Feb. 1st, 2017

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So by now you’ve probably seen the clip of white supremacist and noted shithead Richard Spencer getting punched in the face. If you haven’t, here’s what all the fuss is about.

God, that’s satisfying to watch, isn’t it? One moment he’s talking about his goddamn Pepe the Frog pin, and the next he’s getting smacked around like a ripe pinata. This is a man who thinks non-whites are predisposed to low intelligence and criminal behavior, who refuses to denounce the KKK, and who’s been caught using the Nazi salute. If there were a list of Americans who deserve to be punched, Spencer would be right near the top. No wonder there’s already a site dedicated to cataloging all the wacky musical remixes of him taking one to the cheek.

There’s just one problem – getting punched is exactly what Spencer and his ilk want. And it’s not even a sex thing. 

The alt-right – the neo-Nazis – get to present themselves as the rational, wronged party. Meanwhile, the mainstream media that they constantly decry as biased are treating a crime (moral debate aside, it is illegal to just punch a dude in the face) as hilarious. Remember, the alt-right presents themselves as rational defenders of civilization bravely taking a stand against violent, repressive hordes who are trying to tear down the modern culture that white men worked so hard to build. Celebrating one of them getting punched in the face and then debating what music makes it funnier is the best propaganda they could ask for. And don’t take my word for it – they’re literally telling us that.

The Creepy Neo Nazi PR Strategy They Don’t Want You To Know

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Aspergers/autism is seeing a needle, and then a minute later possibly noticing the haystack.

This is so accurate it almost hurts.

I don’t understand this

it means you pick up on weird extremely esoteric little details about things while completely overlooking what seems most obvious to everybody else 

like. someone asks a silly question and you think and give it a really serious comprehensive answer, while everyone else realizes it was a joke. or you have to do this really repetitive mind-numbing task, and you’re halfway done before someone walks by and tells you you’re doing it “wrong” and theres actually a much simpler/more common way to do it, which didnt even occur to you but seems self-explanatory to allistic ppl. that type of thing 

Autistic brains analyse bottom-up, while other people their brains analyse top-down.

In one of the books about autism that I have, their is a picture that illustrates this perfectly. It’s an illustration of a forest with the trees vaguely drawn but all the little details like a mouse and mushrooms are drawn in great detail. The explanation next to the illustration was the following; When a person with ASD walks into a forest, his/her brain starts to collect information to create a context just all the other kinds of brains do, but the autistic brain starts at the bottom. First it sees the mushrooms, then some leafs, a bird flying by, the bushes, … Meanwhile the not-autistic brain in the same situation will notice the large group of trees first. The non-autistic brain will think “Ah a big group of trees, this is probably a forest”, and then goes on searching for details that confirms this and adds more information. At the same time, the autistic brain still doesn’t know it is in a forest, however, it does know it is somewhere where there are mushrooms and wild animals. The brain will continue to look for details until it finally reaches the point it notices the trees and other obvious signs you are in a forest. 

TL;DR/ An autistic brain uses details to create a big picture of a situation. A non-autistic brain will use the general context to create the big picture.

This difference in processing information has some consequences, like @marxism-sjwism already mentioned.

Other occurring ‘problems’ are f.e.: doing tasks slower, getting tired easily*, becoming overstimulated when there is too much information, headaches, intolerant of bright colors/loud sounds/touch/smells/taste**, having difficulties doing a certain task because the details weren’t explained to you, getting stressed out because a detail changed in a situation***,…

*Because an autistic brain processes a lot more information than any other brain, it also demands a lot of energy from its body. Sadly, the human body can’t provide the energy this kind of brain needs. As a result, most, if not every, person with ASD gets tired quickly and needs hours, or even days, of relaxation to reload its batteries. Especially after big events like going to a party f.e. (I myself need a lot of sleep).

**Because the autistic brain gets its information from details, it has hardly any filters. When a non-autistic person is at a party and talking to someone, his/her brain wil cancel out other inputs so it can focus on the conversation. An autistic-brain doesn’t do this, or if it does, it isn’t doing a good job.  When a person with ASD is at the same party, talking to the same person as the the person without ASD, he/she will have difficulties understanding the conversation and keeping focused, because the brain isn’t canceling out all the other information. The conversation a nearby group of people is having will be equally as loud as the conversation he/she is participating in. This also means that a person with ASD can get easily distracted. F.e.: I was talking with someone, when suddenly I could hear two people talking in the room next door. It was a muffled noise and I could not understand what they were saying, but it was enough to distract me and render me unable to keep focused on my own conversation, resulting in me forgetting what I was saying mid sentence over and over again. Anyway, worst case scenario, if there is to much information for the autistic-brain to handle, it will become overstimulated, and this overstimulation often results in a fight-or-flight reaction. This behavior is often illustrated in mainstream media by an autistic child who suddenly becomes unmanageable, crying, kicking, screaming, … often at public places like a supermarket. Not every person with ASD will throw a tantrum when becoming overstimulated, some shut down, some start crying (like I do), some get angry, … It’s important to understand that this person is not being an asshole because he/she wants too, or that the child is not badly raised. These people their brains have triggered a natural instinct and their is nothing they can do about that except obey it. Best thing to do is to remove them from the situation to another less stimulating environment where they can calm down.

***Last but not least, there is another important consequence of having a brain that gets its information from details: it doesn’t recognize a same situation when a detail is changed. This causes difficulties in many different kinds of situations and it can occur in many different ways. A person with ASD will find it difficult to drive a different (brand of) car than he/she is used too, because, even though it’s a car and all cars operate the same, small details like a different dashboard layout can be confusing and stressful. A more extreme example is when the barman in a pub you frequent always wears a red shirt, but one day he wears a blue one. The change in color is enough for the autistic brain to think this is a completely different and new situation and thus it operate as if this is a new situation. This is why people with ASD can be insecure in situations that should be no big deal. Or why people with ASD seem to forget how to do a certain task, or lose their shit while any other person quickly adapts, all because something is different. Or also why they keep asking for explanation on how to do a certain task even though they have been doing it for months.

All these things are mostly downsides of having an autistic brain but it also has its benefits. People with ASD notice details much easier and faster which can come in handy when doing certain jobs. They also make different connections and come to new ideas that others never would’ve thought of. 

The work they do is often more correctly because they pay attention to details, include details, or want to make sure it is 100% the way it should be because their brain only takes peace with that. Consequently, a lot of people on the spectrum also have a high sense of justice and are good detectives, insurance agents, police(wo)men, lawyers, mystery shoppers, …

A brain like this makes these people also excellent at IT, gaming, art, music, programming, math, bookkeeping, science, sorting, systematization,… 

Sadly, people on the spectrum are often still seen as a problem instead as and added value. Like Temple Grandin often says; The world needs to realize it needs different kinds of brains to work together to reach greater heights. 

…wow. this explains sooooo much. thanks for the addition

Jumping in: Temple Grandin once described the thought processes of someone with an ASD, and it fits in with this and is SUPER COOL.

Imagine you ask two people to draw a dog. One does not have an ASD, and one has an ASD. 
The person without ASD thinks about the word “dog” and draws a very generalized dog. The brain complies the symbols that make up “dog”, out of all the dogs they’ve ever seen, and you get floppy ears, waggy tail, four legs, long body, a doggo snoot, etc. 

The person WITH an ASD thinks about the word dog and draws a specific dog. Their brains go through basically a visual file folder that holds an accurate picture of EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL DOG THEY HAVE EVER SEEN. From there, they decide on WHICH dog means “dog” to them at that moment, and draw it. That dog is a specific dog, with a name, who existed. 

IDK man, but that is cool as shit to me

all these generalizations of “The Autistic Brain” are … well, about as bogus as overgeneralizations tend to be.

like, okay, i’m one of those [can’t see the forest for the mushrooms] autistics, but husband is more noticeably autistic than me and he is TOTALLY a big picture person. weird thing is, i get accused of being a big picture person all the time, because i know how much i hyperfocus on details and so i actively try to see the big picture. 

this is just one tiny anecdotal example (the irony of which is not lost on me) of how these overgeneralizations leave out lots of very autistic autistics. husband is not the only big-picture autistic i know, but one of MANY.

also if you ask me to draw a dog i will draw a cartoon of a generalized dog. this may be partly because the detail dogs i see in my head are beyond my drawing skill level! ;)

Temple Grandin described autistics as if we all thought like her. newsflash, we don’t. the fact is that there is as much variation among autistics as there is among people in general.

others could probably explain better than me but i don’t know who has spoons right now so if you’re autistic and you want to add to this, please do.

Last commentator is right although usual caveats in ref. Finding Yourself in someone else’s narrative and going “that’s totes me tho” and feeling Better because of it and that being legit too.

If you ask me to draw a dog I will tell you to go and find someone who likes drawing, which is either a fundamental missing of the point or a lunge straight to the heart of the point: take your pick.

This is one of the many Things I Do, and I’m sorry for talking about Things I Do, but I can’t speak for the lived experiences of others and I try not to do that to people I actually respect. I wonder, sometimes, if that’s a theory of mind thing - if you have to make an effort to think as the other thinks, you realise that you’re stretching?

(While I’m thinking about Things I Do: the Thing about not being able to recognise situations when change has occurred? Yes. This is why I am terrible at finding things. I know where my keys go. They go in a pocket. Once I’ve checked every pocket I can find I have no fucking idea where else to look, because I have checked all the places where the keys go.)

I suppose another take-home from this is that aspies, autists and full spectrum rainbow warriors tend to be total woolgatherers. It… is hard, sometimes, to follow the connections between this thing and that thing, especially if some parallel process has fired it off because it’s finished thinking that thing through and there’s no other connection between this thing and that thing…

… and this is probably all stuff that happens to allistics too, because it always is. Every time I think I have a grasp of this diagnosable and definable condition I am told that no, that experience is neurotypical, try again.

A critical mass of these traits amounts to a diagnosis but none of these traits are innately Autistic Traits. I forget who wrote that paper on autistic behaviours (it’ll come up when I next have to write something about ASD and its theoretical/clinical ‘origin story’) but that was a major thing and this is a major trend within the various professional discourses: there are no behaviours which are unilaterally, always and forever, Things Only Autists Do.

I remember something which really sticks out to me, even 20 years on. 

I was 10 years old, and flipping through a ‘spot the difference’ book. There were two pictures, very similar, of macaq monkeys in a Japanese hot spring. I picked out missing monkeys in the background, snow on one monkey’s head and not on the other’s, bushes changed, etc. 

My mother leant over and went, “Yeah but you did notice it’s snowing in one picture and not the other?”

I hadn’t.
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Hermione Granger has had to accept a lot of weird shit since she turned 11.

Magic: real.

Witches and wizards: real.

Dragons: real.

That is a lot to swallow, which is why it always bewilders me that when Luna Lovegood comes up to tell her about Crumpled-Horned Snorkracks, Hermione’s first reason is to scoff that they’re not real.

When Hermoine was ten, she knew magic wasn’t real.

When Hermione was thirteen she knew Voldemort would not rise again.

When Hermione was fourteen she knew the Ministry of Magic was a force for good.

Why, as readers, are we supported to treat her assertions as anything but complacency and narrow-mindedness? There is nothing about a Crumple-Horned Snorkrack that makes it any less believable than, say, Quintapeds or Billywigs. They are all invented for Harry Potter and Hermione has never seen them, but she believes that exist because what? They’re written about in a book? The same books approved by the Ministry that is shown to be so very broken in that exact same book?

This isn’t an attack on Hermione Granger, btw, it’s an attack on a particular flaw in world building I call ‘A Very Specific Level of Disbelief.’

In short, this happens when the author or creator asks the reader to suspend their disbelief on a certain thing, than asks then to exercise skepticism on something very similar or identical to the original objects of suspension of disbelief. The result in jarring and confusing, and can result on losing the atmosphere of the story because why are we questioning this thing and not this other thing?

I’m a huge fan of the Blake and Mortimer series of French BD. However, it runs up against this problem in a big way with L’Affaire du Collier, a straightforward locked room mystery that comes right on the heels of books that included, among other things: ancient Egyptian magic, mind control rays, weather control devices, a time machine and the lost city of Atlantis.

Dude, it’s not an Enigma if you give it away in the bloody title.

After all that, all I could think while reading the book was why the main characters weren’t considering a teleportation device or a ray that can let you walk through walls or the aforementioned time machine. It would be entirely within the series’ tone and structure. But in fact there is nothing weird and it’s a straightforward heist that still stands out among the series as being the one of the only non-weird science installments. 

(One had flying saucers and time travel and raising people from the dead in the same episode. Yes, I will one day write a series of reviews covering these books. They’re crack).

And rainbows, because why the fuck not that this point?

Similarly, the world of Fallout asks us to accept that radiation is basically magic in that world. Okay, that’s cool. Yet that the same time asks us to dismiss the Children of the Atom who worship radiation as a god as stupid cultists. I was playing through Far Harbour yesterday and it struck me how much sense the Fallout world would make if their assertions were completely true. 

It would explain the various levels of weird science throughout the series and frankly the idea of a god of radiation rising through mass sacrifice of billions of beings is just so epic that my character converted to the Church of Atom on the spot and I’m thinking of modifying his character to give him an awesome Atom tattoo.

This woman has lived over 200 years because of radiation but worshipping it? How silly.

That being said, there are ways of showing a certain interpretation of the story’s lore is wrong without asking up to bend out suspension of disbelief into prezels. 

The trick is the old adage of show, not tell. Don’t assume the reader is just going to agree with you that said thing is impossible, show them why it is impossible. If Blake and Mortimer had explored the idea of a teleportation beam and decided it was impossible, we would feel a lot more centered in the story.

JKR actually pulls it off very well with Hermione’s disbelief of Divination. She is originally open to the subject, but after it is amply demonstrated to both her and the audience that Trelawney is a fraud, we come to the same decision as Hermione.

It also helps if the thing we are supposed to doubt in is very different from the original focus of our suspension of disbelief. For example, Star Trek wants us to accept their tech babble as actual reliable science. Asking up to disbelieve the existence of magic, therefore, is fine. Asking us to dismiss the existence of techno babble that allows people to turn others to toads, however, would be harder.

So, show not tell. If you want us to doubt the existence of unicorns, don’t start off by asking us to believe in dragons.
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If you aren’t at least a little ashamed of your country’s history, you don’t know your country’s history.

Except for Iceland. You just can’t be ashamed of Iceland or the fairies will kill you.

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