usually, the pundit defends his/her actions by saying that this is educating the parent. I disagree and will argue that the pundit loses the target audience (the parents, in this case) when he/she attacks because the audience feels verbally flogged. Sometimes I wonder if pundits remember that there are actual people attached to the screens on the other side, reading their militant diatribes against them.

Militancy can be virtue, but when people are coming to someone for help and getting flogged for it, it ceases to be an asset. Camps of thought are formed based on differences of opinion. To me, that's dangerous. To me, this means that there is very little gray area where people can meet in the middle.

Parents, when you seek out help, be careful what you are seeking. Be careful who you seek out for answers. If you feel as if you're being attacked by a pundit, move along.

They are not worth your time, emotional energy, or carpel tunnel syndrome.

Pundits, get over yourselves. You think that you're making some sort of change in the world. You know what happens when you keep screaming about your experiences and don't allow anyone in for additional input? People change the channel and move on. Personally, I don't care for being attacked. Debated, yes. Being razed over virtual hot coals? No thank you.

I'm going to keep doing what's best for my very happy child, as most of us are, and walk away. No one likes a zealot. Well, except for cult-like followers.

Is there a cult for bacon and cake?


  1. I changed the channel. Strictly Nickelodeon and Disney for me now.

  2. I have Netflix. I'm ADD like that.