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to think that Chris Huhne's son was very wrong to call him 'autistic'

(358 Posts)
Sallyingforth Mon 04-Feb-13 17:03:34

He is may be an unpleasant creature but that word should never be used as an insult.

LynetteScavo Mon 04-Feb-13 18:56:10

I feel awful after reading that, as I have been privy to an argument between a father and son which was none of my business.

No, the son should not have used the word autism in that sense, just like my autistic son should use certain words, which I am in the process of educating him not to use, but he never the less pick up from society and occasionally uses.

20 years ago, I think the son may well have used a different, although equally offensive word. I agree Autism is the new buzzword for disabilists, or even unthinking teenagers. (I've no idea how old the son it bth).

DameMargotFountain Mon 04-Feb-13 18:56:14

do you understand how it affects an abject stranger though, to hear a condition being used as an insult? how can that NOT feel like hate?

families, like mine, facing discrimination and finger-pointing on a daily basis, are vilified and then hated

OptimisticPessimist Mon 04-Feb-13 18:56:29

I don't think he should have said it, for reasons already covered, but I also don't think they should have been released to the public. The only important exchange is the one referring to the offence Huhne committed and I think it's really unfair for an 18-year old to have his personal texts broadcasted like this, especially when they're so personal.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 18:57:22

I think the pudding is in danger of being over egged here. He clearly used autistic as shorthand for someone who didn't have a good grasp/understanding of human emotions and appropriate emotional response.

Now that may be an ill educated and misinformed view of autism. But it is hardly an example of holding out autistic people to be the worst, most hateful thing he could think of.

ethelb Mon 04-Feb-13 18:58:24

I hope that Chris Hune's son is picked up on his use of 'autistic' as an insult. I imagine he is realy a better person than that, and he needs to get some help for how badly he must be hurting.

It must be very very hard to deal with your parents divorcing when you are that age (my parents and some of my friends went through it at a similar age so I understand how destructive it can be), particuarly when they are acting out their disagreements on a public and legal stage with the potential result that they may both be jailed.

I hope he manages to find enough inner peace (for want of a better phrase) to realise that there is no excuse for using that term.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 18:59:41

Yes damemargot, I do understand. I have had enough years of it on the receiving end. I guess I am lucky enough to be able to put people in their place if they overstep the mark which I appreciate is not the case for other disabilities.

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Feb-13 19:00:59

Its beyond ill educated and misinformed.

Austistic peice of shit?

That is someone who thinks its ok to use a disability as an insult.

I do agree that its not nice that this is in the public eye though.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 19:03:39

He thinks his father is a piece of shit. Not autistic people.

I just feel really uncomfortable with this exchange being used to run this kind of discussion. What about Ricky Gervais and 'mong' ? Now there is a good example of what should be excoriated.

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Feb-13 19:07:23

Yes he thinks his father is a peice of shit, but he said autistic alongside peice of shit.

It isn't defendable.

AnyFucker Mon 04-Feb-13 19:08:36

Ricky Gervais was pasted for the use of "mong".

DameMargotFountain Mon 04-Feb-13 19:09:00

this is EXACTLY the sort of discussion that needs to be had though, how it is NOT ok to use disablist comments

porridgeLover Mon 04-Feb-13 19:09:23

I have very mixed feelings about this.
I feel terribly sad for this young man that his private argument with his father is now in the public eye and available on the internet for eternity. No phone upgrade to delete the words. No private reconciliation and apologies from dad to son to smooth it over in years to come, when (hopefully for his sake) the heat has gone from the injury.

I feel slightly dirty for having read that, as it is so private.

And I feel tired and sad. That 'autistic' is seen as ''completely lacking in empathy and unable to read social situations or interpret non-verbal clues'.

My son is Autistic.
He overfeels other peoples emotions to the extent that he becomes distressed at other people's sadness or pain and has to withdraw because his empathy is so profoundly felt and overwhelming for him.

He has difficulty with social situations because his brain cant 'read' language and non-verbal as quickly as a NT person....but he can read it. And he will figure it out. Think of living life with 'l'esprit de l'escalier'.


Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 19:09:33

If people are making damning assertions about his character on the basis of this, then I think he should be defended. I don't think that is fair or right.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 19:12:53

RG was rightly pasted. I don't think the circs of his use of words and the circs here are remotely similar. Who here would seriously put Peter Huhn on same moral level as RG?

LynetteScavo Mon 04-Feb-13 19:14:31

And it was very wrong, but it was a very wrong thing said in a private text, which his father has allowed to go public.

One wrong slip up by an 18yo, will be out there for all to see for the rest of time....No wonder he thinks his dad is a shit.

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Feb-13 19:17:05

Same moral level?

PH used autistic as an insult because that is how he sees it.

Lets not compare it to something another person said in totally different circs.

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 19:26:39

It is the idea that autistic = shit that must be tackled.

If people are having trouble seeing it - and I am not being sarcastic! I can see that it is a problem - then imagine him saying you black piece of shit.
Now, his dad isn't black.
Therefore it isn't even simply (pardon use of simply!) him using a word that actually does describe his dad, not that that would be ok, but using a word from a different group, something hes not part of but which he thinks sums up the negative quality he seeks to condemn and used in order to stress just how much of a shit his dad is.

He's not merely a shit, he's a BLACK shit
So with this. He's not merely a shit, he's an AUTISTIC shit.
Except he's not autistic. That's just how much of a shit he thinks his dad has been. His dad is so vile, its like he's autistic.
That sort of thing needs to stop happening. If we can see that its not a cceptable, then that's good.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 19:26:47

But you have to compare, otherwise you are just saying anyone who uses a word wrongly, in haste, foolishly etc etc is simply a massive cunt. And how is that helpful?

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 19:28:09

I still think he was using autistic as shorthand for perceived shortcomings in his fathers emotional response. Not that 'autistic' equals 'shit'.

HecateWhoopass Mon 04-Feb-13 19:31:37

I think well have to agree to disagree on that, I read it differently.
It shouldnt even be shorthand, mind.

Spero Mon 04-Feb-13 19:37:11

Yes, better by far if he had said 'inconsiderate' - that is what he meant, so far as I can see.

But he certainly didn't parade all this stuff for his millions of twitter followers a la Gervais, then incite them to insult others, so I think we do have to compare and comtrast the situations when people use this kind of vocabulary.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 04-Feb-13 19:37:43

I agree with all those who are saying that it's hurtful and appalling that the worst insult he could think of for a person who lied, refused to take responsibility for his actions, was prepared to see his wife jailed and is an all-round sleeze was to call him autistic.
I'd have thought 'You fucking politician' would have been far more accurate.

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Feb-13 19:39:06

Even using it as shorthand for that reason is wrong.

Its nonsense anyway.

AmberLeaf Mon 04-Feb-13 19:40:03

You dont know that he meant that though, its just your perception of it.

Pagwatch Mon 04-Feb-13 19:40:22

I think when you use a diagnostic word to define dreadful behaviour it isn't terribly helpful because, as Hecate says, it does make 'autistic' the worst thing he can think of to call his father.

I have to admit I feel nothing but sympathy for the son. He is/was experiencing a dreadful time and I suspect it was ignorance and foolishness rather than spite or malice. I think he is symptomatic of those who have noted that 'retarded' isn't ok but without ever undstanding that if you select a group and use them as the worst thing you can call someone that is the problem. Not the specific word.

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