I have two very specific and very unhappy memories relating to the time when I was told that the reason I was having so much difficulty in life was because I am autistic. Number one, I was told before the diagnosis and immediate plan was laid out that things would improve from this point. Very specifically, I was told, I might add. So the fact that the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service worker who made this promise to me has not been severely disciplined for making promises she had no intention of acting or following upon makes me angry.
Number two, I was reduced to having to throw things, scream at inanimate objects, and generally intimidate the shit out of family members just to be allowed to get to somewhere where it was (falsely) implied that I would be able to find community and help. No matter how much I tried to make it clear to certain parts of family that their behaviour towards me was just as much in need of changing as they believed mine towards anything was (in reality, far more so), they just would not budge. People kill themselves over less than this, so when I make the statement that my family, both immediate and extended are abusive, I want my full meaning to be understood.
In an effort to understand myself, my situation, and what to do from this point better, I went looking online for information. And I came across one part of the autism civil rights movement that, whilst I was often in conflict with, had many common goals that I still feel a need to promote. Probably the most important and central goal that we both had, and will have until the day we both die, is a better world for our children, autistic or otherwise, to live in.
Unfortunately, the curebies have far more resources to play with, and still do in spite of how far we have been striving to even it out. So around 2005, the entire autism civil rights movement was up in arms about a document being distributed called something along the lines of “ten things a child with autism wishes you knew”. The main reason we were all up in arms is because, just as has been the case with every other word out of the curebies’ mouths, it says the exact opposite of what not only the autistic former children wish you, the norms, knew. So my response to this, as was common at that time, was to write a list of things that I, myself, personally wish that the curebie scum of this world knew. Unfortunately, like a lot of things I wrote or made around that time, it fell by the wayside, and ended up not getting into wider circulation.
It is also worth mentioning that among the “mainstream” arm of the autism civil rights movement, I feel excluded. As Radical Neurodivergence Speaking has expressed so well many times, civil rights struggles, struggles for land, struggles over the right to exist, are not won by people being “nice”. They are won by people who figure out the best pressure point on their enemy to strike, and hit it with everything they have, not letting up until the enemy says uncle. I still maintain that the best way to win this struggle, other than educating the public at large to understand that we have a right to determine our own destiny, is to go to a President and tell them, flatly, that we consider the ilk of Autism Speaks to be terrorist organisations, and that our civil rights depend on them being treated by the law as such. And keep doing so until laws are put into place labelling pouring bleach into a child who might be autistic as it really is – a hate crime.
So, after all of that introduction, I would like to present a lot of things that this particular Powell Aspie would like the norms and normies out there to not just know, but remember, every second of every time they interact with someone on the spectrum. Because in a lot of cases, if they continue with their present methodology of interacting with us and future generations of the autistic, you had better believe there will be more of me in another ten to twenty years.
01. I am autistic. My autism is not a separate entity to me. It is an intrinsic part of who and what I am.
Let us go hypothetical for a moment. You grow up in a community where you and your immediate family are the only people with a specific characteristic that differentiates you from the entire community. I will use black skin as an example here because it is the easiest to use to make those who do not understand understand. Let us just say that on the basis of this one morally irrelevant feature, having darker skin than everyone else in the community, you are mistreated or even abused.
Let us go one further, and imagine that some “scientist” who tries to present himself as well-meaning (funny how they always do) comes forward with a formula or methodology to negate or remove the feature that makes you different from the people who are mistreating or excluding you on the basis of that feature.
Would you be angry? Upset? Mortified? How about all of the above, especially when some in the community make it clear that they intend to force this upon you?
Now, about this time, a lot of curebie assholes will try to tell you something along the lines of “this is different”. They are lying. Not just lying in the sense of “conservatives make the world a better place”, but lying in the sense of “two plus two equals twenty-two”. You see, not only do autistic adults come in all sizes, shapes, heights, and sexes plus sexual orientations, they also come in all races. And just like being the only black, Chinese, or pink with purple polka dots family in a location where all of the people are white and only think white has an effect on your view of the world and your place in it, the same applies to being autistic. Every sensation, every input, every word from others, every touch from people unfamiliar or otherwise, is different as a result of being autistic.
I cannot stress this enough. If you try to advocate for removing a part of me that has shaped my experience of the world and others therein, I will take that as a threat. And if you try to advocate for it on my doorstep, I will respond with the appropriate force.
02. Being autistic has made me see different things about things and people of all kinds. Being normie has evidently made you see anything that differs from you as inferior, lesser, deviant, and so on. If you believe I would rather be you than me, you are gravely mistaken.
As a further to point one, I have to wonder at times what normies (that is, people who really genuinely think that a non-destructive mutation in the brain structure can be rightly compared to pneumonia or cancer) think. Specifically, I wonder if they ever think about how they look to other people.
In one of the stories that make up Stephen King‘s Four Past Midnight, specifically The Langoliers, a blind girl who is on a flight in the hopes of getting an operating that will give her sight is established as being able to “see” things through the eyes of others. After a fashion, anyway. And she says to the woman accompanying her that she has seen through the eyes of one nervous-wreck junk-bond-dealing conservative shithead, and “we” all look like monsters to him.
Never has there been a better description not only of curebies and normies, but of anyone who sits idly by and allows them to continue without challenge as status quos are maintained and our world deteriorates further. You, the curebies, do not resemble Human beings to me. You look like monsters.
And you can do what my male parental unit does when told this. You can cry, moan, throw “waaah! Dean said something I dun like about me!” tantrums until the Earth spins in the opposite direction. None of it will do a bit of good. All that will do is make you look even more like monsters in my eyes.
03. I remember “everything”. I would rather not, but I do.
All actions have consequences. You would be surprised at the number of people who are ostensibly adults and need to be reminded of this very simple factoid. But there are also qualifications to this statement that need to be understood.
Let us take the nuclear disaster that took place on the 26th of April, 1986, in Chernobyl. Many people died in the immediate disaster. As the nuclear reactor melted down, the people working therein would have suffered terrible, agonising deaths. The first group of people that tried to contain the spread of the disaster would have been subjected to horrible deaths by a lack of proper information and equipment, too. Years later, efforts to keep the radioactive waste from the site continue, especially as the concrete scarcophagus that was originally constructed around the plant has been deteriorating under the enormous heat the waste generations. As I have read in one account, the first wave of emergency personnel were literally vaporised by the radiation.
This is an extreme example, obviously, but it translates very well into the mind of an autistic child who will someday be an adult and reflect every act performed upon him. If you talk about the autistic child as if he is not there right in front of him (done to me), beat the autistic child for doing things that he feels a real compulsion to do (ditto), or create special rules for him that treat him as a second-class citizen in an environment he is literally forced to attend (again, ditto), you will get a violent, mean autistic adult who is not inclined to tolerate your existence if you threaten his.
I have written in prior places that I want Thomas Edwin McIntosh put on trial for child abuse and jailed. One of the key reasons is that he literally edits his memories of events in order to paint himself in a more favourable light. I do not have that luxury. In order to be able to cope with events, I have to blank them out like violent crimes in which I was the victim. I guess that this is the difference between being a decent person and being a country boy.
So for future reference, do not kid yourself that you can do whatever you like and it will have no lasting consequences. Such is not the case. A teacher by the name of Buttsworth, who had a daughter named Bria, is going to learn this the hard way if I ever see him again, too.
04. Attempting to teach, or “correct”, through intimidation is the act of a coward.
On my Fudgebook feed, I often see graphics posted with text saying that you can judge a person by what they do for things/people who cannot or will never be able to return the favour. Robert Heinlein was himself an advocate of this approach to life, paying it forward rather than paying it back. Passing it on to some poor sod who needs it right now.
You can also judge a person by how they treat a person or thing that has no credible means to fight back. A child is an excellent example of this. Buttsworth, children swear. Fukk you, fukk your mother, fukk your children, and fukking get over it. Dragging them into your classroom and shouting “haven’t you?” in their face after asking them if they have been swearing will not change that. It will, however, make them grow into an adult who will think nothing of, should they find you once again, cutting your tongue out with a butter knife and forcing you to eat it whilst repeatedly screaming “fukk you” into your face in their now extremely bassy voice. This is just another example of where the baby boomers’ normalism and attempts to squash their children into their mould by force has blown up in their face.
05. No two individuals respond the same way to the same stimuli. Hence, when you have spoken to one autistic adult, you have spoken to one autistic adult.
Moving on to less angry, personal matters, I offer this for your consideration. You might think that the pretty, la la la pop music that was literally force-fed to us through radio and television during much of the 1980s is somehow the best of everything musical and people loved it and blah blah blah. Then, in the early 1990s, as the Spice Girls fad was starting to enter the terminal stage, a newspaper supplement put a headline on its cover that smashed that popularity illusion to bits. Literally, the words “how they rig the pop charts” were the most prominent thing on the cover other than an image I forget the exact nature of (had something to do with a CD or stacks thereof).
Nothing that measures the true response of an interdependent, multicultural, multiracial population numbering in the millions to any form of stimulus can only consist of one category of idea. Yet the curebies would like you all to believe that all autistic people, regardless of age, race, height, weight, sex, or anything, respond exactly the same way to everything.
I find it ironic that I am listening to the Julie Christmas song When Everything Is Green as I type that, in fact. It also reminds me of the constant baaing from certain critics of the second Iron Man film. “Everything that made Iron Man fun… baaaaaaaa!”. Jesus, seriously? Let me tell you something, guys. Different people have different ideas of fun. You might think that physical contact with your male parental unit, to name a good example, is fun. I, on the other hand, feel an overwhelming need to punch my male parental unit until he needs medical attention whenever he stands too close to me.
One of the many reasons why deliberate attempts to portray the autistic on film or in television come off as utterly offensive to me is because they take one kind or type and amplify it into the be all and end all of life on the spectrum. This is also the case with things that norms or other outsiders try to claim portrays autistic individuals. The Big Bullshit Theory, as I like to call it, is a primo example of this. Not only are the majority of friends I have made on the spectrum female, at least two of them are of kinds more reminiscent of Sam Phillips‘ performance in Die Hard: With A Vengeance, or a more feminine appearance of Anis Cheurfa‘s performance in TRON: Legacy. Yet the media wants to pour out this “little man with glasses and no sense of how he looks to others” stereotype like it is going out of fashion. As opposed to having gone out of fashion more than twenty years ago as of this writing. And yet they wonder why I constantly tell people that whenever an autistic individual is played well in a visual medium, it is always by accident. Jeff Bridges, Michael Fassbender, Sir Ian McKellen, Olivia Wilde, and Anna Paquin are the current kings and queens of this little-celebrated acting skill.
06. You know people on the autistic spectrum who are doing well for themselves, do you? Great… want to try comparing my situation to theirs properly, thanks?
An article I read on Steve Kangas‘ website some time ago featured a quote that sums up the flaw in a lot of peoples’ beliefs concerning the distribution of resources in our world. The quote states, in different wording, that even if we could somehow give every person in the world identical IQs, we would still see ninety percent of the inequality in income and outcomes that we see today.
When you tell me that you know of autistic adults who successfully went through university and did this or that, you are not just belittling me. You are also betraying an extreme ignorance of how different circumstances present different difficulties. What if I told you that I used to not be able to go near anything that vaguely resembled a school because the ghost of the child that I used to be would go apeshit with fear? Or that there are teachers with identifiable names that I would gladly peel the skin off in full view of the public, based on their actions towards me when that child and I were the same person? Or that I am basically living in poverty and blacklisted from employment in all but an overt and official sense simply because I do not speak normie? Do you think any of those things might affect my situation when trying to study? Or that bullshit subjects that have nothing to do with my area of interest might present an extreme barrier for me?
What I find ironic is that at the “equity section” of one university I tried vainly to attend, a pamphlet one can pick off a shelf has the question “treating people fairly means treating everybody the same, right?” on the front cover. I read this question out loud to my male parental unit, aka fukkhead who still does not get it, and he replied “right” or something like that. Guess what it says on the next page, in big bold text?
Wrong. Exactly: wrong. Fair and treating people exactly the same when their circumstances, difficulties, and challenges are extremely different are two very different things.
If you think otherwise, go and kill yourself. You are part of the problem.
07. If you have a problem with me being “negative”, stuff off.
I do not know what it is about some normies. They invite you into a conversation, start talking about something that pushes your buttons because it is about an intrinsic part of who you are, and then act surprised or even throw a tantrum when you state plainly what you think and why.
In some depictions of colonial America, individuals with guns and attitude are depicted saying things like “them’s fighting words” or similar.
Whether you fukking like it or not, normie, the world is not a nice place. The generation I grew up in, depending on how you divide it, is either the first or second since World War II to have not been able to maintain the same standard of living as their parents. This is not because they are baaad, lazy, or stupid, as their abusers/teachers in the school system they grew up in would have liked them to believe. It is because mean, ugly, arrogant assholes who were governing their parents (and thus, them) decided that supporting the richest fragment of the society they lived in at their expense was somehow a good idea.
This is not a distant phenonemon that is occurring in some third-world country that nobody knows the exact location of. It is happening here, now. More and more, as economic conditions worsen to the point of resembling what ended up being the most catastrophic economic downturn of the previous century, governments are asking people who already work too hard for too little to sacrifice more and more to make up what could easily be solved by simply taxing rich entities in a manner commensurate with what they actually use. Oh, so life was not meant to be fair, baby boomer? Life was not meant to have one small group living like kings at the expense of everyone else, either.
It is not a coincidence that computers were designed from the get-go to reflect the information one puts into them in their output. Humans are exactly the same way, irrespective of what land they are born on or how they have been indoctrinated during childhood. So when you raise me on a diet of how I am not good enough unless I spit your own weak little mind back to you, why does it surprise you when I have a profound lack of nice things to say about what I find around us?
08. Your view of issues to do with autism or being on the autistic spectrum is less important than mine. Deal with it.
As has also been written on Radical Neurodivergence Speaking, normies seem to have a dramatic self-entitlement complex. Every little thing concerning the autistic spectrum has to be their way, and their way only. Even when they are flatly contradicted by people who have better knowledge of matters.
Normies need to get this through their heads, post-haste. When you say X, and an autistic adult says Y, where the subject is autism and life as an autistic individual, Y is correct. No ifs, buts, or whys. When an autistic adult says that compensatory justice is needed for Autism Speaks’ being allowed to even exist, they are correct. The money that Autism Speaks leeches from an unsuspecting public could go towards employment incentives, acutal needed medical research (such as why there is a correlation between vitamin deficiency and being autistic, as one example), and education. Instead, it is going toward paying celebrities big amounts of money to cajole an unwitting public into donating more money.
And for what? When a “charity” openly states that it aims to “prevent” people from being born (yes, that is how it translates into reality, deal with it), and it gets a tax exemption, that means something is wrong.
Whilst other adults on the autistic spectrum might disagree with me on the finer points, I am sure we can all agree on one thing. Our opinion concerning how we should be accomodated and integrated into society at large, short of us pissing off and forming a society of our own (which, up to a point, would likely work better anyway), is more important than any outsider’s. That includes any curebie, it includes the fukking President if he disagrees with us, and it includes the reprehensible ilk of Jenny McCarthy, Tommy Hilfiger, et al. Dislike that? Then go and lock yourself into a place where there are no autistic people at all. We are fighting to have our right to exist recognised here. That is an either-or proposition. If you are not with us, you are against us.
Hence, if your view of us contradicts ours, yours can fukk off and die.
09. We are entitled to change our minds. We are also allowed to differ from one another.
Sometimes, I have to wonder. When a normie looks at what we are trying to tell them, are they dedicated to trying to find the slightest difference between us or what we said ten years ago as a means to negating us?
I must wonder. If we were to round all of you, the normies up, and say that the words of only one of you, irrespective of how many different subgroups there are amongst you, counted, what would your reaction be? If I said that amongst all six and change billion of you, only the opinion of the fat lesbian blind woman who has not showered in three years counted, you would be a bit perplexed to say the least.
Yet, for some weird reason, you cannot understand why when you present a Steve Urkel stereotype and say it represents all of us, a slightly miniaturised version of Leon Kowalski, aka me, gets angry about it. Hypocrisy? Stupidity? Or just plain moving the goalposts? None of these possibilities paint a very good picture of your kind, normies.
When you try to paint a large group of people as all being the same, it is often for a sinister purpose. Throughout history, one group or other has tried to do this to another. Wartime propaganda pieces offer a good insight into this. Whilst it is emphatically true that Japanese soldiers committed many shameful atrocities in their prosecution of World War II, Japan as a society and culture has changed since then. And not every part of Japan has changed the same way. Although much of mainstream Japan tries to deny that its government and army did things in the past that turn stomachs even today, other parts of Japanese culture even embrace the fact that their noble, proud culture is capable of doing some atrocious things. Bands like Sigh, much like bands like Black Sabbath or Sadistik Exekution, ply a trade in showing that the place they are part of has an underbelly to it that the norms in said place do not wish to acknowledge.
I will share a secret with you, normies. The city of Sydney makes no secret of not wanting to be represented by bands like Sadistik Exekution. But here comes the rub: both the band Sadistik Exekution and their fans generally are in no mood to be represented by the rest of Sydney, either.
This is why, when we present a united front on any given issue (for instance, our near-universal agreement that Autism Speaks is a criminal organisation dealing in fraud), it is important to take notice. Equally important is the fact that in the years I have been dealing with post-diagnosis life, I have never seen one person on the spectrum change their mind in a positive direction about Autism Speaks. They were Nazis to us in 2004, and they are Nazis to us now. Given how often I change my mind about things I read or watch, this should be considered important.
10. Autism is not a trend. It is not an excuse. It is not a cop-out for criminal behaviour. It is a part of who we are.
There are some people, most appallingly accused criminals, murderers, and the like, claiming to be autistic like it is some kind of fashion statement. Hello, you fukking morons, we are trying to get a bunch of people to recognise that we are people!
You may have noticed in previous parts of this document that I stated that Human beings of all stripes are like computers. That is, what comes out of them tends to be a fair reflection of what you put into them. For years now, I have watched people let off parents who murder their autistic children simply because the child is autistic. Imagine for a second that a parent murdered their child for being asthmatic, diabetic, albino, female, and so on. You would expect a jury to reject their defense on such a basis and have their guts for garters, would you not? Yet when a woman murders her twenty-something son and says “oh, he started being autistic two years ago…” or something equally ludicrous that will not stand up to the slightest comparison with the facts, she is allowed to walk with a thank-you practically ringing in her ears. Is this a declaration of war? Is this some normie joke that we on the spectrum do not get? Because let me assure you, normie jury, I am not fukking laughing.
So when you try to tell us that people murder because they are autistic, the question is begged. Which way do you want to have it? The film Bad Girls is fukking terrible in many ways, but it includes a great line that I feel every autistic adult should take to heart. If your laws do not include me, they do not apply to me. Even assuming that the people you want to diagnose in the court of public opinion really are autistic (often, they are not), you do realise that pasts of abuse, of violence, of exclusion, of mistreatment, are far greater causal factors in violence than any other. Do you not?
Of course, I suspect that normie jurors would start changing their little minds very quickly if people they could not identify easily or by sight alone started a string of reprisals for letting off the murderers of the autistic. Just a thought.
11. Tokenism sucks just as much even when the token does not look any different.
Autism Speaks apparently appointed one autistic adult to their board of decision-makers. Whoop de fukking do. Are you serious, Autism Speaks? Their name is now derided by all of us on the spectrum. I cannot even remember off the top of my head what his name is. But he gets called things like Uncle Tom, House Nigger, and so forth. Sound familiar?
It kind of reminds me of that joke on South Park where a black child is added to the class that the central foursome are part of, and given the name Token. If a show as oversaturated and overexposed as South Park can understand how transparent tokenism is nowadays, you have to wonder at the leadership of an organisation that does not get this point.
And I am getting tired, so I will bring you the final point for this evening’s writing:
12. If you want to put forward a normie point of view for something other than ridicule, find a normie place to do it.
As I have said, and as others have written so well, the sense of self-entitlement displayed by normies is truly something amazing to behold. Everywhere that we, the autistic, try to put forth our voice and message, they seem to want to override those and substitute theirs.
Normies, you have an abundance of places to go where you can be heard and even unchallenged to your heart’s content. The questions about what value a forum has when nobody contradicts you, challenges you, or even questions you aside, you have enough places that are friendly to you that you can pick and choose. So let me be clear on this point: this is my journal. This is where I put forward my view about what needs to be done and what needs to happen. If you feel that I have got something really wrong and want to politely explain it to me in a manner that puts forward your case in clear and reasonable terms, then by all means, do. Such responses are literally thrilling to me, because they tell me that someone is at least listening and taking notice. And thinking. Never forget that: if you take the time to think about what you are being told, you are learning something.
But if you think I am going to just let you tell me how beautiful and wonderful Jenny McCarthy and her brain cell are on my space, you have got another think coming. I do not give a flying fukk how hard done by Jenny thinks she is. If she were to get raped by a pack of wild rhinos, spat upon by a gross of llamas with haemorraghing saliva glands, then urinated on by every living elephant in India, my sympathy towards her vapid point of view would remain the same as it is now: zero. And if you think the descriptions I have just made of the brutality I could see visited upon her without giving so much as a cell of a shit are excessive, think about this: every time she claims there are no autistic adults and some asshole like Hugh Hefner or Fatass Winfrey gives her the time of day, the effect upon my psyche is not that far off what I have described.
If you have read this far and taken any of this into account or on board, then thank you. If you have any suggestions about further points I could make to the people in general or the idiot brigade out there, then please feel free to deposit them in the comments box. In any case, being that the germs ravaging my body are starting to show signs of being on the wane again, I hope to regain my former writing pace again very soon.
May Odin be with all of you, other than the curebies. Odin likes people who think differently, so he can barely stand the mere existence of those assholes.