Wednesday, July 14, 2010

neurodiversity's interesting take on Christian Weston Chandler

I was interested to to read a post on the It's Tabi's time blog by a youthful neurodiversity blogger about an individual who has autism who is about 28 years old and is a virgin and apparently complains about his celibacy, stalks women, dresses in a vulgar fashion and apparently spouts bigoted comments about various ethnic groups and homosexuals.

Until last night, I had never heard of this individual, Christian Weston Chandler. I am very grateful to my friend Chelsea, author of the It's Tabi's time blog, for bringing this individual to my attention for two reasons.

The first reason is that the celibacy that not uncommonly occurs amongst autistic males and the frustration it causes them is rarely written about on the internet or elsewhere. Readers of autism's gadfly know that I am one of the exceptions to this rule. Another exception to this rule is my friend David Miedzianik ,who long before Tom Mckean or individuals such as Stephen Shore and John Robison published their memoirs, who are barely affected by their autism if at all, was the sole male in the world to have written a memoir of any kind about his life's experiences with autism. In fact, at one time, he and Temple Grandin were the only persons so far as I know to have written about their life's experiences with autism and to have it published in any form. I have written about David elsewhere. I am also gratified to see that the torch has been passed to one of the younger generation of autistics, my friend 18-year-old Oliver Canby, author of the autism is bad blog. Unfortunately, Oliver, David and myself would seem to be the exceptions to the rule of helping to publicize this problem that I suspect neurodiversity proponents and others don't wish to discuss. Though it would seem that Christian is a profoundly troubled individual with a very serious disability, I suspect that part of his problem stems from an inability to get laid. His rejection by the opposite sex has apparently caused him to lash out at some others and possibly make inappropriate and untoward advances to some women.

The second reason is that Chelsea's post and take on the matter shows a lot of what is wrong with neurodiversity given the ND point of view in general and Chelsea's point of view in particular. One of the tenets of neurodiversity is that autism is not a disorder that needs to be cured but a different way of being that needs acceptance and accommodation by society. Chelsea has been an active supporter of Ari Ne'eman and has applauded his appointment to the NDC and IACC. Ne'eman has written that social pleasantry should be eliminated as a criteria for hiring people for jobs and as something that should be used to evaluate someone's job performance. He makes this statement in spite of never actually having had a real job of any kind in his life. Chelsea, an 18-year-old with no life or work experience either, has expressed agreement with this. One would think that Chelsea would believe that if social unpleasantry should be tolerated in the workplace., that Mr. Chandler should be given a job, be able to sexually accost woman in his workplace, make bigoted statements and dress inappropriately on the job and still be able to keep his job and not have this be a criteria for evaluating his job performance that her attitudes would extend to Chandler's behavior outside of the workplace.

Strangely enough, this does not seem to be the case she writes on her blog:

This man is an embarrassment to the autistic community. He whines about his virginity at age 27. He dresses inappropriately in public (I mean in a potentially offensive way, not just unfashionable). Apparently he is a racist, sexist, and homophobe with no respect for human diversity. He is so desperate to have a girlfriend, that he will hunt down any BF-free girl he comes across on the internet or in real life. I am unsure of how this all came about. Most ignorant people would assume that it was his autism that caused it all, so the logical answer is to get rid of it (cure it).

If autistics need acceptance and accommodation by society, why would Christian be an embarrassment? One would think Chelsea and her friends would have empathy for this individual and say that it is society's problem. If social unpleasantry should be tolerated in the workplace, then why not in friendships, internet communications and choosing a mate? I would think that Chelsea and the other female ND activists should be glad to hop in the sack with this guy and give him some happiness. I must be one of those ignorant people that is referred to in the blog post because I would suspect it is his autism, or whatever you want to call the defect in his brain that causes him to behave in this manner, of course exacerbated by the frustration his celibacy causes. Though there is currently no cure for Chandler's condition, I would assume that if there was one that this would be the ultimate solution and he would be happy to have one so that he could be a productive member of society and work and have a romantic relationship with a woman.

The blog post ends on this note:

So the point of this post is, I would like to know a practical solution to deal with people who display these unacceptable behaviors and have no desire to change them.

In addition to being impressed by Chelsea's omniscience in knowing that Christian has no desire to change, I will concede that I don't have the solution for helping Mr. Chandler either. I wish I did. However, the ultimate goal (which does not exist) would be to cure Mr. Chandler of his autism, so he does not have these problems and does not have to go through life suffering as he does.

Apparently, most ND's not only not want to help him if there were a cure available and demonize organizations such as autism speaks who want to find a cure for an individual like this, a good number of them apparently want to mock and ridicule this poor man rather than having empathy for him. To Chelsea's credit, she is not one of these people. Of course this is not the case with everyone. Some character who calls himself "Nitz the bloody" writes in the post's comments section:

Okay, I'll admit to being a huge fan of the trolling of CWC,

I looked at this person's profile and briefly looked at his blog and found out he was one of the attendees of autreat, that annual unsavory conclave of neurodiversity hatemongers. So we see instead of saying that Mr. Chandler needs acceptance we see that at least some people think it is okay to harass and mock and ridicule this individual.

Neurodiverse logic will most likely never stop baffling me.

22 comments:

Kent Adams said...

Jonathan,

I think may be missing a bigger point here. Here we have someone that has AS and a profound social impairment, not all that uncommon by the way. There are a lot of Chris' in my support group. The bigger point is that here is another example of a Hub Blogger making a point of using her higher social level understanding to tear down an autistic person with a very low functioning understanding of social rules. Par for the course over at the Hub. I read her post and thought, hmmm, this is a young person, probably not really affected by autism, somewhat geeky but not really typical AS. Chris is typical AS from my experience, though he blends in his own upbringing and personality into it. Its just another example of why its bad not to demand diagnosis papers when you are propagating an aggregation site that wishes to represent all of us but in fact represents very few of us.

Catatab_Tabimount said...

First of all, I am not a hub blogger! I am just a blogger.

So you are judging the severity of my autism from a blog I started 4 months ago, even just a single post I made? Seriously, Kent. You would be very shocked to know how my life all started out. I know you are assuming it, but I am not self-diagnosed!! I had a speech delay, I have been in special ed, I have been bullied a lot, I have been under a ton of stress this year trying to prepare for college. I did poorly on the critical reading section of the SAT, because of all that abstract thinking.

People who know me would hardly label me as a geek. I was considered "one of those weirdos who did not deserve a position on the social hierarchy." Now I would just be considered a hippie without the drugs and the lack of hygiene.

lurker said...

From what I've seen about him so far, it's obvious he has a lot of problems dealing with others, which maybe could be remedied depending on his aptitude. I think someone would have to have serious talks with him to help him know how to deal with things. I don't know what kind of contact with others he usually has in his daily life, but I doubt he's getting a realistic perception of how to act based upon what he observes in public life. I wouldn't say the described behavior of his is only due to autism, as there are varied ways to react to difficult circumstances, but I think it's obvious his behaviors and difficulties have been influenced by the way he has autism.

I worry that he would be cited as an example of why autistics in general remain unfortunate. Such as when Chelsea said in her post that lack of motivation has led to the failure of both high and low functioning autistics. I think it will be awful if many who witness those on the spectrum such as him, many of whom are getting off on mocking the behavior they see in them, are led away from realizing that many on the spectrum don't have as much aptitude for improvement as Chandler may have, and consequently may think that they only want to persist in their unhealthy behavior. I don't think they realize that many on the spectrum are trying with lots of effort to get ahead with even basic goals, while they seldom are compensated with success. I don't want them thinking the fortunate high-functioning ones became successful simply through effort and heeding the advice of others.

JediKnight2 said...

I've also mentioned CWC to you a while ago.

I'll tell you one thing- at least autistics like me and him aren't stubborn and annoying in a negative way, particularly in person, like aspies and other autistics who do not have language disorders or delayed speech and usually aren't affected as bad. For some reason, I find someone like myself to be in the minority of disabled individuals who lack executive functioning, abstract reasoning, have language disorders without autism and other cognitive deficits who are "losers" and never care about how they come across to people. It's also not uncommon to come across those type of people registered with the college's/university's disability office, and to have at least one individual like that in every other class or group in a setting such as school. Unfortunately, people such as myself tend to fall into their trap and don't have the social skills and any balls to stand up for themselves. They'll just end up being "friends" because autistic individuals like me can't make friends on his/her own. The following video below demonstrates what the disabled stubborn people are like towards me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxEXiJg7wkk

Stubbornness is, yet, another reason autism and other mental disabilities need a cure.

Anonymous said...

"...stalks women...and apparently spouts bigoted comments about various ethnic groups and homosexuals..."

Lemme guess, the people who don't like being treated that way get accused of being in the wrong when they dislike that treatment instead of automatically assuming "s/he might have autism so I should assume s/he means well" and sucking it up. See:

http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot.com/2010/02/some-thoughts-on-intolerance.html (making that kind of accusation)

and

http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/#comment-113570 (rebutting that kind of accusation)

Anonymous said...

"...One would think that Chelsea would believe that if social unpleasantry should be tolerated in the workplace., that Mr. Chandler should be given a job, be able to sexually accost woman in his workplace, make bigoted statements and dress inappropriately on the job and still be able to keep his job and not have this be a criteria for evaluating his job performance..."

Good point.

BTW, what about when worker A bullies coworker B at work for having a disability like being deaf or using a wheelchair?

How many people think A and B's boss should tell A to stop in the name of disabled people's rights (because B's suffering workplace bullying for his or her disability)?

How many people think A and B's boss should do nothing think A and B's boss should do nothing to stop A (because treating B as respectfully as any other coworker would be a social pleasantry too)?

Anonymous said...

"The first reason is that the celibacy that not uncommonly occurs amongst autistic males "

Good point and it's true for a lot of women too.

http://www.feministing.com/archives/008329.html#comment-124199

"It's an absolute lie that all women can get sex whenever they want. Men want to sleep with women, for sure. But they will NOT sleep with any woman.

Have you never witnessed men mocking women for being "fat chicks?" Nit-picking about women's bodies?

Plain-looking women, "old" women, homeless women and fat women (among others) are women too. But it seems when the topic of sex arises, we disappear."

Autistic women who have no social skills, no physical hotness, and no relatives willing to arrange marriages for them prob. count too.

JediKnight2 said...

"...stalks women...and apparently spouts bigoted comments about various ethnic groups and homosexuals..."

Those are all rumors the bullies love to spout out to annoy Chris, particularly since some of them have AS and know how to tick him off based from their own experience growing up.

"Lemme guess, the people who don't like being treated that way get accused of being in the wrong when they dislike that treatment instead of automatically assuming "s/he might have autism so I should assume s/he means well" and sucking it up."

Why should people in society spend their lives "sucking up" to those stubborn people? That's basically what Neurodiversity believes in.

Anonymous said...

Since you have no comments section on your essays, I'm commenting here:

"Like Gates and Einstein, Jefferson had a large circle of friends and lovers. His friends included George Wythe, Dabney Carr, Edmund Randolph and marquies de lafeyette. He was married to Martha Wayles for ten years until her death. He also had romantic relations with Maria Cosway and Sally Hemmings."

Martha Wayles and Maria Cosway are good examples here! Sally Hemmings is *not*.

Hemmings was *enslaved* and Jefferson *legally owned* her. Therefore, he didn't actually need to use any social skills in order to have sex with her and get her pregnant. Maybe he did use social skills with her, maybe he just got away with raping her instead. She wasn't exactly in a position to say no and make it stick.

Isomeone today flies to Bangkok and rapes someone enslaved in a brothel while the laws against slavery aren't enforced enough, that doesn't prove he (or she) has enough social skills for romance either.

SM69 said...

2- I don’t know this person of course, but any addiction, towards anything really, sex, stalking etc does exist in people irrespectively of AS. It is not just lacking social skills that is the issue, it is to be addicted. This is a serious matter that takes a lot of work for NT people to correct.

From my limited experience of adults with AS, who presents with far fewer issues that Chris Chan appears to have, changing life style, even a tiny bit, is nearly impossible for them to achieve, without full support of a loving family, care or a fantastic home placement (which I have yet to come across). And to be honest, it is also difficult for NT people. If they do not have the right support and maturity, changing something that should be trivial, like diet for example, can be excessively hard for some. This is partly a cultural issue too. What takes people to change requires, support (information, stimulation, motivation), maturity and personal strengths. None of which is commonly seen in AS.

I don’t think Chris Chan is likely to be helped; to me he is a walking accident waiting to happen. But he is not the one to blame.

SM69 said...

I had read your post a few days ago but had not followed the links- I am not too sure what this enyclopediadramatica is but, called me retrograde if you want, to me, it does not look any better than Chris-Chan himself. It is absolutely tasteless in content and information- In my opinion this type of publication is far more concerning and has far greater negative impact on people, than someone who you might have gone off the rail because he has AS + addiction and behave shockingly towards others. In fact, it may well be, that it is because of that type of publications that the guy is confused. Pornography and culture-less sites do not teach social skills, lovemaking, or sexuality.

Furthermore, we have to be honest and responsible too, sexuality (healthy sexuality) is a taboo. It is not discussed openly and it is not dealt with on healthy terms- the issues are worse still for people with a disability. So, are we really that surprised that someone like Chris Chan does exist? I am not the very least.

See note 2

Anonymous said...

SM69, what do you recommend for those of us people who don't wan to be sexually harassed at work or at school? What do you think we should do when we are harassed?

SM69 said...

Anon

I am not too sure why this question was addressed to me, but since you have asked, I will try to answer it.

Harassment of any nature when it exists needs to be brought to light for it to stop. But there are different ways to do this. The potential problem (which is why harassment/ bullying works) is that to raise the issue can back clash against the person making the complaint.

So, it is essential to be certain there is indeed harassment, what nature it takes, how often it has been going on for, and what will be the consequences in reporting it and how should it be reported. If the person who is harassed is of a minority, like a disability, you absolutely needs an advocate to raise the issue. But in first instance, you need someone to discuss all the issues with you, someone who can collate evidence for you and identify the way to proceed.

Women are commonly harassed sexually, to some extent it is part of who we are too. Some women probably partly stimulate that sexual interest and it is not uncommon to also like feeling like a victim. It is important to know everything that come into play in a given situation, and this is a lot easier to do with someone who can analyse the issues and speak for you or at least help you find the right answers.

Kent Adams said...

What do you think we should do when we are harassed?

Report it, but don't become a bully in turn which is what that website showed. It shows someone with a lot more power to bully and if the person who created is claiming she simply has experienced some untoward and clumsy sexual advance by this disabled person, then the so called victim in my mind is really playing victim here and knows this individual has a disability and chose to exploit it.

The person who made that website in my mind is dangerous.

Anonymous said...

"Harassment of any nature when it exists needs to be brought to light for it to stop. But there are different ways to do this. The potential problem (which is why harassment/ bullying works) is that to raise the issue can back clash against the person making the complaint."

Thanks for the tips on reporting harasment after it happens!

I'd also like to know the things you and other people here recommend for doing when being harassed (during the harassment).

"Report it, but don't become a bully in turn which is what that website showed."

The people who were sexually harassed in this case *aren't the same people who put the website together.*

As you can see on http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Main_Page , the website is a wikipedia-style site tastelessly making fun of many different online arguments on Livejournal, Youtube, 4chan, etc. (they probably found out about the CWC case from reading comments on some Youtube videos). The people who wrote the "article" on CWC copied and pasted what the victims said from elsewhere when they didn't make it up themselves.

Also note that the "article" on the case of one of the victims bullies her too: http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Chris-chan/Megan_Saga

Kent Adams said...

I'd also like to know the things you and other people here recommend for doing when being harassed (during the harassment).

Well, it starts with a better sense of self esteem. If this very disabled person can pull you off your stability, you have other issues and I would suggest seeing a counselor.

Kent Adams said...

Having reviewed that website you linked, I would have to say that this seems to be a teen issue better left to professional counselors. No one there seems very stable.

SM69 said...

Thanks for the tips on reporting harasment after it happens!


Harassment can only be defined from the point it has occurred. Therefore it can only be reported after it happens and not before. What happens before harassment can be called paranoia, or vivid imagination... who knows?! Nothing has happened yet right?

I guess I would have to agree with the last 2 comments, even in extremely challenging situations with fully grown up ASD, I have never felt scared. I might have felt annoyed, like running out of patience, but never got concerned for my safety or peace of mind. I think someone with ASD always makes sense, even with aberrant behaviors, even with violence and some unpredictability. I don't think this is the case of all conditions though, or when people are under drug or alcohol influence.

I'd like to say there are Internet sites, other than this encyclopedia dramatica, like YT, FB or various blogs, which promotes harassment and bullying. If you are afraid of being harassed, just don't go there.

In any case, a person with ASD is the person to help, and not the other way round. It does not mean we have to accept everything, it means that when there is a problem with someone with ASD, we are the ones who should find the ways to solve it. Don't expect someone who does not see the problem fully or does not have the means to correct it, to actually do this.

Anonymous said...

"Well, it starts with a better sense of self esteem. If this very disabled person can pull you off your stability, you have other issues and I would suggest seeing a counselor."

How about when someone doesn't enjoy being subjected to harassing behaviors (for example, someone who doesn't enjoy being hugged by someone he already told he wasn't interested, or someone who doesn't enjoy being pinned against a wall by someone she already told she wasn't interested)?

Liking yourself doesn't have to mean liking other people invading your personal space, liking other people ignoring what you say to them, etc.

"Therefore it can only be reported after it happens and not before. What happens before harassment can be called paranoia, or vivid imagination... who knows?! Nothing has happened yet right?"

That's true!

"What do you think we should do when we are harassed?" clearly isn't about *reporting* harassment *before* one is harassed! It is about *doing* something about harassment *when* one is harassed.

"I'd like to say there are Internet sites, other than this encyclopedia dramatica, like YT, FB or various blogs, which promotes harassment and bullying. If you are afraid of being harassed, just don't go there."

That helps a bit but not 100% since sexual harassment and other harassment happen offline too. For example, there's a good discussion about offline harassment at http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger’s-rapist-or-a-guy’s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/

"In any case, a person with ASD is the person to help, and not the other way round."

In the case of harassment, the person being harassed is the person to help first, no matter if he or she or the harasser or both or neither has an ASD.

Kent Adams said...

Anon,

This is a conversation you should have with an adult you trust near you if possible, perhaps a parent or student counselor at your school. You won't find answers on the internet because internet folks don't know the situation or the people involved.

No one with ASD like Chris' I know understands social rules at all. Chris' development may be so far arrested, and yours too since you hang around him, that you are dealing with not adults but children when it comes to issues like this. The body may be adult but the mind may be that of a child. I don't exclude myself from this characterization by the way. I have some arrested development in certain parts of my life but I have come to recognize it. Perhaps one day you and Chris will also recognize it when you're in your 40's like me. Either way, you should seek advice locally, not on the internet.

Anonymous said...

"Why should people in society spend their lives 'sucking up' to those stubborn people? That's basically what Neurodiversity believes in."

Yes, the "I don't have to care what you think but you have to care what I think" thing seems way less like installing ramps and elevators for people who use wheelchairs along with stairs for people who walk than like demanding "subordinate's intuition" of neurotypical people and putting the rest of the people in a privileged position.

In _The Mismeasure of Woman_, page 65 of the 1992 paperback edition, researcher Carol Tavris says of so-called "women's intuition":

"...But this is not a _female_ skill; it is a _self-protective_ skill, and the sex gap fades when the men and women in question are equal in power. In a brilliant experiment on women's intuition, psychologist Sara Snodgrass paired men and women in work teams. Sometimes she assigned the man to be the leader, sometimes the woman. She found that the person in the subordinate (follower) position was more sensitive to the leader's nonverbal signals than the leader was to the follower's cues. This difference occurred whether a man or a woman was the leader or follower, leading Snodgrass to conclude that 'women's intuition' should properly be called 'subordinate's intuition.' Men, like women, manage to develop empathetic skills when they need to read a boss's temper and intentions for their own security or advantage..."

---

"and yours too since you hang around him"

I actually don't hang around him at all. I've never met Chris or even communicated with him online.

I just read the blog post, read the pages Jonathan linked to,and saw a bunch of comments here saying that he can't help it when he harasses other people.

That made me wonder, given (a) that such people exist in the world (Chris is just 1 example) and (b) that some of you excuse them for the harassment they do and (c) other social rules against harassment don't discourage them from harassing other people either, what do those of you people who excuse them recommend that those of us people who don't want to be harassed do?

Hence the questions.

Ben Pounds said...

First off: ED is not the best source. Just for context: From my understanding, based on reading in between the trolls' lines on CWCiki (a more elaborate site dedicated to him) and watching his own videos, CWC's problems tend to arise primarily from his gullibility and desire to engage with trolls, many of whom seem to have a morbid love-hate relationship with him. He seems easily influenced by girls who he wants to impress as well as by anyone who bullies him. He wants to show up anyone who disapproves of him rather than simply ignoring them. To me, this would seem to have little to do with autism, but I'm not that familiar with the symptoms. He probably would want to be cured of autism if such a cure was available. He seems to have suggested as much in his comics.