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Posts Tagged ‘autistics’

If you are a headline writer, you are an asshole.

There, I said it.  You may not like it, but it’s true.

Why? Because if you are a headline writer, a craft that goes back to the early days of the printed news, you have contributed to the continual dumbing down of the United States of America.

The recent article by the Washington Post claiming “Study: ‘Significant’ statistical link between mass murder and autism” was a classic example of what newspapers and networks have been more and more guilty of in recent years.  Hitting people with out of context snippets to create interest to drive traffic in the form of clicks or viewers to bring in dollars is what these assholes do.

The problem is that a large chunk of people won’t click through and will simply read the headline – absorbing it as critical information without actually understanding the greater context of the  bigger picture.  Those that DO click through will read the article or watch the video through the lens of the headline – so despite the content saying something completely different, or at least preaching caution, the reader/viewer will not truly understand what they are reading.

We have become a headline nation – why is it that the Right and the Left are so far apart on everything?  They actually are not, but the headline writers have purposely created an environment that feed the angers and insecurities of a struggling nation.

Are we really so far apart on health care? or education? or security? taxes? care for the less fortunate? religious freedom? gay marriage? abortion?  I would argue that the vast majority are much, much closer than people realize.  The problem is that we can’t get past the headlines.  Headline writers throw people into one of two camps – for or against – when the truth is much more subtle.  We have reached a point where we compress everything we believe into 140 measly characters and then shout it out in ALL CAPS.

Nothing, I mean NOTHING that is worth debating should be compressed down to 140 characters (or even 1.400 characters for that matter).  The problem is that we have become lazy readers who would much rather have our country run by  someone we think would be a good drinking buddy instead of someone who is obviously way smarter than we are.

I consider myself to be pretty bright.  I did pretty well in high school and went to a decent college.  I like to think that I’ve got some brains – but there is no way on God’s green Earth that you could convince me that I am intelligent enough to run a country, no less the most powerful nation in the world.  Meanwhile, our leaders have been pushed by these headline writers to dumb themselves down.

In my opinion, these headline writers, particularly the one who wrote the headline for the Washington Post article, are guilty of negligence and any harm perpetrated by a parent on an autistic individual will have to be partially blamed on that particular headline writer.  Why?  Because somewhere out there is a parent who is feeling lost because society still hasn’t fully accepted autistic people.  Wherever this parent is, he or she will read the headline, and in some twisted, sick, evil way will come to the conclusion that he or she will be saving society by hurting their child.  This headline writer should also be found guilty of causing loss of employment of any autistic who doesn’t get a job he or she is qualified for because somewhere in the back of an employers mind will be, “I can’t hire a potential mass murderer”.

John Elder Robinson debunked the “study” showing that the number of people who were known to have autism in the study was about the same percentage as overall society, but I betting that most people who read the original article didn’t pick up on that.

The bottom line is this – I implore you to ignore the headlines when you aren’t willing to read the full article…

…and always remember, headline writers are assholes.

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EarthViewFrom100kilometers

I don’t fly here often. I am usually caught up in my own local mishegas, but every once in a while, I have the common sense to take a step back. True, I am not as wrapped up in the online autism community as Jess is – not by a long shot. Yes, I do write about autism from time to time on a personal level, but for the most part, I am a stranger, a seasoned tourist as best, in autism blog land.

I’m sure there are some in that land who will read this and say, “shut the hell up. You have no idea what you are talking about!  You’re not wrapped up in the stories! You don’t know all the history!” and they would be right.  That would be exactly the point as well, because sometimes, when you are in the middle of the shit, even if someone holds a mirror right to your face, you fail to realize just how ugly you have become; you do not recognize that you have lost the thread; that you are battling for the simple sake of battling; that you have become caught up in the minutiae, forgetting the real reason you went to war…

…and when that person who holds the purse strings on resources that need to be allocated looks around to see to whom he or she should be giving grants to, THAT person is not going to know the “history” either. 

They will do a Google Search, and what will they find?

Sigh.

***

100,000 feet.

I love looking down on the world from up here. Everything is so peaceful, so beautiful. I can look down and see that everyone is working toward the same goal, the same future. A tomorrow where all people, autistic and non-autistic are treated fairly, equally, compassionately.

***

From 100,000 feet I can’t see the petty squabbles, the sycophantic massaging or masturbatory self-stroking of egos, the hurt pride over imagined and real slights, the marking of territories, the grandstanding and the chest thumping.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see that many of the parents of autistics have lost the forest for the trees, forgetting that their autistic children will someday be autistic adults who we DO ultimately want to be able to advocate for themselves.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see that many of the autistic self-advocates can’t seem to understand why some parents feel that those self-advocates don’t and can’t speak for their children; that not all autistics are impacted in the same way.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see the exhausting, monotonous war of words where both sides simply must get in the final word.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see that at times both sides simply devolve into bratty children, stomping their feet because someone disagrees with someone else, forgetting that they are supposed to be acting like adults.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see an autism community that is fractured because certain members have decided to put their fingers in their ears and yell, “la la la la la” at the top of their lungs.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see the snipers taking quotes out of context, or reacting to one fifth of a statement without considering the other 80%.

From 100,000 feet I can’t see the thoughtless and over-thought comments, meant more for destruction than construction.

***

Yes, from 100,000 feet I can’t see any of that.

***

From 100,000 feet I do see two camps that ultimately have the same goal. At 20,000 feet you might tell me that one group wants to “cure” autism and another wants to make the world a better place for autistics, but up here at 100,000 feet, both are ultimately a desire to ease or eliminate the difficulties that autistics face on a daily basis.

From 100,000 feet I see people who are passionate about making things better either for themselves or for their children or both and  are pouring every last ounce of their energy into that goal.

From 100,000 feet I see parents and self-advocates fighting for dignity for all members of the spectrum.

From 100,000 feet I see one family, one community.

***

I wish that those who are caught up in this war of words, those who simply feel they must retaliate, must debate, must argue every, petty point could come fly with me up here at 100,000 feet and see the world from up here just to remember.

Just to remember why they are passionate.

Just to remember why they fight.

Just to remember that the way they behave today has a real impact on how others will behave in the future.

Just to remember that love should be our engine, and that love is kind, love is inclusive, love does not hate.

Just to remember…

***

The more you fight, the less likely the world will take us seriously.  The more you act like hormonal teenagers overreacting to even the slightest indirect slur, the less likely the world will take us seriously.  The more you yell at each other without bothering to listen, I mean really listen, the less likely the world will take us seriously.  The more you are “angry” on a regular basis, the less likely the world will take us seriously.

The digital age has given us an incredible opportunity, an incredible power to make the world a better place, build it up, constructively, together – instead, so many within this community are using it to belittle those in disagreement with snarky personal attacks, name calling, and somewhat idiotic, occasionally fictitious drivel.

Come up to 100,000 feet and remember.

Remember why you put yourself out there in the first place…

Remember that your child will grow up to be an adult…

Remember that you were once a child…

Remember that, at least from 100,000 feet, the goal has always been the same…

…to make tomorrow better…

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