tales by the unexpected

My story, my tales, my life

Categorie: Books (pagina 1 van 2)

Black Mirror: why this title?

They could have chosen a more apt title. Maybe something snazzy even. But why Black Mirror? Why a title so simple? They could have taken something like “The matrix” or “Ghost in the shell” and made a title referencing those. Maybe a title referencing “1984”, or any work by Philip K. Dick. Why did they use a scrying mirror, but it’s more common name, as their title?

Because they show us an alternate future, a future ingrained in the things we do now, the things we are researching now, so they show us the future we are headed towards.

Some things in Black Mirror already became a reality. In China they are using a system based on popularity as a form of currency, obviously there is the reference to the pig scandal with the real former British Prime Minister, although because of very different reasons. There is the caricature of Waldo and American government now.

Black Mirror is showing us a future. A future that we are headed towards with the technology we have today. A future that doesn’t look like it’s making us any happier. Although, some of the episodes have a more bright future, most of them are indeed, black.

Most people don’t like being confronted with such a bleak view of the future and would opt for something happier, something more optimistic. This show obviously isn’t for them. This show is for those that like to look at the future and look at the implications our choices of today have on that future. Thintelligence is not an option here. This is how the chess game of real life plays out. You make choices now and they are reflected to you back when you least expect it.

The same is what Black Mirror is showing us. We look at the future as it is presented there and see the impllications of technology we invent now. How the technology in the future might infect us then. This is what “Our final invention” tries to warn us from.

As you might notice, I am not an optimistic person. I have a depression disorder. Although I continue on living, I don’t see any hopes for a good future for all of humanity. This is what Black Mirror shows you. I don’t think you can live a life without depression if you think about it enough, on a wide enough level.

Black Mirror doesn’t go away and paint a pretty picture. It shows us human nature, in all it’s colours. Although there isn’t an episode yet focused on disability, there are dark episodes, and those make you think just a tad bit harder.

Next in the series, I will be talking episode per episode and the ideas explored within and my view on these ideas.

Book review: Our final invention by James Barrat

 

I read the book: Our final invention by James Barrat. It discusses AI and if it will be the final thing we do. The book was published in october 2013. Although it is a few years old, the discussion in it and the points made are still relevant up until this day.

James Barat is a documentary maker, public speaker and writer. He has worked for National Geographic previous to writing this book. His book was named one of the definitive tech books of 2013. So let’s find out if this title is deserved.

A summary of the book (as written on Amazon):

“Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy, what movies you see, and even who you date. It puts the “smart” in your smartphone and soon it will drive your car. It makes most of the trades on Wall Street, and controls vital energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. But Artificial Intelligence can also threaten our existence.

In as little as a decade, AI could match and then surpass human intelligence. Corporations and government agencies are pouring billions into achieving AI’s Holy Grail—human-level intelligence. Once AI has attained it, scientists argue, it will have survival drives much like our own. We may be forced to compete with a rival more cunning, more powerful, and more alien than we can imagine.
Through profiles of tech visionaries, industry watchdogs, and groundbreaking AI systems, Our Final Invention explores the perils of the heedless pursuit of advanced AI. Until now, human intelligence has had no rival. Can we coexist with beings whose intelligence dwarfs our own? And will they allow us to?”

The writing style of the book is formal, but not done overly. A reader with normal comprehension of English will not constantly be grabbing for his dictionary. What I liked is that no previous knowledge about AI is necesarry as everything relevant is explained in the book. It really guides you through and helps you understand everything necessary to understand the discussion that is happening in the book. Although the book deals with a hefty subject, that of AI, it really is a pleasant read.

People that are interested in technology will gain most of this book. Philosophers and people interested in advancements in society will pick up this book as it is a great read to see what the future will bring. I don’t think it markets to a specific audience. This book is accessible for everybody even slightly interested in the subject as they will get sucked into the discussion almost immediatly. The writer has a very pleasant writing style and a very clear way in making difficult matters understandable. I had no previous knowledge of AI and gained a lot of new tidbits to think about and play with in my mind.

To be honest, this is my first book on the subject, and it sets the bar high for other books on the subject. If all books were explained this clearly, then it would be fun to read. This book explains the dangers and advantages of AI. It explains what the future might bring and the things to look out for in the future. It details the past of AI and what the future might bring and brings different points of view on that future. Some might be gloomy and dystopian, others are kinder. All give us a warning though.

The book focuses this one question: “Will developing AI possess any danger in the future?” It answers this clearly through pitting different points of view against eachother, which gives a clear image of the thinkers in this area and will help you make up your mind on the subject.The book is not so dense to include every single detail of AI and all it’s history, but it gives you enough. It gives you the barebones so you can make an informed opinion on the matter. It really strikes a balance between to little and to much information. The information provided on the subject of AI is enough.

To really propose his argument he uses case examples, he interviews leading researchers and theorists and developers of AI, which, as stated before, gives you a multi-layered perspective of AI and the possible dangers, also the possible advantages. The evidence is based on theories, off course, as we don’t live in that future yet. So it is speculative, but enough information is given to support his point of view and that of other researchers, which helps you learn more and have an informed opinion. Other books might supplement the subject matter, but if you only must read one book on the subject, this will do.

A plus point that I found in the book is a quote I marked in my digital copy, (which can also be applied to autism, and explains phenomenology was this one):

“But consider concepts such as bright, sweet, hard, and sharp. How would an AI know what these perceptions meant, or build upon them to create concepts, if it had no body? Wouldn’t there be a barrier to its becoming intelligent at a human level if it didn’t have senses? To this question Granger said, “Was Helen Keller less human than you? Is a quadriplegic? Can’t we envision a very differently abled intelligence that has vision, and touch sensors, and microphones to hear with? It will surely have somewhat different ideas of bright, sweet, hard, sharp—but it’s very likely that many, many humans, with different taste buds, perhaps disabilities, different cultures, different environments, already have highly varied versions of these concepts.”

As you might have noticed, I recommend this book highly. You can get a copy through my affiliate link here.

Black mirror: a new blog-series

For those of you who haven’t seen black mirror yet, you should. This series on my blog will talk about the profound ideas in the series and talk about what are the implications of that kind of future and how we are going there, as some of the things in Black Mirror have become real. Some of the ideas have happened and had implications for that person.

I will talk abouthe philosophy from the series and what ideas influenced it. I will also add my personal opinion in these pieces, so they will be a combination of subjective and rational.

There will be spoilers in this blog serie, so beware if you haven’t watched the series yet, and if you haven’t yet, but are reading these blog articles I hope this blog inspires you enough so you will start to watch this anthalogy, as it is a great watch for those of us that like their entertainment with a bit of though-provocing.

Book review: The passionate mind: how people with autism learn by Wendy Lawson

A lot has been written about Theory of mind by great researchers. Theory of mind is that theory that autistics are unable to predict or have enough imagination to intuite what a person might be thinking or feeling. Most of this has been written by non-autistic researchers.

Here comes Wendy Lawson, whom is autistic herself and has written a wonderful, although rather unknown book about theory of mind and how the past theories all have flaws into them. In this book she proposes a new theory that might help understand autistics why they have difficulties with certain things and not with other things. It also takes into account sensory processing difficulties besides our difficulties of intuiting peoples thoughts and emotions.

I think this is a must read for everyone involved with autistics, as it might give a better understanding on how autistics think and feel and how we process information especially. It might help further the research in autism, as she says herself that her theory needs to be tested more to become a viable framework for autism.

My personal opinion is that this theory should be valued above all other theories because it is written by an actually autistic and takes into account everything about an autistic, which makes it a very plausible explanation for the way our mind works.

If you want to read the book for yourself, then you can click on the affiliate link here and buy yourself a copy.

#Boycotttosiri

I have had an account on Twitter for a while, but have now been using it to communicate about “For Siri” with other autistic advocates, and here will be an update on the whole controversy.

If you have been living under a rock, or don’t know what I am talking about, here’s the whole thing in a nutshell.

Judith Newman has written a book “To siri with love” about her son Gus, without his consent. I could look beyond the no consent thing, if it was a loving tribute to her autistic son, but it isn’t. It’s an ableistic book (as you can see from my analysis here.)

Amythest Schaber, the creator of the “Ask an autistic” video series and autistic activist, has been referenced in this book  as a “manic pixie dream girl”. It was pointed out to Amythest and they tweeted the author, whom dismissed the critic and gave a fauxpology. This is when Amythest decided to start the #Boycottosiri. they retweeted my analysis (of which I am very greatful) and they later made a video about the boycott.

First when autistic critics started tweeting Newman about the book, she told us that we took content out of context and had to read the book. Later when autistics started to read the book and disect it (me included) she later told in an interview that the book wasn’t intended for an autistic audience.

So basically, she used “autism” and her son, as a prop  to sell more books, as autism itself is a hot topic at the moment. So she not only abused her son, but she used him as a gimmick.

Off course, autistics started to go against it, but it’s been and still is (as the fight isn’t over) an uphill struggle. Positive reviews of the book pour in on Amazon.

My girlfriend is also reading the book, and is going to review it in Dutch.

My opinion of this book is as follows (if you didn’t get it out of the analysis): Everybody who likes this book and endorses it, it basically anti-autistic and hates us. They love the parent-narrative of the book, but hate autistics as we are portrayed in the book as something negative and unlovable. I have tried to go into the book with an objective mind, but couldn’t even get past the intro without having to supress the feeling of throwing the book accross the room. To be honest, I had to take frequent breaks during reading, and read a lot of passages to my girlfriend to get her opinion, and she concurred with my point of view: this book is awful.

Open letters and other commentaries are appearing more and more. Here is a great example by Autisticzebra (To Judith with love…or maybe not (title for future reference in case the link is broken).

Also here is a great one on crippledschollar.com aptly titled: Dear Judith, I’m writing this for you, because you didn’t write for me.

an excerpt of the many positive reviews on Amazon show what is wrong with acceptance in America and the world: “Judith seamlessly weaves in solid facts enough to make me feel well informed about many facets of “the fastest growing developmental disability in the world,” one that affects not only my friend Gus but a good and ever-increasing chunk of our fellow U.S. and world citizens.

I want to live in a world where the Guses among us are understood and appreciated for who they are, and are accordingly well cared for. This book is an entertaining gateway toward helping create that world. I loved it.”

And how little is known about our world. We are not understood or appreciated, not even by our own parents (in the case of Gus). And if this book makes you feel well-informed, you need other books. Desperately.

On amazon there are 68 procent of good reviews are 5 star reviews.  (on 128 reviews currently), which is a sharp contrast to the reviews on goodreads: 694 ratings , 26 percent are 5 star, while 33 percent are 1 star.

I don’t get why so many people have read that book and didn’t pick up on the abuse and blatant ableism in it.

I tried to contact Judith and ask her a few questions but as soon as she knew I was autistic, she blocked off the conversation, which I think is sad. I honestly only wanted to ask her a few questions like “what is your stance now, after boycottosiri”. Or “have you learned anything from our comments?” But to no avail.

The message that accompanies most of the outcry over this is that autistics are fed up with being talked over or being talked for. We can honestly to God (or whatever fictional deity you prefer) say that we are capable of writing. Even your non-verbal brethren can write better about their life than any allistic (non-autism muggle) can. We speak for all autistics, not just us. We also speak for your child, so he may have a better future.

book analysis: To Siri with love by Judith Newman

Where do I begin? Maybe first tell about the controversy. If you have lived under a rock, you might be unaware of the fact that autistics can be very vocal when needed, and boy, did we need to be vocal.

A mother of an autistic, also a writer for the New York Times, decided to write a book about her autistic son, Gus. Normally, I would be fine with that. Carly’s voice was also written by her dad and by Carly herself. The problem with this book is that she didn’t ask consent of her little boy. That’s problem number one. Problem number two is that the book is full, and I mean full of ableistic stuff, not only about Gus but also about other autistics. Darius Mccollum, the autistic that is fascinated by the trains and metros, is also publicly humiliated by this book.

I am going to list all the things that I found wrong with this book, so you know that I am not making this up. It took me several days, and a lot of venting sessions with my girlfriend (yes, Judith, I have a girlfriend. Autistics can love! A miracle!)

I will list them per chapter, so you know how much is wrong with this book. Also, I saw a lot of 5 star reviews of autism parents and grandparents… do they really not know how much is wrong with this book? Or don’t they wanna know? I really wonder.

There are clinical psychologists commenting on the book that the book is wonderfull… I think they really should reread the book…

Let’s begin the journey, shall we? (I will put in parentheses my commentary. so you know what I was thinking while I wrote it) disclaimer: I read the dutch version of this book. We, Belgians and dutchies, can speak english as if it’s our second language (although the occassional spelling mistake might happen), so I think that nothing will be lost in translation. If so, send me an first edition english copy and I will find the same problems in that one. (I have translated senteces again from Dutch to english, but would love the exact quotations from the book, so if someone could give me the English versions of these sentences, that would be awesome.

ps: I will probably have forgotten to put a few into this list, but as you can see, there are alot of things that makes this book ableistic enough to be banned forever.

My girlfriend informed me that this article might be spoilery! (so don’t read if you don’t have enough spoons or don’t like ableism).

Introduction

  • person first language is preferred by autistics? and I politically correct?
  • How she recognizes autistics by 3 defining traits: 1. We have trouble with theory of mind (as you clearly demonstrate in the book, you actually don’t know why Gus does the things he does, so we could argue that you also have trouble with theory of mind (and there is a theory that refutes Theory of mind altogether in the book: “the passionate mind” by Wendy Lawson”), 2. Autistics apparantly like repetition and details (I don’t know about you, but put on the same movie in a time span of two years and I will not watch it with you, as I can still see it in my minds eye to clearly. 3. We are apparantly all nuts. (and this is only on page 18 (we aren’t even on a real chapter yet… this is just the fucking introducton)
  • She recognizes mothers of other autistics by their appearance (apparantly we are such a burden that the beauty of our mothers starts to go backwards. Yup, apparantly we are a burden… (still the introduction… How can anybody with an autistic in his life like this book?)

Chapter 1

  •  Just to clarify, there is such a thing like the halo-effect. Clearly I noticed this already in chapter one, but this is a theme through the whole book: Henry good, Gus bad.
  •  An autism diagnose is something terrible (apparantly in this chapter. Yes, she calls it that.)
  • Gus will never have a first job, or know a loving person that will truly love him. (I have read the complete book and even Gus proves her wrong by having several girlfriends in the book.)
  • Autistics are like Aliens in the men in black, they are there, but you don’t see them. (Notice that in the introduction she stated that she could identify autistics, now she apparantly can’t. Apparantly we are not humans, but aliens. We feel alienated, but that doesn’t mean we are aliens.)
  • She noticed that kids (probably autistics) were bullied at her school. She didn’t join (likely she did, but she’s painting a pretty picture of herself (or tries to) but she didn’t do anything against it either, which to me, is the same as being the bully.

Chapter 2

  • Off the bat she starts with all kinds of crackpot theories of what might have caused Gus’ Autism. (Also the refrigerator mother is mentioned here again, in a “woe me” self-pity kind of way)
  • At the end of this chapter she sees her son and his personhood as 2 different things. “When I look at Gus the person, instead of Gus the psychological …, then I am calmed” (translation from dutch to english by me)

Chapter 3

  • When Gus likes routines, it’s weird. When she likes routines, it’s not weird at all, and it’s because she can’t help it. (I don’t think she knows that changing our routines is actually quite scare (and also awesomely explained the the book “the passionate mind”)

Chapter 4

  • Apparantly there is a difference between being a fan and being an autistic fan of something. (Ableist much?)
  • Gus is a talented musician, but this is big in comparison with all the things he can’t do? She can only name a few things he is good at, I can name 3 (thanks to her writing in the book, but she names a lot more deficits. Does she even love her child?)
  • First contradiction: Gus doesn’t know what love is, but they are going to a concert with Gus’ sweetheart.
  • Repetitive music is good for autistics (Like we can’t enjoy anything else than Laurie Berkner or sesame street music) (I love all kinds of music. Metal, trance, classical,… everything.
  • Gus can’t recognize different emotions. Maybe the boy has alexithymia? (context: Gus did something wrong and she asks him to look at her face. First: this is abusive and manipulative. and autistics don’t like to look at faces, and especially if negative emotions are in play. You are done with the emotion as fast as it’s passed. We can remember that moment for months maybe even years. But not looking at someone’s face doesn’t mean we don’t know we did something wrong)
  • Square root of Pi? (context: the boy wouldn’t know how to take the square root of pi (as in, he can’t do maths) but in my knowledge, Pi is an infinite number, I goodled it( as I was to curious and try first for yourself. Here’s a solution.)
  • Because Gus repeats things on youtube or Netflix (as in watching the same 5 second clip) he is irritating.
  • He can play music by ear, but she doesn’t she him perform, because he gets emotional. He has to learn theory of mind, to learn that you can do things to please other people, instead of only playing for himself. She wants to make him a dancing monkey, that only does things to please others, instead of enjoying it himself. (Just for reference, here’s an Jodi DiPiazza, autistic girl playing piano, just like Gus could do, also Here’s an example of an autistic, named Derek Paravicini, that plays wonderful piano. (did I mention he is blind?))

Chapter 5

  • In this chapter she starts of describing Darius Mccollumn’ train abossession. She compares him to Frank Abagnale, whom was a fraud and now works for the FBI. (So she compares someone whom can’t help being obsessed and really wants to work as a train conductor or bus driver, with somebody who did everything for his own gain?)
  • Gus likes stimming with trains. He likes to make the sound. She constantly asks him to get rid of his trains, to gift them to a younger child. (She also tried to get rid of his teddy bears, with whom he sleeps every night, but of which she can’t remember the order of how they go on his bed, His dad can, and several of his aids could too, but not his mom).
  • Apparantly all autistics can’t travel by bus (She talks about Darius a few sentences ago… I know a lot of autistics that travel by bus daily!)
  • There is a very, very personal fact revealed about Darius that is shared by someone whom was with him on a psychiatric ward. (It’s not her place to share it and the person whom posted it to her on facebook should be prosecuted in my opinion as in patient confidentiality).

Chapter 6

  • She compares her manipulative embarrassing her kids to get her own way, with developing his own opinion by Henry and the being fascinated by something and wanting to talk about it from Gus.
  • Her opinion: Halloween is the best time of year for parents with autistics because then nobody looks up if you act weird in public.
  • She shares intimate details about Gus’ toilet behaviour, how low his pants are at times, and how he walks naked to the shower when there is company. (Great mother for sharing these details. (see, Judith, we can do sarcasm).
  • Embarrassed is someting autistics don’t know, because being embarrassed is a social emotion, and autistics can’t do social. (the countless embarrassing moments I have in my own life, that I know are embarrassing, don’t count apparantly. Maybe I’m not really autistic. My diagnose is a lie!)
  • She follows Henry’s tip that she should let Gus pick up the phone when there are telemarketers as they would get bored of him pretty quickly, instead of teaching Gus how to have a conversation on the phone. (She follows abusive tips of her teenage son, which she probably knows or should know are bad. Her kid doesn’t know the distinction yet, but she enforces that her autistic son is a thing to be abused).
  • Telemarketers call her house less often because there must be “that-kid-is-crazy”-list
  • She went to a concert of “music for autism” but what autistics thought of the concert doesn’t matter. What the parents thought of it matters more.
  • Echolalia is repeating sentences ad verbatim without getting what it means… (yup, autistics are mindless robots).
  • At the concert she also notices a boy that repeats “I’m sorry” to his parents over and over. She wants to hug the boy and the parents (plus), (she doesn’t notice that this might be a sign that the boy is emotionally abused, why would he apologize so much?)

Chapter 7

  • She wants that gus lived in normalland
  • She plans a vacation, without consulting her boys (or at least not Gus) and then she doens’t get that Gus doesn’t like to go out, cries because he is out of his normal enviroment and doesn’t want to do anything.
  • She wants to make worldcitizens of her boys, something they don’t want (something she wasn’t either) and then starts to cry when they don’t want that (Does she ever talk with her boys in a meaningful way about what they want or where they want to be?)
  • Henry has good memories about being home, but she likes to take the spotlight yet again and talks about that she must be an abusive mother because he likes the sound of the heater.
  • Her husband (in his eighties) has medical issues. He doesn’t travel with them, for apparant reasons, but she tells it to her girlfriends that he doesn’t want to go with them. (So her girlfriends think she is the ideal wife, while her husband is a prick for not wanting to go with her, that would be my conclusion if she told it to me like that).
  • Her husband is afraid that she might lose Gus  on the trip, with reason, as she had to give his description to an officer from his 3rd up to his 10th because this mother of an autistic child, didn’t pay attention enough, as she knew that he was prone to running away. Great mother, she should get the nobel price of mothership.
  • Also: She doesn’t take the blame for Gus’ running. It’s what half of autistics are prone to do and cites examples of statistics, and also drags a death of autistic into it, just to make her point that it’s apparantly not her fault.
  • She hopes that Gus is gay (because gay people adore their mother. )
  • She does 2 seperate trips with her boys. With Henry she goes to Paris, and of which she is super-positive. With Gus she goes to Disneyland and she is negative.
  • She really, really hopes that he ever will become “normal”

Chapter 8

  • Gus is to small for his age and doesn’t make a problem about it. She does. Ever her co-worker gets the absurdity of the situation and jokes that she maybe can get his nose fixed as well, as he has her old nose.
  • John (her husband) shares a fact about a superlice and uses the word mutant. she hijacks the conversation and says “speaking about mutants… what about our son” (talking about Gus. I know I have talked about mutants here on my blog, but it’s the same as talking about nigger (here not meant in a racist way just to prove a point) as a black person yourself.)
  • She thinks that Gus will ever be able to think for himself. She constantly treats him as an oblivious little child. (devil effect (oppossite of halo effect) in this case)
  • The next part is the often debated part about forced sterilisation of the boy. The part that sparked the controversy. here’s the image. The part in the book is longer and more disturbing. I will never know why a loving mother would think this of her own child.
  • This whole paragraph about sterilisation and such ends with the words “for me”. It would bring a lot of calm to her thinking that her son can’t reproduce (as her logic is that autistics can’t be dads. Want me to give you a dozen examples of autistic dads?)
  • She knows that this idea is bad, as she talks about Hitler (whom got his idea from Henry Ford), and other eugenicists.
  • Hypocritical: She talks about that if the procedure would be reversible, she would be the first in line to do it for Gus, but at the beginning of the chapter she literally says that what everybody does with their body is their choice, but apparantly that same curtusy isn’t granted to you when you are autistic.

Chapter 9

  • She talks about taking her children in bed with her to bond more. She talks about research that 40 to 60 percent would take their dog in bed with them and then says this glorious sentence: “If my beloved golden retriever, monty, doesn’t have a chance. What chance does Gus have?” (Does she literally state that she loves her dog more than her own autistic kid?)
  • She has the “rule of three” Gus can only hug her 3 times in public places (because he likes to hug a lot, his sign of showing affection, but she doesn’t grant him that)

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 is what landed her this book deal. This is the chapter that previously in another form was published in the new york times. This is to me the least offensive chapter in the book, as I have only one note on it.

  • Gus friendship with Siri started because she was bored of answering and talking with her autistic boy. (Great parent. Reads to me like she really deserves an award for “most emotionally abusive parent of a disabled child”-award. Here’s an example of how it should be. )

Chapter 11

  • context: in this chapter Gus has a job as doorman in the apartment-building they live in. Henry has several crooked jobs and ways to get money.
  • With Henry she is always delighted in what he does, with Gus she is always negative. He really likes his “job” as doorman, but because mom doesn’t like it, it’s not good.
  • Autistics are only good to do repetitive tasks (and we like them a lot to, apparantly). We don’t need to do things for a higher purpose (like we autistic advocates do). This is not possible in the image Judith has about us autistics. We don’t need job satisfaction. Also: we are nitwits that don’t want to get higher education or don’t want to work, because there are jobs for us somewhere. (She doesn’t take in account that we get bullied a lot more or are refused a job when we even mention the fact that we are autistic).
  • She doesn’t think Gus can get a real paying job.
  • In this chapter she quotes an insulting quote (in my opinion) from John Elder Robison and she loves it.
  • After 14 years she is surprised that Gus can pour himself a glass of milk. (How low does she think of her child? Also how little effort does she take to teach him things?)
  • Gus has a real paying job sitting on cats. He likes it, but is taken advantage of. She knows it is wrong but doesn’t say anything. His brother wants to have a word with the abusing party, but is stopped by his mother. So, she just lets the abuse slip (even writes it of that Henry must think that he has the only right in abusing his brother like this. She also gives an example in how Henry came up for his brother in Mcdonald’s before, but his mother couldn’t… why not?)
  • She ends the chapter with a Starbucks CEO that hired an autistic on the job because there was no one better than him in creating the perfect milk foam layer. (See, there are people that see the merrit in our autistic quirks)

Chapter 12

  • She cares about Gus (but belittles him a few sentences later). She is scared for Gus future. She has a recurring dream about Gus living alone and meals are delivered and he can’t open the package and stares at it as if he was a dog staring at his empty bowl. (As if he can’t learn how to cook when he is older)
  • They use the language from Gus’ report cards to make fun of eachother. (Does she think that Gus doesn’t notice? What message does this give Henry about his brother?)
  • She invades her autistic sons privacy to chat with his friends… without any reason for doing so.
  • She makes fun of Gus way of communicating in text chats, while not taking the time to learn him an appropriate way, of getting him a book to do so (he can read, so why doesn’t she take that opportunity?)
  • She doesn’t like the way Gus has friends (he has friends!!!), but she doesn’t care to explain what friendship means or what real friends are, while she thinks Henry’s way of friends are wonderful.
  • She doesn’t like criticism (as if we autistics didn’t notice already, we were silenced in her twitter feed), but she doesn’t like the caretaker that likes John more than her, and whom blames her for not taking care of her children (I think I already gave enough examples in how her taking care of her kids could be improved).
  • She seemingly cares about her son, but even zipping his jacket has he learned from a caretaker (whom was so enthousiastic she even filmed it).
  • She sees somebody for 25 years in the same building (thinks the guy lives with his sister) but apparantly he is married and even he cares more about Gus than she does (as he calls him his friend, after they waved to eachother a few times)

Chapter 13 (you can really start to notice that my spoons were gone for the day, as my commentary starts to get less and less from here on)

  • She talks as if autistics aren’t curious in other subjects except the subject of their fascination (Judith, I really dare you to find a subject I am not curious about).
  • Again she makes comments about sterilising her son
  • She keeps repeating that autistics are people that don’t get what happens in other people’s heads, as if we are some kind of idiots.
  • Again talking about vasectomy and her thinking that autistics can’t be dads.

Chapter 14

  • She talks about autistics in this chapter as if we are naïeve, stupid people that can’t philophize or don’t get the meaning of death
  • She ends the chapter that both Henry and Gus will be there on her deathbed (off course, it has to be about her), but that only Gus will hold her hand (1-0 for Gus)

Chapter 15

  • She compares 2 completely different things: why can Gus play piano but can’t button his shirt? (why does she need to share that he can’t button his shirt or undo his buttons (he will rip it open like the hulk). (I can’t pick up small screws or write very neatly because of my bad motor skills, but I can false riffle shuffle a deck or cards and perform magic effects which require a different kind of dexterity. Did I tell you already I’m autistic?)
  • She uses an article about cambridge students that disliked a Simon Baron-Cohen talk to give a not-my-child-rethoric (I think Autism mom bingo is now complete).

So these are the things that were ableistic in this book.

The house of books and HarperCollins, please stop publishing this book. As it is very, very ableistic and not liked by Actual Autistics.

Also, New York Times, if you are hiring, and you need someone whom can do better research than one of your writers. I’m open for offers.

Also Judith, take lessons by autistics in how to take care of your autistic boy. He needs your love. Or take at least a class in how to be a real mother.

To read

On my kindle app, I have lots and lots of books that I still need to read and am focusing on in finishing. I don’t know if it’s my ADHD (although I suspect it is) I can’t read only one book, so currently in my reading pile I have 80 books, on different subjects: Productivity, feminism, anarchism, autism,… all kinds of subjects.

I have 32 books in my fiction pile, which says a lot in my fiction reading habits. I absolutely don’t like reading fiction and the fiction I do read is also a specific set of books. 90 percent of my fiction books are books turned into movies or are follow-ups of books that are turned into movies.

In 2017 alone I have read 21 books. Which isn’t much compared to other years, but still more than some years. I keep track of these in my kindle app as I set the books in specific folders when I’m done (in collections), this is also where I keep my focus pile and such, so I only read books out of my focus pile and put new books in from my to-read pile.

book review: Autisme is niet blauw smurfen wel by Peter Vermeulen

I saw this book passing by on an autistic friends Facebook page and i almost instantly wanted to read it. It intrigued me. It has a quirky title which translates to english as “autism isn’t blue smurfs are”. It adresses the origins of the connection between the color blue and autism (autism speaks!!!)

Peter Vermeulen is a pedagogue whom, apparantly, works for a flemish autism organisation and has, apparantly, given talks in the whole world. Before reading his book, i never heard of him. He never has heard of me either, so we are equal on that part.

we are equal in the sense that we both have 30 years experience with autism. He has seen many more cases than I do. I have only see 5-6 up close and a few dozen in documentaries, so he has me there, but where I have him is him beaten, is that I have experienced autism for 30 years now. I live with it day in and day out, so if we calculate the hours , not years we both have experience with autism, i think i have him beaten after only my first decennia being on this earth.

The book is not bad. It gives a view of how people who work with people with autism think. That’s not bad. I agree with him on a few points in the book, like that autism is to popular and that it’s a catch-all diagnosisnd stuff like that.

i’m going to re-read the book, I know that now, as I’m going to think more about the things that troubled me. For one thing, he made me doubt my diagnosis. According to him, It’s wrong to identify with my autism. So with the same logic, people whom are blind, can’t identify with being blind. They can’t call themselves blind.

what also bothered me is that he talked as if he knew what he was talking about, as if he was autistic himself. I didn’t like his pedantic tone. He wasn’t another famous Belgian, Jozef de veuster aka father damian, whom gave a famous speech starting with the words: We, lepers,…” after he discovered that after working with lepers, he also had caught lepracy.

We, the autistic community, don’t need anyone talking for us. In the history of autism, we have been talked about and people have made assumptions about us enough, even blaming a generation of women for something they didn’t do.

He talks in his book that people like him, whom have worked with autistics are equally qualitied to talk for them. Uhm… No. I will accept the words of fellow autistics like Temple Grandin. I will take the words by researchers, like Tony Attwood. But I will never take the words from someone whom has seen cases, has tried to help help them, has written books about it, but has only piggybacked off of other people, and still claims he is as valuable as other people with more knowledge.

he gave me a good view on how certain organisations think about autism, and it will help me in the future, but it doesn’t add anything important to autism literature.

Lisbeth Salander

An exercise: Take a few minutes to think how Pipi Longstocking would look if she were an adult. Ok. Done envisioning? Now go read “The girl with the dragon tattoo”, don’t read the other Stieg Larsson books. Just don’t. I’ll tell you why.

The first book was a joy to read. It had a good plot. Great characters. Very strong female characters. Female characters that weren’t dependant on men, which is something I’m relieved of for a change. Also, there is Lisbeth Salander.

She is, to me, the most interesting character I’ve read int he past so many years. You have to know that I don’t read much fiction, but I watch movies and series and get to know a lot of fiction, thanks to my girlfriend.

Most characters nowadays are cardboard cut-outs. They have nothing special about them. One of my favourite characters from fiction is Snape. He has dimension. He is by far the most interesting character from Harry Potter, just because we know so little about him. We know he was in love with Harry’s motter, but why does he care so much now, after all those years? How strong was his love (we see it in the books).

We learn very early that something in Lisbeth’s past has done something to her. Something that is so terrible, that it has messed up her whole future. In book 2 you get to know what it is, but please, don’t ruin your curiosity. Don’t go read it. Please don’t. You will ruin the character for yourself. You will be dissapointed.

I had the same feeling I had when I read this fact, as when I finished “Sophie’s world”. I had the same feeling as I watched Hannibal Rising.

Some literary facts should never be told. I’m intrigued by Snape’s character just because I know so little about him. I know very little details about his life. I know the key facts. I know why Lily and Snape fell apart, otherwhise they would have been a couple (Imagine that!).

The thing that coloured Lisbeth Salander’s past isn’t that spectacular, and I would be glad to pay to get the thing it actually is wiped out of my memory. I thought it would be much worse than it actually was.

I have things in my past that are worse than the thing that shoudl supposedly have coloured her past. So to me, it is utterly unbelievable. The second book reads like a bad first draft. The first book was wonderful. Great characters, great plot, everything. Book 2, not so much. Although… Lisbeth Salander remains a very, very interesting character that would easily have stould on it’s own in the books. Blomkvist was unnessary the moment Lisbeth arrived on the scene and began to take over.

The hunger games

To write this article, I did something I said I never would do. I read the hunger games. I have watched the first movie and only the first movie, so I sacrificed myself there, out of curiousity.

To put my body towards science, and me having to be right, I have read the first of the three hunger games. I don’t need to suffer more than necessary, but I want to be able to discuss this with Hunger Games fans, without getting the argument: “you probably didn’t read the book” bringing the argument to a halt.

I gave it a fair try, but even in the first chapter, there are already things that just… ugh… You have to know that it is a dystopian novel, in which the poor are supposed to be dirt poor and the rich use the poor for their entertainment in the so called hunger games, where the winner that defeats and kills the other forced participants gets a more cushy life than they are used to.

Catniss, thanks to the system of being able to buy yourself more chances of being picked has 20 times her name into the raffle. (I know SPOILER ALERT). In the first chapter it is mentioned that there are thousands of name slips in there. I actually took a calculator. If there are only 1000 slips in there, the chance of her name being picked is 2 percent. 2 percent is nothing. Her sister, whom only has one slip in the 1000 (although in the book it’s mentioned 1000’s, so more than one 1000), so the chance of her being pulled out of the hat, is 0,001, in my case now. And still, her name is pulled, so Catniss can jump in and save the day, by volunteering in her sister’s place.

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