When you make fun of people for a living, you can get away with quite a bit - especially when you're attacking your own traits. We've all seen comedians build entire sets around their identifiable traits - black, asian, women, heavy, jewish, hispanic, whatever. It's generally acceptable to make fun of yourself. It's also generally acceptable to make fun of people in the public's eye - people worth millions of dollars, and whom the public can either relate to or is jealous of..
But Leary went far beyond that. He went after people who can't defend themselves; people who's families have been changed forever. He went after these people in a particularly mean spirit, degrading not just them but their families and others who try to help them. And he did all this in a book - not a "something slipped out while doing a live show", but a "took the time to think out what to write and then have it published" fashion.
He went after the autism community.
This from the New York Post, via the (terrific) AutismVox blog.
In his new book, “Why We Suck: A Feel-Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid,” the joke-slinging “Rescue Me” star writes about the brain disorder:
“There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you - yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”
Look Denis - you don't put it in a book unless you believe it. And if you believe it you'd probably say it to somebody's face. And if you said it to my face I'd break your jaw. Period.
Your former Denis Leary fan who still can't believe what he's reading Realtor,
update: Kim Stagliano published a response from a New York City Firefighter in her blog, Age of Autism. It's worth the read. (read the comments, too.)