ugh Snickersnee Curlywhirl whose name I don’t want to mention for fear of this turning up in search is talking about autism again and it’s making me angry so I have to post about it I’m sorry
source, cw for some ableism in both the interview and the article
for context he’s talking about people speculating about Alan Turing, who he’s playing in a movie, being autistic. I can understand being uncomfortable with that, because he was a real person and it can be feel a bit eehhhn to do that with real people, for some. That is absolutely okay, and I would not have an issue with that.
But that does not seem to be what is going on.
“Though Sherlock is an immediate comparison, they’re so different. Sherlock is a sociopathic show-off, and Alan was anything but that,” Cumberbatch tells Metro. “I don’t think he was on the spectrum. I think a lot of people are very lazy with that.”
Okay, sorry, autistic people are being lazy by identifying with people they see themselves in? I know that’s not what he means - he means allistic people speculating about fictional characters being autistic based on a certain very narrow set of criteria. BUT that totally alienates autistic people seeking representation! Please don’t do that.
Also stop using the word sociopath especially as it applies to Sherlock because you’re spreading some extremely harmful ideas as well as tossing around pejorative pesudomedical terminology.
But what really gets me is:
“But I don’t go into a job going, ‘Is this autism? Is this Asperger’s? Is this some other form of slight learning difficulty or disability?’ I’m very wary of that, because I’ve met people with those conditions. It’s a real struggle all the time. Then these people pop up in my work and they’re sort of brilliant, and they on some levels almost offer false hope for the people who are going through the reality of it.”
Okay, so what I’m getting out of this is apparently, brilliant possibly-autistic characters offer “false hope” to autistic people? What is that supposed to mean? Because I’m having a real hard time not reading it as ‘autistic people can’t be brilliant in the way these characters I play are’, which is wrong wrong wrong.
Honestly, though false hope is the least of our worries. People are CONSTANTLY telling us what we can’t do and how much we need to be fixed. When we show up in mainstream media we’re children or in cure narrative or both, but brilliant realistic autistic characters are false hope? Not that Sherlock is shining representation - he’s abusive and manipulative and just rude on top of all that - but he’s clearly not talking about that aspect of it.
That’s not even getting into the “struggle all the time” thing, which is kind of ew and gets into the whole autism-is-a-tragedy thing, ie the same line of reasoning that ultimately gets autistic children killed by their caretakers.
I’m not denying that being autistic can definitely be hard, because it is sometimes; but I don’t at all enjoy the implication that it’s Such a Struggle All The Time and the ~reality of it~ is that we can’t ever be brilliant the way, I dunno, Sherlock or Alan Turing were. See above re: Sherlock’s qualities as a person, but still; he’s the one reducing us by saying this is “false hope”. I have no idea how else to read this as other than ‘you can’t be like this and saying you can is just cruel’?
On another note, from the article itself rather than the interview:
I’m sure he’s going to take some heat for this, and he seems to understand that his characters are identifiable for people on the spectrum. But that doesn’t mean they are on the spectrum - I can identify with characters who are not exactly like me, and this is one of the great possibilities of any storytelling.
YES, WRITER. You can identify with characters not exactly like you, BUT MOST CHARACTERS ARE EXACTLY LIKE YOU. Or, well, to be fair I don’t know every detail about your background so that might not be true, but given what I googled, many aspects of your identity are probably fairly well-represented in mainstream media. Maybe not that’s not true, but there’s quite a good chance it is.
Like, you are (apparently both?) acknowledging that it’s autistic people doing this, because they see themselves in it, but then saying they should stop because “you can identify with characters who are not exactly like you.”
Don’t talk to me about “identifying with characters who are not exactly like you”, WE HAVE TO DO THAT ALL THE TIME. Maybe, for once, probably-nonautistic dudes like yourselves could try not making statements that snatch the possibility of seeing ourselves in characters we like out of our hands. Okay? Okay.
Like I said, I get being uncomfortable with people headcanoning a real person as autistic; that can be ehhn for some people. Not everyone’s comfortable with that. I’m kinda not, in some cases. But he doesn’t say, “Hey can we not do that to this one specific dude I’m playing, maybe?” The writer tweeted the article with the summary [Curlicue] wants you to stop calling his characters autistic.” His characters, plural.
Maybe, Curlicue, autistic people would like you to stop talking in such a reductive way about our neurotype, but I don’t see any possibility of that happening, do you?
I’m just. really frustrated about this and I’ll probably delete this later but. Please someone stop Tickertape Vorpalsword talking about autism unless someone sits down with him and has a good long talk about why what he’s said is kinda messed up.