For Autism Awareness Month, Listen to Autistic People

April is Autism Awareness Month. The first thing you need to be aware of is that organizations like Autism Speaks aren’t helping autistic people. They’re harming them. We’ll get to that in a minute. First, I’d like to make you aware of some things.

  1. I don’t have a formal diagnosis, but it’s 99.998% certain your humble blogger is autistic. I’ve done a bunch of assessments for autism overall and how women (girls) present as autistic, and everything comes back as “Whelp, you’re autistic as fuck. Congratulations!”
  2. Note I say I am autistic. Not “I have autism.” Nor “I am a person with autism.” That’s because it’s not a disease or a disability (except insofar as the world isn’t built to accommodate autistic people). It’s the way my brain processes the world. Those personality quirks that make me the unique me that I am? The vast majority come from me being autistic AF.
  3. I don’t want to be cured. I like my autistic self just fine, thank you. So when you say you want to find a cure for autism, it sounds an awful lot like you’re saying you want to erase me and my autistic friends.

That last one’s pretty shocking, right? I mean, we all hear about how horrible and disabling autism is. Pitiable parents appear on television, blogs, and in glossy magazine articles talking about how their bright and beautiful babies suddenly became aloof aliens. No eye contact, no hugs, no words, no love! Meltdowns! Delays! My kid is a lemon and I want my money back! Oh, and it was probably because of vaccines. My abnormal psych book had a whole section devoted to how you could only maybe rescue an autistic kid from a life of certain complete dysfunction and probable institutionalization by devoting yourself full-time to rescuing them. Otherwise, they’d spend all their lives unable to even wipe themselves after taking a shit.

Who wouldn’t want a cure for that terrible disease?

(PS: I assumed I wasn’t autistic for over 40 years because my life wasn’t the empathy-devoid wasteland these folks assured me it should be.)

Only it’s not as bad as all that.

Autistic brains just process things differently from non-autistic brains. A good number of our “disabilities” aren’t so disabling once people make allowances for that fact. Like, if you don’t insist on us making eye contact all the time, we can connect and converse just fine. If you let us do our stims, we won’t melt down so much. If you listen to us, we can tell you just what we need to thrive.

You can even listen to those of us who can’t speak. Technology allows that to happen. Just because a person can’t speak doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty to say.

So, at the end of this post, you’ll find a list of blogs and organizations that will tell you more about autism, what autistic people need, and how you can be a good ally. Now we’ll talk about one way to definitely not be a good ally: Continue reading “For Autism Awareness Month, Listen to Autistic People”

For Autism Awareness Month, Listen to Autistic People

Part 4: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue

Content note for antisemitism, Trump, eliminationist rhetoric.

Once Hitler realized he’d need to dial back the antisemitic rhetoric in order win power, he began glorifying the Volk and calling Germans to unify instead. But of course Jews were not part of that Volk. He’d perfected the art of the dog whistle. Even a Jewish woman who went to one of his rallies heard “nothing even against the Jews.”

But, like Trump, Hitler managed to speak for hours without saying much of anything at all. She could have been describing a Trump rally: “[He] put up sham accusations, only to refute them, used slogans by the hour, and said nothing else than praise of himself…” Yet his admirers ate it all up. It’s so similar to Trump and his fans it’s terrifying.

Many people tried to wave away Hitler’s antisemitism, just like many people today try to pretend Trump and the Republicans aren’t bigoted scumlords. But a quick glance at either party’s platform quickly reveals the truth. The proof is in the planks. When your planks consist of racist, bigoted bullshit, your protestations that you’re not a bigoted racist can only be believed by those who need to pretend they’re not with you because of your most vile beliefs.

One particular Nazi Party Program Plank is horribly similar to things Trump is doing to our own Muslim immigrants: “‘non-Germans’ who had immigrated after 1914 would be expelled from Germany.”

And, like Hitler, Trump is leaving open racism to his surrogates while he proclaims himself to be the least racist person on the planet. Folks: When someone supports racist party planks and appoints virulent racists to high positions, that person is a fucking racist. The mask will come off the second he’s deceived enough of you so that he no longer needs it. Believe his actions, not his words.

The smaller commonalities between Trump and Hitler are also jarring. Both used the third person to refer to themselves, for instance. Both unsuccessfully ran for election before winning power. Both have a taste for grandiosity.

And both tenuously rose to power on a wave of hate. We’ll be analyzing that next.

Image is the cover of The Nazi Conscience. It shows a brown-uniformed man digging while a man in traditional German folk costume holds a pole that has a swastika banner on it.
We’re studying The Nazi Conscience as a way to prepare for what’s happening now. If you want to read along, you can pick up an inexpensive used copy at Amazon. Buying through that link also supports my blogging, so thank you!

Intro • Prologue1.1

Part 4: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue

Part 3: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue

Content note for antisemitism, Trump, eliminationist rhetoric.

Hitler managed to persuade a German court to hand him a mild 5-year sentence for treason, rather than deporting him or imprisoning him for life. But he’d had to tone down his bigotry for the courts, and his followers were upset.

They needn’t have worried.

Hitler, once his future was secure, was more than happy to return to spouting his poisonous antisemitism. He assured them that his earlier ideas about the Jews were, if anything, “too mild.” He cast the conflict between Jews and Germans as “a question of life and death.” He turned his attention toward spewing venom to Rudolph Hess, who compiled his ravings into the book that would become Mein Kampf. He amped up his exterminationist rhetoric, describing Jews as parasites, freeloaders, “a dangerous bacillus,” maggots, and poisoners. He called for their extermination.

So, remember: if a Nazi or other bigot dials back their rhetoric in the face of legal trouble or social sanctions, don’t trust their change of heart until it’s backed up by subsequent, sustained actions. Watch for them to return to and possibly intensify their previous hateful speech and actions. Once the coast is relatively clear, they will revert to their true selves.

Hitler spent a mere ten months in prison, and once he was released, he set about unifying his followers before reaching out for new ones. He’d learned how to dog whistle. Because more educated people wouldn’t respond as favorably to overt bigotry, and because fomenting hate and violence could get him silenced or deported, he resorted to a more veiled antisemitism. He would speak about “one single enemy.” He used racist humor and metaphors. Continue reading “Part 3: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue”

Part 3: The Nazi Conscience Chapter 2: The Politics of Virtue

Time to Burn Up the Phone Lines

The endless flood of horrors from 45’s regime continues. Republicans seem to have been emboldened by a minority of awful Americans and the Russian government choosing an endlessly lying, racist sexual predator as president. They’re busy trying to cram through as much hideous legislation as they can manage before they have to discard the great orange menace.

They’re also busy trying not to investigate the endless ties between the Russian government and pretty much everyone in Chitler’s administration. A few seem to give enough of a shit about this country to try, but others just want him available to rubber-stamp all the horrid legislation on their wishlist.

So. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and you really should), is to contact your senators and tell them to investigate the fuck out of Russia. Ask them to support the appointment of a special prosecutor, because we need an independent investigation.

Here’s a simple script: Continue reading “Time to Burn Up the Phone Lines”

Time to Burn Up the Phone Lines

Twilight is a Symptom of Everything Wrong With America

You may think I’m exaggerating, but hear me out.

B and I chose to watch Twilight on Netflix because most of the good vampire movies aren’t on there. And we wanted something we could laugh to. Since we didn’t have any comedies in mind, we decided mocking laughter would do.

People, I have read endless reviews of both the book and the movie. I could tell you exactly what happens scene by scene, from opening to closing credits. Much of my joy came from finally seeing some notorious moments for myself. Have you ever watched a movie and gone, “Hey, I know that scene from memes!” or “They used that one in a Bad Lip Reading clip!”? It’s a very specific sort of pleasure.

Now, I’ve read many a review by outraged feminists who utterly despised Edward. I know all of his abusive proclivities. I even know he’s a completely genocidal shitmonger. But actually seeing Robert Pattinson act it out rather than reading about it made me scream roughly five thousand times something along this lines of the following: Continue reading “Twilight is a Symptom of Everything Wrong With America”

Twilight is a Symptom of Everything Wrong With America

An Open Letter to Betsy DeVos, From an Educator

Despite our best efforts, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education. This is terrible news for our nation’s public schools. Those of us concerned about science education will have to pour our efforts into protecting our schools on a local and state level. We’ll also have to push hard for accountability. Just because DeVos was confirmed doesn’t mean she gets free rein to destroy our schools. She now has a responsibility to provide all of America’s children with a quality free primary education, and we will hold her to that.

My friend J.S. recently retired from a twenty-eight year career as a teacher at one of our nation’s public schools. He has some sage advice for DeVos. I hope she hears it, and takes it to heart. Please feel free to copy this open letter and send it directly to her.

Dear Secretary DeVos: Continue reading “An Open Letter to Betsy DeVos, From an Educator”

An Open Letter to Betsy DeVos, From an Educator

Promised Land: A Must-See Documentary in This Era

Promised Land is screening at Seattle Central College on Thursday, February 9th, and at the University of Oregon on Friday, February 10th. For other screenings in various cities, please see listings here.


Imagine that you live in a place your ancestors have occupied for thousands of years. Every landmark, every waterway, every plant and tree and animal is part of your heritage. You can stand in places that your grandmother, and her grandmother, and women stretching in an unbroken line back to a mythical point, told stories about, stories that defined your people.

You have stories passed down since the Ice Ages, which your ancestors witnessed. You don’t remember the ice because scientists found its traces in the rocks and on the land: you remember it because your tribe descended from people who lived with it, and your generational memories are strong.

Imagine that your roots here go that deep, that they stretch over ten thousand years into the past.

Now imagine that new people came, and took possession of your lands without permission. They uprooted you and cast you aside. They tore down your houses and stole your art. They changed your rivers and landmarks almost beyond recognition. They built cities on your land, the land that holds your ancestors, that was your inheritance and your future, and then outlawed you from those cities – not for any crime, but because of the color of your skin. They made it literally illegal for you to step foot in the cities they built on your land after sundown, and they only allowed you in by day in order to exploit your labor for their profit.

They made it illegal for you to gather together, to tell your stories, to carry on your traditions, to pass your culture on to your children. They tried to strangle everything that made you you: your language, your clothing, your art, your music, your identity.

Imagine you somehow survived all of this. You held on. You sang your songs. You spoke your language. You protected what was left of your land as best as you could. You learned how to survive in this new world without losing quite all of your heritage. In a city named for one of your forebears, you have done your best to survive as a people among strangers who are happy to take your art and your symbols and your resources without giving much of anything back.

And imagine that after all of this, those strangers tell you that they won’t recognize your tribe as a legal entity. That, despite the fact that you come from an unbroken line of indigenous people stretching back ten thousand years, perhaps more, in this place, you can’t check the box that says you’re Native American. You have to call yourself White, or Other. You can’t protect the things that belonged to your ancestors when they’re unearthed. You can’t protect your lands. You can’t even get back a tiny fraction of the wealth that was stolen from you, because they say you’re not one of the tribes who can get a grant or a scholarship reserved for those whose inheritance was taken by force, fraud, or both.

That’s the story of the Duwamish, told in the heart-rending documentary Promised Land. Continue reading “Promised Land: A Must-See Documentary in This Era”

Promised Land: A Must-See Documentary in This Era

New at Rosetta Stones: How to Save Public Education

Without Ania and Chris, this post wouldn’t have happened, so: thank you both!

Betsy DeVos’s confirmation vote is tomorrow. Here is all the information you need for calling your senators and opposing her, including reasons why. She is a complete catastrophe – we need to fight her! If you have a Republican senator, make extra sure you call them to lodge your opposition, because we need three of those little shits to flip in order to prevent her from getting her grubby Christian Dominionist hands all over the Department of Education.

While you’re on the phone with them, you might want to drop in a mention that you oppose Trump’s actions on immigration and would very much like to see him obey the fucking law.

In other news, I am not doing well at all. If you want to help me make rent so there’s one less thing causing panic attacks, I would be eternally grateful. You can donate here:

I may be taking the next couple of days off from ETEV, due to major upheavals at home, plus B and I going out job hunting, and having exceeded my ability to handle shit without medication. Please do follow me on Facebook (most of my stuff is public, so you can see and share even if we’re not formally friends). With the Chitler regime doing something else appalling every half hour, it’s about the only place where I can even try to keep up. Plus, you’ll get lots of pictures of a very elderly felid. She is just over a month away from her 23rd birthday! Continue reading “New at Rosetta Stones: How to Save Public Education”

New at Rosetta Stones: How to Save Public Education

Mike Pompeo Was Confirmed as Head of the CIA. Call Your Senators and Register Your Displeasure

Too many Senate Democrats rolled over and played nice, confirming Mike Pompeo as head of the CIA.

This is not acceptable behavior. Mike Pompeo is someone who should never have been confirmed. He’s a dire threat to our civil liberties. He believes torturers are patriots. Under his leadership, the CIA will not only be at dire risk of repeating the atrocities of the Bush regime, but exceeding them.

No Democrat should have ever voted to confirm him.

My wise and angry friend A.M. has made it easy for those of you whose Senator voted yes to contact them and register your anger. Let them know that their continued employment depends on them doing their jobs and opposing Trump’s appalling appointees.

If you are living in California, North Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Hampshire, and Missouri, call your Senator. If you can’t call, write. Here is the information you need: Continue reading “Mike Pompeo Was Confirmed as Head of the CIA. Call Your Senators and Register Your Displeasure”

Mike Pompeo Was Confirmed as Head of the CIA. Call Your Senators and Register Your Displeasure

New at Rosetta Stones: The National Park Service Spits Out the Gag

This is fucking fantastic, people: the National Park Service is trolling Chitler hard. Read all about it here, including ways to support them.

Not long after Badlands was brought into line, anonymous employees of the NPS went rogue. They created the AltUSNatlParkService account and, after retweeting a particularly provocative image from the Badlands account along with some climate change data, announced their intent in no uncertain terms:

Screenshot of @AltNatParkSer tweets. From the bottom (earliest) to the top tweet, they are as follows: Tweet 1: "'The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm.'" Tweet 2: "Mr Trump, you may have taken us down officially. But with scientific evidence & the Internet our message will get out. Tweet 3: "Respect goes out to our brothers and sisters at the @BadlandsNPS. When they silence you, we will speak for you."

Chitler is trying to gag government agencies vital to our nation’s health. It’s good to see some of them spitting out the gag and then spitting in his eye.

New at Rosetta Stones: The National Park Service Spits Out the Gag