Monday, January 19, 2015

happy anniversary to Gadfly

Just now, I was looking at jonathan's journal, the short lived predecessor to Autism's Gadfly, and I noticed that the date that I moved my blogging activity here was January 18, 2008.  This means that yesterday was the seventh anniversary of this blog.  I've never blogged about an anniversary before and I suppose seven years is not a milestone like ten years is, but I was still thinking about all I've been through since I created this blog.  When web developer Tim Boucher heard my studio 360 show on NPR, he was duly impressed with my interview and offered to build me a website free of charge at the end of 2002.  It had this journaling section without the ability to post comments that was a less sophisticated version of blogger, but powered by Blogger.  Twelve years ago, blogging was still something very new and I was not sure what to do with the journal section.  Eventually, I ended up posting a few things.  I wrote a rough version of my article, Neurodiversity, Just Say No, which I made into a whole article later.  Harold Doherty was nice enough to give the article a shout out on his blog.  This drew the ire of some members of the neurodiversity movement, particularly Michelle Dawson who stated that she wanted to comment on the article, but I had no comments and she alleged that Harold did not allow her to comment on his blog.  Other people seemed to be concerned that I was something of a chickenshit because I would dare write polemic on the internet without allowing people to refute my notions in a comment section.  I'd seen other blogs such as the now defunct Autism Diva and Harold Doherty's.

I decided to move my blogging from Jonathan's Journal to a new blogger blog Autism's Gadfly seven years ago yesterday for this reason.  I knew about personal attacks so I decided to add comment moderation.  Michelle Dawson then engaged in an angry rant, declaring that because I was opposed to neurodiversity this meant I was opposed to human rights.  Because I moderated comments, she stated that she would never comment on my blog as apparently I'd delete any comemnts she made that disagreed with mine.  I turned off the moderation and offered to allow her to comment, but she declined.  After leaving comment moderation off, I began to get vicious personal attacks from some of the more unsavory members of ND.  I deleted a long verbose comment by one individual who was rude and who threatened to make my life miserable and irritate me.  He continued to repost the comment after I deleted it, so I decided not to let Michelle Dawson (and others) dictate my life so I have enabled moderation.  I still publish most comments, even those that vehemently disagree with me and are sometimes nasty.  Some people seem to be dedicated to harassing me because they don't like my anti-neurodiversity pro-cure message and a few of them went over the line and I banned them.

I've seen a number of blogs come and go over the last eight or nine years or so.  Autism Diva, Natural Variation, Whose Planet is it Anyway.  Now I'm saddened that MJ of the Autism Jabberwocky has decided to retire.  I've still kept going all these years in spite of all the harassment and personal attacks and even libelous statements that I've had to endure from some of the nastier members of neurodiversity.  I know they read this and I want to tell them (or anyone else) if they think their bullying is going to shut me up they are sadly mistaken.

I keep saying that I might give up blogging or even greatly curtail my activity or take a hiatus, but I seem to want to keep on going.  I've wanted to learn more about the science of autism, read more journal articles and become much more erudite than I am already before writing autism nonfiction.  But I guess I still feel compelled to write stuff on the internet.  Though I still blog, my input has decreased somewhat over the years and I don't know when I will be compelled to write stuff, but I guess I play it by ear and wing it.

It's been a rather interesting seven years, not sure what the next seven years holds for me, but I realize the prognosis has never been good for people with autism, even those as mildly affected as I am.  As I approach the milestone of age sixty, I realize things did not turn out in my life the way I had envisioned and hoped, and it has been a tremendous disappointment to say the least.  However, I just wanted to give a shoutout of my seven year anniversary.  Happy anniversary to me.


jonathan said...

Roger, you may be correct, at one time I never saw any anti-neurodiversity autistics online and in the old days of the autism list serve groups on usenet in the preblogging days, a lot of them seemed to tell me I was the exception to the rule and that almost all autistics were anti-cure. 5% is a rather liberal estimate. I'd say 1% or less is much more likely, analogous to the 1% of the population that controls a lot of the wealth that the occupy movement talked about. Over the years, I've encountered more and more persons on the spectrum who reject neurodiversity, some of the seemingly very mildly afflicted by their ASD, so i hope more of them come out and we can make some sort of impact to counter neurodiversity.

Shanti said...

Happy Anniversary Johnathan! I think I speak for many when I say that we are happy you are here. The idea that ND is largely bogus is the proverbial elephant in the room. It's the thing that many of us are thinking, but few of us say out loud. - Most of us, (myself included) are intimidated by the bullying you describe. I'm glad you have the courage to speak out. Also, speaking as a parent, we want to love and respect our kids. The oft used phrase 'You can't love your kids and hate their autism," cuts to the core. Most autistic adults that are active on the internet are part of the ND movement and say this type of thing. You and Roger are the exceptions. We are grateful to you.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work! We need more people like you out there to counter ND's dangerous agenda.

An Aspie said...

I am a college student on the mild end of the spectrum. (Yes, I have a formal diagnosis given at childhood) I am in the college's honors program, I have worked as a research assistant to one of my professors, who has since asked for me to do it again, and I have a small but satisfactory social circle of both ASD and Neurotypical individuals. All in all, I am pretty happy with who I am, and while I do receive a few mild accommodations, I actually feel that being Autistic (or Aspie, as I perfer) has given me some nice benefits that I wouldn't give up.

When you criticize the idea of Neurodiversity, are you arguing that individuals like me are simply deluding themselves, or are you arguing that us "happy" Autistics should not impose our idea of Autistic pride on lower-functioning individuals? (I personally ascribe to Temple Grandin's "polite geek" stance on the ND/curbie divide)

jonathan said...

@ An aspie. I'm not arguing that you're deluded if you're happy with who you are. I am certainly arguing for the second, that the neurodiversity movement should not impose its ideology on those who are not happy and believe that autism is not a different way of being but a disorder.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog, and I wanted to say, keep on fighting. You don't respect the "feel good" lies that neurodiversity is awesome and everyone can become a huge success if society just let them.

May I ask your opinion on a theory I have? Is the "insufferable genius" trope partially to blame for this new love of neurodiversity?

Shows like Sherlock, the Big Bang Theory, Scorpion, Poirot, Bones, Criminal Minds, House, (I can keep going), all have these genius characters who have no social skills, social tics but are all highly functioning and brilliant and gifts to society. There is no mention about how actual people with Aspergers or Autism actually, with all the struggles? So people are being fed wrong information about the disorder, due to Hollywood?

jonathan said...

@Anonymous 8:58. No, I don't believe that's the case as the genesis of the neurodiversity goes back to 1994 with Jim Sinclair's 'Don't mourn for us' essay. This predates the Big Bang Theory and other hollywood glorification of ASD's by quite a bit.