Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Autism and I.T - Some Good News

If you belong on the autism spectrum, or know someone who does, then you'll probably want to read this.

From the article: 
The job hunt is complicated enough for most high school and college graduates and even tougher for the growing number of young people on the autism spectrum. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, there's a natural landing place: the tech industry.
Also from the article:
Dr. Patricia Evans, a neurologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, says people on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum often have an amazing ability to hyper-focus on a task.
A feature of people on the Autism spectrum is that they don't always get along well with others and don't behave according neuro-typical standards of what's "appropriate" in work or social setting. But Dr.Evans says they can thrive in engineering or computer design tasks, since these jobs typical require only minimal contact with people.

However, here are also some unpleasant facts:
Although symptoms and their severity vary widely, the majority of young adults with autism spectrum disorder won't make it to college and won't get a job after they graduate. This year alone, 50,000 adolescents with autism will turn 18.

I don't expect these figures to change much anytime soon. This article is of course based on facts and figures from the U.S. But I'd imagine the stats on this in Canada, Australia, UK and other developed nations would be proportionate and not too different.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, though.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

SlutWalks, Rape Apologism and False Analogies

This is for all you rape apologists out there.

No need to say names, you know who you are. Or at least you should. But even if you don't, there are plenty of us who do, as it's not that hard to identify you. You're the ones who, upon hearing the details of a rape and how he (and let's be honest -- it usually is a guy) did it, you agree that it was bad and wrong for the victim to have to experience that. However you go on to say something like "Well I don't mean to justify what that guy did, but..."

Normally I try not to engage in dialogue with misogynistic assholes like you. Your attitudes and beliefs on the subject of rape make you little more than a relic of the dark ages in my eyes. However today I’m going to make an exception and use this space to try and explain to you why your logic and reasoning on this subject are, as they say  internet land, “full of fail”

Specifically, I’m referring to your specious analogies of comparing rape victims/survivors to people who have been targeted by some less serious crime like theft. Whenever someone calls you on your victim blaming bullshit, tells you that you're basically a rape apologist and an asshole, you vehmently deny this and try to explain your point of view; very often making comparisons to seemingly similar (to you). Which is fine except for the fact that  the parallels and comparisons you make are not analagous. Like this one: you tell us about hypothetical man who drives his Ferrari into a neighbourhood notorious for high crime. He parks it and gets out and is noticed by others to be wearing an Armani suit, and counting huge wads of cash in large bills while walking. He takes a shortcut down a dark alley and is followed, beaten to a pulp and robbed. If he's lucky enough to still be alive, he goes back to his Ferrari only to find it's not there. It's been hotwired and stolen. Or at the very least stripped down to a bare skeleton with all the part probably being sold on craigslist or auctioned on eBay.

Or alternately instead of displaying wealth openly, he draws attention to himself in another way. Maybe he's a white supremacist who dresses up as Hitler or a Klansman who walks into a huge crowd of people of colour, holding a placard saying "All n**gers must die" and shouting white power slogans at the top of his lungs. Well he has a legal right to do that doesn't he? He's just exercising his right to free speech, after all. Sure. But nobody is really surprised when he gets his ass kicked.

Likewise, you explain, a young woman who goes to a fraternity party, wearing a short skirt and a low cut top, flirts with the guys and has let’s say more than ‘a few’ drinks. Some dude sees her intoxicated state and uses this to ‘score some pussy’ and forces himself on her. Even though drunk, she’s aware of what’s happening and says “NO” or “STOP”, but he’s heavier than her and she’s drunk so there’s not much else she can do to stop it. Or she doesn't say anything at all. She doesn't say 'no' due to not fully comprehending her surroundings. Or if she’s actually passed out and unconscious maybe because of the number of drinks she had, or the roofie that was slipedd into one of them some time earlier. Too bad, you say. Or 'she was asking for it' by putting herself in such a situation. Just like the guy walking down a dark alley in a high crime neighbourhood, or stapling $100 bills to his clothes, right?

But explain something to me; Why would anyone stroll through a street in a high crime neighbourhood wearing an expensive suit and openly displaying obvious signs of wealth? Assuming no mental illness or some bizarre and poorly planned experiment, I can't think of a good reason for this. The same with someone who incites racial hatred to an audience comprised entirely of those people he has contempt for. Why would someone do this? Upon the absence of any rational, sensible explanation you realize just how far fetched these scenarios are.

But I think of several reasons why a woman would go to a fraternity, dress alluringly, flirt and imbibe on alcohol or other mind altering substances. This is normal and routine. Maybe she wants to attract someone. Just not you. Maybe she just wants to be admired. Maybe flirt a little; because it's fun y'know. And it doesn't always have to be a prelude to fucking, even though one or both parties involved might secretly acknowledge that the other is sexually attractive. Alcohol is a regular feature at these things. Unlike diamond or suit guy, she's not doing anything out of the ordinary - that scores of other people don't do every day.  Fortunately, as unsettling high as date/acquaintance rape statistics are, I think we can safely surmise that these crimes represent only a small fraction of outcomes. In other words, for every woman who is raped in one of these scenarios, there are probably another 20 that don't end this way. What does that tell us? It tells us that this is a normal ritual. It's a normal part of college life for young people. It's a normal part of being single. So is getting blitzed on occasion. Sure it's not always smart (especially if you plan on getting behind the wheel of a car), but it happens. And at party scenarios sex often happens to and alcohol may or may not be involved

So going to a party, consuming alcohol, dressing alluringly, flirting are neither bizzarre or stupid things to do. They are not on par with the situations you describe. And let's be honest - the fact that you have to come up with these ludicrous, highly unlikely situations only further serves to illustrate you are defending the indefensible.  In short, you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.  And you're a douchebag to boot.