Saturday, April 5, 2008
Kathleen Slapped-Blogs Slap Back
creative commons license
I had heard of SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) before in the context of lawsuits against environmental groups, but had never really paid much attention to them. Evidently the whole purpose of them is to harass people who are speaking out by costing them great deals of money to defend themselves.
I'm sure that most everyone has heard about the ridiculous subpoena that Kathleen Seidel has been served with. While it appears that she has not been sued, this subpoena is pretty much an all encompassing fishing expedition meant to pursue one purpose, and one alone-silencing Kathleen Seidel.
No one could reasonably believe that there was some grand conspiracy that involved paying off Kathleen to write her blog on neurodiversity.com. I do not know Kathleen personally, but there is absolutely no indication that she is being put up to write the things she does. How do I know this? Because there is no way anyone could ever write so elegantly, so powerfully, and so honestly if they were being paid.
Paid product pushers and plants on blogs make themselves known over time. They can't help themselves. They post obviously false things that support certain products or positions, in contradiction to all the evidence that there is to be found.
Kathleen is the polar opposite of someone who is paid to write from a certain perspective. When I found out that there was a name for why my son was having so much difficulty with peers and at home, and that that name was autism, I went searching for information on the web. I first found a local listserve where parents had an ongoing pity party, and most were in search of a holy grail cure. I continued to search, and rapidly came across three different sites on the web that greatly influenced me. These were Kristina Chew's AutismVox, The Autism Hub, and Neurodiversity.com. I loved these sites for different reasons. Kristina for her personal touch, The Hub for its diversity of opinions, and neurodiversity.com for its obviously well researched list of resources and readings on autism. I spent days delving through the articles and resources linked from the site. I felt like I had discovered a cave full of jewels, and I marveled how each one of them sparkled as it was held up to the light. Such sites are not put together by those who are paid to push a certain viewpoint (If she were being paid, there would be much less content, and a lot more "splash" to the site). The beauty of neurodiversity.com is in the layers upon layers of painstaking research that went into putting it all together.
Kathleen's blog has always been top notch. She doesn't push vague conspiracy theories with no facts behind them. Instead she publishes extremely well researched, well annotated (a rarity on the web), and well written treatises on subjects related to autism. A victim of her own success, the existence of this precedent setting subpoena speaks to how well Kathleen's voice is being heard. Evidently she must be silenced.
Many bloggers have stepped up to symbolically link arms with Kathleen. In whatever small way I can, I am proud to join them. Kathleen's voice is one that we cannot allow to be silenced.
Many (including probably myself) would have been intimidated by such harassment. To her credit, Kathleen didn't even flinch, and has fired back a motion to quash the subpoena. You go, girl. They've SLAPPED the wrong woman.