Vanity Fair Article About Mark Zuckerberg Opens With Insensitive Comment About Autism

Mark Zuckerberg is a genius. There’s no debating that.

However, a description of Zuckerberg ‘s particular brand of genius has stirred up some controversy after a former Facebook employee, Antonio García Martinez, published an article about Zuckerberg in Vanity Fair.

The article begins:

Mark Zuckerberg is a genius

Not in the Asperger’s, autistic way depicted in the very fictional movie The Social Network, the cognitive genius of exceptional ability. That’s a modern definition that reduces the original meaning.

The article was meant to discuss how Facebook beat Google’s attempt to create a rival social network (Google+). But many people struggled to get past the first two sentences of the article.

According to the Interactive Autism Network, a U.S. study from 2014 found that almost half of the children with autism spectrum disorder have an average or above average intelligence (an IQ score above 85).

So what “kind” of genius is Zuckerberg, according to Martinez? He’s “an old-school genius,” Martinez writes. “The fiery force of nature possessed by a tutelary spirit of seemingly supernatural provenance that fuels and guides him, intoxicates his circle, and compels his retinue to be great as well.”

An article published by The Daily Dot wonders if “perhaps Martinez didn’t intend to offend people with autism or Asperger’s, but instead refute the image that The Social Network perpetuated of Zuckerberg.”

Martinez, known as Chaos Monkey on Twitter, defended himself on Twitter.

And again:

And again:

Twitter consversation

Conceding in the end, that yes, the article’s opening could have been better.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Audra Cederquist's children

5 Things You Should Never Say to a Parent of a Child With Autism

I was out at Walmart one day with my son, Johnny. As he has a tendency to do when he’s excited, he was chattering loudly and gesturing with his hands. It was mostly words he saw on signs or numbers on price tags. I praised him for using his voice and his words, which only [...]
wife and husband at baseball game

To the Momma Whose Son Hit Me to Say Hi at a Baseball Game

To the sweet momma of the handsome little guy who sat behind us at the baseball game, I need you to know it’s OK. It’s OK that your little guy hit me on the shoulder. It didn’t bother me a bit. Because what you don’t know is I have a handsome little guy who has a lot in [...]
ellen degeneres

What Ellen Made Me Realize About the Politics of the Autism Community

I love watching “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” And while there isn’t usually a lot of political talk on the show, lately there has been a bit more. I’m personally not a fan of politics, and so every time the subject comes up on the show, I get a bit nervous. But the other day, Ellen’s [...]
Sara Bathum’s son, W

The Walk in the Woods That Helps Calm My Son With Autism and ADHD

It’s a hot and sticky summer afternoon. My younger son is napping and my older son, W, is on the loose — tired, defiant and bouncing back and forth from one activity to the next. He got stung earlier this morning while walking barefoot through a field of blooming clover, adding now to his crankiness. He [...]