Guest contributors run the gamut, but they all pretty much rock.
Guest Contributor Michael Ring (@Loricatus_Lupus)
We are pleased and honored to publish this essay, submitted in response to Rebecca de Winter’s recent piece about her autistic son, “Thank You for the Autism.”
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Back in my day, autism was limited to people that didn’t develop language skills, or formed much in the way of emotional bonds, and often had some motor function issues. We hadn’t yet created a spectrum, much less begun to judge cat owners that read books alone on Friday nights that way (DSM-V). But there were people out there to label, and there were people out there to fix.
Oftentimes the labelers and fixers didn’t really care if symptoms matched the new theory. I got the “Dyslexia” label even though I never displayed any traits in ordering letters in words. I got the “ADD” label even though I easily sat through class taking notes. I got the “Aspergers” label even though on tests like Myers–Briggs I placed in the middle of types. I’m neither E nor I, S nor N, T nor F, or J nor P. I’m just me.
Now I can complete agree with Rebecca on Jake:
"While the adults in the room blandly discussed his most recent evaluation, he (wisely, in my estimation) tuned us out, hunched over his place at the table with his ever-present bag of Prismacolor pencils and sketch-pad."
I’m sure I was looking at the jar of tongue depressors, while the adults prattled on, thinking I could make an inverted truss bridge using friction alone.
One of the traits particular to humans is our division of labor and creation of ritual to bond a group. So what is ill today might have been useful in the past.
Agoraphobia – “Guys, while you go hunt wildebeest, I’ll just stay on the home front and patch that leaky thatch roof.”
OCD – “Guys, I know we are being chased by Zulu, but we’re leaving easy to follow tracks everywhere. And did anyone put out the campfire? Hate for the roofer to get hurt.”
Schizophrenia –“You know Bob, it’s likely the rain, but the guy that the rocks talk to says it’s the river deity that brings us our fertile fields each year. And getting the clan together once a year to celebrate our harvest would be nice.”
But back to the present. My problem isn’t so much me, as it is the system I’m told to function in. I do horribly on standardized tests and in standardized education because that’s not how I work. You can take any subject and try to teach it to me an hour a day, three days a week, for 20 weeks, and I’ll do horribly. Pack the same course down to four hours a day, three days a week, for five weeks, and I excel. Also, my memory directs more to long-term bypassing short-term, so I’m never going to test well on current work, but I can recall the sponge painting tips I got back in kindergarten.
Now, of course, there are people who have mental deficiencies that impair their ability to function. That’s a known. The question that often comes up is “are we over-labeling people as deficient.” But a better question is “are we avoiding developing educational systems that address the differing learning abilities of individuals.”
It’s hard to say where Jake will go. I was pretty much written off at his age, and today at 50, I’m semi-retired. You never know how events will play out. But I’ll leave you with this. My Aunt and Uncle adopted an Indian (Indigenous American Native) boy. He wasn’t what one would call “slow,” but needed some help occasionally with learning, in both the educational and social areas. He’s been independently functional for the last 30 years. He had an MRI about 25 years ago, and it was found he was missing a number of parts of his brain (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). The “experts” attitude did a 180. He went from being someone with “special needs” to “unbelievably gifted” for someone suffering his condition.
Guest Contributor Brad Slager (@MartiniShark)
It was a bizarre little ending to what has been a wild and massively bizarre month. For no discernable reason, Wednesday morning found media lashing out inexplicably at one of the biggest threats to this country: a basic cable home-improvement reality program.
I first saw a post about Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of the HGTV program "Fixer Upper," in Cosmopolitan magazine, skewering their church pastor for believing homosexuality is a sin. I thought to myself, "What in the actual hell is this?!"
Why on earth is this is an issue, and why would anyone care?
We can all thank BuzzFeed.
The Cosmo piece was based on an earlier post by BF (which will remain unlinked given they have earned enough hate-clicks) that has all the earmarks of a scorching exposé – with the notable exception being there is no actual revelatory content.
Next on the dogpile came Jezebel, with its Gaines piece headlined "Here's Why We Don't Want To Move To Waco And Live In A Fixer-Upper." This is the hallmark of leftist navel-gazing self-importance; when they make a decision NOT to do something, they actually feel it is worthy of making an announcement. I mean, it would never occur to me to declare "This is why I would never eat kale tofu-melts with Midori Sours at a Jezebel office party!"
So according to leftists, one of the most innocuous programs on TV, that has never edged anywhere near controversy, needed to be targeted like an ISIS supply van under an Obama surveillance drone. After more than a week spent delivering sympathetic honorariums towards the murderous, communist dictator Fidel Castro, our media decided a pleasant couple with upstanding character and role-model values needed to be destroyed.
The original article was written by Kate Aurthur, whose byline reads, "BuzzFeed News Reporter." The quality of "news" this reporter delivers from this totally-not-fake-news site has mostly been in the form of listicles. Other examples of her outstanding journalism include deep insight into a Bill Cosby joke on "Orange is the New Black," and an investigation into why the CBS primetime lineup has so many white guys. Another think-piece highlighted Tila Tequila and Nazis.
Despite the hysterical headline, the bulk of Aurthur's article doesn’t even cover the Gaineses, but rather their pastor and the church they attend. After an intro covering the basics of the couple's show and side businesses, a total of one paragraph is actually dedicated to the views shared by the couple. In summation: "Emails . . . were not returned."
Annnnd, there's your controversy. The rest of the piece covers the views of their church and its position towards gay marriage. An Evangelical church follows the Bible, and this is somehow cause for numerous media outlets to place this couple in their crosshairs. A legitimate news reporter – from a legitimate news outlet – would have worked at getting . . . um, there is a word for it. Oh, I have it – "Content.”
Instead, Aurthur and BuzzFeed decided to run with this barren hatchet job, with numerous outlets grabbing their pitchforks to join in with the outrage party. And for what? They collectively came off looking like imbalanced villagers from a movie of last century, chasing after the innocent they perceive as a monster.
The blowback on this ridiculous episode came swiftly, and was evident when Ben Smith, BuzzFeed's editor-in-chief, stepped up on behalf of his entertainment list-builder.
“This is a story about a big company, HGTV, refusing to say whether they ban LGBT people from a TV show. They should just answer the question.”
This is flailing by Smith. The 1,100+ word article mentioned something to this effect in a single sentence. The rest is merely an attempt at character assassination of the couple. A couple, it should be noted, who never once uttered a word on the subject. They invited none of this, yet BuzzFeed tried justifying an unwarranted attack.
The point is this: Who benefitted from Aurthur's baseless hit piece? The Gaineses were scorched, the gay rights crowd is positioned as intolerant bullies, BuzzFeed is cemented as the farcical outlet it is reputed to be, leftists, in general, are seen as vengeful and petulant, and the animosity to the greater media will increase exponentially.
Sadly (or not), this behavior will only continue to loosen the grasp the press has on the nation's larger narrative. I am to the point of welcoming these unhinged attacks. That is not to say we should stand by idly; people such as Chip and Joanna deserve to be defended from these virulent wail-mongers. But otherwise, these outlets continue to impose self-harm far more than swaying minds.
This is becoming increasingly common from the left, with the media as an accomplice. Whenever they feel they have the moral superiority, they demonstrate that they have a talent for signaling – just absent the virtue.
And finally, they are being called on it. All the charges of "racist," "sexist,” and "xenophobic" are becoming impotent, and rather than damage the target, they instead display the sophomoric foibles of the accuser.
We are increasingly of the mind to let them carp away while the majority begins ignoring them. It is something most parents are familiar with; at some point, you realize you simply have to let the kid get it out of their system.
As a nation, it’s time to put the good crystal out of reach and move the toddler into a space to have its tantrum, so the rest of the adults can continue on and enjoy the party. They will eventually decide they want to behave and join the rest of us, or they can sulk and moan by themselves.