|I was angry… like this.|
When I was younger, I used to say, “If you’re not angry, you are not paying attention.” As I have aged, I have struggled to get away from this mentality. I have worked very hard to embrace my intellect and eschew that primal side of me that hungers for the destruction of the stupids.
For the most part, I have succeeded. I have succeeded in becoming resistant to the stupids. Unfortunately, nature doesn’t like to be thwarted. Like a virus, stupidity is adaptable. Every time you develop an immunity, nature makes a better idiot.
It’s just like the common cold. Each time you have a cold, you have to suffer through it. Once it passes, you are immune to that particular strain of the virus and you are fine. Until the next strain comes along and kicks your ass.
I said all this to put it all in perspective.
|This is kind of where I was at.|
In the last week, I have come across two videos that managed to make me ANGRY. And we’re not talking the average garden variety of angry. These videos brought me to a place that I do not like to experience. Imagine the EXACT spot where a nuclear bomb has been detonated. The glassy, molten and cracked earth called trinitite is a fitting metaphor for my mental state at the time.
The first one was a video clip from the Kathie Lee Gifford show. She had a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome on the show. She does a segment called “Everyone has a Story.” People send in letters and tell their stories of personal glory and heroism.
In this specific edition of her “Everyone has a Story,” The mother of a popular boy at school regales us with the heroic tale of how her popular son saw a you man with Asperger’s Syndrome sitting alone at lunch. It moved him and he went over, sat down and ate lunch with him. The boys became fast friends.
Zach’s act of kindness changed Graham’s life. By having a real friend that cared enough to help him socialize, Graham was encouraged and started reaching out.
It is a very, very touching story. Before I continue… watch the clip.
Where do I start? I mean seriously?
I have shown this clip to several of my Neurotypical friends and out of them, a couple of them couldn’t figure out why I am upset by this.
Let’s start with the letter from Zach’s mother. The transcript of the program is here.
Before I continue, I would like to say that I admire Zach. I know it can be difficult to be friends with an Aspie. I know it takes some courage for a teenager to approach someone outside of their social class. I admire this young man for being able to step outside the modern American Caste System and make friends with someone who is different.
HOWEVER, Zach’s mother, while reading this letter, makes it sound like Zach had risked his life by pulling Graham out of a boiling pool of Piranha. I can let this go. She is a parent and parents seem to be of two types… They are either a) ashamed of their children, or b) ridiculously proud of them and she seems to be the second type. Kathie introduces them and tells the story, recapping what the letter said. Here it happens again… She makes it sound like Zach is a damn hero.
|This should be included in the opening credits.|
This confuses me. Maybe I am just too simple to understand it, but I never thought it was a heroic act to be someone’s friend. I know I’m not the easiest guy to deal with, but my friends seem to enjoy my presence… They don’t seem to have to make some herculean effort to be around me.
As it continues, it comes to light that Graham is involved with the sporting program. Graham states that he is the manager. Kathie Lee responds with, “You know, excuse me…that means you’re the boss.” The words themselves are innocuous-encouraging even. The thing is, she wasn’t encouraging… her tone was horribly condescending. She was speaking to him the same way you do to a dog when they did a trick.
Then, she had an opera singer perform a song that she wrote. This was one of the most offensive things that I have ever heard.
Here’s the lyrics.
“We see them everyday, but to often look away from the ones who are sitting alone.
We seldom hear their voice because we make the choice to leave them right there all alone
We see them everywhere, but too often we don’t care. We’re lost in a world of our own.
We rarely realize, they’re angels in disguise, so we leave them right there all alone.
Can you imagine if hello was a word you’d never heard? Can you imagine if you’ve never had a friend?
Can you imagine if loneliness was all you’d ever known?
It’s more than we could ever comprehend. A world, a silent world, without a friend.
But miracles can happen, sometimes they really do.
And sometimes, the miracle turns out to be you.
When you embrace a stranger and show love you’ve never shown, you will make the greatest friend that you have ever known.
Someone who used to be, someone who used to be, but now will never be all alone.”
Put yourself in this boy’s shoes. You have been brought out on national television. Had them make your best friend sound like a hero for just being your friend. Had this obnoxious bottle blond talk down to you. Then they sing a song at you that makes it sound like you’re a damn leper.
Then Lee asked him what he thought of the song. He tells her it was too sad… THEN THEY ALL LAUGH AT HIM… His family, Kathie Lee, Zach’s family, Kathie Lee’s side-kick… everyone except Zach and Graham laugh…WTF!
What amazes me is that they think this is acceptable behavior. The offenses are as follows. Talking about the boy like he wasn’t present. Talking down to him like he is an idiot, and then laughing at him… AND THEY AIRED THIS. NBC LET THIS GO TO AIR. No one even thought that it might be problematic.
After all was said and done. Howard Stern called her out on it. He talked about it for about 15 minutes. I don’t like the shock jock thing, but for once, I agree with Howard Stern. (cue old fashioned horror music.)
I was infuriated by this clip for almost a week. I finally managed to get my outrage under control and then stumbled across something else related to the spectrum.
It is a video from Anonymous. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)) Anonymous is a loose collection of hackers that take up certain causes and are pretty widely known for their Hacktivism campaigns. Since Anonymous is an anarchist organization, technically, anyone can claim membership and can act in the name of the group. I tend to take most of their video announcements with a grain of salt.
This is not because I find anything wrong with their activities (I also don’t support most of it, either.) But the computer voice, hidden faces and everything remind me of an overly dramatic scene from a soap opera. Unlike most of the internet, I will also do research when I hear of something, to make sure that I am not (as a friend of mine said) “acting a fool.”
After I managed to bring myself back to planet Earth from planet “I-will-punch-you-in-the-crotch-for-the-wrong-tone-of-voice-this-week,” I stumbled across this tidbit.
After watching this, I did a little bit of research and found some disturbing information. As much as I hate Fox News (for their lack of impartial reporting and sensationalistic reporting techniques), the following video sums it up:
So… here is a school supposedly designed to “Help” individuals on the Autistic Spectrum that is torturing its students. The school officials and clinicians argue that each of the students that they have employed these techniques on has become better behaved, but that doesn’t justify the extreme methods. Corporal punishment was used on slaves and they were better behaved as a result as well. You wouldn’t treat an animal this way, why the hell would you treat a human being this way.
By the courts sanctioning the censorship the school is requesting, they are, in essence, stating that the school is doing the right thing.
As long as this school is allowed to perform excessive aversion therapy, the public feels that this is an acceptable way to treat anyone on the Autistic Spectrum. The human mind jumps to the conclusion that “Autistics” need to be treated this way or they won’t be able to function in society.
I am so disgusted that it just makes me sick. I really have no closing for this.
Just ask yourself… would you subject your dog, cat or hamster to this kind of treatment? If not, then you should be angry too.
Images in this issue were SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources: