Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Mr. Springsteen

photo credit-uchiuska
creative commons license

Below is the letter that I just e-mailed to Bruce Springsteen's publicist at . I encourage others to also write him and express your opinions.


Dear Mr. Springsteen,

I am writing you regarding your upcoming concert that you are doing in conjunction with Autism Speaks.

I have been a great fan of yours for years, and must admit that I got a little teary eyed when I read a story of how your music helped an autistic child learn to talk. My own son (who is autistic) also went through a stage where he sang a lot of songs (and bits from songs) instead of talking in the usual fashion. I would have much preferred that he used “Born to Run” instead of songs he heard on “Barney”.

I am sure that by now you are aware of the controversy regarding the organization Autism Speaks within the autism community. Not only do many parents of autistic children object to the way that Autism Speaks portrays those with autism, but more importantly those who are actually on the autism spectrum object to how they are portrayed.

Although I don’t know you, I sense from your music that you understand the underdog and the downtrodden in life. Unfortunately, many autistics in society are bullied and abused, sometimes by the very people that are supposed to be helping them.

The objections to the way Autism Speaks treats autistic individuals most recently revolve around a video that they released, but go deeper than that. Autism Speaks, in attempting to “raise awareness”, as well as funds for research on autism, has been consistent in using language that is not only disrespectful towards autistic individuals, but also absolutely false in many instances. Those with autism have not been kidnapped or stolen, and are not monsters. Autism is not a fatal disease, and thus should not be compared to cancer or AIDS. Finally, Autism Speaks is perhaps the only major organization that purports to represent disabled individuals that refuses to include those with the disability on their board.

This is not to say that those with autism don’t have challenges, or that parenting those on the autism spectrum is a piece of cake. But much of the challenge comes from living in a society that discriminates against those with disabilities, and lacks a true understanding of what those individuals actually require in regards to accommodations.

I ask that you reconsider your association with Autism Speaks, as that organization neither represents either autistic individuals themselves nor contributes to their welfare. Instead, this organization denigrates those on the spectrum. I just don’t see you as the type of person that would want to be associated with such an organization.


Joe xxxxxxxxxxx


Edit-If there is one post that Mr. Springsteen should read, it is the one put up by Bev over at Asperger Square 8. Go read it here. Bev's post is the most elegant and powerful one I've seen on this thus far.


Christine said...

Thanks for posting this. I had no idea. I am a big fan of Bruce Springsteen. I am NOT a big fan of Autism Speaks. This depresses me beyond words. I hope he hears from many. And I hope he hears our words.

Casdok said...

Good letter.
Lets hope he listens.

Ange said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mekei said...

somebody stick a pitchfork into farmwife, puh-lease.

Club 166 said...


My blog rules are simple. You may disagree, but no personal attacks, and no diagnosing (or undiagnosing) over the web.

So your post is gone. pfft...

You may return if/when you decide to be civil and abide by the rules. Judging by your kicking Emily when she was down, though, I don't expect that will be soon.


ditto. pfft...

I don't believe in censorship. But this is my living room, and everyone needs to play nice.


Club 166 said...

My apologies to y'all, but due to excessive "noise", from now on comments are on "moderation".

I will continue to let all comments thru that are not rude, attacking an individual, or outright spam.

I will not comment or acknowledge any posts I don't let thru.

Disagreeing with me is fine. It will be a very sad day in the world if people are not allowed to disagree with the majority opinion.

But for the last time. I view this blog as a get together in my living room. You are guests in my house here. Be polite, or be gone.


Corrie Howe said...

Thank you for your letter informing Mr. Springteen of the controversy around Autism Speaks. I believe it is right to give people information and let them make their decisions.

On a different note, I've seen you visit my "secondary blog" or the one I keep just for fun or things not related to my son with Asperger's Syndrome. Thanks for stopping by. It seems a number of people have found my MoonsBroke blog as opposed to my Justbecausemypickletalks blog. Just wanted to let you know about it in case you missed it.

Thanks again for your willingness to act on behalf of your son and others. And keeping the rest of us informed.

Alex Bain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ange said...

I deleted my comment. It was kinda of mean spirited. But generally I am tired of people telling me I'm not allowed to have an opinion about Autism because my kids meet the DSM criteria, but not the criteria set up by other parents.

VAB said...

Good letter. I sent one too. I agree that the Boss just doesn't strike you as the kind of guy who would knowingly support these guys.

jypsy said...

"Your son does not have Autistic Disorder. If he did he wouldn't speak"

ROFL...Go try that line on Mr. Doherty!

(Sorry, I posted above under Alex's name - he had just posted a blog post from my pc and was still logged in)

Club 166 said...

You know, jypsy, I thought it "sounded" much more like you.

I didn't think it sounded so mean. But then again, perhaps it's only because of some of the things I've had to compare it with.

I hope he listens.


jonathan said...

Interesting that you won't write a letter to Dr. Laurent Mottron asking him to return the tainted one half million dollars he received from this organization you have so much contempt for. Nor did you write Michelle Dawson urging her to resign from the Mottron group in protest as long as they accept this funding. Go figure.

Also, why should autism speaks put persons with autism on the board of directors who are hostile to their goals of curation? Why should they put a neurodiversity proponent on the board. I don't think you would approve if I were on the board and I recommended terminating Dr. Mottron's funding or other zero tolerance policies towards NDs.

WeAreAutistic said...

The Flat Earth Society gave money to NASA, it's an *outrage*.
We should be complaining to NASA, and tell them to return the big bucks.
Or maybe we should just get in touch with reality and say "weird, but wonderful".

TheWiredOne said...

Good luck with your letter, Joe. I seriously hope Bruce Springsteen will change his mind when he reads it.

Daisy said...

Bruce Springsteen may not have known enough about the organization when he agreed to take on the fundraiser. Sometimes managers/ publicists do the research and make the suggestions to the performers. If that's the case, your letter and those like it will make a big difference - if he sees them.


:: smiles, sheepishly::

I used the opportunity to try and get him to donate to local NJ Autism organizations instead of Autism Speaks...he's a local boy, after all...

TheWiredOne said...

I found this awesome post by Bev called "For You", which is obviously addressed to Bruce Springsteen. I would recommend linking to this somewhere.

Corrie Howe said...

If you are "into" blog awards, I've nominated you for one over at my place...Just Because My Pickle Talks. Hopefully it will bring others to your blog. You can find out my by checking out my latest post.

Club 166 said...

It would seem that blogger just ate one comment. I swear that I just hit "publish" when moderating the comment, but it doesn't show up, and there doesn't seem to be a way to get it back.

My apologies to whoever just got zapped. I didn't even see who it was that posted it.


Club 166 said...

While I cannot retrieve the comment, it did show up in my e-mail. The comment was from Nicki, and is as follows:

That definitely is a harsh video! I can't imagine an agency that supports people with a different disability, such as Down syndrome maybe, painting such a bleak picture of life with a disability... they almost make it seem like life with autism is not worth living!

Again, my apologies, Nicki.

And yes, negative public attitudes are one thing, while negative attitudes on the part of people who are supposed to be serving autistics is quite another.


isles said...

Very nice letter - although it's no surprise; you are always so thoughtful in your writing. I hope it will make an impact.

TheWiredOne said...

That's why I think it's such a good idea to make it open. That way if Bruce Springsteen is on the Internet, he might encounter this.

Marla said...

Bev says it well. I love her blog. I am so glad to be back here and I hope I am finding you and yours well. Please visit when you can.

Corrie Howe said...

Joe, I'm sending you an award. Please come pick it up at. I'm recognizing you for a post which should and does have everyone talking.