As I have been writing other pieces of fiction about one of my proxy characters, the proxy character of a woman he is in love with, and so forth, I have been doing what all good science fiction authors do. That is, I have been thinking about the message of the stories and how it relates to the world that inspired that message.
Actually, no work, whether it be a short novel like Gustav Hasford‘s The Short Timers, or a massive epic like Stephen King‘s The Stand or J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Lord Of The Rings, has just one message. But for the purposes of this discussion, I am focusing on one single message that comes up again and again in my writings. I have also mentioned a musician several times whose songs range in length from miniature to epic, he closes one of the former with a statement I relate to no end when I look at the other people of the world. “Everybody’s happy, they’re finally all the same,” Robert Smith sang as a young man. “‘Cos everybody’s jumping everybody else’s train!” I have a sneaky suspicion that a lot of the people whom I was growing up around as a curious and weird boy in the 1980s did not understand when they heard this song that Robert Smith was being sarcastic. But not only do professional psychologists and sociologists generally understand after studying their craft for long enough that our individuality is the most precious thing we have as a species, Mother Nature apparently thinks so too.
Since the industrial revolution removed a lot of the pressure upon us as individuals to form part of a herd, think about two and a half centuries ago, an effect has taken over that H.G. Wells wrote about in The Time Machine. Whilst barriers to survival and prosperity as a group can be removed, how we think, teach ourselves to think, and teach our children to think in response to those barriers takes much more time to change. When a people have been operating under the conditions that blacksmithing and woodworking are the most efficient ways of making armour and weapons to fight their battles with for hundreds of years, the sudden introduction of mass production is not going to change that within a few days.
The same applies to race relations, mental health issues, women’s rights, and yes, sadly, autistic civil rights. Although this is a severely faulty analogy, it was not even a full century ago that teachers were allowed, even instructed, to physically assault children who showed a natural preference for writing with their left hand. In the 2010 Tom Hooper film, The King’s Speech, it is revealed after a few chats between Prince George VI and Lionel Logue that the former naturally writes and operates things with his left hand, but had been “corrected” during childhood to use his right. An interesting parallel to this came much earlier in my life, ironically, in the science fiction miniseries called V. In V, the most Nazi-like and unremittingly evil member of the alien invasion force, Diana (Jane Badler), uses an advanced and very complex method of torture to convince people who were in positions of power or authority within Human society to aid the “visitors” (as they are called in the series) in their cause. During a newscast in which several scientists are signing documents confessing to participation in a global conspiracy on the part of the scientific community against the visitors, one cameraman by the name of Tony (Evan Kim) points out to his usual reporter partner, Michael Donovan (Marc Singer), that the scientists signing these confessions are using the opposite hand to what they normally use.
You see, people like Diana are well aware of the fact that whilst having different skin colours, hair colours, eye colours, or languages make us different from each other, these are all surface things in the grand scheme of what makes us truly different from one another. And the main difference between here and those that tried to forcefully make George VI write with his right hand rather than his left is not one of intention. It is one of understanding. And I do not mean understanding of the “problem” as those people see it. The people who tried to make George VI right-handed thought they were somehow doing George VI a favour. Diana was under no such illusions. She wanted to suck out all of the ability the scientists under her duress had to think for themselves and thus often think things in conflict with a worldview that was convenient for her, and replace it with only the ability to think what she wanted them to think. Although her function in the visitors’ armed forces is similar to that of Spock in the Enterprise’s crew, she is far from a scientist in the true sense of the term. Her scientific work in this sense is not unlike that of Josef Mengele. In fact, during one terrible scene, Donovan learns that his friend has been subjected to one of Diana’s “medical experiments”. As a sympathetic visitor by the name of Martin (Frank Ashmore) explains this to Donovan, Donovan says to him plainly, in the sort of way that makes brave men shit their pants when it comes from someone the size of Marc Singer, that he wants to kill Diana. Martin’s response to that is simply “you’re not alone”.
But to get back to the point here, the differences between people and groups of people are a product of two things. The first is the manner in which our genes and upbringing physically shape us. The other is our experience relative to the people we interact with at every point in our lives. This is why women who escape abusive domestic relationships are considered to be at far greater risk of getting into another abusive domestic relationship, and more importantly staying in it, unless someone steps in and educates them about what to do in such situations. It is why even after decades of emancipation, civil rights acts, and attempts by more liberal governments to help them rise in station, black Americans are frequently found in the bottom of American society in many important aspects. It is why, after Richard Pryor rose to the top of a very cut-throat industry, found himself suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, and visited Africa for a time, he decided to cease using a pejorative word that white Americans use to refer to black Americans, and black Americans often use to refer to those of their own kind that they feel distaste towards.
In V: The Final Battle, many references are made to a faction within the visitors called the Fifth Column. One character, who has been subjected to the mind-altering torture by Diana, asks members of the resistance flat-out whether the Fifth Column are supposed to be considered traitors to their own people. Donovan responds simply that this is one way of looking at it, but what their people are doing is wrong. But if you change the way the factions work just a teensy bit… Well, let’s use the real life thing I am paralleling. When curebies think of curebies, they think they are Mother Teresa (notwithstanding what some people in India or Human services really think of her), Mohandas Ghandi, or the like. I am going to use the informed autistic adult frame of reference here. When I look at curebies, I see Adolf Hitler, Josef Mengele, Joseph Goebbels, or Josef Stalin. The curebies, contrary to how they keep trying to position and frame themselves, are the visitors. We, the autistic, are the Humans. People like myself, Lydia Brown, Temple Grandin, et al, are the resistance. Which leaves us with the immortal question. Is there a Fifth Column? And if so, who are they? Because so far, the only ones that have really come forth have been in the entertainment industry, or have done so by accident.
Curebies, you see, have been taught to think of themselves as righteous, valiant, victims, liberators, and so on. They teach themselves this, they teach incoming members this, they try to teach potential donors this, and they even make aggressive efforts to teach the autistic this. This is why they have a token autistic member sitting on their board of decision-making. Although this member has no power at all to speak of and is only there to be the proverbial “house nigger”, Autism Speaks knows very well the value such a member has in terms of soliciting funds. (If this were a charity focused on “curing” being black, that is what people like the Black Panthers would continue calling him even after said charity was booted out of existence by every government in the world.) The only reason this house nigger is in Autism Speaks is so that when the government goes to people like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, they can point at said house nigger and say “hey, look, see, we let one of them pretend we give a shit about them!”. And whilst I cannot say how Obama responds to this, Clinton appears to have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. In 2008, I was even posting a video stating in no uncertain terms that whilst I would love to be able to see that a woman was elected President of the United States during my lifetime (how equivalents can occur in countries populated by Muslims, or hick fukktard lands like Australia, long before it does in America, is a question for the ages), I would prefer it be any woman other than that one.
The point here is that Autism Speaks are all too aware that being autistic is not a choice, nor something introduced by external factors. It is a condition of birth, just like being black, Hispanic, or blue-eyed. The difference is one that curebies have invented and thrust upon the public in an effort to wrest control of our destinies away from us, and that is one of the many things about them we simply have to cut down in any manner we can. That, along with the post I just posted about being horrified to see puzzle piece logos around a fukking supermarket, is why we need to loudly and openly declare that we reject the puzzle piece as a symbol of us, and do it now. For the longer we leave it until we do, the more difficult it is going to get. I have also talked a bit about symbology that I propose we put in its place, but that is neither here nor there. For now, we need to focus on telling the audience that we feel insulted by the puzzle piece.
How we think about ourselves plays a major part in how we interact with our world. We desperately need to stop thinking of ourselves as Napoleon Dynamite stereotypes, puzzle pieces, or whatever Ronald Bass shits out in his next film. We desperately need to start thinking of ourselves as Magnetoes, Roy Battys, Leon Kowalskis, and RoboCops. We desperately need to start thinking of ourselves as a group of people with a righteous cause that needs to be furthered and won by any means that the curebies make necessary. And we need to send the Autism Speakses of the world a very clear message from that position: either you will accept us as we are, or we will not accept you at all.
Or do we want to come back here in another thirty years and see that one of my nieces (as I am starting to suspect) has assumed what Kruma Steward has termed “the nigga identity”? Because let me tell you something, after the pleasant encounter I had with the puzzle piece a few days ago, I am unsure that I can take any more of what curebies have convinced themselves is acting in our interests.