A few days back, I cheerfully pointed out via a comment that when you say things like this:
I handle controversy really well; I do not break down in tears, jump to unreasonable conclusions about my safety, or have mental breakdowns.
…in the greater context of an article about how, in essence, those who can’t handle the heat should get out of the kitchen, (an idea which Stephanie excellently skewers here), that is ableism. Have breakdowns? Oh, it’s because you couldn’t handle controversy. You know, I’m just going to tell you (as someone who is neither your therapist or friend) that if you have mental health problems, you should just stay out of debate. Even if, y’know, it is about issues that involve you. Let us neurotypical people handle it.
I’m not going to tackle the resulting comments and blog post from the OP, because honestly, I’ve no interest.
What was interesting was the commenter who left one of those brief rhetorical comments (as you do):
Have you read Harrison Bergeron?
…with one of those faces of forced confusion and shock, O.o, the sort that always fail to convey their intended meaning by reminding me of these marsupials.
In brief, “Harrison Bergeron” is a dystopian short story by Vonnegut, where ‘equality’ has become so inverted that those with talent are hamstrung and given handicaps to prevent them from expressing any ability better than anyone else. Those of intelligence wear earpieces that blast noise at intervals, the beautiful must wear masks, etc. In other words, the ‘equality laws’ have trampled the people. Harrison throws off the confinements, stands up against a world that wants him to conform to a normative idea of ability, and for a few brief moments, lives unconfined by society.
Now, to the actual question of my education: I have read it. In fact, due to a public school system that didn’t communicate required reading from grade to grade, it was part of my studies no less than three times.
Did I think the state of my high school literary education was actually the point of inquiry? No.
But, the “What about Harrison Bergeron?!11?!!” response is one I get often, and it’s still exams week(s) and I’m fed up.
You’re committing a logical fallacy. And it’s not even one of the fun ones. But, lest I fall into the trap of the Fallacy Fallacy, let me point out why, besides the obvious “this is a fictional short story”, “Harrison Bergeron” is not the appropriate response to actions to remove ableism.
Where exactly do you want me to draw the line? Do you think it’s utterly wrong to be saying sexist/homophobic/racist things, but when it’s fine to dismiss people on the basis of their mental health? Skin and gender and orientation aren’t up for mockery, but, hey, we gotta draw the line at being nice somewhere!
Then there’s this sticky situation:
Point 1: Ableism is treating a group of one type of able-ness as though everyone else should cope in their world, whether or not it serves them well.
Point 2: In ‘Harrison Bergeron’, less-preferred kinds of ability is forced to conform to the world, by use of handicaps, whether or not it serves them well, and leads to a heartbreaking climax…and THAT PROVES THAT DISCUSSING ABLEISM IS SILLY BECAUSE…..oh. errrr…….ooops?
If you’re upset with the way those we would call ‘normal’ are restrained to conform in Vonnegut’s tale, but not fussed by things like the Canadian government fighting to avoid updating their websites to work with screen readers for the visually impaired, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re upset with the earpieces (which blare noise to disrupt intelligent thought) in the story, but think it’s fine to joke around about illnesses like OCD and schizophrenia, which often have invasive and uncontrollable thoughts that prevent concentration, you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re using “Harrison Bergeron” to tell me why I shouldn’t care about ableism and you don’t notice that it’s proving my point, you’re doing it wrong.