Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. In my previous post, I began to speak about an event that Lydia Brown shared with us on her Fudgebook page in which she was told what words she means. As often happens, writing about this topic caused me to descend into a rage, so I decided to abandon the subject for the time being and instead begin an essay about some of the basics of our language. It is in the hope that some normalistic assholes out there can read it and learn that maybe they do not know everything, and do not deserve to be the sole arbiters of right or wrong.
A persistent and quite frankly irritating belief that has taken hold in disability service and political correctness circles is that terms that put the “person first” and the “disability” next are somehow automatically right and anything else is automatically wrong. There are a number of serious problems with this. One of the minor ones is that language is just like us. That is, it is a living, breathing, organic thing. The English author George Orwell understood this point better than anyone. When an individual or group of individuals starts telling everyone else that they have to refer to themselves in a specific way, that is a sure sign of evil intent.
It is an ironic thing, but the feces-throwing monkeys who push what they call “person first” language do not realise this. In many cases, if not all cases, their pushing is actually putting the person last. Because as they go around telling people what they can say, they are thinking of the words coming out of peoples’ mouths and the words they want to come out of peoples’ mouths. They are not thinking of the people ostensibly represented in the words. Which is one of the many Orwellian points I am here to share with you today. You see, whilst I am not sure in the case of the handful of languages I have learned words and phrases in other languages, I can tell you one thing about the English language that I have dealt with since I was a child. It does not matter what you think the words you are using mean. If you are using them with a hidden malicious meaning, for example trying to sound like you understand a subgroup when you think of them as lesser Human beings, it will become evident.
Myself, I do not pretend that I understand a damned thing about black people or Asians. When I was growing up in one of the biggest melting pots of Western Sydney, they were probably the smallest group of the mix. But I do know more than well enough to not call them things like people with yellowness or people with blackness. That would not only come out sounding awful, it would betray a level of racism that people in Western Sydney assured one another was only prevalent in places like the shitstand that both of my parents presently reside in. You see, even when I was six years old, I could not for the life of me imagine that any feature of being Aboriginal, Chinese, or any other variety of Asian, was something they could imagine living without. And although I did not understand this at the time, I was well aware that being amongst people of a wildly different upbringing and culture could be rather isolating. How do you fit in with a group who only speak in English when the people you interact with in your home all usually speak one of the Chinese languages?
The same is true when you are an autistic child. Several people have observed me during recent years either typing or saying aloud, “I do not speak normie”. That is true today, and it was true then. But the difference is that neither I, my parental units, nor my peers, understood why. The lack of any sound explanation as to why I could speak to any of these people using more or less the exact same words they did, and yet still not be understood by them, grew increasingly frustrating with the passage of time. And the thing is, not only is the language different, so too is the culture. This is because the children with parents from places like China, Malta, England, or Italy, to name but a few examples, filtered the culture of the world they inhabited through their parents. Sure, you get slivers of the cultures of other children, but for that first decade and change of your life, the culture you were born as part of permeates your understanding. Granted, I grew up in a culture that amalgamated so many from so many places that we could call it a unique Greystanes culture, but the point here is that just like when you grow up in an Aboriginal or Asian household, growing up autistic in any household means another different culture.
A culture of being abused, feeling mocked for what you think is the right thing to do, and so forth. Hell, I cannot tell you how much time I spent trying to learn or “train” myself to do “it” like I thought the other children in my school assembly did it. Although there was some lag time between being told that I am autistic and therefore of a completely different culture, and becoming very angry about having been talked into “training” myself to speak or do things like the normies, that lag has long ended.
Being autistic is not just an attachment. It is a whole different culture and sense of self. When you are not aware that you are autistic, you go through your life thinking you have been somehow altered at birth or very soon after to be something unacceptable not just to others, but to the whole world. And no matter how much you try to escape it, you live every moment of your life with it. There are people whom I would like to hear screaming in pain, begging for me to make it stop, as a result of the times I spent in that state. One of them is named David Shuster, and I can promise you as sure as shit follows digestion that I could happily hunt down and kill his children or grandchildren for being related to him. He probably has a short memory, so I will tell the world that is reading this, and hopefully by extension him: he deserves every bit of that. When you make a child feel bullied for something he does not understand, try to convince him that he deserves it, and for something he can help no more than the colour of his eyes, you deserve pain and tons of it.
Which brings me to my essential point (yet again). Being autistic is not something you choose. Just like being Chinese, Italian, Maltese, Norwegian, German, English, Scottish, or any of the myriad of peoples I have interacted with in my lifetime, being autistic is involuntary. If you missed the point I have been trying to deliver for the last half dozen or more paragraphs, here it is again: nature sends you out into the world saying “welcome to life, you are autistic, you will be subject to abuse from all and sundry, have fun”. When you call me a person with autism, you are insulting me on a level similar to telling me to go and fukk my mother. In fact, it sets off a psychological reaction little different to what would occur if I was black and you held me down then proposed painting me white to your peers. So please allow me to reiterate for the benefit of ignorant person-first pushers: when you try to push “person first” language upon us, you are actually putting the person last.
One of the funniest things about the English language is that not only can the words we use have different meanings according to context, they can also change meaning with how they are ordered. It is a bit like the puzzle component in the classic Commodore 64 game Impossible Mission. Not only could the retrieved puzzle pieces be flipped around and reoriented, the actual solution depended on how every piece was oriented before attempts were made to put it together. In other places, I have stated that the Star Wars character Yoda is a good depiction of an autistic individual. The manner in which he orders his words qualifies not as a unique language, but as a unique manner of using it. In the explicitly-aimed-at-children prequels, we briefly catch sight of another of Yoda’s kind, but she never gets a chance to speak, so whether this manner of using language is unique to Yoda or his kind is never definitively stated in the films. There is an entry for this other member of Yoda’s species, Yaddle, on the Wookieepedia, and quotes from her in semi-canonical sources have her using the same mode of speech. But one secondary point here is that I highly doubt either Yoda or Yaddle, when told how they were supposed to speak either about themselves or a given subject, would simply bow and comply. They would be more likely to say something like “asshole, you are”.
How we speak as adults is often reflective not only of how we are spoken to during the first few years of our lives, but how we are told we are allowed to speak until we grow large or wily enough to make it clear to the persons wanting to do the telling that telling us how we can speak will avail them nothing. What we absorb during those years, and how much of it, makes all of the difference. Small numbers of “feral” children have been found from time to time, for example. Popular fiction has it that children raised in the wild by animals grow to be somehow more mannered and noble than the conservative shithead’s distorted image of those who lived in urban environments. The exact opposite is the case in reality. The few children found in the wild or found to have grown in isolation have been observed to display language, interaction, social, and survival skills well behind peers of comparable age, even when they are in their late teens. This is because the basic building blocks of interaction and survival have not been built into a proper foundation. In fact, in education and occupational terms, I struggle with a lack of these basic building blocks every day. But that is another matter.
When I was a six year old, you could spend a day as a fly on the wall of grounds where my peers and I interacted, and hear us using some words that nobody thinks children ever used. That is one reason why the Richard Donner film The Goonies is so awesome: because the protagonists, especially the young male protagonists, speak exactly like children of comparable age did, and likely still do. One word that came out of the occasional six or seven year old’s mouth when talking about one teacher (not the one I mentioned several paragraphs back) every now and then was “poofter”. If you are an American who was born after 1990 or so, you probably do not know that it was and is a derogatory term for homosexuals. I can tell you that the six or seven year olds I refer to here knew what the word meant, but we did not grok it. Otherwise, it would not have been used so freely as it was at those times. But the point here is that we used this word because one child who likely heard his father use it used it at school, other children heard him use it, and it just grew from there. That is why every male child who has spent at least a year in the school system knows the words fukk, shit, piss, and so forth.
In the English language, we have no word that means “a woman who embraces her sexuality and is good because she embraces her sexuality”. We only have words like “slut”, a word that I have never heard spoken aloud without a major echo of loathing, fear, and contempt for a woman who is not so bottled up in fear of her sexuality that she is practically getting constant skin-crawls. I will never get tired of going over this point, but the reaction I feel deep inside when I hear one of the ignorant vermin that make up most of the population of my current whereabouts utter the word “slut” is exactly the same as when I hear the words “…with autism” come out of a person’s mouth. Or read them having been patted out on a keyboard by a person halfway around the world, for that matter, since when I read them in this manner, I can also “hear” them as if my imagination of that person has spoken right in my ear.
I have raved on and on here on the subject, and the whole thing makes me want to punch people. So that I might be able to get some sleep tonight, I will instead share with you a song that expresses exactly what I think of every word that I am sure the person first pushers will offer in defense of their bullshit. This song, which you will find in the window near this paragraph, is (informally) known as the Bollocks Song, and is performed by a pair of English comedians who go by the handle of Hale & Pace (the duo consists of Gareth Hale and Norman Pace). I felt the need to share it here with my fellows on the spectrum, and with those who are fukking sick of person first pushers, as a handy not-new way to describe what comes out of their mouths. Remember, when Suzanne Wright, Jenny McCarthy, or a person first pusher says it, it is all a load of bollocks.
In closing, I would like to offer the following parting thought. I truly believe that the “…with autism” crowd have pernicious motives in terms of why they push this upon us. I have spoken at length about how my autism is not a separate entity to me, how it is a fundamental part of me, and how this disgusting turn of words implies the opposite. George Orwell was very much concerned with impressing upon the world that when you control man’s language, and control the words man has available to think about himself or others, you control man. Teaching our children to think of something that is as much a part of them as their eye colour, hair colour, skin colour, sex assignment, ad nauseum, as separate to them, is a step along the way to teaching them to think they want it removed. That is wrong. That is why if you are thinking of telling me to call myself a “person with autism”, you had best shut your yap unless you are prepared for the consequences.
But anyway, I had no idea how long it was going to take to finish this writing. If you have, however, read it to this point, thank you. If you understand or better yet grok it, thank you even more. If you feel motivated to share it with others and do not ignore that, I salute you.
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