Dear Colorado State University Marketing Department:
Look. I like the university you work for. Go rams. But here's the thing: whoever is writing your advertisement copy is cutting some pretty stupid corners. On a recent flight to Los Angeles, I noticed your ad about Professor Temple Grandin, PhD in the Frontier Airlines magazine. In the copy, some jerk claims that Dr. Grandin "overcame" autism:
Now, I haven't seen the Claire Danes movie, so I guess there's always more to learn. But my understanding of Dr. Grandin's success is that it is precisely because she has autism that she has been such a gift to her field. She attributes her unique perspective, particularly when it comes to understanding animal behavior, to the fact that she can think in pictures... which she associates with her autism. As far as I can tell, the only thing she overcame is the huge heap of sickeningly-saccharine, condescending attitudes held by people eager to short sell anyone who is just a little bit different. Okay, I'll buy that Dr. Grandin overcame some of the challenges typically associated with autism, but that isn't what your ad says. Be specific. It would only cost you a few extra words, and that's a small price for clarity.
CSU is damn lucky to have Dr. Temple Grandin as a professor. Don't pin a badge on her and call her a Girl Scout and a good sport. She isn't Notre Dame's Rudy. She is wholly herself, and she seems to be doing a bang-up job of it... which is more than most of us can say.