I've just seen a news story about Gary McKinnon. They say he has Asperger syndrome, and this is his excuse for whatever it is that he's done. No questioning of the idea of AS as an excuse. Britain seems to have an odd obsession with autism as an excuse for stuff. Maybe there are just a heap of Brits looking for excuses. I don't know, I live in Australia, but I do know that here depression is the fashionable all-purpose excuse. Only a handful of Australians have yet to get a prescription for anti-depression medications, and hubby and I are two of them.
But does McKinnon really have AS? AS isn't officially synonymous with "genetic syndrome" or any specific genetic syndrome, so I guess he doesn't. He clearly does have some genetic syndrome. Just look at his face. It is a male version of the face of a very odd girl that I shared my high school years with. You could almost say we were friends, but I've got to admit that no one took her seriously enough to honestly say we had a genuine friendship with her. She was assertively annoying and not very bright academically. She was small and her face seemed to lack flesh. She had an irritating voice and cheerful elf-like personality that was uncannily similar to those of the Australian TV personality Andrew Denton.
People put forward explanations for this girl. Her mother told people that she had been in grave danger as a baby, because she wouldn't feed. School friends noticed that her parents were old. Her computer-programmer father had been exposed to radiation during his war service. Everyone knew there was something up with this girl, beyond the variation between all individuals. Is this Asperger syndrome? No, it's clearly a very specific major deviation from the norm in physical development, probably genetic in cause. She physically had never been what you'd call normal. There's probably a name for it in some dusty old handbook of rare genetic conditions sitting on a shelf in a dark corner of a medical library. Gary McKinnon is clearly physically beyond normal too. Andrew Denton? What do you think? He's the most annoying man on Australian television, in the face of some very stiff competition. Gary McKinnon does not have Asperger syndrome. To say he does is just stupid and lazy and negligent. He has a genetic syndrome. Has anyone bothered to find out which one?