Friday, April 27, 2012

Cripples, Idiots, Lepers, and Freaks

It was a different sort of autism workshop from those in which I have usually been asked to participate. The topics included video games and manga. The presenters were academics, mostly English professors. The invitation I received referred to me as an autism scholar (!) I started to think about the meaning of the word “scholar” and whether I was or wasn’t. It was a spiral of thought resembling what happens when I think about the word “autism.” I like the idea of looking at the concept of autism in different contexts. I very much like the idea of expanding the definition of scholarship to include more people and formats. I really liked the name of the conference, too. The ESA 2012 was called Cripples, Idiots, Lepers, and Freaks: Extraordinary Bodies / Extraordinary Minds.

Since I couldn’t make it to NYC, the workshop’s organizer, Julia Miele Rodas, invited me to submit my thoughts in video form. This is one of the two I presented. We then had a group conversation via Skype.

In a day or two, I’ll post my thoughts about the workshop and links to the presentations by Julia, Chris Foss, and Melanie Yergeau.


  1. Please tell us more soon. I love the name of this presentation! Once upon a time, of course, the words were commonly used. Somehow there is a different kind of power when we use them for ourselves. Just calling myself an outcast or an outsider does not have the strength that calling myself cripple and idiot do. I would not use the words as "icebreakers" however. Could be the start of some necessary conversations though!

  2. I love that video. And I love that Squawkers is wearing a bow-tie at the end. Bow ties are cool!

  3. Thank you so much, Sanabituranima! The video was fun to do. Squawkers sends his best!

    Anon, I will post more about the workshop soon. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Transcendent! It not only says so much - it says so much between the lines... errrr or Squawks!

  5. hahahaha "the new guy was qualified and all, but he didn't have a Squawkers..." Just for that he'll probably be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan. xD


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