Taken while attending a conference, March 2008 in a University of New Hampshire bathroom:
I hope I’ve done you justice, random bathroom-stall note. Target audience, expand!
I watched the Oprah special on autism today, with Jenny McCarthy and Holly Robinson Peete: Their Fight to Save Their Autistic Sons.
I have a good deal to say, only, it stems from no productive part of my brain, so I think I’ll curtail all bloggerly manifestos until my minimal, thimerosal-induced cognitive resources have had a chance to de-auticize.
Oh, wait. That won’t ever happen, now will it?
I am happy that McCarthy and her son have developed mutually understood ways of communicating. I am displeased, however, with her whole “autism is reversible!” tirade. McCarthy repeatedly exclaimed that her message was one of hope and faith for parents of children with autism. Yet, she significantly reduced her credibility with MMR jonesing and her contention that her son’s autism was “death” to her. Death?
Upon watching this, I almost feel the need to apologize to my parents for all the pain I’ve caused. I’m sorry for pooping up to my neck as an infant, as a toddler, as a pre-kindergartner. I’m sorry for rarely crying as a baby, for seeming oblivious to sensory stimuli. I’m sorry for not learning how to urinate on my own until age five. I’m sorry that you had to bring me to Easter Seals for my walking problems as an infant. (I’m sure my siblings, who were also toe-walkers, likewise apologize.) I’m sorry that I never made friends, that I never learned to play violin, that I didn’t invent the cure for cancer. I’m sorry that I can’t drive or push a shopping cart, can’t display affection in a way that is commensurate with societal expectations, can’t eat fruit or meatloaf or stuff with mixed sauces, can’t modulate the volume of my voice.
Then again, I suppose my apologies aren’t so necessary since my mother is to blame. After all, she decided to breed.
McCarthy credited her son’s reversal to the GFCF diet (gluten-free, casein-free diet; aka no wheat or dairy). She likened it to chemotherapy: works for some, but not all. Again, I’m glad that going GFCF “helped” her child… but CFGF diets aren’t cures.
OK. Before I rant any more, I’m going to perseverate on something more constructive, like a Law & Order rerun. I might even chug a huge glass of milk and down a loaf of bread. Just to celebrate.
My seventh grade Language Arts teacher often commented that I crafted “interesting” story leads.
Interesting, over the years, has come to signify a catch-all word that means anything from beautiful to bile-inducing to uninteresting but so friggin strange that someone must find it interesting. I am, therefore, quite weary of interesting, and Ms. Fox’s insistence that my introductory statements possessed twinges of interestingness did little more than creep me out, quite frankly. With each piece due, I’d attempt to de-interestify my leading sentences, hoping for remarks such as creative or good, but still I’d receive interesting.
In college, professors no longer coined my essays as interesting, but rather insisted that I stop reading Flannery O’Connor and Christopher Durang. This was hard to do, especially since I enjoyed their morbid senses of humor, but I managed — that is, until I realized stop reading Flannery O’Connor and Christopher Durang in fact meant keep reading Flannery O’Connor and Christopher Durang, that it was in fact a compliment, not a command.
This blog, I think, will be a combination of many things — mostly, whatever the heck I want — but I mainly wish to explore rhetoric through my autly lens, a lens I’ve always perceived as normal until told otherwise. Perhaps interesting will still be thrown around since normal isn’t applicable. But, then again, who are these normal people? Who belongs to the all-powerful majority discourse, and do they have a postal address within the continental US?
Lately, as I’ve been coming to grips with my status as an aspie PhD student, slowly outing myself to the world at large, I’ve felt more insecure. As a rule, I rarely disclose, but the few times I have disclosed have either resulted in, 0MG! I so T0T4LLY KNEW IT!!!1ONEONE!11, or Wow! You must have outgrown it/you must be super high-functioning because people with Asperger’s blow things up.
[NOTE: I’ve never been one for paraphrasing.]
I don’t necessarily like this AS label — I mean, it labels me. Yet, it explains me, allows me to overanalyze my strengths and weaknesses, allows me to overanalyze every rhetorical move that emanates from my socially awkward self. My autistic tendencies have their own rhetoric; they are my commonplaces; they provide context for my actions and (mis)interpretations.
I mostly, though, enjoy the logos of it all.