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Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The absolute effects on the mentality of an autistic person varies greatly for each individual.
On the internet, “autism” has gained usage as a label and insult used in generalization, aimed at mocking people by claiming they suffer from a mental disease or social disorder. Common targets for these claims commonly involve specific online communities or fandoms. (See also: Cancer & The -fag Suffix)
Autism is not fully understood, but the disorder has shown to contain a strong genetic basis, although it is unclear whether autism is explained more by rare mutations, or by rare combinations of common genetic variants. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize, although knowledge on this is incomplete. Autism is one of the pervasive developmental disorders in the autistic spectrum, alongside Asperger’s Syndrome, Kanner’s Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (also known as CDD).
Heather Kuzmich on America’s Next Top Model
On September 19th, 2007, the reality TV show America’s Next Top Model started a new season, featuring a contestant named Heather Kuzmich. At the beginning of the competition, some of the other contestants bullied Kuzmich, making fun of her “awkward” behavior and talking about her behind her back. However, Kuzmich later reported that “they didn’t make fun of me that much” and that the show’s producers chose not to broadcast more “civilized” exchanges. During week nine, a runway challenge requiring her to speak caused her to freeze up in front of the audience and negatively affect her shoot with a burning car in the desert. Tyra Banks noted that while it was a good shot, it was her weakest. As she came 4th in the runners up, it was revealed she had Asperger’s, and later she addressed the surprised public / viewers about her perspective and much more.
50 Cent’s Autism Tweets
On July 3rd, 2012, Twitter user yung_raditz sent American rapper 50 Cent a tweet reading “@50cent Release the album or get shot again”. 50 Cent responded to this tweet by saying, “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic”, which was later followed by “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else”. These tweets caused a controversy for various people, resulting in numerous angry replies. Afterwards 50 Cent apologized for the tweets, even noting “…i was in special ed…”.
Anon Vandalizing My Little Pony Mural
On October 20th, 2011, a user called ‘Gollum9993’ uploaded a video to YouTube titled “Painting Ponies” (shown below, left), showing a group of people creating a large mural based on the popular animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Early October 2012, a picture showing the mural being vandalized by the text “Highest Form of Autism – Anon” (shown below, right) started making rounds on the web, resulting in mixed opinions on the act by various parties. The mural was cleaned up a few days later, as was covered on brony hubsite Equestria Daily.