50 First Dates: Dignity Unexpected

There’s a dearth of dignified disability films out there. Some people even think I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one. I guess I’ll get controversial now: 50 First Dates is a dignified disability film hidden inside an Adam Sandler movie. Who knew?  

A few caveats to remember, though: 50 First Dates is not an easy watch for many people, including myself. As I said before, it is an Adam Sandler movie. There are offensive jokes concerning a few marginalized groups, especially concerning a transgender individual. That being said, it is not the reason I find it uneasy to watch. I find 50 First Dates uneasy to watch due to the acuurate mindset of Drew Barrymore’s character, Lucy. Being the female romantic lead in the 21st Century, it is an unwritten law that Lucy be presented in a dignifies manner. Being disabled (memory disability caused by traumatic brain injury – the movie will explain it all), she also has to be accurate. It is a razor-thin line the writers and Ms. Barrymore have to walk. Thing is, they walk it very well. Some disabled people would almost feel it is too accurate, and that is how the unease comes in. But I don’t mind the unease. I feel it is right, and ought to be pushed through to the dignified ending.  

To be honest, I was not expecting such high things from an Adam Sandler movie. Let’s be honest: offensive jokes, undignified physical comedy and Adam Sandler’s screaming at times? That’s what I was expecting. This dignity threw me for a loop, truly. None of the offensive jokes are at the above character’s expense. The storyline was deep, and the thoughts of being a burden, the medical community’s negativity, and how these things eventually detoured the apropos dignified ending were well displayed. Of course, the best thing Lucy had was a community of people around her, supporting her in every way they could. Many disabled people lack this sorely…which is why they struggle so much.  

I’m not saying 50 First Dates is perfect. What I’m saying is 50 First Dates is love surrounding a disabled character with dignity and grace, lifting up everyone around it. As for spoilers, the closest I’m getting is this: It’s a rom-com. How do you think it ends?  

“Be Less White?” How? and How to Phrase it Better

So, people are talking about Coca-Cola saying, “Try to be less white.” Now, white people, before you get your panties in a bunch, try to understand that it was little more than a miscommunication.

I think it is time for a Disclaimer: Nobody can change the color of their skin any more than any other person. This is not what this post is about.

What this is about is the attitudes that often come with racism, with prejudice, with thinking one person is better than the other due to certain traits. It is also foolish to assume all white people come with these attitudes and do not fight them.

To be honest, the title “Be Less White” is a misfire at best, putting it square in being white why a person is the way they are is just as damaging as saying black people are all criminals (NOT TRUE).

The meat of the message, though is much more palatable. Here are the attitudes the message is trying to fight:

Oppression, Arrogance, Self-Certainty, Defensiveness, and Ignorance

These are the attitudes and actions the message is trying to promote:

Humility, Listening, Belief of What is Said

Why not tell them they are “Fighting Racism”? Why not tell them to “Fight Prejudice”? That is much more conducive to the meat of the message, not try to tear off the skin they were born with.

I will later get into detail of the meat of the message, because I believe the meat will be thrown out because the package doesn’t look so good.

Just an Update: Drifting

Well, I’m looking again for something to write about. Well, there was not much going on since I last wrote…I mean, For me, Valentine’s Day is literally Singles Awareness Day…figure that one out. It wasn’t bad, I mean we went to Red Lobster and had a good meal, so that was good. Anyway, I’m in the middle of the big winter storms. Kentucky, to be exact. I’m already praying for Texans and their power grid. (Don’t get me started. They should have prepared for climate change. Climate change is now happening, and it’s putting them in the cold. I have a feeling this crisis will flip them towards a more liberal voting pattern.) I would like to donate some money, when I get some more. I would like to do something useful. Is there something I can do?  

Is it OK to Stop Boycotting Tiktok Now?

Now, I had boycotted Tiktok some time back due to the “autism challenge,” where I was made fun of with moves and behaviors that resembled a stroke or palsy, and cruelly. But lately I have heard nothing of it – and that those videos were even removed – and I was wondering if it’s OK to get on the platform now?

Please, I need some guidance in this matter. I am having a moral dilemma.

About Black History Month – Don’t Worry, it’s Good

I’m all for Black History Month. Let me explain. Sorry it came a day late. I needed time to process from the start of the celebration. I am a happy, white ally who loves to celebrate contributions to American culture. I mean, who can hate the people who contributed coffee and leopard print? Who can hate the pioneers of rock and roll? (My taste, choose yours.) There are countless ways the African man and woman gave to our wonderful culture that you may not know about. I do not have time to list them all here, but as I put on my leopard print mask, put rock and roll in my ears and coffee in my cup, I thank the Lord for such cool things.

  1. Coffee has been rumored to originate in Ethiopia, the site of the famous Dancing Goat legend. Quick version: a man saw a dancing goat, saw it was eating coffee beans, and took the beans to a local monastery. The monks threw the beans into the fire, and the roasting produced coffee beans, and eventually coffee.
  2. Leopard print has been treasured since the days of Egypt. Need I say more?
  3. About rock and roll: Chuck Berry has been credited as the father of rock and roll. Also, I love Johnny B. Good!

Let’s celebrate! There are more contributions to be made! History has been made in the past year, and is going to be made in the future. I mean, have you seen the new Vice President? She’s beautiful!

Let me get serious for a second. With all this goodness surrounding Black History Month, why don’t we have a White History Month? Actually, we do. Twelve, in fact. They’re January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December! The day we don’t need Black History Month is the day that we can remember Garrett A. Morgan invented the yellow light, which saved countless lives from accidents, without a month set aside specifically for his race. The day we don’t need Black History Month is the day we can remember Langston Hughes aside Mark Twain and William Shakespeare. Also, cut them some slack! It’s the shortest month of the year! February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. I’m ready to celebrate. Are you?

“Person with Autism?” Vs. “Autistic Person”: Why the Fuss?

You hear it all over social media: the fighting over “PERSON WITH AUTISM!!!!!” versus “AUTISTIC PERSON!!!!!” Yes, they scream it; both sides do. But both sides are passionate in their position. However, one side seems to ignore the input of the people they are talking about. Can you guess which one? No, it’s not the “Autistic Person” side, it’s the “Person with Autism” side. Why does the “Person with Autism” side not see that? What’s the fuss?

The fuss is this: autistic people see themselves as people already, and they see autism as a genetic trait. They do not have to remind themselves that they are people, deserving of the human rights only abled rich white men enjoy. (Yes, I said it: abled rich white men only. That discussion is for another day, though.) Now, I think there is room for everyone to have their views heard. Autistic people are people, too. It seems the other side does not acknowledge that unless they tell themselves, “Yes, this is also a person. With autism. She is a person.” That somebody has to tell themselves a person who is slightly different from them (or more) is still a person is troubling. Is my behavior that scary? Does my existence plunge your brain into the Uncanny Valley that much? Am I one of those things from CATS? Of course not. But if you have to name me as a person to remind yourself I am a person, you’re part of the problem.

Autistic people prefer calling themselves autistic people. Most of us have said that, over and over. It seems like you are not listening, because, again, you do not really consider us people enough to listen to.

They Told Us So

Okay, I have to address Trumpers storming the Capitol. Today is Sunday, January 10, 2021. On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, an insurrection of pro-Trump voters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., disrupting the official count of the Electoral College. A few hours earlier, I swear, Trump encouraged people to march to the Capitol. The minions did what he said.

Finally, there is absolute proof or several things:

  1. White Privilege exists, and lets people get away with attempted murder (I’ll explain).
  2. Trump is a dangerous agitator, and will do ANYTHING to hold on to the office.
  3. I’m worried about the Inauguration.
  4. Marginalized people told us these things, but we did not listen.

About Point 1: White Privilege

Now, don’t get me wrong, but I need to show you a few things about the Capitol Riot that you need to see. Most of the Capitol Rioters were white, and, in case you did not know, they erected a noose outside to supposedly hang lawmakers on. Some of the names mentioned were Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi.

Here is the noose:

There are also disturbing videos of ransacking the offices, beating down glass partitions, crushing the officers in riot gear, and one woman being shot to death for breaking down a glass partition.

How many people were arrested on the spot? Maybe 10? Were there any? Most of the arrests were in the states of origin, AFTER THEY WENT HOME, and AFTER THEY WERE IDENTIFIED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

Don’t tell me that semi-peaceful solution would have occurred with Black Lives Matter protests. I mean, for Black Lives Matter protests, there were dozens of officers in riot gear and military fatigues on the Capitol steps. Google it yourself.

About Points 2 and 3: Trump and the Inauguration

No amount of reassurance can now help me from fearing that Trump will try to stop the inauguration through his little minions. Who am I referring to? Those like the Capitol Rioters, of course. Some of them were well-armed. Many of them brought rounds of ammunition and guns to shoot them with. Did you hear the reports?

For the Inauguration: Who’s to say that the Capitol Rioters won’t come back, even more armed. These are Second Amendment Idolaters. They worship their guns like gods, almost as much as they worship Trump. This is not a matter of “gun control,” by the way. This is a matter of actual Presidential safety. Also, who’s to say that the Ku Klux Klan won’t show up, in their white robes and hoods? To be honest, the dam has burst. We must prepare for another 9/11, folks. This scares the @&^# out of me.

About Point 4: They Told Us So

Who told us so? Black people. LGBT people. Disabled people. Women. Marignalized people. But you were so tribal, so focused on not seeing past the end of your nose that it took Trump Worshippers storming the Capitol to shake you out of your walking comatose state. Don’t you now see?

They told us so.

Not Rain Man Enough

Now, most women diagnosed autistic get their diagnosis after they reach adulthood…usually after they have an autistic child (read: SON) who gets the diagnosis first. ANd that bothers me. Why do they wait so long? Why all the stereotyping for the autistic person as white, male and undoubtedly eccentric? Maybe it’s perhaps they are not Rain Man enough? 

The movie Rain Man, for what it was at the time – 1988 – brought awareness to autism in its own way. But the trouble is, the actor being Dustin Hoffman, a white male, it made autism extremely hard to diagnose among women and persons of color. Maybe it’s because women and persons of color are not Rain Man enough. 

Now, the point I’m trying to make is, Raymond “Rain Man” Babbit presented a stock image of one autistic person. But the image that the movie Rain Man provides is too narrow; it is a stereotype. And we all know that reliance on stereotypes makes most people fall through the cracks of help. It creates a society in which there is no help, and autistic people end up homeless, in asylums, abused, raped, and even murdered without mercy. (I’m not kidding about the rape part: almost all autistic women are raped at some point in their life.) Society, as a whole, ends up anti-autistic. And all because people only see white males exhibit autistic behaviors.  

This is the message I want to convey: Do not let the face of Dustin Hoffman or Jim Parsons (for those who think Sheldon Cooper is autistic) be the limit to what you can see. There are autistic black people. There are autistic Hispanic people. There are autistic Asians. There are autistic Pacific Islanders. THERE ARE EVEN AUTISTIC WOMEN! Some of us are gay. Some of us are bisexual. Some of us are even transgender! Autism is not a cookie cutter condition. Do some more research, universities. Why did you not do further research on me, an autistic girl, throughout my life? How I coped in middle school? How I coped in high school? How I coped at community college? But no. You let your inner stereotypes and prejudices run your life. How is a vine or young tree supposed to grow upwards properly without guides to do that? But you don’t care.  

 As the saying goes, a mind is like a parachute. They both work best when open.  

Fashion and Discrimination

So I was watching The Devil Wears Prada for no reason, and the basic conflict was this: a girl who thinks she is too smart for fashion works at a fashion magazine.  

See the problem? The trouble with fashion is, it has a highly discriminatory nature in its tenets. The girls must be skinny in order to not compete with the details of the fabric. Also, beauty is white. You must be as white as possible. Trouble is, these two tenets makes people believe they are too, what is it….smart for fashion? Too deep for fashion? Or is it…too ugly or a person of color for fashion? While these tenets are way too false, because people of all colors, shapes and sizes are stylish and fashionable, they still persist, like people believing the Earth is flat – EVEN WHEN ALL THE OTHER PLANETS ARE ROUND! The point is this: The discriminatory nature of fashion defeats the purpose of fashion in many people’s eyes.  

Let me explain how this works with the examples of makeover shows: A more recent show, Love, Lust or Run, would showcase a woman – ready for a makeover, mind you – taking the look she was wearing off, and confronting herself in the mirror, bare-faced and without her armor. (In a bathrobe and head towel, please!) One thing these women usually had in common was that they were not measuring up to some unattainable standard set by high fashion and beauty. Because of this unattainable standard, she would reject fashion, because she does not fit in. Fashion’s purpose was defeated.  

Don’t get me wrong. I love fashion. I love a great shoe or a beautiful outfit. The trouble is, I’m plus size, which I’m sure you have seen, and don’t fit in. It took me decades to even recognize that I could even pull off nice clothes simply because I was not sample size. (2 or 4 in The Devil Wears Prada, and I’m size 26 currently) Fortunately, I give Stacy London the credit for pulling me out of that “too smart” and “too deep” funk. I watched seasons of What Not to Wear in order to get the hang of style then, and I look at fashion advice from women about my size now. (Tess Holliday, you are a treasure!)  

I was hoping not to start 2021 with a rant, but I guess this was not to be. Change is so slow in coming.