First, to recuse myself. I am a huge Dennis Leary fan. I have actually told my children "Life sucks, get a helmet" during tantrums. I may regret that at some point but it snaps out easier than Joss Whedon's "I swear by my pretty floral bonnet that I will end this."
So when I saw his book Why We Suck in the library, I had to get it. I was set to be hilariously offended with every page. It is amusing that he and I disagree on so many points and yet I still enjoy listening to his point of view. Yet I cannot stand 2 minutes with the Family Values squads.
Why We Suck attempts to rip the glamour away from North American delusions about themselves. According to Leary, we are fat, lazy and self-absorbed and unable to appreciate what we have. He attacks political correctness, feminism, Dr. Phil, jet-pack parents and a whole lot of other stuff.
One of his chapters is called "Autism Schmautism" and I started reading it with held breath, wondering if my amusement was going to evaporate into rage.
But he was actually supportive of families with autism. The focus of the chapter was a rant against parents who diagnosis-shop for conditions to excuse their own crappy parenting. He said something to the effect that those parents should be on their knees thanking God they don't have a child with autism because autism is a serious life-long condition and families who are dealing with the genuine article have a horrible road to go through. He said it snappier with a lot more profanities but the point is made.
Dennis Leary specializes in insulting people. He has insulted people in wheelchairs for hogging sidewalk space. But he thinks families with autism are dealing with enough to deserve a break.
While it's nice not to be insulted, there's a part of me which sits there and asks "Is it really so bad that I deserve a pity-pass from Dennis Leary?"
I have had people describe my life as a "nightmare" which honestly made me quite angry. There may be a lot of my life which I don't like, but to call it a nightmare is to insult my children. Whom I love. A lot. And wouldn't trade for anything.
For whatever reason, I don't feel upset at Leary. At the end of the day, his message was basically: it could be a lot worse. Not thrilled at being the example of what's worse but it's a message I can sympathize with.