I recently talked about the stigma showing in a recent episode of The Carmichaels. As I was thinking in the past few days, I came to the realization that some people might get the wrong idea on my opinion of the entire show, that I don’t like the entire show. Well, in my humble opinion, that’s just silly. Of course I like the show. It’s hilarious, discusses the issues of the day, and has David Alan Grier. What could not be more likable? It’s just like the Benedict Cumberbatch and autism debacle I fell into a little while ago. I like Benedict Cumberbatch a LOT. Why do you think the commentary surrounding autism and autistic people hurts so much? I mean, name screw-up jokes about him are not funny. You’re not John Travolta or a Starbucks Cup. The point is, just because something gets a little problematic does not mean you cannot like it. Critical thinking is needed at this point. I mean, just because something may disappoint you in one instance does not mean you should abandon it altogether. Give it a chance to redeem itself. I believe there is a point where you do need to give up on something, but it is much farther away than you think. Sometimes, you need to separate yourself from liking a certain point of the person, without kicking a person or show to the curb. It’s not easy, but you have to decide if you give up on something that disappoints you or not. As a matter of fact, I do like Benedict Cumberbatch and The Carmichaels. They may have disappointed me, but they have still proven themselves good and entertaining. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
I’m getting real mad at The Carmichael Show. This is what facing mental illness stigma is like.
Well, the episode started with the matriarch crying by herself in the kitchen, while nobody else knew. The elder son’s girlfriend, who is a therapist, caught her, and the matriarch would not let her help her. They went out to the living room, where the girlfriend told the men (and got called a snitch), who began a discussion about depression. The discussion following reeked with stigma. There was talk of weakness, of not talking about it, of saying it only happened to rich and (implied) white people, and even self-medication with weed. It literally took holding the day’s plans hostage to actually get her to go to therapy. She eventually went to therapy, but admitted she lied about everything. It took a fight out front in the living room and admitting the pressure she put herself under to get her to go to therapy again.
Anyway, I summarized the episode because I’m still processing the information. It makes me mad because if this is what we with mental illness face going into various communities, it’s no wonder so many of them are going to jail! Now, I’m not blaming the African American community at large for the crimes of a few. That is not the problem. The problem is stigma. The problem is hate and discrimination against the “crazy” (and yes, that word was used at one point), which will get them locked up in jail or prison before they get help. The largest mental health institution in the United States is the Cook County Jail in Chicago. Perhaps if people were encouraged to seek help for their problems, maybe they would not wind up in jail! It often takes TV shows like The Carmichael Show encouraging getting help to get people to get help. Unfortunately, I feel they dropped the ball on this one. Why not fight the stigma?
NOTE: I’ll get to the events of today when I have processed them. Don’t rush me.
Now that I’ve had time to process it, let me give my thoughts on Doctor Who. When I first heard about the 13th Doctor, and saw Jodie Whittaker, my first thought was this:
“Oh. She’s pretty.”
Of course, I’ve been trained to judge a woman’s looks first. But my second thought was this:
“Cool. I have no problem with this.”
Honestly, I don’t. I don’t understand why many men do, though. Maybe it’s the whole “we can’t be distracted by our emotions” thing? I’m not going to go into it.
I started thinking: what if the show runners were grooming its audience for her in the last seasons? That would explain the existence of Missy, the villainous Master’s current form. To know that Time Lords are not gender-locked, nor race-locked (citing the Doctor’s wife, River Song), can lead to more varied casting choices.
Some thoughts I think we need to address:
“But the Doctor has always been a man!”
Yes, previously, but have the Time Lords always been locked into one gender? I have just addressed the issue! Besides, where in the TARDIS do you need a penis to operate it? (Talk about your FCC violation.) River Song knew how to run it.
“But what if the actress gets pregnant?”
How about the Doctor getting pregnant, then? After all, the Doctor does have a granddaughter, which means he/she has a child in his/her future. I’d write it into the script.
Please, let me know other questions to address. I’d like to talk about the 13th Doctor with you.
I Just read an article about a TV show concerning an autistic character. According to the review, it is simply the same “Experts because they know someone autistic” who gets a LOT of autism wrong. The show has not even come out on Netflix yet, and I’m disappointed. Maybe it could apply to one autistic character or person, but not a great majority. See, there is autism in all races, cultures, genders and sexualities.
I somehow think that the best interpretation of autism on TV is one which groups several autistic people together, of different ages, races and genders, and simply follows them around. You know, an autism reality show. No inspiration porn, no neurotypical censorship, no getting autistics wrong. Just autistic people, navigating a world that is not for them. But I think nobody will take it. Neurotypicals like to get autistic people and put them in a little box. Trouble is, if you don’t fit in this little box, you’re not autistic. Even professionals withhold help because women and people of color, and successful people too, do not fit into this little box. They withhold help in the form of refusing to diagnose autistic people with their autism. This is why we need an autism reality show in the form I described.
Besides, if you were a bird who could fly, would you rather not learn how to fly from a bird?
Chester Bennington was found dead of suicide. He was 41. I recently came across a tweet that basically said, “If you only want to talk about mental illness when someone famous commits suicide, you’re part of the problem.” Trouble is, that seems to be the only time people are listening. Most of the time, people shut their ears at anything unpleasant. They want to be unrealistically happy. I consider myself a pretty happy person, but I have also been diagnosed with major depression right along with my autism. (Surprise, surprise – this world drives me crazy.) But mental health should be talked about all the time, not just when something terrible happens to shake you out of your “Happy Haze.”
For me, mental health is a daily management. It’s a sort of demand in order to keep performing at my peak. I include my medicines in my routine. There is no shame in the process. I just take my meds and move along with my day. If there is a problem, I talk it over with someone who can help me. Again, there is no shame in the process. Yeah, I live with the specter of stigma when it comes to mental illness, but I know that I am an adult, and I do not have to take on that stupid stigma myself.
I can tell what people are thinking – what if I go off my meds? Then I become irrationally depressed. That’s why I stay on my meds. I can tell people are thinking this, because every mentally ill person on TV has been through a “go off their meds and go crazy” storyline, usually with a dictation that they cannot cope with society and need to be locked up at least for a time. What a negative, hateful, bigoted LIE! Those with mental illness (I use “mentally ill” and “with mental illness” interchangeably) are perfectly capable of living in society, with their meds. Perhaps this dictation from the media is why Chester Bennington never sought help for himself and is now dead. Perhaps seeing illness as weakness is why Robin Williams never sought help for himself and is now dead as well. Perhaps the fear and stigma surrounding having a mental illness is why so many people never get help for their conditions and let their conditions morph into boatloads of unnecessary drama and, in many cases, unnecessary suicide.
Now, let’s get the myth out that a person who commits suicide is supposed to go through with it anyway. I once considered suicide a long time ago. My mother found out about it, and eventually I got help for my own conditions. That’s how I got diagnosed with major depression. Here’s the thing about it all: Once I verbalized my pain, I changed my mind. Here’s the kicker: eventually, a person will change their mind. Maybe it’s in the throes of death itself, but they eventually change their mind. A survivor of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge himself regretted the act once he went through with it. As he was falling, he prayed to survive. The point of that is, we will change our mind. Perhaps if society made it okay to admit you’re struggling with your own head, we would seek help BEFORE we are falling off the Golden Gate Bridge, so to speak. I want people okay with thinking about unpleasant things. Maybe we can prevent tragedy when we do.
Much of the Autism Awareness talk has died down by now. Even the store displays are showing the leftovers from puzzle piece junk, like keychains and stuff.
I’ve decided to talk about an issue that seems to plague the portrayals of autistic people in the media. The fact is, nobody is listening to anybody else about how people really are. I know for a fact that it plagues all portrayals, but I am focusing on autism here. I have struggled to find a similar portrayal that falls far short – and needs somebody to explain to these people how – and I found it in Japanese Engrish.
I’m only giving you this link to the site because it is very offensive, not only to English speakers, but it makes the Japanese look like morons, just because they don’t know the ins and outs that native English speakers do. Now, it’s kind of like this Japanese Engrish unlearnedness that plagues portrayals of autism in the media. Many of us autistic people find most portrayals offensive. So far, the best portrayal I can find is Billy Cranston in the new Power Rangers movie. Otherwise, even little Julia from Sesame Street has some traits that offend autistic people. This comes from people not listening to those of us with autism.
Now, tell me: would you rather have a portrayal of autism that is accurate and tasteful, or an autism portrayal that is like Japanese Engrish?
This is a reaction post: I must admit I haven’t seen Sesame Street in a long time.
10:32 – Julia is not taking greeting very well. She seems to be rubbing Big Bird a little wrong.
10:33 – They’re explaining Julia’s autism to Big Bird in very simple terms.
“Play, play, play!” Is her first real line. She’s very sweet.
10:35 – Uh-oh – sirens. She’s holding her ears. A little insight: it’s apparent to Julia that sirens are much louder to her. It’s common for an autistic person to experience things more or less.
10:38 – Big Bird is getting that people are different from each other. Elmo seems to get Julia a little more, as does Abby.
10:40 – They’re singing about differences, and friendship.
10:42 – They’ve changed things a bit. Now they introduce the Letter of the Day with a song. Cool. By the way, its “F” for Friendship.
10:43 – Boy, this is FAST. We’re now in a segment about friendship. I’ve forgotten how quickly the child’s brain processes information – at least with Sesame Street.
10:45 – “Hey, come play with me” is a great song.
10:46 – Now were learning how to take turns with the Two Headed Monster.
10:47 – How Many Cookies Today? 2!
10:48 – Now Elmo and Abby are learning to count to 2.
10:49 – A song about 2!
10:50 – Whew! I have to go FAST.
10:51 – Now we’ve got Smarty the Smartphone. And we’re talking about friends. (I’m sensing a theme here.) Now they’re playing Tic Tac Toe.
10:54 – A man and dog teaching how to play with a friend.
10:55 – Elmo is doing the Happy Dance Dance. 🙂
10:56 – Big Bird and Julia are now good friends. Goodbye NOW?! (That’s OK. It only lasts for a half hour.)
10:58 – Roll Credits – with a song!
I’m happy Julia has made the jump to TV Sesame Street. If Julia or some type of autistic child had been around Sesame Street as a kid, maybe I would have been more accepted instead of teased for being a crybaby. (To be honest, I’m getting jealous of autistic kids today. They’re having opportunities for love and acceptance I never did.)
I guess you have to start the acceptance and friendship with different people REALLY young. Hopefully, they’ll get the message one day.
I haven’t got the skills to detect if Julia is stereotypical or just right at the moment; I’ll make a more informed decision soon.