Anonymous Internet Posters of the World,

I know it can be fun to discuss other people and throw around the occasional pop psych diagnosis. In theory, it can be a fairly harmless exercise, and I’m as guilty as anyone of some good old Asperger’s speculation (Brick from The Middle! Kanye West! The entire city of Toronto!). But if you’re going to start throwing around my syndrome willy-nilly, maybe you should actually know something about it first.

I understand that it can be confusing, because both Asperger’s and asshole start with the same syllable, but they are not, in fact, synonymous. If you were to look up Asperger’s in the DSM-IV (which I know is a favourite of the creepy and bizarre hivemind that inhibits the TelevisionWithoutPity boards), you would realize that “being a weirdo and/or an asshole” isn’t even on the list of diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s.

Some people with Asperger’s might come across as assholes because of their social impairments. They might be working their buns off to appear differently, but unfortunately falling short because sometimes it’s hard to figure out what makes you an asshole in the outside world. Some people with Asperger’s are just assholes. Some neurotypicals might come across as assholes because awkwardness and cluelessness are not the sole domain of my people. They might be really trying and failing as well, because the greater social world isn’t easy to navigate for everyone. Some neurotypicals are just assholes.

So when you see a story like this, please don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that the moron in question must have Asperger’s. The idea never even occurred to me when I was reading the story. Upon further reflection, I can almost see where someone would get the idea. I do recall going through a short, unfortunate phase where I wouldn’t shut up about my potential genius status. I was nineteen, struggling to find my place in the world and desperate to be taken seriously and doing a pretty terrible job of it on account of my terrible social skills. So I started clumsily telling people that I was a genius, because my smarts were all I really had going for me, and I couldn’t think of another way to prove that I wasn’t a total fuck-up. So I can see how someone might suspect that some of Scott Adams’s stupid behaviour sprung from a little dash of autism. But he goes way above and beyond your usual, run-of-the-mill Aspie weirdness.

And “deluded Asperger’s suffering narcissist?” Or “He’s either an awe-inspiringly good example of narcissistic personality disorder (I don’t care what the psychs say, it’s its own thing and should stay in the DSM) or an Aspie?”

You’re just pulling that out of your asses, Anonymous Internet Posters of the World. He could just as easily be your average nutjob compensating for the fact that he wrote a shitty comic strip that’s only brush with what is commonly known as “funny” was when Matthew became obsessed with it on NewsRadio.

Sometimes a douchebag is just a douchebag.