Is Autistic The New “R-Word”?

The video clip above is from the new movie 21 Jump Street. In the clip, Jonah Hill shows Ice Cube a chart that looks like it was made by a first grader. Ice Cube says:

This chart looks like sh*t. Are you autistic?

A lot of people in the autism community are up in arms because of the slant. Many feel like it’s become a substitute for the nearly-taboo “R Word.” There’s a good chance that’s the case.

However, I’m upset for an entirely different reason.

You see, movies like Superbad and 21 Jump Street don’t exactly become box office hits for their political correctness. That’s part of what makes them funny. They have a certain shock value that, in the right context, is funny. Sure, sometimes it crosses a line, but in the moment, the jokes can be pretty hilarious.

My problem isn’t that they made fun of autism. People with autism can be super eccentric and some of their behaviors are funny. What bugs me is that they didn’t bother to educate themselves enough to make fun of autism “correctly”.

Anybody who has ever known a kid with autism knows that the chart in the video clip wouldn’t even pass as a rough draft. Maybe if Jonah Hill would have presented a computer generated 3D rendering of all of the possible suspects with full biographies, known aliases, tax histories, favorite action figures, and preferred brand of underwear, then the makers of the film would have been on to something.

Instead, they made themselves look like complete idiots by associating sloppiness and poor quality work with autism. Actually, that’s not fair. I’m making the same mistake they did. Because, you see, according to, an idiot is an utterly foolish or senseless person, and that seems to be giving the filmmakers a little too much credit for their lazy joke.

I’m not even asking for political correctness like a lot of people are (although that would be ideal). All that I’m asking is that they do one google search about the punchline of their joke. Here, I’ll help.

0.2 seconds could have saved those Hollywood execs from looking like morons. I mean dolts. I mean half-wits. I mean numskulls. I mean imbeciles.

I’m sorry. I can’t seem to find the right word. I’ll bet Collin can help me out…


  1. says

    saw the movie.
    loved the movie
    that ruined the movie for me.
    really? would they have subbed in JEWISH etcetc there? no.

  2. says

    It’s the research bit that ruins most movies for me. (Don’t get me started on the Chekov’s accent from the lastest Star Trek movie because WRONG).

    I’m so over the derogatory-as-funny thing.

    If you’re still looking for a word to describe the writers and producers, might I suggest an gender-neutral, anatomical one?

  3. Tj says

    I bet Colin could help them out! I really wish movies/tv shows would realize that they can leave out the R word, the A word, and while they are at it the G (gay) word too. Equal rights aren’t just needed by the LGBT community but anyone who is discriminated against including people with special needs who might not be able to communicate or stand up for themselves.

  4. says

    I haven’t seen the movie but this: ” What bugs me is that they didn’t bother to educate themselves enough to make fun of autism “correctly”.” is a great point. I love that you are able to see the humor in Autism (frankly I think being able to share some inappropriate laughter is one of the most important release valves for all parents) but are still able to articulate what made the joke fail. I’m not saying this well (and am so afraid of offending). What I mean is I think that your kids are lucky to have a dad with such a sharp sense of humor but one tempered by love. Your FB posts always crack me up!

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