There was a time in history where most people didn't want to have diseases. It was considered cool to be healthy, and "normal" was considered a compliment, not a label for people that make fun of your poetry.
Things are different now. Not only do people make up fake diseases, but even worse, people are diagnosing themselves left and right with real medical and psychiatric disorders, which basically makes a joke out of the people who actually do suffer from those disorders.
Asperger's syndrome is basically a type of autism that's usually not so severe as to prevent a person from functioning independently. It's still a lifelong challenge for people who have it, and their families, but it's also a wonderful opportunity for lazy people with bad social skills to excuse themselves.
I mean, if you don't go talk to an expert but just gloss over a list of symptoms, what you learn is that people with Asperger's "lack inborn social skills," "may not understand a joke," "avoid eye contact," "may feel 'different' from others," "find it frustrating and emotionally draining to try to fit in" and "are typically uninterested in following social norms, fads or conventional thinking, allowing creative thinking and the pursuit of original interests and goals."
"Also are likely to be the chosen one called to save a fantasy world."
You know who is going to latch onto that? Every goddamn teenager in the world (and many adults). Now, if you dig deeper, you'll see that Asperger's is a lot more complicated than a list of vague symptoms and needs to be diagnosed by an actual clinician, but the beauty (or horror) of Web research these days means that anyone who feels like "I've always known there was something different about me" can google up a list of symptoms or an Internet quiz, and diagnose themselves, despite the caveats on those sites.
Just so we don't slander the people with real Asperger's (you know, the ones that have actually been diagnosed), let's call the fake ones Ass Burgers. If you do this out loud, no one will even notice.
For visualization purposes.
There's a few common reasons that Ass Burgers self-diagnose.
1) It's not your fault anymore!
If it's a real disease that real psychiatrists have a name for, and real patients get treated for, then no one can blame you! No one can call you a rude asshole for talking about your Transformers collection for two hours straight during someone else's farewell party. You have a condition!
2) You're special!
Some people with Asperger's can be very intelligent. They might not count cards, but they can be very focused and knowledgeable about specific subjects, and think in unconventional, creative ways. An Ass Burger would love to be able to hitch their wagon of bad social skills to neat traits like these.
3) People can't make you do anything about it!
There's no cure! So other people need to learn what you mean when you make incomprehensible jokes that vaguely sound like insults, instead of you learning to make jokes in a way other people understand.
Unfortunately, none of these reasons make any sense. For (1), being shy or awkward often isn't anyone's fault either. For (2), anyone can be intelligent. And it's up to every individual to prove it. You don't just automatically get that badge because you can't talk to people. And (3), I'm afraid treatment for kids with real Asperger's syndrome actually involves pushing them (gently) into social interactions, whereas if you're just shy, experts suggest letting you blossom in your own time.
So that's a really bad path to choose if you want to make a case for being left alone. Of course, a fake Ass Burger would never find that out, because they would never go to a psychiatrist, who might blow their gig. If that happened, though, they might switch their self-diagnosis to ...
Fake sociopathy self-diagnosers come pretty much from the same group as the Ass Burgers. The difference is that instead of going for an image of a misunderstood, awkward, eccentric genius, they're going for more of a cool, detached, badass genius. When they play Let's Pretend, they like to be serial killers or vampires.
Other than that, same thing. People who found an easy way to paint their bad traits (awkwardness, assholery) as cool ones.
Recently, it seems like America has declared war on gluten. Apparently gluten is some kind of protein substance found in wheat and other grains, and it is some kind of horrible poison. Because everybody and their brother is selling gluten-free versions of everything.
LW Food Corp
In proud defiance, Chinese food producers not only serve gluten by the can-ful, but fry it. Probably in trans fats. It's quite delicious.
If you like to make dietary decisions based on facts, however, and not what your hippie neighbor is doing, you might try and dig up what's behind this. It turns out gluten actually is poisonous ... to less than one percent of the population, who have a condition called celiac disease. Gluten can give them horrible problems ranging from diarrhea to cancer.
Beyond people with actual celiac disease though, there's a real, but difficult to pinpoint, condition of "gluten intolerance," where gluten won't give you cancer or destroy your intestines, or anything observable, but it makes you feel kind of bad.
"Man, I think I'm just feeling kind of gluteny today."
What are the diagnostic criteria? If you stop eating gluten, and you think you feel better. Seriously, that's it. There's no test.
Can some people have gluten intolerance without any tests being able to pick it up? Definitely. Are the millions of people who suddenly discovered they "can't eat gluten" right after gluten became a national buzzword -- are they all actually gluten intolerant? Probably not.
And beyond those people is an even larger circle of people who can't even mentally convince themselves they feel better after dropping gluten from their diet, but believe somehow, that because some people are allergic to it, that it is poisonous to all humans.
From I Am Not A Foodie
And some people are even taking it a step further and suggesting that if removing gluten from some people's diets prevents symptoms of celiac disease, maybe it can cure other, completely unrelated diseases! Like autism!
Hey, chemo is great at treating cancer patients! Let's use it on people with high blood pressure! That's logical!
From Sunflower Food Galore
And in conclusion: Mmmm!