Benedict Cumberbatch, Part 2

There is a saying: “What you resist persists.” It persists, and persists, and persists. Sometimes a problem with them is all you need, but this one, well, it’s stayed. If you understand how I’m feeling (and look at the picture), you’ll understand why there’s such a crazy thing going on in my head. I mean, look at him! He’s absolutely gorgeous! Well, maybe not your kind of gorgeous, but there’s a certain quality there. Maybe, perhaps, that’s why his brand of not knowing how it really feels to be autistic-the kind of autism you have on your inside-smarts even more.

I am not really that mad at Benedict Cumberbatch. I am more of a sad. There’s almost an expectation among people that you are perceived with basic human needs and wants, and almost nobody else is aware of this expectation. I mean, just about all of us autistics are intimately, acutely aware that we perceive the world differently. The rub is, most of us want to be seen as adult humans, with needs and wants, and he spoke of us as mostly children! That is what hurt the most. But, truth is, society itself sees “disabled” people, and autistics by extension, as objects of pity. I really don’t see disabled people that way, possibly because I have been lumped in with them. It’s a blindness given to us by society that even the sighted have. I personally don’t know if he’s ready or open to an education, but if and when he is, we need to be right there to provide the source material. Only those who are really autistic can provide the true source material.

But for now, let’s gaze upon him. *sigh*

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Benedict Cumberbatch

Recently, I came across some troubling statements regarding one of my favorite actors, Benedict Cumberbatch. He spoke his experiences regarding his time spent at a school for high functioning autistics. He said this:

“I think it’s a really dangerous thing to toy with that,” (Cumberbatch) says while promoting “The Imitation Game” at the Toronto Film Festival. “People talk about me doing that quite a lot and that being a good thing for people who are on the spectrum, which is great. But I don’t go into a job going, ‘Is this autism? Is this Asperger’s? Is this some other form of slight learning difficulty or disability?’ I’m very wary of that, because I’ve met people with those conditions. It’s a real struggle all the time. Then these people pop up in my work and they’re sort of brilliant, and they on some levels almost offer false hope for the people who are going through the reality of it.”

At first, this type of statement brought out gigantic bulls of anger running through my heart. He seemed to know, but stayed ignorant, even insulted, that his characters were to be considered autistic! But, in all fairness, I decided to set my seething rage aside in order to dissect a statement like this, to see how we can further educate Mr. Cumberbatch. You see, he has spent time getting to know people with autism. This will, I am sure, inflame even more people as it inflamed me:

BC: (talking about the Creature’s origin) It’s basically being a man child, it’s being a man infant. And then, psychologically, Danny and Nick Dear, who’s adapted the Mary Shelley novel, into a brilliant 2 ½ hour play version of it, he, they both have autistic sons. So we went to two extraordinary schools and met some high spectrum autistic kids. And it was very, very humbling and amazing and very upsetting, but very, very extraordinary as well, and inspiring. And especially the people looking after them, and these amazing life forces, but just formed with…*sigh* um, socially just things that are outside of everyday.  You know, there are certain barriers that aren’t there because of the arrested development that… there was a 17 year old that had the mental age of, I think, an 18 month old. I mean, it was…

GN: Wow

BC: It’s…it’s…it’s really really extraordinary and very upsetting. And uh, it was important for them to realize that the Creature in their story was not their… the monster of old… the monster of the gothic horror stories.  He’s very much an innocent.  He’s very much someone who is carried through life, as someone who is so different, not only because of his appearance, but because of these behaviorial tics, which are very autistic, um, both in his understanding of the world, psychologically and emotionally, but also physically as well, how that manifests later in his body. And so that was the major part of the preparation.

So, what are we supposed to do, besides rage and protest? What is clear to me is that Mr. Cumberbatch is simply repeating what he has heard from an ableist society, without much input from the autistic adults in the world. It kind of sounds as offensive as Denny Crane on the TV Show “Boston Legal” saying that an African American prospect employee doesn’t “sound black.” (I have no idea what that means.) Trouble is, both men are victims of an insidious, continued stereotyping of how a certain trait is supposed to be carried out or communicated.

I guess the whole point is, trying to explain autism from neurotypicals is like trying to get a proper explanation of sex from a virgin. You are not going to get a good answer. I think we need patience to understand that.

Of course, we can also try and get our blogs to him, in order to provide a well-informed definition of autism.

Here’s a small portion of what those of us with autism can relate to for a glimpse. 

Acceptance as a Well Being Practice

Being one of the lucky ones to grow up with autism acceptance, I want autistics to realize they’re good just the way they are. Originally published in a book and on another’s post, I wanted to bring autistics the lov and acceptance which is so necessary for survival in this discriminatory world.

Musings of an Aspie

Note: This was originally published as a chapter in the book “GAP: Autism, happiness and wellbeing” (British Institute of Learning Disabilities). It’s something that I’ve been waiting to post here for months and I guess a fitting place to leave off, since it’s kind of a summary of the my journey from diagnosis to present.

This will be my last post for a while. I’ve decided to put the blog on hiatus until my language problems are less, well, problematic. Writing even once a week is taxing my limited communication resources and as much as I’ll miss this, self-care has to be a priority for me right now.  I hope to be back at some point, though I have no idea when. Until then . . .

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As a late-diagnosed autistic adult, people often ask me why I bothered seeking out a diagnosis. At age 42, I was happily married…

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10 Things An Autistic Adult Wishes You Knew

This hits the nail on the head, if you know what I mean.

Life with Autism

  1.  I am autistic, not just adult with autism. It’s part of who I am. Autism is part of who I am. I was born this way. I would not choose to change that. Acknowledging my autism as a part of me is entirely compatible with respecting me as a person with thoughts, feelings, and talents. I am a human being like everyone else and deserve the same dignity and respect that any one else deserves. Please considering whatever term I prefer and do not use language that suggests I suffer from an unfortunate disease.
  2. Autism is a neurological variation, not a disease, or mental illness. Autism often includes differences in social behavior and practical skills. My behaviors and learning styles might vary. My perceptions may differ. I may learn and understand things in way that’s different and process the world in a different way. Please do not judge me or other…

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Je Suis Charlie

Here I am, in Kentucky, wondering what I should say or do in the aftermath of the terror in Paris and the French countryside. It’s like deja vu all over again, like the days after 9/11. Those poor people in France! I just want to hug them all and say everything will be okay in time. I want to let them know that living and keeping in with the principles of free speech apparent in the existence of satire. There is victory in the very act of living when terror strikes.

Now, there is one guy I wish to ask, but I somehow feel I know the answer. You see, he is a Muslim. He is also one of those “Don’t Mess With the U.S.A.!” types. He bristles at the very existence of ISIS and terrorism supposedly justified under Islam. Believe me, I get his viewpoint. I get his viewpoint every time Westboro Baptist Church does or says anything. Google Westboro Baptist Church and you’ll see what I mean. When they talk about how God sent violence and death because of homosexuality, I cringe. Where did they get the idea that God was so graceless? Sure, there is wrong, but you can always turn around and do right, asking for forgiveness and grace. But I do not believe a punishment is the same as a consequence. Sometimes you do not need to “punish”  when a consequence is punishment enough, but I digress. I get where he is coming from.

I found a little more to draw from when some terrorists were comforted. In the reports, they interviewed a young teen from one of the villages. He was so shocked that something like this could happen in his little town, like his village was somehow soiled by it. I got that when our own was reported as having major drug problems. Now, I won’t bring those out into the light, but I can also get where he is coming from. We, as Americans, can help comfort the French to understand what has happened to them, and bring them back to a place of secure awareness. We need to help them. The French get terrorism now. We’ll help them get on our side.

Black Dolls in a White Girl’s Barbie Box

There were the oddest requests I would give Santa for Christmas, and my parents for birthday presents. One time, for instance, I asked for “dolls I had never seen before.” This, of course, led to dolls I had never seen before. Of course, by that time I had already asked for another “weird” request – “black Barbie dolls.” Why would I, a blonde white girl, ask for such things as a child? Simple – I was making friends with all kinds of dolls. Since I had trouble making friends with people, I was making friends with different dolls. My mother and father would make friends with many kinds of people, and so did my elder sister, or so I thought. Making friends with different people or dolls seemed to be the natural thing to do. Of course, I could not explain this to my parents, so the request just remained weird. Later on, I would extend this somewhat aggressive form of race relations to the kids in my middle school, often at my detriment. Sometimes these kids would bully me because I would get frustrated and scream, but this changed too. Even as I was bullied to the brink of suicide, I would try to make friends without actually knowing how. Sadly, I did grow bitter towards people due to the way members of my family treated me. Nowadays, however, as racial tension grows, I have come back to the tried-and-now-true method of race relations known as making friends. How sad is it that a person is often treated more aggressively or more harshly due to the color of their skin. This is 2015, people! This is the future of the 1960s! Why have we not moved beyond the racial barrier?!

A New Year, New Questions

OK. I’m here on New Year’s Day 2015 watching the Rose Parade, still wondering what is up with certain things.

  1. Why is what we call “REAL FOOD” so fattening? Vegetables are real food, too. I mean, as opposed to what? Holographic Meatloaf? Vegetables? Look, just because something isn’t drowning in sugar, salt and/or fat doesn’t mean it’s real food.
  2. Why are we still scared of minorities? I’ll admit, I get scared of them unjustly, too, sometimes. I was walking my dog and this young black boy walked up to a friend’s house. I thought he was going to do something wrong. It wasn’t until he asked the friend for a leash he could borrow for his new puppy that I finally calmed down. Normally, I don’t think that for everyone. So why am I even thinking of it at all? #AllLivesMatter
  3. Why are we still rejecting LGBTQs from our churches? God loves them, too. I have a distinct feeling Russia is going through its current financial crisis because of their treatment and attitudes toward LGBTQs. As a Christian, I believe the Bible calls us to be straight. No doubt there. But if we reject solely on the basis of this particular sin or that particular sin, we might as well shut down churches for lack of perfect people in the world. (There is none righteous, no not one. -Romans 3:10) No sin is greater than any other sin; we all need forgiveness.
  4. Does ANYBODY know exactly what we do with Natural Gay people? I’m not sure if the Bible writers were even aware of the homosexual nature. I guess I’ve got a soft spot for LGBTQs. They need God’s love and forgiveness as, well, me.
  5. Why are people still scared of autism? I hear stories of people depicting a person with autism as a burden, and a strain on anyone they meet. As far as I know, I, a person with autism, am a help to everyone I know. Far be it from me to toot my own horn, but it’s only a need to define that people with autism are not a tragedy, if you do not let them be. Lift them up to God, for He knows what to do.

More questions are coming.