Asperger’s Syndrome

People who suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome have grave difficulties with social interactions because they have trouble in reading other people’s emotions. I recently read an interesting interview with Bram Cohen (the inventor of BitTorrent) who suffers from Asperger’s. Which brings us to Tim Blair. After his latest attack on Lancet study blew up in his face, Blair’s response was to claim that I suffered from Asperger’s syndrome. (No link, find it yourself if you care.)

Unfortunately, this sort of behaviour from Blair is all too common. After Darp Hau commented on the way Blair made fun of Margo Kingston appearance (by calling her “the Margoyle”, for instance), Blair demanded that Hau provide examples. When Hau met the challenge, Blair threw a temper tantrum:

Still no retraction, Darp? Well, I suppose we’ll just add “moral coward” to your resume, along with “shithouse researcher”, “abysmal writer”, and “liar”. Keep it comin’, fraud.

Name calling, making fun of people’s looks, temper tantrums … is there a name for this syndrome?

Comments

  1. #1 Philip Gomes
    May 15, 2005

    To suggest that Blair has Aspergers is to insult those so affilcted, let’s just call it as it is shall we, he’s a dickhead.

  2. #2 Ian Gould
    May 15, 2005

    Cranio-rectal inserion syndrome?

  3. #3 david Tiley
    May 15, 2005

    It is strange. It is like we have to two Tim Blairs. One who is interesting and civil and quizzical, and the other, which I don’t want to bother thinking about. You see it in the response to Darp.

    How can this be?

  4. #4 J F Beck
    May 15, 2005

    Tim,

    Could you please quote and link to Blair’s claim that you suffer from Asperger’s, I can’t find it.

  5. #5 the saintly alan greenspan
    May 15, 2005

    what’s best about these stupid episodes is the way blair and his dipshit army morph into tireless fact checkers in the pursuit of total accuracy and unambiguous, literal truth. now if they’d only apply the same dedication to the pronouncements of those who actually matter.

  6. #6 agricola
    May 15, 2005

    what a knob that Blair is, and that goes for his little blairgimps as well

  7. #7 The_Real_JeffS
    May 15, 2005

    I don’t see how Lancet is vindicated. If nothing else, the interval between min and max values is much less in the UN study (11,000 for the UN versus 190,000 in Lancet), which speaks volumes for the sampling methodology.

    This, in turn, was a major reason why the Lancet was booed down in the first place. The UN study was at least more representative of the Iraqi population, as opposed to the slap dash, sloppy study put out by the Lancet team.

    Lancet vindication was not the purpose the of the UN study — it’s too measure the state of affairs in Iraq.

    At the very least, the Lancet study has been rendered obsolete by a better effort, and should be relegated to the dusty library shelves labeled “Statisical analysis: what not to do”.

  8. #8 Niall
    May 15, 2005

    I think Phillip hit the nail fairly & squarely. Dickhead seems quite apt to me.

  9. #9 :
    May 15, 2005

    Jeffs

    The lower confidence interval is due to the larger sample size – which in turn is due to the government and Un backing given to the UNDP study.

    Of course, had the Lancet study not been undertaken, the pro-dead-Iraqi side would currently be denouncing the UNDP study as Kofi Annan’s latest piece of anti-American propaganda.

    Isn’t it funny how much more credible people seem when you think they’re saying what you want to hear?

  10. #10 :
    May 15, 2005

    Jeffs

    The lower confidence interval is due to the larger sample size – which in turn is due to the government and Un backing given to the UNDP study.

    Of course, had the Lancet study not been undertaken, the pro-dead-Iraqi side would currently be denouncing the UNDP study as Kofi Annan’s latest piece of anti-American propaganda.

    Isn’t it funny how much more credible people seem when you think they’re saying what you want to hear?

  11. #11 :
    May 15, 2005

    Jeffs

    The lower confidence interval is due to the larger sample size – which in turn is due to the government and Un backing given to the UNDP study.

    Of course, had the Lancet study not been undertaken, the pro-dead-Iraqi side would currently be denouncing the UNDP study as Kofi Annan’s latest piece of anti-American propaganda.

    Isn’t it funny how much more credible people seem when you think they’re saying what you want to hear?

  12. #12 :
    May 15, 2005

    Jeffs

    The lower confidence interval is due to the larger sample size – which in turn is due to the government and Un backing given to the UNDP study.

    Of course, had the Lancet study not been undertaken, the pro-dead-Iraqi side would currently be denouncing the UNDP study as Kofi Annan’s latest piece of anti-American propaganda.

    Isn’t it funny how much more credible people seem when you think they’re saying what you want to hear?

  13. #13 The Real JeffS
    May 15, 2005

    Of course, had the Lancet study not been undertaken, the pro-dead-Iraqi side would currently be denouncing the UNDP study as Kofi Annan’s latest piece of anti-American propaganda.

    Well, first, you don’t know that, because things didn’t happen that way. The Lancet study did get published, and it was rightfully slammed as a poor study. That the UN did a better job is immaterial to the Lancet study, since they were independent, and if one is looking at the matter objectively (a rare thing these, considering how screwed up the UN is). At best, this is wishful thinking on your part.

    And not all of the UN is corrupt, just most of it. Some parts really try to help. It’s just that Kofi does no favors to the good parts by his actions.

    And since the UN collected the data throughout Iraq, in cooperation with Coalition forces (if you think otherwise, think again), your statement is in fact unduly pessimistic (if not insulting), especially since the UN report points out where conditions have not improved in Iraq since the liberation.

    The UN report supersedes the Lancet report because that casualty estimate is far closer to the actual (but not complete) counts by different sources (official and unofficial). As the report has a reality check with a better confidence, it is more acceptable to rational people, not because it has “…government and Un backing given to the UNDP study“.

    The Lancet was denounced because it was sloppy, but was accepted by those people who heard what they wanted to hear.

  14. #14 Darp Hau
    May 15, 2005

    You know, I’m actually going to say something nice about Blair here. It kind of echoes Dave Tiley I guess.

    There is that witty, droll and concisely comedic side to Blair which I find very “John Birmingham” at times. Ignoring his politics, he CAN be a funny prick.

    As for the “other” side which has reared its head in regard to this matter. Hmmmmmm …shall I be so bold as to put it down to my innate ability to get under his skin?

    I’ve always had a talent for pissing certain people off. I don’t know why, I can’t pin down a certain character type or anything …it’s just something that I do, without thinking usually – I just be myself and it shits people.

    I shouldn’t stake that claim because now I will have to back it up with a psychiatrists analysis signed in triplicate by three JP’s.

    As for the ‘moral coward’ tag. Marty Pike hit back quite succintly when he said:

    Well, I suppose we’ll just add “moral coward” to your resum,”-

    Whereas using your site to ridicule people who are not allowed to answer back there, or banning people who dissent while leaving a stream of invective piled up on their banned arse, are the actions of a man of steel?

  15. #15 Helen
    May 16, 2005

    That Parent-Adult-Child thing in behavioural psychology can be very helpful explaining these things. We don’t always function in the same way. For instance, a high-functioning Tim Bliar type can function as “parent” towards a dweeby underling at work who needs advice, then as an “adolescent” when he perceives himself as under threat on his log. When being interviewed on the radio he is pretty much in “adult” mode, hence the appearance of split personality. It’s really pretty common.

  16. #16 Helen
    May 16, 2005

    Erratum: Blog, not log.

  17. #17 TimT
    May 16, 2005

    Actually, Tim, Darp didn’t really meet the challenge. He let everyone else do the research for him, and his final ‘rebuttal’ to Blair was just a repetition of this ‘research’ – his final points being taken (if memory serves correctly) from Robert and yourself.

    I think that Tim Blair’s response, beginning here, is worth reading.

    If what Darp claimed about Tim Blair was true, then surely he would have been able to dig up some independent evidence of his own? His failure to provide his own evidence suggests that he was just making wild accusations about Blair from the beginning, or was just repeating common left-wing stereotypes about Blair in a poor attempt to discredit him.

  18. #18 16
    May 16, 2005

    My kid has Aspergers, and while there a lot worse things one can be affllicted with. Tim needs to spend some time with Uli Schmetzer’s friend Graham Thorn.

  19. #19 Darp Hau
    May 16, 2005

    TimT,

    Whether myself, Rob Corr or Tim L dug up the info doesn’t really alter the validity of the findings.

    Anyway, after I posted it, your initial response was “yeah yeah, fair cop – it was all a joke anyway and Tim Blair was just having a lend of you.”

    Yeah, right. So Tim was being serious when he compared Margo to a gargoyle. So he was being serious when he turned around Margo’s use of a piece of anti-American imagery and suggested that it was a picture of her. So he was being absolutely, dead serious in his post about Margo appearing naked at Byron Bay.

    Get a sense of perspective, and, more importantly, get a dictionary, and look up “sarcasm”, “irony”, “satire”, and “dramatic irony”, then come back to Blair’s posts and re-read them.
    TimT | Homepage | 05.06.05 – 4:48 am | #

    Why the different approach now?

  20. #20 TimT
    May 16, 2005

    Darp,

    I stand by both my statements. They’re not in contradiction with one another. The statement left on your blog was a comment on your analytical abilities, the statement on this blog was on your research abilities.

  21. #21 Andjam
    May 16, 2005

    Could you please quote and link to Blair’s claim that you suffer from Asperger’s, I can’t find it.

    I could only find The Real JeffS making a comment, while Andrea and yours truly and aging gamer had our own views on the suggestion. But noble Lambert has told you Blair attacked him. And Lambert is an honourable man.

    Tim, are you complaining about someone saying you have Asperger’s? Are you prejudiced against people with Asperger’s, man?

    /John Kerry supporter

  22. #22 Tim Lambert
    May 16, 2005

    TimT, Darp did meet the challenge, since he provided the links that Blair demanded. There was no requirement that Darp not get any help. Nor would such a requirement make sense since it is not relevant to Darp’s claim that Blair had made fun of her looks.

    More importantly, the point of Darp’s criticism was that Blair usually attacks Margo on superficial things like her looks or her spelling rather than substance. True to form, Blair evaded the substance of Darp’s criticism by editing Darp’s criticism to change its meaning.

  23. #23 mark
    May 16, 2005

    Andjam, you had me up ’till “/John Kerry supporter”. Way to blow your point on a moment of immaturity! Well, maybe not. I mention it only because that seems what TimL’s doing a lot lately.

    My findings are the same as those of several other posters: there was no mention of TimL having Asperger’s made by tim, nor was there much enthusiasm towards the topic after JeffS’s idiotic comment; just a couple of reasonable comments from you (!) and Andrea (!!), and one silly swipe from aging gamer, which surely counts as typical fare for RWDBs involved in a circle-jerk. Nothing worth worrying about there.

    What concerns me — and I know I can say this here because TimL doesn’t have an Andrea-equivalent bogey monster patrolling his domain — is the growing immaturity TimL is showing in his dealings with right-wing ‘bloggers, especially tim. He’s dragging himself down to their level, making stupid comments or name-calling. “Name calling, making fun of people’s looks, temper tantrums . is there a name for this syndrome?” Congratulations, TimL, you’ve just conceded the high moral ground! Well done indeed!

    TimL’s fights with tim have always had an air of the one-eyed man trying to beat up the blind dude (and well all know the saying about who is king, don’t we?). But lately it seems TimL has agreed to don a blindfold.

  24. #24 Tim Lambert
    May 16, 2005

    When he referred to me, Blair made my name a link to this description of Asperger’s syndrome. The comments about Asperger’s were responses to this.

  25. #25 The Dark Avenger
    May 17, 2005

    The college grad student who was recently convicted of torching some SUVs at a dealership in Southern California is said to have Asperger’s syndrome, he’s an environmentalist, and so if Tim Lambert is an environmentalist……….

  26. #26 Andjam
    May 17, 2005

    Andjam, you had me up ’till “/John Kerry supporter”. Way to blow your point on a moment of immaturity!

    I apologise for tarring all Kerry supporters with the same brush.

    When he referred to me, Blair made my name a link to this description of Asperger’s syndrome.

    Ok.

  27. #27 Steve
    May 17, 2005

    TL: When he referred to me, Blair made my name a link to this description of Asperger’s syndrome.

    Andjam: Ok.

    IS that your only response Andjam? Your post where you questioned TimL on the aspergers reference seemed loaded with sarcasm to me. Perhaps you should admit you were rude with your sarcasm, and wrong, and apologise….if you are honourable.

  28. #28 mark
    May 17, 2005

    When he referred to me, Blair made my name a link to this description of Asperger’s syndrome. Ahh, all is revealed (and I really should’ve looked harder at the post to try to find out why the hell JeffS “brought it up”). Thank you.

    Andjam, the Democratic Party is largely equivalent to the Liberal Party of Australia in political terms. Aussie right-wingers attacking the Democrats, except in the case of those who feel the Libs are too centreist, are picking on the Dems because they’re the nominal “left-wing” party in American politics. “I’m a right-winger, so I want the Republicans to win!” It’s tribalism, pure and simple: my tribe supports the Republicans, while the Democrats are merely the extreme right-wing of that other tribe I don’t like.

  29. #29 Steve
    May 19, 2005

    Its funny that TimB teases you for having Asperger’s, presumably over your coverage of the Lancet study, when he is again blogging about the plastic turkey.

  30. #30 Tim Lambert
    May 19, 2005

    Currency Lad makes Andjam look positively gracious. After I called him on a post where he accused me of spinning lies about the Lancet study, he tried to change the subject by accusing me of lying about the Asperger’s thing. When proven wrong he didn’t even admit to be wrong, but tried to change the subject again by falsely accusing me of plagiarism.

  31. #31 Andjam
    May 20, 2005

    IS that your only response Andjam? Your post where you questioned TimL on the aspergers reference seemed loaded with sarcasm to me. Perhaps you should admit you were rude with your sarcasm, and wrong, and apologise….if you are honourable.

    I made an inoperative statement in good faith. I do not feel I was abusive in my comment. Acknowledging his correct statement was sufficient in the circumstances.

    Andjam, the Democratic Party is largely equivalent to the Liberal Party of Australia in political terms. Aussie right-wingers attacking the Democrats, except in the case of those who feel the Libs are too centreist, are picking on the Dems because they’re the nominal “left-wing” party in American politics. “I’m a right-winger, so I want the Republicans to win!” It’s tribalism, pure and simple: my tribe supports the Republicans, while the Democrats are merely the extreme right-wing of that other tribe I don’t like.

    Why do you say this? I didn’t say anything about left-wing or right-wing in this thread. I’m free to have my own reasons to prefer Bush over Kerry.

    Its funny that TimB teases you for having Asperger’s, presumably over your coverage of the Lancet study, when he is again blogging about the plastic turkey.

    Who used to like doing ASCII art of plastic turkeys?

  32. #32 Steve
    May 25, 2005

    Steve: IS that your only response Andjam? Your post where you questioned TimL on the aspergers reference seemed loaded with sarcasm to me. Perhaps you should admit you were rude with your sarcasm, and wrong, and apologise….if you are honourable.

    AJ: I made an inoperative statement in good faith. I do not feel I was abusive in my comment. Acknowledging his correct statement was sufficient in the circumstances.

    Well Andjam, you are certainly fearless and noble and honourable for acknowledging TimL’s correct statement in that fashion. In similarly good faith, I salute you.

    Not sure who used to like doing ASCII art of plastic turkeys, but Tim Blair is again blogging about the outrageous plastic turkey lies and falsehood travesty.

  33. #33 Tim Lambert
    May 25, 2005

    Gee, that Tim Blair is just obsessed with the plastic turkey. I wrote this earlier:


    Turkeyman: The Movie

    Synopsis:

    The cigar-chomping editor of the Bulletin is yelling at one of his columnists: “Where’s that column Blair? Deadline is in five minutes! Give me that column or you’re fired!”

    Everyone thinks that Tim Blair’s column is chronically late because he spends all his time surfing the web and counting the hits on his blog, but the audience knows better: it’s because of the demands of his secret identity: Turkeyman!

    After a lot of fights and self-doubt (“To be Turkeyman or not to be Turkeyman, that is the question etc etc”), Turkeyman tracks down the source of all the plastic turkey stories appearing in the commie media — deep in the bowels of the ABC, it’s Philip Adams! And he’s wearing a hat.

    There’s a really really big fight where lots of stuff gets broken and Philip Adams’ hat gets torn off and Turkeyman’s costume gets torn enough so that you can see his rippling muscles. Anyway, Turkeyman wins and realizes that Adams is wearing one of those rubber mask things. Turkeyman pulls off the mask revealing — Saddam Hussein!

    Turkeyman: “Hah, now we’ve got you. And we found your WMDs in the Western Desert.”
    Saddam: “That’s impossible! I hid them under my palaces!”
    Turkeyman: [just smiles]
    Saddam: “Hey! You tricked me!”

    The End.
    Plus Turkeyman gets the girl.

    Cast: Turkeyman/Tim Blair: Eric Bana
    Turkeyman’s Boss: John Howard
    Turkeyman’s girlfriend: Kylie Minogue
    Saddam Hussein/Philip Adams: Geoffrey Rush

    Theme Song:
    Turkeyman, Turkeyman,
    Does whatever a turkey can
    Posts on web, ev’ry day,
    Why he does, who can say?
    Look Out! Here comes the Turkeyman.

    Is he smart? — Listen son,
    He writes for the Bulle-ton.
    Can he post — in a thread?
    Take a look — on the web
    Hey, there! — There goes the Turkeyman.

    In the chill of night
    Turkey story comes out
    Like a streak of light
    He arrives with a shout

    Turkeyman, Turkeyman
    Friendly neighborhood Turkeyman
    Wealth and fame
    He’s ignored. Blog hits are his reward.
    To him, life is a great big bang up
    Whenever there’s a hang up
    You’ll find the Turkey man.

    And don’t forget the Turkeyman action figure!
    Pull the cord on its back and it speaks one of ten phrases on a wide variety of topics:

    1. Michael Moore puts the “hippo” in “hypocrite”
    2. Michael Moore is a portly fellow
    3. Michael Moore is spherical
    4. Michael Moore is a fat boy
    5. Michael Moore is a fat bastard
    6. Michael Moore is the Big Fat Flake from the Great Lake State
    7. Michael Moore is a fat stupid guy
    8. Michael Moore, actual weight 911lbs
    9. Michael Moore is the Michigan Waddler
    10.Michael Moore is Bloato the Clown

  34. #34 Andjam
    June 1, 2005

    Not sure who used to like doing ASCII art of plastic turkeys

    I’ll give you a hint: his name begins with Tim. And his surname doesn’t begin with “B”.

  35. #35 Andjam
    June 1, 2005

    After his latest attack on Lancet study blew up in his face, Blair’s response was to claim that I suffered from … Name calling, making fun of people’s looks, temper tantrums . is there a name for this syndrome?

    Unless I haven’t noticed (if I stuff up this time as well, I may as well change my name to McGoo), apart your response to the Parkinson column, the only response to Tim’s comments that the UN report itself compared its numbers with the Lancet data was to complain that Tim says unkind things about others. That is to say, Lambert responded to Blair’s update on the study by attacking Blair’s blogging style.

    I’d accuse Lambert of projection, but anyone who accuses someone of projection is themselves engaging in projection.

  36. #36 Tim Lambert
    June 1, 2005

    Andjam, perhaps you missed this post and this post. The studies are measuring different things and it is wrong for the UNDP report to compare them. Pointing to someone else making the same error does not make your own error correct.

    My post was a response to Blair’s name calling, not to his update on the Lancet study. Now, perhaps you could comment on Blair’s name calling. Do you approve of it?

  37. #37 Andjm
    June 2, 2005

    The studies are measuring different things and it is wrong for the UNDP report to compare them. Pointing to someone else making the same error does not make your own error correct.

    You condemn the error, but I can’t find you mentioning in the posts that the UN made that error (like you did in this comment). If indeed the UN has made a misleading comparison, then isn’t that more worriesome than right-wing bloggers and opinionists doing so?

    Now, perhaps you could comment on Blair’s name calling. Do you approve of it?

    I’d approve of him saying that Margo has rocks in her head, but not of him saying that Margo is ugly, unless the sledge has artistic merit.

  38. #38 Tim Lambert
    June 2, 2005

    Andjam, the most worrisome thing was that the error appeared in the Times. This was seen by vastly more people than the number who read a report of hundreds of pages. That’s the report that I gave prominence to. In the very first comment to that post, dsquared pointed out that UNDP report made the same error, so I didn’t see any need to repeat this fact.

  39. #39 Jeff Darcy
    June 28, 2005

    To suggest that either Blair’s or Bram Cohen’s behavior is attributable to Asperger’s is an insult to the Aspies I’ve known. The defining characteristic of Asperger’s is an inability to gauge or appreciate others’ emotional responses. By contrast, some people (such as those named) seem very keenly aware of what emotional effect their behavior has, and even relish causing offense. Therefore, such behavior is not explained or justified by Asperger’s (even if one believes in general that having a diagnosable condition absolves anyone of responsibility for their actions).

    Naming? As I said to my brother recently, it’s not Asperger’s Syndrome that’s involved here…it’s Asshole Syndrome.

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