Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dear Seth MacFarlane, You Give Us Way Too Much Credit carries a response from Seth MacFarlane over the brouhaha around his movie Ted and ALS --

"I lost my mother to cancer, yet there is a joke in the film which contains the word cancer," he said. "I urge analysis of context, lest the 'outrage industry' get the better of us."
You give us too much credit when you suggest that we're part of some kind of "outrage industry."  The fight against ALS has not exactly been a well-oiled machine.  It has been fragmented for many years with numerous organizations following good intentions rather than common goals.  There has never been one voice.  It would make a poster-study in having none of the earmarks of an industry.

You did give us some industrial-strength glue last weekend when your fictional John uttered the words, "From one man to another, I hope you get Lou Gehrig's Disease," to your fictional villain Rex.  Perhaps you should have picked a fictional disease for your fictional pox.

You see, we are simply angry and frustrated with you.  That is our common voice.  That is our glue. The social media that make movie lines legendary also make it possible for a grass-roots bunch of people affected by ALS to speak out.

We have lived through a week when your movie line has become a tagline for your fans on twitter.  I suspect that few of them know who Lou Gehrig was, let alone what is implied when his disease is wished on someone.  Thousands of times the line has been robotically and mindlessly repeated on twitter.  That is troubling.

I have a feeling that you didn't write what you know when you crafted that line.  If you had ever met anyone with ALS, I am certain that you would never have written it.

And your response reinforces the fact that you don't understand ALS or the people who are dying from it or the people who are left behind.  Please stop arguing like an NBA player who never committed a foul.  Please talk to some people with ALS and try to understand what's different about these people.  You will be a better writer for it.

As a writer, you choose words carefully.  Why did you choose "Lou Gehrig's Disease?"  There must have been a reason.


  1. Absolutely fantastic. Well-written, concise, and deadly accurate. Thank you for getting to the heart of the matter.

  2. This is great! Hoping it has been sent to Mr. MacFarlane.

  3. Bravo!!! The words of the reality!!

  4. This states the case to a tee. I hope this proves as effective as it is written.