Autism Awareness. Autism Awareness. Autism Awareness. Autism Awareness. Autism Awareness. Diabetes Awareness. Cancer Awareness. Spina Bifida Awareness. Down’s Syndrome Awareness. Retardation Awareness. Being born without limbs Awareness.
See where I am going with this yet, normies?
Historically, the word “awareness” has had a lot of meanings, both good and bad. Self-awareness, for example, is considered to be a requirement of intelligence. This is not dissimilar from how lack of insight is generally held to be a requirement of legal insanity. But awareness by itself is like the Genesis device that drives the plot in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. That is, used for benign or noble purposes, it can be a great and even potentially world-changing thing. But in the wrong hands, it can be perverted into a dreadful weapon.
Now, I am sure some of you are thinking “what does this guy mean?”. Well, let me show you an example or two. Above is an image that was circulated in Germany throughout the 1930s, when the Nazis were at the height of their power. I forget exactly how the words translate, but the salient point of the image above is that the text is stating that the disabled individual shown in the picture will cost the German people upwards of 60,000 Reichmarks over a lifetime to care for. Some of the text, and this is the important point, roughly translates as “this is your money, fellow German”.
This, by the way, normie, is what I think of whenever I hear the word “awareness”. Awareness of what this or that proscribed person or group of persons “costs”. Awareness of what this baaad, evil, nassssty disabled individual is costing all you honest, hardworking, decent, law-abiding white folk out there.
Erm, sorry, got carried away there. But let me revolt you further with another image from the same era.
I do not know what the German text in this propaganda poster means. But the brilliance of this kind of propaganda lies in the fact that one does not need to understand the text to understand the message. In fact, there are a few things one can infer that the Nazis might not have intended. Or at least, not have thought of during the initial design stages. One of which is that the “racially pure” mother on the right of the image is, according to them, bound to be free of all the exaggerated defects highlighted in the “impure” table on the left.
Let us forget for a moment that the concept of “racial purity” as the Nazis defined it does not exist, and never has in the real world. (“Blond hair? Blue eyes? Pathetic.”) Both history and medicine have largely discredited any links between race and physical health. Not only has the idea that being of a singular visible race promotes better health been disproven, it has been thoroughly discredited. Thomas Chong (as in Cheech and…), Jessica Alba, Vin Deisel, and Frank Zappa are just a few examples of celebrities with parents from different races. They not only appear healthier and physically better than many “pure” folk (celebrity or no), in a couple of cases they have even proven themselves to be better creative folk than most of the rest of the populace.
For my part, it is harder to imagine a whiter or more “pure” ancestry. Both of my parents are descended from folks who migrated from the so-called United Kingdom during the last one hundred years. Skin cancer, allergies, respiratory complaints, and diabetes run rampant through the halves of my family. So much so, in fact, that the mere idea of me fathering a child makes my skin crawl.
As thoroughly discredited as the concept of genetic or racial “purity” has been, however, it echoes today in advertisements made by our good friends at Autism Speaks For Normie Assholes.
The above image is of propaganda created by the Indiana Eugenics Society. You can read more about said Society here. Now, I do not know exactly what context the statement “three generations of imbeciles are enough” was made in. It could well be that the man making the statement was referring to rampant inbreeding (a practice often associated with country folk, oddly enough), or widespread genetic defects within the Indiana population. But between the years 1907 and 1974, Indiana forcibly sterilised somewhere in the order of 2,500 institutionalised patients, whilst the United States Of America forced more than 65,000 to endure sterilisation operations.
Also of incredible interest is the definition of “healthy, normal parents”. Who are healthy, normal parents? Myself, I have a poor basis for comparison. My parental units may be relatively healthy in a physical sense (especially given their ages), but it does not take much time talking to them about me to discern that something is seriously wrong with how they look at things.
Nor is wealth a reflection of how healthy or normal a parental unit may be. Jose and Mary Menendez were, respectively, a corporate executive and a school teacher who quit to be a homemaker after her first son, Erik, was born. Let that sink in for a moment. Jose Menendez was so well-off that Mary could afford to quit her job and be a full-time mother to her sons, Erik and Lyle. I am sure my sister will agree with me when I say that Mary having this option must have meant Jose practically had money falling out of his arse.
The fact that Jose and Mary Menendez were murdered by Erik and Lyle indicates something to me. For one thing, it indicates that how a person is nurtured has a lot more to do with how they behave as adults than their genetic materials. Whether you believe Erik and Lyle‘s stories of child abuse or not, something clearly had to go wrong with a vital stage of their education in life and living for them to go through with this. Hell, there are a million things that can go wrong during a child’s upbringing. There are a million things that can go right. And if you take the entire world’s population (seven billion and going up as of December 2011), then you have an idea of the number of potential outcomes.
Ever since Homo Sapien started to manipulate the world around him to his benefit, the question that has plagued his mind was been the same. Are people more the product of their nature, or how they are nurtured? Even those who think they know the answer find themselves questioning the answer they come up with once in a while.
The whole point of mentioning both the celebrities I have mentioned and the Menendez brothers is that I believe the answer is a lot of both. Whilst people are never born evil, some are born with more potential for evil than others. And that potential is a matter of capitalisation as well as opportunity. If the Great Depression had never happened, Adolf Hitler likely would never have been appointed Chancellor of Germany. If America had not secretly authorised bombing runs in Cambodia, it is possible that Pol Pot would never have become dictator of Cambodia and murdered a quarter of its populace. Even the most ordinary events, such as my initial departure from Sydney, might not have ever happened if not for a few timed preceding events.
The entertainment industry is rife with stories of good, talented people who never got a break, as well as completely untalented, repulsive people who caught all of the breaks. There are even a few tales of people with no talent and even less brains or fortitude being given second or third chances. Pretty much every trade has such tales, although the majority of them do not end happily.
If you want a point to the last few paragraphs, then here it is. Nobody can accurately predict the course of a life. Nobody. If you think that Christopher Lee knew that he would become one of England’s most respected actors, or even live to be ninety-one years old as of this writing, when he was a schoolboy, then you are delusional. If you thought that Lindsay Lohan anticipated becoming a perpetually hungover mess when she was cast in a remake of The Parent Trap, you are sorely mistaken. People who know exactly what they will do or have next year or in many cases even two days from now are not common.
Nobody could tell where Helen Keller, Louis Braille, or Albert Einstein would be at the ends of their lives when they were born. Yet if we followed the expectation model expressed in the Nazi propaganda poster above (the 60,000 Reichsmarks one), maybe only the third of those names would have been allowed to live. And even then, the Third Reich essentially put out a hit on Einstein simply because of who his grandparents were. (Well, there were other factors, but that was likely the deciding one for Adolf.)
So, take a good look at the above images. Really look. Does one not bear an eerie similarity to one that I showed you a little earlier? Just a wee bit? Does one of these two groups not remind you of the other?
This is what your autism awareness means to me, ma and pa Kettle. This is what I feel when I see you mentioning what I am but never mentioning my name in ads, in papers, in television shows. This is what you are, not just to me, but to everyone with the slightest commonality with me on the neurological level. You tell yourselves that you are heroes on some grand crusade against a horrible alien state of being. Well, guess what, curebies? The Nazis told themselves more or less exactly the same thing. Only the details differ.
In films, like the one I am watching now (the 1983 production of Scarface), the villains are defined by their limits. Tony Montana is a loudmouthed villain whose acquaintance with reality ends with the white power he ingests. But in one scene where he refuses to kill an enemy whilst said enemy’s wife and children are in the car with said enemy makes him a thousand times more Human than any curebie or the ignorant pieces of shit who donate to curebies.
Protest that comparison to your heart’s content, curebies. You have killed children. Talking parents into killing their own children, or letting others kill their children, in pursuit of a “cure” for something the children can help no more than their height, is no different from putting a gun to that child’s head and pulling the trigger. So let me be perfectly clear about this: curebies murder children. And governments, as well as the people they purport to represent, do nothing. No matter what way you slice it, doing nothing is only marginally preferable to pulling the trigger.
Getting back to a less aggravating point for a moment, it is worth looking at what the autism civil rights movement, even the passive shits who would lay down like meat for the curebies, want instead. Acceptance. Autism acceptance. This alone differs being on the autistic spectrum from things like diabetes or cancer (both of which I live with, I hasten to remind you all). You never hear of people pushing for acceptance of diabetes. Diabetes is a horrible thing to live with, especially when you are autistic. Cancer is a horrible thing to live with. There is no qualifier to add to that. When the most preferable kind of cancer to have entails having your skin cut into so deep that it needs multiple layers of suturing (as was done to me mere weeks ago), there is no witty rejoinder. The word cancer, coming from a doctor, is like a proclamation of doom.
Being told you are autistic, on the other hand, is like being told you are adopted or that you were really born somewhere equivalent in your view to Mars. A world-changing, and worldview-changing, revelation. And I am going to tell you something about it that I have just realised this entire journal stands in evidence of.
How one behaves and acts with the world at large after having been told that they are autistic is a direct reflection of how the world at large has behaved and acted towards them. If this comes as a surprise to you, let me concrete it with a few other insights from the world of psychology that may come as a shock. A simple search on one’s favourite engine for suicide as a function of poor integration shows just that. That suicide is, in fact, a function of poor societal integration. Groups where poor social integration is a known problem have members that commit suicide at a noticeably higher rate than others. The elderly, the mentally ill, and veterans are just a few examples of such groups. The one thing each example group has in common, without fail, is marginalisation within the society that they form part of.
It is also the society itself that forms part of the problem. Beginning in the mid-1970s, and picking up pace during the 1980s, the society of the First World began a major shift away from integration. Along with a change of governing policies, services to promote integration were scaled down or eliminated altogether. And what we have in their place essentially amounts to a profit-driven model that demonstrates the fact that monetary profit and social profit are not the same thing.
What are we to make, then, of a society in which an organisation is not only allowed to tell a disenfranchised and vulnerable segment of society they are violently unwanted, but rewards that organisation with the status of a charity? It is hardly unprecedented, but that does not make it a good thing. In fact, if the situation the autistic community is in were unique, that would be comforting. It is not. As these images of the mentally ill and these words about the government of Tennessee demonstrate, the current violent marginalisation of the autistic only differs from others in the nebulous and indefinable general nature of the victims.
Everything, from entertainment to discrimination, can in some manner be broken down into a formula. A formula that is somewhat mathematical in nature. Take a group with a peculiar characteristic (different skin colour, different tribal association, different ways of expressing or interpreting language), decide a morally irrelevant feature (such as the above) is in fact relevant, and mistreat them on that basis (slavery, discriminatory laws, violence up to and including murder). It really is like a lot of random numbers thrown together, but the paths and results are so wildly unpredictable that even today, the consequences are nothing like what our forefathers probably imagined.
Nor is the discrimination necessarily based on obvious differences. Six centuries ago, the English fought a constant war of attrition against the Scottish based more or less on which part of the land mass one side resided in. For time immemorial, members of one religious sect kept another as an underclass in Ireland. The nationality did not differ, only the form of indoctrination. And if that sounds far-fetched to you, try joining an atheist group on Fudgebook sometime. Some of the things they receive or quote from religionists just have to be seen to be believed.
Lately, I have also been seeing a lot of commentary back and forth about articles that proclaim gay to be the new black. An example can be found here, in which Todd Clayton explains why this is far from the case. I happen to agree with him. First of all, I did not know there was any “need” for or existence of a “new black”. So far as I can tell, and I admit that this is a very outside perspective, being black now is not that different from being black at the time I was born. Oh, I am sure that both are very different from the time when my grandparents were born. But the reality of being black in America, England, or Australia is still that of being an underclass with lower prospects, lower expectations out of life, and lower representation in society. Whilst being gay entails these things as well, the parameters and circumstances are wildly different.
That is the point of the above few paragraphs. Being gay is being gay, being black is being black, and being neurodivergent is being neurodivergent. Not to be redundant here, but similarities are just as important as differences. In Todd Clayton’s article, he quotes Richard Goldstein as saying “I think white gay people feel cheated because they were born, in principle, in a society in which they were supposed to be safe. The anomaly of their sexuality puts them in danger, unexpectedly.”. I think this hits the nail on the head in more ways than one.
You see, we are all born in a bit of a cocoon. We have little idea of anything outside of ourselves and our mothers. This is for a reason. When we are born, we have almost no ability to survive outside of our mothers. All we are really capable of doing is screaming until someone else attends to our needs. Our awareness of people outside of that little sphere grows in sync with our ability to defend ourselves.
As has been written about and postulated elsewhere, however, there are limits to how much our sphere grows. And this is why I am grateful that I at least grew up in a city where meeting people of different races and/or nationalities was the expected norm. I am also very grateful for growing up with a media where people of mixed races and/or nationalities interacted in a positive manner. Although I did not always keep the lesson internalised, I learned that people are different for good reasons. And every time I get on an operating table to have my skin sliced into, I grok that there are circumstances in which those differences can be a big advantage.
But some of us, we grow up and reach the full potential of our sphere without learning that people may be designed differently to us, and for a good reason. Some of us grow up being taught that these differences even make those people bad, inferior, or inhuman. And as one screenwriter put it so well through the mouth of Bob Hoskins, if you get them young enough, the possibilities are endless.
That is another reason I am grateful beyond imagining that I have no children. Because the manner in which our consciousness and understanding of other people depends a lot on our parental units. Seriously, it does. From the time we are born to the time we first attend any schooling, they have complete control over who we get to see and/or talk to. And even then, they only relinquish their control in graduating steps, starting very slowly and building up over a period of years. How we see ourselves is shaped to a great degree by this.
Breaking free of how my parental units wanted me to see myself, and that took a lot of time, I had to present myself with a few challenges. Probably the most important is that of defining myself to myself. This process, for me, began around the time I saw X2 in the cinema. At that time, I saw myself as Dean McIntosh, patient with a mental illness that nobody could properly define. It was not until a couple of years later that I began to see myself as Dean McIntosh, autistic adult in a world that is actively hostile to the autistic.
And that, in turn, brought questions about the shape of my existence. Such as how I could be possessed of such a high level of intelligence (at least, to hear it from numerous doctors), yet have such poor outcomes in school and employment. Or why, throughout my childhood, I found it oddly easy to converse with individuals noticeably older than me, but I thoroughly detested attempting to converse with the majority of my peers. And on and on it goes. But it also cleared away one major-league cobweb. It made me understand that the extreme problem I had interacting with the people I was pushed at was not my fault, but rather the fault of the normalistic morons presiding over us all.
Autism Speaks and other curebie assholes who are promoting what they call Autism Awareness as opposed to acceptance sell themselves to potential donors through the donors’ ignorance.
Oh yeah, and just like the Nazis, curebies are not above playing fast and loose with science when it comes to selling murder. The above image is of a Nazi propaganda poster from around the 1930s. The text roughly translates as a proclamation that if healthy, “pure” Germans only have two children per couple whilst the disabled keep having four or more, over the next century or so an ever diminishing percentage of healthy, “pure” Germans will be caring for an ever-increasing percentage of what I am sure the propaganda ministry would have called wretched vermin. Or worse.
This is echoed in the number of times the rate of autism occurrence in the world, or rather the estimate thereof, has been revised without so much as an attempt to justify it. Of course, these revisions of rates are also always accompanied by backwards data. These imbeciles will look us square in the eye and tell us that in 1900, only one in a thousand people were autistic. Yeah, and I am Michael Ironside. But more concerning is that since I was diagnosed in 2004, the rates have been revised upwards no less than three times. First it was one in a hundred and fifty, a figure that I have little difficulty believing in since that roughly corresponds to the number of children in the school I attended who were picked upon serially by the staff. Then it was suddenly changed to one in eighty-eight. I have trouble believing in this number largely because no reasons or evidence were given for this change.
If Diabetes America were to suddenly tell the world that one in six children will develop Type One diabetes (that is, the kind that requires frequent infusions of synthetic insulin by injection), they would be facing a storm of calls to support the claim. Governments all over the world would want them to back their statement up. But when Autism Speaks and the curebie governments proclaim that autism is nearly twice as prevalent today as it was not ten years ago, people just take it as read. Sorry, I do not buy it. That would be like suddenly saying that China’s population is now three and a half billion.
But just recently, I have also been reading things that proclaim one in fifty people are autistic. Sorry, I just do not buy that. If autism is truly as problematic as Autism Speaks et al want us to believe, then the mad rush on the part of governments for a cure that nobody on the spectrum wants would be at a frantic pace. Disbelieve me? Australia expended a total of 907,000,000 dollars on diabetes care in the period spanning from 2004 to 2005. That is, for each of the 898,000 Australians known to be affected by some form of diabetes, slightly more than 1,010 dollars was spent keeping them alive, or keeping them from suffering unnecessary amputations, blindness, heart problems, or other fun things that are not, never have been, and never will be directly associated with autism.
Simply put, not only are the constant revised estimates of autism occurrence in the populace incredibly suspect, but their use in place of credible and complete information is highly disingenious. It brings to mind the trial from To Kill A Mockingbird, in which the prosecution appeals to the jury’s racism rather than present credible evidence in order to convict the defendant.
Do I know what the best answer to all of the problems facing the autistic today happens to be? Hardly. I do know that the Australian government’s approach with the Aboriginal people is not going to cut it, however. How does saying “sorry” and giving pretty speeches about the traditional owners of this land help? (In ownership, tradition means nothing. Force or the credible threat thereof are the only things that mean anything.) If the present ruling class of Australia were really serious about making it up to the Aborigines, they would implement programs with the long-term goal of helping the Aborigines get off the bottom rung of Australian society’s ladder, and helping their best achieve their full potential in spite of whatever setbacks they may have experienced.
Which, oddly enough, is not at all dissimilar from what they would do for the autistic if they were really serious about helping future generations of the autistic. (Exactly why I, a dropout with almost no employment history or prospects, need to explain this to politicans with multiple paid-for-by-somebody-else tertiary degrees, is a matter that I am going to be awake at night giving much thought to.)
(Oh yeah, and if it even crosses your mind to give those seventeen quarters to Autism Speaks, kindly shove them up your arse instead.)