netflix is the enemy of autistic people

Someone mentioned Netflix’s Atypical to me. I don’t have Netflix because it’s incompatible with Linux, which I guess is an Aspie thing to say. I thought I’d watch some clips on YouTube, and I was offended immediately, after clicking one that’s not even about autism!

“Are you offended because I called her Mexican, because she actually is?”

Ok, fuck this show already.

I don’t want to be concern trolled by these assholes. The fact that he stands there like a clueless idiot for such an extended period of time says everything we need to know about the creators of the show and their idea of what autism is. When he says he doesn’t know why he’s being made fun of, the creators probably meant that to illustrate blindness to social rules. It’s implicit that if you break the rules you deserve ostracism. Really, it’s a deeper question about what makes normal people so effortlessly sadistic.

“Cool fact, buddy.” I’m sure those are the memories of his father that he’ll cherish. The kind of observation he made about people’s names is actually the intuition you’d need to be good at useful, trendy things like “machine learning” and “big data analytics.” If lots of women have names starting with “M”, are a lot of those Mary, Maria, etc.? Does that say something about the ethnic make-up of the school? Legacies of colonialism and missionaries, maybe? Everyone just makes fun of him and discourages it because mathematical ability is stigmatized.

That was painful to watch.

I’ve been told I was using an unflattering profile pic. I’m honest about my interests in my profile. It’s “hilarious” that he might long for human affection like any human. I thought it was interesting that penguins were classified as fish by early explorers. I’m always more interested in someone’s profile if they actually give something of themselves and explain WHY they like something or talk about it to illustrate something about themselves. She says to put “sports” and not even involve him in the profile. It’s not that “she doesn’t like his answers.” It’s that she’s profoundly dehumanizing him and confirming his untouchability. Being earnest and dorky is less bad than the casual cruelty that’s “normal.”

Fuck those kinds of pep talks. Heard it my whole life, and it just means “surely someone ELSE would have sex with you, for reasons I’m not entirely clear on.” It’s empty and demeaning, like everything else about how you’re treated.

I spent a couple minutes skimming YouTube for reviews of the series by autistic people, and they don’t seem as angry. I don’t understand that. It’s not cool to make fun of us while pretending to be our friend.

Out here in real life, autistic people have to set up our OkCupid profiles. Thanks, Netflix, for making the thought of dating us a joke before we even get started. So grateful for the increased autism awareness!

Can we make a show about how normal people are insufferable dicks with no self-awareness?

And black women are prostitutes, because of course. It’s a show about stereotypes in the mind of white bullies.

On “special needs”:

An anthropologist did participant observation at some kind of LARPing camp for Aspies: Making Meaningful Worlds: Role-playing Subcultures and the Autism Spectrum. What kind of stories might a real autistic teenager make up?

It was not only the structure of these story-games that created a congenial sociocultural space for the Asperger campers, however. The narrative content of the stories was also deeply resonant with their experience. The myths they drew on to create their characters tended to center around the experiences of protagonists who had been transformed by the intrusion of alien elements. The transformations brought not only extraordinary abilities, but also the potential for loss of control and a frightening discontinuity of selfhood and agency. The forces within these characters cut them off from the flow of normal human experience, but eventually brought them together in fellowship with a team of similarly affected others. They stories mirrored the campers’ own experiences at the camp, as the radically discontinuous phenomenology and extreme strengths and weaknesses that characterize life with Asperger’s Syndrome went from being a stigmatizing difference to a source of common ground.

Christy was 14 when she came to the camp. An avid reader with a goofy, random sense of humor, she was always wrapped in a black velvet cloak, even in the intense July heat. This was a fashion statement, certainly, but also a way to protect herself against the sensory input that could easily overwhelm her. “I have anger issues,” she told me, shyly. When there was too much going on around her, when she was swarmed or crowded by groups of people, her perceptions of the world around her disintegrated into chaos. During these episodes of psychological fragmentation, she would strike at the people around her, in a way that felt completely out of her conscious control. “I never really remember my anger things” she told me. “I remember very slightly – I remember I was angry I hit the teacher! oh my gosh I hit the teacher! I’m gonna get expelled!” These experiences informed the multiplicity of her identity. “I’m half misanthrope” she told me during our interview, laughing. “Part misanthrope, part creature of darkness, part anthropophobic – I’m just messed up!”

The character that Christy created to play in our Legend of Aedril story, Aura Dragonsblood, was part demon, part timid young girl. A former student of dark magic who gave up her studies for fear of becoming too powerful, Aura’s greatest fear was her own anger, because it allowed the demon to take her over. In such episodes, she became enormously strong, able to use powerful magic. But she also saw the world as her enemy, and could cause great destruction, even to her family and friends. By the end of the battle with the Orc King, Aura’s duality had played a crucial role in saving the people of Rentin. Aura solved a riddle that proved that she is the direct descendant of Aedril, and therefore, like him, one of the very few who are able to wield both sword and magic spell. Her powers helped her defend her team against attack in a crucial battle.

Christy’s best friend at the camp was a boy named Sylvester, a year younger than her and about half her size. Like Christy, Sylvester was creative and playful; like her, he was vulnerable to intense, frightening “meltdowns” when overwhelmed by emotion or by sensory input. These were so severe that he had been physically restrained on multiple occasions; once, he’d been psychiatrically hospitalized. The two of them immediately became inseparable, Sylvester tending to follow Christy’s lead as they roved together through the forests surrounding the campground. Soon, Sylvester was playing half-demons, too. When possessed by his demon side, Feriek Ravenclaw would swing his sword wildly, rush into battle, take foolish risks, and fall down in trance-like fits. Christy, in character as Aura Dragonsblood, stayed protectively close by Feriek Ravenclaw, helping him manage his transformations and minimize their destructive consequences. Midway through the game, as we walked down the path, I heard her telling him how to use meditation and favorite songs to keep the wild, angry powers from emerging and taking over. As Aura was advising Feriek, Christy was also sharing with Sylvester strategies that I knew she had worked hard to cultivate in her everyday life.

These stories of demon possession, of co-existence with a force both powerful and dangerous, both self and other, metaphorically conceptualized and expressed the campers’ own phenomenological experience of radical discontinuities in self-experience, identity and memory. The co-existence of strength and vulnerability encapsulated in these narratives captured essential features of the experience of living with Asperger’s Syndrome—a condition that itself brought valued strengths (the ability to hyperfocus on a topic of interest, strengths in systematic thinking, an occasionally exquisite sensitivity to sensory input) as well as disabilities. Just as Aedril needed to be reconciled with the Golem, these stories provided an opportunity to bring together these different elements of the autism spectrum experience and provided a meaning-making system within which they could co-exist. The practices of roleplay were thus effective in part because they allowed for coordinated engagement with a shared mythology, one that both articulated the experiences of the Asperger campers and asserted the fundamental worth and acceptability of people who have those kinds of experiences. The stories enacted at the camp made space for extremes of experience—darkness and light, strength and terrifying vulnerability—and fit them into a narrative tradition within which these contrasts were accepted and even aesthetically appreciated.

That’s what it looks like when somebody gives a shit. Why doesn’t somebody put a budget behind that story? Because corporate executives are bullies who would never dignify us. They don’t understand empathy or love, things of that nature. They succeed in dating, though.
We’re so much deeper than these fucking assholes belittling us. They’re not real people.

She doesn’t know why she’s being made fun of.  Isn’t that hilarious?

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