Five Things Autism ISN’T.

Black rotary dial desk phone

Remember rotary dial phones? My gran had this one in her New York City apartment.


Autism Awareness has come so far that if you HAVEN’T heard of autism,  you probably still use a phone like this old relic.

The problem with all this “awareness” with autism is that everyone thinks they know more than they do: and when you THINK you know? You don’t ask. The result is, the only awareness anyone truly has about autism is … it’s a thing. Actually, it isn’t a thing, it’s people, and since people matter, let’s talk, shall we?

DISCLAIMER:

At first I was leery to write this manifesto, since having an autistic daughter comes in SO very handy. People are so predisposed to knee-jerk sympathy, to help me out as a “single-mom-with-an-autistic-kid.”

Once, my fabulous kid even sidled up to me and helpfully — also in all serious innocence — wondered:

“Do you want me to try to be more autistic, Mom?”
“Nah, kiddo, just be your terrific self.”

mother and neuro-atypical child at table full of papers

“Do you need me to be more autistic, Mom?” “Nah. You wouldn’t happen to be Pacific Islander, Native American, a senior citizen or a military veteran though, would you?”

::::—::::

Flying the Autism flag — with the “Ooooh, it’s a rainbow of fruit-flavors spectrum” complexity — renders observers glassy-eyed, sympathetic and usually, terrified. People prefer their info in short, simple, easy-to-swallow form.

Here ya go, then: an Interwebs-flavored countdown list.

{Look for part two next week: Social Awkwardness Explained.}

Let’s get this party started with some fresh terms, okay? Not for politic correctness, but rather four WAY better reasons: 

  1. It’s SHORTER than saying “people on the spectrum” over and over.
  2. It’s WAY more accurate.
  3. Using new words makes us HAVE to think in new ways, and toss old habits.
  4. We won’t just be labeling “people on the spectrum.” Everyone ELSE gets a handy label too, which conveniently helps remind you, Constant Reader, that EVERYONE I’m talking about here is an actual human being.

(See what I did there: ANOTHER NUMBERED LIST!)

If you are on the spectrum, you are neuro-atypical (NA). Otherwise, you’re neuro-typical(NT). Given neuro means brain, and brains are massively complex and massively mysterious, and given the spectrum is equally massive…

The more we talk? The more (I hope) you wonder …

Where exactly do YOU actually fall?

5 Things Autism ISN’T

Number five

Super Genius

Autism doesn’t come with standard equipment. There IS no standard. No one, not even NAs, are guaranteed an Einstein-like IQ, anymore than blindness begets Daredevil-level Ninja super-senses.

image

Wow. Even protected with Plot Armor, that was close. Nice shooting, Hawkeye — did I mention? He custom-built that Grappling Hook-slash-Laser Gun BY HIS OWN BLIND BADASS SELF … and hides it by mild-mannered day n his white & red CANE? (#Nerdalert Yes, I know all this because I LOVE HIM. WANNA MAKE SOMETHING OF IT? I am the toughest nerd you know…) [GIF courtesy of giphy.com]

No one in the deaf community is compensated with remarkable eyesight, or they’d all be recruited as Black Ops snipers.

{MEANWHILE, IN A REMOTE DESERT SOMEWHERE…
“Is that our airlift extraction, Agent 006?”
“What?”
“I SAID, is that our airlift?”
“What!?!”
“I SAID … never mi—”}

(No offense meant to the deaf community: I know the philosophy among many there is that deafness is NOT a disability, and I also know debate RAGES passionate. Sign Language is one of the languages I love; that’s the extent of my opinion there. At least, today. No guarantees. Feel free to get me started in the comments.)

Sure, many wheelchair-bound athletes exist, bless ’em — but their strength doesn’t bloom beyond the boundaries of the ordinary, simply because they’ve got a bad break — nor does a badly broken back magically grant them super-strength elsewhere.

Sorry, Constant Reader. No fair soothing ignorance, or worse: you aren’t allowed to  continue to ignore the current problem of all the adorable little autistic kids who grew up and need services, because you keep telling yourself “Meh, they’re all so brilliant; why worry?”

Neuro-atypical PEOPLE (reminder: PEOPLE who are AUTISTIC) diagnosed LATER in life — in the 1990s or so — are 15, 16, and older. Looking for jobs. Struggling with depression.

Think on that once-upon-a-time-OMG-so-cute kitten you forgot about. Now it’s in heat, pissing all over the carpets, yowling all night, shredding your leather chair …

STILL your responsibility, and YOU ARE THE MONSTER if you leave it by the side of the road. (Although after seeing this amazing and underrated movie, I now know what animals would plead…)

Left, Monica (Frances O’Connor) struggles with robot son David (Haley Joel Osment) in the Spielberg-Kubrick collaboration ”A.I. Artificial Intelligence." Here, Monica is abandoning David deep in the woods, because his profound love for her (she fears) endangers her human family, but she fears also he’ll be destroyed by his makers.

Left, Monica (Frances O’Connor) struggles with robot son David (Haley Joel Osment) in the Spielberg-Kubrick collaboration ”A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” Here, Monica is abandoning David deep in the woods, because his profound love for her (she fears) endangers her human family, but she fears also he’ll be destroyed by his makers.

Neuro-atypical people are still … people.

Number four

Amazing comic timing.

(And such a dry, scathing wit regarding their “preferred loner status”)

CAPTION READS: "Don't be silly. I'm a fan of anything that tries to replace actual human contact." (AUTHOR EDITS: Lies. Okay. Maybe not for this character. But usually neuro-atypicals LONG for human contact, and screw it up, just the same as anyone else.)

Lies. Okay. Maybe not for this character. But usually neuro-atypicals LONG for human contact, and screw it up, just the same as anyone else.

Jim Parson’s Big Bang character, Sheldon Cooper, is IMAGINARY: a team of writers come up with what ONLY LOOK like his effortless one-liners. The French have a phrase for what the rest of us — on and off the spectrum — usually experience: l’esprit de l’escalier, or, the spirit of the staircase, meaning “Dang. I WISH I’d said that,” and is usually what we PRETEND we said when we tell the story later.

Number three

Leonard Nimoy plays Spock in the original Star Trek series, displaying a rare emotional outburst. Sorry: I'm not nerd enough to remember why.

Leonard Nimoy plays Spock in the original Star Trek series, displaying a rare emotional outburst. Sorry: I’m not nerd enough to remember why.

“Only logical, Captain.”

Many people see a “high-functioning” person on the spectrum, and think “Spock, Vulcan from Star Trek.” They are both right and wrong. They’re wrong if they see that person as emotionless, as too many do. They’re right if they ever saw an episode.

(#Nerdalert #2: my late dad — a Marine, very tough guy, btw — LOVED it, so I did by default, even before I understood any of it, and natch, I still do.)

Vulcans are actually far more profoundly emotional than any human — but decided long ago to save their race from war, etc., to control their feels. (Ok. Extreme. But whatevs. Still better than nuclear holocaust.)

Neuro-atypical people (autistic PEOPLE) FEEL things VERY VERY deeply: they AREN’T “androids,” do not need “programming,” and if you’re good friends or family with someone, be aware of that before you joke too much.

Number two

Rain Men are rare.

Stop assuming everyone you meet on the spectrum can count matchsticks, or win you money at cards, etc. Sure, Dustin Hoffman did a sweet job in that movie, but there are no more “autistic savants” in the world than there are “idiot savants,” (both, by the way, are clinical terms, although “idiot” has been usurped by common usage and become a hurtful insult.)

Just like prodigies in piano, physics, or any other field are rare — like talent of any kind — people on the spectrum are no exception.

Number one

Socially awkward/oblivious.

Um… excuse me, but who ISN’T? Okay, neuro-atypicals might be slower to catch on, but face it: ALL social conventions are ARBITRARY. Just because we learn our OWN customs as kids, does NOT make them MORE right than any others… and if you cast your peepers a bit yonder afield, past the green green grass of home, you MIGHT be surprised to learn of some vaguely strange customs NO ONE WILL CLUE YOU INTO, which will make YOU feel pretty socially oblivious if you blunder and bust ’em.

I’m going to have a LOT of fun with these next week, so stay tuned.

Next time: insults from elsewhere that will make you feel autistic as hell.

::::—::::

A fast moment of disdain before we go:

If Autism Speaks were honest when they spoke, they'd say something like ”Ew. Autistic people. Gross. Let's get rid of them. I mean IT! It! I meant IT...!

#realspeak

Stop supporting outfits like Autism Speaks, which incidentally does NOT speak for NAs; no one on their board is autistic, they do zero to help any existing NA people, and they are unanimously viewed by the community as a eugenics organization, with a mission not unlike the Humane Society: “Spay & Neuter, please. There are WAY too many out there already!”

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Of Snow and Scoundrels

The words USA overexposed; icicles just barely visible in background.

… I’m melting….

I do not understand why Republicans have chosen 2015 to parade their most ridiculous, their most idiotic, and their most blatantly selfish members on the most public display.
After all, when Donald Trump threw in his toupee for a presidential bid, every comedian in the world fell to their knees in gratitude. I myself have already warned my children to prepare themselves: if that bloated bag of bullshit topped with butterscotch candy floss happens to WIN? We are leaving America, no matter HOW bad the foreign policy becomes.

 

Trump's toupee blowing weirdly

You WANT to laugh, except his financials are just as weird.

 

You might think, what with this being Barack Obama’s last year and a half in office, the GOP would want to show something like their best… side…

Oh wow … what if this IS their best side? What if all of us reasonable people aren’t paranoid after all? What if we really aren’t “bleeding-heart liberals,” “commies,” and all the other unimaginative catcalls we get on Twitter and Facebook, right after we get blocked for tweeting something like — I don’t know…

Facts?

Take, for instance, GOP climate change denier (note it’s now “climate change denier,” like “Holocaust denier,” or “round-earth denier”) Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican from Oklahoma. In February this year, he decided to bring an audio-visual aid to work.

While MOST of us might have brought a PowerPoint, Inhofe decided to throw snowballs. On the floor. Of the United States Senate. Like a child.

In his remarks, he admitted he was “not a scientist,” although he apparently felt the snowball — and some good old-fashioned scripture — made his case fairly solid.

No one seemed to agree: the online magazine Slate called his remarks “rambling,” and Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, as he skewered him, pointed out: “Just because it snows where you live, doesn’t mean global warming doesn’t exist.”

While we’re on the topic of snow, and climate change, and Barack Obama — a president I dearly wish would SOMEHOW manage to pull a Franklin Delano Roosevelt and abracadabra two more terms (at least) for us — let’s talk for a sec. about Alaska.

There’s a REALLY big mountain there. You might know it as Mount McKinley, but you’d be incorrect, my Constant Readers. For many years, before the white people stumbled up there in ill-fitting snow shoes, racing dogs across the snow to find medicine and then racing dogs just for fun in memorial Ititarods (without checking how the frozen dogs felt about it — or how the people who were already THERE felt about anything at all) …

… Mount McKinley was known as “Denali,” or the “Great One.” (Or “High One.”)

It was IMPORTANT to the native people, in other words.

Of course, the native people weren’t very important to US, so when one prospector, way back in the 1890s, who was rooting for McKinley — then, only a presidential candidate — said “Hey. Check out that there ‘nameless’ mountain over yonder. Let’s call it McKinley, after my favorite white man!”

… And there was much rejoicing.

Meanwhile, all the native people were probably murmuring “asshole,” in their native language, which, of course NONE of the white people understood, and eventually, “Mt. McKinley” became it’s “official” designation in the U.S. Geological Survey.

Until 1975, nearly 100 years later, when the State of Alaska changed it back. Why not? Who’s paying attention? In 1975, sure, there was an oil crisis, but no one had yet turned their greedy eyeballs northward and realized: “Ooooh. There’s GOLD in them there glaciers….”

They DID, however, keep to their old habits of never, ever, EVER changing ANYTHING, even if people started murmuring — or even outright shouting — “asshole” in a language they understood. Republicans, particularly from Ohio, the late president McKinley’s home state, kept filing legislation every two years, to prevent Mt. McKinley’s name from being changed BACK to it’s rightful “Denali.”

They did this because a loophole prevented any action from being taken at a federal level while any legal action was in the works.

They did this for the sole reason of being shitty, really.

This week? Obama is announcing “You know what, folks? We’re changing it to Denali anyway. Period. Have fun collating your paperwork while I go to Alaska and deal with real issues.”

While the GOP watches Obama’s plane take off, grinds their teeth and twirls their mustaches, the president DOES face real issues in Alaska, because the restoration of the name Denali is about the only good news.

According to the L.A. Times, a football-sized field’s worth of land disappears from the Arctic region — where he’s headed — EVERY DAY.

That’s a FOOTBALL FIELD EVERY DAY. Every DAY. Daily.

You heard me, right? DAILY.

That’s seven football fields a WEEK. Thirty — or MORE — a MONTH.

Because of global warming. Which means ENTIRE COMMUNITIES often have to move.

ALL

THE

TIME.

Throw a snowball at THAT, Inofe. There’s plenty of it there.

For now. Maybe not for long, though.

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Doctor Who, ME? Racist?

Doctor Who, played by Peter Capaldi, speak the line: "Haven't you shoplifting to go do" to black actress Courtney Woods.

Doctor Who, played by Peter Capaldi, speak the line: “Haven’t you got shoplifting to go do” to black actress Courtney Woods.

Doctor Who, a racist old codger? That was the last thing excited Whovians expected to witness as they sat with their Tardis T-shirts on the end of their sofas, their Nintendos tucked away for an hour, ready to watch the sixth episode of the eighth season last Saturday, 27 September, 2014. What is usually an hour of weirdness, action, and hope for ultimate justice in a bleak world came to a screeching halt when The Doctor suddenly uttered a seemingly racist line that left many of us questioning.

The Doctor, in “deep cover” and in a particularly cranky Scottish regeneration, was shooing away a curious child*(see end for spoilers/more info re: this “curious child”) from his Tardis, when he said to her:

Off you go. Haven’t you got shoplifting to do?”

Upon which, a collective GASP came from every single audience member who has any shred of awareness of what it feels like to NOT be white.

Peter Capaldi in earlier episode of Doctor Who, dressed in Roman gear.

Peter Capaldi in earlier episode of Doctor Who, dressed in Roman gear.

Oh, Doctor: Et tu? 

Or more accurately: WTF? Racist? YOU?

Is Doctor Who racist?

I’m asking something even deeper:

Do we get to ask?

Ok: we get to ASK, but do we really want to be able to CONTROL what artists like Moffat deliver to us simply by bitching? Because if we do, we might as well forsake quality shows like Sherlock, or Doctor Who, and turn to drivel like the Disney monolith delivers:

The entertainment version of chicken nuggets, all of it the same, focus-grouped and sanitized, and in the end, so homogenized – and Disney such a hegemony – that DISNEY tells YOU what you like.  You like what Disney gives you, because it gives it to you right out of the womb, like milk. I see no similar outcry over the dearth of people of color in Disney. Hey: we’ve got our token Mulan, our token Tiana, from the Princess and the Frog.

So WHAT Moffat’s record overwhelms a self-serving, racist, “zip a dee doo dah” outfit like Disney’s?

Sophie Okonedo plays Queen Elizabeth X in a far future Great Britain in Doctor Who.

Black actress Sophie Okonedo plays Queen Elizabeth X in a far future Great Britain in Doctor Who: obviously somewhere along the monarchy, someone forgot to be racist.

Doctor Who can actually stand on a long-time, solid record of showing us people of color in fleshed-out characters who are companions, who are put in roles that could be white or black or Asian or anything – but Moffat either chooses the best actor, or makes a point of GETTING people of color onscreen.

Actors of color have complained for decades – among other complaints – that the only roles they are even CONSIDERED for are those written SPECIFICALLY for them. Moffat avoids this, and has since the start. Consistently he chooses actors to play roles that could be filled by ANYONE.

Abisola Agbaje in "Fear Her," second season Doctor Who.

Abisola Agbaje in “Fear Her,” second season Doctor Who. A clear instance of zero racism in casting.

For example, in Fear Her, the eleventh episode of the second season, The Doctor battles an alien trapped in the body of a little girl, played by Abisola Agbaje. Her mother is played by Nina Sosanya. These two actresses both appeared in Love, Actually, and deliver brilliant performances in this terrifying episode, set in the background of the London Olympic games.

Despite the CVs of these actresses, I haven’t seen them in many other series besides Moffats. Have YOU?

So why the outrage over THIS Doctor’s admittedly callous statement?

Because it IS a callous statement? Because he said it to a black child?

The British Are STILL Carrying the Racist White Man’s Burden.

Let us not, readers in America, give Britain the benefit of the doubt. People in Britain are JUST as bigoted as people in the US. In London, you’ll find the place festooned with racist graffiti; there’s a HUGE outspoken section of Brits who still yearn for the old days of the “Empire,” and traces of the attitude of “the white man’s burden” linger.

What it means to be a “proper British subject” doesn’t usually include people of color. This is a country with a national religion, remember – and incestuous overlords.

All this, mind you, coming from a person who LOVES England. Who’s been there, has family there, who KNOWS the place. OK?

Racist graffiti in London.

Racist graffiti in London.

So: Moffat is operating NOT in a country aglow with enlightenment; Great Britain is perhaps even MORE virulently racist than America: because THEIR xenophobia extends to ANYONE, basically, who isn’t British.

These pictures, by the way, are from London – you can imagine what it must be like as one heads into LESS metropolitan areas.

Also, Moffat is Scottish. If you don’t know? Being Scottish in a rigidly class-conscious place like England is like being … well?

Grateful you’re not Irish.

Which explains, if you’ve ever met a Scot here in America, why they don’t SMILE if you mistake them for Irish.

So if Moffat’s Doctor Who is doing, overall, a good job under extremely difficult circumstances, why is this ONE LINE so troubling?

Racists graffiti in London

Racists graffiti in London

Does it matter? Should it matter? Do we, as viewers, have the right to pick on Moffat for his choices?

It does matter.

Still, while every artist makes choices they NEED to make: for instance, it’s up to Moffat to choose which Doctor inspires him to write the best stories, whether that Doctor is black, white, a black ginger-haired zebra, or a mute unicycle from Mars, if Moffat is smart, he’ll ignore any and all whining on the part of fans.

But THIS line? This ONE line?

Black actress Freema Agyeman, who played longtime companion Dr. Martha Jones on Dr. Who.

Black actress Freema Agyeman, who played longtime companion Dr. Martha Jones on Dr. Who.

Matters. It matters, because it matters to two extremely important groups of people Moffat, both as an artist, and as clearly shown by his body of work, as an ethical person, cares about.

Lines like this have the misfortune of being interpreted, twisted, and used by racists, and they also strike fear into the heart of the oppressed – for that very reason.

Racists: “See? Even Doctor Who thinks this.”

Meanwhile, in America – and clearly, in Britain – every single black man, every time they walk outside their door, walks outside with a bullseye on their back, or so it feels.

Every mother of every son these days cannot possibly be asked to keep one hundred percent of her attention on anything, because some part of her heart, some part of her mind, will always be with her son, wherever he is.

Black actor Samuel Anderson plays Danny Pink, a man of depth and now love interest to Clara Oswald, The Doctor's "ultimate companion."

Black actor Samuel Anderson plays Danny Pink, a man of depth and now love interest to Clara Oswald, The Doctor’s “ultimate companion.”

“Is he home yet? Is he safe? Is MY son the unlucky one today?”

White mothers who possess ANY awareness, any compassion at all, should not be able to shake the sorrow from their souls for their sisters, who remain devastated by loss, long after the murders fade from the news.

Are we oversensitive, that we cringe over a single line in a body of work that spans almost a decade? That within that decade, has much to offer children, showing faces they can recognize and aspire to be like?

So what? There IS no oversensitive when lives are at stake.

There is no oversensitive when your ears become finely tuned to the sound of car doors locking when you walk by. When you are always alert for the sound of “hands up.” When you know – not simply suspect, but KNOW – that at any day, any moment, like a scratch-off lottery ticket, you might just be the back that takes a bullet.

Not because you committed a crime. Because your APPEARANCE inspired fear.

One line, in one show? Matters.

One line in one show plus one wall of graffiti plus hundreds of years of racism to peel back….

Any step that does NOT pull us forward SHOVES us back.

So yeah. It matters. A LOT.

Doctor Who may not be racist – but after a millennium or two, he REALLY ought to have his shit together better.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] SPOILER ALERT:

 

This curious child (Ellis George) will be featured in “Kill The Moon,” 4 October, 2014 – yet another black actor to fill a juicy role in Doctor Who.

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Florida: hot, wet and dirty.

If you ever wanted to know what happens when you leave something wet outside in the dirt for too long, baking in the hot sun? Florida is your answer. In other words, nothing really good, in terms of humanity, anyway. Compost maybe. People? Not so much.

If you’re a human being, and you aren’t stuck there? That is, you live there by choice? Something could go terribly wrong with you: e.g., George Zimmerman.

Florida is beautiful, as long as humans stay away.

Mother Nature did her best to warn us. The Everglades will mercilessly swallow you. If they don’t? Gators will.

Survive the freakish wildlife Florida’s primordial ooze has fostered? Florida’s prehistoric insects will gladly gorge on half your bodily fluid.

Critters enjoy wading through Florida’s soupy, humid atmosphere. Humans don’t. Retirees just enjoy the buoyancy the extra water in the air gives their arthritic bones.

It’s a two-coast peninsula, dangerously close to the Bermuda Triangle*. No wonder Disney built a theme park there. Pedophiles, the Bush brothers and so much political corruption that writer Carl Hiassen launched an entire career off it.

Ah, Florida.

Lady Justice  - with a gun.Justice is not blind in Florida.

Justice has been healed, hallelujah, testify!

Now, justice can cast a keen eye to assess and categorize exactly which side of the drinking fountain you must stand before you even step inside a courtroom.

Justice can see, now, in Florida, to determine how to separate its citizens.

Because in Florida, its citizens are officially separate.

But let’s not bullshit each other: they are in no way equal.

In Florida, law enforcement and lawmakers go by this rule:

The people are white. Everyone else is black.

You’d think this would keep things simple, but the problem with two sets of rules – like a crooked businessman keeping two sets of books – it doesn’t work.

Also, after a while, things start getting really obvious.

Why Trayvon?

White people across America are wondering why one black teenager is becoming such a symbol?

  • He was probably on drugs, they say.
  • After all, he threatened Zimmerman, they say.
  • He WAS wearing a hoodie – why was he hiding his face, they say?

unhappy old-fashioned people, gossiping

They” have a lot to say in defense of Zimmerman’s actions, but “they” keep forgetting one thing:

It’s not ever okay to shoot a teenager. Not even if he’s yelling at you. Not even if he’s in-your-face threatening you, as teenagers are wont to do.

(What? Zimmerman was never a teenager in a schoolyard? Zimmerman was never told the louder someone barks, the less likely he is to bite? Gee whiz, even I know that one.)

Another thing “they” overlook is the most important thing of all:

If every single variable had remained the same – if Zimmerman, Neighborhood Watch zealot, superhero-wannabe, had stalked a WHITE teenager – same outfit, same bullshit yelling, same chest-first, blowhard, teenage-style “Ain’t I the man?” posturing …

I bet my last ten years upon this earth Zimmerman would NOT have shot, but instead would have said something like: “Take it easy, kid...”

You know how I know this?

I used to live in New York. I founded a damn Neighborhood Watch. I’ve done Neighborhood Watch duty my own damn self.

I didn’t carry a gun; you don’t NEED a gun to do a Neighborhood Watch – unless, maybe, you have compensation issues, or self-esteem issues, which I don’t – I walked a big black dog instead.

Whenever anyone didn’t belong in my hood, I could tell instantly by the way they approached me.

They would ask: “Does he bite?”

He didn’t. But I’d always answer: “Only when I tell him to.”

Aforementioned stranger would ALWAYS turn tail and run.

I don’t mean to get all snobby on Florida’s ass – or on any state, but facts are facts:

Bad guys in New York are, I guarantee, worse than the bad guys in any other state.

If I can handle Neighborhood Watch in New York without a gun? What’s Zimmerman’s excuse?

I have one more question for Florida before I wrap this up.

If you don’t, as I posit here, have two sets of laws and justice for black people and white people, how on earth do you explain letting Zimmerman off scot-free for killing ANYONE who did not immediately endanger his life, BUT…

You sentence Marissa Alexander to 20 years for shooting a WARNING shot to protect herself from an abusive husband.

Not only does this make no sense from an ethical or moral standpoint, Florida….

It makes no LEGAL sense.

Here’s hoping the Supreme Court catches up with you. Either that, or you secede. Or maybe? Just maybe? It gets hot, humid, and dirty enough down there that the good people get out, and gators get the rest of you.

BONUS FEATURE:

Visit Change.org and make a difference. Do it right now.

Watch Anderson Cooper ask Marissa Anderson about her version of Florida “justice.”

* Miami, Florida, is in fact, one of the corners of the Bermuda Triangle. 

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Abercrombie and Fitch: Bullies aren’t beautiful.

Abercrombie and Fitch: Bullies aren’t beautiful.

When searching for beauty, one generally goes to the mountains, the canyons, the runways of Paris, great architecture, or peruses museums for masterly brushstrokes: I have yet to hear of anyone headed to any mall to search for beauty at Abercrombie and Fitch.

Wants only attractive people to shop in his stores; looks hideous

CEO Mark Jeffries: Playground Bully.

  • Only thin and beautiful people should shop in his stores, and …
  • He himself is thin and beautiful.

Someone please, hurry. Mr. Jeffries needs a shot of Haldol, and fast. He has clearly suffered a psychotic break, is no longer experiencing reality like the rest of us, and his stockholders will suffer.

The rest of us are just laughing. We aren’t suffering at all.

We’re laughing, because Abercrombie is at the mall, and the mall is for kids. It’s like a playground, really – and CEO Mark Jeffries is trying to be the playground bully. Except it’s not working. He’s either having a psychotic break, or he’s having an awfully tough time with the idea of his own aging, and guess what? Not our problem.

Guess what else? We have dollars, and Abercrombie wants them, and the CEO can’t have them unless he behaves.

That’s how you treat children who behave badly. Especially bullies.

Abercrombie and Fitch is a not so beautiful choice for clothing on any level: the quality isn’t even good – the clothes fall apart before Wal*Mart’s will; the style isn’t classic, like Talbots; and worst of all, their offerings aren’t original enough to differentiate them from rest of the teenaged uniform mall stores: Hollister, Aeropostale, et. al. Not even CLOSE to beautiful. What does Jeffries think we expect from the mall?

My oldest knows this. She was reading, and then disgusted with, the Twilight vampire dreck at eight years old – long before that nonsense launched itself into the popular culture. She’ll deny it, but she, like her mother, is a reluctant natural hipster (sans douchebag.)

Therefore, on the extremely rare occasions when we are accidentally TARDISed to the mall (although we DO love the Brow Bar at Macy’s; really – they do a GREAT job), never ONCE have we been trudging along and said to each other:

Hey. Wanna go somewhere and be thin and beautiful?”

Sure. I know just the place.”

You mean Abercrombie and Fitch?

We have NEVER said that. I have, actually, said this, to a poor sod holding samples in front of Teavana:

I’m in the mall. Could you please blow my brains out?”

That poor sod laughed, bless him, instead of becoming anguished at being trapped at the mall. Good sport.

A friend of mine on Facebook correctly pointed out: any brand has a right to sell to whomever they please, and to any market segment they choose.

That is absolutely correct.

Lane Bryant dress and model, looking fairly thin, overall.

Lane Bryant dress and model.

There exist two stores I know of off the top of my head: Lane Bryant, which caters to plus-size women, and sells women’s sizes 14 and up is one such store. Now, naturally, people are not exactly fighting to be able to shop there, since being plus-sized carries a stigma – but Lane Bryant does a wonderful job at glamorizing their store and their merchandise, and making visits a wonderful experience, even if you’re just buying gifts. (I’ve bought gifts there more than once.)

NOTE TO JEFFRIES, ONCE YOU PULL YOUR BOTOXED HEAD OUT OF YOUR LIPOSUCTIONED DERRIERE:

By keeping older, less-thin, more wallet-heavy customers out of your store, who might … Oh, I don’t know? Be outfitting kids for college? Think of all the money you’ve lost…

END NOTE TO POOR, SAD-BUT-HILARIOUS JEFFRIES.

579 dress and model - looking NOT very different from the plus-sized model.

5•7•9 dress and model.
Do YOU see a big difference between these two women? Because I don’t…

Another niche store is 5•7•9, which caters to petite women who wear – well, sizes 5, 7 and 9. There is an even CLOSER example to Abercrombie. THEY don’t stock larger sizes – but no one feels terrible about it, because they are what they are, and they don’t insult anyone.

One analyst of the Abercrombie brand, according to the LA Times, says it’s “ruined,” in all likelihood due to Jeffries misguided attempts to narrow its customer base to just the “cool kids.”

Salon.com has this to say about Abercrombie CEO Jeffries: he wants desperately to look like his target customer (the casually flawless college kid), and in that pursuit he has aggressively transformed himself from a classically handsome man into a cartoonish physical specimen.”

Abercrombie CEO Jeffries isn’t just a college kid-wanna-be. He’s a bully.

You know what you do with a bully? Ignore him, and he’ll go away.

Boycott Abercrombie. Jeffries has had plenty of playtime. Now he’s hurting kids, and it’s not allowed. We, the grownups, can stop him with our dollars. So let’s BE grownups and DO it.

Posted in family, humor, kids, life, news, outrage, parenting, people, podcast, pop culture, reporting, self-image, teenagers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t think you’re a hero: the city of Boston already is.

Given the FBI’s release of a surveillance video, and a call to action spurring everybody and their brother to play hero and “find the terrorist,” I’d urge everyone instead to remember: it’s the city of Boston and their indefatigable spirit we should salute.

Wanna be a REAL hero? Visit a blood bank and help restore their depleted reserves.

Join the human wall and help tell the Wacko Westboro Baptist Church of Satan to go fuck themselves with their loony, would-be-comical (if it wasn’t so jaw-droppingly hurtful) funeral protests.

Here’s a link to the FBI video.
http://iktls.com/Z75SrY

Find a way to HELP. Don’t play “Where’s Waldo?” with bombers, instead.

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Who said: “Hey, retard?” Not the DSM-V.

Play

dsm-v-for-dummiesBefore we go any further, some of the best people I know are retarded, according to the classification standard of the bible of mental health professionals: The DSM-IV, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Volume IV, and that’s the sober truth.

(“Retarded” generally meaning any person suffering cognitive mental challenges prior to age 18; after 18, it’s been technically termed “brain damage.” So if your brain was functioning fair-to-middling up to the age of voting and enlisting in the armed forces, but then, say, you got bonked on the head hard enough to make you forget algebra… oh, wait a second…)

Without the gloss of superior intellect, which gives “non-retarded” individuals the ability to charm, lie, betray, et.al., the retarded people of my acquaintance have often been far more pleasant company.

Hey, dude, what do you think of my new hat?”

You look stupid in it.”

Um. Thanks.

Glad to see you though. Even with the stupid hat.

Um. Thanks.

Typically followed by an enthusiastic greeting that beats the dog turd pudding out of the typical non-retarded “Hey, what’s up, I don’t want to seem too enthusiastic or else I don’t look cool” greeting one might otherwise receive.

The honesty of the retarded only seems brutal; it’s up to you to avoid dumbass questions like: “Does this dress make me look fat?”

That is, if you want to avoid straight answers like: “I think every dress makes you look fat. Because you’re fat.”

The terms idiot and moron at one time were standard medical classifications for the intellectually impaired; having fallen prey to those wicked persons who would use those terms against others, these words, like now, the word retard, have become useless for their original purpose.

Now, words like retard, or retarded, can only be used for harm or for humor.

Like the “n” word, despite efforts to retrieve it.

People say words have no power. They’re so very wrong. Cuts, scrapes, even major abdominal surgery will heal, eventually.

Hurtful words, whether you’re retarded, or a genius (on paper) hang in the air forever. They cannot ever be taken back, or unheard. The wounds they cause are secret but severe, and slow to heal, if ever.

No matter what your IQ.

The real stupidity – NOT retardation – is forgetting the power of words.

Posted in America, bias, change, education, friendship, humor, language, life, news, outrage, people, podcast, pop culture, reflection, relationships, satire, self-image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment